In Tricks of the Trade

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Using a tablesaw to cut rabbets on the end of a board is nothing new.  If you’ve only got a couple to make, it’s hardly worth the time it takes to install you dado set.

So, using your fence in conjunction with your miter gauge, you establish the final width of the rabbet. You finish the rabbet by nibbling away the rest of the waste with progressive, overlapping cuts.

But how do you make sure each cut overlaps the last one for a clean rabbet?

Here’s my solution. Set up the fence and the blade height as usual.  Then, stick a piece of tape to the face of the miter gauge positioned so the edge of the workpiece overlaps the tape.  Using the tape as a writing surface, make a scale using vertical lines spaced 1/16″ apart.

Make the first cut to establish the width of the rabbet.  Then, without moving your workpiece, make an indexing mark on the workpiece that corresponds to the first vertical line on the scale.

Successive cuts are made by moving the workpiece away from the fence using the indexing mark. Move the workpiece over one line on the scale after each cut. -John Cusimano


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