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I have an old Sears craftsman router that i got when i got out of high school ( about 22yrs ago)

I didnt use it much back then and havent used since then.  I dont have a lot of routing experience either, but i understand the very basics.

Fastforward to today.  My next project will either require me to use my dado blade on my table saw or my old router.  I figured that i should play more with the router and try to master it. So, reading the instruction manual, i see this line:

DO NOT ROUTE DEEPER THAN 1/8" per pass or CUT.

Im gonna attempt to do some rabbit cuts on my next project that require a 3/8" depth cut.  So my question is, do i have a crappy router that only enables me to cut 1/8" at a time or is this something standard for all routers.  I mean, that's 3 passes!! That's 3x likely that i'll F** something up. LOL

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What size bit are you using to make what size dado?

A 3/4'' bit in a single pass, may result in the mating piece being to loose or it won't fit into the dado.

Work-piece material thickness varies.  

I prefer to make two passes, to make an accurate dado.

I generally move the router from ''left to right''--- (direction of travel >>>)---

when making dado or rabbet cuts.

(chip-out can occur at the trailing end---clamping a scrap piece, the same thickness as the work-piece, will eliminate chip-out).

When making a dado cut, I prefer to make the cut in two passes---

using a (my shop-made) ''dado cutting jig'' and a guide bushing in the router base and use spiral cutting bits.

The jigs guides the router base---on the back and front side of the router base.

(set-up the gauge to accommodate the adjoining work-piece for a snug fit into the dado).

When making a 3/4'' dado, I make two passes, and use a 3/8 - 1/2'' bit.

First-pass with the router base against the back gauge, and traveling to the right >>>

and on the return, traveling < (right to left), so the router base rides against the front gauges/guide.

This type jig with produce ''spot-on'' cuts.

Russ said:

>>> ...So, to confirm,  when routing a dado, i move left to right for a dado cut, correct? /p>

I need to make a 3/4" dado.

The instructions of my plans also recommends not using a 3/4 dado.  They recommend the 2 pass swipe with a 1/4" and 1/2".  These are the 2 bits that i have purchased (Rockler bits).

thanks again for the tips. I'll revisit this thread once i start the router cutting. :)

I'll definitely do a lot more test cuts before i do the final cut to see if i can get a  good clean cut.

I built this jig, adjustable dado jig. It accomodates the "pot luck" plywood sizes we get anymore. Usually make two passes with a bit a little over half the size of the dado, one pass up and back. Get dead bang size every time down to about 1/4" before you start running into tooling size issues.


Not sure why your instructions told you to use two bits. The 1/2" bit is all you would need, just move your guide bar 1/4". Would save you trying to match the depth of cut EXACTLY after switching bits.


Edit - just reread Kens post.. sounds like we are using the same or similar jigs.

Nice Jig, John.

I'll be looking into this more.


Russ sometimes helps if you make a dado jig or if you router has two square sides a piece of square scrap clamped either side of the router,make sure the workpiece secure good luck .

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