Of Mice and Men - Router Table: Day 16

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“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry” is one of the truest sayings, especially when the man is me, and the subject is woodworking. By the way, I’m fighting a cold so my posts are a little more sporadic. I’m seeing the doctor today. Anyway…

So yesterday I tried building the door facade for my router lift. See yesterday’s post for the plans.

I’m using tongue and groove joinery, which I’ve never done before, and although it’s relatively easy, it’s also easy to make mistakes. But it’s a good learning experience.

To cut the dados (aka “grooves”) and get them in the middle, I’m using this technique that’s been around forever, but I learned it from a Jay Bates YouTube video.

Start with a piece of scrap wood that’s the exact thickness and width of your project pieces.

Line up the saw blade a little askew of center.

Make the cut.

Flip the piece around and cut it again.

You end up with the dado right in the center.

Then you adjust the fence and keep cutting both ways, until you get the dado the size you want.

You usually want the dado just a tich wider than the thickness of the panel, so the panel won’t rattle around, but there’s room to accommodate the different rates of seasonal expansion between the rails/stiles, and the panel.

I used a featherboard to make sure the dados were consistent.

I learned, after I finished of course, that if you have the featherboard pressing too hard against the stock (like, waaaaay too hard), it can actually move the fence a teeny amount.

Then if you change the featherboard to be not so tight, you end up with dados of different widths. Not much, but enough to make a difference between the perfect fit and one that’s too loose.

Other Lessons Learned

1) Use a backing piece when cutting the dados, so you don’t get tear-out.

2) If you’re expecting one of the stiles to have both a tongue and groove, you need to make it wider than the other stiles. If not, when you cut the tongue, the stile will be too narrow. I knew that, but I forgot.

Fortunately one of my regular blog readers, Dieter Gobbers, suggested that instead of cutting a tongue, cut another groove, then cut a “floating tongue” to go between the two. Sounds good to me. Thanks, Dieter!

However, since the dado widths aren’t as consistent as I’d like, I may decide to recut everything. We’ll see.


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