Dados in a woodshop are typically done with a router or table saw (see image below). But maybe you are new and haven’t acquired a router yet. Or it could be you just want a different method of cutting the dado out. Or possibly some other reason.
Whatever the case, it is an easy task to cut a complete dado with a circular saw. (A circular saw is actually called a skilsaw sometimes, but just in case you didn’t know, that isn’t technically the name of the tool. It’s just a brand.)
Before getting to the video though below, let’s learn a little bit about dados.
WHAT IS A DADO
According to Wikipedia:
“A dado (US and Canada), housing (UK) or trench (Europe) is a slot or trench cut into the surface of a piece of machinable material, usually wood. When viewed in cross-section, a dado has three sides. A dado is cut across, or perpendicular to, the grain and is thus differentiated from a groove which is cut with, or parallel to, the grain.
A through dado involves cuts which run between both edges of the surface, leaving both ends open. A stopped or blind dado ends before one or both of the cuts meets the edge of the surface
Dados are often used to affix shelves to a bookcase carcase. Combined with a rabbet (rebate) on an adjoining piece, they are used to make the rabbet and dado joint, sometimes used in case goods.”
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DADO AND A RABBET
Dados and rabbets are two different cuts. The dado cuts a groove whereas the rabbit is typically on the outside of the material/woodstock. Here is the definition of a rabbet according to Wikipedia:
“A rabbet (also known as a rebate in Britain is a recess or groove cut into the edge of a piece of machinable material, usually wood. When viewed in cross-section, a rabbet is two-sided and open to the edge or end of the surface into which it is cut.
The word rabbet is from Old French rabbat, “a recess into a wall,” and rabattre “to beat down”.
An example of the use of a rabbet is in a glazing bar where it makes provision for the insertion of the pane of glass and putty. It may also accommodate the edge of the back panel of a cabinet. It is also used in door and casement window jambs, and for shiplap planking. A rabbet can be used to form a joint with another piece of wood (often containing a dado).”
CUTTING A DADO WITH A CIRCULAR SAW
The video below is going to be showing you how to cut a “through dado” – which is the most common type. You can ignore the commentary at the begging if you would like. The individual that created the video is starting a new series on his youtube channel so for the first minute or so he is discussing what is going on with the new videos.