Tongue And Dado Joint

By Robert Robillard on Workshop tips

 Tongue And Dado Joint

Tongue And Dado Joint For Built-in Cabinets And Bookcases

When building built in cabinets and bookcases I was taught to use a tongue and dado joint for the frames.

A tongue and dado joint, pictured above, is a strong, sturdy  and simple joint to make on a table saw with a dado blade.

The Dado

The first step is to cut a dado in the drawer sides, as shown in detail ‘a’ below. Just be sure the inside edge of the dado matches the thickness of the drawer front and back.

The Tongue

The tongue that makes up the other half of the joint is made by cutting a rabbet at the end of the workpiece, as in detail ‘b.’ To ensure a good fit, I find it best to sneak up on the cut until the tongue slips snugly into the dado.

Fence Locations

Making this joint requires using almost the same dado thickness and height set up but with different fence locations.

  1. The first step is to cut a dado in the cabinet or bookcase side. The tongue will fit into this dado.
  2. The second step involves cutting the tongue. The tongue makes up the other half of the joint and is made by cutting a rabbet at the end of the workpiece, as in photo detail ‘b.’ I always take precautions to keep the tongue from bottoming out inside the dado.
  3. Practice on scrap material until you get a snug cut.
  4. Glue, clamp and secure with a few finish nails.

 Tongue And Dado Joint


 

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor / Video Talent

Robert Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter and editor of AConcordCarpenter.com and principal of a full service renovation company located in Concord, Massachusetts; A Concord Carpenter, LLC. Rob is a recognized leader in tool and how-to information for building professionals, he also hosts the Concord Carpenter Cable TV Show, offering the do-it-yourself audience in Boston’s Meto West region expert advice on home repairs and maintenance. On his website, Rob covers all aspects of home improvement, remodeling, and specializes in problem solving for home maintenance. Rob is a recognized leader in tool and how-to information for building professionals. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter’s motto: “Well done is better than well said!”. Rob is a a regular contributor to DIY magazine Extreme-How-To Magazine and assistant editor at ToolBoxBuzz. He is also a tool safety and training coordinator for Push America on their Build America project.

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