How to Make Hidden Dado Cuts On Router Table

By Robert Robillard on Workshop tips

Drop-Cut Procedure To Make A Hidden Dado

A stopped or hidden dado does not run all the way through your board. You use stopped dados in bookcase construction, sliding drawers and shelves, and where ever you want a hidden dado joint.

The process of making a hidden dado on a router table is often called a “drop cut,” and it involves starting and stopping your dado without running the bit out the end. The difficulty of this application is you can’t see what you’re doing.

Router Table Drop-Cut Procedure – Hidden Daddo

The trick to a hidden dado is to use a drop cut procedure. This involves making marks on the workpiece, fence, or router table to guide your cut. When your piece is short or narrow, you can mark and use your router fence as a reference.

When your routing is taller or larger parts and the fence is hidden from view, you’ll need to mark the router table. The reference marks on the router table, show you where the router bit is located, so you know where to start and end your cut in relation to the router bit. Your marks need to be visible throughout the entire routing procedure.

Drop Cutting A Hidden Daddo – 10 Steps

  1. Line up and position the router fence were needed to make this cut.
  2. Set the router bit to the proper depth
  3. Mark the dado location on your workpiece [edge or face] and line up with router bit –this is a good way to double-check that your fence is adjusted properly.
  4. Ensure that you mark a spot that is visible during your entire routing process. For larger projects: apply a blue table to your router table if you need to mark the table.
  5. Use a woodblock or square and draw reference marks – at the front and rear edges of the router wing cutters. The farthest mark is your starting mark and the closer mark is your stopping mark.
  6. Line up your reference lines on the workpiece to the router bit reference lines on the table. These reference marks allow you to see exactly where the bit is in relation to your workpiece.
  7. Start your router. With the workpiece against the fence, line up the starting line on your board to the starting router bit reference line on the table.
  8. Lower the wood down onto the spinning bit. Keeping the workpiece anchored down against the router table and against the fence
  9. Push the workpiece along the fence, stopping your cut at your stop reference line.
  10. Tilt-up the workpiece off the router bit to finish the cut.

Drop Cuts On A Router Table Video

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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