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I have been wanting to know for a long time whether I need to invest in a dado blade stack as many projects I want to do seem based on this auxillary piece. I have a very nice router and router table and would prefer not to have to spend a couple hundred dollars (which I don't have) for a decent dado blade set up.

In particular (and at present) I am looking to make some half-lap joints. I have tried using my router but the results seem to take a long time and are not exactly up to the standard I had hoped for. Is it just me? Is there a strategy/skill I lack or would the stack be faster, easier and yield cleaner results. If so, what would I have to spend and what names do I look for (Freud?) (used is ok). The Forrest King looks outstanding, but is just not gonna happen on my budget.

thanks for any ideas - I love this site!

christie (first time poster).
 

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In particular (and at present) I am looking to make some half-lap joints. I have tried using my router but the results seem to take a long time and are not exactly up to the standard I had hoped for. Is it just me? Is there a strategy/skill I lack or would the stack be faster, easier and yield cleaner results.
I suppose the questions I'd like to ask are:
1. What size collet does your router have?
2. What size (diameter) cutter are you using?
3. Have you made yourself a router T-square?
The reasons are that a router which will take a 1/2in shank cutter will generally be one which can take a bigger cut. A larger diameter cutter (say 1in diameter or larger) will mean fewer passes to hog away the waste form a halving joint and a T-square will allow you to plough a trench across the work at the shoulder line and take it to full depth before hogging the rest of the waste away. These guys will also recommend a set of home-made router skis to support the router - just do a search of this site and you'll find references galore to these handy items. As for speed and cleanness of cut a table saw with a dado head will always be quicker, but a router will be safer and cleaner than the dado set

Regards

Phil
 

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Hi Chris,
I have a nice Freud super dado set for my table saw which I prefer to use for cabinet making. It leaves nice flat bottom square dadoes. But you can also use your router table for the half laps. I think you just need to fine tune what you are doing. A jig which you can buy or make for you hand router would be useful also. I think a good dado set is worth the money. I would not purchase a low budget set. Buy a good set when it fits your budget. But until then you can achieve what you want to do with what you already have.
 

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Hi Chris

If you have a router table you can make a quick and easy jig to do the job, the router table will put most dado sets to shame..

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Thanks, to you both for the input. I'm pretty new at this. I have a 1/2" collet and up to 3/4'' straight bit. Would that be the way to go - it will take many shallow passes, no?

Any illustration available of a jig I could build -for the table, I'm guessing, or for hand held passes?
 

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Hi


Making a 3/8" deep pass is easy for most routers :)
3/4" bit will work just fine.
and yes you can use your hand router for the job.

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Thanks, to you both for the input. I'm pretty new at this. I have a 1/2" collet and up to 3/4'' straight bit. Would that be the way to go - it will take many shallow passes, no?

Any illustration available of a jig I could build -for the table, I'm guessing, or for hand held passes?
 

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Well the dado blade set is more foolproof if you have a good TS fence. but TS doesn't do blind dadoes. But the Dado blade set for a hundred will incrementally go from 1/4 to 1" by 32's of an inch That a lot of special router bits. Actually if your good enuff and I am not you could chisel a nice dado Current Project I am doing I used both, I used TS dado for 23/32 plywood I need both
 

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I have been wanting to know for a long time whether I need to invest in a dado blade stack as many projects I want to do seem based on this auxillary piece. I have a very nice router and router table and would prefer not to have to spend a couple hundred dollars (which I don't have) for a decent dado blade set up.

In particular (and at present) I am looking to make some half-lap joints. I have tried using my router but the results seem to take a long time and are not exactly up to the standard I had hoped for. Is it just me? Is there a strategy/skill I lack or would the stack be faster, easier and yield cleaner results. If so, what would I have to spend and what names do I look for (Freud?) (used is ok). The Forrest King looks outstanding, but is just not gonna happen on my budget.

thanks for any ideas - I love this site!

christie (first time poster).
Hi Chris - welcome to the forum:)

I think a router makes a cleaner dado but, IMO, it's not that important for half laps. Freud's lower end dado set does plenty good for me and at under $100 doesn't break the bank and takes a load off my router bits. This is the set I have:
Amazon.com: Freud SD206 6-Inch Professional Dado: Home Improvement
They also make the same set in 8" but my saw can't take the 8" stack.
I use it almost exclusively for half lap joints, usually use the router, either table or hand held, for rabbets and shelf or divider dados. :)
 

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When building large doors for the shop and barn, I used the hand held router and a simple guide to make the half laps. I ganged the timbers and cut them. But, for long grooves and rabbets (8') I used the dado stack. The router method would have been OK, too. At the time, the dado set on the TS seemed faster.
 

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Thanks, to you both for the input. I'm pretty new at this. I have a 1/2" collet and up to 3/4'' straight bit. Would that be the way to go - it will take many shallow passes, no?

Any illustration available of a jig I could build -for the table, I'm guessing, or for hand held passes?
There is another guide which is also a good option. If you search for OPG3 and click on his user name, then click on his downloads, you will see a router grooving guide. It is two pieces of ply joined together. One is narrow and the router is guided against it. The other thinner piece is under it and is wide enough that you will cut off the edge the first time you use it. This will show you your cutting line and eliminates measuring offsets as is necessary with most other methods. As long as you stay with one size bit it never changes. If you use a small bit, say 1/4' and mark your dadoes on both sides of the cut, you simply cut from one side then flip it around and cut the other line. That means that no matter how oddball sized your material is, you will still be able cut to fit. I built basically the same thing for a skillsaw for breaking down full sheets of ply and mdf and it works great.
 
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