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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Boy, learned a lot of things “not” to do again! This is a drawer organizer for a small camper. Not very exciting but it has kept me busy for a couple of weekends. My biggest question/problem was cutting matching grooves for the removeable dividers at the exact same location on both pieces of wood? How do you cross cut multiple grooves along a piece of stock? I was using my miter with a board clamped to it but that seemed inefficient and difficult. I’m sure there is a better way, any suggestions?
 

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Boy, learned a lot of things “not” to do again! This is a drawer organizer for a small camper. Not very exciting but it has kept me busy for a couple of weekends. My biggest question/problem was cutting matching grooves for the removeable dividers at the exact same location on both pieces of wood? How do you cross cut multiple grooves along a piece of stock? I was using my miter with a board clamped to it but that seemed inefficient and difficult. I’m sure there is a better way, any suggestions?
You might consider cutting them to length first and then lining them up edge to edge and running them thru the table saw cutting both at the same time

Also setting stops on your miter fence will do the same thing. (Maybe you tried that) Best way is to set the stop ,cut both pieces, then reset the stop for the next and cut both,and so on.

You could also use a router by setting up a frame jig on the workbench to hold the pieces then clamp a straight edge to guide your router across where the slots are to be cut, you would have to have the right diam. bit too.


Hope this helps.

Herb
 

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One way is:
1) cut board to length that will have matching dadoes. Make sure it is wide enough so you can rip it and make two pieces. Example: you need your divider 3 inches wide. Start with a board that is wider than 6 inches...say 6 1/2 inches wide.
2) cut the dadoes on the table saw using a miter gauge for support (or use a router with a guide for a fence and a properly sized router bit)
3) rip the board to the final width and VOILA! you have two identical boards with dadoes in the correct spot.

See drawing. Dimensions are generic.

Edit: One word of caution. Mark the ends of the board so the orientation will be correct when you assemble the drawer. Not good if the dadoes don't line up. Don't ask how I might know that! :surprise::frown:
 

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Debbie: Both good suggestions from Herb and Mike. I personally like Mike's better though. Cut your dados/grooves while the board is intact, then rip it so that the grooves/dados match. I presume you were using a table saw???? as you said miter gauge. Because the groove/dado is not a through cut, you can use (in this instance only) both miter gauge and fence. Word of caution: don't do this when the cut goes all the way through the board as there will be a good chance of kickback.

Set your fence to the depth you need for the first groove near the end, then flip the board end for end and do it with the same settings. Move the fence out the appropriate distance for the next groove, run that and again, flip the board end for end and do another groove. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

When you're done with the dados/grooves (I know, I know, I keep saying dados/grooves - FYI: grooves run the length of the board; dados run across the board) rip the board to the appropriate width and you'll have two matching sides.
 

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It doesn’t look like you have a table saw but you can do it on a router table easily if you match the divider thickness to a bit diameter. Just run your drawer sides across the table with the ends against the fence. I use a square piece of ply or mdf as a push lock to keep my work square. Make sure you mark which ends go against the fence.
 

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Debbie, I would much prefer to use Mike’s method which is the way I have always done it. If you don’t have one a cross cut sled cut be a lot of help. Easy to build and a ton of videos on YouTube. Using a sled is much easier than using your miter gauge. You will find so many uses for it.
 

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This is more suited for a garage ,as it’s not the prettiest way, but I like it as I can change my shelf distances easily by removing the mdf sections out and air nailing new ones in between the dividers.
And of course I couldn’t get it right the first time ,so I ended up ripping them all out and doing it again
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Herb! I cut them on a router table with a miter fence. Didn’t think of putting a stop on it. It’s not really a fence just a piece of scrap wood that i clamped to the miter gauge. I do have a table saw but I was having the same problem. I thought of laying the pieces next to each other but on the router table they would have moved because it would have been difficult to hold them together. Going to try the table saw next time.
 

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Rick that’s very clever! So you don’t have to cut any dados!
No, not at all .
Your basically just putting spacers between shelves. I did dado it the first time, and made a bunch of them in case I wanted to change the distance between dividers. But it looked like hell with the unused slots, so I opted for this idea instead .
Not the prettiest but great for my application , and to tell you the truth, I’ve never seen it done before
 

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Mike's suggestion on cutting the dado in the double width board then cutting that in half gets my vote.

Not having a miter set means you'll have to make multiple passes. You can do that by making passes aligning the blade with marks you make to indicate each side of each dado. Make another mark on the wide sheet and a second parallel to the first on the MDF block or fence. Use a tape measure to make a second mark on the MDF or fence the exact distance from the first mark as the width of the dado. That will give you a reference point to mark the other side of the cut. Slide the piece through making sure the blade cuts right on or inside the line. Use a VERY sharp pencil and rule, or mark with a marking knife. You can use pretty much the same method with the router. This is easier to do than describe.

If using the table saw, you need a blade that has a flat topped tooth. I use a Glue Line Freud blade for this purpose, a saw blade that will spoil you. It cuts a flat bottom in the dado as well as an extremely smooth crosscut or rip action. It is exactly 1/8th wide and using the technique I described, you can make multiple passes to clean out the bottom of the dado.

You could also do this with an exact width dado jig, your router, and a bearing guided mortising bit (about 3/4 long will do) Depending on the thickness of the workpiece, you might have to add a 1/4 inch piece of ply underneath the workpiece to raise it enough to make an accurate cut. Double stick carpet tape holds everything in place and make certain you're suqared up to the edge of the workpiece. Here's a picture of the jig and of the mortising bit. Notice on the bit that the cutters go most of the way across the end, which is required for a good cleanup and flat bottom. Also included a commonly used marking knife.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks so much for the help! So many solutions to one problem! I guess my projects will be on hold a bit while a work on some jigs. First one is a cross cut sled, then a mortising sled. I’ve got lots of videos to watch!!!
 

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Mike's suggestion on cutting the dado in the double width board then cutting that in half gets my vote.

Not having a miter set means you'll have to make multiple passes. You can do that by making passes aligning the blade with marks you make to indicate each side of each dado. Make another mark on the wide sheet and a second parallel to the first on the MDF block or fence. Use a tape measure to make a second mark on the MDF or fence the exact distance from the first mark as the width of the dado. That will give you a reference point to mark the other side of the cut. Slide the piece through making sure the blade cuts right on or inside the line. Use a VERY sharp pencil and rule, or mark with a marking knife. You can use pretty much the same method with the router. This is easier to do than describe.

If using the table saw, you need a blade that has a flat topped tooth. I use a Glue Line Freud blade for this purpose, a saw blade that will spoil you. It cuts a flat bottom in the dado as well as an extremely smooth crosscut or rip action. It is exactly 1/8th wide and using the technique I described, you can make multiple passes to clean out the bottom of the dado.

You could also do this with an exact width dado jig, your router, and a bearing guided mortising bit (about 3/4 long will do) Depending on the thickness of the workpiece, you might have to add a 1/4 inch piece of ply underneath the workpiece to raise it enough to make an accurate cut. Double stick carpet tape holds everything in place and make certain you're suqared up to the edge of the workpiece. Here's a picture of the jig and of the mortising bit. Notice on the bit that the cutters go most of the way across the end, which is required for a good cleanup and flat bottom. Also included a commonly used marking knife.
As most are cutting a dado to suit undersized 3/4" plywood, I would think that the Freud 1/2" bit https://www.amazon.com/Freud-Dia-Mortising-Shank-16-560/dp/B000BV7RC2is more useful.

Tool accessory Tool


In any case, the bit used with most exact width dado jigs needs to be smaller than the finished dado so the groove can be cut in two passes.

If you need to cut the dadoes on a table saw, using a flat top rip blade, you can do this fairly easily by cutting a kerf deeper than the thickness of the parts being grooved in the wooden facing which is attached to the miter gauge, laying out the groove locations on the TOP face of the part, and lining up the layout marks with the edges of the saw kerf in the miter gauge facing. Also, as you're not cutting all the way through the part, this is one case where you can use the rip fence as a guide to locate the dado when cutting multiple parts.

One other thought. I don't have a link to it, but @MT Stringer has a post where he showed cutting undersize width grooves for 1/4" drawer bottoms using (2) 7-1/4" saw blades stacked on the saw arbor, with the teeth staggered obviously, to cut the groove. I'm sure that Mike can provide a link to that post. This may be an good option of your dividers are mostly 1/4" plywood, although it may take a little trial and error to get the right blade combination - and you will need a different table insert for your saw to provide enough clearance for the wider "blade".

For wider dadoes, an exact fit jig similar to the one that @DesertRatTom posted would be the best choice, although I would recommend adding a wear strip of harder material to the edges if the jig is made out of MDF if you're going to use it a lot. I have a T-square that I made for cutting dadoes - don't have any photos of it in action yet - the photo shows the oak strips I added to the two working edges to minimize wear.

Table Wood Furniture Plywood Workbench
 
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