Dado Plane and Side Rabbet

The dado plane does the work of the striking knife, the staircase saw, the chisel, and the router. You find them in fixed widths, the most common being 7/8 inch, the thickness of quality shelving boards. Dado planes are beautifully designed in the familiar pattern for cross-grain trenching. The scoring knives on both sides of the body sever the cross-grain just ahead of the skewed cutting iron. A depth stop halts the action.

For obvious reasons, dado planes lack a fence, so tack or clamp a batten across your board as a guide. Make the first cut by drawing the plane back across the surface so the nickers get first whack. You can still break out wood on the far end of the cut, so work from the face edge to the back edge. Grab a chisel and

The staircase saw exposes only enough of its blade to cut the dado to the desired depth.
Clear out the waste with a chisel and level the bottom with a router plane.
The dado plane does it all, but cuts only a given width.
If the dado is too narrow, a side rabbet plane can ease it open.

make two deep cross-grain incisions to define the exit — just to be safe. Of course there may not be an exit. The dado plane is not much good in housings that stop short. Here, you're back to the saw, chisel, and router plane.

Technically a dado housing is a mortise, but its orientation to the grain is more like a tenon with cross-grain cheeks and end grain shoulders. On tenons, we can reach the end grain of the shoulder with a rabbet or special shoulder plane. You can't do this in a dado housing unless you have a plane that fits down in the dado and cuts on its side rather than its bottom—a side rabbet plant.

Actually, though, when working down the grain, you need two side rabbets. If the grain is running against you, a side rabbet can't turn around and cut from the other direction, so wooden side rabbets come in right- and left-handed pairs. Metal side rabbets also come in pairs, and in two-in-one versions. If the shelf doesn't fit into the dado on the first go, a few strokes with the side rabbet should clear it up.

The chiseled pocket at the end of the stopped, sliding dovetail provides clearance for the saw.
Careful paring makes the tapered, sliding dovetail fit tight only with the final taps of the mallet.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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