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  1. #1
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    Simi Valley, CA.
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    easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    Hi, sorry for this basic question.

    I finally got started on the bookcases, but am alreayd kind of stuck. I got the sides cut, and now I'm about to cut the groove with the router. Now my question is what is the easiest way to cut a groove for a 23/32" shelf when the only bit I have is a 1/2 " bit. I have done this before, but it was not very precise, I placed the straight edge X" offset from the grove (the router base distance), then moved it about 3/16" closer to get the extra width.

    There must be an easier way, but preferably one that doesnt require me to build a complicated jig.

    Any help is greatly appreciated

    Jesper

  2. #2

    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    Well ---

    The way you did it with a straight edge "is" a decent method. You "will" need a guide of some sort.

    As to not making complicated jig - again - that really is a pretty good way to go.

    It's called a router dado jig.

    I like making dados with a router - the quality of the cut and the accuracy is in my estimation better than a dado blade in a table saw.

    Sure it's a little work to get the jig, but if you make a few cuts or even a few bookcases - it really pays off. Now if you make a couple of nice cabinets for the house - the payback is big.

    Woodworking and cabinet making is work. It takes skill. That is something we like to do. We strive to get better at it - and someday we do actually get to be good at it.

    You do not get good on your first project - you just sorta get through it. You will learn. You will make mistakes. You will get stuck and you will get through it.

    Don't give up.

    You will be fine.

    You can stick with the straight edge, but I would encourage you do also consider the jig. The jig will help to keep the dado slot sides parallel.

  3. #3
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    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    oh I'm not gonna give up, at least not yet :-)

    I did some more searching and I found a jig like this which is pretty simple, I will just need a 1/2" 'flush' bit for it.

    This one
    http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip102700wb.html

    Or this one
    http://www.newwoodworker.com/autodadojigpln.html

    Guess that is what I will be working on tomorrow, and you are right, the time spend on the jig is well worth it since as it will speed up all future dado cuts

    Thanks
    Jesper

  4. #4
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    Indianapolis, IN, USA.
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    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    Jesper -

    One other tip you might want to consider before you build your jig is to plan on routing both sides of the bookcase at the same time. Lay them out side-by-side and route the dadoes across both pieces at the same time. It will prevent any accidental mismeasurement of the placement of the dadoes which would give you one or more slightly off-kilter shelves.

    I say you should consider it before you make the jig because the jig would obviously need to be long enough to span both sides of the bookcase.

    Craig in Indy

  5. #5

    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    Jesper,

    The second one - the New Woodworker Auto jig, is the one you want.

    I have one that is very similar to that one.

    No special bits

    It works great.

  6. #6
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    Bradford, Vermont, MerryCanna.
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    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    I agree. It's simple, it's elegant, it works well, it's handy as heck.

    Couple things to always remember...

    First, all router bits are NOT made alike - even two router bits from the same manufacturer, with the same brand name and the same size markings, will not necessarily be exactly the same diameter. When you build a jig like this one, you MUST build it for ONE ROUTER BIT and use the SAME bit with it - not one "just like it" EVERY TIME for it to work really right. It's worth doing to buy one bit dedicated to cutting dadoes & grooves with this jig and use that bit for nothing else. Heck, rout a pocket right in the jig someplace & store that bit IN THE JIG.

    One workaround, of course... :) After the jig is made and you've used up the dedicated router bit, you COULD still use a short top-bearing template-follower router bit with it - say a 1/2" bit with a 1/2" top bearing, If necessary, you can steal a 1/2" top bearing from a longer top-bearing trimming bit to fit a short 1/2" template follower you've bought that came with a 5/8" bearing.

    Second... be AWARE that only seldom is a router's base truly concentric with the bit; the bit will always be offset a tiny bit to one side or another. So... when you make the jig, take note how the router is positioned and always run the router through in that orientation. Say the left handle rides the fence on your first pass through (which cuts the bearing plate to its final width)... always make sure the left handle rides the fence when you use the jig.

    I've made up some square (and rectangular) router base plates just to ensure the same exact orientation every time - that may be something you want to do.

    Last... these notes are really for pretty fine precision. If your need for precision isn't yet that great, ya can disregard most of what I've written. :)

    EDIT: Oh, yeah. One last thing. A "dado" goes across the grain. A "groove" follows the grain. :)

    -- Tim --

    Member of the
    Robert "Limey" Bolton Memorial
    International
    Volunteer Mentorship and Assistance
    Programme

  7. #7

    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    Just to go along the lines as to what Tim said.

    I use the same router AND the same bit. I also use the same router base and make sure the same side of the router is against the side of the jig.

    Whew - are we just gonna drive you nuts or what?

  8. #8
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    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    >Whew - are we just gonna drive you nuts or what?

    :-)

    Thanks every one, I made some slow progress today. I spend some time on making a jig, its not a beauti, but it's functional and I was able to make some tight dado cuts and the rabbet cuts in no time.

    I did clamp the 2 sides together and made the cut across, just to make sure it would line up. After that I made a template to use for making the cleat cuts on back of the side panels (grooves, slots? - sorry, I'm still trying to learn what things are called), but that is as far as I got. A lot of little things came up and I had to make no less than 3 trips to the local Lowes, and of course that eats into your time since I 'have to' check out the tools exach time I'm there :-)

    Jesper

  9. #9
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    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    >
    >EDIT: Oh, yeah. One last thing. A "dado" goes across the
    >grain. A "groove" follows the grain. :)
    >

    I will try and remember that .. :-)

  10. #10
    Member
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    Bradford, Vermont, MerryCanna.
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    RE: easiest way to cut groove with router ?

    No sweat on it... ain't no pop quiz at the end of session today or anything. :)

    There's a load of neat terminology to learn, and not that much of it is intuitive... so there's a right fair learning curve. Nobody's expected to get it all immediately - heck, I've been doing this stuff for years & YEARS & I'm still learning jargon.

    -- Tim --

    Member of the
    Robert "Limey" Bolton Memorial
    International
    Volunteer Mentorship and Assistance
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