Blood, Sweat, and Sawdust

Going against the grain

Tag: dado

Children’s Foot Stool

My wife recently informed me that our two year-old son was in need of a small foot stool to help him learn how to brush his teeth.  I took this as an opportunity to practice a few skills I haven’t yet mastered.  I decided to make the stool from soft-maple.  I used a very simple design and focused on the joinery.  The legs attach to the top via hand-cut dados, and the legs are connected via a stretcher that uses mortise and tenon joinery.  This was my first attempt at through mortises.  The results were sufficient but could have been cleaner.  I would have preferred a shellac finish, but my wife insisted on painting the stool to match the bathroom.  I think it turned out great.


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Making Stopped Dadoes by Hand

I decided to attempt this for my bench hook after watching Roy Underhill make a stopped sliding-dovetail on an old episode of the Woodwright Shop.  On the show, he mentioned that the same basic principles also applied to stopped dadoes.  You start like you would with any other dado, by marking out all of your lines.  The difference here is that you chisel a small mortise where your dado stops.  This gives your saw a place to go when you are sawing down your walls.

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Here is a picture for illustration.  My dado is 3/4″ wide and 1/4″ deep.  It stops about 3/4″ from the edge of the board.  My widest mortise chisel is only about 3/8″, so I had to make several passes to width.  I made the mortise slightly deeper than 1/4″, so that I could ensure that my saw made it to the proper depth.  In the end it won’t really matter, as this won’t be seen.

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Once you’ve made your mortise, it’s simply a matter of sawing to your line, chiseling out the waste, and then progressing to final depth with router plane.  If you don’t a router plane, a chisel could used for the entire process.