First of all, I might have used wrong term in a question title, not sure if what I need to do can really be called "dado". Feel free to correct me in that case.

Here is what I need to do:

enter image description here

Speaking about the left and right pieces of it, there is a thing which I referred as "dado" - some material removed to create a slot with a rounded end.

I'd like to ask you - what is the best and easiest way to do it? In which ways the way I'm going to go (described below) might be improved?

Here is my plan - use a router table with a straight bit and cut it with several passes in such way: 1) Set a small material removal (let's say 1mm above the table surface).

2) Set up a stop block on the left part of the fence not to cut through.

3) Set a feather stops before and after the bit to prevent kickback (as the detail I'm going to cut is quite small)

4) Enable the router, push the detail through from the right side until it reaches the stop block

5) Disable the router, only then remove a piece, rise the bit a little bit and repeat routing. Repeat this until I cut through.

I'm actually asking this question because I'm completely new to power router and not sure which operations are safe for me and which of it are safe for detail I'm working on.


2 Answers 2


I'd cut the radius with a forstner bit and then use a table saw (or miter saw) to cut the straights. Once that's done, bullnose the edges by following with the router.

Full-depth cuts with a router are challenging and tend to result in burn. Plus, it's somewhat difficult to get a very straight line that way, especially on a small workpiece.

  • Actually this sounds like a plan, for some reason I didn't think about using a drill together with a saw. Thanks!
    – Alexey Malev
    Jun 5, 2018 at 15:45
  • As you can imagine, alignment is critical. Use a drill press if you have one available.
    – isherwood
    Jun 5, 2018 at 17:05

How wide is that slot? And how much material is left at the bottom?

This may be much easier with a bandsaw, scroll saw, or even a jigsaw. Those saws excel at cutting tight curves. I'd also be worried about your piece breaking on the router table, especially as you make the final pass and the least amount of material is left to hold it all together.

You could hog out most of the waste with a saw (just about any saw, even a hand saw) or drill (ideally on a drill press), and then proceed with the routing, which would be a bit safer.

If you do use the router, make sure to use push sticks or push blocks, to keep your hands away from the bit. You mention the piece is small, so push blocks are even more important. You may even want to fashion a jig to hold your piece, providing more surface area for your push block to grab onto. Other than that, your proposed plan seems OK; you could probably cut more than 1mm at a time, but being conservative in woodworking is more likely to lead to keeping all of your fingers

  • Let's say, 10mm wide, 10mm left on the bottom. I thought about bandsaw and a jigsaw, but I want the line to be perfectly straight, which I believe cannot be achieved with these tools and sanding afterwards. When you suggest removing most of the material with other tools - you mean I should use router to flush the edges of the slot only, or I get you wrong?
    – Alexey Malev
    Jun 5, 2018 at 15:45
  • Yes, you could use the router to flush up the edges of the slot, after removing most of the waste wood with the other tools. Routers work best when they're only removing a small amount of material, so the more you can remove with other tools the better
    – mmathis
    Jun 5, 2018 at 19:16
  • 2
    Instead of creating a jig I would just leave the piece substantially oversize and cut to final size after routing the slot. Jun 5, 2018 at 21:00
  • 1
    I'd go one better than @SaSSafraS1232 - I'd start with a single piece, make a slot at either end and curve the corners, then cut across the middle to get two pieces. Jun 17, 2018 at 19:04

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