If you live in a country where it is not allowed to use dado blades, making dados has never been easier than with this dado maker.
Setting up this dado maker only takes a few seconds, and the result is a perfect dado that fits every time.
No matter what size of dados you need to cut.
The nice thing about this dado maker is that you can easily make it yourself.
It only took me a few hours to make this dado maker.
You don’t have to be an experienced woodworker to make this kerfmaker, but there are some small details you need to understand.
Those details will make or break your kerfmaker.
But don’t worry, in this blog I’ll explain every step so that you can make your own dado maker for your woodworking workshop.
So make sure you don’t miss any detail.
As an extra help in making this great kerfmaker, I offer free plans that you can download from this blog.
- What do you need to make a dado maker?
- Watch the video here & learn how to make dado maker
- How to make a dado maker / kerfmaker step-by-step
- How to use this dado maker
What do you need to make a dado maker?
To prepare you for building this DIY dado maker, I have made a few handy lists.
In addition to a few personal protective equipments that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this dado maker.
* Safety is always your own responsibility!
Safety first! Protect yourself!
Materials I used for this dado maker
(power)Tools I used for this dado maker
Watch the video here & learn how to make dado maker
Here you can watch the video and see how to make the dado maker.
After watching the video, you can continue reading the step-by-step guide to making this DIY dado maker yourself.
How to make a dado maker / kerfmaker step-by-step
Step 1 | Preparation
As with any project, start by cutting all necessary pieces. For the exact dimensions, you can download the free plans in this blog.
Step 2 | Building the base of the dado maker
The basis of this dado maker consists of three small strips. In two of these strips, a hole must be drilled with the same diameter as the threaded rod (in my case I used two bolts which I cut off the head) that you will be using for this.
Mark the exact point on the workpieces and drill out the hole.
I used my drill press for this. This means I can always be sure that the hole is drilled square.
Need inspiration to know what drill bits to buy for your woodworking workshop?
Check out my blog – 7 Essential types of drill bits for woodworking – and save on your budget by buying only the drill bits you really need.
Now you can glue these pieces.
Ok, and now the first detail you should pay attention to.
Make sure the small block you will use on the adjustable part is flush with the middle strip.
If not, your jig will never work accurately.
Move the strip until the front is flush, you can trim the back later.
The threaded rods can be glued into the holes. I used epoxy glue for this.
Now you can set the base aside where the wood glue and epoxy glue have time to harden.
In the meantime, you can make the rest of the jig.
Step 3 | Adjustable parts
Now you can start making the adjustable parts.
These adjustable parts must have a slot that will fit over the bolt.
To ensure that the groove in both adjustable parts is identical, I attached these 2 pieces of 6 mm MDF together with painter’s tape.
Then I marked the exact center point and drilled a hole with the same diameter as the threaded rod (in my case 8 mm).
After drilling the hole I clamped these MDF parts on my crosscut sled to make the slot.
Afterward, I updated the slot with a file.
Do you want to make the same crosscut sled as mine?
Check out the step-by-step instruction blog where I show you how to make this crosscut sled.
There are free building plans available on this page, to help you to build this sled.
Don’t miss this!
Once the slot has been made in the MDF parts, you can attach and clamp the small stop blocks with wood glue.
Set these aside and give the glue time to harden.
Step 4 | Homemade mini knobs
While all the glues are drying, now is the perfect time to make the buttons.
For this, I used my mini star knob jig, which makes making these buttons a breeze.
If you want to make this knob jig yourself, be sure to watch the blog and video. There is a free template available to make this jig.
To make the knobs fit on the 8mm threaded rod, I pressed a T-nut into each of these knobs with the vise.
Step 5 | Assembling this kerfmaker
Meanwhile, the base glues have hardened, and you can assemble.
To make it possible to clamp the jig on both the fence and the crosscut sled, a clamping plate is mounted on the back and side.
As you will see in the video or the photos, I made the clamp plates to the correct width, but slightly longer than the length they should be in the end. Afterward, you can trim it very easily.
To mount the clamping plates I used wood glue and brad nails, a way that allows me to work quickly without clamping and waiting for the glue to dry.
If you’re considering buying a nail gun, be sure to check out my previous article on finding the perfect nail gun.
In that article, I’ll go over all the different types of nail guns available, so you can find the right one for your workshop.
After adjusting the clamping plates, place the adjustable parts over the threaded rod and secure them with the homemade knobs.
It is best to place a washer between the knob and the adjustable part so that the adjustable part can be securely fastened with the knob.
Step 6 | dado maker Template
Then it is now time to start creating the template. You will need this template when setting up the dado maker when you want to make dados.
This template must also be made with extreme precision in order for the Dado maker to work perfectly.
I will explain exactly how to make this template.
Start by placing the dado maker in the corner of the sheet material you want to use for this template.
Now mark the sides of the jig on the template.
The next step is to move the jig so that it is now on the outside of the marker.
Now mark the side of the second strip, NOT THE OUTSIDE OF THE DADO MAKER!
By making the template the same width as the first two strips, you can use the template as support when you want to make dados on the crosscut sled.
On the inside of the template, drill a hole where the two lines intersect.
Not only does this hole make it easy to cut out the inner corner, but when using the template, later on, no dust can collect in this corner, so the jig can always be set accurately.
Now you can cut out the inner corner.
To work safely, I have used my crosscut sled to make these cuts.
The next step is again a very important step, making the cut with the same thickness of the saw blade.
To do this, clamp a piece of residual wood on the crosscut sled and saw off the end.
Without moving the piece of wood, you now place the template against it.
Clamp the template tightly and now make the cut.
In your template, there will now be a notch that has the exact thickness of your saw blade.
This is very important for setting up the dado maker. If the cut is not correct, the dado you are going to make with your dado maker will be either too big or too small.
Your dado maker is now ready to use!
Below I will describe how to use this kerfmaker.
How to use this dado maker
Place the template against the dado maker as you can see in the picture.
Now set the adjustable part of the dado maker by moving it into the notch of the template.
Now rotate the template as shown in the photo and place the part for which you want to make a dado between the template and the dado maker.
Now slide the second adjustable part up to the workpiece.
You have now set up the dado maker to use for this specific piece of work.
Clamp the dado maker onto the crosscut sled as shown in the picture.
Place your workpiece against the center strip and make a cut.
For the second cut, move the workpiece to the third strip.
In addition to using this dado maker on the crosscut sled, you can also use it on the fence of your table saw.
The principle is the same, the only difference is that you now clamp the kerfmaker with the clamping plate on the back.
The result is perfectly fitting dados, time after time.
Dados can be made by a special type of saw blade, the dado blades. But there is a lot of controversy about this type of saw blade.
That is why I wrote the article — can I use a dado blade on my table saw.
Be sure to check out this in-depth article and discover all about dado blades.
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I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!
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I hope this information on how to make a dado maker was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
Let me know in a comment below.
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I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.
Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration
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