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Help a newbie lining up dado cuts?

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Aug 21, 2013, 02:45 PM
Help a newbie lining up dado cuts?
Hi all, I have a new router and just learning how to use it. It's a nice one, a Porter Cable. It has variable speed, a standard and plunge bases, 1/2 and 1/4 in. collets.
I'm having trouble lining up the bit with my mark on the wood for dado cuts. I would use a straight edge guide, but I can't position the guide accurately enough because it's hard to determine exactly where the cutting edge of the bit will cut into the wood.

I looked up dado jigs, but it looks as if you need a different jig for each type of bit. Not to mention it seems to me that the edge of the jig would get whittled down from the bit each time you use it.
Any tips on how to line up a bit using a straight edge guide?
Thanks for any advice.
Aug 21, 2013, 10:24 PM
grandpa B
If you are using a pattern bit place your guide right on the line.
Aug 22, 2013, 08:34 AM
It's just a 1/2 in. straight bit. I tried to put the bit against my cut line, then made a mark where the edge of the base was. I laid my guide down at that mark, but the bit cut a little off my cut line.
Aug 26, 2013, 08:22 AM
Mark out the centerline of your dado cut then measure or look in the owner's manual and find the true diameter of your router's base plate. Then place your guide the correct distance from the dado centerline. Your dado should be right on.

I've found that using a router table, even a cheap one, is quicker and easier.
Sep 10, 2013, 08:57 PM
Thanks Joe. That's basically what I did. I cut a dado along a guide, and measured from the edge of the cut to the guide. The owner's manual wasn't that good. It was written as if the user has had prior experience with routers.
As for the table, I'd like one, but I'm just starting out with woodworking as a hobby, and I want to keep the cost complaints from the wife to a minimum.