|Issue #273 - October
|Tongue & Dadoes
|Drawers on any project
take a lot of abuse from constant opening and closing. So they require
a strong joint. That’s why a tongue and dado joint is a good
choice. Tongues on the front and back of the drawer fit into dadoes
in the sides, as shown here. This provides good mechanical strength,
as well as a large glue surface to create a sturdy drawer. You can
cut a tongue and dado joint on the table saw using a two-step process.
1. The first step is to cut a dado in the drawer sides using
an appropriate dado blade (Fig. 1). To do this, set the fence so that
the distance between it and the outside edge of the blade equals the
thickness of the drawer front or back stock. You’ll also need
to raise the blade half the thickness of the sides, as shown. Now
cut dadoes in the drawer sides.
STEP 2. Once that’s done, it’s
time to cut rabbets to form matching tongues (Fig. 2). What you’re
aiming for is a snug fit (not tight) between the tongue and the dado.
To achieve this, use a dado blade that’s large enough so part
of it can be “buried” in an auxiliary fence. This allows
you to fine-tune the cut. Now raise the blade and make a test cut
in a scrap piece (same thickness as drawers) to form a tongue that
equals the width of the dado. You may need to adjust the blade height
until you get a snug fit. Once you’re satisfied with the fit,
rabbet both ends of the front and back pieces to form the actual tongues.