Dado, Groove, Rabbet joints

This article will cover what are dado, groove, and rabbet joints, why use these joints, and one way of making them.

What are Dado, Groove and Rabbet joints?

Dado, groove and rabbet joints are three different types of joints that connect the edge of a board into the face of another where a slot is cut half way through the thickness of the material. These joints are often used in shelving units. For example, dado joints would be used between the shelves and the shelving unit walls, and rabbet joints would be used between the shelving unit walls and the backing board. Rabbet joints are also commonly used in picture or mirror frames, where a slot created along the inside edge of the frame allowing the picture or mirror to sit in.

The main difference between a dado, groove, and rabbet, is the position and orientation of the slot in the material. A dado joint, has its slot cut across the grain (as shown in Image 1), a groove has its slot cut with the grain (as shown in Image 2), and a rabbet joint has its slot cut on the edge of a board (as shown in Image 3).

In a dado, groove, or rabbet joint, the slot can vary and be a through slot (a slot cut all the way), a stopped slot (a slot cut halfway), or a mortise (a slot cut in the centre). The machines used to cut the slots will vary depending on the type of slot required.

How do I make it?

The process to create dado, groove and rabbet joints will vary from project to project. To make this joint in the easiest way possible, you can use the router table, hand held router, or table saw available in the MSD Machine Workshop.

For more information, below is a video demonstrating making a rabbet joint using the router table.

Below is a video demonstrating making a dado joint by hand.

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