Dado vs Rabbet vs Groove

The majority of people who are just starting out in woodworking may not be familiar with dado vs rabbet, the numerous sorts of wood joints, or what each performs, despite the fact that seasoned woodworkers will be quite experienced with them. If you’re a novice DIYer interested in turning your hobby into a profession, you’ll need to understand the many sorts of wood joints. In this article, I will show you three of the most frequent woodworking connections. I’m going to go through each category of the wood joint in detail, including the types of projects for which they’re used, and how each one is produced.

  • A dado is a channel cut across the grain that is U-shaped and square-bottomed.
  • A groove, unlike a dado, runs with the grain. Although many people use the term dado to describe a groove, I believe it is incorrect.
  • A rabbet is a channel cut with the grain or across it. A rabbet is always cut on the stock’s edge.

What Is A Dado Joint?

nest box mounted on black wall

Dados are slots cut into wood across the grain (also known as trenches in the United Kingdom and Europe). A Dado’s joint is achieved by removing a portion of the surface of the wood. While there’s a lot of variety among projects, on average, a dado joint will be 1/3rd of the thickness of the wood.

Without the correct instruments, dado joints might be tough to achieve. On the one hand, you must cut enough of the wood away to ensure that the dado is deep enough to support whatever you’re putting in there. On the other hand, you don’t want to cut too far since you risk damaging the wood’s structural integrity and rendering it unable to support anything.

What Is A Dado Used For?

Dado’s joints are one of the most basic wood joints. They’re employed in a variety of projects, including bookcases, and are used to connect the shelves to the main piece of wood (also known as the carcass). It’s also utilized in a variety of furniture and cabinetry.

How Do You Make Dado Joints?

Handheld power tools (especially routers) or conventional power saws (like a table saw) may be used to create dado joints. It’s easy and straightforward to mill a dado joint with a handheld tool like a router. Making it with a table saw might be more difficult, but it is still possible for an experienced woodworker.

Companies like Freud and DeWalt offer specialized dado blades that make the job a lot easier. For example, DeWalt offers a “Dado set” for table saws that includes special “Dado set” blades. Cutting a dado joint on a table saw generally entails lowering the blade to the desired depth while making careful use of the table saw’s fence to guide the wood.

What Is A Rabbet Joint?

We have previously discussed how dado joints and grooves are essentially slots cut into the wood. Rabbet joints, on the other hand, are somewhat different. Rather than cutting directly in the middle of the wood, rabbet joints are carved out on either side of it. Depending on the need, you can cut a rabbet across the grain or along the grain.

What Is The Grooves Joint?

The main distinction between grooves and dado joints is that grooves are created by cutting across the grain of the wood, whereas dado joints are made by cutting along (parallel) to the grain. Depending on your needs, a groove may be cut on the board’s surface or at the side.

What Are The Advantages Of Rabbet Joints?

Rabbets are frequently utilized in smaller woodworking projects, such as drawers, small cabinets, desk drawers, and even picture frames. They aren’t suitable for larger items like bookshelves or furniture. Rabbet joints may be used to create certain types of specialized furniture, but they are unusual. You may be required to integrate dado and rabbet joints in some jobs.

What Are The Differences Between A Dado And Rabbet?

The most noticeable distinction between a dado and a rabbet is the grain of the wood. The dado is a slot cut down the wood’s grain in the middle, while the rabbet is a step milled at the end of the stock to form a rabbet joint. A dado joint with support on both sides is sturdier than a rabbet junction. The differences between these joints are shown in this image.

How Do You Make A Groove?

You cut grooves in the same way that dados are cut, either on a table saw with a dado blade or with a router.

Uses: Groove Joints And Tongue

In a tongue and groove joint, the groove is one of the components. The term “tongue” refers to the part of the joint that protrudes outward.

The tongue-and-groove joint is commonly employed to build a huge panel by linking similar-sized wood boards. The large wooden tabletop of your dining table, for example, is almost certainly not made out of a single piece of wood. They are built using the tongue-and-groove method.

Forming Snug Grooves

The only distinction between a groove and a dado is the grain orientation. The grain of a dado runs perpendicular to the wood’s surface, as demonstrated in Figure 4, whereas the grain of a groove runs parallel to it. When working with MDF, this definition becomes fuzzy, but “grain” generally refers to the longest dimension of a panel.) Grooves are typically used for drawer bottoms, door panels, and cabinet backs. You may make grooves with a hand-held router by cutting them with a straight bit and edge guide or using a  router table’s straight bit. Grooves may run the whole length of the workpiece or be limited to one end.


This is by no means an exhaustive list of woodworking joints. To describe and differentiate all the various woodworking joints in detail would require several essays. This article was written only to serve as a basic introduction, with the goal of demystifying the three fundamental woodworking joints that every carpenter must be aware of.

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