Dado (joinery)

A dado (US and Canada), housing (UK) or trench (Europe) is a slot or trench cut into the surface of a piece of machinable material, usually wood. When viewed in cross-section, a dado has three sides. A dado is cut across, or perpendicular to, the grain and is thus differentiated from a groove which is cut with, or parallel to the grain. Dados are often used to affix shelves to cabinetry carcasses. Similar to the dado, see rabbet (rebate).


  • A through[1] dado involves cuts which run between both edges of the surface, leaving both ends open.
  • A stopped or blind[2] dado ends before one or both of the cuts meets the edge of the surface.
  • A half dado is formed with a narrow dado cut into one part, coupled with a rabbet of another piece. This joint tends to be used because of its ability to hide unattractive gaps due to varying material thicknesses.[3]

See also


  1. Mortise and Tenon Frame Joints,
  2. Making Perfect Rabbet and Dado Joints
  3. William D. Umstattd; Charles W. Davis (2005). Modern cabinetmaking. Goodheart-Willcox. p. 484. ISBN 1590703766.
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