Shelving made with sliding dovetails

Cross Cutting for Dado/Housing Joints and Sliding Dovetails


One cut that just cannot be made on a router table is the cross cut. Imagine taking off the router’s fence and trying to put a long shelf-end square across a router table. In the WoodRat it’s simple: support the board in the Cam Lock, with rollers either side as necessary, and clamp the board to the Base Plate. Simply pull a cut across it. A straight bit gives a dado joint, a dovetail bit gives a sliding dovetail.

The cross-cut is half – the female half – of the housing or dado joint. The male half is made as a wide shallow tenon.

Very often a simple action such as the cross-cut will have nice ramifications: as a climbing frame for your sweet peas, for example…

Making grilles and gratings

If you cross-cut a plank, at regular intervals and then saw the plank into strips that are the exact width of the cross-cut kerf, the pieces will interlock.  One strip will form a whole halving joint with another strip, so that when all are interlocked you get a grille, trellis or a lattice for a variety of purposes from tableware trivet to paper covered screens, or to climb your sweet peas up, or a grating for your yacht. One simple action results in a big-time, complex project.

Honeycomb Tabletops

Another way to go would be to make a grill and glue it between two sheets of plywood to make a light and strong tabletop. 

Re-aligning the Base Plate to 45° for Louvres

Another set-up is used for cutting louvres where the joint involves a series of angled cuts. The Base Plate needs a little adaptation so that the whole plate arrangement will sit at 45° on the Channel and makes 45° cuts in the work tracking beneath it in the Mortise Rail MR4, screwed to the Sliding Bar. 

The 45° slots will take the slats of the louvered shutter or door. The slotted window frame will need a mirrored arrangement for its opposite side. Either turn the Plates 45° the other way and cut into the solid window/door frame, or make a deep set of slots in one piece and re-saw it to make two. Glue one to each stile.