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Q & A: Veneered-Plywood Tear-Out


Q & A: Veneered-Plywood Tear-Out


I have some planks with a pronounced crook.The grain is beautiful and I would like to make use of the crook in a desktop design. How can I edge join the boards without loosing the crook?


Assuming your dado set is sharp and your fence is exactly parallel to your saw blade, the best device for making clean cuts is a zero clearance throat plate. You can buy ready-made ones, (available at Woodcraft,, or make your own.

To make your own, trace the outline of your existing throat-plate insert on 1⁄2-in. ApplePly (contact States Industries at for local distributors) and cut it on the bandsaw. File and sand the edges until you get a good fit in your saw. If the insert is too tall, it can be sanded flush. If it sets below your table, add small setscrews to the underside where the insert is supported by the saw and adjust accordingly.

Finally, try using a damp rag to moisten the surface where the dado will be cut. There’s no need to get the wood soaking wet, just a little damp. This will soften the wood fibers enough to help prevent tear-out.

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This story originally appeared in American Woodworker December 1999, issue #77.

December 1999, issue #77

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