Housing joint

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    Mark Armstrong

    I have never quite understood why a Housing joint is called a Dado joint I know its an American term but still can’t get My head round it.
    I have always known a Dado or to correctly put it Dado rail/chair rail as a moulding of some description fixed to a wall about 30/40 inches from floor.

    Just had a look in dictionary on computer this is what it said:

    Dado |ˈdeɪdəʊ|
    noun ( pl. dados )
    1 the lower part of the wall of a room, below about waist height, when decorated differently from the upper part.
    • short for dado rail.
    2 N. Amer.a groove cut in the face of a board, into which the edge of another board is fixed.
    3 Architecture the part of a pedestal between the base and the cornice.
    ORIGIN mid 17th cent. (denoting the main part of a pedestal, above the base): from Italian, literally ‘dice or cube’, from Latin datum ‘something given, starting point’ (see datum) .
    Dose any one of our American friends Know any history why this came to be called a Dado.

    Dagenham, Essex, England

    Steve Follis

    I don’t know the origin of the term “Dado”, but to add confusion to the discussion, it is called a Dado when it is across the grain. If it is cut with the grain it is called a Groove.

    Memphis, Tennessee


    Interesting post Mark. To be honest as long as I get a good tight fit, I’m not bothered what we call it. Housing joint, dado, housing dado. Any one of them will do me. 😉

    Mark Armstrong

    The plot thickens
    Groove |gruːv|
    1 a long, narrow cut or depression in a hard material.
    I agree with British dictionary statement above. The narrow comes to mind and for me would go in either direction.

    Like I said for the last 30 years I have only ever known to be called Housing joint.

    The other thing starting to do my head in is Chip breaker It’s a CAP IRON

    Dagenham, Essex, England


    I love questions like this since the journey is usually very interesting.

    This site makes a valiant attempt to determine the origin of the term “dado”, with many sources dating back to the late 1800’s, but ultimately falls short:

    Woodworking History: Dado

    I will query some other sources.

    -Scott Los Angeles

    Mark Armstrong

    Very Good link Scott
    Shed a bit more light on the subject.

    Dagenham, Essex, England

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