If you have any experience in woodworking, chances are you’ve heard of a “dado” cut. These specialized trench cuts are used for a variety of purposes, including building cabinets and bookshelves.
But dado cuts cannot be made with just any old saw blade. In fact, you actually need a specialized “dado blade” in order to get these important cuts just right.
Unlike most saw blades, not all table saws are designed to accept a dado blade set. As a result, woodworkers who intend to build wooden cabinets or shelves must plan ahead and purchase a table saw that can utilize dado blade sets safely.
If you’re planning to build either of these kinds of furniture or are simply looking to upgrade your wood shop’s capabilities, then you’ve come to the right place.
This article will take you through all of the basic information you need to know about dado blades and the table saws with which they are compatible.
Along the way, you’ll learn how to make a dado cut with a table saw, and also learning proper safety etiquette when using a dado blade on a table.
This article will even provide you with insights into the best table saws that accept dado blades on the market today.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in and make some dust!
What You'll Learn...
- No Time to Read? Here are Our Top Picks at a Glance!
- What is a Dado Blade?
- What is a Dado Cut?
- How to Make Dado Cuts with a Table Saw
- Table Saws That Can Use Dado Blades
- How to Safely Use Dado Blades
- Best Dado Blade Set
No Time to Read? Here are Our Top Picks at a Glance!
What is a Dado Blade?
First, let’s start with the basics. A dado blade is a type of circular table saw blade used to cut dadoes.
These blades are sometimes arranged and installed in sets, depending on the type of dado that is being cut.
Dado blades typically come in two types, known as stacked blades and wobble blades, respectively.
Stacked Dado Blade
A stacked dado blade set can take on several different forms, depending on the user’s desired dado width.
However, they are typically composed of two circular saw blades affixed to either side of a removable chipper piece.
This composition makes it easier for the user to control the width of the dado cut while also smoothing down its base.
One notable downside of the stacked dado blade, however, is that it requires disassembly and the addition of spacers any time a wider dado cut is needed.
Wobble Dado Blade
Meanwhile, a wobble dado blade (also called an “adjustable dado blade”) is a specialized circular blade mounted on a multi-piece hub.
This hub can be adjusted while in use to create a greater angle for the attached blade to cut at.
This, in turn, allows the user to increase the width of their dado cut based upon the blade’s angle. Some users do not favor wobble blades due to their inherent vibration while in use, however.
What is a Dado Cut?
A dado cut is considered one of the most basic woodworking joints available to amateurs and professionals alike.
Their basic composition consists of the squared, three-sided channel cut against the grain of a piece of wood.
This channel is typically made wide enough such that another piece of wood (such as a shelve) will fit snuggly into it.
Dado cuts come with a variety of practical benefits when implemented into a woodworking project.
For example, they offer a great deal of vertical sheer resistance due to the three-sided manner in which an inserted workpiece is captured by the cut.
Dado cuts are also less likely to wear down over time, given that they are primarily designed to hold an inserted workpiece entirely stable.
Dado cuts see a whole host of applications in the woodworking field. Most often, they are used in cabinets in order to create reliable shelving supports.
However, dado cuts also see use as drawer dividers and general-use partitions.
How to Make Dado Cuts with a Table Saw
Making a proper dado cut takes some practice, as well as the proper tools. But most woodworkers can learn how to do so efficiently, thus opening the door to more complex cutting maneuvers.
First, before starting the process of making a dado cut, a woodworker must equip themselves with the proper safety equipment (see below for more details).
Then, they must acquire a dado set of their own. These usually consist of a stacked set of regular blades and chipper blades.
Prospective dado makers must also obtain and attach a throat plate to a compatible table saw.
Next, you’ll need to determine your desired dado width. This will vary from project to project, depending on the cut’s intended purpose.
You can and should determine your dado’s width before cutting any wood, though. To do this, lay your workpiece flat on your work surface.
Then, stack your dado set-pieces flat on the surface beside it. Continue doing this until you have a desired set width.
Once you have your dado set properly arranged, you can mount it onto a compatible table saw and raise it to the desired cut depth.
Then, you should make a test cut or two to see if your set arrangement or depth needs to be adjusted. To keep your cut straight and even, use your table saw’s miter gauge attachment.
Table Saws That Can Use Dado Blades
While dado cuts may be fairly common in the woodworking field, not every table saw is able to utilize a dado set.
That’s why it is critical to purchase a table saw with dado capability when equipping your professional or personal woodworking space.
Dado-compatible table saws come in various sizes and with differing price tags, so you are certain to find a model that fits your budget and needs.
1) DEWALT DWE7491RS Table Saw
The DEWALT DWE7491RS table saw is just one of many readily available table saws that can accept dado blades and dado sets.
In fact, this model can make quick work of dado cuts and other kinds of cuts using its 4,800 RPM motor.
You’ll also have plenty of room to make cuts on your larger workpieces using this model. That’s because it features a 21-7/8″ X 26 – 3/8″ table with a 5/8 inch arbor door.
The DEWALT DWE7491RS was also built with durability in mind, based upon its all-steel frame and carbide table. It comes with a lightweight stand that is fully stable in its own right.
Because of the design of the stand, you can be certain that this table saw will remain stationary.
But should you need to, this 110-pound saw can be easily transported to the worksite of your choice using the wheels attached to the stand.
All in all, the DEWALT DWE7491RS is a solid dado-compatible table saw. Its dependable, quality design (not to mention the included 3-year warranty) means that you’ll be able to count on this unit for the long haul.
2) BOSCH 4100XC-10 Worksite Table Saw
The BOSCH 4100XC-10 Worksite Table Saw is definitely one of the more expensive options when it comes to table saws with dado capability.
But even so, you’ll get what you pay for with this model. Specifically, you’ll get a powerful 15 AMP motor that can make quick work of any type of wood you need to make a cut in.
This model can also accept 13 to 16-inch dado blades, using the Bosch TS1007 Dado Insert attachment.
This makes it ideal for woodworkers who regularly make dado cuts near to an inch in size.
You won’t run out of working space using the BOSCH 4100XC-10, either. That’s because it’s broad 30 in. x 22-1/2 in. table was built for plus-sized woodworking jobs.
You can also be certain that your cuts will always come out perfectly straight on this table saw. To make this happen, you can always utilize this model’s 3/8 x 3/4-inch T-slot miter gauge.
Given how durable and performance-oriented BOSCH 4100XC-10 is, I don’t expect you’ll need another tool to help make your dado cuts for the foreseeable future after adding the BOSCH 4100XC-10 Worksite Table Saw to your shop repertoire!
How to Safely Use Dado Blades
As with all types of woodworking, safety is the key to fully enjoying your experience, both in the short and long terms.
At a basic level, this means that you should always step up to your dado-compatible table saw wearing the right personal safety equipment.
In particular, you should always wear eye protection, ear protection, and properly fitted clothing whenever you decide to work with these rapidly-spinning power tools.
As for the dado blade set itself, there are a few tips to consider when it comes to safe use.
For example, the two circular blades in your set should always be positioned such that their teeth point outward.
In many cases, this can be done at a glance by ensuring that the marked side of the circular blade is facing outward.
Also, when arranging your dado set, be sure that each chipper blades’ teeth are slightly offset.
Not only does this cut down on unnecessary friction, but it can also ensure that the base of your dado’s channels is far cleaner and far smoother.
Best Dado Blade Set
Whether you are an amateur or a professional woodworker, compromising your workpiece’s surface finish is probably not on your to-do list. Good product selection should be your number one priority.
Be it a large cabinet or a wooden floor, all you need is the best dado blade set to get the job done!
1) Freud SD508 Dado Blade Set
If you want a spotless finished surface that reflects no oddity in your work, then the Freud SD508 is the best dado blade set for flawless dado cuts. It’s one of the best dado stacks with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon.
Its 8-inch dado cutter has six chippers and two outer blades; also available with a shim set and a dado storage case.
Freud SD508 comes with the best-stacked sets of blades suitable for cutting various wood-work pieces such as softwoods, hardwoods, plywood, and creaking chipboards that won’t come easy otherwise.
Its stack is suited to divide widths of either quarter or 29/32 inch with a ripping clipper of 3/32 inch – a perfect match for undersized and oversized wood materials.
Freud SD508 Dado Blade Set Features
- A safe operation design that does not kickback.
- 8-inch high stacks for deeper cuts.
- Flawless and durable finish with high-density titanium and carbide blades.
- Flat dado grooves with 24 teeth for clean cutting.
- Initial-stage accuracy to avoid repetition.
- Suitable with table saws and radial arms.
- Easy grooving on plywood, chipboard, and most wooden work materials.
2) DEWALT DW7670 Stacked Dado Blade Set
The DEWALT DW7670 stacked dado blade set is perfect for assisting your woodworking for cleaner and smooth cutting. With an outstanding blade-set, this 24-tooth 8-inch beast can spin at 7000 revolutions per minute – enough to strip the brash wooden boards to bits.
It comes with four teeth on each of its four chippers and has a star rating of 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon.
The DEWALT DW7670 dado set has heavy gauge laser plates that give accurate cuts and super finish for specific dado joints without any settlements.
Its blades leave no cracks after shearing through the grains of woods to shape it as per your needs and prevent splinters.
For ultra-fine width adjustments, this dado blade set has shims that are stainless and rust-free.
The DEWALT DW7670 is also available with a storage case to keep the dado blades damage-free!
DEWALT DW7670 Stacked Dado Blade Set Features
- Micro-grain carbide teeth for precise cuts and decrease splinter effect.
- Chippers with 4-tooth for smooth bottom cuts.
- Width adjustable super-fine stainless shims.
- Gauge laser plates for deeper cuts.
- Suitable for all types of boards and wood-pieces.
Dado cutters are all about perfect fittings and neat finishes. If that is your ultimate goal, then this review on the best dado blade set is your sidekick. The aforementioned products have high-star ratings and quality reviews.
Therefore, you have everything you need to make the best dado cuts with your table saw!