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Dados! What are they good for?.. absolutely *******?

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johnelliott

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All this talk about dado blades and which table saws can be fitted with them, how about a little discussion on whether cutting dados happens much anyway.
My table saw doesn't take dado blades but I wouldn't fit a set even if I could. I don't cut slots in material, but if I did I would use a router and benefit from the extra safety and accuracy
John
 

Losos

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John - My table saw is very old & can't do dados. I hope to be getting a new one next year & even if the blade is an option I won't be fitting it. Like you say, thare are many better ways of doing it.
 

Bean

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I find this interesting, I don't have a Dado Blade or a Table saw capable of being fitted with one or with enough power to run one, hence I do not need one. 8)
But I do tend to agree with the others in that I think that using a Router is simpler/easier and apart from that I like to see the cut.


Bean
 

Steve Maskery

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Ooooh, a big thumbs down, I think...
Well I like 'em.
OK, OK, I know, you can't guard easily, takes setting up time, count your fingers before and after. All that is true.
But I have an old (12 years) basic tablesaw from Axminster, which although is dreadful by today's standards, was a lot of saw for my money when I originally bought it, and the Freud Safety Dado set (or is that a contradiction?) was half the price ordering it from USA than it cost in Bakewell, (exactly the same item, made in Italy, shipped to the States, then posted to me.... go figure, as they say across the Pond). If I have to cut dadoes it's my preferred choice, even though I have a very user-friendly router table.
I like the accuracy and speed of cutting (once I've done the setup) and I like the angle of cut across the grain. I use it regularly, if not frequently, but have to lie in my write-ups and fake the whole thing on the router table. What an admission, eh? Well it's not always a lie, I do use the router table, esp for small jobs, but there is no doubt in my mind that the dado head is excellent at what it does, if used properly.
Am I now ex-communicated?
Cheers
Steve
 

Frank D.

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Hi everyone,
This is my first post and while I probably don't have much to contribute I'd thought I'd just say hi. I've been reading you for the past few weeks and find you have a very lively sight with great depth and experienced contributors. I am just a hobbyist, and I'm a moderator on a French-language woodworking forum here in Quebec.
I use a dado blade whenever I have to make through dados. I find it quite safe and feel much more comfortable using that than my screamer (router). Kickback is not really an issue when the cut isn't a through cut (the rear of the blade can't lift the piece and fling it back). It only takes a minute to change the blade but I'm not sure we use the same kind of saws (north-American saws are quite archaic compared to those nice European saws). I use the router for stopped dadoes though, less work squaring up the ends.
FWIW, and take care,
Frank D.
 

Keith Smith

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Hi Frank, welcome to the forum.

Steve "but have to lie in my write-ups and fake the whole thing " :shock: :shock: :shock: never!! :wink: I had to write an article about something I had made a while ago and thought of an easier way of doing it , wrote it all up and it was ready to post when, I thought I had beter just try it to make sure it worked, and you guessed it ...it didn't :( had to rewrite the whole thing.

Keith
 

Johnboy

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I think the big advantage of the dado over the router is the ability to adjust the width of cut. Once set you just run the wood over the saw, no faffing about adjusting guides etc. If there was a router cutter that you could adjust for width of cut then that may make the dado obsolete.

I have never really understood the safety issue anyway, why is the dado blade sticking out of the table saw top so much more dangerous than a big router cutter sticking out of the router table. I wouldn't want to get my fingers bitten by either of them.

john
 
G

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I find it interesting that most of the people condemning the dado set don't have one nor the opportunity to use one.I have cut trenches with mine with much more ease and accuracy than I could achieve with a router.My saw motor is only 2 hp but as I don't usually cut deeper than 1/2 inch I can honestly say I have had no problems. As for safety, if you keep your fingers out of the way they don't get cut, as with any sharp tool.
 

johnelliott

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So what are these dados for??????????????
Not the blades, the dados
I do quite a bit of cabinet making and the only time I need to make grooves is for the 1/4" ply backs in some cabinets, and for drawer bottoms. This is done so quickly and easily with a small router that even the most ardent 'dado blade in table saw' enthusiast would have to agree. Therefore they must be cutting big dados. What for? Location? Strength? Appearance?
 

DaveL

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John,

I made thisusing Dados cut with a very old Black and Decker router and a jig from Pat Warnersweb site.
I hope the own a Dado head by the end of today and when I have finished replacing the motor on my new old saw I will report back on its use.
 
A

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johnelliott":3bk0mh3x said:
All this talk about dado blades and which table saws can be fitted with them, how about a little discussion on whether cutting dados happens much anyway.
My table saw doesn't take dado blades but I wouldn't fit a set even if I could. I don't cut slots in material, but if I did I would use a router and benefit from the extra safety and accuracy
John
Hi John

I have used a dado head cutter in the past (previous table saw) and it is faster than a router by a factor of 100 (both set up and use - no guides or jigs and the blade could be changed in about 2 minutes) and at least as accurate as a router.
Also, I do not agree at all with the claim that they are dangerous - they are no more dangerous than any other sharp tool; and safer than most as the blade is always under the work piece (no kick back and no exposed blade during the cut). I think that most people who claim they are dangerous have never used one.

I use dados in nearly every project I make (router + jig as my kity won't take a dado cutter). My bathroom cabinet uses only dados for it's construction. I do not use screws or nails and the dado is the best way to join two boards together with one perpendicular to the other - e.g shelves in a cabinet or vertial dividers.
 

Sgian Dubh

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There are real risks in using dado blades on a table saw as the injuries and accidents that happen in the US where dado blades are commonly used can testify.

The cut is not a through cut therefore the blade is usually used unguarded-- no riving knife or crown guard, although hold-downs are sometimes fitted. That's the first risk which can lead to such accidents as a dado being worked on the palm of the operators hand as well as in the wood. Finger bits are known to go missing too, and these are risks common to all sawblades, particularly unguarded ones such as the dado blades under discussion and other types of Semi exposed blades such as the scoring saw blades used in sliding table saws.

There is a real risk (with solid wood in particular) of stresses being released during a dado operation, such as those caused by case hardening, leading to pinching on the blade. The result is kickback-- I've seen it happen. In the worst case of a few I've witnessed the wood passed under the operators right armpit like an arrow and buried itself in the stud and sheetrock wall twenty odd feet back. The operators thumb, index and middle finger of her left hand were damaged as they came into contact with the suddenly exposed spinning blade-- she was off work for a couple of weeks, but she did retain all her digits even if they were somewhat deformed. Other kickbacks I saw resulted in everything from near misses to severe bruising in the gut and/or chest area.

The upcutting rear teeth of the saw or dado blade emerging from the table leads to the majority of kickback incidents, and a riving knife and crown guard go a long way to reducing the chance of kickback occurring in normal sawing.

Bearing this in mind it's easy to see what can go wrong when using a dado blade. Cross cutting dados (UK housings) in long narrow carcass sides such as bookcase ends on a saw is fraught with danger. To do it comparitively safely you need to use a sliding table saw or radial arm saw. There is no physical way to do this operation really safely on a regular table saw where you are registering the cut by running the narrow end of the carcass side against the long set rip fence. The side can twist leading to those upcutting teeth chucking the piece into the operators face. True, you can also use a small crosscut fence in the table slot, but this still isn't a very safe option because the panel side tends to drag on the saw table leading to twisting and dado blade binding-- back to kick back risk again.

I can see the attraction of dado blades to some people, but after thirty years in the furniture industry in both the US and UK, and having witnessed the damage dado blades can cause I'm not interested in using one now and almost certainly won't use one in the future. I'll stick to using routers and spindle moulders of various types along with T square fences, guides, clamps, jigs, shims and other tricks for working my housings, trenches, grooves, dado's etc.. Slainte.
 
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Anonymous

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Sgian

Interesting post

However, all of the injuries you mention are caused by operator stupidity, pure and simple. :roll:

No-one in their right mind puts their hand above a spinning blade :shock: :shock: These people must be without brains or sense :twisted:

What about push sticks and feather boards?

Also, it is well known that when using a table saw, one stands to the side of the work piece. Clearly not possible with large boards, but then large boards would not be thrown 20 ft across a workshop

All tools can be dangerous - ask my wife how many time I have come in from the garage with blood dripping after sharpening a plane iron or chisel :oops:

Careless people will alwys injure themselves no matter how many safety features are in place (see my point about sharpening :oops: )

If used correctly, then dado head cutters are no more dangerous than other tools
 

johnelliott

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Tony":eh2s8dmg said:
the dado is the best way to join two boards together with one perpendicular to the other - e.g shelves in a cabinet or vertial dividers.
Don't they make it a bit difficult to adjust the shelves?

I prefer to use library strip or steel shelf pegs, much easier to move a shelf up or down when my wife needs to find room for a tall vase or whatever

John
 

johnelliott

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Tony":4oc3kc65 said:
However, all of the injuries you mention are caused by operator stupidity, pure and simple.
Got to take a lot of issue with you on this one, Tony. There is another reason why accidents happen, not just stupidity. Other stuff happens too. Safety features aren't there just to protect stupid people, they are also there for when the unexpected happens, or when people faint or become dizzy or have blackouts for some reason that was completely unpredictable.
John
 

Alf

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Getting back to John's question; thinking about it, I don't use housings or trenches much either. Perhaps you could argue if I had a dado blade it would be so easy I would start using them more, but I'd have to start using a table saw at all first... If there's call for a housing or trench I would tend to think of the 'Rat as first choice of weapon (if I wasn't wishing to go Neander, natch), which quickly explains why I don't use them much. It's just as easy to do a sliding dovetail on the 'Rat, so I tend to use them instead 'cos the mechanical lock of the joint is a real bonus. In short, my theory is what tools and set up you have probably dictates what joints you use rather more than we'd all like to admit. I'll leave it to you all to refute and pick that apart at your leisure.


Welcome to the forum, Frank. A moderator eh? My condolences.


Cheers, Alf
 

Philly

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John,
For the record I use a dado set in my saw. I also have a monster router table and hand held router set-ups.
As to WHY you would cut a dado in cabinet construction, have you ever watched the New Yankee Workshop? Norm Abrams method of work is a great example of this.

Why would someone use a dado set instead of a router?

Advantages:
quick set up
very clean cut, even across the grain.
take whole cut in one go.
very quiet (compared with the router, before Alf starts up with the hand tool thing! :lol: )

Disadvantages:
not very useful on stopped dado's.
you have to have a table saw that is suitable.

Yes, you can cut dado's as easy with a router, but they are blinking noisy and takes a lot longer than on the table saw.
As to the H+S side of things, I can see no greater risk of using the table saw. So a router bit whizzing around at 20,000 rpm is "safer" than a dado set? Hmm......
(Also, any Noobie can buy a router from high street stores and get stuck in. Now THAT is dangerous! :? )

Only my opinions, but there you go.
regards
Philly :D
 
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