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Dial a dado

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It does leave a slightly curved bottom on the dado. It is also not just set it once and go either. The calibration is close but it might take a couple of try's to get a really accurate dado depending on how fussy you are.

My first one was a Craftsman and I worked but was put together poorly. Then I got one from Freud, 8" I think. The wider you set the dado the more the curve on the bottom is.

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Yeah shims suck.  I started keeping notes in my sketch book on what combinations of chippers and shims will create x width dadoes.  Every time I create a new combination I have one more measurement I'll never have to do again.  I use calipers on my stock to find the right combination that's written down...sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't.  I still always do a test cut of course.

 

If you're really bored one day you could sit there with your stack, calipers and notebook and go through every combination possible.  If you're really bored.

 

I've heard mixed reviews on dial-a-dado.  The curved bottom is a big no thanks for me.

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It does leave a slightly curved bottom on the dado. It is also not just set it once and go either. The calibration is close but it might take a couple of try's to get a really accurate dado depending on how fussy you are.

My first one was a Craftsman and I worked but was put together poorly. Then I got one from Freud, 8" I think. The wider you set the dado the more the curve on the bottom is.

I've been looking for some sort of dado cutter for my saw but as ye probably know they're not allowed here in Europe :-/.... But that single blade " Dial a dado " setup seems like it would work. If the bottoms of the dados are slightly rounded does that mean the walls are slightly beveled or is the blade shaped to compensate ?? Would I just be better of sticking with my router setup ??

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This is the main reason I haven't used any dado cutters in my TS yet. I have a Freud in the package, never opened. According to reviews, I either have to mess with shims and/or curved bottoms.

I have a project now that would likely benefit from the use of the dado stack, but my mind still thinks a rabbet bit in a router would yield better (more consistent and flat) results.

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I don't understand the problem with chippers and shims. I have the Forrest set and never have a problem with dado width or flat bottoms. Unless the situation calls for a router, that's what I use.

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The dado stack will only make your dado as flat as your board is, whereas using a router, it will follow any bow in your board and you'll end up with a flat(ter) bottom.  Either way it's nothing a few swipes with the hag's tooth can't fix.  I tend to only use the dado stack when I have a bunch of dadoes to do or if they're more than, say, 6" or so from the edge of the board...I find the further away the router is from the edge guide, the more likely you can introduce a wee bit of wobble, resulting in a not-so-perfectly straight dado.  Not the case with a dado stack.

 

It's a trade off...the dado stack takes longer to set up than a router, but once it is, it's much, much faster at doing the work.

 

The one other consideration is the dado stack "gives you wings."  If your joinery is going to be exposed for some reason that can be no good.

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I have the Dial a dado, and love it. It's expensive compared to other sets, but with a pair of calipers and the set up chart, I can get a perfect dado every time regardless of what width it needs to be.

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I made the mistake of the freud dial a dado and cost vs blade life was not there. After the second sharpening the blade was junk I get 6 easily out of a forrest set. I would suggest magnetic shims. For 1/4 and 5.5mm plywood groovers are much better than any dado stack and outlast them 10 times. 

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I use a Bridge CIty KM-1 for two-pass dados. I install blades for 1/4", 1/2" or 5/8" wide dado then use the KM-1 for the second pass that's dead on.  If I had a lot of dados to run and a second pass was really inconvenient, I might monkey with shims.  Otherwise never do.  My stack is a Dadonator by Infinity; I like it, flat bottoms, no ridge on second pass either. This is the only dado set I've used so only 1 data point.

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I dont see the big deal as long as you can add and subtract even if you can't calculators are pretty easy to use. Each blade produces the same results every time. If you check your wood with a elcheapo caliper all you have to do is add the needed quantity of shims. There is no trial and error.

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I dont' care what brand name is on these, they all look to me like they came out of the same factory.  Accuracy on mine has been spot on every time, and it's one of the best timesavers a woodworker can have.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-Electronic-Gauge-Stainless-Steel-Vernier-Caliper-150mm-6inch-Micrometer-/121118369552?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c3337a710

 

I had a dial a dado, and the last time I sent it to Forrest for sharpening along with other stuff, I put a note in that if it wasn't worth sharpening to toss it.  It didn't come back, and good riddance.

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