Dado Stacks - Shims


danbell78
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Are there any options out there for dado stacks that do not use shims for the adjustments?  I hate dealing with the shims, they keep getting caught down in the threads on the arbor and then jamming things up or taking a bite out of the shim.  Even had one stuck so bad that I thought it was all snugged up, flipped the saw on only to have it then come loose and take a chip out of one of the chippers.  I like using dado stacks, but hate dealing with this part of it.  

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https://bridgecitytools.com/collections/layout-tools/products/km1-kerf-maker

Make the stack smaller and use one of these. you set it to your blade thickness then gauge your project part and cut a perfect dado every time. There are videos that show how to use it and it's quite easy once you wrap your head around it.

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I use shims & they are a pain in the posterior. But I've got a system based on what @Chestnut mentioned. It's just a piece of plywood with a 5/8" bolt sticking out in the middle. I assemble the dado stack, put on the nut & snug it down, then measure with a caliper (that I set with what will be going in the dado). Then add shims as needed & remeasure.

I keep a record of what shims to use for different sheet goods. That same piece of plywood is also used to store the dado stack.

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I rarely use shims. We all know 3/4" ply is not 3/4". So if I wanted the ply into a dado I would make a 5/8" or 11/16" dado and relieve the required amount from the 3/4 ply. On smaller pieces I do it on the table saw with the ply standing on the edge. For bigger pieces I use a router. The ply has a shoulder.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For common sizes, used often, once I get the assortment of blades right for a given thickness, say 3/4" plywood, I write it on each blade used with a Sharpie.  A test cut is still run, since there may be some variation from one batch to another of plywood, but it's right many more times than not.

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I use the Freud Dial-a-width dado stack (link here ).  It doesn't use shims, and has an adjustable center knob that adjusts the width of the dado (thus the name :) ).  It comes with a 'chart' showing which cutters and how many 'clicks' to get specific sizes, but it still takes a few test passes to get the fit you want.   It's ok and has served me well.... but I've always wanted to try something like what Chestnut listed above (the kerf maker).....something like that which sizes cuts actually from the size of the cuts themselves, should be pretty dead on all the time. Just take some getting used to...

 

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