Dado Cutters

Dado Cutters

Stacked Dado Sets vs. Wobble Blades

Whether you are a master craftsman or a novice cabinet maker, a Dado cutter has the ability to provide you with perfect and consistent results. While it may be overwhelming to some (perhaps it’s the intimidating look and number of teeth, perhaps it’s the process needed to set up the blade correctly) once introduced to this type of cutter, you will surely discover the benefits of using this great tool.  

Simply described, a Dado cut is a wide groove made in one piece of wood in order to join another piece.  A Dado cut can be found everywhere: from the most advance museum pieces to the most basic shelf. 

There are two types of Dado cutters and before you decide on which one may fit your work best, let's learn more about them and their differences.

Types of Dado Cutters:

1.Stacked Dado Set: Consists of inside and outside blades, inside chippers and shims which are used to fine-adjust the cutting width.

2.Wobble Blade: when sitting in the table saw, rather than spinning true, it is offset and wobbles. As it spins the blade moves back and forth at a very high speed, cutting away the material being passed through.

Advantages and Disadvantages to both types of cutters:

The advantage for a stacked Dado set is that when the cut is made you will see that the top of the dado is true, i.e. flat and perpendicular to the sides. For the wobble wheel, the cut will leave a slight cove. As the cut gets wider with the wobble blade, the cove will also become more pronounced and you will not achieve the tight fit you require.

As for the advantage to the wobble blade, there are less parts, less time needed to set up, as opposed to the stacked dado cutter.

At the end of the day, if you are cutting for accuracy and looking for a near perfect joint, the stacked dado set is your best choice.

When you purchase a stacked Dado set, it will come with directions and a chart. Keep this in a safe place; you will need it for the life of your blade. After a few uses, you will wonder why you ever used your router table!

Just like all tools and cuts, there are many other things you can do with a Dado cutter. Here we will show the most common uses for a Dado cutter.

The most common joints cut using a Dado blade are:

Dado joint: is a slot or trench cut into the surface of a piece of wood. When viewed in cross-section, a dado has three sides. A dado is cut across, or perpendicular to, the grain and is thus differentiated from a groove which is cut with, or parallel to, the grain.

rabbet is a recess or groove cut into the edge of a piece of machine able material, usually wood. When viewed in cross-section, a rabbet is two-sided and open to the edge or end of the surface into which it is cut.

The finger joint (also known as a comb joint) is a woodworking joint made by cutting a set of complementary rectangular cuts in two pieces of wood, which are then glued. To visualize a finger joint simply interlock the fingers of your hands at a ninety degree angle; hence the name "finger joint." It is stronger than a butt or lap joint, and often forms part of the overall look of the piece.

The tenon from a "mortise and Tenon" joint: The tenon, formed on the end of a member generally referred to as a rail, is inserted into a square or rectangular hole cut into the corresponding member. The tenon is cut to fit the mortise hole exactly and usually has shoulders that seat when the joint fully enters the mortise hole.

Please note: NEVER use a dado blade on a small piece – it can be very dangerous and your piece will basically just disappear into the blade. It’s important to retain a healthy respect for the fact that the blade cuts away anything in its path.

Read more articles about woodworking.