There seems to have been a lot of interest lately in the Harbor
Freight#44566 I mentioned here a while ago. I did a little more
experimenting and updated my site to include this set. I am a little
chagrined at my earlier, somewhat glowing, comments because I found the HF
set to be considerably poorer than the Forrest.
One picture shows the HF to have a lot of tearout and one of the chippers
was cut too large in diameter. The HF is on the left and Forrest on the
For the whole enchilada see
To add my voice to your Forrest chorus ... I just built shop cabinets and
cut ... hmmm 4*2*5 upper and 4*2*4 is 72 rabbets and dados in_melamine_ No
prescribing, no taping, just a zero clearance insert and no chipout at all.
That impressed me, saved me the expense of a special melamine blade, and
this was by no means a new dado set either. I'm hoping I didn't take too
much life off the Forrest set, but the last dado was as clean as the first.
I checked with a local sharpening shop today. It may be a dumb idea, but the
gent said he would charge $15 to measure all the blades/chippers and grind
them all to one diameter. I think I will give it a try. I am not going to
buy a $200+ Forest, and the $100 Freud may find it self a hame with me, but
in the mean time I think I will toss $15 more into the HF dado and see what
I should just return it, but I have had it way over their return policy.
The $15 sharpening job on my HF el-cheapo ($5 on sale) saw blade made
it a very nice cutting blade. Still not as good as a real blade, but
it does a decent job for most work. If your local sharpening shop can
get it concentric and you don't mind messing with oddball widths it
sounds to me like a winning solution. Of course I'm using the old
Craftsman Kromedge dado set I got from my dad that he bought back in
I just used mine today before I read this. Here's my experience with
some covered particle board. I think with HF there's a certain luck of
the draw when you buy stuff. As far as I can tell all the chippers on
mine are just right. Dados I've cut in regular 2x4s are dead flat
across the bottom as well. The groove in the picture is 3/4" so all
the chippers but the thin one are on the stack.
email@example.com (Charlie Self) wrote:
What a couple of jerks. Either that or idiots. When Forrest has the nerve
to charge #250 for a dado that can be had for HF for $20 on sale, it is a
perfectly valid and intelligent question to ask, "What is my money getting
me for 12X as much?"
Man, it looks like the experiences are all over the map!!!
If you got yours for $20, could you give me the catalog number for
your #44566? Harbor Freight has different prices for the same thing.
They use catalog part numbers to differentiate the sales price from
the standard price.
FWIW I believe the slightly larger size of the one chipper I used in my
testing can be 'adjusted' with a little judicious abrading. True, buying
from Harbor Freight is somewhat of a crapshoot. I've returned stuff..like a
$200 sheet metal brake that had been dropped....they seem very willing to
take stuff back. Sorry, I don't know the sale number for the #44566(sale
price $40) but I'm sure , if you've ordered from HF before, a catalog will
come your way with the thing on sale again.
Regarding the chippers for the HF (and other dado sets) not leaving
a flat-bottomed groove: It may be the saw. On mine, the threaded
portion of the arbor is *ever so slightly* smaller in diameter than the
spot where the normal blade seats. So I sometimes have trouble
with the bottoms of dados cut with a stacked set.
I can tell it's the arbor, because the first blade goes onto its seat
with essentially no perceptible play whatsoever. The chippers,
and outside blade, which sit on the threaded portion of the arbor,
have a barely perceptible play when I'm putting them on. Swapping
them one at a time for the inner blade proves the problem is the
arbor, not the holes in the chippers and outside blade.
I suppose I could pull the arbor, and either have somebody make
a new one, or weld some metal onto this one and re-machine, but
so far, I've been able to live with it.
I have a Delta contractos TS, the arbor threads are flat on the top, same
size all the way across. The blades and chippers fit tight over the threads,
barely able to get them on and off! It is the dado set!
YOU GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR WITH HF!!!!
I tried out for the first time a set of non-wobble HF dados and really felt
screwed. The bottoms of my cuts were worst than your photos with respect to
different sized chippers but the most frustrating part was to have to use a
0.020 shim in the set up to get a 3/4 dado. I checked the width of the
cutting teeth and the width of each individual blade and found differences
of up to 0.010 for each blade. The whole set ended up in the trash can.
They would have gone back but I couldn't find the receipt and the local HF
store has a no receipt no return policy. Back to my Fruend's we go.
The Freud SD208 is a great all around dado set. For hard and softwood
(not ply or manufactured products), the SD308 is best. I bought one
at Freud's suggestion for the problem of blowing out splinters when
you exit in crosscut. The SD208 (because of the negative hook) pushes
the back out (blows it out). The positive hook SD308 slices the back
and does not blow it out.
I have a question for those who have purchased the HF dado set. Hav
any of you had it re-sharpened at a saw shop? I ask because I use
dado set in my shop that is 60 years old (it belonged to m
grandfather, and he bought it in the early 1940's). When I have thi
set sharpened, I'm always asked if I want it sharpened for a fla
bottom or glue line. With the glue line set, it leaves very smal
ridges in the bottom of the dado, which, I presume, increases surfac
area for gluing
What the glue line sharpening refers to is a way of sharpening blades
as to leave a small chase for glue to squeeze out of when clamping up . The
outside blades are a hair taller than the chippers as to leave a small vee
on the outside edges of the dado that the glue can flow out of.
BLH Millwork LTD.
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