One particular project is going to require a lot of dados. I looked
around the 'net and local stores and some catalogues. Most of the
google info is stale.
In this application, a router wouldn't be practical, so I need a new
In simple terms, I would like it if you gentlemen gave me a few pointer
where to look for definitive information about these things:
1) Simply the best, regardless of price. I can see that it gets real
silly real quick.
2) Good performer for a decent price. (Had a Freud pack many moons ago,
the chippers were nasty.)
3) A great cheapie. (There is a brand called Mibro?)
4) What to stay away from (aside from the wobblers).
I want a set to last me for some time, because I suspect that if I had
a decent set, I'd use it more.
I value your opinions for which I thank you in advance.
Well, I cannot say I'm much of an expert on dado's. I've used Freud
for years but earlier this year I picked up an adjustable, shime free
model from Amana Tool. I've used many of their Shaper Cutters and the
Rep gave me a nice discount on the Dado.
IMO, you cannot go wrong with Freud, but at the same time, I like this
Amana unit very much. ...fast and accurate.
I personally use the Forrest Dado King and it cuts perfectly. Flat bottoms
and sides and no tear out.
That said, if you are going to do the same size over and over that is what I
would recomend as Forrest products stay sharp for a very long time.
Freud however has a set that has an adjustable outer cutter. This does not
wobble as you still stack the set but the dial on the outer cutter moves the
teeth in and out a small bit at a time. Very accurate and easily repeatable
settings can be made with this click detent set and NO SHIMS. Swingman has
this set and we used it when we built 2 sets of kitchen cabinets this past
Spring. How long the set stays sharp compared to the Forrest is yet to be
As happy as I am with the Forrest, I would go with the Dial Freud set if I
were to replace the set today. If I were making tons of the same sized
dado's I would go again with the Forrest.
> One particular project is going to require a lot of dados. I looked
> around the 'net and local stores and some catalogues. Most of the
> google info is stale.
I have had a Freud for 10 years, it works for me.
Just bought a couple of router bits from Infinity Tool to check them out.
Haven't used them yet.
They have an 8" stacked dado.
Might be worth a look.
Think there is some Italian cutting tool expertise involved with Infinity.
Reasonable people have disagreed about that here in the past. :-) I chose the
Ridge Carbide "North Woods" dado set over the Forrest Dado King on the basis
of quality of cut, after seeing both of them demonstrated at the Woodworking
Ridge Carbide. Slightly better cut quality than the Forrest, at 60% of the
Is there such a thing?
Anything that says "Craftsman" on it.
Probably any of the major brands should be plenty durable.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
You can use any old dado stack or even multiple passes on the combo
blade if you clean up all your cuts with a router and one of those
bearing-guided dado cleanout bits. So if it were me I'd get a lousy $45
Vermont American or Crapsman stack and stick a $20 cleanout bit in my
$50 Ryobi router and get perfect dados with no jigs. But that's just
me. Most woodworkers wouldn't let their dogs use a Vermont American
It's hardly anything to go over the dado with a bearing-guided bit,
which I would almost certainly do anyway. Maybe not if I had a Forrest,
but I don't know because I've never used one. For some of us, a $200
price difference is more than a few bucks. And it seems to me that lots
of pros prefer cutting dados with both TS and router. They say it's the
easiest way to get them really perfect.
But it's true that Freud and DeWalt make OK stacks for around $100,
which really is just a few bucks more than the steel el cheapo sets.
Doing it right in the least amount of time is absolutely required when
profit is involved.
Personally, I think those "dado cleanup" router bits are a tad silly
for the following reasons:
1. On plywood, any good dado set, including the mid-line Freud, leaves
a dado bottom that's flat enough for casework.
2. On solid stock, a shoulder plane can clean a lot of ridges before
the router can get set up and plugged in.
3. The biggest reason? You can simply cut the darn thing with a
router from the get-go, if that's what's required! <G>
If it's "nonsense," then it's nonsense that Woodsmith (for example) saw
fit to print (Feb. 2004, p. 10. "All About: Getting a Flat-Bottom
Dado.") Their advice: "Combine the table saw and a hand-held router to
get clean, perfect dadoes." I find similar advice all over the place.
If you have a different preference, then OK. But it's a tried and
tested idea, not "nonsense."
Too much bluster here.
Good advice for the guy that has a cheap dado set but, if I were doing this
for a living, I would not have a cheap dado set. The time it takes to do it
twice is not worth the savings on the blade. BTW, just because it is written
doesn't make it right.
It may not be right, or, more aptly, one might have a different
preference. But if it's widely advocated by professionals, it probably
rises slightly above the level of sheer nonsense. Perhaps there is a
tendency to overstate one's case on the internet.
I totally agree that if I were doing this for a living, I'd get a
Forrest stack. In that case, $240 really is pocket change.
On the other hand, if I were visiting an in-law who had half a mind to
slap a bookcase together, and I'd somehow forgot to bring my entire
shop, I'd probably stack 3 circ saw blades on the TS and clean up the
resulting mess with a router bit, and it would look great. And the
poster did ask about el cheapo solutions that would actually work.
There's more than one way to get things done. Too often, what I hear on
RW is that the only way is to spend top dollar on a certain brand, and
any other way is simply dismissed as absurd. It's one of the reasons
I'm not a frequent poster.
Faster and easier to set up and rough out and repeat on the TS, I
think. You don't have to make a jig and set it up for each cut.
Everyone's talking about how much extra time the cleanout bit would
take. What, like 5 minutes for an entire piece's worth of dados? If
that. It's a piloted bit.
Piloted and pattern bits are great. The dado clean out bit is great if
that's all you've got.
I think where the confusion is created is when "pro" got mentioned. <G>
A pro (or a serious hobbyist as I am) would already have some sort of
reliable, reusable, quick to set up method already in place. He or she
would already have a quick and easy to use dado routing guide, a GOOD
dado set, a sharp shoulder plane, or even a CNC machine, so the cleanout
bit and extra step is simply a waste of time.
Heck, I've got over a 100 plywood boxes out there dadoed with a $79
Freud 208 where I didn't give a crap about a few ridges in the bottom of
the slot, and time has proven me right.
For a casual hobbyist, extra time is often meaningless.
What is also left out here is that a decent dado cleanout bit, ex://
Amana, is $25-30 in additional, very specialized tooling.
Nobody said it wouldn't work, or that it wouldn't work well. <G>
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