Tool thoughts #3: Pondering the next Tool Purchase

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Blog entry by NedB posted 08-25-2008 07:00 PM 1188 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Doors! Part 3 of Tool thoughts series Part 4: Lights, Camera, Bench! »

I’m taking a few minutes during my lunch hour to think about my next tool purchase.

I have a pretty good core set of tools, but there are a few items which I’ve used in the past, which were my mentor John’s tools. One of those was a dado stack, and I’m debating about whether or not to bump that up the priority list of tools to buy.
Thinking of what a stack does might help.
The primary function of course is to make a Dado. I can do that with multiple passes of my normal blade, bumping the fence over repeatedly, not my favorite method, but if I have to do it, I can. And I have done precisely that most recently to hog out the notches for perlins on my shop trusses. Turns out that I could have skipped that step, as I eventually chose a metal roof, which nescessitated nailers all the way across the roof. live and learn.

It also can be used to make a rabbet, I can and have made rabbets via the TS method, make one cut, rotate workpiece, reset blade height etc…

I also can use my router with fence to do that, or get off my duff and make a router table and so forth to do the same thing. This might actually be the preferred method for awhile, since I have a router, need to make a table, and the costs involved are less than the dado stack.

Thanks for reading, we’ll see what I wind up doing in the long run.

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

10 comments so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3824 days

#1 posted 08-25-2008 07:07 PM

Here in Europe dado blades are not allowed unless you work by yourself and take your own chances. In other words not for employees.All of our saws are fitted with a short spindle so as not to allow the fitting of Dado blades people sometimes get around it with radial arm saws etc.The authorities reckon we will damage ourself when we remove the guards.Anyway I make single tooth cuts normally with my radial arm saw and it is slightly laborious but workable.Kindest regards and good luck with your decision.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Dusty56's profile


11830 posts in 3927 days

#2 posted 08-25-2008 07:20 PM

welll , I invested in a top of the line dado set 4 years ago , and it hasn’t even seen the arbor on my saw yet : ( Heck , I can’t even remember what the brand name is right now …..on the other hand , I built and use my router table for just about every project that I have made to date : ) Also with a good straight edge , I have made numerous dadoes with my router and rabbets all the time . Personally , my next big purchase will be an 8” jointer with a spiral head !!! Have fun and be safe !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3804 days

#3 posted 08-25-2008 07:36 PM

Alistair, Strictly a hobby shop over here across the pond. Just me and the tools, unless one of my sons decides to hang out in the shop with me.

Dusty, That’s fuel for saving my money, thanks for the reinforcement. My next ‘big’ purchase is going to be wiring and a sub-panel. After that, a 6” jointer will be on my short list, I have a planer, but need a jointer in the long run.

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View bbqking's profile


328 posts in 3962 days

#4 posted 08-25-2008 10:33 PM

I bought a expensive dado set 2 years ago. It is still exactly where I placed it after purchase. Never been used. Same exact reason as Dusty56. My next big purchase is a bandsaw upgrade. Still shopping.

-- bbqKing, Lawrenceville

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3800 days

#5 posted 08-26-2008 05:08 AM

I hardly ever use my dado set. I built a jig for my router that basically clamps over the board to be dadoed with the guide on the jig aligned appropriately. The guide is designed so that the width of the dado can be precisely adjusted without changing the bit diameter. It also works great for making precisely aligned dadoes in 2 boards, as you can clamp both boards in the jig and and cut both in one pass. I got the plans out of a book many years ago, and I have seen similar jigs on the net. If you are interested, let me know and I will take a picture of mine and post it.

Another advantage is that it easier to move a “small” router across a board, than to move a “large” board across a tool.

-- Joe

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3804 days

#6 posted 08-26-2008 05:24 AM

Joe, I have a pretty good jig in mind, from Bill Hylton’s ‘Woodworking with the router’ book, as you say, the router is a lot easier to move and control vs the large workpiece.

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3800 days

#7 posted 08-26-2008 05:42 AM

Good deal. The key feature on mine is that the width of “track” that the router goes down and back on is adjustable. For example if you want to cut a 3/4” dado, and you are going to use a 1/2” bit and the base of the router is 6” in diameter, you would adjust the track so that it is 6 1/4” wide.

-- Joe

View CelticDreamer's profile


35 posts in 3893 days

#8 posted 08-26-2008 01:07 PM

I just blew my tool budget all to hell by purchasing a Powermatic 8” jointer. I was considering getting a high end stack dado as my next purchase, but after reading Dusty56 and bbqking, I have to wonder if that’s the way to go. I have to ask what was you reasoning for buying the blade? Also, if it’s going to just sit there are you going to sell it cheaply? <g>

-- last night I played a blank tape at full volume - the mime next door went nuts!

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4124 days

#9 posted 08-26-2008 04:32 PM

From my experiences with a stacked dado set I’m staying with my router and router table.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3992 days

#10 posted 08-26-2008 07:10 PM

If you do a lot of case work with dadoes/rabbits, or half lap work then a dado set is great asset but if you don’t then it will probably gather dust.

My Miter bench and associated cabinets are all built using a stacked dado set the nice thing is you can use shims to get the exact width of your plygoods and only run the boards through once. If you do half laps be prepared for the sawdust!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

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