Death of a Dado Set

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Blog entry by PASs posted 05-05-2012 12:03 AM 7895 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, at least it wasn’t me that bought it this time.
I made a gavel and striker on commission from some of the Indian Dontknow I use for a lot of my projects (post on that to follow).
I had emailed the customer to let them know they could pick it up.
I told the wife they would come over the weekend and she said “You should make a case for it.”
I told her that would be more cost, and I haven’t done a case before so it would take about, oh, a year for me to get it figured out.
But then it occurred to me I had some scraps left over that were big enough to make a simple desktop card holder.
So I trooped out to the garage and figured I could knock a card holder out in about 30 minutes (single piece takes longer due to setup for each process….being realistic.
I got the wood and it was big enough to make two card holders!
So I cut it into two 3 1/2 inch long pieces on the Ridgid 10” RAS.
So now I need to cut the groove for the business cards to set in.
Simple…put the dado set on the RAS and chop away.

Ok, I’m now in the I can get this done fast and easy mode…..DANGER, WILL ROBINSON, WARNING!!!!
I decide I’ll just feed the 3/4 inch dado through the wood in one slow pass…
Yeah right…I’m going to feed a 3/4 inch dado through a block of wood that is harder than oak and cut a groove 1 1/2 inches deep…in one slow pass.

You know where this is going….
I set a stop block to keep the wood from creeping to the right or left, put a push stick in front of it to keep it from walking away from the fence, and SLOWLY started to pull the RAS through.
Don’t get me wrong…I didn’t kill the dado on the first try….oh no…I stalled the blade about 3 times before the dado decided it was tired of the abuse…
Instead of slowing down to a stop it decided to grab the wood (did I mention this is a ripping operation, not a crosscut operation) and try to crawl up and over the block.

I’m not completely stupid (well, except for the Thanksgiving day massacre that was 8 stitches).
My hands were well out of the way (thank you push stick.)
But when the blades started to grab the first inside blade just stopped in its tracks….
Problem is the other blades kept spinning….at least until they hit the first stalled blade…
Then, like spinning dominoes they each stalled, into each other.
But when spinning things go from 3450 RPM to zero in a millisecond bad things happen.
The carbide teeth smacked into each other at, well, some ungodly speed (hmmm 3450 rpm times the square of the radius of the blade)
Needless to say, when I turned the saw off and stopped to see what happened I noticed pieces of carbide scattered all over the RAS table, and all the Dado blades in a nice little family group, kinda like a hillbilly family, what with all the missing teeth and everything.

So, I put the RAS blade back on and made the groove one small cut at a time.

Lesson learned…rushing things can cost money if you’re lucky…and maybe something worse if you’re not lucky.

So now I get to see if the local shop can braze new teeth on my dado set….

And here’s a photo of the gavel set.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

13 comments so far

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2713 days

#1 posted 05-05-2012 01:39 AM

Dang, you were lucky this time! I looked at the gavel set and it is very nice but I want to see pics of the dado set! Loved the hillb illy analogy.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3213 days

#2 posted 05-05-2012 05:54 AM

I was kinda hoping to see the blade…..:(

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View nonickswood's profile


554 posts in 2410 days

#3 posted 05-05-2012 10:52 AM

Great Looking Gavel set!!
Good thing you had your glasses on, those carbide tips will go right threw skin, eyes, clothing,
what ever happens to be in it’s path. Sounds like you had a thousand little bullets flying around!

Darn Hillbillies shooting at Ya! Pete.

-- Nick, Virginia,

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2826 days

#4 posted 05-05-2012 12:28 PM

Holy Moly!! Gr8 lookin gavel set. Glad you weren’t wounded.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3073 days

#5 posted 05-05-2012 01:40 PM


Go to a cheap toy store, buy a rubber chiclen, and while smacking yourself on your follicularly challanged head two hundred times say, “Even dumb hillbillies know better, even dumb hillbilleis know better…......” Finish up by saying, “Thank you Lord for taking time from watching over dumb hillbillies to cover MY six!” Amen

Steve (Just another dumb hillbilly who needs occasional watching over)

-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2508 days

#6 posted 05-05-2012 04:30 PM

You nearly nominated yourself for a Darwin Award. Glad to know you’re ok.

-- Brian Timmons -

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2911 days

#7 posted 05-05-2012 08:13 PM



-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View NormG's profile


6137 posts in 3026 days

#8 posted 05-06-2012 12:54 AM

Could have been a very big ouch. I think I will stick to the smaller cuts to get there

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2510 days

#9 posted 05-06-2012 01:41 AM

Awe, tain’t nothin’ a bit of super glue and duct tape won’t fix!

glad your OK, watch for FOD!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3213 days

#10 posted 05-06-2012 03:10 PM


I hope you added the pictures after my first comment…I can’t be that blind can I????

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3671 days

#11 posted 05-06-2012 03:14 PM

wow. glad you came out OK. RAS with this wide of a dado set, and workpiece this small and trying to ‘do it in just a few minutes” doesn’t add up to much safety… good call on at least the push block…

FYI, I would probably try a different method when working with such a small part.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PASs's profile


595 posts in 3121 days

#12 posted 05-06-2012 03:25 PM

Bob, I did add the pics after…
I actually went out and recreated the event…but all for you guys!!!

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2713 days

#13 posted 05-07-2012 12:19 AM

Pete, Thanks for the pics and the object lesson. Those pics are very scary. Glad you survived this wreck and I KNOW you learned something in the process. Someone here once said: “if you wonder if it’s safe to do, IT ISN”T!” I think about this statement all the time and it’s probably saved me more than once. Be careful.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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