A Beginner's Progress #4: Fun with a Dado Blade

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Blog entry by jstewart posted 09-22-2007 11:06 PM 1142 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: A Few Firsts for Me Part 4 of A Beginner's Progress series Part 5: Starting the Final Assembly »

Today I made more progress in learning woodworking. I ran to Woodcraft and picked up a zero-clearance insert for my table saw. I installed a Freud SD208 dado blade, 3/4” wide. I installed the insert, adjusting the fit using all of the set screws on the top, front and side. Once the insert fit snuggly, I clamped a 2”x4” across the top, from side to side. (I tried clamping it from front to back but the saw motor and fence rails made it harder to do it that way.) I turned on saw. Everything sounded great, like a really powerful fan. I SLOWLY raised the blade. I probably did this slower than I needed to, but I wanted to be safe since I’ve never done this before. Other than the horrible smell of burning phenolic and melamine, everything went well. (I need to buy a nice respirator.)

I grabbed an old chunk of wood and gave the new setup a test. After my initial test, I have to give this blade a very favorable review. I was told to expect dado cuts that require a little bit of cleanup. I have to say that the cuts I made had sharper edges and bottoms than I ever expected. They were as smooth as the “factory” edges on the board.

Overall, I’m making very slow progress in my woodworking hobby. It’s taken me quite a while to get to this point. My work, wife, house, and most of all, new baby have taken up most of my time (as I’m sure most woodworking hobbyists can attest to). This blog entry may seem a little lame to many of you. For me, it’s a big step.

My first dado and rabbet on my table saw

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

5 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3929 days

#1 posted 09-23-2007 12:22 AM

You are on the road. Keep traveling and you will succeed.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4054 days

#2 posted 09-23-2007 12:47 AM

Well, if you don’t have a router that needs to be your next purchase.

Then you can make your own inserts our of scraps or other dedicated small pieces and make them 3/8” or 1/2” or, if you buy the shims to go with your dado blades any combination of zero clearance inserts you want.

In the last couple of weeks there were a couple of posts about injuries using dado blades you might want to check out.

Also look at featherboards to help. You can buy ‘em but you can make the inexpensively.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View shaun's profile


360 posts in 3872 days

#3 posted 09-23-2007 01:32 AM

There’s nothing lame about it Josh. Every one of us loaded up a dado for the first time at some point in our lives. I wish I had a nickel for every time I step back and think “I hope I’m doing this right”. You can hear the word “Oops” comming out of my shop (along with some other words) more often than I’d lke to admit to.

Nice clean dado’s by the way.

-- I've cut that board three times and it's still too short!

View joey's profile


396 posts in 3870 days

#4 posted 09-23-2007 01:42 AM

I remember the first time I tackled the big, bad, old dado blade and the butterflies it gave me. I still give mine a lot of respect and never get in no hurry with it, it’s not good for your your work or your health. all that blade surface can cause a kick back in a split second.

I also use feather boards when ever I can, and I use a sled I made for cutting dados in plywood, I found it easier than my fence for some cuts, and I don’t have to worry about the wood binding and kicking back at me.

good luck and keep up the good work…. Joey

-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4023 posts in 4030 days

#5 posted 09-23-2007 06:11 PM

Go get ‘em, Tiger!

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

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