All Replies on Accidents with Dado cutters???

  • Advertise with us
View ondablade's profile

Accidents with Dado cutters???

by ondablade
posted 12-19-2009 03:49 AM

33 replies so far

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3370 days

#1 posted 12-19-2009 04:12 AM

i have never heard of any specific accidents to dado blades ,
but in use i know that when you turn on the saw ,
the sound alone wakes you up instantly ,
making you more aware of what is going on .
they tend to require more control , as the blades are in
the wood , not through the wood .
they push it back to you more ,
as apposed to cutting down into it .
much more friction to the cut .
personally those profile cutters scare me much more ,
than a good set of dado cutters .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3113 days

#2 posted 12-19-2009 04:13 AM

In my 35 years I have never heard of a stack dado set up being any more dangerous than juat the single blade itself. I would agree that there are some tablesaws not of a good enough quality or power to use one. Here a few table saws don’t have a long enough arbor just for that purpose.

Woodworking is inherently dangerous and requires a stout heart and alert mind at all times.

I’d be curious to see statistics that say the stack dado is a dangerous accessorie.

Sez~ Bob with big scar on left thumb.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1897 posts in 3701 days

#3 posted 12-19-2009 04:37 AM

I use my 6” Forrest Dado King frequently, nothing but stellar results!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3320 days

#4 posted 12-19-2009 04:42 AM

I think I read it right here on LJ: the problem with dado stacks is not “safety”, it’s that the additional mass is incompatible with the blade brakes required on European saws.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3554 days

#5 posted 12-19-2009 05:18 AM

JJohnston has it right. It’s all because of the blade brake. Dado blades aren’t used for through cuts so I always feel that as long as your hands are either on push blocks or far away from the blade, you’re fine. I have yet to have a kickback from using a dado blade, but have had a few using regular blades.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View RetiredCoastie's profile


999 posts in 3212 days

#6 posted 12-19-2009 06:01 AM

I’ve never heard of anyone being injured by a dado blade, I’m sure it has happened. I would hate to see them outlawed, they have their place and are safe as long as you observe basic safety precautions. Don’t blame the tool, blame the user!

-- Proud Supporter of Homes For Our Troops

View JAGWAH's profile


929 posts in 3113 days

#7 posted 12-19-2009 07:28 AM

I agree. If dado blades are outlawed then only outlaws will have dado blades.

-- ~Just A Guy With A Hammer~

View LesB's profile


1750 posts in 3472 days

#8 posted 12-19-2009 09:31 AM

That brings up another question. Does the Saw Stop saw handle stacked dado blaces with it’s electronic blade stop?

-- Les B, Oregon

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 3597 days

#9 posted 12-19-2009 10:05 AM

Saw Stop does handle dado blades, but you have to install a special cartridge when you install a dado blade.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View rustedknuckles's profile


160 posts in 3780 days

#10 posted 12-19-2009 10:44 AM

You’ll have to pry my Dado stack from my cold dead fingers.

-- Dave- New Brunswick

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3404 days

#11 posted 12-19-2009 02:52 PM

I’ve used several dado stacks on my saws many, many times over the yeas with no issues whatsoever. The blade sits very low, and there’s always a lot of wood between my hands and the blade, not to mention push blocks. No more dangerous than a router IMHO.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Robert Herring's profile

Robert Herring

38 posts in 3408 days

#12 posted 12-19-2009 04:07 PM

I lost parts of 3 fingers last year using a dado stack. It was user error and not the blades. Somehow the piece rose up and as I went to push it back down, the wood shot out and my hand replaced it. Lesson learned. I still use dado stacks but my attention is never swayed. I have told everyone I know to never interupt me while I’m using any power tool. They just have to wait until the tool is off. Again, it was user error, not the tool.

-- Robert M. Herring

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3922 days

#13 posted 12-19-2009 04:22 PM

I once saw a fella using dadoes and he forgot to but the nut and bushing against the dados, on the arbor.

The TS suddenly made screaming sounds as the blades dug their way through the piece being milled….......everybody hit the floor. I also witnessed a guy cut a few hundred yards os dadoes before he realized the blades were on backwards.

I assume both parties are still looking for their left socks.

Safety First.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3763 days

#14 posted 12-19-2009 04:29 PM

I recall one incident at a workplace long ago…that there was a kickback while someone did a 3/8” by 1” dado in hardwood; looking at the blade set, all the chippers were lined up straight across. Whether this person failed to stagger them, or the set simply wasn’t fastened tight enough, nobody knows. With the 2 ancient Unisaws this shop owned, most users in that shop were in the habit of tightening the arbor-nut finger tight, expecting the momentum of start-up to finish the tightening job. With single blades, sure enough you’d need a wrench to loosen them afterwards, but maybe it was not a good idea to tighten that way on a stack set.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 3529 days

#15 posted 12-19-2009 04:40 PM

By nature a dado set minimize the amount of cuts one must do to perform the job needed. It therefore also reduces the odds of accidents. One must keep in mind that if all safety features are used plus zero clearance throat plate and sacrificial fences for rip or cross cuts (do I even have to add arbour washer and nuts?) a dado set is just as safe as a regular blade. Personally I am more afraid of my router table than a dado set.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3227 days

#16 posted 12-19-2009 07:28 PM

Thank you very much for the feedback guys. As ever it sounds like it’s about balance – do it right using decent kit and you will be fine. But as ever you can get into trouble if you don’t know/aren’t careful about what you are doing.

Make sure your saw can handle one
Do it up tight
Don’t line up the chippers
Do use a properly fitting throat plate
Don’t push the workpiece so your fingers get anywhere near to passing over the blade
Take the normal precautions around alignment and types of cut as you would a saw blade

It seems clear that stacked dado cutters are not particularly risky – is suspect that if they were causing a very high rate of accidents that it would have come to notice in the US anyway.

It’s as ever about balance i think. Rules and laws are useful to cover extreme situations (nobody wants obviously unsafe equipment on the market), but get carried away (as bureaucracies often do) and you end up causing problems for everybody in the name of preventing a tiny minority of accidents that are probably going to happen anyway.

Put this way – a skilled and careful user is fine with most things unless they have real problems, while the unskilled and unwary will get into trouble no matter what you do.

I’m a bit of sceptic on these things – rules and laws seem to come about often not because of real need, but because out of some odd alignment of circumstances and issue gets profile and somebody figures they can use it to get ahead of the other guy.

I’ve heard the ‘braking’ and ‘coming apart’ stories too JJ, and think they may have some truth in respect of some older designs. But on the other hand Euro saws use two pins through holes each side of the spindle to prevent problems with braking on saw blades, it should be possible to sort dado cutters too.

I got a finger lightly nicked on a saw about two years ago reaching forward to clear offcuts – it was probably the best safety lesson i’ve ever had…


-- Late awakener....

View gerrym526's profile


274 posts in 3837 days

#17 posted 12-19-2009 08:22 PM

Wanted to add my 2 cents to the discussion.
1) All the LJ’s here who commented on using stacked dados safely are absolutely correct. With well made sets, mine is a 15yr old Systematic that has been used with no problems.
2) It’s the “wobble dado blades” that are unsafe, and dangerous to use based on the design.
3) If you want the absolute in safe usage of stacked dados, you can use featherboards, and/or shopmade “L” shaped wooden guards attached to the rip fence to completely bury the business end of the cutters. These safety fixtures, together with a dedicated throat plate sized to various dado widths and push stick will allow you to keep all your digits.

-- Gerry

View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3227 days

#18 posted 12-20-2009 02:57 AM

Thanks Gerry. That’s some to add to the ‘safe usage’ list.


-- Late awakener....

View BrendanC's profile


13 posts in 3062 days

#19 posted 03-01-2010 06:00 PM

Just wanted to post Fyi. I have had an accident on the table saw and it was w/ dados. My error by manually pushing through a piece of wood and allowing it to ride back to clean up the cut (I thought this would save time as opposed to repassing). the wood catches and shoots back out of control, the blades wack the tips of three finger. hurt like hell but band-aids were all that was needed. Short cuts are the surest way to loose a finger. Its embarrassing admitting doing something so stupid

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3224 days

#20 posted 03-01-2010 08:06 PM

My first dado cutter was a “wobbler” many years ago and it scared the crap out of me every time i used it. Finally bought a stacked set about 20 years ago and this is a much better idea.

Good Luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View hawke777's profile


12 posts in 3037 days

#21 posted 03-01-2010 09:15 PM

”It seems clear that stacked dado cutters are not particularly risky – is suspect that if they were causing a very high rate of accidents that it would have come to notice in the US anyway.”

Yes, we’re pretty good at making new laws when somebody gets hurt!

-- "This is the buffer... you don't want to be puttin' your face in it!" - My 9th grade shop teacher

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3097 days

#22 posted 03-01-2010 10:17 PM

I’ve used stacked and wobble dado cutters for 30+ years with no problems – except once.

I was setting up my stacked cutter using metal shims to get the correct width. When I started my saw, it acted like it was about to launch itself to parts unknown!! The problem was that one of the metal shims had slipped into an arbor thread causing part of the stack to “tip” slightly making the whole thing badly unbalanced.

I got some magnetic shims (sorta like round refrigerator magnets), and haven’t had a problem since.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Blair Helgason's profile

Blair Helgason

169 posts in 3443 days

#23 posted 03-01-2010 10:45 PM

About a year ago I was given a used dado stack, it’s older but looks in decent shape. I’ve been using a table saw for quite a few years and am very comfortable on one but for some reason I’m terrified to try these out even though they would’ve saved me a lot of time on quite a few projects. They just look so intimidating. Maybe one day I’ll give it a try.

-- Blair

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3370 days

#24 posted 03-01-2010 11:02 PM

blair ,
stack them up and tighten ,

and just do 1/8” depth ,

work your way up .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3203 days

#25 posted 03-01-2010 11:17 PM

There’s probably some element of “risk-compensation” behavior at play here, too.

Here’s what I mean.

I bought the 8” Forrest Dado King stack. Sitting still … in its package … it’s fearsome.

Mounted on the arbor of MY was, and with ITS ZCI in place …. it’s just about on the ragged edge of scary.

When I watch what it does to wood, it verges on terrifying—particularly since it doesn’t take too kindly to my riving knife or guards.

It’s just me and the Great White Shark of woodworking … face to face.

I think we’re all appropriately and properly respectful of the capacity our power tools have to inflict carnage. My uneducated guess is … with dado stacks … we may be just the tiniest bit more reverent and cautious.

-- -- Neil

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3097 days

#26 posted 03-02-2010 12:34 AM

Neil -
I had the same feelings when I first ran a moulding cutter in my TS, and during my early use of a RAS.

The trick is to go slowly, don’t push it, and get familiar with how to stand, hold the workpiece, and move the workpiece so you’re never out of control.

Last year, I helped my daughter and SIL build a small project. She has a little experience, but he had none, so we spent the first shop hour with blades lowered and switches off while he learned how to handle himself and a board around a saw. His first cut took “for-freaking-ever”, but he was never out of position. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Ole's profile


67 posts in 3105 days

#27 posted 03-02-2010 12:51 AM

Please excuse my ignorance. What are your options for cutting a dado on a european saw then? I’m from Germany, but I didn’t get into woodworking until I moved to the US. How embarrassing…

View jerryz's profile


164 posts in 3307 days

#28 posted 03-02-2010 01:26 AM

Soon somebody is going to outlaw all the hammers in the planet.

Those pesky things!! Who hasn’t had his thumb (left or right) squarely hit by one of those, it is time action is taken against them.
No more hammers, if you are found with a pre-ban-Hammers you will be severely fined not to mention total confiscation of those dangerous weapons…..

Hehehe…just kidding

Can anyone outlaw stupidity????

View patron's profile


13609 posts in 3370 days

#29 posted 03-02-2010 01:46 AM

jerry ,
there seems to be an abundance of
stupid people in congress .

if they get a hold of your suggestion ,
i’m sure they will argue about it for years ,

after they agree how many more benefits
they DESERVE for themselves !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3136 days

#30 posted 03-02-2010 02:09 AM

Congress has been legislating stupidity for 200+ years. What else can you expect? In the infanant wisdom of Forrest Gump…......... I rest my case, your honor.

View JasonIndy's profile


187 posts in 3464 days

#31 posted 03-02-2010 03:36 AM

The most intimidating thing for me when using dadoes is when you turn the saw on it feels like a fan blowing in your face. It hogs an awful lot of wood but I’ve never heard of kickback being an issue, outside of the type of situation BrandonC spoke of.

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3209 days

#32 posted 03-04-2010 01:51 AM

Kinda funny because I almost feel more comfortable cutting a dado than I do ripping something. I got my first 6” set and used it on a Ridgid contractor saw (could barely fit all the wings on the arbor). It was quieter than a single blade and had a nice solid sound and feel (although it did throw off a breeze!). Now I have an 8” set on a cabinet saw. You know the wood will not pinch behind the blade. I can usually use jointer style push blocks with lots of grip. And the blade is usually a max of 3/8” above the table or jig. I love my dado set.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3493 days

#33 posted 03-04-2010 06:16 AM

I use an 8in Frued set and love it. Use it on a cabinet saw and a contractor saw with equal results, clean and flat dados. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics