|Review by richgreer||posted 01-07-2010 03:40 PM||4573 views||0 times favorited||8 comments|
This dado set is the 6 inch version of Freud’s dial-a-width model. There are several things I like about it but, as is often the case, there are trade-offs.
The dial-a-width concept means that you do not need any shims. The outer cutter has a mechanism that, effectively, causes the width of that cutter to expand up to 7/64 of an inch in increments of 1/256 of an inch. Using the dial-a-width mechanism in lieu of shims is very convenient. Me and those shims never got along very well.
This is a top-of-the-line, high quality dado set. It produces smooth, flat bottoms and I have yet to see any tear-out. You can set the width of the cut from 7/32 to 3/4 of an inch to the nearest 1/256 of an inch. If you read the specifications it will say that it will go up to 29/32. In theory, it will, but not on my saw. When you go beyond 3/4 of an inch, you do not have (in my opinion) enough thread left on the arbor to safely secure the dado in place. That’s one of those trade-offs.
In the picture you will see the light gray apparatus that is the dial-a-width mechanism. You will see a recess that the arbor nut sets into. However, in that recess, this cutter is still 3/8 of an inch thick when the dial-a-width is at its narrowest setting. The dial-a- width mechanism is taking an additional 1/4 inch of arbor length. With my saw (and I think with most saws) that limits the width of the dado cut you can safely mount on your arbor to about 3/4 of an inch.
That recess creates another problem. You can’t use a regular wrench to loosen and tighten the arbor nut because the nut is down in the recess. Freud provides a special wrench with the dado set (see picture). When I received this dado set, that wrench had a little lip on the inside of all 6 sides and I could not put it on the arbor nut. I spent over an hour with a dremel and a small grinding wheel making this wrench usable.
The dial-a-width mechanism has a diameter of 3.5”. That limits the depth of a dado cut cut to no more than 1.25”. In my case that is acceptable because I never need to make a dado cut deeper than that. However, for some people, that may be a concern. 6 inch dados already have less depth of cut than 8 inch dados and this model has even less than other 6 inch dados.
I really like the convenience of the dial-a-width mechanism and I really like the quality of the cutting. However, the dial-a-width concept limits the available width and the available depth of cut. That is a trade off I am willing to make. Others will have to decide for themselves.
-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.