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Harbor Freight Dado set

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Review by MrRon posted 125 days ago 2403 views 0 times favorited 40 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Harbor Freight Dado set No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’m certain the purists will condemn me for using the name “Harbor Freight” in connection with woodworking tools, but like it or not, here it is. I don’t use a dado blade very often, so I couldn’t justify $200+ sets like those from Forrest. But when I do need one, I went with the cheapest set I could find. The HF set is 8” and cuts dados up to 7/8”. The teeth are C2 carbide and number 22 teeth. I was impressed by the size of the carbide. They look like they could be resharpened many times. Setup was the same as with any other dado set. The blades and chippers fit very snugly on my saw arbor. In use, it cut flat bottom grooves with a little bit of tearout. I think with a good sharpening, tearout would be as good as the pricey sets. The set comes with several brass shims, but I would recommend getting magnetic shims, as the shims supplied, like with other sets, tend to get caught in the arbor threads. The current price is $34.99, but with a 25% off coupon, the final cost can’t be beat.




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MrRon

2403 posts in 1746 days



40 comments so far

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TheOldTimer

218 posts in 1589 days


#1 posted 125 days ago

MrRon how many chippers does the set contain and how many teeth do the chippers have? Does it come with a 3/32 chipper for undersized plywood? I am not a purest and have bought a lot of tools from HF including there HVLP spray guns.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

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Dwain

323 posts in 2362 days


#2 posted 125 days ago

I believe there are a lot of ljocks out there that are willing to give Harbor Frieght a try, and are interested in your review. That having been said, I purchased my Freud dado set a few years ago for $74.99 and have been very happy with it. Your post implies that there are only two choices, the cheapest possible and a $200.00 set. That simply isn’t the case.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

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KurtaKalbach

25 posts in 321 days


#3 posted 125 days ago

Dont lump all woodworkers together. I have several tools from HF and they seem to do well. I believe that if you tune the tools properly they can provide the desired results. Having said that, I have been upgrading and I do believe that some tools are worth the higher price.

-- Kurt K.

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dawsonbob

256 posts in 258 days


#4 posted 125 days ago

Harbor Freight tools may not have the fit and finish of name brand tools but, with a little tweaking, they’re generally serviceable. I live on a laughably small pension, and without Harbor Freight I wouldn’t be able to do many things. Just glued up my first project using 12 Harbor Freight clamps. Just one or two of the name brand clamps would have cost as much — or more — than all my Harbor Freight clamps combined. Same function as the name brand, for a lot less money. Thanks, Harbor Freight.

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a1Jim

109409 posts in 2080 days


#5 posted 125 days ago

Thanks for the review.

I got a email notice today about a dado set on sale for $49.95,I have no clue if the sets any good or not.

http://woodworker.com/8-avantipro-stacked-dado-mssu-166-040.asp?utm_source=promo&utm_medium=email&utm_content=166040&utm_campaign=IRW1312D

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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lab7654

232 posts in 750 days


#6 posted 125 days ago

If I don’t end up with a Freud set after Christmas, I might be temped enough to pick this up. When I first saw HF in the title, I imagined a HSS or wobble stack, but the carbide w/ chippers was a nice surprise. As long as chunks of metal aren’t flying off, it sounds like solid tool.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

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TheOldTimer

218 posts in 1589 days


#7 posted 125 days ago

Jim:

I looked at that set and the one from HF and the draw back is not having a chipper for undersized plywood. I hate putting on all the shims, just something else to do to get the job done. I guess I am getting lazy in my old age.

-- TheOldTimer,Chandler Arizona

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Mark Davisson

450 posts in 1820 days


#8 posted 125 days ago

I own this same set, and it has served me well. I get no chipout, but I routinely run the stock backwards (toward me) at 1 to 2mm depth of cut before raising the blade(s) to the desired height for the forward cut. I honestly don’t know if this set would produce any chipout if that wasn’t my routine.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

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gfadvm

9567 posts in 1193 days


#9 posted 125 days ago

I started out with that set and couldn’t live with the “bat ears” at the edges of the cuts. I used mine primarily for box joints and agree that they will cut acceptable dados (but not the best for box joints).

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

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paxorion

318 posts in 548 days


#10 posted 125 days ago

I saw this review and immediately thought of the Avanti Pro (reviewed by Brian on LJ). If not for the different tooth count (22 vs 24), I would have sworn they were the same product. That being said, with the 25% off coupon it’s certainly seems like it would be the lowest price dado stack available.

-- paxorion

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knothead

146 posts in 2451 days


#11 posted 124 days ago

I have the Freud 8 inch dado set and I have to admit that the “Bat Ears” that gfadvm mentioned drive me NUTS!As do the shims. I too am generally willing to give harbor Freight a look when I am looking for tools that I won’t use “often” (that is a subjective term) but generally I have learned the hard way that if a tool can hurt or maim me then quality is key no matter the price. HF or Top of the line.

-- So Much Wood - So Little Time! --

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dbhost

5281 posts in 1735 days


#12 posted 124 days ago

I have a LARGE selection of Harbor Freight tools in my shop. Nothing wrong per se, just inspect the snot out of that blade set before use. Their quality control is somewhat lacking, just double check all the brazing and get it sharpened and you should be good to go for years to come…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2403 posts in 1746 days


#13 posted 124 days ago

Oldtimer; The set has (5) 1/8” and (1) 1/16” chippers. Knothead; For my use, “bat ears” were not a problem. If I were building a fine piece of furniture, I would certainly use a better set.

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CFrye

1607 posts in 343 days


#14 posted 124 days ago

Thanks for the review Mr. Ron. Recently started looking at dado heads and wondered about the HF model. Now if I could only remember what I wanted it for…

-- God bless, Candy

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Jofa

215 posts in 341 days


#15 posted 124 days ago

I generally like HF stuff and I’ve had good luck with most of their tools. I agree that some of them require adjustment in order to work properly. Example is their power planer. Out of the box the blades weren’t set up correctly. A bit of tweaking and it works fine. (I just need to get my skills better).

I just grabbed a Diablo dado set from HD. My understanding is that this is the same as the Freud SBOX8 set. I like it very much and I’m not experiencing bat ears.

Wifey ordered the Incra I-Box for me for Christmas so it should be a good setup.

MrRon, let us know how she performs down the road. Like I said, I like the HF stuff and I’ve had some of it for years.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

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