Accidents with Dado cutters???

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by ondablade posted 12-19-2009 03:49 AM 11598 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ondablade's profile


105 posts in 3162 days

12-19-2009 03:49 AM

As you guys probably know stacked dado cutters are while not illegal frowned upon as being unsafe in Europe. While you can in one or two places buy a dado cutter for private use, it seems that it’s not legal to sell a saw with a long enough spindle to take a dado. It is on the other hand possible to buy a saw set up for and to use carbide insert type grooving cutter. One maker even offers an aftermarket spindle extension for this purpose.

We get lots of pronouncements on this topic on UK forums since Norm hit the airwaves over here, but little hard fact.

What is the experience in the US with widespread use of stacked dado cutters? Do the modern examples tend to lead to accidents? Were the older ones risky in some way? What sort of accidents typically arise?


-- Late awakener....

33 replies so far

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3304 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 3047 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

1892 posts in 3635 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 3255 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 3489 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 3146 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 3047 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


1677 posts in 3406 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 3532 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 3715 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


7980 posts in 3339 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 3343 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 3857 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


4349 posts in 3698 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 3464 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.

showing 1 through 15 of 33 replies

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