help on installing a stacked dado on a radial arm saw

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Forum topic by thedudeabides posted 01-19-2010 06:46 PM 10599 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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75 posts in 3138 days

01-19-2010 06:46 PM

I’ve got a 12” craftsman radial arm saw and a 8” stacked dado set that I need to put on. I’ve done limited dado cuts on a table saw but am a bit apprehensive about putting it on the big guy for the first time. I need to make several cross rail upright halved joints with 4×4s.

Any advice or potential things to watch out for when installing and using this blade on a radial arm?

cross rail upright halved joint

6 replies so far

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 3670 days

#1 posted 01-19-2010 07:00 PM

A great question! I’d like to turn my radial arm saw into a dedicated dado-making machine, but had the same concerns.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View thedudeabides's profile


75 posts in 3138 days

#2 posted 01-19-2010 07:03 PM

I know it can be done because the guy I bought the radial arm saw from included several dado blades that he used for years on the saw.

These beefy stacked dado sets can be intimidating though and the 12” RAS is so powerful I’m hoping for a little guidance from the pros in here on how to set this up properly so I don’t dado cut my arm off.

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

376 posts in 3080 days

#3 posted 01-19-2010 07:26 PM

I use a dado on my Dewalt RAS all the time. The first time I used it, the wood caught and was thrown behind the saw. I quickly gained some respect for the saw and decided to re-think how I was using it to make sure it was safe.

Here are the rules I use:

1) Make sure to use a full height fence to support the wood being cut. This prevents the wood from rolling backwards and tilting into the blade. I have a router table directly to the left of my RAS. I can adjust the router fence to be in line with the RAS fence, giving me a really wide support area.

2) Always hold the saw tightly. Radial arm saws are climb cutting, and the saw wants to come towards you as it is cutting. This is especially true when cutting dados. There might be dado blades designed for a RAS with a negative rake. This would be a good purchase if you plan to do a lot of dados on a RAS.

3) Keep your other hand far out of the way of the blade since the saw wants to come towards you.

4) Line up the cut with the saw off and the wood held against the fence. Back the saw away from the wood. Turn on the saw with my left hand. Left hand goes back to support the wood. Right hand brings the saw forward. Take it slow. Dados remove a lot of wood and the chips will be flying everywhere.

-- Steve

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3525 days

#4 posted 01-20-2010 02:00 AM

Steve seems to have covered it all. I will add that I too have used my RAS for cutting dadoes. I only did it once, recently, but had no problems. I was making 45 degree dadoes for slats. I had to make 12 dadoes in four posts. Here’s a photo of the set up:

I hope this helps.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View panther's profile


59 posts in 3241 days

#5 posted 01-20-2010 04:50 AM

my ras has a cable safety that make sure the saw does not fly forward, make sure yours is in working order or make sure your other hand is clear from the saws path

-- you must live for something or die for nothing (rambo)

View thedudeabides's profile


75 posts in 3138 days

#6 posted 01-20-2010 05:09 AM

that’s solid advice, thanks guys. With it I managed to make the dadoes today. They came out amazing, the sauna benches are almost done now.

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