Recommendations for Table Saw w/ Dado blades

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Forum topic by B Woodruff posted 02-11-2016 02:53 AM 6344 views 0 times favorited 73 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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B Woodruff

65 posts in 1602 days

02-11-2016 02:53 AM

Hi, I’m a beginner to woodworking (other than a Dremel, cordless drill, and circular saw). I am interested in buying either a table saw or CSMS and have been leaning towards the compact (cheaper) table saws like the Dewalt 745. I have about a quarter of a garage for my workspace (due to wife’s car and kids bikes).

In researching table saws, I found where some of the Dewalt models will not accommodate (or they do not “recommend”) the dado blade. Is there any recommendations out there for compact TS that will accommodate the dado blade…I haven’t found an easy way to search and maybe I’m just missing something obvious. The ones I find on Home Depot or Lowe’s websites do not mention dado’s (other than in the random FAQs).

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Its a bummer about the Dewalt 745 because there was some great feedback left on it, especially how the factory fence was pretty straight (which I know is hard to come by). I am very limited in my skills so I need to start slow into woodworking.

I do realize that the miter saw might be better for me to start with but I tend to have to cut down bigger sheets of 3/4in plywood (usually with a circular saw which I’m not great at yet).

Thanks in advance.

73 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile


9608 posts in 1511 days

#1 posted 02-11-2016 03:01 AM

I use sleds on a table saw instead of miter saw. I’d buy an older contractors table saw and take it off the stand before a jobsite saw. Just me.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View bbasiaga's profile


1234 posts in 2020 days

#2 posted 02-11-2016 03:19 AM

You can always look up the manual online for the saws you are considering. It will tell you if it can take a dado blade or not.

Honestly though, with the smaller jobsites, even my larger portable (Ridgid 4510), I still break down sheets of plywood with my circular saw. Make yourself a straight edge guide, get a couple of clamps and go to town. Without a wide table, space in front of the blade, and and outfeed table, it is still too hard to cut down full sheets on a small saw. Once you have them to manageable sizes, your table saw will be a great tool for working the plywood.

You might consider focusing on the fence quality of whatever you choose. Even if it doesn’t take a dado blade, there are ways to cut dados with a standard blade. Look it up on youtube. It may be more time consuming, but pulling your hair out over a fence that can’t be made square or won’t stay put is way more frustrating.

You can get started and do great work with smaller tools. You just have to know and accept some trade-offs.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5138 posts in 1745 days

#3 posted 02-11-2016 03:30 AM

+1 to the Fridge’s idea. An older contractor saw, though heavier, could be had at a much lower cost and still be made to take up little space with some creativity. The big plus is a quieter, torquier induction motor, not to mention heavier trunions and a more robust arbor support. I cannot specifically point to which particular contractor saw would work best, but many fellow Jocks have had great success with contractor saws and could point you in the right direction should you find something you think might work for you. Many (not just Dewalt) of the universal motor powered jobsite saws will not allow or recommend the use of a dado blade due to a shorter arbor, lightweight construction and unavailable wide throat plate. Just starting off and the used market can really stretch your dollar a long ways and the resource of people available here to help you do so is second to none, happy hunting.

View WhyMe's profile


1025 posts in 1586 days

#4 posted 02-11-2016 03:50 AM

Dewalt DWE7490 takes dado blades.

View Gart's profile


28 posts in 1441 days

#5 posted 02-11-2016 03:54 AM

The Ridgid 4513 and 4516 portable saws can accommodate a dado set. Some people say to only use a 6” set vs. 8” due to power available and research would need to be done as to how wide of a stack you can put on either of these.


View knotscott's profile


8056 posts in 3400 days

#6 posted 02-11-2016 11:54 AM

My question is what’s attracting you to a portable saw? Do you need portability, or is it price? A full size stationary saw has many advantages over a portable, a lot more operating space in front of the blade, and a lot more growth potential. If price is a driving factor, look to a good used saw.

The ABCs of Table Saws



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

View B Woodruff's profile

B Woodruff

65 posts in 1602 days

#7 posted 02-11-2016 01:46 PM

Thanks for all the great advice so far. I really appreciate the time you all took to respond and am learning with each one.

Knotscott – not sure I have a great answer for you other than I would worry about the upkeep of an older stationary saw (my skills are limited – lol). I’d like to make a stand with casters for it to move around the garage a bit depending on the size of the wood I’m cutting. I noticed a couple of low priced used stationary saws (mostly Craftsman) on Craigslist but the pics alone worry me. Anybody want to take a look at them (7 in all) and tell me what you think?

Should I be worried the motor is laying on top of the table?

Again lots of stuff on the top of this so hard to tell if rusted top. Fence looks like its been modified/improved…

This one doesn’t look half bad (a little dirty but…)

This has a tiny stand on it..not many details since only top down shots:

This is the cleanest of the bunch…

Here’s a Delta saw (I know their bigger ones are nice, not sure of the smaller models):

Another Craftsman (although portable):

Once again, thanks so much for your time. Don’t look through these links if I’m imposing too much.

View BB1's profile


1151 posts in 873 days

#8 posted 02-11-2016 02:00 PM

I’m new to all this but have few comments. The Bosch 4100 that I have will accept use of dado blades. And to cut down plywood to size I have some foam board insulation panels that I place on the floor or my workbench so I can use my circular saw with a guide. Much better than trying to deal with saw horses in my (limited) experience. Then I can handle the smaller pieces with my table saw.

View rwe2156's profile


2964 posts in 1505 days

#9 posted 02-11-2016 02:42 PM

None of the C’mans but the Delta worth a look.
The fences on those old C’man saws are lousy.
Adding an aftermarket fence system is not worth it.

I think the fence is critical and its the first thing I would look at.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View knotscott's profile


8056 posts in 3400 days

#10 posted 02-11-2016 03:52 PM

Some of those old Emerson made Craftsman saws you listed are a little rough. The price is attractive, but they’d require some cleanup and effort, and possibly some knowledge of the saws. The motors alone are worth the $50-$75 asking price. At the right price, they can be worth adding a nice aftermarket fence like the Delta T2/T3…HD has them for < $190. That little Delta is their entry level benchtop direct drive saw with universal motor….pass.

Your choices are actually pretty good in your area:

This older Delta contractor saw with a Unifence is a nice saw at a good price IMO. It’s more than the beat old Cman saws, but is a lot more saw that should need very little, and doesn’t cost much more than a new portable.

This Ridgid R4512 is a nice buy at $290 IMO….cabinet mounted trunnions, nice shape, granite top, mobile base, decent fence, modern riving knife, hybrid design, etc.

Ridgid TS3650 for $300…nice saw, fair price, solid wings, good fence, Herculift, homemade router table –

An older Ridgid TS2424 (I think) – Good fence, Herculift, grated cast wings, nice shape, blade guard $300

This Hitachi C10FL is worth $200 –

Here’s another old Delta with the jetlock fence…I dont’ love hte fence but it works, is complete, nice shape, mobile base, asking $275 – $200-$225 would be better IMO.

And yet another old Delta w/jetlock fence…not quite as clean, and they’re asking more, but @ $200-0$250 its a good deal IMO.

Here’s an older Ridgid TS2412 by Emerson – A little steep at $300, but a good saw that’s worth a look and maybe an offer

Here’s a crusty Hitachi C10FL with notable rust…could be a good bartering point for a deal

This Craftsman is worth $150 IMO. You’d still be faced with the old Emerson fence, but it is functional, and can be upgraded for < $200. Nice setup for $300 IMO.

This Craftsman contractor saw needs some cleanup, but has an updated fence, and should clean up ok. Worth a look.

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

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1881 days

#11 posted 02-11-2016 04:38 PM

200 for that hitachi seems like a great deal.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View B Woodruff's profile

B Woodruff

65 posts in 1602 days

#12 posted 02-11-2016 04:45 PM

Thanks for the comments on the Hitachi. That is near my location. Is the fence sufficient or would I need an upgrade down the line. I noticed there are mixed reviews on this site on that exact model (although most are at least 3+ stars).

I am looking to stay at $200 or less if possible.

Knotscott – do you think the Hitachi is the best option at $200 or less or would I do better getting CS for $50-$75 and an upgraded T3 fence in about a month?

View kenthemadcarpenter's profile


124 posts in 1092 days

#13 posted 02-11-2016 04:55 PM

Find an older craftsman from the 60-70’s, they can accept dado blades, and the fences are solid, occasionally you might need to tighten the set screw, but other than that, one of the better saws you can find. I found most of the newer Contractor saws are good for the job site but for the home workshop they are too limited.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1881 days

#14 posted 02-11-2016 05:04 PM

Im not certain, but i think the weak point of the hitachi is that the guide rail is 2 piece, so if the two halves are not lined up perfectly your fence could go from parallel to the blade to not parallel as you slide from one half to the other. I think that could be overcome with some tuning.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View TheGreatJon's profile


339 posts in 1258 days

#15 posted 02-11-2016 05:08 PM

If you find a used saw with the right size and power for your needs, do not be concerned about surface rust on top of the table. A razor blade, some WD-40, and a scotch brite pad will take care of surface rust in under an hour. Plus, rust is a great way to talk someone down from their asking price.

Important things to check are straightness of the fence, operation of the motor, and ability for the saw to move through its range of motion (tilt + raise/lower). Most everything else can be easily adjusted or repaired.

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

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