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Router or TS Dado Blade

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Forum topic by RegInBC posted 03-10-2010 02:09 AM 3105 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RegInBC

10 posts in 2475 days


03-10-2010 02:09 AM

Hello all.

My wife and I are in the process of planning some renovations for our home. One of the projects I will be attempting, is to replace our slab cabinet doors with flat panel doors that we will then paint. I have the Ridgid portable table saw. I do not have a dado blade for that saw as of yet. I don’t have an appropriate router as of yet, although I have my eye on the Ridgid 2 1/4 HP set that comes with two bases.

I plan to use a less expensive hardwood such as poplar for the rail and stiles and appropriate grade of plywood for the panels.

My question is: Is it better to use a dado blade to cut the grooves and stub tenons in the rail and stiles, or is it better to use a router in a router table?


22 replies so far

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Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3282 days


#1 posted 03-10-2010 02:15 AM

Reg, when making dado cuts I invariably use my stacked dado set. For me it is so much easier and safer to run them on the table saw rather than doing them on my router table.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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Ingjr

144 posts in 2476 days


#2 posted 03-10-2010 02:39 AM

Either will work, but like the previous poster I find the TS easier. I’ve seen great work turned out with both.

-- The older I get the faster I was.

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JasonWagner

527 posts in 2640 days


#3 posted 03-10-2010 02:51 AM

One nice thing about a table saw is that you can adjust the width in very small increments. I guess you could do two passes with an undersized router bit too. I had the same saw and the 6” Freud set worked great ($80).

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

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ND2ELK

13495 posts in 3234 days


#4 posted 03-10-2010 02:51 AM

I use the dado head on my saw to make these. If you look at my assembly table you can see the drawer covers and doors I made on the saw.

God Bless
tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

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308Gap

336 posts in 2463 days


#5 posted 03-10-2010 05:23 AM

I bought a router table before I bought a table saw so I went with adjustable router bits. doing rail and stile by hand with a router would be real hard. I used 1/4’’ red oak ply for my panels and it’s not really a 1/4’’ thats why I got the adjustable set for different material. TS and a dado blade would be cheaper, jsut take your time setting the thickness for your ply. My 3 sheets were all different. router table+bits+coping sled or TS+dado set+homemadejig .

http://www.toolstoday.com/p-5060-instile-router-bit-set-adjustable-width-panel-groove-system.aspx

-- Thank You Veterans!

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knotscott

7207 posts in 2836 days


#6 posted 03-10-2010 04:11 PM

Both will work fine, but I tend to prefer the TS dado set. Usually it’s cheaper to buy a router bit, but since you don’t have a router yet, it’s not necessarily true in this case. I would normally suggest a moderate dado set like the Oshlun, however, a router is a very handy tool to have, so if it helps justify the expenditure, get a router.

I’m sure the Ridgid is a fine router, but at similar prices, there are a few plunge/fixed combo kits that are more proven that I’d go with first…Milwaukee 5616-24 for $210 shipped, Bosch 1617EVSPK for $215 shipped, DeWalt 618PK for $215 shipped, or the Hitachi M12VC for $162 shipped. Milwaukee is actually the upper end of the Ridgid parent company, TTI.

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

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SnowyRiver

51452 posts in 2940 days


#7 posted 03-10-2010 04:28 PM

I would prefer to use a TS with the stacked dado set also.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4541 posts in 2534 days


#8 posted 03-10-2010 05:14 PM

Using a dado set on the TS is much easier to control. In this application, a top-of-the-line dado is not necessary and a 6” dado will suffice, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on the dado set unless you want great tools for the long term.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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Abbott

2570 posts in 2764 days


#9 posted 03-10-2010 05:19 PM

It looks like pretty much everyone agrees and has tried both. A TS/dado is the easiest to control. I still sometimes use my router table though to avoid set-up on the dado stack which allows me to keep working with the TS without a blade and insert change.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View JimmyNate's profile

JimmyNate

124 posts in 2810 days


#10 posted 03-10-2010 05:56 PM

If you are thinking about a dado stack, try your normal blade first. It’s fundamentally the same thing, just not as wide a kerf so it takes more cuts.

I cut some rails and stiles this weekend for 1/4” plywood panels using my table saw with the standard blade. I didn’t need anything more than the stock fence, and my crosscut sled.

I cut the dados in 2 passes per board by setting the fence so that the board would hit the blade just off of center, flipped the board end over end and then sent it through again with the other face against the fence. it only took a few minutes of test cutting to get the fence set so that my dado would fit the 1/4” ply just right.

I just cut the tenons on my crosscut sled by setting a stop at the depth I wanted for the shoulder and making a few passes until I got there.

My bet is I couldn’t have done it faster with a dado stack.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

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dbhost

5604 posts in 2692 days


#11 posted 03-10-2010 06:17 PM

Lots of guys use the router for dadoes. I can’t seem to do it without it being a life threatening, or at least a work piece destroying incident.

Use the table saw / dado.

Not sure about the size dado the Ridgid needs, but if it takes a 6” instead of an 8” I can recommend the Oshlun SDS-0630. I’ve got it, and LOVE it… I got mine from Rockler on sale. Amazon usually has good prices on them too…

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

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juanabee

108 posts in 2468 days


#12 posted 03-10-2010 09:51 PM

I am facing the same question with regard to mitered lap joints I am working on for a hybrid presentation cabinet I am making.

The stacked dado blade makes the work a bit easier and possibly safer, but leaves rough ridges on the finished cut, so a glued joint could be compromised by the rough surface. A router bit can make a smoother cut, but it’s a lot of work to climb cut through all that wood. Trying to hog it all off in one cut with a router is, I agree, dangerous. And it makes for a lousy cut, too.

Solution: Use your stacked dado to hog off the material to within a sixteenth of the desired depth of cut, then use your router table and a good bottom cleaning or straight bit to take off the last sixteenth inch of material. A very light cut using a table-mounted router isn’t any more dangerous than a dado blade (less so, imho) and gets you closer to a smooth, gluable surface for your joint.

-- "Life's nonsense pierces us with strange relation." Wallace Stevens

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Abbott

2570 posts in 2764 days


#13 posted 03-11-2010 12:40 AM

I cut some rails and stiles this weekend for 1/4” plywood panels using my table saw with the standard blade. I didn’t need anything more than the stock fence, and my crosscut sled.

I cut the dados in 2 passes per board by setting the fence so that the board would hit the blade just off of center, flipped the board end over end and then sent it through again with the other face against the fence. it only took a few minutes of test cutting to get the fence set so that my dado would fit the 1/4” ply just right.

I also just use the TS blade when I build drawers.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View mkrok's profile

mkrok

94 posts in 2481 days


#14 posted 03-11-2010 04:35 AM

I like Abbot’s way, use a standard blade for all your cuts but, I only do this on “shop cabinet grade doors”. You could get away with this since you are painting; putty and sanding fix everyting.
Anything my wife will see outside the shop gets the stacked dado blades. I recently replaced my old, high speed steel dado set with the Freud 6” set. It was about 80 bucks off Amazon.
A Router is a great addition to your toolbox though. Maybe go the used route. Look on craigs list and any local pawn shops. There are always deals out there for power tools. I stopped buying new power tools a long time ago.

-- Michael, South Florida, http://www.MallardSolutions.com

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Sawdust4Blood

392 posts in 2482 days


#15 posted 03-11-2010 04:57 AM

I think the stacked dado is definitely the easiest. That being said, the minimum dado size on my stacked dado is a true 1/4”. But 1/4” plywood is actually less than a 1/4” thick. If it’s important to have tight fitting plywood panels, either use the std blade and then shifting the fence slightly as described above or you will need a specialty router bit sized for the slightly undersized plywoods. But, I just built a cabinet using 1/4” plywood and the stacked dado and made some anti-rattle spacers so I could still use the stacked dado. It was the easiest way to get it done and no rattle in the doors.

-- Greg, Severn MD

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