Dado shim placement?

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Forum topic by Todd Clare posted 05-05-2010 06:26 PM 1346 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Todd Clare

67 posts in 2404 days

05-05-2010 06:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: dado blade tablesaw

I bought a Freud dado set, which comes with a variety of thin shims for fine tuning the width.

Only problem is, for someone who has never used a dado, it doesn’t say WHERE to put the shims—do I put them between the outer blade and the first chipper? In between the chippers? If I need to use more than one, do i put them all in the between the same two elements or distribute them evenly between several?


-- Todd (Denver, CO -- Highlands)

5 replies so far

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 2817 days

#1 posted 05-05-2010 07:30 PM

If you have to put more than one shim in, distribute them through the stack. Also, on some saws there is a valley between where the arbor shoulder ends and the threads start. A shim can be thin enough to drop into that “valley” and tweak the stack just a tad crooked. I try to put the shim on the smooth shoulder of the arbor if at all possible or else out on the threads themselves.

-- Tom Hintz,

View Tim_456's profile


170 posts in 3014 days

#2 posted 05-05-2010 07:54 PM

if you put them in the “wrong” spot or overload the shims between two chippers you’ll develop little ridges at the bottom of your dado. If that happens, just take a chisel and slice it off, these ridges are usually thinner than a business card and slide easily. Make a few test/experimental cuts and you’ll have your dado set up down pat.

One other thing that i have done with my set is to mark all my blades and chippers and shims by number (or letter I suppose). Then I’ve used them together to get the most used widths and made cuts in a single board. Then I marked on the board what combination of things got me to that thickness so when I need to repeat a cut of that width I know exactly what items I need and the order in which they are placed.

For example, to make a 1/2in width dado I use the following set up (from motor side out): blade1-chipper1-shim5-chipper3-blade2.

Anyway, just food for thought;)

View Todd Clare's profile

Todd Clare

67 posts in 2404 days

#3 posted 05-05-2010 11:55 PM

Excellent feedback. Thanks everyone! I’ll be (carefully) testing the whole shebang out hopefully this weekend on some scrap stock.

-- Todd (Denver, CO -- Highlands)

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3206 days

#4 posted 05-06-2010 12:02 AM

I put the shims between the last chipper to go on and the last blade. Less to remove if you have to adjust the width. Never had a problem other than the last blade will begin to turn as you tighten the nut, so I have to make sure I do have any interference with the chipper tooth.

Caveat: My set has a 1/16th” chipper so I never have to go over that thickness. In fact, I cannot recall installing over .030” worth of shims. IF I had to go thicker, I would stagger them, with the thinnest ones on last (again for fine adjustment ease.


-- Go

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3184 days

#5 posted 05-06-2010 12:23 AM

Go, your tip about placing the shims closest to the last outside blade was one of the best tips I’ve heard. Makes good sense. Thank you!
- JJ

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