Dado cutter info please...

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 03-02-2012 12:56 AM 2400 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 1706 days

03-02-2012 12:56 AM

Topic tags/keywords: blade tablesaw

Just started building cabinets. Right about now I’d give my left…. uh…. very important body part for a dado cutter. :)

Making multiple passes for each piece on the router table to cut a rabbet or dado gets old REALLY fast. I’ve never owned a good table saw before so I’ve never owned a dado cutter. I used a stack dado at a friend’s house a few years ago. Was a little fiddly to set up, but not terrible. I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen a wobble cutter.

This is for a Steel City 35990. (in case that matters). I have some blank ZCI standing by and I know I’ll want to cut a ZCI for dadoes.

What should I be looking for? I’m not going into cabinet making, but I have about 18 more cabinets to build after these 2 ….. then I figure the dado cutter would be a good thing to have and I’ll use it more once I get rolling into retirement at a better pace. :)

thanks for any input.


14 replies so far

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 2407 days

#1 posted 03-02-2012 01:02 AM

I have been happy with the onsrud dado set I got off of ebay.
It looks like there are none available right now but he usually has them.
I paid around $30 for the set I have.
I would compare it to some sets that cost over $100.
Here is the link to his store.
I have bought several other blades from him too and been happy with all of them.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2795 days

#2 posted 03-02-2012 01:07 AM

Skip the wobblers…not flat cuts, very few high quality examples available. You’ll be far better off with a good dado stack. The Onsruds were a great deal while available at clearance, but I think they’re gone. The current best bang for the buck is the Delta 35-7670 set, that happens to be on sale from Cripe for $74 plus s/h.

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

View NiteWalker's profile


2735 posts in 1996 days

#3 posted 03-02-2012 01:07 AM

The $100 dewalt/delta dado set got a good review from Scott. He’s the man to trust with blade advice.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 1706 days

#4 posted 03-02-2012 12:49 PM

I messaged onsrud on EBay and the dado sets are sold out and probably not returning. The Delta set looks good. I’m guessing that more teeth means smoother cuts. When looking at stacked dado sets I see mostly 12 and 24 tooth sets so I’m leaning towards 24 tooth. Looking around while typing this and it looks like I’ll get the Delta set, so now I have a question on how to USE the dado set…

Making rabbets, approximatly 1/2” by 1/2”. Using 3/4” birch plywood. I would assume this is a single pass operation on the table saw. Correct?

View Viking's profile


878 posts in 2615 days

#5 posted 03-02-2012 12:57 PM


I like my Frued 8” Diablo set but, replaced the shim set with a set of magnetic shims I found at Woodcraft.

Good luck!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2417 days

#6 posted 03-02-2012 01:05 PM

I agree with knotscott, avoid wobble dado blade. Look for a stacked dado with more teeth (finer cut gives less chipout) Try to do dado with one pass, any extra passes will create more chipout as well. When I work with Melamine (which is rare) I use table saw with one fine blade, makes two passes creating the width of dado I need, then clean it out center with router and smaller bit, or sometimes just a stanley hand router. (If you have a LOT of dado’s the cleanout method is more time consuming) I have found lately with this METRIC crap we have the thickness of plywood material varies. MY old 3/4” dado cutters are to large or too small for thickness of what and where I buy plywood. You sometimes haves to make test cuts.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


15459 posts in 2426 days

#7 posted 03-02-2012 01:28 PM

When you do get that dado set ive found that a great way to have your set up correct everytime is to run what i would call a sample board. Make every possible dado with all the chipeprs on a single board. I labeled every chipper with a number. for example both blades on i took #1,2,3, 5 and made a cut, labeled it on the board, i took #2,4 made a cut and labeled it. This way you can take your stock that needs to sit in the dado and perfectly match it up with the widths on your sample board. In the long run its one heck of a time saver.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 1706 days

#8 posted 03-02-2012 01:46 PM

Thanks for the advice and tips, guys. I bought the Delta set from Cripe.
I like the idea of making the test board. This is going to arrive after I’ve left for Florida, but it will be here when I get back and that’s when I planned to go ahead on the bulk of the cabinets. This ought to make the process, faster, safer, and easier.

Appreciate the help.

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2074 days

#9 posted 03-02-2012 11:40 PM

Another option is to make yourself a jig and use your hand router with a downcut spiral bit. The jig will line up perfectly with your dado layout. One side of the jig would be set up to handle use 1/2” bit for narrower dado’s and the other side setup to work with a 3/8” bit. You can make a couple of these jigs to handle whatever dado sizes you need. The beaty is, the edge of the jig that the router plate rides on lines directly with one side of you dado. Then you flip the jig around, line up the edge with the dado line, and finish the dado.

I used this method for many years before I bought my CNC. I tried the table saw with a dial micro adjuster and it just took way to long and used a lot of plywood to get things aligned just right.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 2488 days

#10 posted 03-02-2012 11:48 PM

Although conventional wisdom says that wobble cutters aren’t as good as stacked cutters, I’m getting excellent dados with this Craftsman wobble cutter that a neighbor gave me 10-15 years ago. It has more teeth than any other wobblers I’ve seen and I think that’s why it works so well. I prefer it over my stacked cutter because it’s much quicker to set up and tweaking the cut width is much simpler.

Here is a sample I did this morning while setting up to run some drawer boxes.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Martyroc's profile


2711 posts in 1725 days

#11 posted 03-04-2012 04:59 AM

I have to agree with Sawkerf, I have been using a wobble dado by craftsman for years, with no complaints. Funny thing though, my buddy has a wobble dado as well and looks very similar to Sawkerfs, mine does not have as many teeth and is shaped more like a traditional blade just thicker and of course smaller diameter. Funny I have not been able to find that one in sears ever since I got mine.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


930 posts in 1774 days

#12 posted 03-04-2012 05:06 AM

the fifty dollar mibro set from Lowes works very well…. I have used the same set oh 5-6 times a week for about two years or so, may need cleaning from time to time but sufficient for a pro, so probably for you to.

the problem with a wobble cutter, which I used once and never will again, is that the blade doesn’t move in a straight path, therefore it leaves an angled cut, and while you can work around it, it can be a pain if you’re trying to get a really precise fit.

Whichever you use though make sure you have enough room for the blade stabilizer as well as the nut.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 2407 days

#13 posted 04-10-2012 11:00 PM

View mark4345's profile


66 posts in 1843 days

#14 posted 04-10-2012 11:07 PM

I have found this to be extremely useful in making dados with a router.
I will actually reach for this jig before setting up the blades in the table saw getting the fence in just the right position, which is actually nice because you can just leave the saw set up to cut your parts.

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