Why do I need a saw that can use a dado stack?

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Forum topic by Mdciolli posted 03-09-2014 04:01 PM 1994 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mdciolli's profile


20 posts in 1573 days

03-09-2014 04:01 PM

Like many others, I have a small/portable shop (2 car garage, with two cars parked in it). I currently have a cheap-o hitachi table saw my father gave me. It’s on an inconvenient stand, the miter slots are those odd sized t-slot style, and it has inconvenient safety features. I’m looking to upgrade to another contractor style saw (dw745) and it seems to have everything I’d like. It doesn’t accept dado sets. I currently don’t have any dado stacks, but a lot of people mention that they wish it did in their reviews of the saw. I have an incra router table and fence with the 3.25 hp triton. Is there a reason I even need a dado stack? Can’t I do anything a dado stack can on the router table?

Side question- I’m building a cabinet to combine the router table and table saw and I’m going to use the incra ls for the table saw also. Is the dw750 a good choice when you take the fence out of the equation? I like the zero clearance throat plate (mine doesn’t have that), I like the riving knife and how easily you can attach the guards. Does this saw have standard miter tracks?

Thanks for the help!

14 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4998 posts in 2516 days

#1 posted 03-09-2014 04:08 PM

Dado stacks can be tuned (shimmed) to any width (thickness) you need in one pass, including the plywood sizes China hasn’t made yet. I find it faster to cut dadoes on the saw, and when the pieces are a little larger…it’s easier (just MHO). If you have a DC system, you can catch the dust when cutting dadoes on the TS (and the RT) but not with a hand held router. I personally wouldn’t have a table saw that couldn’t cut dadoes, but that’s just me; sounds like it may not matter to you. You can work around the dado thing with a hand held router and/or a RT.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View CL810's profile


3797 posts in 3011 days

#2 posted 03-09-2014 04:13 PM

I find it very easy to cut to a line with the dado set. It may be just me but I find that harder to do with a router. I’m with Fred – would not have a TS that would not accept dado blade sets. Makes me question the power of the saw.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2133 days

#3 posted 03-09-2014 04:21 PM

You don’t “need” it, but I wouldn’t want to not have the capability.

Along with the excellent suggestions above, I find repeatability to be easier on the saw vs. a router.

For example, if I were making 8 identical sides for 4 built-in bookcases, I can use a dado sled and the saw fence, cutting all the dados that have to match with the identical setup. On smaller parts counts, you could rout the dados first, then rip to width, but that can become a PITA fast as parts get larger.

Dado blades are also excellent for flat cutting tenon faces.

There are always several ways to make the same part. More options are always better, allowing you to decide based on the specifics of a particular project.

View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2906 days

#4 posted 03-09-2014 06:18 PM

As others have said; you can do everything a dado stack does on a router table but it is tedious. I rarely use the router table for any sort of dado work.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3608 days

#5 posted 03-09-2014 09:28 PM

You don’t need one ! As many people never use them ,and as I have made clear here many time throughout the whole of Europe they are banned. All saws here come with spindles too short to take anything more than a single blade .The reason being that you can’t use them with a riving knife and guard. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3686 days

#6 posted 03-09-2014 09:54 PM

I find cutting dadoes with a router (either in the table or hand-held) cumbersome. With my stacked dado set, I can fine-tune the width of the cut.

Plus, doing them with a router is, IMHO, messy … sawdust everywhere … while the dust collection system in my cabinet saw catches +90% of the mess.

You don’t need a dado set, but why would you want to limit yourself?

BTW, In Europe, home users can use dado blades if they have a saw that will accept them. They are banned in all commercial shops.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View lumbermeister's profile


128 posts in 2002 days

#7 posted 03-10-2014 12:31 AM

To each his own, but, for me, I have already constructed products requiring several dados as deep as 3/4”. with sac dodo completed in a single pass (feeding the wood slowly). I don’t want to fathom the # of passes required or the amount of uncaptured sawdust abounding were these dados to have been made on the router. Re. Europe, they can have and keep their regulations, just so long as I can keep my dado method as my personal choice.

View runswithscissors's profile


2764 posts in 2048 days

#8 posted 03-10-2014 07:00 PM

I’m wondering what kind of throat plate that TS has. Some of the lighter duty saws have the thin sheet metal throat plate, and as has often been pointed out in these forums, it’s a challenge to make a ZCI for those saws. Something to consider.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1744 days

#9 posted 03-10-2014 07:07 PM

You have the ability to cut much, much faster with a dado set vs. using a router for the same task.

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1971 days

#10 posted 03-10-2014 07:18 PM

I just want to put it out there, you may not need to now and there are other way, but why limit yourself.

View Mdciolli's profile


20 posts in 1573 days

#11 posted 03-11-2014 12:16 AM

I think what I’ll do is put off buying the saw for now and just build the router table cabinet, with the saw I have attached to the set up on a modular cabinet that I can either adapt or rebuild to fit whichever new saw I decide to go with. This will give me time to see if I mind using the router table for dados.

My original thought was to upgrade the table saw I have now to get better and safer cuts. I don’t need or want anything big as I plan to get a track saw for most sheet good cuts. I just need a small table saw for thinner rips. As I looked at the saws in that category, they either didn’t offer the ability to use a dado stack, or were outrageously priced.

View Mdciolli's profile


20 posts in 1573 days

#12 posted 03-11-2014 12:21 AM

The only one that I found reasonable was the porter cable pcb270ts. I’d remove the fence, stand, and side wings and it may just work, but again, I think I’m just going to see how this all works out first.

Unless one of you can convince me that saw is a must have

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2590 days

#13 posted 03-11-2014 12:23 AM

I don’t use one very often, but when I want to cut a bunch of box joints, I’m still to lazy for the “by hand” method.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View fuigb's profile


491 posts in 2981 days

#14 posted 03-11-2014 01:04 AM

I’m going to replay my one TS note: Bosch 4100, does it all and will carry a dado blades. Inexpensive enough for the little guy, but versatile and accurate enough for many ambitious projects. Join the dark side, Md, for about 600 bucks new at Lowe’s.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

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