Box Joint Cutter vs Dado for Rabbet Cuts?

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Forum topic by ras61 posted 05-02-2014 02:03 PM 1484 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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92 posts in 1490 days

05-02-2014 02:03 PM

Hi All – I’ve been reading reviews and doing research on a good budget (under $100) dado for my contractor saw. I was looking at the Freud SD206 when I ran across the Freud SBOX8 box joint cutter. This cutter gets rave reviews for making box joints with clean, flat cuts with no bat ears. This got me thinking that this cutter would not only give me the option and flexibility to make great box joints, but might also be a good alternative in this price range to a dado for rabbet cuts. The box cutter is limited to 3/8” vs 13/16”, but I have the time for a few more passes provided the bottom is flat and smooth. Does this make sense, or is this rookie oversimplifying and overlooking some major drawbacks?


-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

8 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2546 days

#1 posted 05-02-2014 03:23 PM

Go for a good dado set instead.
You’d lose and time saved from using the dado set by using the box joint set. At that point it wouldn’t be much different from using a router and straight bit.

The dewalt/delta 7670 is a very good set.

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

View TheDane's profile


5405 posts in 3632 days

#2 posted 05-02-2014 03:41 PM

NiteWalker is right … the box cutter (I have a Freud) are fine for 1/4” and 3/8” but would be a PITA to do wider rebates. Plus, a good dado set (like the DeWalt package mentioned above … I have the Delta version) will be a very useful addition to your shop for a long time to come.

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

View bowedcurly's profile


519 posts in 1698 days

#3 posted 05-02-2014 04:14 PM

I just bought a CMT dado of ebay for 40 bucks almost new 8×24 with six 4 wing chippers and bought a Frued safety dado about a year ago for 23.00 brand new off ebay the Frued cuts great flat dados, if you look around you can find a good dado cheap, Ebay has high end dados sometimes really cheap if you take your time and look close you shoud be able to find a good set off Ebay, have a good day

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

View MrRon's profile


4720 posts in 3212 days

#4 posted 05-02-2014 05:02 PM

I never thought about it, but the box joint set would work for cutting grooves for drawer bottoms. As for cutting dadoes wider than 3/8”, it wouldn’t be any more time consuming than adjusting and re-adjusting a dado set after making trial cuts. I have a Freud box joint set and will certainly try using it next time for dadoes. The only con I can think of is if you are going to use it on a contractor saw, it may not have enough power to spin an 8” blade set.

View ras61's profile


92 posts in 1490 days

#5 posted 05-02-2014 06:56 PM

Mr Ron – Interesting point concerning the time factor of cutting with 3/8” vs setting up a stacked dado. For one or two cuts it might be faster, but for anything more the dado would probably be the way to go.

If power was a problem turning an 8” blade with my 1 1/2 hp motor, I guess I could re-wire it for 220 volts since I have the capacity. Out of curiosity, does anyone know how much of an increase that would be?

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4955 posts in 2462 days

#6 posted 05-02-2014 07:12 PM

Yep, it won’t be any increase. Check the amp draw on the motor label, it will be simply 1/2 the amps on 2 legs instead of one….no increase in delivered power. That said, I used a 1.5HP contractor saw for a long time with an 8” dado, and never had any problems. You might have to cut more slowly, but it gets the job done just fine.

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

View knotscott's profile


7983 posts in 3344 days

#7 posted 05-02-2014 07:55 PM

The box cutter sets are intended to work well in rip type cuts….with the grain, as with box cuts. A box cutter set is more likely to have increased tearout with cross-grain cuts since it doesn’t have the protruding beveled teeth on the outside cutters that cause those bat ears. Those beveled teeth on dado sets may leave bat ears but they perform a function that helps give low tearout on cross-grain cuts. For similar cost, I think a dado set is more versatile.

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

View ras61's profile


92 posts in 1490 days

#8 posted 05-02-2014 09:06 PM

Ah ha, thanks knotscott. Both seem to be valuable additions, and at that price point are probably worth the long term investment.

-- "South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum" - James L. Petigru, 1860

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