Packaging matters: Plastic carrying cases from Freud, CMT and Amana keep cutting edges separated and protected. DML's ID800 set (second from right) comes in a wooden box.

to fly, wc discovered sonic important difFcrcnces between the dado sets in our test group.

Straight Out of the Box

The dado sets we looked at come packaged in everything from simple cardboard boxes to carrying cases with protective storage provisions for the blades and chippcrs. Our favorites were the plastic eases from Amana, CMT and Freud, all of which hold the blades and chippcrs in such a way so their teeth don't touch. We also liked the hinged wooden box that houses DML's dado set. (See photo, above.) Other brands use cardboard or foam inserts to separate the dado head parts.

Each Freud, CMT, Systimatic, and Oldham dado set included a selection of dado shims. Shaped like large washers, these shims range in thickness from 0.004-in. to 0.020-in. By adding shims to the stack of blades and chippers, you can fine-tune the width of the groove you're cutting within a few thousandths of an inch which will enable you to get a pcrfcct fit in a dado or groove.

Blades, Bevels and Hook Angles

The blades and chippcrs in a stack dado set have benefited from the same advances in technology that have improved conventional carbide blades. (See "Carbide Saw Blades," AW #32.) But there arc differences unique to dado heads. In our tests, wc discovered that ccrtain factors affect cutting quality more than others.

The teeth on a dado heads' outer blades are sharpened with a bevel on their top surface. But unlike a conventional blade, these bevels all point in the

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