How Much Should You Pay for a Our Test Results Tell
Joint-making versatility. Mounted in a tablesaw or radial arm saw, the dado head can l>e used to cut rabbets, dadoes, grooves, tenons, and lap joints. A stack dado consists of two outer blades and a selection of chippers that are sandwiched between them.
There are a number of ways to cut grooves and rabbets in wood, but dado blades are universally preferred for this type of joinery work. It's no surprise dado blades are a shop favorite. Unlike router bits, dado cutters are adjustable—you cat) set just about any cutting width between Va in. and 13/i6 in. (up to 2%2 in. with some dado sets). Dcpth-of-cut adjustments arc just as easy as setting the blade height on your tablesaw. And you can even tilt a dado cutter to mill an angled dado or rabbet.
Dado blade sets, also called dado heads, come in two basic styles: wobble and stack (sec AW #19). A wobble dado head is simply a blade adjusted at an angle to the saw's arbor; it cuts different widths by "wobbling" back and forth across what would normally be a straight cutting line. A stack dado head consists of two outer blades that resemble conventional saw blades, and a number of "chippers" of different thicknesses that you "stack" between the outer blades. Different chipper combinations yield different cutting widths. Most stack-type dadoes have 8-in.-dia. blades and chippers.
The dado heads in this Buyer's Guide represent the cream of the crop: stack dadoes with carbide-tipped blades and chippers. If you're working mainly in solid wood and a perfectly flat-bottomed groove isn't crucial, a wobble dado or an inexpensive steel stack dado may be all you need. But if precise, flat-bottomed grooves are important, or if your joinery is done primarily in veneer plywood or mclaminc-covcrcd particle-board, a carbide-tipped stack dado is a belter choice.
Premium performance costs quite a bit extra, however. While carbide-tipped wobble dadoes cost around S50 or less, the 16 carbide-tipped dado sets we tested (from 1 1 different manufacturers), sell for about S70 to $300.
Arc these higher-priced dadoes all they're stacked up to be? To find out, we grooved our way through hundreds of boards. (Sec "How We Tested," page 58.) But even before the sawdust started
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