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page 58 and 59 summarizes the results of our cutting tests. The highest rating (5 dots) indicates no tearout while a single dot indicates so much tearout that you'd have to reject the piccc for use in most furniture projects. (See photos, below.)

All the dado sets handled rip cuts in oak veneer plywood with cxccllcnt results, and most made good to cxccllcnt cross-grain curs in solid pine and oak boards. Making cross-grain cuts in oak veneer plywood was the toughest test: Three dado sets (CMT, Forrest and Freud) produced excellent ratings on this splintery material. Amana's 658040 rated nearly as well followed by Systimatic's Superfine Dado.

Cutting mclaminc-coatcd particle-board (MCP) also challenged these dado sets. Amana's 658040, CMT, Everlast's DS840, and the Forrest and Freud dadoes made cxccllcnt cuts with no appreciable chipout along the edges. Systimatic's Superfine Dado and both General sets had very minor chipout, while Amana's Safety Dado, the Evcrlast DS8, and Systimatic's Fine Dado set all received "good" ratings.

As wc put these sets through their paces on the tablcsaw and radial arm saw, wc found that there were minor differences in the feed pressure required from one set to the next. Freud's Super Dado (with 6 chippers and a -10° hook angle), and Systimatic's Superfine Dado (with 5 chippcrs and 6 teeth on each chipper), required the most feed pressure. Among the best performers in terms of cutting quality, the Forrest dado was also the easiest to feed.

Best Bets in Dado Sets

Should you move up to a carbidc-tippcd stack dado head? The answer really depends on what you're aiming for. A Icss-cxpcnsivc, carbide-tipped wobble dado will serve you well if a flat-bottomed joint isn't crucial. But if you're after flat-bottomed joints and if you want low or no chip-out in solid stock and man-made panels, one of these high-end dado heads will be a good investment.

If you work with solid wood and can tolerate some tearout when cutting veneers, the lower-cost dado sets by General, Evcrlast and Amana do well.

In terms of top performers, CMT, Forrest and Freud get our Editors' Choice Awards for making cxccllcnt cuts in all four test categories. Even in splinter-prone oak veneer plywood, these three dado sets produced flawless grooves. Amana's 658030 also came through with high ratings.

Six of these high-scoring dado sets have an important feature in common: negative hook angles on blades and chippcrs. Of all the characteristics to look for in a carbide-tipped stack dado, low or negative hook angle is one of the most important if you work with hardwood vcnccr plywood or laminate-covered sheet goods.

And our Best Buy award goes to Systimatic's 1740 dado set. With a retail price of around SI 30, this set came away with good overall ratings in every category except oak plywood. A

This report was prepared by DA VE SELLERS. Assistant Editor of A \V.

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