How We Tested

There's no way around it. To get a real-world feel tor how dado heads perform, you have to make some significant sawdust. When you're done exploring the technical data supplied by manufacturers on carbide type, hook angle, tooth profile, etc., the real question remains: Just how good of a cut can you expect from these premium dado sets?

To find out. we designed a simple but labor-intensive test involving four different materials: oak-veneer plywood, melamine-coated particleboard (MCP), solid oak, and solid pine. We mounted each dado set in a Delta Unisaw, adding chippers as required to make a 3/»-in.-wide cut. We set the depth of cut to 3/e in. Cuts in the plywood, pine and oak were all made across the grain to better challenge the smooth-cutting ability of the 16 dado sets.

Hundreds of cuts later (see photo at right) we had a sufficient collection of samples to judge cutting quality. For the specifics on dado performance, see the chart above.

Started up. Testing 16 stack dado sets created a stack of another sort in the AW workshop. Assistant editor David Sellers takes his turn at the Unisaw.

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