Understanding Dado Blades for Table Saws: A Guide Complete Guide

Looking to make accurate, precise cuts on your table saw? You’re in the right place!

This guide will provide you with all of the information you need to use dado blades safely and effectively. From understanding what a dado blade is and its advantages, to the equipment needed and tips for achieving great results – this guide has it all!


Since the beginning of woodworking, cutting stopped dado grooves in wood pieces has been a labor-intensive task that requires a lot of accuracy. To simplify the process, modern woodworkers can utilize a table saw equipped with dado blades to make flawless cuts. In this guide, we’ll explain all that you need to know about using dado blades for table saws for both beginner and professional craftsmen.

We’ll start at the beginning by covering a brief definition of dado blades so that you have a grasp on what these tools truly are. From there, we’ll move into discussing which table saws are compatible with these types of blades and what parts of the tool are necessary for proper installation. Once we’ve gone over all components involved in the setup process, you’ll learn how to precisely gauge your cuts with essential measurements and alignments. Finally, as part of our complete guide we will go over practical metal-cutting hacks and safety precautions related to saw blade maintenance and operation.

Definition of Dado Blades

A dado blade, also known as a dado set or a stack dado, is a specialized type of circular saw blade designed to cut dadoes (grooves in wood) for the purpose of creating strong joints for the construction of cabinets, bookshelves and other woodworking projects. The blades make several passes across a workpiece, cutting away at its edges in order to create an even and consistent groove. Dado blades consist of two types: wobble blades and stacked dado sets.

Wobble Blades: A single blade with a curved surface that rocks on its axis as it rotates, skimming the cutting surface with the teeth until it carves out the desired shape. Wobble blades are preferred by some customers because they are inexpensive and easy to use. The disadvantage is that shelves may not always be perfectly aligned or square due to inconsistent cuts caused by the rocking motion.

Stacked Dado Sets: Made up of multiple blades mounted on an arbor that includes spacers, chippers and shims; this type offers greater accuracy than wobble blades with less prone to shifting during operation. Stacked dado sets also cut straighter edges without leaving too much material behind in comparison to wobble blades which can take off too much material in one pass. While pricier than wobble blades due to the range of components required, stacked dado sets provide better quality cuts for construction projects which require precise joint measurements.

Importance of understanding dado blades

The dado blade is a set of blades or chippers used to cut wide slots or grooves in woodworking machinery such as a table saw or radial arm saw. It is also referred to as a ‘stacked dado set’, as it is composed of two circular blades, with chipper blades in between that are used to cut the kerf (typical width of the groove). It can cut both through and partial dadoes (partial grooves), and can be adjusted for varying widths. Understanding the variety of available dado sets is key to choosing correctly for your application, and will help ensure a safe and successful project.

When setting up a dado head on your table saw, it is vital to ensure that it is properly mounted and secured; otherwise, you may experience kickback or binding during your cutting operations. It’s also necessary to adjust the height of the blade correctly to ensure an even cut across your material; typically this should be 1/16″ lower than the workpiece you are cutting into. Finally, when selecting a dado blade, the number of teeth, type (flat-top / wave-top), arbor size, kerf thickness and chipper size all need to be taken into consideration in order to get the perfect cut for your particular job.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Dado Blades

When selecting a dado blade set, certain factors should be taken into consideration. Understanding these aspects of the blade will help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Size: First and foremost, you should consider the size of the blade set. Make sure that it fits your table saw and that it will fit into the existing miter slot on your table saw. You can also choose between full-sized blades or stacked dado blades with extra cutters to allow for deeper cuts if needed.

Number of Cutters: Dado blades vary in terms of the number of cutters included in each set. Common sizes are three, six or eight-inch sets with four or eight chippers, respectively. All of these sizes can be used to create a variety of widths ranging from 1/2” up to 13/16”, depending on the spacing and number of chippers used in combination.

Tooth Configuration: The teeth on most dado blade sets are usually perimeter cut which can yield smooth cuts all around wood’s edges or rakers set which leave a slight edge on all sides and aid in chip removal so they don’t jam up the cuts being made. It’s important to select a set based on what type of cutting you plan on doing most often; if confused, always consult product labels before buying as they outline cutting recommendations accordingly.

Types: There are two different types available – shim types and adjustable types – each type has its own pros and cons but essentially adjustable ones provide more accurate sizing capabilities due to its adjustable gullet depth feature whereas shim types offer simpler setup thanks to additional tools for reshaping and cutting out dados whether one works better than others would depend entirely upon individual projects/jobs found at hand requiring cutting work done with accuracy typically provided by adjustable type models.

Saw Compatibility

Saw compatibility is a key consideration when selecting a dado set for your table saw. Different saw models may require slightly different specifications for optimal performance. Be sure to measure the arbor of your saw and compare it to the specifications of the dado blade set you intend to purchase. Generally, standard arbor sizes are between 5/8-inch and 1-inch, with some higher end saws having specific configurations requiring careful attention before any blade or accessory is purchased or used.

It’s also important to make sure that your saw’s horsepower rating is not exceeded by the power requirements of the dado set. Forcing a dado set that requires more horsepower than your saw can produce can cause significant damage to both your saw and dado blades.

Blade Width and Diameter

The width and diameter of a dado blade determines the size of the grooves you can create. Most standard table saw blades are 8-10 inches in diameter and 5/8-inch or larger arbor hole size. You’ll want to make sure that the dado blades you purchase also conform to your saw’s arbor size and diameter. Additionally, you must consider how wide a cut you wish to make. Dado blades for table saws generally come in two sets, one for half-inch cuts and another for 3/4-inch cuts. The wider set may also include chippers with 1/32-inch increments between each tooth. This works out best if you want to create grooves of varying depthsby stacking the dado blade on your regular saw blade or other dado stack combinations.

Depending on your planned project, opt for either an 8″ or 10″ diameter dado blade; bear in mind that wider dados can be achieved by purchasing several sets of smaller blades rather than one large set. Our 8” Stacked Dado Blade contains a 4 tooth chipper set and two 8” with 24T Carbide Tipped Saws that allow for perfect arcs in wood cuttings with less burning than normal sharpened blades..

Material Type

The material of the item you are cutting will determine which type of dado blade set to use on your table saw. Generally, two types of material blades can be used on wood – either a conventional “stacked” or an adjustable carbide-tipped dado blade set. Stacked dado sets are designed for cutting clean rabbets and dadoes in softer woods, particleboard, plywood, and crosscuts in hardwood.

A carbide-tipped dado blade set is usually the best choice for any hardwood applications or when a precise fit is necessary between two pieces of wood or between a tenon and mortise joint. The teeth are individually tipped with carbide making them ideal for high production work as they can hold their edge better than a stacked blade set while still producing quality cuts through hardwoods without splintering the edges. The downside to using a carbide tipped set is that they generally cost more than stacked sets so test your applications carefully before investing in one.


The budget for dado blades is a key factor when selecting the right blade. Affordable blades are available from $30 to $100, but higher-end blades may be several hundred dollars each. It’s important to consider your needs and budget in order to find the best value.

Budget-friendly models may not have as many features such as thin kerf and an anti-kickback design, but could still provide decent performance especially for occasional use. However, if you’re planning on doing a lot of dado cuts, it may be more cost effective to invest in a higher end model that will provide better results and last longer with regular use.

Will a Stacked Dado Blade Fit on Your Table Saw?

Using Dado Blades Safely

Using a dado blade properly ensures that not only the saw is used safely but also the materials being cut are treated in a safe manner. Dado blades are designed to be used on table saws, as these provide a more secure and stable working environment. Failure to use it properly can result in unsafe results and possibly injury or property damage. While taking all necessary precautions, here are the steps that need to be taken when using them:

  1. Install your dado blade carefully, making sure that all mounting hardware is tightened to specification for your particular model of saw.
  2. Make sure you read and understand the safety instruction provided with your dado blade set as differing brands and types may have specific additional safety measures needed during use remaining safe while using a dado blade;
  3. Always use a guard while cutting with table saws when using a dado blade and ensure it remains securely in place throughout the cutting process;
  4. When planning your cuts, never try cross-cut pieces into smaller segments until all rip-cuts have been complete;
  5. Wear safety glasses when making table saw cuts;
  6. Make sure to use push sticks and other auxiliary equipment during cutting operations, particularly when ripping small pieces on both sides of boards;
  7. Ensure that all power tools are correctly grounded for safety reasons before beginning work with them;
  8. Position your work material correctly using a fence guide so it is fixed securely onto the tabletop thereby keeping fingers away from potentially hazardous movement during operating procedures;
  9. Avoid distractions from co-workers while working with power tools, as they can lead to operator error in gauging measured lengths correctly resulting in incorrect parts thus weakening an assembly’s structural integrity;
  10. Cut very slowly along each Ripper cut, taking into account any peculiarities present in each individual piece being worked on, such as knots or cupped grains present which will affect how quickly different materials can separated by narrow kerfs handled by finely tuned internal ripper teeth on most dado blades.

Safety Equipment

Working with a table saw can be extremely dangerous if the proper safety equipment is not used. Always wear protective clothing, including eye protection and a dust mask, when cutting with a dado blade.

Be sure to check that your table saw has adequate safety features, such as an automatic shut-off switch in case of power failure or overload; make sure the power supply cord is long enough to stay clear of your work area as it may become heated during prolonged use.

Additionally, always wait for the blade mechanism to come to a complete stop before making any adjustments or attempting any repairs. Familiarizing yourself with these precautions is essential for anyone using this powerful tool.

Proper Set-up and Alignment

When using a dado blade for table saws, it is important to ensure the blade and components are set up properly and aligned correctly. The first step is to make sure your saw is solidly mounted with no lateral movement between the fence, table, and casing.

Next, install the arbor nut that comes with the dado blade set into place firmly and securely. Use a flat wrench to tighten it in place. Once secure, put on its companion washer, followed by any other washers included in your setup. Then carefully slide the dado stack onto the arbor shaft and follow with another washer if needed.

Make sure you have everything assembled flush before tightening down all components with an appropriate size spanner wrench or adjustable wrench. If your blade requires additional spacers or collars to secure a wobble-free rotation, make sure they are installed precisely according to instructions as this will help guarantee accurate cuts.

Cutting Techniques

Cutting techniques will vary depending on the specific task you are hoping to achieve with a dado blade set. Here are some of the general ways that a dado blade may be used:

-Through cuts involve making multiple cuts along a board in order to create evenly-spaced slots or grooves. The blades can be used for various tasks such as creating raised panels for doors, slots for mounting hardware, or other decorative elements.

-Rabbets are shallow cuts made around the edges of boards and panels. They are usually used to create smooth joints and/or reinforcing structures between two boards or components. Rabbets can be cut using standard blades in combination with a special jig, but they can also be cut quickly and accurately with a dado blade set.

-Housing cuts are made by removing an even thickness from each edge of a board beyond one end. They are commonly done in order to create pieces that fit precisely into corner joints, as well as cabinets and drawers that fit perfectly together when assembled. Dado blades make quick work of this job due to their even depth across the blade set.

-Dovetails and box joints require multiple passes across a piece in order to create interlocking designs typically found on drawers and furniture elements such as legs and arms. Dado blades work well for these styles, since multiple passes can result in cleanly cut pieces with no gaps between them when finished products are assembled together correctly.

Maintenance and Care

When using any power tool, safety should always come first. The blades of dado blades must be regularly maintained and cared for to ensure that they can perform while minimizing the risk of injury. To ensure optimal performance and longevity of your dado blades set:

-Clean the saw table, throat plate slots, and inside the throat plate with a damp cloth before each use and check to make sure there is no debris on the blade before use.

-Keep blades store in a safe place that is away from heat and moisture to avoid rusting or warping.

-Regularly sharpen dado blades with an industrial sharpener or file. If you do not have access to a sharpener or file, consider using a stone wheel or wire wheel to sharpen your blade and prolong its life.

-Use only high-grade lubricants when lubricating saw parts to promote long term performance. This will help keep your blade lasting for years without needing repairs or replacing parts often, saving time and money in the long run.

-Inspect all cutting tools including dado blades prior to each use for signs of wear, damage or deterioration including missing teeth; if any defects are found replace it before use since they can cause kickback which may result in severe injury.

The Incredible Dado Blade


In conclusion, it is important to understand the different types of dado blades and what they can do for your woodworking projects. A traditional stacked dado blade set is a great tool to have in your workshop, as it can provide precise cuts when you need them. However, there are other types of blades available that may work better for certain projects or materials. Investing in a top-quality set or two of dado blades can pay off over time and should help you take your woodworking to the next level.

It is always important to read the instructions provided with each blade before getting started so that you can ensure safety and accuracy. In addition, wearing safety glasses and hearing protection should be worn at all times while using a table saw and its accompanying blades. With the right knowledge, practice and skill level, you will soon be able to confidently tackle even complex woodworking projects with ease.


How do I choose a dado blade?

When choosing a dado blade, consider the size and power of your table saw, the width and depth of the groove you want to cut, and the type of material you will be cutting.

How do you use dado blades on a table saw?

To use a dado blade on a table saw, you need to install the blade on the arbor and adjust the blade height and fence to the desired depth and width. Make sure to use a blade guard and push sticks for safety.

How do you set up a dado blade on a table saw?

To set up a dado blade on a table saw, you need to remove the regular blade and install the dado blade on the arbor. Adjust the blade height and fence to the desired depth and width, and make sure to test the setup before making the actual cut.

What are the two types of blades in a dado blade set?

The two types of blades in a dado blade set are the outside blades and the chippers. The outside blades are used to define the edges of the dado cut, while the chippers are used to remove the waste material between the cuts.

What is the best dado depth?

The best dado depth depends on the thickness of the material you are working with and the specific application. Generally, a dado depth of 1/3 to 1/2 the thickness of the material is recommended.

Can I use a 8 inch dado blade on a 10 inch table saw?

Yes, you can use an 8 inch dado blade on a 10 inch table saw, but you may need to use shims to adjust the arbor diameter to match the blade.

How many teeth should a dado blade have?

The number of teeth on a dado blade depends on the specific blade and application. A typical dado blade may have 24 to 40 teeth.

Can you put a dado blade on a regular table saw?

Yes, you can put a dado blade on a regular table saw, but make sure the saw has enough power and capacity to handle the blade and the material you are cutting.

Can you run a dado blade at an angle?

No, you should not run a dado blade at an angle. Dado cuts should be made perpendicular to the workpiece for accuracy and safety.

Which direction is a dado cut?

A dado cut is made across the grain of the workpiece, perpendicular to the length of the board.

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