Do you ever experience any woodworking projects? If yes, then there is a high chance of heard about “what is a dado blade” or “dado cut”. These blades are used for different purposes of interlocking joints like making bookshelves, cabinets, and so on.
From the exterior, dado might look very simple. But the truth is, its extraordinary feature lies in its accuracy and efficiency. However, this tool is ideal for creating different patterns in the wood.
Don’t be panic if you not use any dado blade before. Through this article, you will able to learn about the basics of this tool. With that, you can take the next step and learn how to use it.
What is a Dado Blade?
A dado is a type of circular blade used on a table saw or radial arm to cut precise and wide dado grooves. This wide dimension feature makes it possible to cut grooves for decorative intention.
Whenever you see interlocking pieces with wood, they’re often performed by dado blade. These interlocking grooves are commonly used in making door panels, cabinets, bookshelves, and many more pieces of furniture. To achieve the same wide groove, you can also use a clamp guide, router table, or miter saw. However, these methods are a bit hard to get wherein the dado blade cuts perfect joints and grooves in a quicker time.
Dado blades are specially designed for table saws. Keep one thing in mind, not all the table saws are suitable for a dado blade. So, before ordering check twice your saw’s specifications.
Different Variation of Dado Blade
There are two main types of dado blades available. Let’s take a closer look at these two types.
Stacked Dado Blade
Stacked dado blades come as a set of individual blades stacked together to make different types of a clean cut. Consisting of regular circular saw blades on both outer sides, and between them is a set of removal chipper blades. One way you can envision it like a sandwich saw blade.
If woodworker wants, they can modify the standard number of stacked dado blades. They may add more chipped blades and the maximum range is 1 to 6. As you can expect, the more you increase the number, the wide the width of the cut.
Just the subtraction and addition of chipper blades are not the only way to modify your tool. In fact, you can add “spacers” between the blades to customize the width for precision cutting and fine-tuning. These chipping blades usually have 2-4 teeth that are designed to chop out materials and clear debris.
On the contrary, the outer blades each have 18-40 carbide-tipped teeth. It means more teeth can deliver a smooth cutting edge.
The main beneficial part of this type of blade is offering precise groove. However, they’re quite expensive and popular as well due to their efficiency.
- Offer precise cutting
- Possible of a smooth narrow cut
- Quite Expensive
Wobble dado blades
A wobble dado blade consists of a single blade with an offset rotation. This special type of blade is made up of a single groove side-mounted on an adjustable center. This center permits the blade to “wobble” in a controlled way while it’s spinning.
So, now it might be clear that wobble dado blades don’t “wobble” in a way you might be expecting. Rather it sways back and forth to create curve “S” patterns within the plate width. However, the rotating motion is balanced by the two outer plates which eventually allow you to determine the width of the dado cut.
The angle of the wobble blade can be altered but the presence of angle is the biggest problem-the result is “inaccuracy”. Even making a flat square cut is very hard to create by using a single blade. Wobble dado blades also cause vibrations which might loosen components- this making them a less preferable choice.
On all the positive side is, the wobble dado blade is very reasonable in price and even you can adjust the width very easily.
- Reasonable price range
- Easily adjust the width
- Not provide accurate cutting.
- Vibration might cause dangerous issues.
Sizes of Dado Blade
Most craftsmen want to opt for the best dado blade sets. So, when it’s time for choosing the size, they start checking out what sizes are available in the market. Depending on the dado blade you’re using the size may vary.
Typically, most outer blades come with 8-10 inches in diameter, and thickness is 1/8 inch. This size is large enough not to make the whole cut rather create grooves.
After choosing your outer blade size, now it’s time for finding a suitable chipper blade. Chipper blades come in the following sizes,
- 4 1/8-inch thick
- 1 1/16-inch thick
- 1 3/32-inch thick
Meanwhile, the spacers come in the same above width even smaller size as well.
In most cases, choosing a wobble blade is quite easier even if you’re working with only one piece of material. Their blade size is similar to the outer blade size. So, it’s an easy job to do.
What are Dado Blades used for?
As the name refers, primarily dado blades are used to cut grooves in the wood. Especially when they retired to join board together like cabinets, drawers, bookshelves, etc.
Applying some finesse and practice, you can make a variety of groove cuts with these specialized blades. For instance: the dado blade could be used to create lap joints, and rabbet cuts as well. Beyond these straight cuts, dado blades’ work capability may be very limited.
As these blades can’t set at an angle, however, they can’t be used to make a dovetail cut. Meanwhile, all the blades are exclusively sized for cutting grooves purposes. That’s why; they’re not suitable for any type of through-cuts or rip cuts.
What Cuts can you make with a Dado Blade?
Typically, dado blades can create 4 types of cuts. Such as,
Dado’s joints are making by a 3-sided channel across the wood grain. They offer incredibly strong and high shear-resistant connections which enable you to fit the wood pieces before screwing, nailing, or gluing them together.
These joints are used to make cabinets, bookshelves, and the same kind where shelves must be attached to the frame. Even they’re commonly used in partitions, drawers, and various applications as well.
Tongue and Groove Joints
Tongue and groove joints are allowing the edge-to-edge joining of wood and remain aligned. This type of joint creates a strong bond and happens between the same materials such as wooden panels or floorboards.
As said, this joint allows the wood to contract and expand while retaining the integrity of the flat surface. Commonly they’re used to create parquetry, flooring, and paneling work.
Rabbet joint is similar to dado cuts and used to cut at the end of the workpiece. It requires mechanical strength to creating the work because it offers a better balance to earthward pressure and side-to-side movement.
Aesthetically, this joint creates a great visual effect and hides the presence of multiple pieces meaning-creating an illusion of single-piece work. However, they’re good to create back edges and cabinet tops.
The half-lap joint can be used either at the edge or middle of the wooden channel. This type of joints ensures you no additional thickness is included in cutting. Mostly this type is used to create dust-dividers and picture frames.
By now, you might have enough knowledge about what a dado blade is and how it works.
Undoubtedly, it’s a very handy woodworking tool to create firm and neat joints for different woodworking projects.
Now, the decision is yours of which dado blade is worth your work. If you’re using one, make sure you practice well before utilizing it in a commercial place.