A Great Dado set..regardless of the price!

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Review by Brad_Nailor posted 07-04-2010 01:07 AM 9605 views 2 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A Great Dado set..regardless of the price! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I know this dado set has been reviewed a few times but I just wanted to put up my two cents about this set. I got it for a great price from Rockler..I paid about $70 bucks with shipping. The box it comes in is nothing to write home about…in almost every review I have read on this set, the reviewer comments on the crappy box, but then I care more about whats in the box..I can make a damn box…OK I’m getting side tracked…here is what it looks like..

So I went out and purchased another blank zero clearance insert to use with the dado set. I know alot of guys make their own from scrap..but I like the Leecraft inserts..they are well made, slicker and stiffer than MDF or plywood and fit perfectly. So the first task was to saddle up all the blades and cutters and cut the insert out. The blades all fit very snugly on the arbor but that’s a good thing…you just have to get them perfectly flat before they slide on. I ended up having to leave the washer off to get enough threads to tighten things down properly (the instructions advised doing this least three full threads tightening). I clamped a board across the insert and slowly plunged the dado set up till it stopped. The insert cut perfectly…but it is a little scary hearing all those blades whirring around! So after I cut the insert I of course shoved some plywood right through the blades to see the cut quality. Here are some close up shots..

Here is a cut with and across the grain of some $50.00 a sheet HD birch ply, with a really thin veneer.

Overall, I think the cut quality is excellent. The bottom is flat with no grooves in it, the edges with the grain are perfect, and the cross grain edges are very good..a tiny bit “fuzzy” but definitely acceptable. The long horizontal crack is a plywood defect. You also see the score marks across the groove. The outside blades have an edge ground on them to help minimize tear out. These grooves were cut with the full stack of blades/chippers..and it measures 7/8” perfectly.

I then attempted to make a dado that a piece of plywood could fit into perfectly. I used a caliper to measure my ply and it was 11/16” thick. I then looked at the handy chart in the instructions and it told me to use the two outside blades, three 1/8” and one 1/16” chipper. I put this together and I could tell with my calipers that it was going to come up I added a .015, and a .020 shim (a whole bunch of metal shims are included) to the stack. That gave me a perfect 11/16”. Here are some close ups of that test dado..

This was a really tight fit..not so tight I had to force it, but tight enough that it will stay together..

Again the edge quality is excellent..I purposely cut this one long across the grain and it looks great. The bottom is flat, the outside corners of the groove are nice and square, no ridges..just a really nice dado.

Overall, I give this dado set 5 stars. I have used crappy wobbles, and I have used $300.00 Amana and Forrest sets, and the Oshlun set is up their with the high end sets. I have yet to try it in hardwood, but I suspect it will perform just as well…plywood is allot fussier to dado than hardwood. I am going to test this set out in the next months..I have to build a vanity for my bathroom and I am going to be taking on a large custom closet job for a friend…so I see allot of dados in my future!


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26 comments so far

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 4045 days

#1 posted 07-04-2010 03:34 AM

Thanks for the review, I have a crappy 6” craftsman set and it really sucks, groovey cuts and lotts of tearout.
I have been dreaming of a good set and it is nice to hear there is a value out there. By the way I agree about the box, who cares, for $300 I expect a nice plastic case with a diamond crusted handle. But for $70 and another $10 for wood and glue I will use this to help build nice container, probably even put the instruction sheet in a plastic sleeve too.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View DrewM's profile


176 posts in 3845 days

#2 posted 07-04-2010 03:38 AM

Thanks for the review, I have been really thinking about picking up this dado set.

-- Drew, Delaware

View PurpLev's profile


8584 posts in 4495 days

#3 posted 07-04-2010 03:54 AM

I must say – the cut quality IS excellent indeed. If I didn’t have a dado blade, this would be my set of choice. it looks very well made from all that I’ve seen of it.
Congratulations, and thanks for the review- even though it was reviewed before – the more the better as it adds credibility to the product and to the other reviews.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jim's profile


150 posts in 4168 days

#4 posted 07-04-2010 04:06 AM

I agree. Great dado stack, I’ve never had any complaints of them in the year or so I’ve had mine.

-- -- Jim - Kokomo, Indiana

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 4024 days

#5 posted 07-04-2010 04:15 AM

I was wondering about this blade. My local Menards had it for right around $50.00.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 4205 days

#6 posted 07-04-2010 04:35 AM

Great review!! I have this dado set and I love it. Admittedly, this was my first dado set,so I don’t have a lot to compare it to, but I was really pleased with it. The $70 delivered price is very good and the $50 at Menards is fantastic.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 4081 days

#7 posted 07-04-2010 05:38 AM

I like using mine as well, the only downside being that if I crank up the width to 3/4” my poor lightweight table saw does not like it.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View LONGHAIR's profile


94 posts in 4661 days

#8 posted 07-04-2010 02:53 PM

Nice review, but I am a bit curious about cutting your ZCI out to the maximum width of the set?
How often do you (or anyone else for that matter) actually use it at that width? It is now ruined as a true ZCI for anything but that max cut. Wouldn’t it be better to only “open it up” as needed?
I have a few for my PM66, one exclusively for 1/4” and the others can be changed to what ever size required, but I make my own, so it’s not so costly.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5065 days

#9 posted 07-04-2010 04:34 PM

Nice review, David. I have the same set, but in the 6” version. The quality of cut with it is excellent also. So anyone not planning to make extremely deep cuts, and who wants to save a few bucks, might want to think about the 6” set as an option.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PurpLev's profile


8584 posts in 4495 days

#10 posted 07-04-2010 04:44 PM

LONGHAIR: since these are not through cuts, the safety issues that the zero clearance is answering are irrelevant. the only concern which I’m not sure how significant it is – is that one side of the dado is not supported/backed during the cut which may potentially leave some tearouts/fuzz.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3990 days

#11 posted 07-04-2010 04:47 PM

Charlie, what is the max depth on the 6” set?

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5065 days

#12 posted 07-04-2010 06:44 PM

Nailbanger… I don’t know exactly off the top of my head, but it’s way over 1”, which is more than anything I use it for.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3990 days

#13 posted 07-04-2010 06:49 PM

Thanks Charlie. Being most of any dadoes I will ever cut will be in 3/4” plywood, I would have to agree with you. It would also stand to reason there would be less stress on the table saw, no?

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4116 days

#14 posted 07-04-2010 07:35 PM

I would agree in total with this review as I have had this set for several years and it has given me excellent service. Even after some serious usage, I still get clean fairly chip free cuts and the blades have stayed very straight. I believe I got this from my local rockler dealer on sale also….I don’t exactly remember what I paid…but I d remember looking at a forrest set and wishing the price was the same as this set. All in all the forrest set is probably better…but as you state in your review…this is a darn good set for the cost.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View LONGHAIR's profile


94 posts in 4661 days

#15 posted 07-05-2010 12:35 AM

PurpLev, that was my point. I wasn’t concerned about the safety aspect, as in off cuts falling through, just cut quality.

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