Tenryu Gold Medal Dado Not Exactly What I Had Hoped For.

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Review by Russ Anderson posted 10-20-2009 05:48 PM 7913 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Tenryu Gold Medal Dado Not Exactly What I Had Hoped For. Tenryu Gold Medal Dado Not Exactly What I Had Hoped For. No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This is a brief review of the Tenryu GMD.

First Impression: The blades look of extremely high quality with thick bodies.

Box: I personally don’t like the wood box because you have to lift out all of the chippers in order to get to the outer blades.

Cut Quality: The side blades are excellent in MDF, and Plywood core veneers, as well as melamine. The bottom of the dado is the flattest, smoothest that I have seen. I’ve owned two previous dado sets, one from Systi-Matic, and one from Amana.

Setup: Setup is a little different than I’m used to. First, there isn’t a set of missing teeth, or over sized gap in the outer blades to put the teeth from the chippers. The negative, which is a big deal for me, there isn’t much room for shims! You either set it up with shims and then end up removing thin slivers inside your dado, or you make multiple passes. Neither of which works for me. The teeth aren’t quite as wide as I’m used to and that’s why I was left with the thin strip of wood between chippers. The shim that I used was apparently wider than the allowance. There are a few dimensions that are NOT possible. I’ve added an image of the dimensions that I took from the chippers. There are of course two 1/8” chippers but they were identical. According to Tenryu the kerf tolerance is -.004”.

I have contacted Forrest Saw Blades about replacing the teeth on the chippers. In the mean time I will use the chippers from the Amana set. It seems like the folks at Tenryu worked out the dimensions on paper, and never used the set for common sheet good dimensions.

Conclusion: This is a high quality set that delivers amazing quality in the cut. I’m really glad that I have another set, and that I didn’t pay for this one. If this was my only set and I had paid $250 + for it I would be rather upset.

Update I liked this set enough to have the carbide on the chippers replaced with wider carbide. This allows me to shim to my hearts content without leaving slivers of wood in the dado.

-- Russ

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Russ Anderson

46 posts in 4129 days

15 comments so far

View dustyal's profile


1319 posts in 4276 days

#1 posted 10-20-2009 06:19 PM

I’m looking around for a dado set and I appreciate your comments. I have this set on my list but I don’t know if the lack of shims would be a problem for me. My “table saw” is only 9 amps so I get a little concerned about weight of a dado. The arbor is long enough—I think. So I want to get a good dado set that I can use on this saw if I can… eventually I will get a new saw that would enjoy a better dado set… that make sense?

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

731 posts in 4419 days

#2 posted 10-20-2009 06:27 PM

Not being able to use shims would be a deal breaker for me. I have yet to use a dado set that I didn’t have to shim.

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4622 days

#3 posted 10-20-2009 06:47 PM

Thanks for the review. At this price the dado set is obviously a quality product but I rarely make dado cuts without hading to add shims. And I agree that having to clean up the dado after making a cut would be an annoyance to me as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Russ Anderson's profile

Russ Anderson

46 posts in 4129 days

#4 posted 10-20-2009 07:32 PM

I haven’t contacted Tenryu about what is typically done for shim conditions but there definitely isn’t room in between the chippers or the blades. I’ll send them an email and post my findings.

-- Russ

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4071 days

#5 posted 10-20-2009 09:30 PM

Great review…great information…..I will definitely like to see what Tenryu says about the shims….I have dabbled with the thought of trying some of their blades as they are a little less then the forrest blades and are supposed to be of similar quality.

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

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Russ Anderson

46 posts in 4129 days

#6 posted 10-20-2009 09:33 PM

Hopefully they will be able to provide a solution. The dado is amazingly clean. You can’t even tell where the stack transitioned between chippers. It cuts a grove that looks like it was milled by a single blade of that width. I’ve already emailed them and will hopefully hear back in the next day or two.

-- Russ

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1107 posts in 4608 days

#7 posted 10-21-2009 03:26 PM

I have a 10” Tenryu combo blade on my table saw. Hands down – It is the best blade that I’ve ever used. Sharpening is just not an issue. I’ve been using for 2-1/2 years now!!! Needs no sharpening!!!

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View Russ Anderson's profile

Russ Anderson

46 posts in 4129 days

#8 posted 10-21-2009 05:40 PM

Here was the response that I had from Tenryu in regards to shims.

“The main outer blades have zero clearance, but there is some clearance between the chippers. These are only places where shims can be used. Unfortunately, this may not be a solution for combinations of zero or single chipper used with the main blades.There are a couple of manufacturers offering special dados for undersized plywood, but our is not designed for that.”

I asked them what the clearance was between chippers but haven’t heard back yet.

-- Russ

View a1Jim's profile


118079 posts in 4378 days

#9 posted 10-21-2009 05:50 PM

View Bothus's profile


443 posts in 3977 days

#10 posted 10-21-2009 08:16 PM

Thanks for the review. I don’t do a lot of dadoing but it was interesting reading since I have been thinking about buying a Tenryu blade.

Socal wood: Don’t leave me hanging! You can’t make a comment like that without telling me the story behind.

Send me a private message if need be.


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View hjt's profile


906 posts in 3939 days

#11 posted 10-23-2009 07:54 PM

Socalwood – sorry to hear that Tenryu treated you as such. When I and Pete worked for them I can guarantee you would have been happy with the service.

Unless they have changed their business plan, they sell through specialty stores via independent reps, however – you can contact them directly. Again, this is back when I worked for them in 2001.

Even though I really wasn’t into wood working back them, I can tell you from what I learned…. Tenryu makes a superior blade. Now that I am getting into woodworking (read my bio) I’ve already located my Tenryu dealer.

-- Harold

View rustfever's profile


793 posts in 4111 days

#12 posted 10-24-2009 05:04 PM

I have an old Dado set that was included with the ca. 1950’s Dewalt Radial Arm saw, gifted to me in 1972. it is adjustable with most anything. I frequently use business card stock or even typing paper. It work just fine. I’ve only had it sharpened a half dozen times over the last nearly 40 years. Of course, only really used it just a few time, too. I used it just a few months ago. Still works good. Crisp edges, flat bottom. Maximum width of cut, using card-stock shims is .9375” [15/16”]
The old stuff never wears out.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4675 days

#13 posted 10-24-2009 05:49 PM

I’m with socialwood – no Tenryu in my shop.

I went to a local supplier to buy a Freud Glue-Line Rip, and the salesman talked me into a Tenryu rip blade. If I liked the Freud, I was going to love the Tenryu: it was so much better I’d never look back. It cost twice as much as the Freud and cut like an Oldham combo blade. My local supplier said, “sorry, we don’t take back used saw blades.” and Tenryu said, “that’s not our problem” when I called. I went and bought a Freud and threw the Tenryu in the trash, and I don’t use Tenryu or that supplier anymore.

With regard to this dado set, the whole idea of a dado is getting a groove or dado the thickness you need, and that almost always means slightly over or under the intended measurement. The woodworker said to the machinist: “Sure, you may be accurate to .001”, but I have to be dead-on.”

-- -- --

View Bothus's profile


443 posts in 3977 days

#14 posted 10-26-2009 03:51 PM

Thanks for the explanation Socalwood.

Peter O, you are the first person I have heard say they didn’t like the way the Tenyru cut.

Thanks for the input guys.


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View Russ Anderson's profile

Russ Anderson

46 posts in 4129 days

#15 posted 10-27-2009 06:18 PM

After further research I felt it necessary to post a new review for this set. Click here!

-- Russ

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