Tablesaw sled for Dado blade

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Forum topic by Chad88 posted 12-05-2015 05:30 AM 3410 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 1354 days

12-05-2015 05:30 AM

Hello all, I’m new to wood working, I’ve used power tools before, but just to cut straight line’s. I just got a table saw, which I plan on building a workbench for later, but my first project is I want to build a sled for it. My question is all sleds I’ve seen fit close to the blade, no one has a wide gap for a Dado blade. Is their a specific reason? Should I build a good crosscut sled and a separate sled for when I want to use a Dado blade? Thanks for any replies!

15 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7443 posts in 2649 days

#1 posted 12-05-2015 06:48 AM

No reason why you can’t make a dado sled… only problem is that a dado stack can be made for different widths, so for example, one with a 3/4” slot will be too wide when using a 1/2” stack. I guess you could figure out a way to make a replaceable insert to solve that problem. I believe the reason most people don’t bother is that there really isn’t a pressing need for one with dados as they are non-through cuts, generally different widths, and are usually easily cut just using the fence or miter gauge for the occasional cross cut types. A good sled for your regular blade is well worth the effort though.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View EEngineer's profile


1120 posts in 4063 days

#2 posted 12-05-2015 11:10 AM

There are a few reasons to use a sled. The best reasons I can see are to reduce the chance of kickback when crosscutting and to make right angle cuts with more stability than the small miter accessories that usually come with a saw.

I agree with MrUnix, the chance of kickback on a dado cut is much smaller. I have never experienced any kickback on a dado cut. I think the worst risk would be cutting a warped panel that might lift off the table while cutting a dado.

There are other ways to deal with crosscut problems (adding an extension to the miter accessory, for instance) and I use them.

I have a small sled (only fits in one miter slot to the left of the blade, ~18” wide) that I only use for small pieces that I don’t feel safe cutting right on the table but I never saw the need for the big behemoths that I see others construct here. The biggest problem I have with them is storage – where the hell do you put them in a small shop when they aren’t being used?

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Chad88's profile


10 posts in 1354 days

#3 posted 12-05-2015 11:36 AM

I know that is my problem, I don’t have much space for everything. So I’m trying to plan out a good work bench that will have room for everything. That is one reason why I didn’t want to make 2 sleds. I mean, I don’t see a reason why you can make a good cross cut sled, but make the blade slot big enough for a Dado blade. I did find a small sled that I plan on building. The only time I really plan on using a Dado blade is cutting finger/box joints. And occasionally slots for a T track. I’m not sure if the picture will show up, but I attached an image of the small box joint sled I found that I think would be perfect for what I’m looking to do.

View nkawtg's profile


289 posts in 1701 days

#4 posted 12-05-2015 12:05 PM

I built a Dado sled for a saw I used to own because it was too difficult to obtain or make an insert for it. It was a good solution for the few times I needed to use a dado blade.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1326 posts in 2385 days

#5 posted 12-05-2015 02:25 PM

In my opinion, you’ll need a separate sled for dados and regular single kerf blades. If you have a dado sled with a big ole slot cut out, it won’t really serve its purpose when you have a single blade on there. It won’t prevent tear out and you’ll only know where your cut will end on one side of the blade. I guess it depends on how you use it, but to me it is worth having two sleds.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Chad88's profile


10 posts in 1354 days

#6 posted 12-05-2015 02:33 PM

Ok, gotcha. I didn’t know the purpose of the having the blade slot fit so close. I’m going to just make two sleds, it sounds like it’ll be a lot easier on me.

View knotscott's profile


8302 posts in 3826 days

#7 posted 12-05-2015 02:50 PM

There are several philosophies and types of sleds. One of the benefits of a sled is to catch the cutoff so it doesn’t drop and diminish the accuracy of the cut at the end. Since dado cuts aren’t through cuts, you don’t have to worry about the cutoff piece, so you don’t need the sled to straddle the blade, which means you can make the sled to fit to one side of the blade and not have to worry about the size of the slot.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View builtinbkyn's profile


2942 posts in 1391 days

#8 posted 12-05-2015 03:01 PM

There are sled designs that use a removable/replaceable throat plate. They can be used with a dado stack as well as a zero clearance blade. There’s a few on YT. I think someone here may have posted one too.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View Chad88's profile


10 posts in 1354 days

#9 posted 12-05-2015 11:40 PM

I can’t make to big of a sled for now, I have a Ryobi saw on a stand. Hopefully in the next couple weeks I can get a workbench to support it.

View xeddog's profile


244 posts in 3457 days

#10 posted 01-13-2016 07:11 PM

Shopnotes had a plan for a sled with an adjustable width slot so you had a “Zero Clearance” slot for standard blades and dado sets as well. I don’t remember the particular issue it was it though.


View xeddog's profile


244 posts in 3457 days

#11 posted 01-13-2016 07:22 PM

Well How about that! After posting my last, I went and checked my email. In my inbox was the latest video edition from Woodsmith (now merged with Shopnotes), and there they are using the sled. So if you want to see it, just dolly on over to the Woodsmith Video edition #110.


View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2560 days

#12 posted 01-13-2016 07:45 PM

If you need a narrower kerf in your dado sled in the future, just drop a 1/4” MDF subfloor in and drive a few short screws.

Need a narrower kerf again? Just unscrew and slide the half on the arbor nut side over to meet the other, and move the screws to a new place… The side of the kerf that meets the dado half that rides against the inside of the arbor shaft won’t change, you only need to move one side of the subfloor.

View lateralus819's profile


2243 posts in 2340 days

#13 posted 01-14-2016 01:51 AM

I made a good sled and ended up using it for dados. I seem to need it more for that than regular cuts.

I did was Oggie suggested. Just screwed down a scrap piece of plywood.

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1170 posts in 2981 days

#14 posted 01-14-2016 06:35 AM


If you are wanting to cut finger/box joints, you will need a dedicated sled for that purpose, separate from a normal crosscut sled. You referenced a picture which didn’t show up, but normally a box joint sled is set up and adjusted for a very specific dado width.

For other uses of a dado set, you typically don’t need a dedicated sled.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Rick  Dennington's profile (online now)

Rick Dennington

6601 posts in 3644 days

#15 posted 01-14-2016 03:23 PM


If you want a crosscut sled that’ll do both single blade and dado cuts, go to my Projects page and check out the one I built a while back….It has all the bells and whistles you’ll need to do the job right….From a single saw blade to an opening of 1”, you can do any size dado you need….Fitted with a Kreg top runner, stops, and measuring tape, it fits the bill….One sled does it all…

-- " At my age, happy hour is a 2 hour nap".....!!

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