Is this dangerous?

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Forum topic by DonJ posted 09-03-2010 07:39 PM 1320 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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251 posts in 4032 days

09-03-2010 07:39 PM

I have an odd dado width that would require one main dado blade and one chipper.

The “safer” alternative is to use a regular blade and then slightly move the fence.

Has anyone tried the first procedure? Just curious. Thanks.

-- Don, San Antonio, TX

13 replies so far

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3347 days

#1 posted 09-03-2010 07:50 PM

I’ve never tried that. I have had to use just the two outside cutter blades before. Is that too wide?


View TominTexas's profile


42 posts in 3341 days

#2 posted 09-03-2010 07:58 PM

Don – your instincts are correct – the “safer” alternative is the way to proceed. Running a dado head without both outside blades in place is dangerous as well as producing an inferior cut. The outside cutters create the walls (left and right) of the groove while chippers remove interior material. With only one primary blade, the side with just the chipper will produce a ragged and irregular wall on that side of your groove and the spinning head will be out of balance and unpredictable (the dangerous part).

Use your standard blade and move the fence a bit – make a test cut or two on a piece of scrap and you can dial in perfect fit.


-- East Side of Big D

View patron's profile


13653 posts in 3846 days

#3 posted 09-03-2010 08:03 PM

if it is centered ,
i cut from one side ,
and then the other ,
makes it perfect center .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3685 days

#4 posted 09-04-2010 02:05 AM

Tom’s on the money with this one. Never used a dado without the two blades

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3332 days

#5 posted 09-04-2010 02:24 AM

How about the two outter blades, with a spacer.. no chippers?

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 4292 days

#6 posted 09-04-2010 04:26 AM

Both outside blades, with or without spacer is fine. Off set the teeth so they do not interfere with each other.


-- Go

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3579 days

#7 posted 09-04-2010 04:50 AM

Personally, I would not consider using a dado stack without both end pieces.

I have often cut dados by making multiple passes with a regular saw blade and that is what I would recommend.

As an FYI, this procedure is a little easier if you have a kerfmaker. Search this site for information on kerfmakers. Most people make their own and there are a variety of styles to consider.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3488 days

#8 posted 09-04-2010 04:55 AM

Is this odd size requiring you to use the 1/8” outer blade and the 1/16” chipper or the 1/32” chipper? If so you may want to make the first pass with the 1/8” blade and then reset the fence a 1/16” or 1/32” to finish the dado. I assume that the reason for the odd size is for glass or Plexiglas to be set in.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View DonJ's profile


251 posts in 4032 days

#9 posted 09-04-2010 05:08 AM

Thanks for all of the support for doing things the right way. I did in fact change out the dado blade and used my regular blade and then moved the fence over. You all have a good night.

-- Don, San Antonio, TX

View rance's profile


4271 posts in 3665 days

#10 posted 09-04-2010 07:11 AM

Yep, not a good idea with the chipper on the outside. Me personally, I’d stack two identical 7 1/4” circ. blades to get thinner than 1/4”.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4153 days

#11 posted 09-04-2010 07:15 AM

chippers are not designed to cut. they are designed to clear waste between 2 already cut lines. so it would be a bad idea in all aspects to try that cut with the half dado setup. just use a regular blade, cut, realign fence, widen cut with a 2nd cut.

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

View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 3417 days

#12 posted 09-04-2010 07:19 AM

More dangerous than pooping over a live well,haha. Night Don.

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View derosa's profile


1597 posts in 3340 days

#13 posted 09-04-2010 07:35 AM

for a similar cut I took 2 pieces of scrap 3/4” plywood the length of my fence and a little taller and screwed them to a piece of wood the width of the fence so that they sat over the fence and locked the whole piece into place with a clamp at the end. I then moved the fence so one side of plywood was just over the dado blade (3/8” thick) and slowly brought the blade up into the plywood. This allowed for a cut that was thinner then just the two outer dado blades together but thicker then a standard blade.

-- A posse ad esse

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