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Dado Blade Basics

The dado blade stack is actually a number of circular blades stacked atop one another to form a wide cutting area. Use this guide to cut precise dados.

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dado blades are stacked together

Dado cuts are used in cabinet construction to create slots for shelves to be installed. Cutting dados properly requires precision measurements.

Dado blades are stacked together and ride on a gearing system. The gearing is attached to a dial that permits the user to adjust the blades to create cuts of varying thickness. The stack of blades is loaded into the arbor of a table saw in place of the table-saw blade.

Dado blades must be used with a custom throat plate on the table saw. The custom plate is made with 1/2"-thick plywood cut to fit the blade opening on the saw. To create a custom plate, countersink about four small magnets in the bottom of the throat plate so that the throat will lie flush with the table saw. Use the dado blades to cut their own slot through the throat plate. To protect your hands, hold a scrap piece of wood over the throat plate while making the cut.

To make a dado cut with dado blades on a table saw, pass the work piece through the blades at the point where you want the cut. Continue making passes until the cut reaches the desired width.