Dado Blades – The Beginners’ Guide of the Dado Blade


Do you have a woodworking project that requires making grooves or joints? That is where dado blades come into play since they can perform those tasks accurately and quickly.

This article provides a complete guide to dado blades for novices. If you don’t have previous experience with this accessory, you will now discover all its basics. That includes potential applications, different types, as well as how you can use this blade.
Once you finish reading, you will be ready to make grooves and joints on your shelves, cupboards, and other woodworking projects.

Section 1 What Is a Dado Blade?

A dado blade closeup
Caption: A dado blade closeup

Dado blades are a subcategory of circular saw blades designed to do specific tasks. Those tasks include cutting grooves and joints in wooden applications. That ensures these units have a high versatility level. Users can apply them when making slots for two parts to come together, such as drawer bottoms or sides, shelves, door panels, etc.

1.1 What type of saw uses a dado blade?

A table saw is the tool compatible with a dado blade. However, the compatibility will depend on the specifics of the saw and the blade. That is why you should compare the measurements and ensure they fit each other.

Section 2 Are All Dado Blades the Same?

The market offers two different types of these tools:

  • Stacked dado blade set
  • Wobble dado blade

Apart from the types, you will also find these units in different sizes. The standard size is 6-7 inches, while bigger tools have a diameter of up to ten inches.

2.1 Stacked Dado Blade Set

As the word suggests, a stacked dado blade features a series of blades packed together to design a big blade. This tool consists of several layers – the central one includes chipper blades that you can remove. It is possible to adjust the number of teeth to four or more, depending on the task that you need to find. On the outer sections, you will find stacked blades.

If you want extra precision, it is possible to go for a blade interspersion strategy by adding spacers. These units are a usual accessory in a dado saw blade. The material used is plastic or metal.

2.2 Wobble Dado Blade

A wobble dado blade is not as standard as its stacked alternative. The specific thing about these units is that they have an offset rotation. Even though there are no multiple blades, it is possible to achieve similar results to stacked counterparts.

The name of these blades comes because they sway while operating. That reminds some people of wobbling, which is why they received the name wobble dado blade. You can adjust the desired cut by setting the blade’s sides. It is not easy to operate a wobble unit since it is prone to vibration while in action. That is why beginners steer clear of them.

Section 3 What is the purpose of Dado blades is?

Wooden components joined with glue
Caption: Wooden components joined with glue

While you are setting up a drawer, you might need to connect two components. If you want to tie those two pieces, it is imperative to create woodworking joints. That is where dado blades come into play.

Besides drawers, people often use a dado blade for dividers, bookshelves, cabinets, cupboards, and any other woodworking project that requires cutting grooves. Professionals might get by without a dado unit. Using a clamp guide or a miter saw can achieve the same results. However, many appreciate the simplicity of using a dado blade, and they prefer it for cutting grooves.

Section 4 How Does a Dado Blades Work?

If you are using a dado stack, check out the blades on the outer side. You will notice that there are more teeth than in the main chipper blades.

The difference compared to a standard table saw is that there should be an outer blade on the stack’s sides. It would help if you didn’t change these blades since that will compromise the operation. One of them is facing the outside, and you should turn the other one to the inside.

Now, the central blade will have fewer teeth. It is possible to adjust how many blades you want in the middle. That will affect the cut’s width. Once you are ready, activate the tool and start cutting.

Section 5 How to Use a Dado Blades

Is it your first time using a dado blade? These are the steps to follow to ensure nothing goes wrong:

Before mounting a dado blade, turn off the table saw you are using. Make sure it is unplugged and disconnect it for your safety.

Place the blade on its highest possible adjustment. Remove the arbor washer and nut, as well as the throat plate. Finally, disconnect the blade you want to replace with the dado unit.

Insert an outer blade that is facing out first. Next, place the desired spacers and chippers in the middle to get the preferred setup. Finally, place the outer blade on the other side of the unit.

Ass the arbor washer and nut, and don’t forget to use a dado throat plate. Now, lower the blade.

Check if the flange, nut, and washer are mounted entirely on the tool’s arbor. Once you tighten the arbor, you should be able to expand it past the nut.

If using a dado blade set, it is critical to check if you have the desired configuration. The teeth on both the central chippers and outer blades should be staggered, and you should avoid aligning them since it can lead to chipping.

If you use a radial-arm saw instead of a table unit, the only difference is the blade guard. You should remove it instead of the throat plate, and don’t forget to use a guard for the dado unit.

Section 6 What Joints Can You Make with a Dado Blades?

Types of joints to make with a dado blade
Caption: Types of joints to make with a dado blade

An integral part of woodworking is joinery. It is a process where you connect multiple components. Before you use adhesives, bindings, or fasteners, it is essential to cut joints. You do that with a table saw dado blade.

The joints can vary in structure significantly. Check out the most common joint types below.

6.1 What are the joints?

A joint is a junction between multiple components of a framed structure. You will often find it in cabinetmaking and carpentry projects. The purpose of a joint is to connect two parts and hold them in place. The connection strength must be optimal and capable of holding on for long.

6.2 Dado and Groove Joints

Woodworkers often go with dado joints because they are easy to make with these blades, and they maintain a strong connection between the components.

Here is how a dado joint works – you start by making a channel with three sides in the first part. That channel goes across the wood’s grain, and that is where you place the other components into the groove. The connection strength is maximum because it utilizes three locations, and you also have extra space if you want to use glue.

Users often use these joints for shelves, bookcases, and cabinets.

6.3 Rabbet Joints

You can use a dado blade for a table saw to create a rabbet joint. It is where you make a groove along the component’s edge. Thanks to that, you can connect parts flush with an element. You should receive a wooden application with a lip that goes into that groove.

The great thing about rabbet joints is that they don’t make the connection obvious. It seems like components are from a single part, making them great for cabinet tops and other applications.

Check out this video that will tell you more about cutting dadoes and rabbets with a dado stack.

6.4 Tongue-and-Groove Joints

You use these joints when you need to connect wood components on a single level. Users make a groove in one board to place the tongue protruding from the other component.

Tongue-and-groove joints are an excellent choice for parquetry, paneling, and flooring projects. Their main application is whenever you need to keep a flat surface while bonding multiple wooden components.

6.5 Half-Lap Joints

If the project requires connecting wooden components that cross each other, this joint will help maintain their faces flush. It is better to use this joint that a miter saw.

The method involves cutting 50% of the thickness of the wooden components to connect. Once you do that, you connect them to create a flat surface. You might need to add glue for an extra bond.

Section 7 How to Choose the Right Dado Blades Set?

The best dado blade is the one that fits the specific requirements of your project. It is why you should know how to pick a suitable unit.

Here are the factors to consider in the process:

7.1 Size

You can pick between the following cut widths – from 7/8 or 13/16 to ¼.” A standard-sized blade is adjustable to fit different widths.

Apart from that, consider the diameter, which can go from six to ten inches or more. The reason why the diameter is important is that it determines cut depth. The bigger it is, the deeper the cut will be. The price difference isn’t that big, and having a large blade can be useful because you will have additional depth options available.

7.2 Scoring blades

If we say scoring blades, we are discussing the cut quality with the desired tool. The scoring blades are on the outside of the unit, and they can vary in the number of teeth and their geometry and configuration.

The configuration includes beveled teeth, but you will also find flat raker units between them. You will find the beveled teeth pointing outside, and that is because they only cut one shoulder. The number of teeth can be anywhere from 11 to 40 or more, and it is up to you to find the desired option for your project.

7.3 Tooth geometry

The teeth shape can determine the cut specifics and quality. You want to consider a hook angle, which can vary from -5 degrees to 30 or more degrees. The standard seems to be 20 degrees. You will find that this angle is the tooth’s position’s position to the blade’s center.

Some tools even have a negative hook angle, and it can be beneficial when cutting plywood. If you don’t want to chip along the shoulder, you will benefit from this unit.

7.4 Chippers

The chippers have an important task of eliminating the waste between the scoring blades. Thanks to that, they ensure a flat surface. It is why their teeth are flat, too.

Please note that chippers don’t have anything to do with a shoulder cut. It means you don’t need as many teeth per blade, but you can pick between two and six. The bigger number of teeth on the chipper ensures a flatter surface on various applications.

7.5 Numbers

The more chippers you have, the longer the cut will be. You want to consider the number of chippers, which can be from two to six. An affordable deal might be going with three units that have a moderate width.

When it comes to the width, you won’t find wider ones than 1/8.” However, you will often find chippers available in 1/16 and 3/32.”

7.6 Shims

You can use these spacers between the blades to achieve a higher level of precision and accuracy. That can be useful when you are aiming for cuts that might not be that standard. If the need comes to tailor the blade to the application’s specifics, you can do that with shims.

If you look at shims, they are discs made of steel, brass, plastic, or paper. Their task is to determine the cut size to the smallest detail by putting the arbor between the chippers and the outside blades.

7.7 The bottom line.

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all formula. Make sure to consider the desired application, and pick a dado blade set accordingly. It would help if you began by assessing the features you need. Once you establish that, it will be easy to find a suitable tool.

You might need different types and sizes of dado blades for various applications. That is why you should go for the most versatile setup possible. Alternatively, you can acquire multiple blades to be ready for every project type in the future.

Section 8 Dado Blades– 6 Inch Dado Blade VS 8 Inch Dado Blade

Are you wondering if you should use a small, standard, or large dado blade? The truth is it all depends on the desired project. Thanks to these units’ various configurations, they are incredibly versatile and adjustable to any cutting width and material thickness.

For example, you can use a 6-inch dado blade for materials where you don’t need a too wide cut. On the other hand, an 8-inch dado blade is considered the standard size in the industry. These can achieve a decent cut width since they have a larger diameter. Ultimately, you should pick the unit that fits your project’s requirements.

Section 9 Dado Blades– Answers to the Common Problems

We gathered answers to the most common questions people ask about the dado blade. Check them out if you want to learn more about these tools!

9.1 Is a Dado Blade Necessary for Woodworking Projects?

It is not necessary for woodworking projects, but it can make your job easier in many situations. If you need to cut joints used to join two wooden components together, a dado blade can do a reliable job. Although it is not required, many operators trust this blade to deliver optimal performance whenever cutting joints.

9.2 Can I Install a Dado Blade Myself?

It shouldn’t be a problem to set up a dado blade if you follow the article’s instructions. Alternatively, check the manual you received with the product to safely discover how to place the blade on the tool. Always stay safe while operating, and don’t forget about wearing protective goggles and other safety equipment

9.3 Is Using a Dado Blade on a Circular Saw Dangerous?

Dado blades are compatible with radial-arm and table saws. That means you should avoid using them on circular and handheld tools! If you do that, you will compromise your safety. You don’t want to risk getting injured or something else going wrong while operating, so make sure not to use a dado blade on circular saws.

9.4 Can Any Table Saw Use Dado Blades?

No, not all table saws are compatible with a dado blade. Additionally, your table saw might not be able to fit all sizes of dado units. For example, some tables can fit an 8-inch dado blade, but cannot accommodate bigger items. Always check the details of both the tool and the cutter to ensure they are compatible.


Dado blades are not allowed in the European Union stores because they don’t meet the IEC and EN standards. That is why you might have problems acquiring them from shops around Europe.

NCCuttingTools is a manufacturer that provides a wide range of saw blades and customized services. The skillful staff and superb equipment can fulfill even the most demanding requests in a short timeframe. Feel free to get in touch to discuss your saw blade needs!

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