If you want to take your woodworking skills to the next level, you should begin to learn the art of making dadoes. There are several ways to make dadoes, and there are several tools you can use to create one. The commonly used tools for making dado include the router, router table, and table saw.
If you want to make dado using the table saw, you will soon discover that the use of the table saw comes with limitations. But the table saw is easy to set up, and for this reason, it is one of the most exciting tools to make dadoes. In this post, you will learn more about the dado jigs that you can use for your table saws.
Most Recommended Table Saw Dado Jig
Dado jigs for table saws come in a wide variety and brands. So, when choosing one, you may end up a bit confused as to which to choose. To facilitate the selecting process for you, you can check out the following most recommended dado jig for the table saw:
MATCHFIT Dado Stop Pro
If you want an excellent dado jig for a table saw, you can check out the MATCHFIT Dado Stop Pro. This dado jig uses the unique blade kerf and material (actual inlay) to get the measurement of the cut. It is easy to set up and does away with the need to measure, make test cuts, and wrestle with many shims and blades of dado blades set. Moreover, you won’t need any dado blade to cut dadoes.
When cutting dado, you would typically need to set up, measure, and test carefully. Because of the difficulty of making dadoes, the MATCHFIT Dado Stop Pro got conceived. It is a carefully thought of dado jig that offers a better way to make dado. It provides an intuitive design that allows for flawless cuts without measuring, marking, testing, and saw blade’s changes.
This dado jig can cut up to 13/16″ dado, including the blade kerf-s sizes. Thus, if the kerf of the blade is 1/8″, you can add up 2/16 to the 13/16″ maximum size of the dado, which makes its cutting capacity up to 15/16″. Plus, you can set the #2 leg to cover the 13/16″ dado stack to expand the width of this dado to 1-5/8″ wide.
Steps on Making Dado Cuts on Your Table Saw
The use of the table saw in making dado cuts can be a very challenging task for beginners in woodworking. It can be tricky, likewise, if it is your first time using it. To facilitate the process, you can follow the following steps in creating a dado using the table saw:
Step 1: Figure out the Groove’s Width
At the onset, you need to get the thickness measurement of the workpiece that you need to fit into the dado. This measurement would be the channel’s width that you need to cut. You should install the outside blades afterward together with the required chippers to approximate the required cutting width.
Stagger the blades’ teeth to let them fit correctly together. It will be best to make a test cut on a scrap. Then, fit the test cut into the dado to figure out if your cut and measurements are correct.
You can subtract chippers or add shims if it is necessary to achieve a snug fit. It will be good to remember that plywood sheets are primarily undersized. So, you must measure the precise width of your plywood to know the groove’s width that would receive the plywood.
Step 2: Set the Precise Height
Before cutting, you need to set the table saw’s correct height. But before you set the height, make sure to unplug the table saw. The height of the table saw blade would vary depending on the wood you use. If you are using, for example, a 1/4″ plywood sheet, you can set the table saw height at 1/4″. You can also go deep up to half the board’s thickness when you cut dado onto it.
Step 3: Set Up the Rip Fence
Position the fence to define the dado’s location on your workpiece. You can use it as a stop. More often, you will not utilize the fence like a stop when making crosscuts. But you can use it when creating dadoes. However, you won’t need to cut throughout between the blade and fence. Yet, you must still support your workpieces when it is longer using a miter gauge that comes with an auxiliary wood face.
Step 4: Make the First Cut
Using your rip fence and saw blade, you can begin to plug your table saw. Then, make the first pass to make your dado. Use your push sticks or push block to slide the board through your table saw. In this way, your fingers will be safe and away from the saw blade.
Step 5: Repeat the Cut You’ve Made on the Groove
As you do the second pass through your table saw, you should move your rip fence approximately a quarter-of-an-inch from your first cut. Then, test the board against the rip fence and saw blade to ensure you set the fence right. Afterward, you should adjust the fence correctly using the first dado cut as your guide in making the second cut to ensure that they align.
You can use a regular saw blade when cutting several narrow dadoes. You only need to lay out the cut on your stock and utilize your saw blade. Do two cuts along the dado’s length, delineating each side, and remove the center portion using several cuts. It will also help if you invest in dado blades that are specially made for cutting dadoes. Such an investment will benefit you if you are going to make several dado cuts. You can choose either between the stacked dado and the wobbler dado sets.
When I first started my woodworking career, I tried my hand in making dado joints, thinking that if I could make those dadoes, I could almost do every type of woodworking task. However, my first attempts were failures because the joints ended up loose. After all, I did not take into account the blade’s thickness.
To create a perfect fit, you need to take into account likewise the thickness of the blade’s kerf. Like me, you may end up having a hard time making the very first dadoes of your woodworking career. Yet, if you follow the abovementioned steps while using the most recommended dado jig for the table saw, you will surely get the hang of making dadoes using the table saw.