Dados and grooves are incredibly useful joints. We use them when we need to install a bottom in a drawer or make some dividers in a cabinet. We also use them for cabinet construction and shelving. There is a lot of applications where we will use a dado or groove.
So, what’s the difference between a dado and a groove. Well, they are pretty much the same exact joint. The real difference is semantics. It’s whether the joint runs with the grain of the wood or across the grain of the wood. A groove always runs with the grain and a dado always runs across.
Whether you are cutting a dado or a groove, both joints are non through joints. That mean blade won’t come out all the way through the wood. So, we need remove the blade guard from the saw stop and install the riving knife. The first joint we are going to cut is going to be a groove which goes with the grain. So, its technically a rip cut. Now, we are going to use a ripping blade installed in the saw.
To cut this groove, we are going to center it on the edge of this board and this is a pretty typical application for us. It’s something we use cabinet doors all the time. This could either be a rail or a style in a cabinet door and we have to cut a groove in it to receive the panel. While setting up for my groove, there are two critical components. We need to have our depth of cut proper. wen that case, we are going to cut ½ inch. The critical thing is the distance from the fence and for this; we are going to set my fence to ¼ inch. We will cut this groove in two passes flipping the work piece after each pass to ensure that our groove is centered. We don’t want this board to wobble low as we are cutting it. So, for stability, we are going to use a couple of feather boards to keep it in place.
Now, we are almost ready to cut. We want to make sure that, we already got an eye protection and as its gonna be little loud, so we are using hearing protection also. We are going to feed the board through and keep some downward pressure on it.Then, we will use a push stick. Now, we safely reach for the board and flip it on front. Then, we will take a second pass. We never want our hand going directly over the blade.
Now, our blade stopped and groove is perfectly centered and ready to receive a panel. Now see an another grooving application. This time for a drawer bottom. This is a pretty typical dovetail drawer and we can see we have got a groove here running with the grain to accept the drawer bottom. This drawer is going to have a half inch plywood bottom. So, we need to cut a groove that’s ½ inch and we could do this with multiple passes or an easier way is to put in a dado blade. So, lets, how to install a dado blade so that we can cut this groove in one pass.
To safely install a dado blade in your table saw, we will need three things:
First, a dado blade. We will also need a dado blade brake cartridge and finally need an insert that’s made for the dado blade to start, we are going to turn of the power. We will start with removing the standard insert setting that aside for now. Remove the riving knife, we won’t use that for operation. Finally, we remove the blade. We are about to dispel a pretty popular myth out there, There is a lot of folks that think its a real chore to install a blade and a lot of it revolves around the brake. Well, removing the standard brake and swapping it for a dado blade brake is pretty simple and straightforward.
So, we are going to set aside our brake for safekeeping. Now, we just need to install the dado. The number of cutters that we will need is going to depend on our particular dado blade. If we are using an adjustable dado stack, there may be some trial and error. Note that, we recommends only using 8 inch stacked dado sets with a maximum thickness of thirteen to sixteenths of an inch. Wobble dado sets aren’t suggested as they’ll not interact properly with the dado brake cartridgeWobble dado sets are not recommended as they may not engage correctly with the dado brake cartridge. Also, do not molding heads or sets with solid plate interior chippers as neither brake cartridge is designed to stop those data types.
Here is a little tip, when using a stack dado, make sure that the carbide is not pressing up against another piece of carbide. The teethes are actually wider than the blade and you will end up breaking the teeth cracking them as you tighten down your blade. So, now we are just snuggling up the blade and we insert our data plate.
The last step is to turn on and let it go through its initialization process. Steady green light without any red light tells us that we are good to go. Now, we set our height and our fence. So, here is another little tip that can really help. You notice, we set our fence with a handheld scale rather than the fence scale. Well, as soon as we put the dado blade in, it changed the width of our blade meaning our scale on our fence is no longer accurate. We always make sure that we set the scale or we set the fence using a handheld scale when we are using the dado blade.
Now, we are going to make sure that, we have got good downward pressure on our work piece as we push it across the dado blade. In order to do that, we are using these push block. They give us some downward pressure but they keep our hands off of the work piece and away from the blade. These push blocks not only ensure quality but they also keep us hands out of harm’s way.
There is the group from our drawer bottom cut in one pass. So, that’s actually the two grooving applications. Now, we are going to do one of the most common applications. Let’s assume, we are building a cabinet and we have an upright. After that, we need to install a floor a roof to that cabinet a real strong way to do that is by cutting a dado and inserting the floor of the cabinet into the cabinet side. So, we are going to use the same data blade setup but we are not going to use our fence instead we use the miter gauge to guide our piece.
Now, for this setup, we want to make sure that, our dado blade is the same width as the part we are going to dado into our cabinet side. So, we have got some smaller parts here but they represent a cabinet side and a cabinet floor. It’s important that this dado is the same width as the floor that’s going to
Now, we can make that same position cut all day long without it ever changing. We are not using the fence in conjunction with the miter gauge that can cause a binding situation and present dangerous kickback. Now, don’t forget to use the safety glasses and hearing protection. When it comes to dados, it does not get any better than that. And that’s how simple it is to cut grooves and dados on your table saw.
Hopefully, the article helped you a lot to solve elevation travel limit issues for an industrial cabinet saw. You can check our best table saws 2020, it will definitely help you to find your next best table saws.