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Dados - table saw or router?

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  • Dados - table saw or router?

    I was wondering what you use to cut dados ... the table saw or a router? Or, does it depend on the task at hand? Just looking for opinions
    My Shop

  • #2
    I make as many dado cuts with the router as I can. They are always flat, and I can control the size of the cut just as easy as using the rip fence. There are times that I have to use my TS, but I perfer to use the router.
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    • #3
      Router for me, thanks. I just gave away my barely used Oldham dado stack because I hadn't touched it in a couple years and a friend wanted one. Haven't run into a circumstance where I wasn't happier with the router.



      • #4
        i have used my table saw for all of my dados. but the dado blade is the important thing. i am a firm believer that you get what you pay for. i spent 30.00 on a craftsman stackable dado that i got rid of after 3 or 4 uses. i use the freud stack dado now and couldnt be happier. in retrospect i might have been better off with the CMT. reason i say this is that i just upgraded my freud saw blade to a CMT General and it is a world of difference. Not sure if the dado is any better though. As far as the router, in all honesty the router is new to me. i am sure it will do a fine job with cutting a dado but the table saw seems to be easier for me and with a quality dado blade i doubt one can tell the difference between the router and the saw


        • #5

          When would be an example of a cut that you would have to use a TS rather than a router? I've cut dados with the router, TS and RAS and I can't think of any cut that I could not do with a router. Cutting dado's in long boards is much easier on either a router or RAS and not something I would try on a TS.

          Bob R


          • #6
            For me it jsut depends what I am making. For basic cabinets or frames for within a piece of furniture, the table saw is much faster and I can do it in one pass regardless of the type of wood.

            I use the router on larger panels or wide boards where I just can't keep it stable on the table saw. Also, stopped dados or where the dado joint may show in profile, I use the router, it just comes out tighter and cleaner.


            • #7

              I made a set of floor to ceiling book case type cabinets that required a groove run the entire lenght of the back. @ 12 feet long. It also required several dado cuts on the run from the floor to tthe top, @6'. The dado blade was my choice to make this cut as getting an 12' long straight edge was not on option at the time. If given the choice, I grab the router instead of using the table. I have made some simple jigs that make set up a breeze. It saves time over changing out the blade on the TS, Getting the fence/mitre set up, and setting up the thickness of the dado.
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              • #8
                Router for me. The 12' dado gets done on the router table. Quicker setup, cleaner bottom. I usually use a bit of somewhat smaller diameter than the width of the dado/rabbet and make two passes to get to final width.

                If you don't have a router table, then it's about a trade-off between setting up the TS and setting up the guide. btw, if you don't want to do all the fussing around getting the right combo of dado blades for the TS, just get a combo that's close, but somewhat less than the width of the dado. Make the first pass, measure how much more you need, move the fence that amount (make sure you go the right direction), make the final pass. Make tests on scrap pieces before cutting the workpiece.

                rotsa ruck & bee safe

                rodney j in tx


                • #9
                  I either use the router (smaller stuff) or the stacked dado in the Radial Arm Saw (bigger stuff.) I like seeing the cut from the top on the RAS as opposed to the Table Saw. I've also built a bench to the same height as the RAS, so I can work some pretty tall/long casework without the struggle of supporting it on the Table Saw.

                  \"Last year we couldn\'t win at home.<BR>This year we can\'t win on the road.<BR>My failure as a coach is that I <BR>can\'t think of anyplace else to play.\"<BR> - Coach Harry Neale, Canucks


                  • #10
                    If I have a single 4' dado to cut, I'll probably do it on my router. If I have a lot of dado work to do, especially in MDF or other high wear stock, I'll use my stacked dado blades even if it does take a bit longer to setup. That reason is that my router bits will last a lot longer if I use the stacked dado. A dado cut is a high wear cut to begin with since it uses both sides of the bit at the same time rather than a single edge. Add a little high wear stock to the mix and you can wear out a set of router bits in no time. Check Pat Warner's site under bit wear for a further explanation. Pat is a real router geru who ofen contributes articles on routing in Fine Woodworking and other woodworking publications.




                    • #11
                      Up to this point, I've mainly used the router for stopped dados---much better quality and safer.

                      However, when using a hand-held router, have always had minor boo boo's because of sawdust buildup in the dado--also wonder if I'm having control problems, per bit rotation, since it's engaging two sides at once, as opposed to the controls used in edge routing.

                      While the bottoms may not be as flat, you can't beat the ts for speed, but always open to suggestions to improve router technique---


                      • #12
                        For me it all depends on what I am doing. I use a tablesaw with stack dado with shims when doing sheet goods because even MDF varies slightly. If I have thicknessed my stock at one time to a standard thickness I prefer a router with a jig, or the router table depending on the size of the stock.