Enter the Dado

What is now a few years ago, I ran a comparison “Battle of the Blades”.  I tried to be very comprehensive with it, and learned a lot about blade construction and the effect of the different variables on the quality of the resulting cut.

I was intending to then conduct a “Battle of the Dado Blades”, but ran into a major problem – none of the dado blades I had to try were worth promoting.  Not one was good enough.  The Linbide Dado set had an unbelievable problem – the chipper blades were a tooth count that was not compatible with the outside blades (such as having 7 teeth, when the outside blade had 24 – can’t remember what the actual count was) which means you are assured of having a tooth of the chipper blade impacting on one of the outside blades, and that means there will be a gap that causes the blade to have a wobble, or at least risking cracking a tooth.  Apparently there were a lot sold, and incredibly I was the only person who had picked up on the error.  The CMT blade could not produce a flat bottom to the dado – one of the chippers was the wrong diameter (by a mm or 2), again, stupid fault in manufacturing.  Couple of others were equally eliminated.

Linbide fixed the design fault (apparently – although I have not seen it to confirm or test since), and CMT withdrew the model I tested.  It has been a long time coming, but there is now a new CMT dado blade available (probably been out for a year or so)

This is a interesting new blade – 8″, 24 tooth, with 4 tooth chipper blades (of various sizes) (Model 230.524.08)

I like the case as well – a good way to store and protect the blades, the chippers and the shims.  Not as elegant as a nice orange case, but then very functional – I find the chippers harder to get out from the foam inside the orange plastic case.

The blades are 1/8″ each (and you must use both for all setups) so the minimum dado width is 1/4″  If you use all the chippers and the shims, you get the maximum dado size of 1″.

The chipper blades are 1x 1/16″, 1x 3/32″ and 4x 1/8″

The shims are 1x 0.020″, 1x 0.012″, 1x 0.008″ and 1x 0.004″

But using different combinations of chippers and shims, you can get a large range of widths.

Now obviously, this is an imperial set (haven’t seen a metric one), and what I am confused about as a general comment on dado blades, is why?  Not why is there only imperial blades – I don’t have a problem with that, but why are they not supplied with (or why is there not an after-market set available) of shims that convert them to metric?

For example, the two outside blades added together come to 6.35mm.  If a 0.15mm shim was included, you would get a metric 6.5mm dado.

It would be easy to include an extra set of shims that allowed each chipper and blade combination to produce a metric set, and some additional shims (such as 0.1mm, 0.2mm, 0.3mm and 0.5mm) for fine adjustments. The existing shims are close enough to this.

Looking forward to putting this set through its paces, and seeing if I can finally get a square bottomed dado!


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