Before you begin to set up your stacked dado blade, remember that eye safety is important. Always wear protective eye ware before digging in and getting dirty. This is especially true with dado blades, where a misaligned blade can interact and send blade teeth flying.
Step 1. Initial Installation
Whether you are new to a stacked dado blade, or it’s something you have been using for years, installing one requires some finesse, a clean surface, and a bit of testing.
Clear away all sawdust and debris before attempting an install. A piece of debris trapped in between the blades can wreak havoc and change the size of the groove in which the stack cuts.
Ensure that the blade is installed so that the teeth are not aligned on either side. There should never be contact made between the set, if it happens, you will end up with broken blades, or flying metal.
Step 2: Spread Out
Most stacked dado blades come with shims from the manufacturer. If you are unhappy with the pre-fabricated versions contained inside the box, you can but after-market types for the job. But remember never to over-shim.
When shimming, remember that there is a designed offset the blades can be apart. If shimmed too far, you are entering unsafe territory. Be careful when shimming, and always follow the manufacturer instructions when setting a blade’s distance.
Step 3. Check Quality
Perfection in dado blade set-up is possible, but always check your results before you involve yourself in a project that requires accuracy. The best way to check for this is to note the variance between the blades after you have finished.
After installation, make a cut and measure the width between the grooves. In most cases, there should be a 1/4-inch-wide groove. Make note of the difference, and adjust with chippers as necessary.
Setting up your dado stack may take a few tries. But with all things woodworking, variation in cuts is part of the game.
So whether you are working with original cuts or machined pieces, matching your dado stacks to the width you need is what’s important.