What is a Dado Blade?

A dado blade is a circular saw blade that cuts grooves into the wood that are much wider than traditional saw blade cuts. They are used for interlocking applications. Interlocking joints are common in making bookshelves, drawers, door panels and cabinets.

You can use other methods to achieve the wide groove cut without a dado blade, including using a clamp guide with a handheld router or miter saws. However, dado blades cut perfect joints and grooves much quicker than other methods.

What Type of Saw Uses a Dado Blade?

Dado blades are made for table saws. You can adjust the dado blade to control the width through adjusting the blade or changing the number of cutters you are using. The method you use will depend on your table saw and dado blade set. Not all table saws are compatible with dado blades, so check your saw specifications.

The Two Types of Dado Blades

There are two kinds of dado blades available.

1. Wobble Dado Blade

The wobble dado blade is a single blade with an offset rotation. Though it does not “wobble,” it does sway while cutting to create an “S” pattern within the plate width — which you can adjust to your desired cut width. You can set the amount of lead on the blade by rotating these plates, allowing you to get a custom cut.

2. Stacked Dado Blade

The stacked dado blade is a series of blades in a stack that create a wider blade. These blades can be interspersed with spacers to achieve a precise cut. Outside of the outer blades are chipper blades that can be added or removed, depending on your cut width. The chippers also determine the length of the cut. Woodworkers like stacked dado blades for their high performance and versatility.

Dado Blade Sizes

The outer blades of the dado set are typically 8 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. The chippers are 4 1/8 inches, 1 1/16 inches and 1 3/32 inches thick. This range of sizes means the width options are nearly endless. The maximum possible width is about 1 inch, and almost every measurement less than that is achievable.

Dado blades that are 8 inches in diameter are made for a 10 inch saw since the blade is not for through cuts. You can also find blades with 6-inch and 7-inch diameters.

Joint Types

There are four different joint types you can make with dado blades.

1. Dado and Groove

The dado joint is a three-sided channel across the grain of the wood, and the groove joint runs with the grain. The three sides create a strong bond with high shear resistance and a greater surface area for glue binding.

2. Rabbet

A rabbet joint has a groove or dado cut along the wood edge or end, so when the second wood piece is fit into the groove, the long side is flush.

3. Tongue and Groove

The tongue component protrudes from the board and slides into the groove cut of another board, creating a flat surface. This joint is strong for edge-to-edge joints and allows the wood to contract and expand.

4. Half Lap

A half lap joint has about half the thickness of each piece of wood where they overlap cut away. The wood pieces are then joined together to create one flat piece. Half lap joints have a large surface area for glue bonding and are a strong joint.

Interested in Learning More About Saw Blades?

We’ve compiled a huge library of resources to answer your most common questions about the different types of saw blades, their uses, and more.  Check out a few of the posts below if you’re interested in learning more!