Match Dado Set to Your Saw’s Power
I am planning to buy a dado set. Should I get a 6-in. or an 8-in. set?
Robert Carson, Boston, MA
I spoke with some of our contributing editors as well as with experts at Amana, Forrest, and Freud. Here is what I learned. First, check your saw’s owner’s manual. If it specifies a 6-in. dado set, then use that. However, if your saw can take either size dado set, but has an underpowered motor like those in smaller benchtop models, then choose a smaller dado set: It takes less power than an 8-in. set to make the same cut. On a 3-hp cabinet saw, definitely go for an 8-in. dado set. The increased cutting capacity allows you to make a wider variety of joints, like bridle joints deeper than 11/8 in. (the capacity of a 6-in. dado set), and to use a sled to guide workpieces.