Using a Dado Stack Buildup on the Table Saw

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Dado joints provide herculean strength while being relatively simple to mill on a table saw, making them the obvious choice when it comes to cabinet carcase construction. If there is a catch, it is that getting your table saw set up properly with a dado stack to accurately mill dadoes to the correct width can be a frustrating experience We woodworkers are accustomed to working in increments as fine as 1/32” or even 1/64”, but getting a proper fitting dado joint requires working in tolerances of a few thousandths of an inch. Never fear, George is here to show you how the pros do it!

Before diving into dado construction, it is important that you are comfortable using a table saw. If you want to brush up on that skill set first, perhaps you want to view a table saw video. From there, you can start thinking about setting up your dado stack.

Don’t accept less than a perfect fit

When setting up your dado stack, you’ll want to ensure that you achieve the correct fit using the material that you will work with in your actual project. If the fit is too loose, you face a risk of joint failure, which is one of the greatest embarrassments that a woodworker can experience. If the fit is too tight, you can starve the joint of glue as you force the members together, or worse, crack the work piece.

Develop a “cheat sheet”

The key to success is to invest the time once to create an index with common dado sizes, and keep this available as you set up for dado joints in the future. This will pay dividends over the years as you’ll save time and gain accuracy every single time you use the jig.