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    Tablesaw Blades 101

    As a beginning or even intermediate woodworker, there are really only two tablesaw blades you need to know about: a combination blade, good for all of your normal tablesaw tasks, and a dado set. The dado set, also called a dado head or stack dado, is a stacked set of blades that can cut wide notches of various sizes. See the article on dadoes, rabbets, and grooves for more info.

    The teeth on a combination blade are ground for both ripping along the grain, and cutting across it, and 40 teeth is a good amount for both tasks.


    A combo blade works well for ripping (cuts made along the grain). As seen here, keep the safety equipment on the saw whenever possible, and use a push stick to keep your hands away from the blade.


    There are blades that specialize at crosscutting, but a combo blade does a fine job at that too.


    A dado set is made up of two outside blades, and a number of inside blades, called chippers. You change the amount of chippers to change the width of the notch you want to cut.


    A dado set is the best tool for cutting rabbets. Notice that the dado set is buried slightly in a sacrificial fence, attached to the tablesaw’s rip fence. This lets you cut a complete notch in the wood without the dado blades being right up against the rip fence and maybe damaging it.


    Used with a shopmade crosscut sled on the tablesaw, a dado set can cut perfect dadoes in wide panels, such as the sides of a bookcase.


    Use with the tablesaw’s miter gauge, the dado set can also form tenons and lap joints. You just make multiple passes. Note the auxiliary fence attached to the miter gauge for better support of the workpiece, and the stop block clamped on to let the woodworker cut identical tenons on multiple workpieces.