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Thread: Can I cut dado with sliding miter saw

  1. #1

    Can I cut dado with sliding miter saw

    Can I cut dados with a sliding miter saw. Will dado stack safely fit on arbor? How big? Most sliding miter saws have adjustable depth stop. Looks like it could be done and would make nice dado station for narrow boards. Is this feasible? You would obviously be limited in board/panel width, and probably in dado width. Are there other issues or am I off base on this. Ray Knight

  2. #2
    No MS that I know of accomodates a dado set, but you can usually set a stop (depth) on MS's and then take 1/8" nibbles.

    others may chime in here.

    mike

  3. #3
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    ray, a radial arm saw would work much better.

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    That and a RAS costs about half of a good dado blade... so, if you have the space, why not.

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    Make a jig with a square fence out of scrap plywood and use a router. This basic jig can be adapted for sliding dovetails, tapered sliding dovetails, and a million other things.

    Installing a dado stack on a SMCS would not be a good idea even if it could fit on the arbor as it would become dangerously close to the guard, and on these machines guard use is mandatory. Radial arm saw would be a better option, but there is a very good reason why radial arm saws are not popular anymore and why craigslist and flea markets are flooded with unwanted used ones.
    Last edited by Michael Schwartz; 01-16-2008 at 8:32 PM.

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    I believe there have been a very small number of SCMS that could take "some" dado capacity, but cannot remember any specific product. Further consideration needs to be made that the type of motors on these tools aren't really designed with the kind of power you need to have to use such a cutter, however, unlike a RAS.

    For crosscutting dados and rabbets, I agree that the best solution is typically a router jig or if you want high end, a guided router system such as Festool or from other vendors.
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    Red face Not recommended, but.....

    The mounting bolt length (and limited room therefor) is the limiting factor. I used three 10", 30T carbide blades with the teeth woven into the empty spaces. Miter saws definitely are not designed for this purpose as indicated by the short mounting bolt and narrow blade guards. And the undersized motor, bearings, etc.

    It worked for what I needed at the time, but I never did it again.
    Last edited by FRITZ STOOP; 01-16-2008 at 10:48 PM.
    FRITZ

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  8. Specific to your question, I have never seen a dado blade on a miter saw, have never tried to mount one on it, and don't think it is in the works to do so. Using the standard blade, making multiple passes isn't even very good for the purpose. Sliding compound miter saws are not ideally designed for doing dados. The problem is twofold. One the saw is attached to a head that is designed to bob up and down, not stay constant, like when mounted in a table saw, or along a fixed channel like with a radial arm saw. Additionally, even if you press down on the front of the sliding miter saw, since it is actually on the end of a long arm, pressing down on it, can vary due to flex. (Even a few thousandths of flex can leave a grooved uneven bottom.)
    Secondly, it is hard to set the depth properly on a compound slider, since the depth stop is closer to the knuckle of the arm, and any change is maginfied by the time it gets to the blade.
    The short and sweet version, I tried to do it on my Makita 12" dual rail compound slider and the exactness was difficult because of the above mentioned items.
    Conversely, I use an easy to be had cheap radial arm saw by Craftsman 10" pro. It is cheap because it it junk, but it makes a great permanent kerfing station, mounted with a dado blade. I bought an Avengar set for about $40 bucks. As long as you lock in the 90 degree setting and don't move it, you will have an accurate saw. The defaults, ripping option, and everything else about the saw (fill in expletive here) It does raise and lower well enough to be able to use locked into the 90 degree setting. It does hang up on the way down though, so even that (fill in expletive again) but if you go a little below the setting you want, then creep up to the proper setting it works fine. That to me is a nice inexpensive (can be had for about $75 in nice shape even though they went for $525 when I bought mine new) way to have a permanent kerfing station. There are old radial arm saws that are great. I haven't used a new Delta RAS that goes for about 1100 but I think that works great, and can be used for more than a locked in 90. I am starting to get into more information than you asked for. Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Bob Feeser; 01-16-2008 at 9:01 PM.
    "Fine is the artist who loves his tools as well as his work."

  9. #9
    If you scribe the limits , you can use the sliding saw to take out the center creating the dado with multiple passes. My Hitachi has a depth screw limit
    "All great work starts with love .... then it is no longer work"

  10. #10

    Thanks for the response

    Appreciate the answers. I anticipated several of the responses. I have enough space that I would like a dedicated dado station. A dedicated TS is a bit expensive, haven't mastered the router guide yet, have an old Dewalt 770 from the mid 70s that was left in a old house I bought, but it scares the bejeezus out of me. Got intrigued that I could do the same with a sliding miter saw. I was concerned about the precision, but glad to know I wasn't the only one to think of it or try it. Sounds like I ought to get a decent guard on the old DW RAS and give it a try. Thanks for the input. Ray

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    Hello Ray,
    I "nibbled" a dado on my SCMS.
    It turned out terrible. There's no good way to set the depth since you're working 100% against the way the mechanism is designed to operate.
    I also suspect that no matter how much you lay out for a SCMS, the slide mechanism isn't at a true 90* to the table.
    try to remember that the very first step in finishing a project is choosing the material. You want to select wood that has the color and grain pattern than best suits your requirements as "covering up" those things after the fact makes your work much, much harder - Jim Becker

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    The kerf angle on most TS dado sets will have a positive kerf angle and RAS, SCMS, and other MS use 0 to negative. I don't think I would try this unles you could find a negative kerf angle dado blade, which might be a tough find.

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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Schwartz View Post
    Make a jig with a square fence out of scrap plywood and use a router. This basic jig can be adapted for sliding dovetails, tapered sliding dovetails, and a million other things.

    Installing a dado stack on a SMCS would not be a good idea even if it could fit on the arbor as it would become dangerously close to the guard, and on these machines guard use is mandatory. Radial arm saw would be a better option, but there is a very good reason why radial arm saws are not popular anymore and why craigslist and flea markets are flooded with unwanted used ones.

    WAAHHHHH! You're talkin' about my RAS. I JUST got my first TS last year, and wouldn't think of junkin' my RAS for crosscut and dado work. Shame on you for beating up on my poor, defenseless RAS.
    Bill (with tongue in cheek)
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

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    Yes - if you have the Kapex
    Matt

  15. Quote Originally Posted by Ray Knight View Post
    Appreciate the answers. I anticipated several of the responses. I have enough space that I would like a dedicated dado station. A dedicated TS is a bit expensive, haven't mastered the router guide yet, have an old Dewalt 770 from the mid 70s that was left in a old house I bought, but it scares the bejeezus out of me. Got intrigued that I could do the same with a sliding miter saw. I was concerned about the precision, but glad to know I wasn't the only one to think of it or try it. Sounds like I ought to get a decent guard on the old DW RAS and give it a try. Thanks for the input. Ray
    It is good to be scared of the radial arm saw, knowing that the mechanics of the way it is put together forces you to have the blade want to jump at you. The only thing to be afraid of when doing cross cuts is to never get your hand in line, or across the blade tracking line. If you have your right hand on the saw, and your left hand holding the stock against the fence, keep your left hand away from the saw, and never in front of it, or your arm or anything else. If the saw jumps, you won't be in the way.
    When making dados with it, don't succumb to the temptation to hold the workpiece real close to where the balde is, use a clamp instead. Quick Grip makes nice fast easy to grip and ungrip clamps. I must admit, when trying to find the edge of a line for the final pass, it is frustrating to clamp and unclamp, while you are teasing the edge, but if your piece is small, and you can't get away from the blade, use the clamp, or draw some lines to know where the mark is ahead of time. The danger is that if you hold it by hand, and I must admit I do that more often than not, you run the risk of the piece binding, and trying to throw it through the fence, or kick the saw back at you. If you have to get your hand real close to the blade, even though it may not be in front of it, your knee jerk reaction to a reacing piece, may cause you to move your arm, or hand in a less than desirable way, possibly putting you in harms way.
    A good rule of thumb is if it doesn't feel right, it isn't.
    Also don't even consider using it for rip cutting, by turning the head sideways. You get into all kinds of dangers there. A table saw is much safer, and easier to control for rip cuts. You mention that you don't want to get a TS (table saw) because of how expensive it is. Even a cheap 100 or 200 dollar used contractors saw is better than nothing. The table saw, above and beyond all other tools is the thing to get first. It is the heart of your shop. Tying to do woodwork without one is like trying to change your oil, without the oil. It doesn't work. Once you use one for a while, you will realize just how important it is and why it is worth a little sacrifice to get one with a little more power, and a good fence, flat top etc.
    So if you already have a dewalt, RAS, then you have what you need. Is it dangerous? Yes, a kitchen knife is dangerous, unless you know how to use it. Google some other sources on RAS use, best habits, and practices for some tips and tricks for effectively using it.
    Last edited by Bob Feeser; 01-17-2008 at 10:48 AM.
    "Fine is the artist who loves his tools as well as his work."

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