Top positive review
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Top notch dado set
on February 13, 2014
I usually use a router to make dado cuts, but there are some uses like lap joints that are better to do with a dado head. The Freud 508 set is less expensive than Forrest's Dado King, but it got a good review in Fine Woodworking, so I ordered it. It's been several years since I've used a dado set, and now I remember why -- setting up is a bit of a pain. But... I tried making lap joints once on a router and had to interrupt the work with a trip the emergency room for a few stitches. To get reacquainted with dado sets, I made some 3/4" wide x 1/4" deep cuts with the Freud set in some scrap walnut, in melamine-clad particle board and in cherry plywood. The cuts were perfectly smooth, with a perfectly flat profile and no tear-out at the exit. Very impressive that it can handle such different materials.
The set comes in a plastic case with very thin plastic spacers to separate the chippers and blades. I don't think these will hold up very well, but it will be easy enough to make substitutes. There's a useful DVD behind the foam in the upper section of the case, along with a chart showing how to combine the blades and chippers for various widths.
This is one of several Freud dado sets. Less expensive sets than this one use chippers that use two pairs of cutters rather than four, and that may result in less smooth cuts. The next step up (SD608) uses a device that offers an additional width -- 7/32" -- and uses an adjustable insert to eliminate the need for shims and reduce the amount of shuffling of chippers and that you need to do to change widths. But unless you need to change widths frequently during each session, this set (SD508) is an excellent choice. It will definitely give you a good range of widths and clean, accurate cuts.