Should I buy a 6-inch dado set or an 8-inch set?
Are there disadvantages to buying a 6" versus an 8" dado set? I have a tablesaw with a 15-amp motor wired for 110 volts. Some say that 8" blades work okay on such saws; others say to use 6" blades on 110-volt saws. What do I miss by not using 8" blades?
—Loren Nyflot, Richfield, Minn.
An 8" blade will give you an extra inch of cutting depth, Loren, but you'll seldom need that capacity for most dadoes and rabbets. On a tablesaw in the WOOD® magazine workshop, we raised a 6" dado stack 13⁄16 " above the table. You'll also spend less on the 6" set versus the 8"-diameter version.
The additional teeth on an 8" dado traveling at a higher speed produce a slightly cleaner cut, but that distinction disappears if the added weight slows the saw motor. Your saw's instructions or the manufacturer's Web site should specify the dado blade diameter it can handle. Most 110-volt, 10" contractor-style saws can handle an 8" set, though.
For safety and better cut quality, use a zero-clearance tablesaw insert, as shown above. Click here to find a free video showing how to make one.