Cutting Dadoes on a Sliding Table Saw

Many sliders will accept a dado blade set. You'll have to consider the riving knife when using one for that purpose, though. August 17, 2006

I am looking for a sliding table saw that would accept dado blades. From what I know, most do not. Does anyone know of a brand that does?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor M:
All of the Felders accept dado blades. They also sell them and are the best on the market.

From contributor G:
I don't know about the quality of the Felder, but plan on waiting six months to get it. They don't order them from the manufacturer in Europe until you commit to one.

From contributor S:
The Mini Max has dado compatibility also. They order their machines with pretty much all the options offered and you can get one fairly quick in most cases. You can also order one if you want something special. I went with the new S series Elite 410 combo. I ordered with power goodies as well as 4.8KW motors and 10.5' slider.

From contributor I:
I am pretty sure my Altendorf will accept a dado blade. But why do you want to use a slider for cutting grooves? A slider is made for cutting sheet goods efficiently and safely. When you start using it for other things, then you begin to compromise the purpose of the machine. For example, I can rip and crosscut small pieces on the slider, but it is actually more dangerous than doing it on a regular tablesaw or crosscut.

Without knowing your specific application, I would suggest that you look to other equipment to accomplish this task. If you are doing hundreds of dados a year, you might want to look at a panel router for around $2K. If you are doing more than that, you might want to switch to dowels or confirmats. The next step would be a CNC router. But if your quantity is less, keep your old saw and dado blades. Put it on a mobile base and bring it out when you need it.

From the original questioner:
The reason I want to cut dadoes on a slider is because I don't have the room for two table saws. Is there anyone out there who does dadoes on a slider? I have been using a standard table saw for years, and need to upgrade my saw.

From contributor M:
I do dadoes on my slider. It's no different than running them on a cabinet saw as far as I'm concerned.

From contributor I:
You have to deal with the riving knife. It is designed to set proud of the top of the blade. When I have used my saw for grooving, it effects the depth of cut at the end of the pass. When you cut dados, you will need to remove this and then reinstall/adjust it when you use your regular blade.

From contributor S:
Not sure about the riving knife post? Mine is real easy to remove and adjust. One Allen bolt. You certainly have no use for it with a dado cut, since the gap is not going to close up and bind against the blade while making a dado.

From the original questioner:
I really don't see any need for the riving knife unless you are ripping solids. I removed mine permanently on my standard saw. I think the main purpose is to position and support the guard.

From contributor K:
I have to disagree with the questioner. Sheet goods are not likely to bind on the blade from tension release when cut, but they can certainly get bound between fence and blade if rotated, or be dragged accidentally back into the blade on retrieval from the outfeed table. I feel the riving knife is an important safety feature that should be left on the saw. It doesn't take much to generate a kickback of a piece that doesn't get pushed all the way past the blade, and the splitter can keep that piece from contacting the blade and taking off. I cut down the splitter on our Griggio so that it can be adjusted just below the top of the saw blade and doesn't interfere with blind cuts. We have an overhead guard as well, but it functions more as a dust collector and a visual alert of the blade's location - the splitter is a positive safety feature that helps guide the material away from the spinning blade.

From contributor I:
The riving knife is used to keep material off of the blade as well. That is why it is set just above the blade.

If you are going to be using a slider, you have just as much of a chance getting material entering the blade from the back side as the front. When you pull the carriage back, there is a chance that the material on the carriage will hit the back of the blade, and there is your kickback. If the knife is set above, the material rides above the blade until someone can pull their head out. This is such a good safety feature and rarely has it been in the way for me. To each his own.

From contributor L:
We keep the splitter in place on our slider. It's easy to adjust and is an OSHA requirement. We have an after market splitter on the Unisaw that can be quickly removed for dados and snapped back in place when the saw blade is put back on. A splitter is a good safety device and I don't see any reason not to use one. The original splitter and guard that came with the Unisaw was a POS and has been replaced with a better system.

From the original questioner:
Points well made on the riving knife, or splitter. I will leave it on when I get my next saw. Thanks. I guess I will just have to get used to removing it when I am doing dadoes. I wish I had room for a dedicated dado saw, or panel router. Ideal solution would be CNC, but I need to get my volume up to justify that.