I’m in the process of building a set of cabinets in the basement, and I am going to make them out of nice shiny, white melamine coated, high-density particle board. Now, I don’t particularly like building stuff out of melamine, but it does have a really nice advantage of being white, and in my basement, it is going to brighten it up a bit and make it easier to see in the kitchen. There are challenges to working with particle board, because when you drill or cut into it, it is really easy to pop the edges open which can cause some difficulties in trying to get good, sound, structural cabinets without taking additional steps to keep it that way.

One of the things I will be doing with this set of cabinets to get a good rigid box, is I am going to be using a CMT precision dado blade set (CMT230.524.08). The CMT dado blade set has two blades with 24 teeth on each, and then six chippers and 10 shims, which makes it possible to create dadoes from a quarter of an inch up to a little over 7/8 of an inch. I only need to make a half inch dado, so that is what I will be working with.

Before I walk you though setting up the dado blade, I am going to whine a little bit. I borrowed my blade from a friend, who got it as a gift from their friend. The guy that had it first, I think he used it to plow furrows, because it was in ruff shape, so I had to get it all cleaned up and wasn’t sure if I would have to get a new one or not. Another thing that I did before using the dado blade, is I made a special insert out of wood for my table saw as an extra safety factor, as I am a little scared of the dado blades.

In the CMT precision dado blade set (CMT230.524.08) you get these two outside blades, that have 24 carbide teeth each. Then you get six different chippers, four of which are 1/8 of an inch, one 1/16 of an inch, and one 3/32 of an inch, as well a set of 10 shims. The chippers and shims get sandwiched between the outside blades to create the dado width you need, anywhere between 1/4 of an inch to just over 7/8 of an inch. Other nice features of this kit are the nice case that secures the chippers to one side and the outside blades on the other, as well as a chart that indicates how to set up the different widths.

When I set up my table-saw with the dado blades, I always make sure to have it unplugged and not just off as a safety precaution. To get my half inch dado I am going to set it up with an outside blade, which the outside blades have a negative hook angle, which is important to prevent it from hitting the wood back at you like a baseball bat, potentially causing injury. The first outside blade is followed by three 1/8 of an inch chippers with all their teeth tilted forward, then the other outside blade, and last a washer followed by a nut to get them nice and tight, making sure none of the blades are hitting each other. Then I put in my wood zero clearance insert I made for the dado blade.

When I cut my particle board with the dado blade I got over bit a bit on my depth, I wanted 1/4 of an inch, but I got spot on with my half of inch width. It was a really nice clean cut though, and it got a really nice fit. I tested the dado blade out on a variety of other woods as well, rubberwood, maple, and oak. It got really nice cuts on all three again, with no chipping at all. This is a nice dado blade, a really nice blade, you should give it a try. Well actually, you should just buy it and keep it forever.

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