Review By Dean Bielanowski  Infinity Website - http://www.infinitytools.com


I
nfinity "Dadonator" 8-inch Stacked Dado Set
Review

By Dean Bielanowski

Fans on the Terminator movie series might warm to the name of Infinity Tools' newest 8-inch stacked dado set - the Dadonator. I sure hope to never get have my hands get too close to that spinning blade with a name like that! The Dadonator is manufactured in Italy according to Infinity specifications.

Jokes aside, we had the opportunity to review this new set which certainly looked impressive on paper after reading the details of the set on the company's website.
Readers may recall we reviewed some of the router bits from the Infinity range not too long ago and they performed very well. You can view that review here if you are interested.

Packaging
I must say, the packaging of the Dadonator is a little unconventional, although appropriate. The two dado sets I currently own (a Freud SD208 and Oldham Woodworkers Dado set) come in formed heavy plastic carry cases, which often intrigues me... I mean, how often do you need to take your dado set out of the workshop that warrants a carry case? I guess it depends if you are a contractor or not. However, these cases also double as protection for the blades during shipping and transport and also house them nicely to prevent damage on the shelf, so I won't go too overboard there!

The Dadonator ships in a fairly sturdy cardboard box, and the blades are sandwiched between two pieces of of ply, held together by screw and nut. A little different, but as long as the blades arrive in top condition, which they did, I'm not overly concerned with the packaging method employed, however, it is worth mentioning.

The Dadonator Set
The set is comprised of 2 x 24-tooth outer blades and 6 x 6-tooth chippers. Let's take a closer look at the outer blades first...

Each has 24 teeth as mentioned above. Each tooth is made of C4 grade carbide. This carbide material is dense in its form, i.e. the particles in C-4 carbide are often smaller and more condensed to provide a more durable material. C4 will last longer than lower grade carbide found on cheaper saw blades and it will hold a sharp edge ensuring cleaner cuts over a longer time frame. Not only are the teeth of high quality material but the dado set itself carries a fair amount of weight. It is much heavier than my other two dado sets, weighing in at around eight pounds, according to my bathroom scales. Like saw blades of many kinds, you can run your finger carefully across the teeth and find out almost instantly whether a blade is sharp or dull. It gives you that sensation, or warning in your finger tips that if you push down any harder, danger is imminent. This is the feeling I got when running my fingers across the Dadonator's beveled teeth. In fact, I managed to earn a small cut on one of my fingers while installing the set one particular time. Not much room to move in most table saws if you have larger than average hands!

Speaking of beveled teeth, the Dadonator employs an alternate top bevel grind (ATB). What is it? It simply means that every second (alternate) tooth is beveled at an angle, in this case, 20 degrees. Instead of a blade 'chipping' or 'punching' its way through on a non-beveled tooth, the sharp angled beveled teeth will actually slice through the material. The end result is a cleaner, smoother cut, with less splintering or chipout. The gullet of the blade is sufficiently large to avoid debris interference during a cut.

The hook angle on the teeth is set at -5 degrees. This is an extremely important factor when it comes to dado blades in my opinion. Hook angles can vary greatly depending on the type of saw blade. Ripping blades often have a positive hook angle (tooth tilted forward) which actually pulls the wood into the saw blade to some degree. On the Dadonator, the -5 degree angle (teeth slightly tilted backwards) means the blade will have little or no tendency to pull the workpiece into the blade. This gives the user maximum control over the workpiece, a vital safety aspect on a blade you do not want to be getting hand near to begin with. Good to see some common sense and performance features being mixed into the equation.

The set itself is 8" in diameter. I have never had a need for anything larger. You can get 10" sets but the price skyrockets. 6" sets are also common and good for lower powered says (under 1.5 HP). 8" is a happy medium between price and functionality. Larger diameters allow you to create deeper dados for special applications. I guess you never know when you might need that extra 2" so I'd always suggest an 8" set if the budget allows and your saw has enough horsepower to handle it.

The bore on the set is a standard 5/8" arbor size which the majority of table saws possess. Mine certainly does thankfully! The stated max RPM is 7,000 which again should conform to the specs of most tablesaws.

Chippers
The Dadonator set includes 6 chipper blades. Each chipper has 6 teeth. This is generally not the norm with dado sets. On my other sets, one has 2 teeth on each chipper and the other has 4 teeth. I guess 6 teeth gives you more carbide for your dollar, which is a good thing. The extra teeth also allow your blade to remove the material in the middle of the dado more efficiently, cause less drain on your motor and ensures each chipper tooth works much less harder than say a 2-tooth chipper, which will complete substantially more work per tooth during the cut. Good value for money is presented here.

Each chipper is marked with its body thickness indicated on the blade. The set comes with 4 x 1/8", 1 x 1/16" and 1 x 3/32" chippers (for undersized plywood width setting). Along with the included shims which come in widths from 0.005" to 0.020", the Dadonator can be accurately set to cut a wide variety of widths from 1/4" right through to 29/32". I have yet to come across a situation where a dado larger than 29/32" has been needed in general woodworking and cabinetmaking tasks (for me at least), so this particular set should suit most in the market.

In the Shop...
Ok, from the text above you should now have a pretty good idea of the makeup and features of the Dadonator set. Now let me describe my experience using it.

Firstly, I make it a habit of always using my splitter and blade guard whenever possible, but naturally, standard guards have to be removed from the tablesaw to use a dado set. If you have a bit of extra cash, you can invest in an overhead blade guard which will provide a reminder not to get your hands too close. I do not have one yet, but am looking at investing in one at some stage soon. So the first step for me was to remove the guard and splitter from my saw. This is a single assembly on my saw and it only takes a few screw turns to remove it. You cannot use splitters with a dado blade. I switched the standard blade insert to my standard metal dado blade insert I received with the saw. I can hear some saying right now "Where's your zero-clearance insert?". Well, I have yet to make one for this set and chose to use the standard insert so I could get a very good idea of how well the Dadonator can avoid chipout or splintering in the cuts.

So in goes the dado set with the outside blade first. It is a very snug fit and you will have to exercise vigilance in trying to get the blade squared up to the arbor as you slide it on. A snug fit is good by the way. If it's a loose fit, it can affect the results, producing bottoms that are not very flat at all. I began with a 1/4" dado which is set using just the two outer blades. 1/4" dados are commonly used for drawer bottoms among other things. Ensure your teeth are not going to damage each other by sitting one teeth in the gullet of the other blade. I made a few passes in some MDF to see how we went. As you can see from the pictures on the right, results were exceptional in MDF. A perfect, flat bottomed dado with zero chipout on the exit face. I slotted in a second piece of MDF to check fit, but on closer inspection of the MDF, it turned out to be a fraction less than 1/4" in thickness, and hence the small error noted in the photos. It is still a good fit however, and no fault of the set itself.

Adding in a couple 1/8" chippers and the Dadonator was now set at 1/2" width. Time to run some ply through, both in the middle of a ply layer, and right on a layer join. Both results were excellent. Naturally, the dado milled on the join of two ply layers was not as polished as the dado in the middle of a layer, but nothing you would not expect here. Again, reference the photo in the right column. Here we had an exact 1/2" width piece of ply and it matched our 1/2" dado perfectly. A nice snug fit. Not too tight, and not too lose. With a little glue, that would form a very strong joint indeed.

Another couple of chippers later and we ran a few 3/4" passes in both hardwood and softwood. I couldn't run dados at the set's maximum width of 29/32" because quite frankly, at 3/4" the blades and arbor washer/nut consumed the length of my tablesaw's arbor shaft. I always make sure my arbor nut has enough thread for a good lock and 3/4" is the maximum I will go on my saw for my own safety. The results were most visible and impressive with our 3/4" dado passes. Softwoods like pine ran through with no problem at all. While the picture on the right doesn't quite show it, the bottom of the dado had a polished look and feel to it. Light was reflecting well from it which is a sure sign of a smooth finish. I was quite impressed with the results in hardwood as well, as this same finish was replicated even across the grain with no chipout in sight.

Using the shims we were also able to adjust the dado width to match just about any thickness we needed. Apart from cutting dados as we need them in the shop now, my only other task left is to make that zero clearance insert for the set, although I am not sure I need it!

The Verdict
While many class flat bottomed dados as a sign of quality, I like to see nice smooth sides and an absence of dado 'ears' with zero chipout in my results book as well and I was happy to record those very results with this set. The Dadonator is attempting to break into a competitive market. At US$179.90, the price is competitive with other popular brands, however, is it the best dado set on the market today? Well, I haven't tried every set on the market, so I can't tell you the answer to that question. The first dado set I owned was a Freud SD208. I bought it on sale for around US$80 and it does an excellent job for the asking price. I also have another set which is not in the same league as the Dadonator. What is different about the Dadonator is that is cuts well. continues to cut well after our rigorous testing, and produces the best polished flat bottom dados I have seen is a set so far, and I've seen the results of more sets than the three I currently own. The Dadonator is easily the best set in my shop and the one I will be turning to when clean, precise, accurate dados are needed for my next woodworking project.

Although I have tried, it is difficult to find fault with this set. To get perfect results straight out of the box with minimal fuss, set up time or steep learning curves is a rare thing. It is good to see there are some products out there going far beyond many woodworker's expectations. The Dadonator is one of them. Kudos to the folks at Infinity Tools for producing such a fine product.

Infinity USA Website - www.infinitytools.com

Available In Australia:

www.northwoodtools.com.au

 

Infinity "Dadonator" Photos
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Packaging is a little unconventional, but it's what's inside that counts!


The "Dadonator" I better keep my fingers well away from this one!


C4 Carbide teeth with steep angles allow smooth, clean cuts on the outer blades.


A range of varying-width 6-tooth chippers make up the set.


Setting the 2 outer blades gives a 1/4 inch width dado. Great for those drawer bottoms.


Adding in a couple chippers, you can easily get a 1/2" dado...


Or adding even more chippers for a 3/4" dado, or anything in between.


Faultless! The Dadonator easily handles MDF with zero chipout, even without a zero clearance insert.


Nice flat bottom. You can expect a slight width error at times however, as in this case, our 1/4" MDF is not actually a 1/4" in width. The Dadonator was exactly 1/4" when checked with a ruler and calipers.


Plywood with the grain, or against the grain... Again. no problem at all. Quite an impressive set.


Difficult to see if this shot, but this 3/4" dado gave an almost polished, flat bottom finish. Almost a shame to fill the dado with wood!

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