8-inch Dado Blades on 10-inch Saws?

Dado Blade Set
Copyright: Freud

Here's a question that comes up a lot about using dado blades on table saws: Can I use an 8-inch dado blade on my 10-inch table saw? The answer, in most cases, is yes. As long as the diameter of the arbor hole on the stacked dado blade set matches the arbor diameter of your table saw or radial-arm saw—and the arbor is long enough for a dado blade—you can use an 8-inch dado blade. In fact, since most dado blades are 8 inches, this is the standard option for 10-inch table saws.

8-Inch vs. 10-Inch Dado Blades

There are actually a couple of reasons why you don't need a 10-inch dado blade set. Since dadoes rarely need to be cut deeper than about 1 1/2 inches, an 8-inch dado blade set will be large enough to cut most dadoes and rabbets.

Additionally, by making the dado blade set only 8-inches in diameter, there is less weight to the blade set, which lightens the amount of effort that the saw must put forth to cut a wide, deep dado. Of course, it stands to reason that the smaller-diameter blade set likely costs a little less than a 10-inch set (since there's less steel needed to build the blades and chippers).

Check the Arbor Size

When buying a stacked dado blade set, be sure that you purchase a set with the correct arbor hole size for your saw. Most modern table saws and radial arm saws have a 5/8-inch arbor onto which the blade will fit. However, there are a few rare instances where a saw doesn't have a 5/8-inch arbor or the blade set doesn't have a 5/8-inch arbor hole.

A blade with too large of an arbor hole simply can't be balanced properly for use. Conversely, if your blade set has an arbor hole too small for your arbor, resist the temptation to drill out the arbor hole, as you may not only put the blade out of balance, but the heat from drilling may alter the temper of the blade.

I have had instances where the paint in the arbor hole of a dado set made the blade very difficult to install onto the arbor. In this case, I used a rounded file to take off only the paint from the arbor hole, and I test-fit the blades frequently to make sure I didn't file too much. If you choose to try this, be very careful to prevent putting the blade out of balance.

Check the Arbor Length

Some table saws have short arbors that can't safely accommodate a dado blade, or they can take a dado blade up to a certain thickness but no more. The rule of thumb here is that the blade must fit on—with the washer (never omit the washer) and nut—so the arbor extends at least a little bit beyond the nut. In other words, the nut must be fully threaded onto the arbor plus a bit more. If the nut is only partially threaded onto the arbor, the nut might come loose during the operation. Very dangerous!