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Thread: Got Another Question - Dado Set Shims

  1. #1
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    Got Another Question - Dado Set Shims

    I know, I know, questions, questions, sorry but what else to you do while waiting for glue to dry??

    Here it is. I have the Frend dado set with the metal shims.. You guessed it, my shims are buggered up because they get down in the threads and when I tighten the stack, it fixes them good. I was looking for a new set of shims and came across magnetic ones. Are they any good? and how hard is it to figure which ones to use because they don't come in the same thickness I currently have?

    Sorry, I lied, that was two questions.

    Just a comment, I have a Craftsman, I think it is called a wobbler, you know, one blade, that you turn the thingy in the middle and it offsets the blade so it wobbles back and forth to the thickness you want. Everyone said they were worthless, but I've always been able to cut just as good dado with it as I have with the Frend setup. Maybe I should as bad a dado, maybe I have trouble getting good dados with the Frend because of the screwed up shims,,,
    "We the People ......"

  2. #2
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    A wobbler? First cutter that caused me to get stitches. Tossed it. But each to his own. As for shims, I use playing cards. No frayed edges though. The feds require that playing cards are exactly the same thickness. You have heard the term, shaving cards? Well, that's the reason. So, liberate an old deck of playing cards. They're cheap, reliable, and useful for lots of shim applications. I googled for the thickness to find that it depends on the brand, or paper stock they're printed on. So measure yours and use math to create the thickness you need. Good place to use a dial calipers. You get a decimal measurement, but that is easily converted to fractional numbers (the most difficult numbering system to use for measuring. Another dog fight to get into, but not here, so start another thread if you want to go there. )
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  3. #3
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    Magnetic shims came with my dado set. They work well, as they are easy to apply and don't shift around.
    “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” - John Ruskin
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  4. #4
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    The Freud shims are always tough to deal with, and they (Freud) are unapologitic about it (at least they used to be). I've not tried the magnetic but have read nothing but good things about. Not true on the wobbler, though. I have that same Craftsman wobbler (I guess) and the bottoms are always curved, it gets worse with the wider cuts. I've had mine for over 30 years, and haven't used it at all since I got the Freud set 15 years ago or so.

  5. #5
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    I also know of the paradox of the rather poor shims that come with Freud's otherwise excellent dado stack. Un-marked so you have to measure and mark them yourself and they do get caught up in the threads. My solution to shims is not to use them. I run the stack undersized, make the cut, use the DRO to nudge the fence over .035" or whatever and make a second pass. If I am doing 30 dados I do 30 first passes and 30 second passes. This would obviously drive a kitchen professional to the poor house but, for my work, there is not quite that sense of urgency . . . that means I'm slow anyway and a few more moments will just disappear into the void of time I enter when making a piece.

    P.s. Hidden benefits; my dado ZCI's don't get all chewed up by the different widths
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 11-11-2013 at 05:48 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I have a coloured set of plastic shims from Lee Valley, I like them very much, easy to use and a variety of thicknesses.

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    I saw those shims from LV also, but the picture of inserting them with tweezers really didn't appeal to me. I shouldn't criticize something I haven't tried. I guess being a slow worker, I see how I do with Glenn's method. I don't do dados often and last ones I did, I used the router table.
    "We the People ......"

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Douglass View Post
    I saw those shims from LV also, but the picture of inserting them with tweezers really didn't appeal to me. I shouldn't criticize something I haven't tried. I guess being a slow worker, I see how I do with Glenn's method. I don't do dados often and last ones I did, I used the router table.
    geez paul for $12.50 ... I could get these from my Woodcraft store and send them to you ... 90% sure your wife has a set of tweezers or three ... besides, you need to try it to keep the dexterity in the fingers

    http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/208...-Shim-Set.aspx

  9. #9
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    I have these they work just fine.

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/G6099
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  10. #10
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    Paul, the whole reason for the tweezers is so you can insert them with the blades still on the arbor without dinging your fingers on the teeth of the blades.

    That said, my budget dado blade set included metal shims, all marked so I know the size. I think I've used that dado set 3 or 4 times total. I agree with Glenn's approach, though. By the time I monkey around with shims and test cuts and all, I could simply do one pass, adjust the fence, and do another pass.
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