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Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge
Setting up stacked dados just got as easy as it should be
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 1-26-2009
On a good day setting up a stacked dado set used to be a trial and error proposition for most of us. The varying thickness of the wood we use doesn't help the task either. Now, the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge makes this process easier and faster. A test cut remains a smart idea but the simplicity of the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge makes this a far more enjoyable (and accurate) woodworking task.
What It Is
The Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge is a round, 8"-diameter plate, made from high end table saw blade steel. It has 19 laser cut notches around its edge sized from 1/4" to 29/32". That range should cover or exceed the capability of all stacked dado sets this side of the industrial community. The Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge also has a 5/8"-diameter center hole so you can store it on a hook or in your stacked dado set box so it can be found when you need it.
The notch widths are labeled with both standard and metric dimensions. Below each notch is a "formula" that lists the stacked dado components needed to cut that width. A legend near the center of the Infinity Tools Dado Caliper shows what the component markings mean. On the front of the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge these formulas are silk screened to be sure they are easy-to-read. Just in case, Infinity also laser-engraves those same markings into the steel on the reverse side.
For instance, for a 25/32" piece of stock the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge calls for both the left and right outside blades, (LHS and RHS in the legend) three 1/8" chippers, one 3/32" chipper and one 1/16" chipper. The components are based on the very cool Infinity Dadonator stacked dado set but the 1/16", 3/32" and 1/8" chipper widths are getting to be standard on all better dado sets. Another point in the Dadonators' favor is that each chipper has its thickness laser engraved on the body. That makes "building" the stack faster with less chance of making an error.
We all know that in the real world wood is not always exactly the thickness it is supposed to be. If the wood does not fit one of the notches, you can find a notch that is slightly smaller than the wood. Use the stack components listed for that notch and add shims as needed to expand the stack to fit the wood. This will require a test cut or two but the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge makes this process much faster and less time consuming. You can also use shims to fine-tune the stack components to get the exact feel you want or need for special applications.
Throughout this review I used the Infinity Shim set (when needed) with my Infinity Dadonator stacked set. The shim thicknesses are, yellow, 0.020", black, 0.010" and orange 0.004". These colors and thicknesses are included in the legend printed on the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge.
In the Shop
Naturally, the first thing I did with the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge was to go around my shop looking for wood it did not fit. I did find a couple pieces but I had machined them myself for odd jobs and they were by no means a standard thickness. For all of the common thickness pieces of wood, the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge notches fit closely.
I tried using the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge to set up for several different wood thicknesses that fit one of its notches and each time the resulting dado fit perfectly. Just as important as fit is that the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge made finding the right setup faster and easier. Even using shims to fit odd-sized wood was easier. While a test cut was needed, I had no problem getting a clean fitting dado in a surprisingly short time.
The Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge is a very handy tool to have in the shop. If you are familiar with Infinity Tools, the quality of their Dado Caliper will not be surprising. Their use of quality materials and laser cutting mean that the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge will remain accurate forever if you can avoid running it over with a (really big) truck.
With a street price of just $29.99 (1-24-2009) the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge is as affordable as it is useful. If setting up stacked dado sets has been frustrating in the past, the Infinity Tools Dado Measuring Gauge might be just the tool you need to make your life a little easier - and more accurate.
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