If you’ve ever wanted to cut notches in wood with a table saw, but you weren’t sure how to do it, we’re here to help.
This tutorial will teach you How to Cut Notches in Wood With Table Saw.
It can be tricky and dangerous if done wrong, which is why we recommend this tutorial first!
What Is a Notch in Wood?
A notch in wood is a cut that creates a space between two other pieces of wood. Notches can be used for more than one thing, for example, a part of a drawer front that needs to fit within the sides of the drawer. Notch cuts are commonly used in woodworking to create spaces between materials.
The table saw is a dangerous tool if used improperly. Here are some basic safety tips to ensure you are using your table saw safely:
- Keep your hands away from the blade and spinning parts at all times! You should always have a firm grip on the fence to keep it in place while making cuts. When making small notches, keep your hands on both sides of the fence, they will help guide your work piece through safely as you make each cut.
- Never make a cut with your eyes closed. This is a major safety hazard! While it is probably true that most people don’t actually choose to cut boards with their eyes closed, this is safer not cutting with your eyes open. You could even practice this safety measure immediately before making any cuts!
- Always look where you are cutting. The blade of the table saw takes up all of your visual field and you will lose depth perception if you move your head in one direction while making a cut. It’s very easy to accidentally make a cut in the wrong spot while using the blade in front of you.
- Always keep your work piece stable with your fingers.
How to Cut Notches in Wood With Table Saw
- Best Budget Table Saw
- Table Saw Blade (Preferable a Dado Blade or Ripping Blade)
- Dado Blade
- Miter Gauge
- Marking Knife
- Wood (Preferably Notching Wood or a Plywood base or any Scrap Wood)
Duration: 15-30 Minutes
Budget: $10-$30 (USD)
1. To cut a notch in the wood, you will first need to make a cut in the wood.
The easiest way to do this is to use a miter gauge and measure the distance between your two pieces of wood. When cutting with a miter gauge, it is important to be very careful about your measurements.
2. You will then need to secure your work piece in a stable platform (such as a bench or table saw blade rest).
3. Then make the cut on the work piece with a sharp chisel. [The chisel does not have to be very sharp, having a chisel that is too dull will make it more difficult to nail through the wood]
In order for the chisel to easily penetrate the wood, you must plan your cuts out beforehand and cut in straight lines and across the grain while removing the waste wood. For this example, we want to first cut a slot (or groove) into just one of our pieces of wood and then follow through with another notch after that.
4. After cutting out a slot in one of the pieces of wood, you can then make another cut.
This cut will look like an “X” in most cases and is done by first marking where the cuts should be made on each piece. It is important to mark the piece that looks like an “X” [the external piece] first since the end result will usually be a smaller, more defined space within your overall design. It is also vitally important to check the measurements that you made before attempting to make these cuts.
5. After you’ve successfully made the cuts, the next step is to make sure that there is a solid space where you can cut through.
The easiest way to do this is to place your cut piece of wood onto the table saw blade and raise up the blade until it will clear the notches on both sides. The saw blade will also be raised slightly and this will help guide your work piece as you make each cut. You will have an exact guideline for each notch and it should be no problem making each cut without any problems. Remember: Never look at your wood while you are performing these cuts!
6. After making the cuts, you will want to apply wood glue to both the waste side of the notch, and on the outside of your work piece.
7. After both pieces of wood have completely dried, you can cut through one more time with an X-Acto knife or Dado blade to clean up any mistakes that may have made while making the other cuts.
This type of project will require you to make multiple cuts in a row, so it is highly recommended that you use a saw blade designed for this purpose (or rip-saw blade).
After making each cut, you will need to flip your work piece over so that the notches on both sides are against the blade. This is important because when you flip it back over, you can easily check the mark that was made on the side of your piece of wood, and make sure that each notch is aligned in its corresponding place.
Once you have taken care of all of these steps:
1. You can then go ahead and make your cut.
2. After you make your cut, you will want to be sure that the piece of wood that you just cut has a solid space where you can easily cut through.
3. To accomplish this, you will need to move your work piece into the table saw blade and raise the blade until it clears both sides of the notch (see photo 4).
4. Remember: Never look at your wood while performing this process!
5. You can then go ahead and make your next cuts.
How to Cut Notches in Wood With Table Saw Video
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I cut notches with a reciprocating saw?
Yes, you can cut notches with a reciprocating saw.
Can I cut notches with a circular saw?
Yes, you can cut notches with a circular saw.
Can I cut notches with a miter saw?
Yes, you can cut notches with a miter saw.
Can notches and grooves be joined?
Even if it’s really easy to learn how to cut a groove in wood with a table saw, you can’t join them, they’re both hollow without any wood to fill in.
Are notches best made on plywood?
The short answer is, it depends. You can learn how to cut plywood on a table saw very easily and notches with it, but it really depends on what type of material your end goal will be.
How to cut notches in wood with a table saw Final Thoughts
This ends our How To Guide of How to Cut Notches in Wood With Table Saw.
We hope the knowledge you gained here will help you in the future with your DIY or Professional Woodworking projects. We want you to be sure of that what you get from us are 100% facts, so please don’t hesitate to ask for advice or to advise us in return with accurate facts.
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Henry is a long time Trade Instructor at Dunwoody College of Technology. Henry has been teaching the trade of carpentry for over 15 years and is excited to share his knowledge with the next generation of builders. With his posts you will explore some general terms, tools, and techniques that are helpful for the beginning DIY Enthusiast!. He’ll also provide a list of all the best tips needed to start your building journey right away!