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How to Notch Wood- Step-by-step Guide

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Into wood-working? Then notching is a process you need to get your hands steady on. It helps in making your projects more durable and stronger by making a recess in which another wooden workpiece is placed. It also plays a role in the beautification of your woodwork. But notching, though, such a crucial trick can be pretty intimidating especially for beginners. The process might make you sit back and worry about how to notch wood. Fortunately, it is quite easy and does not include a lot of tools.

Here, you will get a detailed step-by-step guide on how to notch wood. So get ready to become a professional!

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What you will need to follow this tutorial

As notching is an indispensable process, most experienced craftsmen have an entire workshop filled with notching tools. But we are not going into it. The tools that we will be working with tend to be present in every house. They are-

  • Chisel
  • Workbench
  • Hammer
  • Set square
  • Saw ( hand saw, miter saw or a chop saw)
  • Gloves
  • Safety Goggles
  • Marking knife or carpenters’ pencil
  • Vise

Mentioned below are the steps in which you can notch your wood.

Step 1- Preparation of the wood

Planning what you are going to be making from your wood, you need to decide how large you want your notch to be. Then mark on the wood measuring your notch. You might want to choose a marking knife for the job but something else, like a pencil, would also do the work.

Once you are done with the markings, you can engrave the marks with a chisel. The chisel helps in making the marks more prominent. This will make the process of cutting the notch easier, serving as a starting point for your saw. Then adjust the depth of your saw by using a depth guide or a measuring tape.

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Step 2- Cutting the notch

Before starting, make sure to take proper precautions. Put on your gloves and eye goggles then get hold of your hammer and chisel. They are used for most of the heavy lifting. But with the help of your saw, the notch will be much cleaner and the process, faster.

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When working with a hand saw, make sure it reaches the suitable depth cutting along the marks that you’ve made for your notch. Repeat this exact process while cutting the other vertical lines also.

For your next step, you will have to use your hammer and chisel to dig out the wood from the middle of your notch. To get your notch roughed place the wood on a flat surface, and begin chiseling from the top.

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If you are using an electric saw, the process of chiseling the wood from the middle of your notch becomes much easier. Start removing out the ‘teeth’ placing the wood on a flat surface, till you get your notch roughed up.

While using a miter saw or a chop saw, begin to cut on the lines that you’ve marked, holding the wood against the fence of the saw. Continue so until you reach the required depth of your cut. Repeat this process moving your wood about 1/8”. Carry on until you reach the cut of your other marked lines. Once you’re done, your notch will more or less appear like a comb, as a bunch of ‘teeth’ has been cut out in the process.

Step 3- Tidying up the notch

To get hold of a flawlessly squared notch, you need to polish and vise up your work once your notch is roughed. You might want to choose a smaller chisel for this process, as it provides more control and grip. Also, any additional wood needs to be removed from the notch with the help of a hammer and a chisel.

To have a perfect fit you need your notch to be of the proper measure. If it’s too wide, you will have to get hold of a new piece of wood and do the process again. But if it’s too narrow, all you need to do is chisel out the excess amount of wood to make space for the notch of your other piece of wood to fit in.

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Step 4- Repetition of all the steps

If you’re content with the result, to fit two notched pieces together, now you will have to do the entire process again with the other piece of wood.

This process of notching might be unnerving at the start, but it takes no time to master it. Once you get the flow of it, your notching will give a proper polished look to your woodwork adding on structural integrity.

If this seems too intimidating and you are still wondering how to notch wood. You can try cutting a notch in your wood by using a router.

When you are using a router

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Step 1- Getting ready

Before starting the process you need to decide where you want to notch and the depth of the groove. These help to adjust the router parallel to your work piece’s outer edge and in choosing the correct router respectively.

Insert the router bit into the router, make sure to tighten it. You might want to set the previously defined depth of the mill for your notch. Then the rip fence needs to be mounted.

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Step 2- Cutting the notch in the wood

Set the router to your required speed and turn the device on. Then the notch is milled in a few pieces by putting the cutter of the mill down onto your workpiece.

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Step 3- Tidying up the notch

Once the process is completed, remove the milling cutter from the workpiece and release the lock. Then the device needs to be drained.

Notching using a router is a faster process, giving out a clean notch. In case you want it to be cleaner. Instead of brushing the remaining chips of wood with your hand, you might want to withdraw the cutter in the notch and remove the small shreds of wood.

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In conclusion

You can even cut a notch in your wood by using a drill, or a circular saw. So now you know all about notching. Then stop rearing your head asking how to notch wood and get to work.

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