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Cut Big-Time Joints with a Small-Time Saw

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Removing saw kerfs
Hand over board with lots of cuts
Enlarge Image
Photo D

A nudge with your fingertips breaks
off the waste between the kerfs. Most
should split close to the bottoms of
the kerfs.
Chisel out cuts
Enlarge Image
Photo E

Shave away waste with your chisel,
working from the outside toward the
middle to avoid possible tear-out.
Boards overlapping
Enlarge Image
Photo E

You may not achieve the perfection
that's possible with a router or
tablesaw, but a circular saw can
cut tight-fitting joints.

Removing saw kerfs

Clean up the cuts

After the final kerf cut, use a hammer or your fingertips [Photo D] to break the waste off as close as possible to the bottom of the kerf. Clean up the leftover waste with a chisel at least 1" wide. Place the chisel bevel-side up on the smoothest portion of the dado and gently shave off the waste [Photo E]. You'll still have score lines from the alternating-bevel teeth of the blade, but the surface between the marks should be smooth.

The mating workpiece should fit snugly into the dado without excessive force [Photo F]. If it's too tight, shave one side of the dado with your chisel or sand it using a scrap block with 100-grit abrasive on one edge. Then glue and assemble the joint, reinforcing it with fasteners as needed.

Continued on page 4:  Shop Tip


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