Why Does My Table Saw Cut a Notch at the End of the Board?

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A woodwork professional is defined by how well they can perform different tasks with a table saw. Making notches is not easy, but over time, one masters the art using the wide range of tools available in the workshop.

Learning to cut notches helps strengthen wooden structures as well as increase their longevity. Yet, you might find yourself asking: “why does my table saw cut a notch at the end of the board?”

Why Does My Table Saw Cut a Notch at the End of the Board?

Notches are necessary when you want to join wooden materials. You make repeated cuts on a specific spot on the wood so that the blade can make multiple slim wafers. Alternatively, you can use a hammer to scrape out the waste material.  You can also use a chisel and drill to create notches manually.

Discussed below is how a woodworker can create a notch using a table saw.

How to Make Precise Notch Cuts With a Table Saw

We will use readily available tools at the workshop.

  • Table saw
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Tri Square
  • Safety glasses
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Dusk mask
  • Ruler
Man about to use a table saw to cut wood

Step One: Plan the Notch

  1. Check the quality and size of the wooden material you want to create a notch in and ensure it’s possible to make a notch.
  2. Draw the shape of the notch on the wooden material using a tri square. A ruler will help draw the width of the notch.
  3. Once you are ready with the above, you may now wear the safety glasses to begin making the notch.

Step Two: Cut Some Lines

  1. Mount the blade on the table saw in line with proper measurements.
  2. Alter the miter gauge at 90 degrees and place it on the selected spot.
  3. Switch on the table saw and place the wood with the notch sketch facing the blade. The wood should be held against the miter gauge, ensuring correct alignment to the blade.
  4. Slowly guide the material towards the saw blade but against the miter gauge. After the cut is done, do the same to the 1/8 inch right or left until you get to the notch drawing endpoint.
Man explaining why a table saw cut notch on end of a wood board

Step 3. Define the Notch

Use the chisel and hammer to get rid of the wood in the middle of the notch. With the wood lying flat on the floor or work surface, chisel away all the wood until the notch takes shape.

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Alternatives for a Table Saw for Notch Cuts

Here are some alternatives to making notch cuts with a table saw.

Circular Saw

  1. Set the desired blade depth and make cuts on the notch sketch.
  2. Maintain a 2-3mm difference between cuts.
  3. After the cuts, use a hammer to rid the notch of the waste.
  4. In place of a chisel, you may use a circular saw side by side on the wood until the bottom is clear.
  5. Use extra caution while defining the notch so that the circular saw does not destroy the wood.

Miter Saw

  1. Hold the wood with one hand and place it against the fence.
  2. Switch on the miter saw, pull down the blade level, and place the blade on the notch sketch to cut up to the desired depth.
  3. Return the blade to its original position, slide the work piece right or left for 1/8 and proceed to cut till the blade covers the entire notch sketch.
Wood with a notch on end board

Related Questions

Before we finish, let’s answer a couple of questions regarding notch cuts.

What Tool Do You Use to Notch Wood?

A circular saw is the most used tool for cutting notches and is suited for large notches. If you have a table saw, you can use it as well. As a substitute, you can opt for a hammer and chisel to create a notch, but it will take time to make one.

How Do You Cut a Notch in Wood for a Pergola?

To notch the boards, you need a jigsaw and a power drill. Ensure the drill bit is larger than the width of the jigsaw blade. At the corner of the notched rectangle, drill a hole.

Cut the two straight lines using the jigsaw and use the drilled hole to place the jigsaw blade. You may now notch out the wood. Do this again to make the remaining three notches.

Why Is My Table Saw Not Cutting Straight?

A table saw not cutting straight can be explained in many ways. The most apparent reasons are using poor form while sliding the wood through the blade, a warped blade, a loose blade, a blade that is not square to the tabletop, and the saw blade not being parallel to the rip fence.


Notching wood is not a difficult task. It’s also not an expensive procedure, and it takes very little time to perform. A table saw that is in good shape produces better cuts as you notch. This guide should help you learn how to notch wood with a table saw easily.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.