How to Cut a Groove in Wood with a Table Saw [Steps]

How to Cut a Groove in Wood with a Table Saw [Steps]

How to Cut a Groove in Wood with a Table Saw [Steps]

Grooves cutting is a standard table saw task that can be done easily with high precision.

It requires no extra tools except the table saw, tape, and a pencil.

In this guide, I'll show you how to cut a groove like a professional woodworker!

Things You'll Need

  • Table Saw
  • Plywood
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • Hammer
  • Chisel

In order to cut grooves, you will require the rip fence of the table saw.

Begin by placing the material to be cut on top of your work surface.

In this case, I'll use a plywood board.

The method remains the same for any material.

material in which groove is to be cut
material in which groove is to be cut

You should set the height of the blade in such a way that only less than half of the thickness is removed from the wood.

Removing more than that will result in a weak and brittle joint.

Once the height of the blade is set, now you may set the distance between the blade and the rip fence.

The rip fence width should be set such that the blade makes the cut on the boundary of the groove you need.

To set the distance between the blade and the rip fence, loosen the rip fence and set it apart from the blade correctly using retractable tape.

While setting the distance, remember that the blade thickness (kerf) should also be accounted for.

setting the rip fence by measuring with tape
setting the rip fence by measuring with tape

With the height and distance set correctly, plug in the saw and turn it on.

When the saw has reached maximum speed, slowly begin feeding the plywood using a push block or push stick.

making the cuts for the groove using table saw
making the cuts for the groove using table saw

Set the piece aside and again fix the distance between the blade and the rip fence to cut the other boundary of the groove.

This will mark the outer edge of the groove.

You might be interested in these:

How to Cut a Groove in Wood with a Circular Saw

setting the rip fence for cutting the other edge of the groove
setting the rip fence for cutting the other edge of the groove

Cut the piece again on the table saw.

This is what you'll end up with after this step.

two cuts made for a groove
two cuts made for a groove

You may set different distances between the rip fence and the blade and repeatedly run the wood to cut away the excess wood.

All the cuts should be within the groove boundaries made in the first two cuts.

multiple cuts made for making the groove
multiple cuts made for making the groove

With both the inner and outer edge of the groove cut, all that is left is clear out the space between the edges.

You can use a hammer and a chisel for this.

removing the cut up wood using a chisel
removing the cut up wood using a chisel

If you don't prefer using a chisel, you can use the table saw itself to make small repeated cuts to remove all the wood.

Both methods work well.

Once that is done, use some sandpaper to hand sand the groove to get rid of all irregularities and produce a smooth fine finish.

sanding the groove to finish it
sanding the groove to finish it

With that, you have successfully completed cutting a groove in wood using a table saw.

groove completed using table saw
groove completed using table saw

You might be interested in these:

Tips for Accuracy

  • Good quality plywood is actually better at making dados and grooves than regular wood.
  • Rip fence always stay parallel to the balde and hence will always yield straight edges.
  • Use a sharp blade with an appropriate number of teeth. More teeth on the saw blade means better cut but takes longer to cut and large teeth means quick but rough cuts.
  • If the length of the edge that is against the fence is shorter than the distance between the fence and the blade, Then dont cut it using the rip fence.
  • At any point of the cutting process, if the scrap comes loose, stop the cut immediately.
  • Check the saw blade for missing teeth and splits on a regular basis.

Tips for Safety

  • Do not keep your hand on top of wood while cutting even when the cut being made is'nt thick enough to penetrate the wood.
  • When using a table saw, You should not use gloves. In addition, remove any rings, bracelets, or other clothing that might become entangled in the table saw or material.
  • When cutting, stand to one side of the saw blade; do not allow anyone to stand directly in front of the saw blade while it is running.
  • Never remove or hold down a piece of wood by reaching across the saw blade.
  • Never lift the saw blade above the material being cut by more than 1/4th inches.
  • Don't stay too close to the running blade to avoid injury in case of kickback. Kickback is extremely dangerous and must be prevented at all costs.
  • Before leaving the saw work area, lower the blade below the tabletop.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are dado blades illegal?

The reason dado blades are illegal in some parts of the world is that, in order to use a dado blade set, you are required to remove the riving knife from the table saw. Unfortunately, removing the riving knife can increase the potential chance of kickback and injury greatly.

How do you cut a groove in wood without a table saw?

A plunge router is a primary instrument for cutting straight or curved grooves in a piece of wood. Cutting short channels with a rotary tool is also possible, but making long, straight lines with one is more challenging. A circular saw can also be used to cut grooves instead of using a table saw but it requires some sort of guiding mechanism to guide the saw along the cut line. freehanding with a circular saw is not recommended.

About V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to Mellowpine. We play around with beginner woodworking projects, CNC for hobbyists, and general woodworking tips.

If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com

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V Susan

Hi! I'm Susan. I am passionate about DIY projects and dark chocolates! Welcome to Mellowpine. We play around with beginner woodworking projects, CNC for hobbyists, and general woodworking tips.

If you'd like to connect with me or talk about something you like at mellowpine, drop me a mail at susan@mellowpine.com

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