Cutting notches w/o bandsaw

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by rbterhune posted 10-15-2009 03:14 AM 8390 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rbterhune's profile


176 posts in 3456 days

10-15-2009 03:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip bandsaw question

I’m a fairly new woodworker and I’m always discovering with my research where I might need to buy something to finish a project, funny how that works. When I step into my first project I’m going to need to cut square notches into the corners of a shelf that fits inside the lower portion of a nightstand. The notches are necessary to make room for the inside corners of the legs. The front will sit on a rabbeted lip and the rear and sides will have a dado.

The easy way to do this is with a bandsaw but I do not have one yet. I have both a scroll saw and a handheld jigsaw. One can’t guarantee a completely vertical cut and the other is a very rough tool…sort of like swatting at a fly with a hatchet.

Thanks for your advice.

22 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117416 posts in 3811 days

#1 posted 10-15-2009 03:23 AM

how about a hand saw or even a hack saw and a chisel.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 4052 days

#2 posted 10-15-2009 03:59 AM

A fine tooth handsaw would make quick work on that task. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy to start with, a $20 one from Home Depot with the hardened teeth will work just fine.

-- Thuan

View firecaster's profile


574 posts in 3653 days

#3 posted 10-15-2009 04:02 AM

Looks like a reason to buy a tool. That’s the best kind of project.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View rbterhune's profile


176 posts in 3456 days

#4 posted 10-15-2009 04:56 AM

Actually, I did think of a handsaw…I’m just petrified of a crooked cut. I suppose a crooked cut is easily fixed with sandpaper so long as I’m on the waste side of the line with my “crooked-ness”. Thanks.

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 4052 days

#5 posted 10-15-2009 05:23 AM

A crooked cut has more to do with an improperly set saw teeth or a dull saw than it has to do with the operator when you are talking about cutting notches. To build up your confidence, buy a relatively inexpensive hand saw with the impulse hardened fine teeth blade. Then practice on some scraps of wood that you had drawn a series of practice layout lines on. You’ll find out how easy it is to use a hand saw. From there, you can expand to the many different types of saws that fits your style and needs.

-- Thuan

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3705 days

#6 posted 10-15-2009 03:46 PM

I’m building 4 endtables with this same type shelf below. I cut the notches with the table saw. Piece of cake!

View rbterhune's profile


176 posts in 3456 days

#7 posted 10-15-2009 04:56 PM

3fingerpat & Thuan…I think you’re both right. I just need to practice, practice, practice. Thanks for your tips.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3761 days

#8 posted 10-15-2009 05:32 PM

When you go for your cut, put a hardwood scrap on bothe the top and bottom of the line you are going to cut and they will help keep you on the straight and narrow…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4359 days

#9 posted 10-15-2009 08:09 PM

Get a good Japanese pull-saw. I got one with rip teeth on one side and crosscut teeth on the other, and it’s the first saw where I can really follow a straight line, and pick and choose which side of that line I want the edge of my saw to get.

My other choice would be a sled to hold the shelf upright and square to the fence on a router table.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View pinakBERT's profile


20 posts in 3931 days

#10 posted 10-15-2009 08:15 PM

Do you have a router? you could cut it rough with the jigsaw. Then make a square jig to use the router with a pattern bit, to square up most of the edge. Then take a chisel to square up the corner.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3466 days

#11 posted 10-15-2009 09:11 PM

My suggestion was going to be jig saw, with a guide. Basically anything straight that you can use as a fence. With a good quality blade, you would be amazed how well a jig saw can cut, even a cheap POS like my Skil jig saw. So the ingredients are…

#1. Jig Saw. I am going to assume a Cheap Skil, Ryobi, B&D, Craftsman type with a U shank. #2. GOOD blades. I have a box of B&D blades, and a box of Bosch blades. The Bosch are AMAZING, the B&D will NOT track straight to save my life! #3. Guide system / fence of sorts. I have used a 24” and a 48” level that has a good straight edge to it, clamped it down, and used it as a fence. It works GREAT!

This works well for pieces too unwieldy to go on a band saw as well…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View rbterhune's profile


176 posts in 3456 days

#12 posted 10-16-2009 03:14 PM

Yes, I do have a router and I’ve thought about that option. The jig saw might work, I’ve got a good Hitachi with bosch blades but I still like the handsaw option I think. I may look for one of those rip/x-cut pull saws…I’m sure I’ll have future uses for something like that.

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3699 days

#13 posted 10-16-2009 03:28 PM

the others’ comments should get you on track. i will also add that this is a perfect opportunity to learn about the use of hand tools to complement power tools. a chisel will do a really great job of paring a sloppy cut to exactly where it needs to be.

...way faster and cleaner than sandpaper.

View lcurrent's profile


125 posts in 4049 days

#14 posted 10-16-2009 04:54 PM

I agree with the table saw I do mine that way take your time

-- lcurrent ( It's not a mistake till you run out of wood )

View rwyoung's profile


409 posts in 3706 days

#15 posted 10-16-2009 04:57 PM

Hand saw to cut on the waste side of the line then sharpen up some bench chisels (you should think about these as a purchase anyway and sharpening is a good gateway skill) to clean up. To help keep things square, you can clamp on a guide block, just any piece of wood with two square faces, one down to the work piece an the other will become a guide for the back of your chisel. Go slow and take small shaving cuts. And consider shaving down only about 1/2 to 2/3 from one side, then flip over and finish the cut from the other side.

Sharpening is a good skill to learn and now you have an “excuse” to buy a few chisels and learn to sharpen. Paring with a chisel will get you a long way toward being able to fine tune other joints like dovetails and mortis and tennon.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics