LumberJocks

Kerfs

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by MsDebbieP posted 09-06-2011 01:37 PM 3373 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 3623 days


09-06-2011 01:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kerf tips tricks

KERF, as I understand it, refers to the width of the cut created by a saw.

  • How does this impact woodworking and
  • what are the “tips and tricks” to use it to your benefit and
  • how do you ensure it doesn’t mess up your project?

 

Gateway to all Tips & Tricks Topics
 

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)


23 replies so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile (online now)

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9036 posts in 2382 days


#1 posted 09-06-2011 01:51 PM

Hi, Debbie:
I use kerfs to help embellish my projects. I just finished a series of bird ornaments where the kerf lines are part of the designs. In scroll sawing, this is called ‘veining’ and adds a lot of depth and interest to the designs. Below is a picture of one of the ornaments from that project:

I also used some gel staining medium and a little acrylic paint to color in the project. The kerf lines make it super easy to keep the stains where they are supposed to be and allow for easy color changes:

In a couple of lessons down the line (in my online scroll saw class here) I will be demonstrating veining and how you can use the kerf lines to enhance your projects. It can be a little tricky sometimes depending on the complexity, but certainly does add to the projects.

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roz's profile

Roz

1693 posts in 3248 days


#2 posted 09-06-2011 02:11 PM

One of the benefits of woodworking for me is that I am forced to slow down and take my time to improve safety and accuracy. Kerft are what usually get me when I don’t slow down. Because you loose that wood directly in front of the blade, making a measurement from the wrong side of the saw blade results in my piece being just a little too long or worse wet, too short. It sounds stupid perhaps but it is a lesson I keep learning.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 3623 days


#3 posted 09-06-2011 02:23 PM

Sheila – very cool!!

Roz—can you explain the whole “measuring from the right side of the blade”

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View nailbanger2's profile

nailbanger2

1041 posts in 2605 days


#4 posted 09-06-2011 02:57 PM

When I was just starting out as a carp. helper, no one explained what a kerf was. My boss just said “this board is an eigth short. AGAIN! ” Not a nice man, and a worse teacher. Luckily I have always tried to figure things out myself. It is easier to remember what to do if you know WHY you should do it.

Simplest example: you have a 2×4 that should be cut to 10”. You measure 10” and make a mark (some call it a crow’s foot, two non parallel lines starting from the 10” mark), then take a square and make a straight line perpendicular to the length of the board. To get exactly 10”, the entire blade should be to the left of the center of that line. Trying to cut exactly on that line will leave the board at least 1/16” short, cutting on the wrong side will leave it 1/8” short, the thickness of the blade.

This really comes into play when using a circular saw and a straight edge for a perfectly straight line. With my saw, a Makita, I have exactly 1 1/2” from the right side of my blade to the edge of the bottom plate. This makes it pretty simple to mark and clamp a straight edge to a board 1 1/2” away from where I want to cut. IF, I repeat, IF the piece you want to keep is on the right side of the saw. If the piece you want is on the left, you had better turn the piece around or walk to the other side to make the cut. DAMHIKT

This example was aimed at the beginners, as I suspect MsDebbieP was looking for.

I’ll put this on my watchlist to answer any questions.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

8244 posts in 2890 days


#5 posted 09-06-2011 03:38 PM

A series of kerfs can be used in making a saddle joint or lap joint. Set the blade depth to (usually) 1/2 the thickness of the pieces to be joined. After cutting the kerfs in both pieces, it’s easy to clean out the joint with a chisel.

A full width blade is 1/8th thick. A 1/8th kerf makes a good recess for a 1/8th thick box bottom. With proper measurement and alignment, multiple kerfs can accommodate different thicknesses, too. There will come a time when a router bit is more efficient, though.

Speaking of routing, Sometimes a saw kerf or two can be used to remove material ahead of using a large router bit.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View rance's profile

rance

4245 posts in 2622 days


#6 posted 09-06-2011 05:41 PM

Carpenters don’t have kerfs, only ‘Fine Woodworkers’. :P Well, at least the carpenters don’t often worry about them.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3680 days


#7 posted 09-06-2011 06:59 PM

I don’t know what to do with my kerfs, so I save them. If anyone needs some extra kerfs, I would be happy to sell them mine at a reasonable price. I keep them in a large drawer, together with the holes from all the doughnuts I’ve eaten over the years.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View nailbanger2's profile

nailbanger2

1041 posts in 2605 days


#8 posted 09-06-2011 07:03 PM

I do believe I’ve got spittle on my speed square from that raspberrry, rance! I wonder what Uncle Norm would say about that? Probably something like ” depends on the carpenter”.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Sawkerf's profile

Sawkerf

1730 posts in 2530 days


#9 posted 09-06-2011 08:20 PM

Debbie -

You’re right about the definition of a “kerf”, but the only tip or trick you need is to know that it exists. Make your cuts on the correct side of the line and there aren’t any problems. That’s why you’ll often see people make a mark on the waste side of a cut.

I’ve also used the kerf to make simple decoration in moldings. The interior door casings in my house are mitered flat stock with 1/8” deep saw kerfs 3/4” from each edge. Nice clean look and not something you’ll find everywhere. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

View GregD's profile

GregD

783 posts in 2598 days


#10 posted 09-06-2011 08:24 PM

I like to keep the kerfs in the wood and out of my fingers!

-- Greg D.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

17664 posts in 3138 days


#11 posted 09-06-2011 09:04 PM

A nice wide consistent set of kerfs make a nice box joint ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

8244 posts in 2890 days


#12 posted 09-07-2011 12:18 AM

Charlie,
PM me and we can get together on a price for the kerfs. I was thinking of making a “KerfMaker” but if I can buy the kerfs already made, it would save some time.
Oh, and I’ll probably take all the holes, too. Do you have them graduated in size? Buttermilk holes seem to hold their shape better than yeast holes. They’re not coffee stained, are they?

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Viktor's profile

Viktor

456 posts in 2881 days


#13 posted 09-07-2011 01:12 AM

Material left after making kerfs could be used to build furniture.

kerfmaker (n) – woodworker
kerfew (n) – restrictions imposed upon kerfmaker by significant other in response to spending too much time in the shop.
kerful (adj) – attentive to potential danger of engaging in kerfmaking
kerfless (adj) – not attentive to potential danger of engaging in kerfmaking
kerfree (n) – uncut (lumber)

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3680 days


#14 posted 09-07-2011 02:13 AM

See what I started? Now all the comedians are loose! :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

8244 posts in 2890 days


#15 posted 09-07-2011 03:13 AM

Victor is correct. I’ve used kerf residue a few times. Commonly termed MDF.
Some times, I’ve even added kerfs to the mdf. Re-kerfed kerf stuff?
Kerf residue can also be combined with glue for filler when one has not been a “kerful” “kerfmaker”.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

showing 1 through 15 of 23 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

HomeRefurbers.com