How to use a Kerfmaker (trying to help out!) Blog.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 09-21-2010 09:14 PM 108385 reads 256 times favorited 45 comments Add to Favorites Watch

How to use a Kerfmaker
Ok, many asked me this question, and I have seen it again and again on LJ.

If you need to find out how to make one, you can see my Kerfmaker 'Brass'n wood'.

Another fun gadget is the tenonmarker:

I’ll try to explain, as well as I can, feel free to ask questions if I do not make myself clear (I’m only human):

Collect what is needed, in this case a base stock and two thinner side stocks, and of course a Kerfmaker.
(The pipe and matches are optional, and I must warn against smoking…).

Measure out where you want your kerfs to start, and mark it carefully with a little arrow showing what direction to cut.

Her you see the setup.

Now put the stock you want to cut out into the gab of the Kerfmaker, and tighten it up.
Now you have the only measure you need set up.

And here you can see the Kerfmaker’s ‘mouth’ with the correct size set.

Now you need to figure out how deep you want to cut, I’ll make a flush cut straight with the surface, you can simply measure, or you can use a Height-, length gauge .

Set the thickness of the stock on the gauge, and lock it.

Now you set the height on your table saw after the gauge (it’s really easy).
Remember to roll the blade, so you end on a tooth top.

Now bring your Kerfmaker to the table saw, and loosen the finger screw in the back.

Hold the back of the kerfmaker against the blade, and adjust the thumb screw until it has same thickness as the saw blade.
Now you are ready to use the Kerfmaker.

Now set the cut up, and lie the Kerfmaker behind the stock, and use the shortest part (see photo), then lock your fence stop. And you are ready to make your first cut.

Now rise the Kerfmaker so it’s full length, and move the stock up to the Kerfmakers front.
Make your next cut.

Here you see both cuts made.

Now clean up the cut, either with repetitive cuts on the table saw as I do here, or simply with a chisel.

And here we are, a perfect fitted kerf.
If it’s not perfect, you simply need to adjust the back screw a little for adjusting the size.

Here both.

And here you see a perfect fit, I can hold it up, with no glue used.

I hope this could solve the magic of the Kerfmaker, an inspire to make or buy one,

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

45 comments so far

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 4316 days

#1 posted 09-21-2010 09:23 PM

Nice One, thanks Mad’s

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4400 days

#2 posted 09-21-2010 09:26 PM

Excellent how-to Mads! I’ve been wondering about these kerfmakers and this comes at exactly the right time. I was just about to research the operation of this amazing little tool. Now you saved me the trouble, thanks brother!

You know, I have been cutting so many dadoes in the measure and miss way, I just HAVE to build this little gizmo REAL soon. Thanks again.

NICE PIPE! Guess what, I have a matchbox just like yours :^)

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View Radu's profile


334 posts in 4503 days

#3 posted 09-21-2010 09:29 PM

Thanks Mads. Great info (as always).

View swirt's profile


7683 posts in 4431 days

#4 posted 09-21-2010 09:42 PM

Nice “how to” description.

For those that need to see it in motion, here is a nice video

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4574 days

#5 posted 09-21-2010 09:47 PM

great toturial as usual from you Mads
if I can understand this everyone can , believe me I realy had my thoughts about
these sawkerfs-dingy-tings and cuoldn´t figur them out until now.
maybee its becourse I havn´t a Ts

thank´s for taking some stress away from me ….lol

by the way your kerfmarker looks great

take care

View anon's profile


417 posts in 4356 days

#6 posted 09-21-2010 10:00 PM

well done mads, now i understand what all the fuss is about with these jigs :)
thank you

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4393 days

#7 posted 09-21-2010 10:26 PM

Although I was not of the many who asked, Thank you!

Your tutorial is great! now I know how to use a kerfmaker. Time to make one and practice!

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 4403 days

#8 posted 09-21-2010 11:17 PM

Thank U again Mad.
You´re a determined person. Will try this jig then

-- Back home. Fernando

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4548 days

#9 posted 09-21-2010 11:35 PM

Oh my!
That was quick response!
Swirt, yes that was a cool video they have made, and I must say the KerfMarker are quite sexy! Most of all I was happy to see the easy callibration method (wood cuts), this I have never seen, perhaps I’ll ad it to the blog. Thank you.
Dennis, yes I understand, but you can acually use it with a handsaw to set the cuts also! (then it might be a good idea to use brass like me). By the way I was at the post office today, so your pack are on the way now.
Fernandoindia, I guess you must now! Laugh.
Div, funny you have a matchbox like mine… I have to send you some of my favorite tobacco one day, if I will not be arrested for smuggeling! Yes you have to make one, if you don’t have time, I’ll make one and send you – thats a offer my brother. I bought the little pibe in Pragh some years ago when I was teaching drawing and aquarelle (watercolor) there.
Thank you to all for the feedback, it makes it worth doing this for you all,
best of thoughts,
a happy smile,
and lots of love,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27706 posts in 4565 days

#10 posted 09-22-2010 01:27 AM

Very cool and useful , Mads. I’m going to make one,too. I was wondering why the MK-1 in the video had two sliding pieces to it instead of just the one you have the defines both side of the kerf?

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4548 days

#11 posted 09-22-2010 01:50 AM

Hi Jim,
On my version, the top adjuster, has been moved down to the the bottom, and been replaced with the little adjustable brass finger screw (this adjust the compensation for the saw blade thickness).
So on mine, it will be the brass finger screw in the back you set to touch the second piece of wood after the cut (video).
So it’s just different approches to solve the same problem, other LJ’s solved this simply by a little normal fixed screw.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 4340 days

#12 posted 09-22-2010 01:51 AM

Excellent review of how it works. Thanks!

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4648 days

#13 posted 09-22-2010 12:08 PM

Cool blog, I always wondered about the screw on the end. I never about the kerf! Thx.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 4400 days

#14 posted 09-22-2010 09:56 PM

Mads, I feel humbled and don’t know how to respond to your offer. You are too kind and I am already in your debt. I wish I was a rich man so I can send you a big box full of wood! Maybe we can swop something?

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View mafe's profile


13872 posts in 4548 days

#15 posted 09-22-2010 10:32 PM

No way, you stay away from my Caroline! Even you do have a sweet wife!
No I need no return, life is not to measure, you give me soo much (so promise me there are no debt between us).
Once I was rich on gold, then I lost it all – my house, my job, my health – now I’m rich on love.
And no my dear brother I would change nothing in my life if I could.
Love you brother, and I’ll make you a kerfmaker and let it travel all the way to South Africa,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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