Kerf Maker and first "kerf" project.

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Project by choppertoo posted 05-09-2011 02:11 AM 5693 views 5 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Over the past year or so I’ve saved several versions of LJ’s kerf makers. This weekend I decided it was time to do something about it. I will probably make another (fancier) in the future but for now went with Spalm’s version. Very basic but gets the job done. Thanks for the road map Spalm.

Funny story about the build, actually the build was simple and quick. The second test cut just about sent me to the loony bin. My first cut, like many other LJs I’ve seen post, was perfect. Fit like a glove. scrap “A” fit snugly into the kerf I had just cut in scrap “B”. In my mind the logical thing to do was kerf “A” and make it a half lap. Simple, right?

Not so much. The second kerf was too wide. No biggie, I’m new at this kerf maker thing so I must have had a brain fart. It’s scrap wood just move down the board a bit and try again. Same result. Huh? I’m doing exactly the same as on the first cut but getting different results? What gives? So I traipse up stairs and fire up the bridge city video to see what silly mistake I must be making. I traipsed up those stairs and back down several times. I even stopped in my wife’s den to explain what my problem was. I thought if I talked it out with someone I would see the error of my ways. Now I questioned whether or not I just got lucky on my first cut and had constructed the kerf maker wrong. The part with the lock down bolt should be a blade’s width shorter that the other piece, right Spalm? I must have asked you that a dozen times as I stood in my shop before I decided I must just be loony or retarded, or both. So, I altered the jig and made the cut. Now I’ll get what I’m looking for. Ha. I knew altering the jig was wrong before I made the cut but nothing else was working. Of course, my results was a kerf that was still, too big. WTF? I stared at it for a long time, Went BACK up stairs to watch the video, again. I even stop actioned the vid and drew out instructions for myself. Ever seen a grown man cry? I knew what I was doing was right. I knew had one positive result right out of the shoot. WHHHHHHHHHYYY is this not working?

When I figured it out all I could think to myself was, Oh dear God, Really, Pat? You’re not much of a wood worker are you? Sooooo, I altered the jig back to it’s proper dimensions, made the second cut and it fit perfectly. You have no idea how relieved I was to figure out that I wasn’t going insane.

So, having figured out the error of my ways I set out to cut a few kerfs on this project. Long ago I grew tired of the plastic bag that housed my brass set up bars but I just had not been motivated enough to set up the router table and make all the changes that would have been necessary to make this simple set up bar holder.

I am thrilled to have my kerf maker and my set up bar holder and I am working on another project that I have been wanting to do for a long time but never did because I wanted to make a kerf maker first. I’ll post that one when finished.

Oh, yeah, I suppose you want to know what I figured out that I was doing wrong? Most of you real wood workers probably already know and were face palming yourself, thinking, ‘what and idiot’. lol

The two scraps of wood I was cutting were dissimilar in thickness. I kept setting the thickness on the kerf maker to the first piece of wood. And yes, I knew full well that I had two different thicknesses. I just kept measuring the first one.

If you have read all the way to the end of that lame story I’m going to guess you need a beer as much as I do.


-- The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.. Michelangelo

4 comments so far

View wb8nbs's profile


164 posts in 3698 days

#1 posted 05-09-2011 04:56 AM

Good Story! I also need a holder for setup bars, I’ve looked at the Bridge City video, not sure how you used your device in this application.

-- The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

735 posts in 3786 days

#2 posted 05-09-2011 05:28 PM

Oh! How I understand your ‘lame’ story – this sort of thing has happened to me on many occasions. You check that what you are doing is correct, but it does not work. You recheck, try different ways, but it keeps failing. And all because there is something so fundamentally daft that it never occurs to you until you have wasted hours!

One of the first occasions this happened for me was when I started learning the computer language COBOL (that shows how long ago it was!)
I followed all the info’ in the programming manual, got all the syntax correct, and set-up the necessary variables, but whenever I compiled the tiny program, it came up with hundreds of errors!

It took me ages to notice that – unlike BASIC or other languages – every line in a COBOL program needed a full stop (period ?) at the end. That’s all it was – I hadn’t put in any!

I’ve had similar experiences with woodworking, but I think my brain is too embarassed to recall them for me!

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View choppertoo's profile


304 posts in 4319 days

#3 posted 05-09-2011 09:50 PM

Thanks for looking wb8nbs. I used the kerf maker to cut each of the different sized dado/kerfs for each of the set up bars. Took a totl of ten minutes to cut the slots with only the table saw. No bit/blade changes to make each of the different width dados.

After cutting the dados I glue the hard board (white) onto the back to create the pockets that the set up bars are housed in. Then I cut one more dado in the base to put it all together. Hope that helps.

Don, I like your projects, too. Glad to hear from someone who empahtises with the situation I found myself in. Funny when I lok back on it but drove me bonkers while figuring out, why?
I’ve never written Cobal bu the little HTML I know gets me in more trouble than it’s worth sometimes.

Make it a great day,


-- The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.. Michelangelo

View MontanaBob's profile


874 posts in 3690 days

#4 posted 05-10-2011 05:31 PM

Thanks for a great idea…....been looking for a way to cut quick dados…

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