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Cutting Long Finger Joints

By: Chris Fitch
Here's an easy way to tackle making some extra-long finger joint. You do it with a combination of your table saw and a Japanese-style rip saw.

Cutting long finger joints in the tail vise end block for a Shaker-style Workbench that I built recently is a simple task with a dado blade installed on the table saw. But when it came to cutting the finger joints in the mating side block, I couldn’t use the same technique.

The finger joints on the side block are 3 1/2" long — too long to cut with an 8"-dia. dado blade. So I had to come up with another method.

I started by using the fingers already cut on the end block to lay out the notches on the side block.

Then, in order to get a deeper cut, I swapped out my dado blade for a standard rip blade and cut each notch by making a series of passes, as shown.

Even with a 10"-dia. blade though, I couldn’t cut the notches to their full depth. So the remaining waste needs to be removed by hand. This is simply a matter of cutting along the sides of each notch with a hand saw. I used a Japanese-style rip saw. Then the remaining waste can be removed with a chisel, as you see here.

Published: Jan., 4 2018
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