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How to Notch Wood with a Miter Saw?

How to Notch Wood with a Miter Saw

Whether you want to create a joint between two wood pieces, or for just decorative purposes, notching wood is a common technique used in woodworking. It today’s article, I will walk you through how to notch wood with a miter saw.

If you’re more of a visual learner, you can view the video below.

How to Notch Wood with a Miter Saw

You can notch wood with a miter saw in 3 easy steps. Mark the board on the notch piece, start your cut on the inside of the lines, and then attach the wood pieces.

Step 1: Mark the board

lining up notch cut miter saw

To get the correct width of the cut, you should line the board up against the field of the board where you intend to make the cut. I used a straight protractor to make sure the board is straight and perpendicular to the notch piece.

Once you have it lined up, you should mark the board on each side.

marking notch in wood

Step 2: Cutting the notch with miter saw

Before you make the cut, you need to adjust the height of your miter saw. You can do this by tightening or loosening the depth stop.

cutting a notch with a miter saw

I suggest that you line the board up against the saw to see how deep the cut will be. The depth of your notch will be as deep as the lowest saw tooth.

Once you choose you depth, line the board up so that it is perpendicular to the saw blade. I put a sacrificial board against the fence of the saw to make it a smoother cut, but this isn’t required. I do suggest that you have a miter saw stand to help keep the board stable.

miter saw notch cut

Once you have everything lined up, you can start the cut. You should start the first cut on the inside of the lines that you marked.

miter saw notch cut

If the cut is too narrow, you can always make it wider. However, you are in more trouble if you cut a notch that is too wide.

cutting a notch with a miter saw

After you make the first cut, gently slide the board down the saw that you cut the area within the two lines. Below is a diagram that will help visualize the different cuts you will make.

cuts for a wood notch

Below is what the notch should look like after you make the cut.

making a notch with a miter saw

If the notch is not even, you might have to repeat the process again. You should just set the depth a little lower so that the saw cuts a little bit more into the board. If your still having trouble, you might need to change your miter saw blade.

Through my experience making a notch with a miter saw, the biggest problem is that people don’t set the depth stopper securely. It is important that the depth stop is secured at a certain depth so that the cut is event across the notch.

Also make sure that you board is directly perpendicular to the blade when you make the cut. If the board is slanted, so will your notch.

Step 3: Put the two boards together

making a notch cut with a miter saw

If you are making a joint with the two boards, the last step is to please the board into the notch. If the notch isn’t side enough for the board, you will probably need to make one or two more cuts.

You will also probably want to put some sort of cohesive in the notch to help keep the boards jointed together.

For shelves that aren’t holding a lot of weight, wood glue is a great option.


I hope this article helped explain how to notch wood with a miter saw. The steps are pretty simple, and once you get the hang of it, the margin for error is quite low. If you are in the market for a new saw, you should check out my article on the best compound miter saw.