DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

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Anyone who has worked wood for a long time, has ever tried to make a groove to fit another piece of wood. 

But no matter how well you measured, you soon realized that in this way it is practically impossible to make the perfect groove. 
Either the groove is too narrow or too wide.
So you can never get the piece of wood in it, or the wood falls out faster than you could put in.

If you really want the perfect groove, you will need an attachment that can help you with this.

The Kerfmaker is the perfect tool for this.

If you search on the internet, you can easily buy a kerfmaker for a reasonable price, like this TIPU kerfmaker.

An alternative is that you can make this kerfmaker yourself.

That’s what I will show you in this blog.
With the free plans you can download on this page, you can create this DIY Kerfmaker yourself.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

Before we dive into the blog you can watch the video first.
In that video, I will show you how I build my kerfmaker.

In the blog post underneath the video, I will describe step by step the actions you need to take to make this kerfmaker.
Also, I will list up the materials and tools you need for building this project.

To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

Safety first!

Materials I used for this KERFMAKER

(power)Tools I used for this KERFMAKER

Building the kerfmaker step by step​

Now that we have gone through the list of what we all need for this project, I will explain step by step how to make this DIY Kerfmaker.

Let’s go!

Step 1 | Preparation

To make this kerfmaker, I started by drawing out all the pieces I needed on a piece of scrap plywood.

The correct dimensions can be found on the downloadable free plans.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

Step 2 | Cutting to length

Once all the pieces were drawn I could cut them. 
I cut the pieces a little wider than the marked dimensions.
This way I can trim them flush at a later stage.

Because this is about cutting small pieces, I chose to work with my crosscut sled.
It is not only much safer to work but also very handy and fast.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

Be sure to watch my blog and video how I made my crosscut sled: The perfect crosscut sled? Accurate | removable zero clearance insert

There are free plans available to make this awesome crosscut sled yourself.

Step 3 | Glue up & trimming

Once all the pieces have been cut I glued them together. 
By using very fast CA glue I was able to significantly reduce the waiting time for drying.

If you do not have CA glue you can use wood glue.
Please note, clamp the pieces well together and respect the drying times.

Definitely consider purchasing a CA glue and accelerator
This is recommended for projects like this. 

The pieces are connected immediately, making the work much faster. Also, the displacement of the pieces relative to each other during gluing is hereby reduced.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

Once all the pieces were glued I trimmed the pieces so that the sides were perfectly flush.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

Step 4 | The knobs

You can also easily make the knobs with which you can set the kerfmaker yourself.
I’ll show you how I did it.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS


In preparation for the knobs, drill the holes in the kerfmaker as indicated on the free plans.

To be able to screw the knobs and block the kerfmaker in the correct position, use T-nuts that you insert in the drilled holes.

Preferably you can press the T-nuts into the wood instead of hitting them with a hammer.
This will reduce the risk of splitting the wood.

To press these T-nuts I used my vice for this.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

Making the knob​

To make the knob I took a piece of scrap wood on which I drew a circle.

I divided this circle into 8 equal parts.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

I drilled holes at the intersections of the lines with the circle.

In the center of the circle, I drilled a hole halfway the thickness of the wood. 
For this, I used a drill bit just smaller than the head of the bolt.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

With a hammer and chisel, I made the central hole just the same size until the head of the bolt fitted perfectly. 

I connected the bolt to the wood with CA glue.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

After the glue dried and the wood was firmly glued to the bolt, I trimmed the sides of the wood.

I did not cut deeper than the center of the drilled holes. 
I took the rest of the wood away with a little drill press hack.
By spinning the wood, and pushing the sanding block against the wood, I had the perfect circle.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS
DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

After updating the knob with a round file and sandpaper, it was perfect to use for the kerfmaker.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS


If you want to know more about how to determine the right sandpaper for your project, be sure to check out my blog: The perfect sandpaper grit guide for woodworking.

Everything you need to know about sandpaper can be found in this article. It will no doubt give you a better understanding of the proper use of sandpaper.

There is also a FREE downloadable guide available to help you determine the right sandpaper grit.

Highly recommended.

Step 5 | Assembling​

Now that all parts were ready, I could slide them together and clamp them with the knobs.

Do not forget to use a washer when you mount the knobs.
That washer will distribute the pressure of the button when clamping, and ensures that the kerfmaker can not move.

Easy DIY Corner clamps to build cabinets | FREE PLANS

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How to use this kerfmaker​

Working with the kerfmaker is actually quite easy.

With the outside of the kerfmaker I can determine the thickness of the saw blade. 

I use my square for this, which I place against the saw blade.

On the other side of the saw blade, I place the kerfmaker and push it over the saw blade against the square.
By now tightening the knob, the thickness of the saw blade is set on the kerfmaker.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

By turning the kerfmaker over, and placing a piece of wood between the other opening, I determine the thickness of the groove I want to cut.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

By determining the position of the first cut, the kerfmaker and the stop block can be placed. 

Secure the stop block and do not move it while cutting.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

By flipping the kerfmaker over and placing it against the stop block, the second cut is automatically determined.

After sawing the inner and outer cuts of the groove, you can cut out the rest of the groove.

DIY kerfmaker for perfect dados & grooves | FREE PLANS

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Building a workshop can be tough and involves a lot of trial and error.
I know because I was there too. Thanks to this training, I gained better insights into building a workshop so that I could spend my budget more efficiently.

With the free E-Book 7 Deadly Mistakes Woodworkers Make When Setting Up a Shop, you’ll get a glimpse of what to expect from this training in addition to the 7 tips.

Highly recommended to all my fellow DIYers and makers.

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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

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  1. Have a nice day!
    For the third day I try 1x per day to download free plans on Kerfmaker For Perfect Dados, but not once did I get the plans even after the link that you send them to me by e-mail. Where am I making a mistake? Thank you for your answer to Slovakia

  2. Thanks, I enjoy the plans, they are understandable. All the steps are in the proper order and well detailed.

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