How To Notch Wood With a Router | Step By Step Guide for Beginners

Easy Way to Notch Wood With a Router

The method of notching wood has been a part of the woodworking tradition for a long time. Notching is done to make the joints of a wood structure stronger. This method is adopted by all woodworkers, beginners, or professional carpenters to increase their wood structures or furniture durability.

Professionals have a good grasp of using different techniques to notch wood, but if you are a beginner and want to learn, you have landed in the right place. For new learners, notching wood can be a difficult task to perform. Well, you don’t have to worry about it anymore. In this article, we will be sharing some fantastic tips to notch wood using a wood router .

Choosing the Notching Depth of Wood

Before you start with notching, you should first decide the depth of notching required for your task. The decision of notching depth depends on the kind of joint that you need. Recognize the type of joint and then choose the notching depth.

Also, pay proper attention to the size and weight of your wood structure before deciding anything else. Heavier objects do not need deeper notching.

Selecting Notching Position

The depth of your notching also depends on the place of notching. Notching done on the edge of heavier objects will result in the cracking of the items.

Decide on where to perform notching and then start routing. This decision can be taken after doing some mathematical calculations as well. If your wood piece is more prominent than 2 by 2 notches, it needs more robust support.

The needed depth will depend on the wood framework’s weight and on the wood’s cross-work.

Tools Required for Notching

Below are the tools that you will need to notch a block of wood and which are used by all the woodworkers:

  • Safety Mask
  • Marking Knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood Router
  • Clamps
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Measuring Tapes

Steps to Notch Wood with a Router

Making notches through a wood router involves the following steps:

Step 1

The first thing that you will be needing is a good wood router . A router is the one tool that can handle all the wood notching. Now keep your wood piece or structure on the workbench and hold it there with clamps.

Step 2

The second step is to decide on your notch’s depth; this can be determined using the methods mentioned in the above section. With the help of a marking knife, mark the measurement of the depth on the structure. Make sure to mark it carefully, as the whole procedure of notching depends on the notch’s depth.

Step 3

In the third step, switch on your router and start routing on the marks. Trimming the wood edges can be challenging if done with a router; therefore, you can also use a hammer. After the notching is completed, cut off the extra wood pieces with the help of a hammer. The remaining dust can be removed, and the curves can be smoothened by using chisels.

Step 4

Now create notches on each side of the framework and perform the same task on each side of the framework to complete a perfect notching on your structure.

Step 5

After cleaning the notch, now that your gap is ready, start fitting it by inserting the piece of wood inside with which it has to be notched. Ideally, the fit should be perfect.

Step 6

After you are delighted with the notching on one wood piece, you will have to repeat the entire process of notching on another piece of wood.

Router Bits for Different Types of Notching

Routers are unarguably the most versatile tools that a woodworker can buy. You can perform various tasks using a single router. This tool helps you shape edges, trim, rout hinges, and even cut different wood joints like dado, rabbet, and groves.

The routing in a router is done with router bits; many bits are available to make all the cuts in a wood piece. If you are new to routing, it is hard to choose the router bit needed to do your work.

Straight Cutting Bit

These types of bits are used to cut straight into the wood; these include square-bottomed grooves. It is available in different diameters. A lot of router bits have a pilot, which directs the bit and keeps it in place, but this router bit doesn’t need guidance.

While using these router bits, ensure to move the router along a straightedge to make accurate cuts.

Round-Over Bit

These bits are used for edge-shaping of shelves, tabletops, and chair arms. The rounding over bits are available in different sizes, but the two most popular ones are of sizes ¼ and ⅜ inches. This bit is connected with a ball-bearing pilot to control the width of the notch.

Roman Ogee Bit

These bits are the most commonly used. These edge shaping bits have a unique feature for giving a decorative touch to the edges of furniture. The roman Ogee bits are available in the sizes 5/32, ¼  and ⅜  inches.

Rabbeting Bit

A rabbet is an L-shaped notch that cuts along the edges of a board. It is easier to cut a rabbet using a  rabbeting bit. These bits are recognized by the width and depth of the cut they produce.

What Other Tools Can be Used for Notching?

Many other tools can be used for notching, which is given below:

  • Circular saw
  • Table saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Dremel
  • Jigsaw


Notching wood adds integrity to a structure and gives it a polished look. Although it may seem challenging to do, you can become an expert in notching once you learn the techniques.

There are many options to notch a wood piece, but you need to finish it off with a hammer and chisel for all methods. If you want to have notches of the same dimensions, you need to rig up a template so that your router can cut through the entire piece

—a hammer and chisel help make the edges of the structure tidy.

Notching should be done using the right size of tools and a strong workbench.

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