Let's say I've got a length of 6x2 (150*50mm) and I want to cut a 2x2 notch to inset another timber perpendicular.

How can I make a neat square notch accurately? Two vertical cuts are easy but how to make the final cut to get the piece out?

What tools and techniques are used?

  • a picture would help, I'm goinfg to assume you want to make a notch with three closed sides and three open sides.
    – Jasen
    Apr 15, 2020 at 5:05
  • I'll add one of I can but yes, as if I was going to interlock two beams perpendicular
    – Mr. Boy
    Apr 15, 2020 at 9:40

3 Answers 3


The third cut is the tricky one, you could plunge cut with an oscillating tool, that'd be one way.

However the old-school way is probably faster and easier just to make a few more cuts between the first two, and then break the fragments out and clean it up using a chisel.

if the first cuts were with a hand-held rotary saw, you already have the depth set, so make another three-to five cuts kind of parallel between the first two (precision is not needed) then snap off the upstands and scrape the bottom clean with the chisel.


Depending on how neat I want to be, I use either a chisel by itself or drill a series of holes along the line and use a combination of coping saw (for super neat corners) and chisel.

The key is a good quality sharp chisel...

  • Thanks for "coping saw" I never remember what that is called
    – Mr. Boy
    Apr 16, 2020 at 14:09

This may seem like a messy method at first, but it's actually the proper way and how everyone does it.

Just use your saw for most of the work as shown in my drawing below. (vertical cuts first, then a bunch of diagonal cuts until you almost have the notch you want)

Then smooth the bottom with a vile

enter image description here

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