How to Cut Slits in Wood

By Wade Shaddy

Things Needed

  • Plywood panel, 3/4-by-24-by-36 inches
  • Carpenters square
  • Table saw
Use a table saw to cut slots in wood.

When slits are cut side by side in the face of wood, they provide the necessary openings for special woodworking projects or crafts. This can be done for speakers, air ducts or aesthetics. It provides a grill pattern that is still strong but allows music or air to pass through easily. Table saws can be used to cut slits. The saw blade provides the narrow width of each individual slit. They can cut slits perfectly straight, balanced and parallel with each other.

Draw one line perpendicular across the panel 6 inches from the bottom. Use a carpenters square to get it straight.

Set the fence 2 inches from the blade. Crank the wheel on the front of the saw counterclockwise to lower the blade below the surface of the saw.

Place the panel on the table saw against the fence above where the blade will emerge from the saw. The end of the panel should extend 6 inches past the point where the blade comes up. Make a pencil mark on the fence at the end of the panel. Turn on the saw. Hold the panel with your left hand.

Crank the wheel on the front of the saw clockwise until the blade cuts through and emerges out the top of the panel. Push the panel forward to cut a slit in the panel. When the blade reaches the pencil mark at the end of the panel, stop pushing. Lower the blade below the surface of the saw by cranking the wheel counterclockwise. Slide the fence over to the right 3/4-inch and lock it down.

Cut one slot with each repetition of Step 4.

Tip

Most saw blades cut slots that are 1/8-inch wide. For extremely narrow slots, install a laminate cutting blade on the saw. They cut slots that are 1/16-inch wide. You can cut slots closer or wider from each other by using the fence. For example, to cut slots 2 inches apart, move the fence over 2 inches each time.

Warning

Hang on tight when cutting slots. Kickback can occur if you let go of the board while cutting slots. Wear safety glasses.

About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.