I decided my miter saw would be the most convenient way to cut some dados on a 2x8. I have a set screw to adjust how deep the saw will go, however there is a tab with a hole that can be shifted in order to ignore the set screw. As I was cutting, this tab shifted and one of the cuts went a bit deeper than it was supposed to.

This is for some shelves I'm putting up in my own garage, so I think I could probably do nothing about it and it wouldn't be an issue. But supposing I was doing this for someone else, would wood putty be a reasonable way to fix this?

Edit: to be clear,it's just a single saw slice that went deeper, but it did go about an inch deep (2/3 of thickness).

  • I had an entire Answer written before I realised I might have misinterpreted a key detail. So, have to check: is this just a single saw slice of many used to form the dado, so it's just a single deeper kerf somewhere across the width of the dado?
    – Graphus
    Nov 19, 2022 at 17:36
  • Yes, exactly. Sorry if that wasn't clear. At first I thought it's probably not a big deal, and maybe it's not. But does go down about an inch (so 2/3 of the thickness).
    – BVernon
    Nov 19, 2022 at 21:24
  • Maybe a mixture of glue and sawdust would be even better?
    – BVernon
    Nov 19, 2022 at 21:28
  • Please add the extra detail to the body of the Question so everyone can see the issue. I thought based on "a bit deeper" that it would be just a shallow kerf, which would be optional to fill (i.e. mainly a cosmetic thing). But 2/3 the board thickness? I think this makes filling the whole kerf important for structural integrity (in a just-in-case way, obviously standing there static the shelves will do just fine).
    – Graphus
    Nov 19, 2022 at 21:44
  • A picture would help future viewers understand exactly what has gone wrong.
    – Ashlar
    Nov 20, 2022 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


Well "wood putty" covers a lot of ground, so a lot would depend on the exact product you meant. But given how deep the errant saw cut went I think you really should fill the gap with something structural, which would rule out most putties which are intended only for cosmetic work (and typically weak and crumbly).

I think ideal the way to fill this is using wood, and the grain should ideally be in the same orientation as the board. Although making such a thin cross-grain slice and getting it glued into the kerf in one piece will pose a challenge actually it doesn't need to be in one piece. Even if you had to resort to glueing in individual pieces cut from a narrower board once glued in place and the glue sets the pieces will act the same as a one-piece strip.

If you don't fancy the above idea I would resort to using thickened epoxy (epoxy1 + sanding dust2) as the easiest, very strong, alternative3. Place the board flat on the floor, tape off both ends of the kerf as dams and then, protip, heat your groove well with a hair drier or more carefully with a heat gun — when the epoxy touches the warmed wood it will instantly liquefy and flow into the kerf better. Now mix your batch of epoxy and spoon or dollop it in, then use coffee stirrers or other tools to help work it into the groove. While you can use any consistency you prefer I would recommend going no stiffer than approximately the consistency of mayo.

There are commercial epoxy putties sold for woodwork of course but their working times tend to be pretty limited, which along with the stiffer consistency will make filling a saw kerf bothersome. Plus they're not cheap, and as mentioned in the link included the 'Tootsie Roll' format they tend to come in means you never know in advance if what you buy will reliably blend to a smooth, homogenous mix.

1 You don't need a sophisticated epoxy, most dollar-store 5-min epoxy is actually pretty decent and good enough for this sort of thing. You might have to fill in 2-3 stages rather than all in one go.

2 If you don't have enough sanding dust available you can supplement it with other powders found at home, principally wheat flour or cornstarch.

  • The incredibly obvious idea of cutting a slice of wood to fit did not even occur to me, lol. Pretty sure I can manage that on my table saw from the off cut of the same board.
    – BVernon
    Nov 20, 2022 at 5:48
  • 1
    This is one of those things where I think it's only obvious in hindsight :-) Not at all sure I'd ever have thought of it myself to fill a single saw kerf without having seen the same basic tip previously (numerous times, in various contexts) which makes for an easier extrapolation.
    – Graphus
    Nov 20, 2022 at 21:35

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