from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A groove or notch made by a cutting tool, such as a saw or an ax.
  • n. The width of a groove made by a cutting tool.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The groove or slit created by cutting a workpiece; an incision.
  • n. The width of the groove made while cutting.
  • n. Distance between diverging saw teeth
  • v. To cut a piece of wood or other material with several kerfs to allow it to be bent.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A notch, channel, or slit made in any material by cutting or sawing.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut (a strip or bar of wood) with one or more kerfs for the purpose of bending it.
  • n. A Middle English preterit of carve.
  • n. A cut; an incision; a stroke with a weapon.
  • n. A channel or cut made in wood by a saw or other cutting-instrument.
  • n. In a cloth-shearing machine, the wool taken off in one passage through the cutter.
  • n. A layer of hay or turf. [Prov. Eng.]—5. That which is cut; a Cutting.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English cyrf, a cutting; see gerbh- in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English cyrf ("a cutting off, a cutting instrument").


  • The new study found that the "kerf" - which is the amount of germanium wasted during the slicing process - was 22 percent less when a 75-micron diameter electrified wire was used to cut the wafers, compared with the conventional wire saw method.

    Kansas City infoZine Headlines

  • Raymond used it, -- for he said that he had bent the teeth out so as to make the saw cut a good wide kerf, and so he might have supposed that the kerf was the cut in the wood which a saw makes in going in.

    Caleb in the Country

  • Its efficiency depends upon (1) the narrowness of the saw cut or "kerf," and (2) upon the force required to drive it thru the material.

    Handwork in Wood

  • Methodically they opened the "kerf," each face almost as smooth as though it had been sawn.

    The Rules of the Game

  • Begin your Notch 1, or the "kerf," as it is called, by chopping two marks, the upper one, A, at a distance above the other, B, equal to half the thickness of the tree.

    Young Knights of the Empire : Their Code, and Further Scout Yarns

  • You can then chop one side of the log half-way through and turn around and chop the other side until the second notch or "kerf" is cut through to the first one on the opposite side, and the two pieces fall apart.

    On the Trail An Outdoor Book for Girls

  • All he had were handtools: gravers, tiny thin kerf saws, jewel cleavers, bruters and dops.

    Amber Room

  • The 4″ deep hole for the aluminum dowel is drilled thru both the wood and kerf at the same time.

    Build Blog » Furniture from our shop

  • By mike, November 16, 2009 @ 7:42 pm did you guys fabricate the metal dowels and kerf plates in house?

    Build Blog » Furniture from our shop

  • The 1/4″ kerf plate is 1″ deep and glued in using a two part epoxy.

    Build Blog » Furniture from our shop


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  • I rather like it myself.

    October 14, 2008

  • This is a glorious word.

    October 14, 2008

  • "Kerf, the sawn-away slit in any piece of timber."

    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 210

    October 14, 2008