How should I cut tabs on my completed part?

Is there a special easy tab cutting technique for wood parts? MDF, Pine, Maple, etc.
The dremmel tool is hard to control, box cutter is too hard. Little japanese box saw doesn’t really fit.
Anything anybody can tell me about tabs is appreciated.

Hey Ruralist,

If you don’t have one yet, it’s not a bad excuse for an oscillating multi-tool. You can see in this Multi tool blade kit that you have a decent range of blade widths to get into those tough spots.

I use a small X-acto knife razor saw blade (#13 or #33) on small scale projects — should be available from any local hobby shop:


I use a chisel and hammer. But I do my files in V-Carve which allows you to do nifty pyramid type tabs.

Thanks for the advice towards tiny x-acto saw.

Yes, multi tool. I will try this.

I started using my Dremel osliating tool but sometimes nicked project. Got a Ridgid ossiliating drum/belt sander and that works well. I also use Japanese flush cutting saw and sander. Some times a chisel. So I use a lot of different tools depending on size and shape of object.


Yeah, there are times when I wonder if getting a full collection of gouges of various radii would be a good option here.


Sharp chisel. Fast and clean.


I run the part through the band saw to remove tabs & waste carcass. Easy to follow the blade along the vertical part wall with minimal scratching, or just float a 16th or so away from the wall and take the remaining tab off at the spindle sander. If tearout on the bottom side is a worry, put a sacrificial board or veneer under the part (and use a fine tooth bandsaw blade) Keeping the cut and sand at 90 deg saves a lot of headache.
Works great for cleaning up cribbage boards with long flats and curved exterior edges that are primarily cut by the cnc.


I use either an oscillating cutter or a flush trim bit in a drywall cutter. Works nicely, but I mostly use a 1/4” mill.

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I have been making my tabs about 0.2" in length and around 0.02" in height.Usually after the profile cut with tabs, after removing the project from the table I can usually just “slap” the project out of the remaining material. To remove the remaining stub piece I take the project and place it with the tab against the work table and “roll” the project a bit with downward force and that snaps the remaining stub nearly flush. A light hit with a file and you can’t tell where the stub was.

caveman technique


Thanks for the tip on tabs!

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