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I'm new here and a novice woodworker. I'm trying to find the best way to notch a 4x4 to insert a 2x4. The only tool I have is a sliding mitre saw with a depth stop. My questions are as follows:

1. Is it safe to do this?
2. Because the cut will not go all the way through the wood, do you let the saw stop before raising it up, or take it out while the blade is still rotating?
3. If you make the kerf cuts close together is there a danger in the small pieces that are left breaking off and kicking back?

Thanks for any help. Sorry if this seems like a silly question, but my main concern is safety and there are a lot of mixed messages out there regarding this.

Thank you.
 

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It will be fine

Pull the saw all the way out, push down into the 4 x 4 every 1/2 " or so. Knock out the waste with a chisel and you will be fine. This will work whether it's in the middle or off the end, like a rabbet. :yes:
 

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You'll be fine, I use that method quite alot. It would flick any small bits of wood away from you so can't see any reason it should hit you unless it ricocheted off a wall or something. I usually have to pack the piece of wood im cutting off the fence by a couple inches when notching - as simple as dropping a piece of 2x2 as if you were going to saw it in half. otherwise my saw wont leave a nice flat notch

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With a slider, you can get flat bottoms on the cuts. Just start the cut forward of the 4X4 and push it through.
You are not sawing through the 4x4, so letting the blade raise while still spinning shouldn't be a problem.
 

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This is where a radial arm saw shines. Especially with a depth stop on the post.
I cut all the dados in 2x4 uprights on this drying rack, in less than 10 minutes. Cutting the deep dados in 3 steps.
 

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You'll be fine...usually have to pack the piece of wood im cutting off the fence by a couple inches when notching... otherwise my saw wont leave a nice flat notch
Absolutely the way to do it on a slider. Put a sacrificial block behind your work piece and you can kerf out the full depth, width and length you need.:thumbsup:
 
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