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[kurf] /kɜrf/
a cut or incision made by a saw or the like in a piece of wood.
Mining. a deep cut a few inches high, used to undermine a portion of a coal or mineral seam.
the act of cutting or carving.
verb (used with object)
to make a kerf or kerfs in (a piece of wood, a coal seam, etc.).
Origin of kerf
before 1000; Middle English kerf, kirf, Old English cyrf a cutting (cognate with Old Frisian kerf); akin to carve Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for kerf
Historical Examples
  • The cut is made on the pulling stroke, and hence the kerf can be very narrow.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes
  • When the kerf is well started, the whole weight of the saw may be applied.

    Handwork in Wood

    William Noyes
  • Make the notch, or kerf, large enough to avoid pinching your axe in it.

  • The teeth should cut a kerf just wide enough to clear the blade.

    Farm Mechanics Herbert A. Shearer
  • The first chips that flew were ten inches long, but they quickly dwindled as the kerf sank in.

    Two Little Savages

    Ernest Thompson Seton
  • Where the whole body of the tooth is bent, the saw will run smoothly and easily through the kerf and produce a smooth-cut surface.

    Carpentry for Boys J. S. Zerbe
  • Cut your kerf on the side toward the landing place, let the notch go half-way or a trifle more through the trunk.

  • Little by little the axe bit through the tough wood, until the kerf was well past the heart of the tree.

    Everyday Adventures Samuel Scoville
  • By letting the saw run in the kerf thus made, you can cut pieces off square.

    Woodworking for Beginners Charles Gardner Wheeler
  • When the first kerf is finished begin another one on the opposite side of the tree a little higher than the first one (Fig. 114).

British Dictionary definitions for kerf


the cut made by a saw, an axe, etc
Word Origin
Old English cyrf a cutting; related to Old English ceorfan to carve
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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