How to Groove Deck Boards Like a Pro
Building a deck using hidden clips is one of the cleanest looking methods available. If you select this method, your project requires grooved boards. You can buy pre-grooved decking or do it yourself.
Let’s talk about how to groove boards. Remember, the technique you use will be similar for any hidden fastener you install. For our example, we’re going to be using the Tiger Claw® TC-G hidden deck fasteners.
Before you begin, you will need:
Safety Check: Make sure to unplug the router before installing the slot cutter. When cutting, always use safety glasses! We recommend using a dusk mask and ear plugs as well.
Let's start with the router unplugged. Install the TC-G router bit and adjust to the height specified in the instructions.
To set the router to the correct height, measure 13/32” from the bottom edge of your deck board. Mark it off with a pencil. (If you are using a different fastener, check the groove profile from the manufacturer.)
Adjust the TC-G slot cutter height to match your mark on the board. Line the router up with your pencil mark. Grasping the router handles with both hands, cut the groove into the board by moving from left to right.
Pro Tip: You can also use the top side method to quickly cut 2 slots with a single pass. Here’s how. With your first board fastened down on the back edge, align a second board about 3” apart and clamp down. Be sure the router bit is at the proper height. Do this by aligning it with one of the grooves you created using the previous method. Once set, start at the first joist and cut a slot in the board nearest to you. Continue across to the opposite board. Repeat for each joist.
To see the grooving process in action, check out this video by FastenMaster.
No matter which process you choose, be sure to refer to the groove profile of the fastener you’re using. For best results, we recommend practicing on a spare piece of decking. After you perfect the process move forward with your project with confidence!
Have Questions? Continue the conversation with us, we're happy to help.