Table Leg Taper Jig

Having read and spoke to some of the top traditional archers about the benefit of rear tapering your wooden arrows I decided to look into ways of tapering your own arrows. These are set by an interesting stop that allows the jig to be locked at a specific setting. This one is more specific than the dovetail paring jig I showed in the last entry, because it’s built to help with one particular step in one particular project. Mobile workbench/table saw/outfeed table/router table super-combo McDeal Fence shared between saw and router. A small change of angle can make a big difference, especially if you are tapering 4 sides. The key to this jig is that it cuts a taper that is parallel to the desired taper but leaves one-thirty-second of an inch of extra material to smooth the surface afterwards. A few minutes later, the leg is tapered all around and ready for final smoothing.

I can’t imagine any force that would lift the jig or pull away from the fence while sawing. I particularly like the way Marc demonstrates his 5 cut method to check the squareness of the jig and how to adjust for near perfect square cuts. Step 8: Now run the tapered faces over your jointer to remove the blade marks (see Photo 9), and scrape or sand them smooth.

For a good general purpose cross cut sled, I really like this video tutorial from Marc Spagnuolo otherwise known as TheWoodWhisperer This is a very detailed guide on how to make a very versatile jig. Fortunately, though this jig is very specialized, it’s also pretty simple, and quick to make. I thought there was a video featuring Scott Phillips using the jig on a bandsaw, but I can’t find it. Finally, the folks at MicroJig even include a sample ‘Project Log’ that can be used to record the various taper angles, fence settings and blade angles for each piece in your project.

Variation: If your leg requires tapering on two faces, simply tape the cutoff piece back in place, and flip the leg in the jig so the offcut face is up. Adjust the clamp bumpers as needed to account for the amount of wood removed by the saw kerf. Then I glued an oak sacrificial strip to the base for a perfect fit after trimming with the jig miter bar plastic screws in the miter are adjustable and gave me a perfect fit. Start the cut with the wood already past the blades and slide it through with the end to be cut touching the table.

I found a piece of 1/2” plywood longer and wider than the leg will be. Then I cut some small stock at 45 degrees to make blocks that form a cradle for the leg blank. If the jig is flipped over you can see the slots that provide the adjustment for the arms, the wing nuts will provide a simple and quick way of changing the arm angles. Now you should have quite a few options to insert a carriage bolt from below and because it is sunk into the sled you shouldn’t be scratching up the table saw surface. But – I would not want to give up the adjust-ability of the rear pin/fence that the ShopNotes tapering sled has.

You can even build your own taper jig if you know the theory on how the table saw taper jig works. It was easy to set up. And the tapered legs were dead on. Once you have it set up the cuts are repeatable. The tapering jig provides a method to remember these angle settings using a patented ‘Memorylock’ system. It comes with an excellent user guide that goes through a step by step assembly process and multiple descriptions, with excellent pictures, of how to use the jig in practice. Tapering jigs are often used to create table legs, with the taper usually cut into the two sides of the leg facing the inside of the table.

At some point Rockler should make an upgraded version of this jig in Baltic Birch plywood. This jig works much more quickly than laboriously clamping the blank in every orientation needed. For that reason, sliding the fence back and allowing the bottom of the jig to expand is needed throughout the entire process of opening the taper jig. Pile the tapered plies in these two groups according to the triangle marks as they come off the bandsaw.

Also included in the package is a 22 minute DVD that also walks you through the assembly process and then shows various tapers being cut for a sample table. Izzy Swan from comes up with some brilliant table saw jigs and by his own admission is table saw jig mad. I’ll go into these methods in more detail when I show the jig in use in my shop. Start with a piece of scrap plywood and attach a couple of plywood runners to fit your table saw miter slots. I can then move to my drum sander or planer and use the same jig to remove the saw marks. Start with only a pencil line around the top of the leg indicating where the taper should end.

Should write instructions for use that fits into a uninformed mentality or a ‘rookie’ and not make assumptions. When satisfied that the cut line is drawn correctly, use a combination square to extend both ends down the thickness of the material to meet the table surface. A basic tapering jig need be little more than a rectangular piece of scrap with an angled notch cut in it. The notch holds the workpiece at an angle, while the jig’s straight edge bears against the rip fence as one edge of the work is cut to a taper. When satisfied tighten the fastener that lock the Taper Jig and re-check its alignment.

A third very effective way to taper a table leg is to make a template of the desired dimensions from lightweight plywood or medium density fiberboard. Such a simple device, performing its task with ease and i ended up with some very nice arrows (we shall not mention the Fletching – a whole different issue!). If the work piece is too small to grasp safely, a method of securing the jig and work piece together must be devised so you can keep your fingers a safe distance from the blade.

That worked OK, but I was never able to duplicate the crisp, accurate cut I got straight off the table saw. Piece I’m cutting), and then make my cut with the workpiece on the bottom of the jig (in exactly the orientation to the fence that we used to make the jig in the first place). If your fence is aligned to the miter slot the cut line will now be parallel to both the fence and the cutting path of the blade. Most store-bought tapering jigs, however, have a design flaw: they limit your control of the workpiece during ripping – and that can lead to a dangerous kickback or poor cutting quality.

This template can be attached to the table leg stock with double sided tape and a router with a straight edge bit can be used to shape the tapered leg. This can be done with double-sided tape, or with screws set into a block of wood clamped to the edge of the table. Using the Taper Jig often feels a little awkward when you first use one, but with a little practice, you will be making accurate cuts that benefit your projects. All you will have to do is set your fence to the width of the jig every time and make sure it is parallel to the blade. Most often in this case people will use masking tape to secure the wood to the jig.

It comes complete with a fixed leg which runs against the rip fence, and a swinging leg with a hook to control the workpiece, mounting points for a GRR-ripper push block to help hold the work down and a handle to keep positive control over the workpiece. When I squeeze them together both sides of the jig already have the tapper in, so they come out perfect, but sometimes a little sanding and fitting is needed. Cutting tapers is a relatively common procedure in woodworking that can be a little intimidating for newbies and veterans a like. The most effective way to taper table legs is through the use of a thickness planer.