What is Best way to cut tapered table legs

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Forum topic by Bill7255 posted 02-03-2016 11:29 PM 1212 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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427 posts in 2282 days

02-03-2016 11:29 PM

I am making a computer desk (my own design) and want to use 3” square legs that are tapered towards the floor. I am thinking of making some type of jig for the table saw or somehow use a circular saw. Any help on a jig design or better method would be appreciated.

-- Bill R

11 replies so far

View Lee's profile


113 posts in 876 days

#1 posted 02-03-2016 11:52 PM

Yep, taper jig is what I use, you can find plans all over the web, I built mine from plans I got from woodsmith

-- Colombia Custom woodworking

View AandCstyle's profile


3052 posts in 2255 days

#2 posted 02-03-2016 11:56 PM

Bill, I just googled “free tapering jig plans” and found this, which is very similar to one I made. There were others to choose from. You could also cut them with a band saw if you have one. I would NOT try to do it with a circular saw. HTH

-- Art

View jdh122's profile


1009 posts in 2815 days

#3 posted 02-03-2016 11:59 PM

You can also do it with a jointer (lots of videos showing how) or with handplanes.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1451 days

#4 posted 02-04-2016 12:53 AM

3” is large for a leg. Real scarey cut on the ts because the blade is at full height. 2” might look (& be) lighter.

Classic $20 jig works fine. Stand to the right of the fence pulling the stock tight in the jig and away from the blade. Adjust the rip fence left until your mark is at the front edge of the blade at the edge of your zci (you are using a ZCI on your table saw, aren’t you?)

Only taper two sides or you will have to re-attach the offcuts the make the 3rd & 4th tapers.


-- Madmark -

View rwe2156's profile


2925 posts in 1478 days

#5 posted 02-04-2016 02:16 PM

Steve Latta has a good one.
You can find it here.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3063 days

#6 posted 02-04-2016 02:28 PM

3” is a large leg for 10” table saw or circular saw. If you have a bandsaw, cut the taper, leave the line, clean up with a hand plane (or jointer if you have one).

This technique that is presented by Glen Huey is really cool, but I think you’d need a monster jointer to do this on a 3” leg:

I’ve done this on 2” legs and it worked great.

-- PaulMayer,

View JayT's profile


5627 posts in 2209 days

#7 posted 02-04-2016 03:28 PM

Use whatever you are most comfortable with and have available—table saw, band saw, jointer, hand saw, hand plane. All work. Unless you plan to do a lot of tapering, building a table saw jig could take longer than the time it’ll save you to do it another way.

I tapered the legs for my last build with a hand plane and they came out great. Didn’t take any more time than setting up a jig, either.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View HokieKen's profile


4998 posts in 1136 days

#8 posted 02-04-2016 04:25 PM

The kind of jig Lee shows in the first post is what I built. But, it won’t work with 3” stock because of the added height of the plywood base. At least not on my PM that has 3-1/8” max cut depth.

Depending on the angle of the taper I’d either rough cut with BS then finish with a hand plane or just do it completely with a hand plane.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View bondogaposis's profile


4727 posts in 2349 days

#9 posted 02-04-2016 04:28 PM

For legs of that size the bandsaw would be my first choice.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2367 days

#10 posted 02-04-2016 05:26 PM

I’ve done them on the TS and bandsaw, and agree with MadMark that 3” is a big leg to do on the TS. I’d go BS and handplane.

I’ve only done tapered legs a few times, and when I’ve done them on the TS, its so few and far between that I usually just make a temporary jig. I just screw an L to a piece of plywood at angle, and run the pieces on that through the TS. You hold the workpiece on the plywood base, line up your marks (waste side towards the blade), and screw the scrap on to make the ‘L’.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View Bill7255's profile


427 posts in 2282 days

#11 posted 02-04-2016 11:36 PM

Thanks for all the replies. Maybe I need to rethink 3””. Hadn’t thought of the band saw with jointer cleanup. I will go that route or build a jig like Lee.

-- Bill R

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