how would you taper a large piece of plywood on a table saw?

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Forum topic by Angela posted 08-10-2011 09:23 PM 8154 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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205 posts in 3072 days

08-10-2011 09:23 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cutting plywood taper

I need to cut a couple of angles in a large piece of plywood. The wood is 22 X 45. The photo shows one end of the board but the other end will be cut with the same angels.

I figure I could use a jigsaw then sand the edges. I was thinking the way I would cut it is with circular saw and a straight edge. A table saw would make a much finer cut but I think a taper jig would have to be to large and I don’t think it would work well in this situation.

I thought I’d also check to see what some of you might do in this situation.

Thanks for the help

-- - Helping other woodworker's

19 replies so far

View Murdock's profile


129 posts in 2660 days

#1 posted 08-10-2011 09:34 PM

You could do a custom sled for it, another piece of ply with a board screwed on at the correct angle for the fence, have the entire thing ride along the rip fence.

I personally would use the circular saw and straight edge method if you have a decent blade.

I have made some very straight edges that way. That is the method I used to cut the odd angles for my Fireplace surround top, they were strait enough to allow me to put an molded edge around the ply without any filler.

Just be sure the strait edge is clamped well and you have a good blade.

-- "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." - Albert Einstein

View drewnahant's profile


222 posts in 3265 days

#2 posted 08-10-2011 09:43 PM

circ saw and straight edge seems easiest, but you can also use a miter gauge, I see that you cannot use it normally, or it would be off the table at the start of the cut, but you can run it backwards, and clamp the board to it. for stability since you probably cant reach across the board to keep it tight to the board.

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 08-10-2011 09:56 PM

drewnahant – all this time and I’ve never thought about running a miter gauge backward. I’ve had that problem before but for some reason I never thought about that.

I think I’ll go with the circular saw. I have a good blade because that’s what I did all the time before I got the large table saw.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3737 days

#4 posted 08-10-2011 09:58 PM

I’d cut it proud with a circular saw and clean up the edge with a router.

-- Joe

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 2730 days

#5 posted 08-10-2011 11:37 PM

bentlyj, you’re VERY lucky you haven’t had a problem if you’ve done this in the past!!! Kickback is a BITCH!!!! She should definately use a straight edge and circ saw or jig saw and router like some of the other posts mentioned!!!! Shame on you bentlyj!!! You know better!!!! LOL

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View PurpLev's profile


8541 posts in 3824 days

#6 posted 08-10-2011 11:39 PM

the best way to cut this on a table saw – is to use a circular saw with a straight edge ;) (no really – I would not attempt this on a table saw)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 2730 days

#7 posted 08-10-2011 11:41 PM

Also Angela, YES you can use your miter gauge turned around backwards to cut smaller panels at angles or even straight cuts….. I think it’s called “The poor man’s sled”?

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3312 days

#8 posted 08-10-2011 11:52 PM

My jig would work just fine for making those cuts safely on the table saw. Not much of a jig really, just some blocks that allow you to clamp a length of T track to a board so you can then run the T track in your miter slot. Check whether the slots in your outfeed table are long enough before you try to make the cut.

But the circular saw roughcut / router cleanup would be easy also.

-- Greg D.

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 2730 days

#9 posted 08-11-2011 12:02 AM

Greg, very nice jig!!! Very simple yet so very useful!!!!!

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3098 days

#10 posted 08-11-2011 01:21 AM

Why not possible???? The question is to use a table saw. Simple…. get a guide piece (in your case, I think 1/4×3/4 inch) so that it will slide nicely and firmly to you table guide slots. Thereafter screw it to the back of your plywood parallel to the line of cut with a distance equal to table slot and blade side (think of the the kerf at which it will cut the plywood). To avoid kickback you must firmly flat it with table top, you need a counter balance (if you are cutting big size of plywood) weight on top of the ply and slide it easily and firmly while cutting.

On your second cut… you can trasfer the guide to the next. The best slide guide I use… is made from ebony.. I think some teflon or brass bars are the best materials because they are so slippery and there is no need to apply for grease.

Another caution… On your photo.. your slot on the extension table is not through to the end. if necessary let it be through before you end up halfway cutting as the guide will be stop in there.


-- Bert

View shipwright's profile


8132 posts in 2974 days

#11 posted 08-11-2011 02:05 AM

I can echo Bently.

If the question is ”how would you do it on the table saw?” then the answer is that I would do it freehand in a flash and finish the edge with a jointer if necessary. But as Bently said this is bad advice.

There is virtually no danger in this operation if you are careful and confident but Bently and I have both been at this a while.

It’s the correct answer to the exact question but still bad advice.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3098 days

#12 posted 08-11-2011 02:49 AM

I do agree too Paul, I get an assistant to hold the weight and keep it flirmly flat on the table. 3/4 ply is not a problem cutting it without a guide provided you can control the push. The blade should not be protruding more than 1/16 of the ply thickness.

-- Bert

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2678 days

#13 posted 08-11-2011 04:24 AM

Angela, given that you have four different tapers to cut, and each will be different as the previous one is cut, I do think that not using the table saw is the simplest approach.

A hand-held circular saw with a guide will work but with plywood you are especially prone to chipping out. You can control that to some extent by using masking tape over the cut, but that is still a bit “iffy”. Probably better is the suggestion to rough cut using whatever saw you prefer, then use a router with a guide to do the final cut to size.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3334 days

#14 posted 08-11-2011 04:43 AM

Circular saw with a good, sharp blade and a straight edge…cut it over-sized because there will likely be sizable amounts of tearout underneath. Typically, if I’m cutting plywood, I don’t care much about tear out.

-- jay,

View Angela's profile


205 posts in 3072 days

#15 posted 08-11-2011 08:49 AM

Thanks everyone. I always like hearing what other do.

I building a circular saw jig and use a special plywood blade. The jig works great because it’s place exactly where you want the cut. I was going to cut it proud but I made a test cut and it cut tear out at all.

Again thanks for everyone comments.

-- - Helping other woodworker's

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