tapered, octagonal leg

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Forum topic by rapidroy posted 05-16-2015 12:54 AM 1264 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 526 days

05-16-2015 12:54 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tapered legs octagonal legs

How do I go from square stock to tapered, octagonal stock?

5 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile


730 posts in 1414 days

#1 posted 05-16-2015 01:41 AM

Very carefully. LOL!

If you look in my projects, you can see a tapering jig I made based on some plans from a FWW magazine years ago. You would also need to make yourself a series of angle plates to set in that jig so you could secure it properly as you are cutting. Drawing the octagon on each end to just how you want it would give you the alignment marks needed to set up the jig.

Actually, as I write this out I’m wondering if it would be easier to start with a round stock instead of square. That would probably make it easier to make the insert for the jig to properly hold the piece.

When tapering all around, it is helpful to mark the center of the piece, and a corresponding alignment mark on the stop block at the end of the jig. As the narrow end gets cut down, it is easy to accidentally angle the piece in the jig, and this will mean slightly different angles on each pass. Having a reference mark on the jig where the center of the narrow end of the leg goes eliminates this.

Hope that at least gets you started.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View JasonE's profile


11 posts in 531 days

#2 posted 05-17-2015 02:41 AM

One word, Jigs.

Tommy Mac made a bed with tapered octagonal posts.

- jason

View BigYin's profile


338 posts in 1835 days

#3 posted 05-17-2015 07:40 AM

Simple Jig is your answer

this page -

- shows how to make an octagon on centres so all sides are equal. If you add an offset to one of the mounting centre points of half the amount of taper required it will cut you a tapered octagon.
Use square stock to ensure even distribution of flats.

-- ... Never Apologise For Being Right ...

View bonesbr549's profile


1137 posts in 2486 days

#4 posted 05-17-2015 11:37 AM

I recommend Charles Neil’s dvd’s on making an 8 sided pencil post bed. if it’s to be a tapered. Also keep in mind if you want the taper to stay consistent, you need to keep that in mind. It’s easy to run a chamfer bit down the leg but the taper will not stay consistent. Charles jig shows how to keep it consistent. It’s basically a two step process. To cut the leg you need a big taper jig that is easily made with some carriage bolts. That will cut it down to 4 sides tapered. The second Jig put’s it in a position where you can run a chamfer bit down the side but it moves the bit slowly away from the cut as you go from bottom to top. In a bed post (my application) you want generally want a 50 percent reduction. So as you traverse the second taper (to get the 8 sides) you want that same ratio of reduction on your taper. Once you have the jig set up and run it, it’s just a rinse and repeat operation.

You don’t say how long they are but here are some pic’s of what the jib looks like and end product. If you need something shorter, you could just adjust the dimensions of the jig. May not be what your looking for but might give you an idea.

Charles Neil’s DVD

Good luck.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View BobAnderton's profile


210 posts in 2209 days

#5 posted 05-17-2015 02:25 PM

Making a straight octagon from square stock is easy. From there you can use most tapering jig methods on an octagon as easily as square stock.
To make the octagon set your tablesaw blade at 45 degrees and lay your square stock on top of the flat side of the blade (with the saw turned off) so it’s setting corner-down at 45 degrees to the table. Slide your fence up so it touches the corner of your stock, and then run your stock through 4 times flat side down on the table. That will give you a perfect octagon.

See “no-hassle octagon ripping” at this link.

If you use a tablesaw tapering jig to make the tapers you’ll do the first 4 sides with your jig set at the angle of taper you want and then the last 4 sides with the jig set at 2x the taper angle you want (when a previously tapered cut is against the fence of the jig)

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

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