I suck! At tapered legs

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Blog entry by woodmaker posted 08-06-2012 04:54 PM 3783 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well, after reviewing many articles on how to do tapered legs, I went to the garage to try it. Yep, I suck!

I glued some 2×4 pine together, and then cut it down to 2 1/2 X 2 1/2. Fired up the table saw laid the taper jig (aluminum) against the fence, adjusted the jig until it looked like the proper angle ( I wanted 3/4” thick at bottom and 21/2 at top) Started the cut and darned if it looks like the angle is coming out wrong. It cuts towards the fence and not away from the fence as I was expecting. Almost cut into the jig! What the heck, over?

So since that leg failed I went to my band saw a massive Skil 9 inch beast with about a 1/2 in blade in it. Cut to the wrong side right away. 2nd leg ruined; 3rd leg went to the proper side of the cut line but the band saw is unmanageable. The taper cut was so wavy I didn’t want to waste time on the jointer with it. That piece of crap has got to go! Yes yall the band saw was set up right. Just vibrates a lot!

So 3 legs down, with only one left I gave up for the evening. I went back in the house and reviewed all the videos I watched and re-read the magazine articles. I believe I was on the right path but maybe just using the wrong tools or technique?

How frustrating! Anyway I haven’t given up. I will glue some more lumber and try again with a different method and apparently there are many, many ways to do this.

Also, I have learned I need a lot more patience when things don’t work out the way as planned. :-)

Guess I need anger management classes. LOL!

-- Mike

11 comments so far

View AJM's profile


86 posts in 2149 days

#1 posted 08-06-2012 05:08 PM

Good luck…

-- Englishman in Finland I am guessing that i am Finglish.

View bandit571's profile (online now)


20268 posts in 2712 days

#2 posted 08-06-2012 05:19 PM

1) i lay out the cut line with a straight edge
2) bandsaw most of the waste off, but leave the line. Does NOt have to be perfect.
3) Clamp leg so that you can see the entire layout line
4) grab a handplane, and run it DOWN the leg blank until the layout lines are gone, and the taper is smooth.
5) do the next side the same way. One side at a time seems to work for me.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View VinnieP's profile


141 posts in 3350 days

#3 posted 08-06-2012 05:29 PM

Sorry, I don’t have any links right now but a quick google or youtube search will show you how to cut those tapers on your jointer. I’ve done it a few times and it’s really easy. Yields precise and smooth cuts.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2514 days

#4 posted 08-06-2012 05:37 PM

For what it’s worth, the method that Bandit571 mentioned involving planing to the line would be safer than using a jointer. Shouldn’t really take that long with a well tuned plane, either.

-- Brian Timmons -

View ~Julie~'s profile


607 posts in 3063 days

#5 posted 08-06-2012 11:46 PM

Your aluminum jig should work just fine. Maybe there is a video showing how to use it, you just had it reversed in your mind, but it does work well, don’t give up.

-- ~Julie~

View Alongiron's profile


648 posts in 2722 days

#6 posted 08-07-2012 04:40 AM

You may be doing it backwards..the bottom of the leg is closest to you. Set your jig to the proper angle,...set your leg in place….slide your fence over to leave the desired flat spot st the top of your leg…secure the fence and cut the taper…without moving the jig or fence; turn your leg 90 degrees and run it again..repeat for the other 2 sides…should be perfect!

-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29411 posts in 2367 days

#7 posted 08-07-2012 05:43 AM

The aluminum jig should have worked. I have one that I use a lot. works great for me.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3816 days

#8 posted 08-07-2012 12:51 PM

Your tapered leg history matches mine. That is before I made one of these.
see it here

Now I’m a tapered leg pro and my club buds come to me to taper their table legs (or borrow the jig).

View bandit571's profile (online now)


20268 posts in 2712 days

#9 posted 08-07-2012 07:44 PM

Used to have a jig for the tablesaw, ala Norm. Just got tired of cleaning up the burn marks all the time, even with a NEW blade. Even then, still had all those saw marks to get rid of. Handplanes are just better for me. Got to use them for saw mark clean-up, might as well do the entire job. 4 legs= 8 faces= 35 minutes at the bench. I merely bandsaw most of the waste away, just leaving the line. Doesn’t even have to be perfect cuts on the bandsaw. A #6 small jointer plane will do the rest, very quickly, AND very quietly. Of course, i then go and chop the mortises out by hand, as well.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View SouthpawCA's profile


270 posts in 3262 days

#10 posted 08-07-2012 11:36 PM

Don’t worry … I couldn’t get that aluminum jig to work either, plus it really didn’t look all that safe. Fear was probably my problem. I make all my tapered leg by hand. I draw a line on either side of the leg matching the taper I want. Then I take a hand plane and plane down to the line … simple and fast. By the time I set up that stupid jig I could have all 4 legs tapered and they have a silky smooth finish.

-- Don

View woodmaker's profile


321 posts in 2720 days

#11 posted 08-09-2012 04:13 PM

Julie & Monty, you guys are right, the jig is fine it’s the loose nut behind the saw that has the issue.

Helps if you place your lumber into the jig for the desired angle ya want. Good lord I feel like a total idgit. I just needed to reverse the piece and I got the desired angle.

Everyone, thanks for the info. I would have replied sooner but had password issues. Bad case of CRS I reckon.

-- Mike

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