Tapering Jig

I finally am getting time to work on the sofa table. The first thing I needed to do was taper the legs. In order to do that I had to build a project specific tapering jig. So here is how I did it…

I first needed to cut all my legs to their correct size of 31 ¼". Then we needed to mark out the tapers on one leg. According to the design I decided I wanted the taper to start 15" from the bottom. How I got that number was based on 1 principle, it had to start just below the shelf and the shelf had to be low enough to fit things on it. 

Next, I needed to layout my taper marks on 1 leg. I marked 15" up on 2 sides. I then wanted my legs to taper down to 1" so I marked 1" in on 2 sides. I marked the cutting area with Xs. 

Now it was time to build the actual sled. Take a ¾" thick board and rip it to just shallower than my miter slot. I use a penny and a dime stacked on each other to raise my runner up high enough that I can apply glue and set the sled on the runner. I use my fence to help give me a 90° angle from the sled to the runner. Make sure the sled on the left side of the runner extends to cover your blade. Most people use screws to attach the runners but I feel that glue is strong enough. Once the runner is dry I flush cut it to the sled. 

After the runner has been flush cut it is time to create the zero clearance for the sled. Raise the blade to ½ a tooth above the surface of the sled and then run the sled through the saw. This will give you zero clearance for the legs.

Next, take your leg that has the lay out marks and clamp it on the sled. You will want the bottom of the legs to go first. Bring your leg about 1 ½" - 2 ½" forward from the back of the sled. Then line up your layout marks with the zero clearance side of the sled and clamp them to the sled.

Take 2 spare pieces of wood the thickness of your legs and glue/screw them along the leg. The spare blocks will act as a place for the toggle clamps to mount.

Screw your toggle clamps into place. I use these Powertec Horizontal Quick Release Clamps. You can pick them up from Amazon for about $8 with Prime Shipping. They can be expensive but you can use them for all sorts of jigs around the shop.

You want to adjust the pressure of the clamps so they hold the leg firmly but does not dent it. You will then need to screw on a stop block to locate your leg every time. This is placed in that first 1 ½" - 2 ½" of the sled.

It is time to make the first cut. Run your first leg through the blade creating a 1 sided taper. But we need a 2 sided taper.

Rotate the leg 90° clockwise or to the right. Take the scrap you just cut off and place it on top of the leg. You have to do this so your clamp will hold the leg. Now make your 2nd cut and you will end up with a 2 sided tapered leg.

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