Works for me #13: Tapered Leg Jig

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Dave Owen posted 09-01-2011 06:27 PM 9372 reads 10 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Everything in its place Part 13 of Works for me series Part 14: Off-feed table for Jet SuperSaw »

A couple of years ago I made a small, adjustable angle jig for my bandsaw. That jig is shown below and described in my blog “Works for me – #5”. I’ve found that jig so useful I decided to make a similar, but larger, version for my table saw.

This new jig pictured below works for making tapered legs, angle cuts on flat stock, trimming to a particular grain pattern, or for removing bark or other bad edges, as shown in the photos below.

The photo above shows the jig positioned in the miter track and ready for a tapered leg blank to be clamped. In the foreground is a ‘blade-thickness’ spacer I’ll describe later, and on top of the fence is a trial tapered leg (1-1/2” square at the top and 1-1/8” at the bottom).

This photo shows a tapered stool leg pattern on which I’ve trimmed one side. Since the trimming edge of the jig has zero clearance with the blade, aligning the cut is simple.

Here, I’ve clamped a board with bark edges, ready to trim off one of those edges

This photo shows the bottom of the jig, the miter slot runner, the clamps and clamp blocks. The flush, oak ‘racing’ strip you’ll notice is not decorative. It’s just one of those things that happens when my hands ‘race’ ahead of my brain.

The base and adjustable guide were cut from ¾” MDF, the miter slot runner is oak, and all other wood pieces are Honduran mahogany. Stronger and tougher hardwood might have been a better choice for the edges, but I used scrap pieces I had.

I glued the runner for the miter slot into a tight-fitting shallow dado to insure a straight and true runner. The dado was located so that the saw edge of the MDF base would initially be about 3/8” from the blade. After 5/8” wide edge strips were glued to the base, I ran the jig through the saw, using the miter slot runner to guide the jig. The reason for the edge strips is that while MDF makes a good, stable base and angle guide, its edges are easily damaged. To reinforce that somewhat ‘iffy’ glue joint, I added 3/8” x 2” dowels.

T-tracks are standard aluminum, but because the thin MDF beneath the tracks would provide little anchorage for wood screws, I substituted SS flat-head machine screws and nuts with matching fender washers as shown in the photo of the jig bottom. To make certain the nuts for the track screws don’t come loose I used a center-punch on the ends of the machine screws – along with a drop of super glue. I installed three tracks instead of two for those times when additional clamping is required, and when shorter pieces are being cut.

The back end of the stop on the adjustable guide is slotted – allowing the guide to project as much as desired. The stop is secured by a machine screw and a dowel nut.

The 3” x 3” x 1-1/2” blocks fasten to the tracks, lifting the rear of the clamps which allows thicker stock to be clamped with a downward and inward pull towards the angle guide. These blocks also let the clamps clear the wing-nuts that secure the guide to the T-tracks in the base. Incidentally, I also use these blocks for similar purposes in the T-slots on my drill press table.

I’m sure everyone has their own method for tapering legs, but the one I use is to first make tapered cut on two adjacent sides. Then I use the off-cut plus a ‘blade-width’ spacer strip between the stock and the angle guide for each of the final two cuts. When I have a cut edge against the base, I also use the offcut there as well. This method allows me to make all four tapers without adjusting the guide.

I should note that the only problem with using a ‘sled’ is that it limits the thickness of the stock. On my 10” table saw, this means a maximum stock thickness of about 2-1/2”. For thicker, long pieces a similar jig could be made to use on a well-tuned bandsaw (with a good ‘slicing’ blade) – or shorter tapered pieces can be cut using my earlier bandsaw jig.

-- Dave O.

6 comments so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4808 days

#1 posted 09-01-2011 06:46 PM

Hello Dave,
Those are some very nice and well designed jigs. I can tell you put alot of thought into them.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6544 posts in 4312 days

#2 posted 09-01-2011 06:54 PM

I like well crafted jigs that inspire me to do great work. Your jigs certainly qualify. I made one myself, and much prefer it to the metal commercial tapering jig that I also own.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Rob_n_Wood's profile


109 posts in 4848 days

#3 posted 09-01-2011 08:24 PM

Dave you really know how to jig . Well executed and I appreciate the photo’s it really helps in understanding
what you have done. Dave what is the over all dimension on your jigs and would you change anything else
Just looking at them I wouldn’t. But if your like me I allways find some little something I would change
Any ways nice job

-- "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." Thomas Jefferson

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 5286 days

#4 posted 09-01-2011 08:36 PM

Very, very nice. I can only imagine how nice the projects you complete are when your jigs look this well crafted.

View SnowFrog's profile


102 posts in 4046 days

#5 posted 09-01-2011 11:34 PM

This is a very well thought of jig. I have contemplating something very similar. I have a small shop, with no jointer and had a 5/4 stair thread that I mucked up and could no join together. My solutions were to get a plane (all I have is a #4) or make a jointer jig which looks very much like this. I guess it can be used for many purposes. Anyhow, whatever the purpose that is the best one I have seen.

Congrat. This is now in my favorite.

-- One can dream, about a passion not yet fully fulfilled!

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 4573 days

#6 posted 09-02-2011 02:38 AM

My appreciation for the nice comments everyone. Sorry I didn’t mention the overall dimension,Rob-n-Wood, it’s 10” wide x 36” long, and I think that’s going to work pretty well. I’m afraid anything much larger would be pretty heavy and awkward. The first thing I’d want to change would be to ‘lose’ the ‘racing stripe’. If I’d had some 3/4” birch plywood, I might well have used that instead of MDF, since it would have been lighter. With use, I may come up with some other changes, but right now that’s about it. One need the jig has emphasized is an off-feed table. I’ve designed one with an extension of the miter gauge slot, and I hope to start on that soon.

-- Dave O.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics