Help! Trouble making tapered legs on my jointer

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Forum topic by adamclyde posted 11-05-2016 06:43 PM 1254 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 2918 days

11-05-2016 06:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question jointer taper

I am making an outdoor table out of white oak. The legs are 3.5” square and I was planning on tapering down a full inch on two sides. I have a tapering jig for my table saw I’ve used on other projects, but these legs are too big for my clamps and the blade doesn’t reach high enough.

My dad recommended using my jointer. I looked up the videos on how to do it and it’s pretty straightforward.

BUT… here’s my problem. I did a test piece to be sure I was doing it right and it just shredded the stock up. It sounds like it’s chewing it up.. not a smooth cut like I’m used to at the jointer. And I have to push harder than I’m comfortable. When I pull the piece out, it’s just shredded down the grain.

What’s going on? Is it because of the that tricky oak grain? Or because I’m trying to take too much at once? Or because my jointer isn’t powerful enough or the cutters aren’t sharp enough (they aren’t old… but still maybe?)

I’ve read that others didn’t have a problem with a taper of that size.

I would use the band saw, but I don’t own one… so… hoping there’s a solution. Can I do it in multiple steps so I don’t have to take so much stock off at once? Any/all help is appreciated.

13 replies so far

View adamclyde's profile


43 posts in 2918 days

#1 posted 11-05-2016 06:52 PM

Figured it might be helpful with a picture. (ignore the glue line and rough end… it’s a test piece!)

You can see the problem:

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Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 1652 days

#2 posted 11-05-2016 06:57 PM

Perhpas …

                   … just a thought!

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2491 days

#3 posted 11-05-2016 07:22 PM

You’re going against the grain and I’m not sure but it looks like a HUGE cut all at once.

Mark a line on the edges and take it to the line. Basically.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2446 days

#4 posted 11-05-2016 08:07 PM

While some recommend cutting the entire taper in one or two passes, you can cut the same taper with multiple lighter passes—-which is how I do it.

The pic looks like you are using the Glen Huey method, which involves making a half-depth cut by feeding straight into the knives, then reversing the piece to cut the second half.

A deep cut against the grain is bound to produce the results you see. You can hope that the second pass will clean up the tear-out, or you can use another method.

I use the method that Mathias Wandel shows here—taking multiple light passes until the taper is achieved.

There is always more than one way

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Aj2's profile


3662 posts in 2803 days

#5 posted 11-05-2016 08:14 PM

Wow that looks like a heavy pass 1/4 inch or more in hickory to boot.
I like using my bandsaw for tapering then one light pass on the jointer to clean it up.


-- Aj

View Kirk650's profile


723 posts in 1753 days

#6 posted 11-05-2016 08:32 PM

I’d use the bandsaw and then a handplane. If you don’t have a bandsaw, go to Home Depot and get a 9 inch bench top saw. $100 Ryobi.

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8405 posts in 3204 days

#7 posted 11-05-2016 08:38 PM

I’d use the bandsaw and then a handplane. If you don t have a bandsaw, go to Home Depot and get a 9 inch bench top saw. $100 Ryobi.
- Kirk650

I’d use a band saw first as well… but I wouldn’t wish that Ryobi on my worst enemy!
Otherwise, lots of light passes will get you where you want to be.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View jerryminer's profile


960 posts in 2446 days

#8 posted 11-05-2016 09:36 PM

If you want to continue with the Huey method, you should square up the trailing edge, as that is used as a reference for the second cut. You might as well finish the test piece and see if you like that method. The tear-out may go away with the second cut.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

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5949 posts in 3356 days

#9 posted 11-06-2016 01:44 AM

Lighter passes for sure. If it was mine I’d hand saw and hand plane, in the end that will likely be the easiest route.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View adamclyde's profile


43 posts in 2918 days

#10 posted 11-06-2016 01:57 AM

Thanks all. I think I’m going to go the band saw route. I have plenty of hand planes to smooth it down so that’s the path forward.

I tried doing small cuts… anything more than 1/16th gets too much tear out. Given I need to taper 8 sides to a full inch I think the band saw is going to be the easiest.

Thank you all!

View Robert's profile


4428 posts in 2485 days

#11 posted 11-06-2016 12:55 PM

Best way is use the TS taper jig, then finish the cut with bandsaw or handsaw.

You will have a much less handplane cleanup.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View adamclyde's profile


43 posts in 2918 days

#12 posted 11-19-2016 02:30 AM

So thought I’d update everyone here. I tried borrowing a friends bandsaw but the thing was way too weak to get through 3.5” of solid oak. So, I went back to my table saw jig and made all the cuts about 3/4 of the way through, then flipped it end over end and (very) carefully readjusted the jig, then made the through cuts. With a little bit of clean up with my trusty Stanley jointer plane, it worked like a charm.

Thanks all for the suggestions, help and encouragement.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 3115 days

#13 posted 11-19-2016 02:40 AM

Even itf you’ve finished, I’ll add this for the lurkers.

I taper legs on the table saw, on a plywood or MDF plate that runs in the miter slot. I make the cut in one pass with a low tooth count (16-20) RIP blade. Too many teeth burn the work, and a single pass leaves very little to clean up. Even under powered saws benefit from a quality rip blade with thick stock.

Similar to this:

You can build the jig in minutes. No need to screw around with adjustability, just unscrew the cleats and move them to where you want next time.

You can also easily do 4-8 sided tapers by taping the offcuts back on. Just slide them up to account for the missing kerf, and put the blank in the next position. I don’t move the stops as stated in the video.

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