Sometimes you need help - Cutting Tapers

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Forum topic by EarlS posted 04-24-2018 11:18 PM 629 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3929 posts in 3193 days

04-24-2018 11:18 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cutting tapers bandsaw planer router tablesaw sander jointer milling

I’ve been pondering the best way to taper in a piece of 3/4”x 8”x 3” walnut lengthwise from 3/4” at the bottom to 1/2” at the top. The pieces will also be tapered on one side to make the prairie style tapered columns for a box. The side taper will be easy with the taper jig. I need 4 of these columns for the corners.

My first thought was to set up an angle cut on the table saw but the piece is too tall for a single pass through the blade.

My second idea was to run it through the saw and then flip the piece and reset the angle and run the piece through backwards to get the top portion cut. I’m not sure how well that would go and with the wood being 3/4” thick it would be challenging to keep it from binding against the angled fence.

I thought about making a tapered cradle for the planer but I’m not sure the piece wouldn’t get dislodged and break things in the rollers.

I tried to get a taper going on the jointer but couldn’t keep it consistent for one piece, let alone 4.

Pattern routing doesn’t seem to offer a good option either since the piece is tall, long, and skinny and would require 2 passes, the first one on the tapered pattern and the second pass with a flush bit to clean the top part that the tapered pattern didn’t get.

I’m also pondering using the bandsaw to get close to the line and then sand it down to the line with the ROS and a couple of tapered pieces on either side to use as guides. This is the method I’m leaning towards because it doesn’t involve set ups that seem overly dangerous to me.

What am I missing? There has to be an easier way or a better set up. Thoughts, suggestions, or any other commentary would be appreciated. I might be over thinking it? Who knows?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

5 replies so far

View Loren's profile (online now)


10569 posts in 4493 days

#1 posted 04-24-2018 11:29 PM

Depending on the table saw fence you have
you may be able to make a tapered block on
the band saw 3” wide, double-stick tape your
work to it, make the first cut. Move the fence
to the other side of the blade and make the
second cut with the block flipped over. Your
fence should be parallel to the miter slot to
do this, not out of square by 1/32” like some
woodworkers who only use the fence to the
right of the blade set them up.

I would probably do it with a block and a fence
on a band saw but if your saw doesn’t cut
straight with a fence you might not want to
spend the time tuning it to do so.

View Rich's profile


5851 posts in 1434 days

#2 posted 04-25-2018 12:08 AM

I’d make a router sled. A couple of ways that come to mind is to have a flat base with tapered rails on each side for the router base to ride on. Double stick tape would hold the workpiece to the base. The other is to have level rails and a 1/4” riser on one end of the base.

You’ll also want some way to affix the sled your bench so it doesn’t slide around. Maybe a keel on the bottom that fits in the vise or something. I’m sure you can work out the details of the dimensions, etc, needed to fully support the router base through the full length of the board. Even with just a 1/2” bit, 8” x 3” isn’t going to be too tedious. If you have any larger straight cutting bits, all the better.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5822 posts in 1427 days

#3 posted 04-25-2018 12:15 AM

I’d set it up on my bench, scribe a line, and take the jack plane to it. A quarter-inch is 25-30 passes if I’m set so I’m taking off a little under a hundredth. Be a little over a grocery bag of shavings to sweep up.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View EarlS's profile


3929 posts in 3193 days

#4 posted 04-25-2018 12:37 AM

Dave – I have to confess I don’t own a jack plane and I’m not sure I would know how to use it. I remember back to middle school shop class when we had to use a plane to make a square base for some project and I couldn’t get the darn thing to remotely look square when I put the square on it to check. I went through loads or pine trying to figure it out. If you would have told me I would be doing woodworking as a hobby later in life I would have told you were crazy.

This was my spare box for the swap. Fortunately the first one worked out so I didn’t have to figure this out during the swap.

I’m going to try the bandsaw approach tomorrow night and if it works reasonably well I’m home free. Otherwise I will give the router sled a try.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

5822 posts in 1427 days

#5 posted 04-25-2018 01:47 AM

Sounds like you’ve got a plan, Earl. Hope it goes well!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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