Canadian Woodworking

Tapering Jig

Author: Carl Duguay
Illustration: Mike Del Rizzo
Published: August September 2007

To cut a consistent angle on the table saw with safety and precision, use a shop made tapering jig.


Unlike other tapering jigs that have a pair of arms connected with a hinge, this version features a moveable fence with an end stop, mounted to a base. The jig also includes a couple of hold down clamps to grip the wood, allowing you to concentrate on using the jig. While this jig is designed to cut tapers on your table saw it could also be used to put a clean edge on rough lumber.

Making the Jig

• To keep this jig light and rigid, use ½” Baltic birch plywood. You can modify the suggested dimensions to suit the kind of tapering you need to do. The fence is simply two layers of ply glued together and then squared up on the table saw.

• Use a spiral bit in a router table to rout the two stopped grooves in the fence and the base for the carriage bolts. Rout out a recess to accommodate the head of the carriage bolt on the underside of the base. Dowel the fence stop to the fence.

• Adjust the jig so that the fence is at its maximum angle, but do not let the fence project over the right side of the jig. Set your table saw fence so that the left side of the jig clears the blade by ⅛” and the right side is against the fence. Trim the fence stop at this setting. Flip the jig around and adjust it so that the end of the fence projects over the edge of the jig. Then, with the right side against the fence, notch the top corner of the fence. Disassemble the jig and sand all surfaces. To make it slide easily, apply several coats of paste wax to the parts. Reassemble the jig and install the two hold down clamps.

Using the Jig

• This jig could not be easier to use. Run the right side of the jig along your table saw fence. Loosen the knobs and adjust the jig fence to whatever angle you need and tighten the knobs to lock the fence in position. Clamp the blank into the jig and set the saw’s fence. Check to ensure the jig clears the saw blade, and then cut your stock.

• When cutting tapers on two faces of a leg, save the first off-cut. Cut a piece of ⅛” hardboard approximately 80% as large as the tapered area. Apply two sided tape to the hardboard and then insert it in place of the saw kerf between the part and the offcut. Make the second cut as required and then remove the spacers. For a standard width saw blade with a ⅛” kerf, the hardboard will represent the width of the cut. If you regularly taper thick stock, simply add a few extra laminations to the fence. – CWM

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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