Cutting a tapered leg on a table saw can be a bit daunting, but with the right equipment and some practice, it’s a skill that anyone can learn. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps of how to cut a tapered leg on a table saw, as well as provide some tips for getting the perfect results. Let’s get started!
How to cut a tapered leg on a table saw
- Tapered leg template (can be made by hand or downloaded from the internet)
- Table saw with dado insert and taper jig
- Plywood work surface for use with your dado insert. You can also simply use a flat work surface, but this will make it more difficult to ensure that your table saw’s blade is perfectly perpendicular to the work surface.
- If you’re using a template for your leg, it should be exactly half the width of the leg (the full width of your material plus ½” for the other side).
Step 1: Mark and make a 45-degree cut on one end of your board
Using either a miter or table saw, make a 45-degree cut on one end of your board. This will allow you to line up the leg template with the edge of the board. To do this, simply place the corner of your blade into that corner of your miter or table saw and then lower it until it touches the work surface (this ensures that your blade is perfectly perpendicular to the work surface). learn more here How to cut plywood on table saw.
Step 2: Align your leg template with your board
Next, use a pencil to mark where the other three corners of the table saw’s blade will be. If you opt for using a miter saw rather than a table saw, make sure you know how wide your piece of wood is and mark the appropriate number of corners.
Step 3: Make a cut using your taper jig
Now that you’ve marked the other three corners of your blade, it’s time to use your taper jig. Simply place this on top of your leg template and lower the blade until it touches the tip of the taper jig. Use your hand to guide both pieces as they move through the saw, keeping them both perfectly lined up with each other.
For best results, keep these pieces together at all times during this process so that they can’t fall off or get misaligned without you knowing about it (if this happens, simply start over).
Step 4: Remove the template and cut the other tapered end of your board
Now that you’ve made one cut, all you have to do is make another 45-degree cut on the opposite end of your board. Cut this piece off, flip it over, and use the new corner as a guide for aligning your leg template with it (like before). Read more here How to cut splines on table saw.
Now you can make another taper cut (don’t forget to use your taper jig). This time, however, you’ll be using both of these pieces together instead of separately as you did before.
Step 5: Make a clean-cut and create the 45-degree angle at the base of your leg
Finally, make sure to use a chisel to remove any remaining material from your two tapered cuts, creating an absolutely perfect 90-degree corner where they meet (this is important if you want your table legs to be smooth and structurally sound).
Now that you have a perfectly straight piece of wood connecting these two tapered pieces together, you can add another flat piece of wood on top of it, one that’s just as wide as the final width you want for your leg. You can then use this piece to mark the leg’s length (be sure to account for the depth of your taper cuts, which will be 1/8″ wider than the inside depth of your table saw blade).
After marking it, simply cut out the square shape and complete your leg using any number of woodworking techniques you know or want to learn. Learn more here How to cut plywood without a table saw.
Safety tips when using a table saw for tapper legs:
Be extremely careful with your fingers.
Don’t hold your leg template flat against the board while you’re cutting it, as this may move its position and lead to inaccuracy. Instead, use a clamp or roller stand to raise it up slightly so that it’s never in contact with the blade during this process (it should only be touching the taper jig).
Always keep the leg template firmly in place by using your hand to guide it, even when you’re removing it after making a cut. If this slips for some reason, immediately stop what you’re doing and start over (if you go forward with what you were doing, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll ruin the leg template and your board).
Be careful not to misalign the blade with either of your two materials while cutting. This may cause you to make an inaccurate cut, which will significantly increase your chances of making a mistake (if this happens, immediately stop what you’re doing and start over).
What materials do I need for making a tapered leg?
The only things you’ll need to make this tutorial are your saw, some wood boards (one of which is wider than the other), and the appropriate table leg jig.
How else can I cut a table leg on my saw?
Instead of using a taper jig, you can also use a dado stack to cut through your board. This is significantly more challenging, so if you want to attempt it, be sure that you’ve had some experience with using a taper jig beforehand (if not, it’s best to stick with the taper jig).
What angle should I use for my leg template?
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications for information on your specific jig (if you can’t find this information anywhere, it’s best to use a 30
What type of wood should I use?
Any variety is fine. The most important thing is that it’s straight-grained and not warped.
As always, if you have any questions about this process or would like clarification on anything specific, feel free to leave a comment below! Good luck!