How to Make a Taper Jig for Table Saws: A Step-by-Step Guide

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When I’m finishing my wood projects, I’ve learned the hard way that using the wrong equipment can lead to disaster. That’s why I always have a table saw taper jig on hand. While store-bought taper saw jigs have their advantages, I’ve noticed they can limit the control I have over my workpiece. But don’t worry, I’ve put together a step-by-step DIY process to help you craft your own jig.

Purpose of Table Saw Taper Jigs

Before I delve into the process of creating a tapering jig, it’s crucial for you to understand its purpose. You might not realize it, but I frequently use this tool to add tapers to table legs.

At first glance, it looks like a sled, but it acts as a support to your table saw when making an intricate cut. Apart from modifying furniture legs, a tapering jig keeps the wood piece aligned with the position of the table saw blade when cutting a straight edge or making angle cuts on plywood. 

Although manufacturers made these clamps readily available to any customer, creating your own will lessen the possibility of poor cut output and dangerous kickback. It also gives you the freedom to customize your tapering jig depending on your needs. 

Tools and Materials You’ll Need

When crafting a taper jig for table saws, I suggest going to your nearest hardware store for faster checkout to avoid wasting time. 

required material

Prepare building materials like Birch plywood, star knobs, toilet bolts, toggle clamps, flat head screw #6 three-quarter inch in length, pan head screw #12 ¾ inch, and hardwood strip. 

After getting all that for your DIY tapering jig, ensure that you have power and hand tools for the construction. You’ll be needing the likes of a table saw, straight router bit, drill or driver set, gorilla glue, spiral router bit, and palm router. 

How to Make Your Own Table Saw Taper Jig

Step #1: Measure and Cut Your Base

The first step in creating a tapering jig is to grab the Birch plywood you brought from the nearest hardware. Before you decide to cut it, I advise you to measure your table saw as this would indicate how big it will turn out to be. 

Typically, I would cut the board 8 inch wide for the base of the tapering jig. On top of that, don’t forget to make it at least 6 to 8 inches longer compared to the leg you’ll be tapering. 

plywood measurement

Position the leg piece at the edge of the base plywood board and clamp together to stay in line with one another. By doing this, you can determine how the table saw blade would navigate around your jig. 

Step #2: Measure and Cut the Support and Stop Blocks

After attaching the clamps to the base and leg, it’s time to make the support and stop blocks of your jig. Get any piece of wood scrap and cut it in the same size as the leg. 

If you’re not confident with how a blade saw works, I suggest measuring and adding marks appropriately for added accuracy [1]. Drill pilot holes if that’ll make your construction faster.

At the edge of the two wood pieces, you should place a stop block to act as extra support to the fence. Double-check if the block is thick enough to support the fence, or else your tapering jig won’t be able to assist the table saw to make consistent cuts. 

Step #3: Secure the Support with Screws

Once you have attached the leg piece and taken the necessary measurements for the jig, securing the support and stop blocks is straightforward. It is recommended to use screws to ensure a secure connection. If you have previously drilled pilot holes, aligning the screws with those holes will provide better precision and stability.

Table Saw Taper Jig

You should fasten the supporting piece against the leg attached to the plywood with a clamp to form the fence. 

Once that’s drilled to the board, bolt the stop blocks in line with the edge of the fence. And then, you’ll have to bolt mounting blocks into the plywood as well. 

When constructing the jig, the thickness of the pieces should be equal to the fence of your table saw tapering jig. I always slide these scraps to each tip of the support piece meticulously. Based on my experience, it’s essential to double-check whether these pieces align accurately to the edges before making the decision to bolt them into the plywood.

Step #4: Secure the Stop Blocks with Toggle Clamps

The last step in making a taper jig for table saws is screwing the clamps to the mount blocks you formed together in the previous steps. 

POWERTEC 20327 Quick Release Horizontal Toggle Clamp

I adjusted the rubberized bumpers to ensure that these will press against the fence of the tapering jig firmly. Through this, you can be sure that the leg is firmly positioned when locked down.

Suggested Reading: Making Your Dremel Tool Quieter 

Alternative: Grooves on the Base and Support For Adjustable Angles

For this alternative, you have to cut out a 2-inch strip for the fence that’ll support the base of your tapering jig. Secure an additional strip of hardwood, which could fit the miter slot from your tool list. Maple wood pieces would do, but you can use any as long as it’s hardwood. 

With the use of your router table, make a shallow groove that would accommodate the bolts. When you work on one end, ensure that you create gaps so that the bolts won’t go deep to the edge. The same method applies to the other end of the board. 

You don’t need to adjust the fence of your plunge router. Just make a groove again on the one you previously did, but with a hole going through this time. After that, you’re ready to bolt them in. 

making taper jig

Attach the fence to the base in the intersection using spiral bits. After sliding all the bolts underneath the jig structure, add the washer over them and drill the knobs in. 

Next, I’d recommend installing your toggle clamps. From my experience, it’s best to use short screws to prevent them from breaking during the drilling process. Once that’s done, I usually glue the fully assembled jig into the miter bar.

I get the appeal of ensuring everything is secure to prevent accidents, but trust me, there’s no need to go overboard with the glue. A few spreads over the strip will do the trick. I typically let the adhesive set for about thirty minutes. Placing weights on top can help speed up the drying process.

If you want zero clearance, it will help to run the jig through the table saw blade and trim the edges of the base. 

More useful table saw accessories: 

Using the Taper Jig

Mark the Cutting Path on Your Piece

When using a taper jig for table saws, you need to mark the cutting line of your piece for accuracy. And then, proceed to align the workpiece parallel with your newly-built sled. 

Table Saw Taper Jigs

Secure Your Piece

It doesn’t matter if your tapering jig is made by you or brought from woodworking shops. The most crucial part is its ability to secure your workpieces. After marking lines for your cut with the tip of your jig, lock it to the fence with the clamps you attached. From there, you can continue with the cutting as you please. 

Conclusion

Crafting a DIY taper jig for table saws might come naturally to seasoned woodworkers like me, but I understand that beginners might find it a tad challenging. Even if it takes a little time to master, I can personally vouch that it’s a fantastic way to elevate your crafting skills.

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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