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Taper Jig Tips
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A taper jig lets you make angled rip cuts on a table saw. It's a fairly simple tool, and easy to use safely once you get the swing of it. But please do make sure that you understand how the jig operates before you turn on your saw. Below, Michael Dresdner and Rob Johnstone cover the basics in their response to a Woodworker's Journal eZine reader's question.

Q. I just made [a taper jig], now how do I use it?

A. Michael Dresdner: "In the film "The Mask of Zorro," the elder Zorro is about to teach his student the art of true swordsmanship, and asks him scornfully "Do you know how to use that thing?" The younger man nods, and answers matter-of-factly "The pointy end goes into the other man."

"Taper jigs are a bit like that. The simple answer is that you place the wood you want to taper into the notch of the jig, with one side along the angled side of the jig, and move the wood and jig past the blade. The jig should be set so that it clears the blade and both the bottom and top of the tapered board are the widths you require. Some taper jigs run in table saw tracks; others use the saw's fence to set the distance of cut. If you have not guessed already, this is the time to cut a lot of scrap wood until you understand the consequences of each different setup. I don't know what your taper jig looks like, but please make sure that when it is in use, your hands are nowhere near the blade, and the wood being cut is secured in some way."

A. Rob Johnstone: "I just love your question, because it is such a familiar situation to me. I've just bought (or made or was given) a widget, and now I have to figure out how to use it. And Michael's answer is very practical. In fact, I would even go so far as to recommend that you put the jig on your saw with the blade fully lowered and make a few passes just to see how the geometry of your system works. Sometimes it can be just a bit counterintuitive."

From the Woodworker's Journal eZine archives

You can make a taper jig, or you can buy one that's all set to go, like Rockler's Precision Taper Jig. The store-bought jig has a few features that would take a little time and thought to replicate in the shop  - the angle scale and the adjustable stop, for example. But whether you build or buy, be sure to make a few dry runs before you start cutting. It's extremely important to understand the relationship between the jig and the blade throughout the range of angles the tool covers. After that, you might consider making a few cuts in a nice, wide piece of scrap to get a feel for the procedure. With a little practice, you'll get a sense of what you can do safely with the jig, and you'll be all set for projects that require accurate, perfectly straight tapered cuts.

posted on January 10, 2007 by Rockler
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7 thoughts on “Taper Jig Tips”

  • John

    Made a tapering jig and I am figuring out how to use it, it's a little confusing but it does a good job.

  • Lucas

    I would love to just see one video demonstration of the Rockler taping jig on a table leg. I've yet to find one, and its difficult to figure out where to start cuts using that jig.

  • Rockler Blog Team
    Rockler Blog Team November 21, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Lucas - Thanks for the question. Here's a video of our new taper jig in action: It may offer some insight, even though it's not a "how to" on making table legs. And here's where you'll find the new jig: We'll be happy to answer any questions you have.

  • John Brandt

    Setting up this jig to my table saw a delta unisaw left tilt. They want you to be able to cut the jig to make a zero clearance cut. However on my saw as close as I can get to the blade is One
    sixteenth away or if I use the second set of locating holes I would cut off one and one quater inches off the jig. If you cut off that much off this jig you would destroy the jig. The perfect thing would be to just graze the jig like the width of your saw blade.

  • Deb

    here's a guide, 5 years late

  • Bill Vancurc

    You show the jig for table lags you do not show how to make a table. The only it show is how to cut a taper. we buy this jig mostly for cutting table lags,come on show us.We need help.

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