How to Cut a Taper on a Table Saw
Cutting tapers on a table saw can be a little intimidating for novice woodworkers. It’s important to have the right tools and technique to ensure that your projects look professional.
In this post, we’ll dive into the steps you need to follow to cut a taper on a table saw so that you can take your woodworking skills to the next level.
1. Prepare Your Wood
The first step to cutting tapers on a table saw is to prepare your wood. Choose a board that is long enough for your project and plan the taper out on paper or with a pencil. Once you’ve decided on the taper’s width, use a ruler or measuring tape to mark out the cutting line’s endpoint on the board. Cut the board to a rough size based on the taper’s overall length using a circular saw or jigsaw. Then use a jointer to create a square edge on one side of the board.
2. Set the Taper Jig
The next step is to set the taper jig up correctly. A taper jig is a handy attachment that holds your board at an angle while guiding it through the saw blade. To set up your taper jig, position the board at the end of the jig and adjust the jig’s angle until the blade cuts precisely where your endpoint marking is located. Secure the jig’s position with clamps and test your results by running that scrap board down the blade.
3. Test the Blade Height
With the taper jig and your wood in place, slowly raise your blade’s height until about 1/4 of the blade’s teeth is above the board. Once you set the blade height and ensure it’s parallel with your taper blade’s specific angle, then you can move ahead with cutting the taper on your wood. Remember that cutting tapers can be challenging, and that’s why safety should be the topmost priority.
4. Begin the Cut
Finally, it’s time to cut the taper. Turn on the saw, and gradually push the wood through the blade, starting at the end furthest from the blade, with the intended tapered end making contact with the blade. Work slowly and precisely, keeping your hands well clear of the blade throughout cutting. Use the taper jig’s clamps as the wood moves through the blade, and keep your eyes focused on the blade’s location and where the cut happens.
5. Clean Up the Edges
After cutting the taper, you might end up with rough, jagged edges. To clean them, place the newly tapered edge onto the jointer to clean up your board’s edge until it gets smooth and straight. When you have completed a single pass, inspect the edge of your board, and re-adjust the machine’s settings to fix any remaining roughness or variation. Repeat the process as much as necessary until the edge is straight and smooth.
Creating perfect tapers is much easier than it sounds. With the right tools, techniques, and precautions, you’ll be making professional cuts in no time. Make sure you prepare your wood appropriately, set up your taper jig correctly, and test everything before cutting. Always prioritize safety, and work slowly and methodically, paying close attention to each step.
With a little patience and practice, your woodworking projects will be sure to impress. Happy woodworking!