How to Cut a Taper on a Table Saw

A table saw is the type of saw mounted on a table. The blade, projected on an arbor, protrudes above the table. The saw is operated by an electric motor. This type of saw is accurate as it supports the work piece. Also, longer pieces of wood can be cut easily on it.

Despite the sustainability provided by the table saw, one might find difficult to have a firm control of it. The blade exerts an opposing force, which ends up spoiling the rip cuts.

On the other hand, taper cuts are essential for various woodworking tasks. These are rip cuts which are projected at an angle to the wood’s edges. You may observe these cuts at the legs of the table which gets slender with length. Also, angled slat fences are made by this technique.

However, working on a table saw to get taper cuts requires efficiency To have a firm hold of the board while it rips at a particular angle is tricky. If you too are tired of making faulty taper cuts, this article is all you need to solve the problem.

The Jig

The jig is a support that guides the work piece to have cuts on the desired angle. Without a stable guide, your work piece might get displaced which results in less precision. Along with it, the jig also keeps the wood immobilized to prevent kickback.

The problem arises when you can’t find a suitable jig for your lumber. In the market, you might come across two types of jigs:

1. A Hinge Jig

This type of jigs has two arms. One of the arms is hinged so it can be set and locked at the desired angle. Along with it, this jig is easy to use and consumes less time in setting up.

But this type of jig has multiple shortfalls:

  1. Normally, the wood pieces are narrower than the arm of the jig. This makes it difficult to hold the board in place. Operating by a push stick is inconvenient. And holding by hand brings you closer to the blade.
  2. Since the blade of the table saw opposes the direction of your work piece, holding it in place is difficult. If the tendency of blades to pull away exceeds your holding strength, the wood might kickback from the rip fence.
  3. To taper the other side of the tapered wood, one needs to flip the wood. This brings the tapered side in contact with the table saw. This can lead to wearing out the finished end.

Therefore, choosing a hinge jig may cause you great trouble. Though simple in geometry, the consequences can be detrimental.

2. Sled Jig

This type of jig can make cutting taper easier. It has two metallic hold down clamps that hold the wood piece right in position. Besides, there is an adjustable fence that holds up the wood from behind.

The work piece is adjusted on a sled or jig base. This keeps the wood away from the saw table that may result in displacing it.

Hence, contrary to a hinge jig, this type of jig contains a limited area for errors or accidental situations. However, if you want to construct  your own jig, you need to follow the following procedure.

Build your Jig

You will need:

  • Three-quarters of plywood
  • A drill
  • A router
  • A sander
  • 2 toggle clamps
  • A tapped plastic handle
  • A carriage bolt

Step 1: Cut the Sled and Fence

Take three-quarters of plywood and rip it in dimensions that adjusts your table saw. The length of your wood piece should be greater than its width.

Also, you need to cut two wooden pieces. One for the jig’s base i.e. the sled and other for the fence.

Generally, a sled having dimensions of 16×36 and a fence having 5×12 dimensions are sufficient for most of the table saws.

Step 2: Look for the Centre

Find the centre of your fence system and start drilling a hole there. In general, to drill a hole of a quarter inch is suitable for the slot to fit in.

Thereafter, find the centre of the sled portion. This is the point where your bolt will route out in backward and forward directions.

Step 3: Start Routing

Set your router bit at 5/16 of an inch deep and 1/2 inch to rout out the bottom. If these measurements do not work out for your slot to pass through, you can alter as per your requirements.

Start routing the sled by the bottom. Once the centre line is initiated, a 1/4 inch bit of router can be used to trim out the accurate slot for the threaded portion of the bolt to swing through easily.

Afterwards, you can use a sander for finishing.

Step 4: Install the Clamps

Put the toggle clamps in position on the fence. The farther the clamps are from the centre, the better they function.

Consequently, the clamps will ensure a firm grip of your wooden piece.

Step 5: Join the Geometry

The final step is to join the sled and the fence. For this, you need to pass the bolt from the centre of the sled through the fence. To tighten the tie, take a tapered tap and fasten it on the bolt.

Once done, you are ready to use this jig for all types of tapered cuts. Henceforth, you won’t need to care for you tapered cuts as the jig is versatile enough to provide for all possible angle cuts.

Steps to Make Tapered Cuts

Step 1: Outline the Cut

Start your task by outlining the working wood. Mark the angle on the wooden piece by the help of a pencil. Make sure that these margins wrap the corners of the wood as well.

This will help you to align the wooden piece perfectly along the sled’s corner. Furthermore, initially marking the angle will lend you extra precision.

Step 2: Fix the Board in the Jig

Loosen the bolt at the centre of jig’s fence so it can move freely. Set the work piece at the corner of the sled such that your angle outline aligns with the corner of the jig base.

Once done with adjusting the wood piece, carefully slide the fence toward it. Tighten it up by the help of the tapped plastic handle. Now, fix this position by the clamps.

Step 3: Start Cutting

Start the saw after you are done with the board adjustment. Slowly move the jig toward the blade. Since the jig’s base gives stable ground to your board and the fence holds the board in the desired angle, there will be less chances for an error or accident to occur.

By following this method, you can easily make tapered cuts on a table saw without any blunders.


Table saws offer great comfort if you have the right tools to operate them. The accurate jig is all you need to have the perfect rip cuts. This article contains the best idea for constructing a jig and thereby making your taper cuts simpler.

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