There are lots of methods for cutting tapers such as for tapered table legs, and the table saw is one of the most common tools to use. However, typical jigs and methods often are imprecise and present safety issues. Rockler addresses those concerns with its new Taper/Straight Line jig that goes beyond just cutting tapers (watch the video demo).
Old to new
Rockler’s jig is based on a long melamine coated MDF sled designed to ride in the miter slot to the right of the blade on a typical table saw. The blue anodized aluminum bar that runs in the slot has several adjustable set screws to ensure a precise sliding fit in the slot with no slop.
Mounted to the sled is a slotted fence held down by two large hand knobs. The fence adjusts at either end to set the taper. Metal adhesive ruler strips at either end of the sled allow for precise taper calculation by measurement. Or you can use a series of tick marks to quickly calculate taper by degrees.
A large vertical handle offers safe and sure control of the sled as you guide it through the saw blade. Two hold-down bars tightened by large hand knobs combine with three friction tape strips to keep the workpiece secure. An adjustable metal clip at the end of the fence provides additional support for the workpiece as it is pushed through the blade.
Tapers and beyond
The first thing you do after assembling the jig is to run the sled through the table saw blade to cut off excess material. This gives zero clearance and full support of the workpiece all the way to the blade. When you are ready to actually cut a taper, it is quick and easy to secure the workpiece at the proper angle and cut precise tapers. The jig is long enough to fully support common leg sizes.
Going beyond tapers, the jig can also be used as a straight line ripping tool to cut the first straight edge on an irregular piece of wood. You simply mount the irregular board in the jig at the best angle and use the hold-down devices to secure it. For medium to narrow boards you can use the miter slot bar and slide the jig as usual. For wider boards you can remove the miter slot bar and run the sled against your saw’s rip fence. Either way makes for a safer and more precise method to remove the first irregular edge of a board.
Although many woodworkers could fabricate a similar jig themselves, at a price of less than $75 why bother? Rockler has done the work and produced a great jig that is very handy. For more information, call 800.279.4441.
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