Tapering Jig

Tapering Jig

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This is a jig that can be used to get a consistent and accurate taper useful for a variety of projects, for example when shaping table and chair legs. It is particularly useful where you want to create a number of identically tapered pieces. It’s construction is similar to the thickness planing jig and can be adapted to suit a variety of purposes.


  1. Dave Deady on 22 October 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Again, warm thanks. Yes, very doable!

  2. Praki Prakash on 22 October 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the video. I use a similar jig for thicknessing small pieces and really like the accuracy and convenience.

    I was wondering about the screws you use. I have never found good screws which don’t strip and appreciate your advice.


    • Juan-M on 22 October 2014 at 8:29 pm

      If you are in the U.S. try “particle board screws” from Home Depot. They work as good as can be expected in soft woods, and in hard woods they work just fine too.

  3. Robert Jones on 22 October 2014 at 4:47 pm

    With each stroke of the plane, what keeps the corners of the iron from removing a little from the tapered side pieces that the plane rides on, thus reducing the width of the taper with each stroke?

    • dcoons on 22 October 2014 at 5:22 pm

      The sides of the plane. The iron is narrower than the body of the plane.

      • Philip Adams on 24 October 2014 at 3:44 pm

        The plane blade does overlap with the slopped edges a bit with some of the planes, but this doesn’t matter as long as the plane still registers on the outside edges of the slopped pieces which have not been planned down. Hope that helps to clarify some of the details.

  4. hphimmelbauer on 22 October 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Thats crazy. I have a project in mind for my wife and i wondered how to make tapered legs for a phono-furniture (“vinyl-keeper” and a table for her retro-looking phono-player. And I wondered how to make tapered legs for it. Did not know, Santa Claus is that early and heard me… yes… thinking.

  5. Dave Ray on 22 October 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks Paul, I can see a lot of other uses for this jig

  6. jannkark on 22 October 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Hi Paul,

    That’s just another great lesson, thank you very much! Now I know exactly how to make legs for a table of my kid’s playhouse. Need to say that simple inventions are always the best!

  7. rasberrc on 22 October 2014 at 7:20 pm

    “Simple and Amazing”!

  8. druschke on 22 October 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Thank you Paul,
    Great Video. I am assuming that as you plane your material the ramps of the jig drive the heel of the plane up so that the blade cuts deeper to follow the angle. What keeps the blade from removing material on the ramps? I can see on the video that the blade of the plane is wider that the space between the ramps. Is it possible to run the body of the narrower planes off one of the ramps and make a mistake or is it not of great concern?

    Thank you,
    Karl Druschke

    • Philip Adams on 24 October 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Hello Karl,
      The plane sits on the ramp, or slopped side pieces the whole time and the piece has already been roughly tapered. Not sure if that answers the first part. Also, re the plane removing some of the ramps, as long as the plane registers on either side where it has not been planed down, there shouldn’t be a problem.
      Hope that answers your question.

  9. dano on 23 October 2014 at 1:02 am

    This is fun the best part is Paul is giving really useful tools jigs ideas most of us would take years to create this level of craftsmanship give the jigs a try and teach your self !
    If you can improve on something then loggin and explain in sted of finding fault
    Thanks Paul for advancing me leaps and bounds !!!

  10. Mike Goldfine on 23 October 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Very useful, simple to make and simple to use. Thanks for teaching us how to make it Paul.

  11. Bob Nickason on 23 October 2014 at 8:20 pm

    I am always amazed by the way you use your rip saw to cut down a length of material to dimension the board.
    A note to Praki Prakash: Phillips screws are the worst screws fostered on the human race. They cam out on a regular basis. Robertson screws, on the other hand, stay locked on the driver. Set one in place and you are able to turn the driver upside down. The screw remains in place. the exception are the screws made in China, poor quality, Kreg tools and Lee Valley Tools are a source of supply. Go on the web to find a local source.

    • SharpPencil on 25 October 2014 at 11:30 pm

      With cross head screws the secret is in using a correct numbered bit and as Paul shows, use the slower speed.

      I would love to know how to hold and plane a very thin piece….say 20 mm wide x 2mm thick.
      I will try using the jig with parallel sides at say 40 mm thick and a central packer glued at 38 mm.

      Would you care to comment please Paul

      • SharpPencil on 25 October 2014 at 11:34 pm

        Of course if the the central packer is screwed not glued, the jig could be used for other sizes??

      • Philip Adams on 12 November 2014 at 4:46 pm

        Have you seen the thickness planing jig video? It is a very similar jig used for pieces just like the ones you describe. All the best, Phil

  12. STEVE MASSIE on 23 October 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Paul, thank you this is something I hope to build in the next week or two. I have ( 2 ) beading tools ready to finish up this weekend.


  13. Andrew Young on 24 October 2014 at 8:44 am

    Thanks again Paul. Spot on.

  14. mike melendrez on 24 October 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Thank you I have been planing to the line and its difficult to get everything perfect. I first saw you use it on the table video and thought about making it adjustable. Now after watching this video I see how simple it is to change the rails. Thank you

  15. werewolf2o on 12 November 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Hi Paul

    Great project and very useful what are the correct dimensions please
    I am guessing the sides and bottom are approx. 1″x 3″x 27″ the tapered slides are cut from the same size piece

  16. dsmith20639 on 12 November 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I understand how this jig works when tapering two adjacent sides of a leg.
    Can you explain in what way you would modify it to taper all four sides equally? Do you make two jigs and double the angle of the tapers in the second jig? Or just replace the tapers in a single jig after the first two adjacent sides are completed? I assume you need to adjust the end of the first set of tapers by increasing the size so you don’t remove to much material, but I’m not sure how to figure out the dimensions.

    • Paul Sellers on 13 November 2014 at 7:41 pm

      It’s simple enough. Leave enough material on the legs for the tapers and lift one end up half that distance by putting a shim in at the narrow end. When half way, take out the shim, flip over, and take down to final thickness on this face. Do the same to the opposite faces.

  17. jefrog1844 on 30 November 2014 at 2:53 am

    Some table legs have a portion at the top that are not tapered in order that they can accomodate an apron. The jig demonstrated here tapers the entire leg. How would this jig be used to leave a portion un-tapered?

    • Frank Joseph on 30 November 2014 at 9:42 pm

      Paul and crew can’t hold our hand and give use every detail we have to think some of it out ourselves, that in part is what the forums is about. Strike a line at the x point where the taper is to start .put it in the jig where the x point is level with the guide runner . There is ,more to it think it out. My jig the ramps taper from 2+ inc. Down to 1/2 inc., then the. stop that is just under half inch.
      I am not trying to be smart I am trying to get us to think and try to experiment and learn from it.

  18. DICK SARGENT on 21 January 2015 at 12:35 am

    Please show us useing the shim to get an even centralized taper. I can understand how it would be possible with a shim under the tapered rails , but not under the narrow end. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you?

    • Philip Adams on 27 January 2015 at 12:20 pm

      Hello Dick,
      I’m not sure what you mean by using the shim, can you clarify? The plane sits on the tapered supports or rails and the leg sits on the flat bottom of the jig.

      • telek on 17 July 2015 at 2:57 am

        He is talking about a suggestion made by Paul answering a question by Donald Smith about what to do whenever you need to taper the four sides of the leg. Paul said to use a shim on the end of the jig.

  19. George Vincent on 5 March 2015 at 8:56 pm

    How would you place your leg in the jig if you want the taper to begin further down the leg when making table legs to allow the upper part of the leg to remain square to provide a place for mortised side rails?

  20. johnxman on 12 August 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Responding to the questions about use of a shim to get an even taper, i think that what Paul was suggesting was to put the shim under the angled guide rails, not under the workpiece. Putting a shim under the workpiece would do the opposite of making an even taper, but shimming half the taper distance under the guiderails would halve the angle of the taper and halve the finished taper size. After doing 2 adjacent faces of a leg this way, remove the shim, lower the guide rails down to normal position, and plane the remaining two sides.

    Another way to accomplish the same thing would be to make taper templates that acheive only 1/2 the desired taper, use them without a shim on 2 adjacent faces, then shim the workpiece (1/2 the taper thickness) and plane the remaining two sides.

    Hope this is helpful.


  21. Vladimir Lopez on 31 October 2015 at 3:02 am

    Thank you so Much for making this video. I am new at hand tool woodworking and have been pouring through every bit of knowledge I can gain from you. Thank you again from South Florida

  22. Jean Legare on 3 November 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I would like to taper rectangular legs that are slightly larger than the width of my blade Iron. ( the leg is about 2″ 3/4 x 3″1/4). If I were to build a larger version of this jig, it seems that I’d have to alternate resting each side of the sole of my plane on every other pass over the piece.

    Could you recommend a alternative jig design to achieve a taper? Or is a saw a better option, given the dimensional constraints?

  23. Paul Oram on 7 April 2019 at 11:18 am

    Just ripped 4 pieces of walnut and was thinking how on earth to do this – brilliant. And that you can use this for all sorts of tapers – taking the time to make jigs seems to be the answer to many things, it forces you to slow down and enjoy the process. A simple version of this would also be great for squaring off the wood in the first place as I find getting a true 90 degree square face quite tricky to achieve.

    Gonna get on with it right now.

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