The small table I’m making will have 4-way tapered legs. I tried a simple jig at first, you can see it in one of my previous post. With that jig and making a 4-way taper you have account for the amount of material you removed when you get to the third face. I found even a small error here can cause the tapers to look different. I found testing for this was a waste of time and material. For 2-way tapers it worked great.
I looked around to try to find a better method or a jig. Recently Popular Woodworking ran an article on 3 ways to taper legs. One of these methods intrigued me. Glen Huey showed how he uses a jointer to taper legs, in only 2 passes. I thought about using this method, but after looking at my jointer I realized my jointer infeed table was too short for the length of the legs I had. Check out his video, it’s pretty amazing.
Then I was over at Fine Woodworking and came across an article and video by Richard W. Beebe. This jig as a little more complicated, but had some features that made 4-way tapers much easier.
Building the jig wasn’t that difficult. The only interesting part of the project was cutting the circular slot for the indexing pin attachment. Here’s how I set it up to cut with the router.
As you can see, I just added a piece of MDF to my router table, where my router bit can come through. I then marked the radius I needed and drilled a hole for a nail to act as the pivot point. I added a couple stop blocks and made the cut, in a couple passes.
The adjustable fence and the clamping arm are the key to this jig. The fence allows you set the jig for any angle and for any length of leg. The clamping arm gives very firm clamping pressure on the leg. I never had any issues with a leg wanting to move.
The indexing pin attachment isn’t required for the jig, but is a nice feature. It allows you to rotate the leg around a center point, without needed to move the fence if you are doing a 3 or 4-way taper.
In this picture, I only firmly pressed the leg against the pin. This worked ok, but on some cuts there can be a little vibration. In subsequent cuts, I drilled a hole in the bottom of the leg and inserted the pin firmly in the hole.
When you get to the third taper you will notice that the leg doesn’t sit up against the fence anymore.
If you aren’t using the indexing pin, all you have to do is readjust the fence for the difference. If you are using the indexing pin, the pin holds the leg in place without the aid of the fence.
On the forth cut, if you are using the indexing pin, the bottom face is not sitting on jig.
For the most part I didn’t find this to be an issue, but I did experience some vibration during the cut. This was because the wood isn’t fully supported on the bottom face. I felt the indexing pin held the leg firmly in place for this cut. If I were cutting a lot of legs, I probably wouldn’t use the indexing attachment. I would cut the first 2 faces on each leg. Then readjust the fence and cut the last 2 faces on each leg.
I think the time spent making this jig was worth it. This should be a jig I will use over and over.