Repeatable Taper Rip Cuts with a Sliding Table Saw

Over the year that I’ve owned my sliding table saw I’ve really come to appreciate the convenience and safety of having a built-in crosscutting & ripping sled.

I just finished a set of tapered legs which on a normal cabinet saw one would use a taper jig to cut.  In this post I’ll show how I accomplished the same thing with my sliding table and two hold-down clamps.

Finished product first.  Four legs that started as 2″ squares.  The taper starts below the mortises (about 4.25″ from the top) and ends a half-inch from the bottom edge leaving a 1″ square foot on the bottom.

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Finished legs

These photos show the uncut leg with the taper penciled in.

This photo shows how the legs will be positioned on the sliding table.  The cut starts at the foot and will end a little short of the mortise.  The leg is pushed by the miter fence while its taper angle is set by the fence’s flip-stop.  An important note here: I am indexing the cuts from the waste side not the good side.  This always gives me a square surface to set up on.  If I indexed off of the good side I’d have to deal with trying to index off of a taper which would involve making shim blocks.  Nuts to that.

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Position on slider

 

Setting up on the slider required establishing two indexing points.

  • One for the foot set 1/2″ inch from the blade.  This is the easy one I just used the fence.
  • A second one to establish where the cut will stop near the mortises, 4.25″ inches from the top.

The second indexing point was harder to set up because that point is out in space.  I needed to move the flip-stop to “aim” the cut at the desired point below the mortises.  I gave myself a target to aim at by clamping a stick to the table at that location and then cutting it off:

Now with the stick in place I could move the flip-stop around to get the stick flush with the place I wanted the taper cut to end.

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Flushing up the cut marker stick with the desired taper end

After confirming that the setup worked fine on my test piece I cut all the tapers.  Two Kreg hold down clamps did a fine job of keeping the work in place and my hands away from the blade.  A Diablo ripping blade left a very nice surface which only left behind very faint tool marks; a few scrapes and the surface was ready for 220.

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