Easy Taper & Jointer Jig for the Table Saw

Last Updated:  July 2, 2021

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This is one of those jigs that is much more valuable than the couple of hours it takes to build it. It has a miter bar for consistency and repeatability, and the fence adjusts to many different angles or to simply joint the edge of a rough piece of lumber. And, you only need a little bit of plywood and some other hardware (like knobs and T track bolts).

This article and video will not only show you how to build it, but also how to use the jig to taper and joint wood.

Building the Base and Fence

I made the base out of 1/2” plywood to maximize the blade clearance and the fence is made out of 3/4” plywood to give plenty of support behind workpieces of different thicknesses.

The 16” wide base has enough surface area to be clamped down while cutting the slots, so I went ahead and ripped it and crosscut it to size.

The final fence width of 4” is too narrow to use with the router, so I measured and marked the outline of the fence on the bigger piece of plywood. After cutting the slots the fence can be ripped down to size.

It only takes two passes with a spiral bit to get the width I need for the T track bolt slot. It needs to travel freely without being too loose.

I used a 3/4” straight bit to cut the wider slot for the bolt head and it needs to be wide enough for the bolt to turn perpendicular to the slot and travel freely. It should be deep enough to sit well underneath the surface of the wood.

This jig can be used without a miter bar by putting the table saw fence in place so that the jig rides right next to the table saw blade. My previous jig worked like this, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It takes forever to get the distance right every time, so that the jig fits snugly in between the blade and fence. Also, as with most rip cuts, the jig has a tendency to come away from the fence causing the cut to be slightly uneven.

The ideal solution is to add a metal miter bar so that it won’t change with the seasons and it will remain a consistent size. But, those can be pricey and my 40 year old table saw doesn’t have such square miter slots anymore, so I have trouble using after-market accessories like that, sometimes.

The next best thing is to use hardwood. I had some scrap walnut laying around that I cut a sliver from. I used a feather board to keep it nice and tight against the fence while I cut small amounts to get the right fit.

I used a combination of CA glue and wood glue so that it would hold after just 5 or 10 minutes and I could continue working. The wood glue adds longer term holding strength. I set a 55lb anvil on the base to press it against the miter bar while it dries, but you can use anything laying around that’s heavy enough.

When placing the base onto the miter bar I made sure to position it so that the edge of the base was to the left of the saw blade. This allowed me to still cut the jig and end up with zero clearance to the blade. This is desirable because now you know the edge of the jig is exactly where the blade will cut.

After it dried a bit I flipped it over and countersunk four screws through the bottom of the bar into the jig. Then, I made the zero clearance cut.

The last piece I attached was a cleat to the bottom of the fence. The cleat added support to the workpiece as it’s pushed through the table saw. This piece will get cut at various times so it may need to be replaced after some time. I attach it with wood glue and screws. Since this is an end grain to end grain joint, the glue can be easily knocked loose with a mallet, after removing the screws, when you’re ready to replace it.

Using the Jig

The vast majority of the time I will use this jig to taper furniture legs. Mark the point on the top of the leg where you want the taper to start and then, on the bottom of the leg, mark the ending thickness. Line up the top mark flush with the edge of the jig and likewise for the mark you made on the bottom of the leg. Push the fence up to the workpiece and tighten everything down making sure that the clamps are not in the blade’s path.

Bring the jig back until the workpiece is clear of the blade, turn on your saw, and then push it with steady pressure through the cut.

The jointer function of this jig is similar. Jointing refers to the method of flattening edges and faces on a piece of wood. For this jig to truly joint an edge you need at least one flat face. Put that face down on the jig and position your workpiece so that it overhangs the jig all along the edge.This is necessary so that a cut is made along the length of the edge and not just on parts of it.

Once the cut is made you now have a flat edge that is square to the face. You can now remove the jig and rotate the piece so that the same face is down but the newly cut edge is against the table saw fence. Make that cut and then you’ll have flat and square edges to reference when the ends are cut on the miter gauge or at the miter saw.

Once each end is trimmed square you will have a square piece of wood. If the opposite face was not flat and parallel to the face you were using as a reference, you’ll need to run it through the thickness planer with the good face down. I walk you through this entire process in the video above.

This jig was a blast to make and it’s one of those jigs that is essential once you get a table saw. Download the Free plan and get to work!

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