Cutting a taper on a table saw can be a challenging task, but it is an essential technique that any woodworker should learn. A taper is a shape that narrows down gradually towards one end, and it is often used to create a wedge or a leg for a piece of furniture. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to cut a taper on a table saw.
Why Cut a Taper on a table saw?
Tapering a board means to reduce its width on one side gradually. The process can be used to create various woodworking projects, such as table legs, chair backs, and wooden handles. A tapered board can provide stability and balance to a furniture piece while adding visual interest to the design.
Using a table saw to cut a taper ensures precision and accuracy, which is especially important when working on larger projects. A table saw provides the ability to make repeatable cuts, which is necessary when creating multiple tapered pieces for a project. A diamond saw blade can also provide a clean and smooth cut, reducing the need for additional sanding or planing.
Tools and Materials
To cut a taper on a table saw, you will need the following tools and materials:
- A table sawwith diamond saw blade (7 inch blade)
- A taper jig
- A measuring tape
- Safety goggles
- Push stick
Step 1: Set up the Table Saw
Before you start cutting, you need to set up the table saw. First, install the diamond saw blade on the table saw. Make sure that the blade is properly secured and tightened. Next, adjust the height of the blade to the desired depth of the cut. For a taper, you will need to adjust the blade to the highest point at the start of the cut and the lowest point at the end of the cut.
Step 2: Prepare the Wood
Next, prepare the wood for the cut. Measure and mark the length of the taper on the wood using a measuring tape and a pencil. Then, use the taper jig to set the angle of the taper. The taper jig is a simple tool that attaches to the table saw and allows you to make angled cuts. Set the jig to the desired angle of the taper.
Step 3: Position the Wood on the Taper Jig
Once you have set the angle of the taper, position the wood on the taper jig. Make sure that the wood is securely fastened to the jig to prevent it from moving during the cut. Position the wood so that the edge that you want to taper is aligned with the saw blade.
Step 4: Make the Cut
With the wood securely fastened to the taper jig, turn on the table saw and slowly push the jig through the saw blade. Use a push stick to keep your fingers away from the blade and to apply pressure to the wood. Make sure that you keep the wood flat against the jig and that it does not lift off the jig during the cut. This will ensure that the taper is straight and even.
Step 5: Repeat the Cut
Once you have completed the first cut, you can remove the wood from the taper jig and inspect the taper. If the taper is not deep enough or if it is uneven, you can repeat the cut until you achieve the desired result. Remember to adjust the height of the blade and the angle of the taper jig accordingly.
Step 6: Sand the Taper
Once you have cut the taper, you may notice that the edge of the wood is rough or uneven. To smooth out the edge, use a sanding block to sand the taper. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and work your way up to a finer grit. Be sure to sand evenly across the entire taper to avoid creating a lopsided or uneven edge.
Step 7: Finish the Taper
Finally, you can finish the taper by applying a coat of wood finish or paint. This will protect the wood from moisture and give it a polished appearance. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the type of finish or paint you are using.
When cutting a taper on a table saw, it is important to follow safety precautions to prevent injury. Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying wood chips or sawdust. Use a push stick to keep your fingers away from the saw blade and to apply pressure to the wood. Never use your hands to push the wood through the saw blade. Keep your body and clothing clear of the saw blade and the table saw while it is in operation. Always wait for the saw blade to come to a complete stop before removing the wood or making any adjustments.
It is also important to use the correct size of diamond saw blade for the job. In this article, we have used a 7-inch diamond saw blade. Using the wrong size of blade can result in an uneven cut or can cause the blade to bind or break.
In addition, always use a taper jig when cutting a taper on a table saw. A taper jig will ensure that the cut is straight and even and will prevent the wood from moving during the cut. Never attempt to cut a taper freehand or without a taper jig.
Cutting a taper on a table saw is an important technique that any woodworker should learn. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can achieve a straight and even taper with ease. Remember to always follow safety precautions when using a table saw and to use the correct size of diamond saw blade for the job. With practice, cutting a taper on a table saw will become second nature, and you will be able to create beautiful and functional pieces of furniture with ease.