Super-simple Tapering Jig
In the issue #187, November 2008, p. 32, we provided plans for an adjustable tapering jig. It works great for cutting an infinite variety of tapers. But if you want a simpler tapering jig to build that same table set -- one that doesn't require any special hardware -- try this one. It's not quite as versatile, but perfect if you value simplicity in your jig.
Start by cutting the base, guide, end cleat, and spacer from 3/4" MDF or plywood to the sizes shown in the drawing. Make the hold-down from any piece of scrap. (We had 3/4" poplar in the cutoffs bin.)
Glue and screw the end cleat to the base. Then glue the spacer to the guide, but don't attach this assembly to the base yet. Its position depends on the taper to be cut.
Before completing the jig, use it to set up the tablesaw for the cut. First, install a zero-clearance insert so the cutoff won't lodge between the blade and insert plate. (For more about making and using a zero-clearance insert click on links below. Next, place the edge of the base against the saw blade, then slide the rip fence against the opposite edge of the base.
Using the Jig
To use the jig, place one of the legs on the base with the top against the end cleat and the taper marks on the ends of the leg along the edge of the jig, as shown in the photo. Place the guide/spacer assembly against the leg, drill the mounting holes, and screw the guide assembly to the base. (Don't glue it so you can reposition it to cut tapers of different lengths.) Retrieve the hold-down and screw it to the spacer to hold the leg firmly against the base and guide. The rubber bumper on the bottom of the hold-down prevents the leg from slipping.
To cut a taper, turn on the tablesaw and push the jig and leg past the back of the blade. Use an outfeed support to keep the jig and leg from falling at the end of the cut.
Note: We've removed the blade guard to show you the operation. Use yours.