What's the best way to sand handle tapers?

Q:

Please tell me the most efficient way to cut or sand the correct taper on a wooden handle for a rake or squeegee. What is the best machine to use?
—Mark Thorsell, Golden Valley, Minnesota

A:

We used a disc sander with a guide block clamped to the sander table, Mark. To make the guide block, cut an angled notch along roughly three-quarters of the longest edge of a 9×12" scrap. The notch is cut at a taper equal to the taper needed for your handle. Clamp this guide block to the table of your disc sander with the stop at the end of the tapered edge parallel to the face of the sanding disc. Make certain to position the stop to the left of the disc’s center. Experiment with the distance between the block and the disc to achieve the length of handle taper you want for the diameter of the stock you’re sanding, then mark that location.

With the handle held firmly against the edge of the guide, as shown above, slowly feed the workpiece into the moving disc while rotating it to create an even taper. Continue pushing the stock toward the stop on the guide until you sand up to the mark.

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