Compound cuts may feel more like geometry than joinery. But our easy-to-make jig eliminates any complex math.

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Pushing boards thru saw blades

Build a custom tapering jig

Unlike some jigs, you'll tailor this one to suit your project part sizes. First cut a tapering-jig base from flat sheet stock, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), 8" longer and 2" wider than the blanks you'll taper. (For the 13x28" panels on the Limbert-style table, we cut the base 15x36".) Then, from scrap about 116 " thinner than your test pieces or project parts, cut four 2x5" hold-downs and stopblocks for the ends of the workpiece and a 1 12 x24" stopblock for the long edge. (For other projects, cut this stopblock 4" shorter than the edge being tapered and beveled.)

Next cut four workpiece blanks and four MDF test blanks 14 " oversize in width. Mark the outside width of the narrow and wide ends of the project part centered on one test blank. Now follow the six simple steps shown in the photos to cut the beveled tapers. For more information on the jig, go to woodmagazine.com/beveledtaper.

Step 1, Bevel one jig edge

Bevel-cut one edge of the base to 45 degrees. (You can adjust the bevel angle later, if necessary.) Then set the jig base aside.

Board going thru saw with orange insert

Step 2, Measure from the center line

Center the top and bottom widths on the outside face of a test blank, and mark the ends. Then use a combination square or sliding bevel to transfer 45 degrees bevel lines on the blank ends.

Marking with combination square

Step 3, Align marks with the jig edge

Center the test blank along the length of the jig base, and align the bevel marks with the beveled edge of the base. Before installing the stopblocks, mark the stopblock edges that will butt against the test blank.

Showing marks at end of board

Step 4, Cut the first bevel

Hold the long stopblock against the test blank edge, and screw it to the jig base. Then add the end stops and hold-downs. With the jig in position against the rip fence, make the first bevel cut on each test blank.

Long strip on side of board and jig at base

Step 5, Remount the stopblocks

Remove all three stops, and turn the blank end for end. Align the bevel marks on the ends of the test blank with the beveled jig edge. Reattach the long stopblock against the beveled edge.

Drilling board on side of beveled board

Step 6, Cut the second bevel

Reattach the end stops in new positions with the same end-stop edges against the test blank as before. Then rip the second bevel on each test blank.

Now see how you did
To test the results of your jig set-up, tape together the four completed test parts and check for gaps along the miters. For the Limbert-style table, a 45 degrees angle leaves only a tiny gap on the inside corner of the joint that can be filled with glue. More important, this angle creates a tight fit on the outside corners where it matters most.

If you see inside corner gaps greater than 116 ", decrease the blade tilt by a half degree, tape a 18 "-thick spacer to the long stop, and recut the beveled jig edge. Then rip new bevels on each test blank, and repeat until you achieve tight joints with no outside gaps. Now repeat the jig set-ups, and cut your project parts.

Previously beveled edge