Introduction: Simple Easy Cheap Method to Cut Tapered or Angled Parts on a Table Saw
There are many Instructables illustrating how to construct complicated jigs, fixtures and sleds for cutting angled pieces on a table saw, such as tapered furniture legs. Here we present an extremely simple method for cutting any angle in almost any piece of wood. The Advantages of this method are: Zero cost; quick setup; good versatility; easy and safe. The Disadvantages are: the finished part must come from a piece of wood that is sufficiently oversized to receive at least two screws; the method is not repeatable, meaning the same short setup time is required for every cut, so if you need a large number of identical parts, this method is inappropriate.
Step 1: Lay Out the Cut on the Finished Part
With a pencil and straightedge, lay out the tapered cut on the blank. Include the kerf; that is, draw a line to represent both sides of the slot that the blade will create. In this illustration, the finished part is on the left; the discard material is on the right.
Step 2: Attach a Guide Board to the Blank
For a guide board, use a scrap of plywood or board wide enough to completely cover the discard, and long enough to extend a few inches beyond both ends of the blank. Align this guide board with the kerf line and tack it to the discard with a couple of pins from your air nailer, or with a couple of screws.
Step 3: Set the Fence
Flip the boards over end-to-end. Use the guide board width to set the table saw fence position.
Step 4: Cut the Part
Withdraw the guide board, start the saw and cut the part. The finished part drops off onto the table. Other than the two pinholes, the discard is reusable.
We used this method recently to cut the sides of a custom pedal board (Instructable). I used this method from time to time over many years when I was in the cabinet business, usually to cut parts for tapered pedestals, or components of tapered cabinets that were too wide to fit on the radial arm saw. Often, the finish part is quite large and the discard is quite small; in this case, we mount a large guide board to the unseen backside of the cabinet piece as suggested in the last image. The finished piece is now between the blade and the fence, and the discard drops to the table.