The most terrifying moment I’ve ever had in woodworking was using a commercial table saw tapering jig by following the jig’s instructions.
The jig was exactly like this one, which is sold by a lot of woodworking stores. I hesitate to even post that link because some moron is likely to pipe up, “Actually the jig can be used safely if…” and some beginning woodworker is going to believe it.
There are about 50 better ways to cut tapers before using this jig, including erosion. I know there are safe table saw tapering jigs out there. But this is not the jig you are looking for.
Today I fired up my band saw to cut a lot of tapers on the legs for this table from the 15th century. Usually I taper legs at the workbench with a jack plane. But because I had to remove about 1-1/2” of material on each of the six legs, I roughed in the shape with my band saw (plus the tapered offcuts are very useful in the shop for shims).
So because I am pooping on the parade of woodworking commerce today, let me add some more fertilizer. I don’t think most woodworking shops need a fancy steel-frame band saw. I’ve used a lot of the steel frame saws from all the best brands, and I’ve just never been impressed.
Sure, they can have a lot of cutting capacity, but unless you make a lot of veneer, you’d probably be better served by the simple Delta 14” band saw that the company made millions of in its Tupelo, Miss., factory. These saws are bulletproof, there are tons of them out there and you can usually pick one up for $200 to $300.
These workhorse saws stay in tune much better than the steel-frame saws. The guides are dirt simple. And parts are available anywhere. (No need to wait for a replacement electrical switch from Italy.)
OK, my spleen is empty. Time to go plane these tapered legs and cut their conical tenons.
— Christopher Schwarz