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    Tapered Legs with a Circular Saw

    While browsing the wide array of woodworking jig ideas uploaded by readers of Fine Woodworking magazine to our sister site, FineWoodworking.com, I came across an ingenious little device by user james3one that I thought merited some further mention here at Start Woodworking.

    While building a side table that incorporated a tapered leg design, James soon realized that his little tablesaw wasn’t up to the task. While he could have cut the taper freehand using a jigsaw, smoothing away the saw marks with either sandpaper or a handplane, James hoped to get a super-straight cut akin to what a tablesaw might provide. Necessity really did prove to be the mother of invention in James’ case, as he invented a clever little jig that secured his leg blanks, and allowed his circular saw to ride in a track, thus providing a clean, straight cut that required minimal cleanup afterwards.

    The jig consists of a U-shaped channel, with several support ribs screwed to it along its length. The channel has two rabbets along either edge—within which the base of a circular saw can safely glide. And the ribs support the workpiece being cut, from underneath. To secure the workpiece, James added a small wood scrap with a screw driven through it, on one end of the channel. The tapered end of the leg blank is screwed to this block and the other end is secured  by a small hardwood strip and a clamp—friction to the rescue.

    Controlling the Angle of Taper

    James’ jig is built in two pieces. The channel assembly—which cradles the saw—and the base, to which the screw assembly is firmly attached. To adjust the angle of taper, you simply shift the two pieces independently of one another and then screw them back together using angle brackets.

    The jig is composed of two pieces: the base--to which the screw assembly is attached, and the channel which functions as the saw guide.

    In this closeup, you can see the direction of cut. When securing a blank to the jig, the tapered end is attached to the screw pictured here.

    Here we see a leg blank secured in the jig--with the screw on one end, and a clamp and caul on the other.

    The saw glides easily within the confines of the two rabbets--one on either side of the saw base. Not a bad idea!