Octagonal tapers

Instructions for making octagonal table legs, tapered on all eight sides. June 13, 2001

I'm looking for tips on making octagonal table legs with tapers on all eight sides.

Forum Responses
Let's assume that you want the legs to be 2" across at the top and 1" on the bottom.

First, cut 2" wide non-tapered octagonal blanks on the table saw. Now go to the jointer and lower the infeed table so it takes off 1/2".

Next take the leg and lower it over the cutter head so that the top 1/2" or so of the blank is resting on the out-feed table (this will cause a small snipe, so make sure you're holding the blank firmly). Push it through and you'll be taking off a 1/2" taper from the blank.

If taking off 1/2" at a time makes you nervous, you can set the in-feed table to 1/4" and make two passes.

Repeat the same operation for the other 7 sides.

At this point, the leg will be tapered to size but will have a small bit of snipe on each face where you started the taper. To get rid of this, just raise the in-feed table and clean up each face in the conventional way.

If the legs are shorter than the length of the in-feed table, you can clamp a stop block to it so you'll be starting the taper in the same exact spot every time without having to eyeball it (safer, too).

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:

If you're making larger quantities, an automatic lathe is the way to go. From a rough blank to ready for sanding, you can do about two legs a minute! The drawback is setup time. You'll have a full day or 2 in the setup. Like I said... gotta do a lot of them to justify it.