How to Taper Cut on a Jointer

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Do you know how to taper cut on your jointer? When most people think about a motorized jointer they think about edge jointing and face jointing. And for good reason; those two activities comprise the large majority of what woodworkers use their jointers for. If you ask most woodworkers how to taper cut, they will point you to a table saw as a starting point. Taper cutting on a table saw is a valid approach, but learning how to taper cut on a jointer has its advantages as well. But once you learn how to taper cut on a jointer, it extends the usefulness of this tool, taking it to a new level of importance in your shop.

Learning how to taper cut on a jointer requires a few simple steps:

Start by defining the point where your taper begins. You need to start this process with a clear plan in place. How high on the leg will the taper begin? Be careful to not form your taper all the way into an area that should remain flat for a good rail-to-leg joint. Also, how narrow do you want the piece to be at the end? Mark this up front so you have a guideline as you make your cuts.

Make multiple light passes. This process requires several light passes. Don’t adjust your jointer to hog out a deep cut in an attempt to get this done lightning fast. Even with light passes it will go quickly enough, and you’ll end up with a better quality cut at the end.

Clean-up pass at the end. The process that George demonstrates can leave a slight divot at the entry point of the cut, so plan to make one final pass at the end to clean this up for great looking tapers.