Offcuts create a planing cradle for tapered legs
A while back I built a Shaker-style round stand but wasn’t sure how to plane accurate tapers on both sides of each leg. I found the answer in the curvy offcuts left over from bandsawing.
To hold the legs firmly for handplaning, and also guide my plane for precise tapers on both sides of the legs, I used the offcuts to create two simple cradles. I screwed them to a couple of pieces of 2×10 lumber, which are held on the bench with dogs or holdfasts. Attach the offcuts to hold the legs loosely and be sure to countersink the screw heads below the surface. The last step is to shim the end of the leg for the taper that you want. To taper a 3⁄4-in.-thick leg down to 1⁄2 in., start with a 1⁄8-in. shim under the foot in the first cradle, and then flip the leg and use a 1⁄4-in. shim in the second cradle. Plane each leg until the sole of the plane starts to make contact with the top of the cradle, and the taper should be perfect.
—Matt Czegan, Greensburg, Pa.