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New to lathe : How to taper a leg

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  • New to lathe : How to taper a leg

    Hello all -
    I am new to the lathe. ( and woodworking for that matter)
    The extent of my lathe experience with it is making some pens.
    That said, I would like to make some table legs. I want to have them taper from 1.25 inches down to .75 inches in diameter.

    Is this process simply eyeball then measure, eyeball then measure till I get it right, or is thee more to it ?

    I am using a midi lathe with an extension. I have looked for online videos on the web but really can find nothing.

    Can anyone provide any insight for me ?

    Thanks -


  • #2
    Re: New to lathe : How to taper a leg

    Mostly, taper is done on a Table Saw instead of the lathe. The reason for this is the taper is not actually centered on the leg. Taper will generally be either on the front or the back of the leg, depending on the look. There are a number of taper jigs you can make for a TS that'll do the job well.

    The closest I could come to tapered legs on a lathe is this ShopSmith demo:
    It's actually how to do Cabriole legs. The idea is to have a second, slightly off-center "center" which might work for doing a tapered leg.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


    • #3
      Re: New to lathe : How to taper a leg

      Perhaps I am using the wrong terminology. The leg will be round, not squared, and taper from top to bottom.


      • #4
        Re: New to lathe : How to taper a leg

        Starting with your square spindle stock mark the point you want at 1.25" move half way down and mark the center of the leg length then mark the far end. Using something like a cutoff tool cut the stock down to 1.25 at the top mark, cut to 1" at center and then 3/4" at the bottom. Now just use a spindle gouge to remove and shape the legs to these reference points. You may want to add 1 1/8th" in between the top and center and 7/8" between center and bottom to give you more ref. points and less distance between them.
        info for all: --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."