Fine Woodworking, Process Improvement, Product Review, Taper Jig, Woodcraft
Comments 2

Wood River Taper Jig – Product Review

I have had all sorts of problems with the drawers in my built-in project. One pesky problem is that one of my drawer openings is slightly out of square. I took great care to cut the drawer face nice and square, making sure that I had a nice, even reveal between it and the face frame of the built-in. But, one of the cross pieces is slightly off. This means that I need to cut a slight taper on the drawer face to fix it. The taper is so slight that it won’t be that noticeable.

Quick fix #1
I went to Woodcraft and bought a Wood River Tapering Jig. I thought this would be an inexpensive and fast way to get the necessary taper cut using my table saw and I would then have the jig for future use.

Flimsy. The Wood River Taper Jig.

After assembly, the taper jig was a big disappointment. The instructions were extremely poor – a line drawing of the jig and it’s parts and it looked like the drawing had been run through a copier a few times because it was hard to make out some of the nuts and bolts that are needed for assembly. There are two washers included that are not even shown in the instructions leaving me to figure out where they go. Other bolts/nuts could use the addition of lock washers to keep them nice and tight as I use the jig in the future.

Potentially dangerous. The bolt on the left easily becomes loose

As I set the jig up for my first use, I noticed that as I adjusted it – opening it slightly, the bolt on the left (see arrow in photo above) became loose. This presents two problems: 1) the jig moves creating an inaccurate cut, and 2) this is a big safety hazard. The wood has the ability to move as it is being cut. My recommendation: stay away from this jig.

So, I returned it to Woodcraft for a full refund – the Woodcraft folks were very accommodating on this. All I am out is some lost shop time, but this is yet another delay for my built-in project.

Quick fix #2
I recently signed up for Fine Woodworking’s online resources which gives me tremendous access to articles and information on everything related to woodworking, so I signed in and searched “tapering jig” which returned several articles on the subject.

I decided to go with a very basic jig that was simple to make. Why I have never thought of this quick fix is beyond me. This is simply a cleat added to the end of some plywood and a screw which you turn in or out to adjust the taper. Perfect for me, and no additional cost.

So simple and made from scrap materials.

So simple and made from scrap materials.

Fine Woodworking’s website also had a much more complex tapering jig which has safety in mind: this jig locks the stock in place. All the other jigs I have seen don’t do this. It is always a concern when I have to hold the wood to the jig as it moves through the saw blade. This more complex jig is what I hope to make in the future to cut tapers (as a woodworker buying a jig like this seems wrong anyway – sort of like buying a workbench; it’s something that a woodworker should just make and not buy).

If you have not signed up for Fine Woodworking’s online articles and videos, you should. I did this a few weeks ago; it costs about $35 per year, but has already paid for itself.

2 Comments

  1. I get even more basic, I'll shim the corner with duct tape and ride it against the tablesaw fence. Your jig looks pretty neat, I like the way the screw dials it in. I've never had much use for the hinged style myself. I find them hard to set up.

  2. I can get basic too. I first tried a business card folded in half and taped to the trailing end of the board with masking tape, but this was not accurate enough.

    Thanks for the comment.

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