One of my favorite ways to elevate DIY projects is to add a tapered leg. There’s something about this small and subtle angle that just makes projects feel so much fancier.
Luckily, making your own DIY taper leg jig is easier than you might expect — and you might even be able to build it out of scrap wood!
Another pro about this homemade jig is that you can use it over and over again. In fact, we’ve used the same DIY taper leg jig on a handful of projects, including:
- DIY Coffee Bar Accent Cabinet
- DIY Shutter Sideboard <– this is still one of my favorite furniture builds!
- DIY TV Cabinet – an Anthropologie knock-off
Alright, enough talking, let’s make this DIY taper leg jig once and for all!
Oh wait–one more note. This jig is for a miter saw, meaning your leg tapers are going to have to be about 7″ or less. If you want the leg taper to be longer than that, like we did for this DIY console table, you’ll need to make a jig for your table saw instead.
How to Make a Taper Leg Jig for Your Miter Saw
STEP 1:ATTACH BACK FENCE
The beauty of this jig is that you should be able to use scrap wood to make it. There are very few precise measurements for this jig.
Start with a scrap 1×8 or plywood piece to serve as the base. It doesn’t need to be a particular measurement, just smaller than 18×12.
Then cut a spare 1×3 or 1×4 to 18″.
Glue the 18″ board to the piece that you are using for the base. One side should be flush.
STEP 2: MARK 1.5″ FROM THE SIDE
Mark your base board 1.5″ in from the side. This is where we will attach the next piece.
Note: if you are planning to cut something other than a 1×2 or 2×2 with this jig, you will want to adjust the spacing to match the width of your leg. Example: if cutting a 3×3 instead, mark 2.5″ from the side.
STEP 3: ATTACH THE LEG GUIDE
Cut another scrap piece of wood to be 18″. It could be a 1×2, 1×3, 1×4, etc. The width doesn’t matter.
Screw the scrap piece to the base at the line you marked in step 2. Don’t use glue here in case you ever want to adjust the placement of the guide.
STEP 4: ADJUST THE MITER ANGLE OF YOUR MITER SAW
Adjust the miter gauge on your miter saw to match your desired angle. I recommend between 3 and 7 degrees.
STEP 5: POSITION THE JIG
Place the back fence up against the fence of your miter saw. Adjust the position of the jig right and left to determine how high up the taper will go.
I wish I figured out the magic formula and spacing rules, but I have not. I’d recommend testing the placement with a scrap piece of wood before cutting your first official piece.
STEP 6: CLAMP THE JIG IN PLACE
Once you’re happy with the placement of the jig, clamp it to the back of the fence so that it stays in place.
Then clamp the leg to the jig. The piece you’re cutting should be flush with the fence and clamped to the leg guide you installed in Step 3.
STEP 7: MAKE YOUR CUTS
Make your cut. As you are cutting for the fist time, you will cut through the jig. That’s okay. It’ll still work for the future!
There you have it! Now you know how to make a simple DIY taper leg jig to use on future projects.