Build a sled for octagonal tapers

V-base attaches to main base at an angle to set the taper.

The posts ride on the V-base. Because it’s skewed to the main base, the amount and angle of the overhang determines the posts’ taper. The centered V lets the sled handle both the square and octagonal tapers with the same setup.

v-base on taper sled

Bandsaw the square tapers.

Because there’s plenty of material below the taper to keep the post flat on the sled, you can rotate the post 90° between passes to cut uniform tapers.

bandsawing tapers on the post bandsawing tapers on the post

Use V-shaped spacers for the octagonal tapers.

To ensure the sled’s toggle clamps apply even pressure across the 90° corners, McLaughlin uses an offcut from the V-base.

v-shaped spacers on taper sled

Saw the shoulders and plane the facets.

After cutting free the waste from tapering, use a block plane to clean up the bandsawn surface. Check regularly to make sure you’re planing the tapers equally. Use the sled to hold the workpiece.

sawing shoulders of bed post planing facets


sled for octagonal tapers illustrated

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