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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After researching several ways of cutting octagonal tapers for a bed project I'm working on, I decided to cut them a different way and used just my table saw.

I laid out the octagons on each end of the 12/4 maple posts. I then made a sled with a single runner to ride in the right hand miter slot of my left tilt table saw.

I tilted my blade to 45 degrees and ran the sled along the miter slot which gave me the exact location of the blade as it cut through the sled. Using the cut angled edge of the sled, I placed my first post so my marks lined up with the edge of the sled and used hot glue to locate alignment blocks. I attached the alignment blocks to the sled with screws underneath and attached toggle clamps.

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The next step was to simply run the post 4 times to cut off each corner.


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After rotating the post and cutting off each corner, the large end is now octagonal and the smaller end is square since my angled cuts took of quite a bit of material.

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I had planned to tip my blade back to 0 and taper the remaining 4 sides, but there wasn't much of a flat surface remaining that I could register off of. However, the corners I just cut now provided plenty of flat surface, so I was able to keep my blade at 45 degrees, move the alignment blocks and taper the remaining sides.

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I made 2 different length posts for the headboard and footboard, so I ended up moving the alignment blocks a few times.

I was really nervous about making these posts since I had never cut a taper, never cut through 12/4 maple, and didn't want to mess up some expensive lumber. However it all worked well and I am really excited about the new skills I'm learning on this project.

I purposefully designed the bed to make me really stretch my skills and included a bent lamination and used a hand held router for the first time and cut mortises for the bed hardware.

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I started a build thread for the bed several months ago and I'll add to it once I get the posts attached to the head and foot boards.

One of the benefits of this method is that the thickest cut I had to make was 2". I thought I was going to cut through the full 3" of material at some point so I made the sled out of 1/4" mdf so my saw would have the capacity to cut through the entire thickness. In hindsight, I would have made the sled much thicker since I fought with the sled flexing under the force of the toggle clamps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks cabinetman, I always enjoy reading your posts. I thought about this method for about 4 months and after scouring the net and YouTube couldn't find a simple way if doing these cuts.

In fact, it was just enough of a project to make me pull the trigger on a new saw. I knew I couldn't have cut 12/4 maple on the old pos contractor saw that had been sitting in my garage for 15 years. Even with a new 1.75hp hybrid saw and WW2 blade, I still tripped the thermal switch a couple times.
 
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