Pete, The plywood method is the way I have been doing them. It is quick and safer (I feel) than the freehand method which I have also done. I use 1/4" luan (sp.?) plywood because it is cheap. If I am ripping 1x stock, then I use 1/2" drywall scews and make sure I screw to the backside so there are no holes to fill. I have ripped tapers up to 8 feet.