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I think a more efficient way would be to use a taper jig on your table saw long enough to accomodate it, cutting a hexagon - 8 sides, then introduce the belt sander with 80 grit to it. then 120 grit. Then, a random orbital snader with one of those new contour pads that conforms to round surfaces like this.

There are higher tech ways to do it, like fin someone who has a lathe long enoughto handle it, but this way I am suggesting would only take a few hours max and you'd be done with it before you coukd deliver it somewhere else IMHO. Cutting the taper on the table saw gets you 85% there.

Edit: Got to going over that in my head a little more you are going to have to be very judicious with that belt sander with 80 grit. You might try the 120 first and not even need the 80. Plus, those new zirconia alumina sanding discs coupled with the countored pad might be enough to take it down all by itself. ???
 

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George I am liking your idea much better than my own. I spent 30 minutes trying to draw mine last night and as I did I was able to go over it in my head step-by-step and I realized I didn't like it.
I'm not sure how clearly you have your own idea worked out but it sounds more practical.
A tapered jig is easy to build and use but not for a piece 12 feet long.
Try the sled. It sounds doable.
I was also toying with the idea of cutting it down with a router and straight bit using a straight edge on top as a guide which you clamp down where you want. The bit would only have to have a depth to half of the thickness.
 
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