Shaft Tapering

From Square...


...To Round

When a relatively straight tapered square is deemed ready, the first stage of round tapering begins. This can be done with a hand plane, electric plane, electric saw, router, lathe etc., and there is nothing to say one way is better than another.

The critical point is that it must be done in stages, with attention paid to removing any further bends that occur during this process.

Here, an electric plane will be used for the first heavy cuts to take the corners off, followed by reduced cuts whilst turning the shaft by hand, to create a reasonably round shaft.


Important - The shaft is not taken down it's final sizes just yet as there are still some potential bending issues to deal with. It will be taken down to around 2-3mm above it's final size and left to settle for more time.

Below are two videos to demonstrate this inital tapering process clearly.

Note - The planer is noisy, you may wish to turn the sound down a little during planing sections.

Cue Shaft Preparation Video #1

Deciding where to make the tapered cuts on a square blank to get the best grain pattern.

Cue Shaft Preparation Video #2

Turning a tapered square shaft into an over-sized round taper using only hand and eye skills with an electric planer.

The final stages of tapering are done mostly with a hand plane, using the bed of the plane to guide and help take off any remaining high points or bends.

Shafts are carefully tapered in stages and left each time so that the natural stresses in the wood can settle, thus avoiding unnecessary warping.


After this stage it is checked for the right 'feel' and this is when you realise that lovely looking shaft you've been working on simply hasn't got what it takes. Gah!...

So, more wasted wood and more wasted time. But eventually, with a bit of luck, you end up with shafts that have the right combination of looks and feel.

Are you starting to appreciate the amount of time, waste, and money that goes into just getting a good shaft ready?

Let alone the fact we haven't even properly started on actually making a cue yet...