View Full Version : Tapered Tang question

05-12-2010, 01:47 PM
Ok Dogs, I think I got a little ahead of myself huh1! This is my first tapered tang and I just realized I may have some issues drilling the holes through the scales! How do you drill your scales when you have a tapered tang and keep everything lined up and straight? Any input would be appreciated! 2thumbsThanks, jerry

05-12-2010, 02:32 PM
Hi Jag,
Yeh I had the same problem on my first tapered tang 30 years ago and I called a friend and here was the solution.
#1 clamp your handle material to the tang.
#2 loosly place handle material with knife clamped to it in your drill press vise
#3this is the important part,Place a Bubble level on the tang and adjust the handle material until you are level and the drill away.Turn over and do the same to the other handle.
I should have mentioned that your drill press shoul be level before you try this
I hope this helps. I have been doing this for over 30 years and it works for me

John Barker
05-12-2010, 02:41 PM
Great post Dave. That should work. Now you know. You just have to change the routine a little. I profile, drill, taper, and grind. Before that it was profile, grind, drill.

James Terrio
05-12-2010, 02:48 PM
I agree with BearPaw. I try to keep my drill-press level, my tangs flat, and drill the tang before tapering it. Then I use a level and vise to drill the scales. Seems to be working pretty good so far.

Loveless describes a different approach using shims in his book "How to Make Knives", but I think the level is easier.

05-12-2010, 03:49 PM
I should have added if you don't have clamps that will work you can use double sided carpet tape ot stick the tang to the handle material. If you do this you should hav some try pins and put a pin in each hole after you drill it.
This helps to keep the handle from wabbeling around on the tape.

05-12-2010, 07:15 PM
Yes, I profiled, ground, drilled and tapered.
Dave, I will give this a try. A friend of mine told me about a jig that was similar to a knife vise, you put the blade in the vise (which held it horizontally) and then it had a bolt that pushed the scale up from the bottom against the tang and then you drill. He said it worked great. I will give this a shot Dave. Thanks guys!

Justin King
05-12-2010, 08:24 PM
I just ground/sanded a hardwood block with the approximate taper to put under the tang. It is generally easier to drill before tapering if you are grinding but if you are forging this does not work so well. With the tapered wooden block you are covered either way.

Brett Schaller
05-12-2010, 10:19 PM
I just ground/sanded a hardwood block with the approximate taper to put under the tang.

Essentially the same method here, though I use a v-block with one leg ground shorter than the other rather than a wood block.

05-12-2010, 10:46 PM
I remember seeing where someone had clamped the blade by the ricasso with a pair of 1-2-3 blocks (or something similar), put one of the blocks in the drill press vise, and then clamped the scale to the tang. He may have had a support under the scale before drilling, but I can't recall.

H.L. Holbrook
05-13-2010, 06:21 PM
:)I just drill all my holes in the blade before I taper the tang. Then just clamp your scales to the tang after tapering. I use a drill press vise that has had the top surface ground to drill the holes. Been doing it that way for years and never had a problem with fit up.

05-23-2010, 07:28 PM
Dave, I took your advice and it worked out well!! Thanks!!2thumbs