Tapering a tang...

Bailey Boat

Well-Known Member
How do I get started in doing this??? My common sense tells me that the taper must travel the entire distance that my scales would cover or else they'll rock front to rear. But then how do I get a clean "cut off" at the ricasso??? Most of the blades I work with are 1/8" and rarely over 6" in total length.
Any pointers from the experienced??
You are correct that the taper needs to terminate at the ricasso at the front of the scales or bolsters. The taper doesn't create as big of transition as you might think.
Here is how I have tapered the 15 or so I have done. I start by scribing a center line around the tang, this will help guide your grind just as you scribe a line to grind your bevels. I then hollow grind the tang. This helps control the grind as you are only grinding the edges around the profile of the tang. I tape up the blade and ricasso to help my inexperience keep from messing up the finish. Then finally using a magnet to hold the blade, I grind the tang lengthwise on the platen until I have the taper I desire on both sides. You can now touch up the ricasso if you need to.
One thing I found to help provide a better fit at the transition, is after establishing where the scales will stop, I hollow grind both the tang and the scales as close to the front of the scales as I'm comfortable.

Good luck!
You could also grind your tapered tang first, that's what I do. I chase my tapers through the ricasso where my stamp goes and just past where my plunge lines will be. Then the transition is ground away when I grind my bevels and it can't be seen or felt, because it basically no longer exists.