Tapering tangs without a surface grinder..???

Jan 27, 2000
Howdy There....!
Just started to try to taper tangs on some of my blades and I have a platen not a surface grinder. My question is how do you get an even line across the blade as to get a flat surface area for bolsters? Does this make sense to anyone...? Help....????

Thomas Clegg
I'm not real sure what you're asking Thomas, but what I do is this:

I first put layout fluid on the tang's profile, and then mark center lines just as I do before I grind the blade.

Then I hollow grind the meat out of the tang, trying to get close to my desired thickness.

Then I set up the grinder with the vertical platen (hardened D2). I use one of those blade grinding magnets to hold the tang with one hand, and hold onto the tip of the blade with the other hand.

With the tip up, I flatten out the tang. I hold the blade and ricasso area above the belt and only let the tang area touch the belt. These magnets really help me out in applying even pressure. Once I get it really close, I spray it with blue layout die again.

After it dries on, I hit it against the platen again really lightly. If you have any high or low spots they will show...and you just have to keep at it that way.

I used to bring the taper up to where the bottom of the bolster would start. That means you have to have a different angle on your scales to match up with your bolsters (dovetailed or not).

Also, I do a lot of bolsters with radius grinds in them and such which causes all kinds of headaches with the taper below the bolster...so to alleviate all of this I started tapering the tang right up to where the top of the bolster will be.

This allows the bolsters and scales to all be in the same linear plane.

Hope I made sense, and if I didn't even come close to answering your question I'll try again

Good luck,
Howdy There Nickwheeler...!
I understand everything you have said, except the part about the mag. I have been using a "push stick" and I can't seem to get a even line across my blade I am planning to pick up a mag. at the blade show in Atlanta. I can understand how it would really help keep the blade paralell with the platen. Also how do you drill your holes for the bolster? Before you taper...? Thanks for the help...!


Thomas Clegg
You are right on...it's alot easier to get bolsters and scales to line up when they are on the same plane. That's how I do it....for what it's worth.

Bob Bizzell
Bob, thanks, maybe if another person can agree with me on technique there is a little method to my madness

Well Thomas, that's the first time I made sense to anyone **putting a star on the wall**

I drill all of my holes in full tang knives after I've profiled the blade. I like to use three 3/32" pins in a triangle pattern.

This tapering stuff seems like it would open up a lot of problems, but it isn't too bad at all.

To drill the bolster material itself I do the following:

I clamp the bolster stock to the blade with either vise-grips (needle nose) or KantTwist clamps.

Then use a jig that holds the blade itself (on the flats of the blade) and clamp the jig to the drill press table.

This will put all of your holes back in line with your drill press spindle.

I use a jig like this for drilling the handle scales once everything is fitted together.

I don't have any pictures of the jig I made online, but there is one on the CKD forum in the fit and finish forum (Jens' I believe) on attaching scales that is very similar.

Best of luck,

[This message has been edited by NickWheeler (edited 05-26-2001).]
Possum, I wouldn't worry about buying one of those expensive magnets at the Blade show. Any old magnet will do fine. I use a speaker magnet on my drill press to hold the chuck key and an old horseshoe shaped magnet for grinding.
Cheaply, Lynn
I will take the other road and recommend you DO GET A MAGNET at the blade show. For tapered tangs I don't do too much different except I DRILL THE HOLES BEFORE I TAPER THE TANG. This makes life so much easier. It may be done at a different step but I have found that for me, it works.
I use a 6X48 Wilton grinder for this. Jim Lemcke from TKS sold me this and he still moans and groans about parting with it. I can lean on the belt hard enough and actually move the grinder but the belt never slows! What a machine! (I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rib Lemcke one more time…)

I use a magnet to hold the blank. One word of caution, don’t let your blank get between the tool rest and the platen. Disastrous results are in order. Either remove your rest or adjust it so tightly that this may not happen.

Depending on the blade design and length, I may grind the taper for the tang past the ricasso area if it so warrants. I worry about the blade later. It naturally gets tapered as you grind anyway (or should).

Another use for a magnet is you can clamp it in your vise and use it to hold the blade while you do any hand work. One other use is to easily pick up your filings off the floor. Works better than a broom. You can also use a magnet to prove to yourself that floppy disk aren’t really magnetic!

I bought a magnet from magnets are us
I got a 100 lbs magnet (will hold a 100 LBS)
for 6.99 that is alot cheaper.I hold my blade with it to do my flats,that sucker
is strong,I have not tried a tapered tang yet but I will in time.
I think Craig misread what I wrote, so maybe I everyone else did too.

I said I drill all of my holes after I PROFILE the blade, which is of course before I grind the bevels into it or taper the tang.

Just wanted to clear that up

Magnets are cheap. Both K&G and Sheffields sell them with wooden handles (really really important unless you like pain) for $15-17. Best knifemaking money you will ever spend.

I put the tang/blade transition at the plunge line, so as Nick says the bolster and handle stay on the same plane. I also rock back and forth between tang and blade while on the platen so the transition line is rounded over and invisible.

Works for me.

Jerry Hossom
The Tom & Jerry Show
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Possum:
Howdy There....!
Just started to try to taper tangs on some of my blades and I have a platen not a surface grinder. My question is how do you get an even line across the blade as to get a flat surface area for bolsters? Does this make sense to anyone...? Help....????


hollow grind handle>6x48 to remove the most of the metal> then to a disc hooked to a gear motor ;flat and polished. caLL me if u got a porb w it.
Howdy There...Yall...!
Certainly appreciate all of the info on the tang tapering. Will try use it sucessfully and safely I hope..! Do remmember that I learned very quickly to remove the rest before doing any vertical grinding on my platen. It only take one blade grabbed to get your attention. Thanks again for the help. Hope see and meet most of you at the Atlanta show..!
Later "Possum"

Thomas Clegg