Holes on a handle with tapered shank

3 min


tapered shank

3 ways to drill holes on a handle with tapered shank.

Tapering or tapered tang is a very elegant way to balance the knife and to give it a leaner and more well-groomed aesthetic while maintaining the robustness of the knife given the scalability of its section.

Tapering of the knife shank (tapered shanks) or in English taper tangs.

Tapered shanks are great for reducing weight in the back (a struggle with virtually all full-shank knives) and making a knife with a balance that makes it a little more dynamic.

Tapering the shank gives the knife a balance that cannot be achieved in any other way.

Reducing the shank eliminates unnecessary weight that you don’t need.

It is also considered by some to be the sign of an experienced knife maker.

On an aesthetic level I also think that the tapering adds another dimension to the knife that embellishes the blade, creating not only a lightness of weight but also aesthetics.

An example on all Bob Loveless knives such as the classic Drop Point has a tapered handle.

Compared to knife lightening/balancing holes it is a more professional way used by more experienced knife makers.

Tapering consists of decreasing the section of the blade handle gradually.

Surely it is not to be done on any type of knife especially in military knives or survival/bushcraft where the bottom of the knife is and can be used percussively as glass bangs or other.

tapered shank

But once the handle is tapered at this point arises “the problem” because the handles are normal on the unorthodox fastening plane between them.


There are 3 methods:

Method A:

With this method solve the “problem” in a simplified way by practicing the holes as if the cod were straight and taking advantage of the poor stiffness of the pin.

But as you can see from the diagram, the holes don’t line up and you’ll need to use a hammer to place the pins that will need to be blunted in advance to make it easier to mount.

Method B:

This method uses a drill bit with the diameter of the set of pins you want to use to fix the handle to the plate.

But as you can see, this causes the pin holes to have a slight difference in position on the handle grip.

It depends on whether this for aesthetic reasons is a problem but it is not very nice to see.

Method C:

With this method you use a drill bit with half the diameter of the pin you want to use to fix the handle plate.

Then, when drilling the other plate of the handle, it is pierced again with a point with half the diameter of the pin that you have to plant.

Then you run the final hole with the pin diameter is now the drill proceeds straight.

(This method is worth trying, I was told but I haven’t tested it yet)

codolo rastremato


Drilling with the template

A template is used that keeps the knife locked by the blade plate and therefore allows the position of the blade to be perpendicular to the drill bit and to make a hole in the line independently of the position of the two plates that must be blocked on the taper.

Ps. A tip but it is an important thing, to drill with the cantilevered handle even if the knife is stuck in the template is not ideal even if flat holes, then created under a support to avoid useless tensions of the blade during processing. Make the holes slowly.

codolo rastremato


Perform the holes slowly. The drilling and the positioning of the handle is a delicate phase in order to be able to have solid and clean couplings without there being lines of escape too wide that ruin the aesthetics of the knife.

Unfortunately at this stage it is easy to make mistakes and therefore it is better to do it very calmly and taking the time to do all the checks before carrying out the punctures.

In all the phases but in particular in some of the construction of a knife it is better to proceed with attention and concentration.

Clearly the tapering (tampered tang) carries with it implicit complications in the processes which, however, are simplified with practice.

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Andrea F

Maker and Enthusiast of Knifemaking. Other: Engineer / Professional Blogger / Bass Player / Instructor of Boxing / Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Grappling / CSW / MMA / Self Defence / FMA / Dirty Boxing / Silat / Jeet Kune Do & Kali / Fencing Knife / Stick Fighting / Weapons / Firearms. Street Fight Mentality & Fight Sport! State Of Love And Trust!


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