Rob Brown Custom Knives
Tapering Tangs
Rob discusses his technique.
Fitting Guards
Rob reveals the secret to a clean fit.
Fitting Bolsters
Rob discusses the method used for his curved bolster design.
Mirror Finishing
Rob has become known for his mirror polish - here's how it is done.
Tapering Tangs by Rob Brown
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Image 6
This grind is now run straight down the tang (note the straight center line in the sketch). You can now hold a rule along the centre line and check for tell-tale light to see if your grind is deep enough. The bottom edge of the tang is normally still quite wide - a little can be ground off each side as shown.
Image 7
Over to the vertical platen or whatever platen is available. Start your grind at the end of the tang; note the position of the tang on the platen and the champagne cork applying pressure on the centre line.

Image 8
Your first flattening grind should start like this, the top and bottom clear ground edges should be opposite each other or parallel to the back of the guard. If not, reposition the cork position to apply pressure over the lowest edge, keep checking; don't let your grind get too high before you have corrected this.

Image 9
Lower the tang on the platen and allow your grind to work its way up to just below the back of the guard.

Note: You will notice that the guard on this knife is narrow at the top and wider at the bottom (seemed like a good idea at the time) as opposed to being parallel. As a result the scribed line at the back of the guard angles slightly across the tang. As shown you will find it easier to grind to this line if it is held horizontal i.e. at a right angle to the edge of the platen. You obviously have the option at this stage of finishing the taper on the platen - provided you are satisfied it is truly flat. In my shop however, although hardened, the platen still takes quite a beating and never gives me the "flatness" I am after. I therefore prefer to go one extra step.

Image 10
Final flattening should be done working across the top of a 300mm diameter 50 grit disc spinning clockwise at ±950 r.p.m. as shown. Again start from the back, keep checking, and if necessary make corrections by repositioning your cork and let your grind work up slowly towards the back of the guard. Keep your cork positioned in the lower third of the tang.
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