The Most Aggressive Taper

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tostadas

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Hey guys. I'm looking for some really serious spine taper. What knives do you own with the most aggressive tapering from handle to tip? Feel free to post any photos or measurements.
 

timebard

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My Dan Prendergast integral is pretty damn dramatic. 7mm+ over the heel down to ~0.5mm 1cm from the tip... on a 185mm blade length!

PXL_20220210_010615273 - Copy.jpg
 
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Looking forward to the results here. Similarly I've been thinking of posting a thread about "extreme" knives. The thickest, thinnest, most dramatic distal taper, tallest, longest, heaviest, lightest, etc. Not looking for top performers necessarily, but just the knives that live at the limits.
 

M1k3

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Looking forward to the results here. Similarly I've been thinking of posting a thread about "extreme" knives. The thickest, thinnest, most dramatic distal taper, tallest, longest, heaviest, lightest, etc. Not looking for top performers necessarily, but just the knives that live at the limits.
Waiting for a @Kippington WH to show up myself.
 

Jovidah

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Define most aggressive? A fatter neck might make it look more impressive on paper, but doesn't necessarily change cutting performance all that much. Just like thinness 1 cm is rather uninformative since any knife that is ground thin behind the edge will look good in that aspect - even if it barely has any actual distal taper.

To compare for example, if you just measure heel, mid, 1 cm from tip, my Yoshi SKD probably comes out looking better than my Masamoto KS, yet its actually the Masamoto that has the better taper. Its tip starts thinning out far earlier than on the Yoshikane, and it's noticable in cutting.
When it comes to 'starts out chunky yet thins out fairly evenly', my Mazaki is a bit like a thicker variant of the Masamoto, but it never gets as thin at the tip.
 

Jason183

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Masamoto KS used to impressed me until I saw this picture two years ago in BST, it was 222 mm Kamon, I told myself I had to try one of these one day.
B864FA5F-EEE2-4E9A-87C7-15532B25FBA9.jpeg

 

HansCaravan

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Top two are Massdrop Kamon and ZKramer Carbon 10"

Can't speak to Kamon knives since they are too rich for me but I'll second the Kramer 10" carbon as having an aggressive distal taper.
 
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Third that the Z Kramers have a really solid linear taper - definitely the best of anything mass produced I've seen. Not sure they have enough meat at the handle to take home top honors though. I've heard that Kramers actual knives have even more taper I knew a few owners of those gems are around these parts and can hopefully chime in.
 

timebard

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Define most aggressive? A fatter neck might make it look more impressive on paper, but doesn't necessarily change cutting performance all that much. Just like thinness 1 cm is rather uninformative since any knife that is ground thin behind the edge will look good in that aspect - even if it barely has any actual distal taper.

To compare for example, if you just measure heel, mid, 1 cm from tip, my Yoshi SKD probably comes out looking better than my Masamoto KS, yet its actually the Masamoto that has the better taper. Its tip starts thinning out far earlier than on the Yoshikane, and it's noticable in cutting.
When it comes to 'starts out chunky yet thins out fairly evenly', my Mazaki is a bit like a thicker variant of the Masamoto, but it never gets as thin at the tip.

It's a good point that really intense taper doesn't equal great performance. Mazaki is, in my experience, a good example--serious taper, nice combination of hefty towards the heel and thin at the tip, but the tip is good, not amazing.

I like a thicker spine towards the heel, but IMO you start getting diminishing returns in terms of comfort and cutting performance after about 4mm. The DP I posted above has a unique feel in hand, but I don't think it performs better for having an uber wide spine for the first inch... it is fun though!
 

McMan

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I agree with Prendergast--he's really got his taper dialed in (helps with balance, but also add functionality--some of his knives remind me of the very old nogent Sabatiers, in a good way)--and also Kippington--very refined. Shig and Hinoura taper a good bit (but much of that is buried in the handle and behind the choil :)).
 

M1k3

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Iwanttogotothere.gif

No, seriously, when did this pop up?
It was a custom order. Not mine either. Not sure who's it was.. was just hoping to see if it would show up.
 

Kippington

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I like a thicker spine towards the heel, but IMO you start getting diminishing returns in terms of comfort and cutting performance after about 4mm.
I totally agree with this.

As @M1k3 mentioned, I went as far as 6mm on one knife, and for me it totally wasn't worth the increased effort. Felt a tad chunky, I thought.

To add to this, there's also preference of spine thickness towards the tip. I asked around a couple of years ago and discovered that some people hate too much flex there (it's not a problem for others).
A thin tip also tends to throw the balance back towards the handle, especially when people want stabilised woods and metal spacers.
Knowing this, suddenly an extreme taper doesn't sound so good... but it really is preference.

This is the last knife I made, which is what I'm roughly shooting for most of the time: 4.5mm at the handle with enough thickness at the tip for an S-grind (you can see a little flair-out 5mm from the tip).

R4eJgae.png
 
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timebard

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A thin tip also tends to throw the balance back towards the handle, especially when people want stabilised woods and metal spacers.
Knowing this, suddenly an extreme taper doesn't sound so good... but it really is preference.

I've wondered for a while if it's possible to get the best of both worlds with an aggressively non-linear taper. Say, 4.5mm out of handle - 3mm down most of the length of the spine, and then in the last ~5cm dramatically taper down to a lasery tip. By holding the thicker spine out until you reach the part of the tip that actually gets used for fine work it could keep the balance forward and the knife more rigid overall.

I imagine this would introduce a region where the upper part of the grind changes quickly which might have odd results for cutting performance and be challenging to craft... but the luxury of being a moron shouting on the internet is that I don't need to figure those details out!
 
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yeah there are 4 ways I found to taper: step, linear, convex, concave

step taper is like how integral handles are like, from bolster to blade. The advantage is when you want separate grinds.

linear taper is straight down like with the zkramer. The advantage is it feels the most natural to me. The cheapest version of this is no taper . . . . It's linear but uh, doesnt taper. There's reverse taper too for choppers

concave taper you see at the handle/tang junction on some sanjo style knives, like with hinoura, shigefusa, or even Jiro's blades. The advantage is when you want to have fast change like a step taper, but want to make it continuous.

convex taper you see a bit with honyaki near the tip. The grind doesn't taper as much so that the tip isn't as fragile. The advantage is if you want the knife to feel more solid and sword like

They each have advantages and can be used on all or some parts of the blade. And this is just the spine. . . for the grind it's possible to do this as well but it's a little harder to visualize. Similar effects. . . convex grind taper at the heel can be done, too. It can be such that the heel grind isn't fatter than the part immediately in front of it.

A concave grind taper . . .I'm not sure that's very helpful . . . .where the grind gets drastically thinner toward the tip. I think a linear or convex grind taper are what are used.
 
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Jovidah

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I think no matter what you do, every choice has tradeoffs, and different people will prefer different choices. If you keep the spine thicker for longer the blade is stiffer, but the tip will also have more resistance. And every change you make to thickness anywhere on the blade will offset balance in one way or another - although theoretically you could counteract this by also tapering the tang.
But for every blade that actually has a nice thin tip, you'll find people both applauding it for its well-tapered tip and people complaining about it being feeling flexy or being fragile. :D
 

cooktocut

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This is a great example of non-linear taper. Sure it's thick out of the handle, but it thins down fairly quick and after that it looks like there is next to nothing in regards to taper until the tip.
Yeah, I agree. Seems a lot of japanese makers are fond of keeping a sturdy tip
 

Corradobrit1

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Kato's are another pretty good example of an aggressive taper. The original 210 WH on the left is more progressive than the STD on the right. The WH is 6.5mm thick out of the handle but rapidly transitions to a more gradual and continuous taper ending with a very fine tip.
G8OdtBQ.jpg
 
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