What Is Tapered? What Is Tapered Ground?

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The term tapered means when something goes from a certain thickness at one edge and gradually gets thinner or thicker to the opposite edge.

'Tapered Ground' is the same but is a term used for metalwork; it is a term which often appears for edge tools such as saws, chisels and plane blades.

In tools 'Tapered' usually relates to the thickness of the steel very gradually going from thick to thinner or thinner to thick.

  • Tapered Hand Saws - are thicker at the front (teeth edge) and very slightly gets thinner to the back (top of the blade).

  • Tapered Plane Blades - usually are thicker at the cutting edge end and get thinner to the top end (certainly on old wooden bench plane blades).

  • Tapered Chisels - are usually thick at the handle end and get thinner towards the cutting edge end.

Sometimes the term 'Tapered' with tools / metal can refer to the sides of the blade tapering. This type of tapering is often seen on large wood carving tools (Allongee Pattern). It can also be seen on other types of chisels.

Another traditional tool range that often have a series of tapered sides are old boat builder caulking irons.

Why Are Blades Tapered? Why Are Chisels Tapered?

The reason for the tapering of blades can be different but the main one is to create strength in a certain area, it can also give more access to a workpiece.

For instance, the reason certain chisels have tapered blades where it is thicker near the handle is to create strength at a point that may cause the blade to buckle/bend under great forces:

    - For instance a mortice chisel has a tapered blade to give great strength when levering mortices.

Hand saws which are tapered are tapered to give the blade strength at the front (cutting edge) and to help create a good clear kerf which allows the saw to cut smoothly without binding (getting jammed).


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