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I've read references to a morse taper on WW.

What is a morse taper? How does it work?

Are there are other similar competing attachment types that a woodworker should know about?

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A morse taper is actually a metal/machining term rather than a woodworking term per se. It refers to a specific way of attaching (typically) a machine's working head to its motorized shaft, that being to have a precisely tapered hole cut into the end of the shaft and a piece of shaft on the head which is ground to a matching taper to exactly fit that hole. The match is accurate enough that, after being tapped togetger, the two pieces grip each other strongly and transfer the required torque with essentially no slipping. It takes a significant amount of force to break the friction and separate them again, but not so much that you can't do it when needed to change working heads or maintain the machine.

There are several sizes of tnis connection, standardized so if the machine says it accepts a #2 Morse taper anything labelled that way will fit it.

In a woodshop you'll see these, and Jacobs tapers, most often on lathe fittings and in the mounting of a drill-press head.

See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_taper#Morse

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