INSIDE: Take a look at this basic forging technique, How to draw a Taper. You will find three different types and methods used by blacksmiths in forging a taper. One can lead to another as you learn to forge a short taper, a medium taper, and a long taper.
How to Draw a Taper
I remember the first day I began forging. I was shown how to draw a taper. Little did I realize at the time, at what an essential technique this was to the blacksmith. Almost every item that I try to forge, there is some part of isolating the mass, and tapering or drawing down to a different cross section. So lets first start by defining what a taper is. A taper starts with a bar of larger cross section and gradually changes to a smaller cross section. I like to classify the forging of tapers in to three categories. Now it may seem obvious, but I call them “short tapers”, “medium tapers”, and “long tapers”. As I describe these three techniques, I will discuss using the far edge of the anvil, the face of the anvil, and the round and flat dies of my rounding hammer.
Forging a Short Taper
Forging the short taper is the easiest of the three categories, but it is also foundational as it is the beginning step for the other two categories. Now I will preface the that the tapers we are going to discuss in this article take place on the end of a bar. To forge the short taper, hold the end of a bar at the far edge of the anvil at roughly a 30 degree angle. Then I come down with the round die of my hammer held also at a 30 to 45 degree angle. I then continue in this manner working all 4 sides, pushing a point out to the edge of the anvil. Just remember to keep your bar at the edge of the anvil so that your hammer will hit the bar first and not the anvil first.
Forging a Medium Taper
I always start a medium taper the same way that I start a small taper. This helps me to define the point of the taper first. I then tilt the bar back half the the angle of the taper created, and using the round die of my hammer I squash the base of the small taper. If I work this from all four sides, I essentially double the length of the small taper. The tapered sides may be cleaned up and planished with the flat die of the hammer.
Forging a Long Taper
Now when starting to forge a long taper, I generally will start a short taper on the end to define my point then back up on the bar to where I want the base of the taper to begin. I use the a radius edge of the anvil and half faced blows with the round die of my hammer. Rotate the bar 90 degrees after each blow, so that you can strike a high point each time. I have been practicing this method for sometime, although I do not feel like I have perfected it yet, I do find the results rewarding in the sense of moving material in the direction that I want relatively quickly. There may need to be a second pass with the flat die to clean up the hammer marks.