It has been quite a while since I fired up the forge, so I thought I would forge a couple of tapers (and make some hooks with them) by way of getting the swing of it again.
It came as a bit of a shock to realise quite how out of practice I was!
I started out with 6mm round bar.
Using the far edge of the anvil I forged a point rotating the stock 90 degrees each blow, hammering half on and half off.
I then started to slowly feed the stock, rotating it 90 degrees each blow and soon started to form a really rough taper. I don’t think I was lifting it enough as it soon turned into square section not tapered very much at all.
I then formed a scroll on the tip and started to round the hook out.
I spread the round bar using the cross peen and cleaned up as many marks as I could on the horn.
Not very happy with it, the taper is rough – at least it is fairly square, but there are too many hammer marks for me to be satisfied. It also took a huge number of heats to get it anything like I wanted, and even then it doesn’t really taper.
The final hook is the further one in the picture.
I then remembered a technique of forging a reverse taper almost to a point and then using the stock to twist in a really fine scroll point.
The reverse taper was a little easier than the forward taper, but I didn’t manage to get it to the clean single wisp of material connecting it. So the scroll looks rather clunky. I formed the curve of the hook over the horn and while the curve is smooth, I don’t find it very pleasing. It has far too much of a belly. However, it is musical and plays a lovely note when pinged.
The important thing was to get back out to the barn and light the forge. I’ll only improve with practice!