Timothy Miller

A handy tool for smoothing tapers under the power hammer

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I did not come up with this idea it has been floating around for years as far as I know. I made this tool because I forge a lot of tapers that later get ground and polished so the smoother they come off the hammer the less work for me. it consists of a hot rolled steel plate the same size as the die with a piece of 1" hot rolled round welded to the bottom as a pivot. The pivot contained in a frame that slips over the bottom die. It pivots to the angle of the taper and produces a smooth finish. I used hot rolled because I don't want it to damage my dies. I have to rebuild it every few years but it is a very useful tool. Shown is a taper drawn out from 1 1/2" square steel 24" long down to 3/4".

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Ah yes, The pivital round back flatter- Nice!
Tuck that right here in my handy hammer file....

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I have commented that the one major disadvantage to a power hammer is that you cannot angle it like you can a hand hammer. This takes out a mighty much lot of that disadvantage. Thank you, sir!

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Thanks Tim, Having the same hammer as you shows me what is possible in terms of tooling,etc.Do you use mostly combo dies or pure flat? I WILL be making one of these.

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I assume you've drawn out the initial taper using flat dies and then gone over the rough/stepped finish with this tool?

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Cool Tool ! I have a set of dies of a fixed taper. They work fine for that one taper, I use them mainly for sharpening things. However yours are miles ahead because of the flexibility. Thanks for sharing.

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Normally do 30 or more tapers in a run. I use the "drawing dies" that Tom Clark sold with the hammer to draw out the steel. They are about 2" wide with a gentle curve to the face. I measured the curve it works to be about a 3.5" radii. It seems to be about ideal. It is worth my time to change out the dies as the drawing dies seem to be about 30% or 40% faster and leave a better finish on the part. Then put the flat dies in for finishing.

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That just looks like a handy thing to have if you are doign a lot of smooth tapers.

First time I've seen the bottom version of that tool. Most folks I know have a handled top version with the flat face and a rounded back so the top die can always find a place in line to hit it. You can also use it without having to switch in a bottom tool.

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If you search the "BP"s for tapers refined you'll find the original post for this tool from about seven or eight years ago. The one shown in the BP was shown going across the die rather than along the length just to present the principle.

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I smoothed out a taper by hand last weekend becuase I didn't have one of those. I will absolutely be making one soon. Thank you so much for posting that. Spears.

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I knew I seen that tool somewhere before, pictures here from 2004 of the inventor of it, Dick Sargent:

http://www.pet10gill.org/njba/brmeet/tapertool.jpg

http://www.pet10gill.org/njba/brmeet/sargtaper.jpg

And the complete album:

http://www.pet10gill.org/njba/brmeet/br04.htm

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Just another version of a round back, round backs have been in use since Naysmyths time I reckon.

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Like I said It was not original to me but It has saved me a lot of time over the years. I think that people who never saw it before would benefit from being introduced to the idea. I also suspect it is a very old idea as well. The idea came to me from Fletcher at arrowmount metals originally he suggested a round back tool as well mated with a corresponding bottom die. He is sort of the Grant Sarver of the east when it comes to tooling. I also have seen Dicks Sargent's tool and another version at the Memphis metals museum. I claim no ownership over this idea and I give credit where credit is due.

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I break out in hives when folks try to claim *first* on a lot of smithing stuff as there generally is a lot of re-invention of the wheel in this craft; especially by people not steeped in the historical aspects of it...(I've had an amusing time telling some "traditionalists" that the first powerhammer I've documented was in use before the year 1000...).

What I tell folks is to work on being *best* not first.

It sure helps the craft as a whole to have people showing off their version of various tooling with any improvements they have thought of even if someone else somewhere somewhen has done it before.

I enjoyed reading "Practical Blacksmithing" a series of articles from a smithing Journal (magazine) from the late 19th century which is full of "this is how I do it or what tool I made to do the task mention in a previous issue that I think is *better*!"

It is a good idea however to mention who you got the idea from; but not necessarily as the *inventor*---"I got this idea from a frazzlewhopper that I saw in Dismas of the stone cold forge's shop that he had made to do the same task.

When I first got into smithing I "invented" a lot of stuff that turned out to have been known and common 200 years or more previously. It's quite possible for a good idea to be thought of independently by a lot of folk!---though I still wonder about that foreigner in Kelly's shop... (see the discussion on the Kelly/Bessemer process...)

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I built one of these today and it's the greatest thing since single malt......Forged a real sloppy rough in taper and it looked like a mandrel in two heats......I built mine a bit different but the results are the same......Thank you Southshoresnith for posting this timesaver..... B)

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I built one of these today and it's the greatest thing since single malt......Forged a real sloppy rough in taper and it looked like a mandrel in two heats......I built mine a bit different but the results are the same......Thank you Southshoresnith for posting this timesaver..... B)

Not quite as quick to change out as dropping a jig onto a flat die, but having it saddled in a die it should take a lot more abuse and last much longer. Great idea, I'll have to try it.

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Your welcome, this idea is too useful to not be shared its sad that the original blueprint by Dick Sargent aka doc is nowhere to be found.

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For what it is worth, I put together a similar tool a while ago based on posts found around IFI, etc. Mine has 1/2 a tilting table with the other half a removable die. I put in a fuller so that I can chunk it out and then taper without fooling around with the tooling.
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When the fuller is off you can remove the tilting table to replace it with other tilting shapes...I was thinking about having a tilting 117deg block for doing tubing, although I don't know if this would be worthwhile or not.

I tried to make it as short as possible to retain the daylight on the hammer, as a result the axle might might not be a stout as we might like. But it works well thus far.

don

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For what it is worth, I put together a similar tool a while ago based on posts found around IFI, etc. Mine has 1/2 a tilting table with the other half a removable die. I put in a fuller so that I can chunk it out and then taper without fooling around with the tooling.
post-3041-0-51209100-1319244231_thumb.jp
When the fuller is off you can remove the tilting table to replace it with other tilting shapes...I was thinking about having a tilting 117deg block for doing tubing, although I don't know if this would be worthwhile or not.

I tried to make it as short as possible to retain the daylight on the hammer, as a result the axle might might not be a stout as we might like. But it works well thus far.

don

Looks good. I don't understand "117º block" though.

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