Thinning and Drawing Down to Forge a Taper

"... Verdigris; where engineering becomes art ..."

Stainless steel railing with a tapered finial Tapered tendril from a sculptural pair of gates Forged and tapered candlesticks

The term "drawing down" is used by a blacksmith to mean thinning a piece of metal by hammering it; a technique often used to forge a taper. Gradual and elegant tapers give life to bespoke metalwork and help distinguish it from mass produced wares. They are particularly effective when used as a finial detail. Tapers are forged by repeatedly hammering along, and working towards the tip of a bar; its thickness being slowly reduced as it is worked. A selection of previous commissions featuring this process is discussed below.

candlesticks forged from angle iron

These candlesticks were forged from angle iron, which was flattened at one end to make a stable base, and then gradually tapered to a sharp tip.

forged steel leaf on the end of a long taper

This gate post was forged to taper along its full length giving it a deceptively delicate appearance but maintaining strength where needed.

forged steel leaf on the end of a long taper

This gate incorporates plenty of organic detail within its design. Tapers provide a graceful transition from the large diameter structural elements to the more delicate leaves.

organic gates with long elegant tapers

This gate was made using as few straight lines as possible. Since the flowing curves are part of the gate's structure, they need to be relatively thick at their base. This thickness is offset by tapering the steel as it sweeps round; reducing its visual weight.

long taper used as a structural gate top

As in the above, a long gradual taper helps reduce the visual weight of the upper curve of this gate; an important structural element.

forged art nouveau detailng

This leaf detail is part of a contemporary Art Nouveau gate. Its curved and tapered stem is very characteristic of work of this period.

blacksmiths wrought iron taper

This is the classic blacksmith's scroll. It gradually tapers down towards the tip, whilst exponentially opening as it unwinds. Mass produced work simply doesn't possess the same elegance.

Art Nouveau gate detailing

Both long and short tapers are used as finials within this contemporary Art Nouveau gate.