The cone would seem to be a fairly boring subject.
What can you say?
They are all round and taper.
Some taper more, some less. Some are big and some are small.
However, the cone as a tool has a few more variations.
Some have steps to help hold the work perpendicular to the long axis, some have grooves to clear tongs, chain links or rings.
Ring mandrels may also be solid or hollow. Hollow cones vary in wall thickness.
Blacksmith's cones may have flange bases and jeweler's mandrels a handle.
Most cones are flat on the end rather than coming to a sharp point which may break off.
Blacksmiths ring mandrels saw their heyday during the same period as other blacksmithing tools.
Blacksmiths floor cones were used for truing rings, adjusting wheel hub bands and other applications.
Smiths and chain makers used cones to true chain load rings.
Jewelers use small finger sized ring mandrels to size rings thus these tools are still common.
These are often calibrated with ring sizes.
Blacksmiths cones are either plain or have a "tong groove".
This groove is used when the ring is held by wrap around ring tongs OR when truing a ring on the end of the chain.
The groove allows clearance for both. Some cones had a flat rather than a groove for the same purpose.
Most cones are hollow except for small anvil cones or jewelers ring mandrels.
The large cone with the eye-bolt in the top of it above is an exception. It is solid and weighs approximately a ton.
The 1" eye bolt is rated just right for this very heavy cone.
Cones vary in overall size and angle of taper.
The average blacksmiths cone is 4 or 5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 m) tall.
However, there are small cones in the 3 foot or less range and those for use in the anvil or vise which are only a foot to 18" (300 to 450 mm).
A few cones had a removable section that fit into a square socket that could also be used in the anvil or vise.
Blacksmiths cones are a relatively rare tool compared to anvils and swage blocks.
A smith could true a ring by eye and on the horn of his anvil so that a cone was not absolutely necessary.
However, chain makers and wheel wrights both of whom dealt with round rings all day would find a cone a necessity.
The Cone and Swage Block project was suggested by Fred Holder of the Blacksmiths Gazette
and with the addition of cones has finally come to fruition.