During forging, a blacksmith will hit the anvil directly with his hammer several times. Most blacksmiths do this, even though, there are a few who cannot understand why it is done. Many have various reasons for doing it. According to Frank Turley (a famous blacksmith), there are apparently three reasons: rest, rhythm and rumination; which many blacksmiths agree with, although others claim it is pointless.
1. Rest: Most blacksmiths say that they do this to rest their arm while they examine the results of what they are doing. Apparently, it is more convenient for them to rest their hammer arm on the anvil, because it is a short distance to bring the hammer back up to the striking position.
2. Rhythm: Some say they do it to keep the rhythm while they examine what they are working on. They claim it continues their hammering rhythm, so they do not lose rhythm, when the pause to examine their projects. This way they do not have to stop completely, then try to get back to the rhythm.
3. Rumination: Some do this while they think about their next move. It’s a way of buying time, keeping rhythm and considering what next step to take.
These three may be the most common reasons but certainly not the only reasons. Some say they do it to adjust their grips. Some do not even know why they do it, and may have learnt it from their mentors. Another possible reason, is for the rebound. The rebound helps the next strike, so they tap, so the hammer bounces and makes the next strike easier.