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Alden Sherrodd

Knifemaker's post anvil ?

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A question to those that use and or promote the use of a vertical post type anvil. What size stock is appropriate? The steel yard where I shop has some steel that has been forged down into bars that are 4 inches square and vary in length up to about 3 feet. Would the 4x4 face be adequate or should I wait for something more like 5x5? This steel is priced at 30 cents per pound, and the weight is about 55 lbs. per foot.

Watching Don Fogg forge on a blacksmith anvil while discussing the benefits of post type has me itching to build one.

As a side note. I was impressed with Don's forging technique. I have never seen anyone forge like that. He slowly tap, tap, tapped, and pretty soon the knife was done, and very close to the final shape. Every one else I've watched beats the steel forcefully, trying to move it as much as possible with each heat. Some noting that they can forge out in few heats. When they are done they have a roughed out billet to grind a knife from. Don's finesse is a good model to work towards!

 

Thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions.

Alden

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That sounds like it should make a really great anvil to me, especially if it's out of a suitable steel like 4140 or something.

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Five or six inches square might be better but at $16.50 a foot I think I could easily live with a slightly smaller face on my post anvil for a while. I'd get the three footer for the added mass. Do you know what kind of steel it is?

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Just a note if you go ahead with this. You can heat treat the face of this real easy. Just use a rosebud torch and get a nice even heat on the face only about a 1/4 inch deep, pull the torch away and let the mass of the bar suck the heat out. Remember: it's not what you quench it in that counts, it's cooling rate that counts. You could encourage it along with an air blast. After it's cold you can use the torch, like maybe 2 inches down to run some color (draw). This works well with steels like 4140.

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Heck, at that price why not buy 4 one foot sections, band or weld the seams together, and surface grind 'em. 8"x8" and 220 lbs for $66.

Edited by Tate Roth

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The yard doesn't know what the steel is. In the sale area the steel isn't marked, unless a tag has been left on it. It appears to have been drawn down on a power hammer, with a "washboard" appearance to the sides. They seldom have square stock this large.

Thanks

Alden

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Well, that be good 'ol "mystery steel" alright. Having been forged down it's likely to be something better than mild.

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Bottom line, you can use anything. Most of the Kukri makers in commercial forges only use a sledge hammer head. 4 inch square stock will for sure work and should do a good job for you for a long time, later if you find bigger you will have the choice to pass on it unless your like me, addicted to steel, cant pass up a junkyard.

 

 

If you have a dirt floor or can punch a hole in a concrete one just get a longer piece and pour a step footing in the hole that will give you the correct height for hammering. Then set the steel on the step, back fill and tamp it in, you can use wooden wedges too. If you end up with a short or shorter piece you can drill and chisel out a hole in a stump and wedge it in.

 

 

If you can get the steel faced on a machine you will be ahead of the game. Having a flat face is the most important thing as far as I'm concerned. You can mess around with heat treating but it would be much better if you can figure out what the steel is, may try to spark test it somewhere with a hand held angle grinder. Just get some known steel and and hit one then hit the other and see what you come up with. Even if you do not heat treat it will work harden over time.

 

 

If you can, get a copy of Chucks Sea Robin Anvil DVD, It will help with technical questions and give you a much better idea of what is going on with big post anvils. I had some good ideas before I watched his DVD but it made some things I had questions about very clear. Be sure to post pictures of whatever you come up with.

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Bryan, is chucks video on anvilmaking available on DVD? if so where do you get it?

 

Cheers.

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Bryan, is chucks video on anvilmaking available on DVD? if so where do you get it?

 

Cheers.

 

 

 

Here is a review of the DVD and information on how to contact Chuck to get a copy.

 

 

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=13899

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