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Makeshft anvil question


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First of all, hi! I'm new to the forums and new to bladesmithing, but eager to learn.

 

So to the main topic, where I'm from anvils can be quite expensive and most of the time they are second hand from fence making or industrial workshops, which means the user does not give a lot of though to cutting over the face of the anvil.

 

Taking this into account I've decide to purchase a cheap alternative, and now I have in my hands what a solid piece of 1040 steel, with a 10cm radius and about 30cm in height. My main gripe is that being a cylinder, it has a round edge.

 

Will this prove to be a challenge in future work? I just assumed that since working with relatively small thickness, the curvature would be despicable, but no I'm in doubt.

 

I will post some pictures later in the day, when I can find the damn camera cable.

 

Thanks for your time.

Edited by Santiago Perez
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You might have a problem at some time not having a straight edge on it. As far as rounded edges, the first thing that I did with my block of steel was round off the edges some. You really don't want sharp edges on an anvil, that can promote chipping, I guess it depends on how rounded off the edge is. You should have plenty of mass under the work, so even though it's probably a little on the lite side it should steel move metal fairly well. I doubt that it's quenched and tempered but it will work harden over time.

 

Doug

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Thanks for the response.

 

I do not think the steel is hardened, nor will I attemp to harden it myself (I lack the experience and equipment to harden 1040, let alone a piece of steel that weights 60 kilos!).

 

I expressed myself wrong though, the edges have somewhat been rounded by my constant hammering when I bought it because of my excitement :P. I was trying to refer to the fact that is has no straight edge, but I feel reassured that it will not be detrimental to my rookie effort.

 

I will in time buy an anvil (or at least a piece of steel that has a straight edge).

 

Once again, thanks for your time.

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Eh I was gonna say grind some flat edges on it but that's a small diameter.

 

Is it heat treated?

 

I've an idea if it isn't and if you plan to heat treat the face of it yourself....well that was answered while typing.

 

You could try upsetting the end of it, then squaring it up. After that I'd imagine one could use a rosebud on a torch to heat the face up a litte. The mass of the bar would probably then cool it enough to harden some.

 

Or just let it work harden =P

Edited by EdgarFigaro
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If you think it's large enough, you might be able to turn it on its side and cut it lengthwise to give it a nice working surface, but then again, it would be half as heavy...

Whatever the case, best of luck, and welcome to this wonderful world!

 

John

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You could grind one straight edge on it, a couple inches long. That'd probably do. It wouldn't require too much work with an angle grinder, and you wouldn't have to (or want to) flatten the side of the anvil for its entire length -- you'd only need to grind a couple inches down from the face. A longer straight edge would be more convenient, but you don't have a lot of material to play with. Upsetting the face and squaring it by forging would probably work well, too, but it'd be a lot of work and you'd need at least one helper (human or machine). I don't know if you could successfully harden the face, but if it were me I'd probably give it a try. A deep charcoal or coal fire with a good air blast should be able to do it, although I admit that the largest stock I've worked in a coal forge was 2.5" (6.35 cm) in diameter. You wouldn't need to heat the whole piece to austenitic -- just the first few inches back from the face.

 

Definitely don't cut the steel in half lengthwise and lay it down flat. It'd make a miserable anvil that way. The most reasonable way to use that piece of steel as an anvil is upright, just as you're using it now.

 

A piece of steel that size should weigh around 43 pounds (19 kilos), not 60 kilos!

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The 1040 is a shallow hardening steel so the best that you would have is a hard shell around a soft interior. It's somewhat low in carbon but I think that you would still need to draw them temper a bit. The big problem would be in handling that weight of hot steel safely.\

 

Doug

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Make a really solid, heavy base. I think sand mixed with portland cement makes a good base for pouring around a rod like that. Just make sure you can stand over it without leaning too far.

I don't find any need for a straight edge while forging bevels since the steel moves under the hammer, not the other way around. The mass under the hammer is most important.

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You could grind one straight edge on it, a couple inches long. That'd probably do. It wouldn't require too much work with an angle grinder, and you wouldn't have to (or want to) flatten the side of the anvil for its entire length -- you'd only need to grind a couple inches down from the face. A longer straight edge would be more convenient, but you don't have a lot of material to play with. Upsetting the face and squaring it by forging would probably work well, too, but it'd be a lot of work and you'd need at least one helper (human or machine). I don't know if you could successfully harden the face, but if it were me I'd probably give it a try. A deep charcoal or coal fire with a good air blast should be able to do it, although I admit that the largest stock I've worked in a coal forge was 2.5" (6.35 cm) in diameter. You wouldn't need to heat the whole piece to austenitic -- just the first few inches back from the face.

 

Definitely don't cut the steel in half lengthwise and lay it down flat. It'd make a miserable anvil that way. The most reasonable way to use that piece of steel as an anvil is upright, just as you're using it now.

 

A piece of steel that size should weigh around 43 pounds (19 kilos), not 60 kilos!

 

I'm thinking of grinding a straight edge, sort of like the drawing attached. The measurements are given in centimeters, and the drawing shows the upper part of the faced that will be used for working. I don't think I can cut that well with the angle grinder, so I will leave a bit.

 

MvnZJ.png

 

About the weight, the density of 1040 steel is about 0.284 pounds per cubic hinch, which translates roughly to about 7.5 grams per cubic centimeter.

 

The volume of the cylinder is given by V=pir^2h.

 

Having a height of about 28cm (I measured using a stiff ruler in the dark) and a radius of 9.5cm, this totals 8000/8200 cubic centimeters.

 

Using the density given that is about 60kilos, give or take due to my sloppy measurement. I must have expressed myself wrong.

 

Once again, thanks for your time everyone :).

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That ought to work fine. B)

 

On the dimensions, I think the issue was you said it was about a 10cm radius, and many people took "radius" as "diameter," thus the weight estimation difficulties.

 

You won't need a sharp square edge, just a short flat on one side is fine. A truly sharp edge is not ideal for forging anyway.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Why do you need the straight edge if you're making knives? If you look at the arc segment that you'd be dealing with when it comes to knives ( the maximum blade thickness I could imagine is less than a centimeter) it's rather straight and can always be cleaned up with files after the forging process. As it stands, the cylinder you have is plenty for an anvil to beat knives on. The thing that makes the difference is the amount of mass directly under the hammer. Make a stand from poured cement instead of wood, with the cylinder standing proudly on top... and you've got a great head start.

 

Rick Marchand from Wilder Tools http://wildertools.net/?page_id=319 makes some incredible knives with an anvil that doesn't appear to be anything more than what you're starting out with. Expect the face of the anvil to deform because it's not hardened, but you should be able to get a good dozen knives finished before that becomes an issue!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have posponed the right angle cut because I could not get my hands on a big angle grinder (just got the small diameter one).

 

About the deformation, I'm using a two pound hammer and while hits that miss and land directly on the face leave small dents or nicks, for the most part it's a trooper and stands firm, I'll upload pictures tomorrow.

 

I have mounted the anvil in a very thick and very heavy tree stump, that miracously reachs to my knuckles so I'll leave it a that for now.

 

The question I now have is the following. How feasible is to drill a hardy hole in the steel? I know it's a mild steel, and was wondering if it is possible to drill 4 round holes and take it to a square from there with the help of files.

 

Thanks in advance for the responses.

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The question I now have is the following. How feasible is to drill a hardy hole in the steel? I know it's a mild steel, and was wondering if it is possible to drill 4 round holes and take it to a square from there with the help of files.

 

It's possible, but more work than it would be worth. Find a short section of square tube and weld it to the side flush with the face, use that to hold the hardy shank, and let the mass of the tool (whatever it is) be offset onto the face.

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