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Troels Saabye

How much of a beating can an anvil take ?

26 posts in this topic

Hey, just wondering, when working on an anvil, is the horn more fragile than the center body ? Not worried too much when working, but just don't want to crack the horns off of it ;)

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Not real sure how to answer this one. Speaking of a quality anvil mind you! The center the flat of anvil is pretty resilient, however the edges of the flat can and will chip and be deformed with improper use. As to the horn I have only seen one broken off and I have to ask myself how much force was used to do that. Or was their a flaw from the beginning!! 

There are others who may better answer this question, so will set back and watch for their replies!!

 

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Newer anvils should'nt ever break (in your lifetime). Non peter wright anvils before 1900 were forge welded together  in pieces with hand sledges. If a horn had a weld flaw, it could've (and often did) break off. Like C Craft said, Alan, or geoff, or Jerrod, and a whole list of others could inform you better than I. I just regurgitated some of the information they gave me.

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I have seen many broken heels and horns ( all from forge welded construction anbvils and quite a few cracks eminating from the hardy hole. so yes it can be done. A lot of more modern anvils are pretty chippy so edges can be broken off. in normal use they should last a lifetime but sledge hammering ovewr the horn needs a big anvil or some care.

 

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What Owen said.  B)  on wrought anvils, particularly Peter Wrights, using too heavy a sledge over a period of years will deform the soft wrought under the face, leaving a sway in the face.  This shouldn't be an issue with all-steel anvils. If you're worried about your giant cast anvil you're thinking of ordering, just don't sledgehammer the edges or horn tip and you should be fine.  Kohlswa and Soderfors have a reputation for being easy to chip the edges on the sub-200 pound sizes because they were left very hard compared to some others.  If you don't miss a blow you won't have a problem.  My Refflinghaus is a little softer than I'd like, an errant hit with the pein end will leave a tiny ding mark.  The Peter Wright I used to have did not have that issue.

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The more I read about anvils, and the more I see older anvils commanding what seems like big money, the more it seems like the way to go is to just buy a new anvil.  Am I missing something?  (and I very well may be....totally new to this, but this has been my observation thus far).

                                 Warner

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14 minutes ago, Warner Smith said:

The more I read about anvils, and the more I see older anvils commanding what seems like big money, the more it seems like the way to go is to just buy a new anvil.  Am I missing something?  (and I very well may be....totally new to this, but this has been my observation thus far).

                                 Warner

There are anvils and then there are anvils. I am no expert but I know that the HF anvil I have is no better, if even as good, as the 100 yr old bearing block I started with and doesn't really have much on a railroad rail on a good base. I have had the opportunity to use a few quality older anvils and, with the hardened or laminated work surface I can see how much effort they would save in a lot of ways.

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1 minute ago, Vern Wimmer said:

There are anvils and then there are anvils. I am no expert but I know that the HF anvil I have is no better, if even as good, as the 100 yr old bearing block I started with and doesn't really have much on a railroad rail on a good base. I have had the opportunity to use a few quality older anvils and, with the hardened or laminated work surface I can see how much effort they would save in a lot of ways.

From a cost perspective, I really like the idea of the railroad rail.  What would be a good base, and where is a good source for something like this?   I'm literally just starting out, so trying to keep my expenses down until I know if I like or can do this.  

                                            Thanks,

                                             Warner

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1 hour ago, Warner Smith said:

From a cost perspective, I really like the idea of the railroad rail.  What would be a good base, and where is a good source for something like this?   I'm literally just starting out, so trying to keep my expenses down until I know if I like or can do this.  

                                            Thanks,

                                             Warner

Well...I started out with a big 18x36x2" bearing block from an overdrive sawmill. My Grandfather had salvaged it 3/4 of a century earlier for an anvil. The top 1/2 of the bearing races are like legs on the bottom. I inlet them into the top of a fir stump called a "long butt". I did something similar with the railroad rail. When I bought my cheap HF anvil I had an abunance of used 3/4" plywood so I cut a bunch of properly sized squares and cross stacked them with construction adhesive and 1 1/4" construction screws holding each layer together until the anvil would just touch the knuckles of my fist when I stood.

Soooo....to answer your questions, I don't know about your area but, even though there are no railroads in this area I find rail pieces at junk shops, antique shops, garage sales and the scrap metal dealer in the next county. I was just on fleabay today and saw someone that was selling 12" sections that, before shipping, cost a big chunk(40%) of what my HF cost and at least the HF has a Hardie hole and I didn't have to flatten the face with an angle grinder!

As far as mounting goes you have to be creative with what's at hand/affordable. You need lateral stability and solid resistance. Depending on your tools and skills to achieve those things. Just looking in my yard I see, ironically, railroad ties bordering a flower bed. A couple of those stacked and dogged together with some strapping to pin the rail down might do. If you have an angle grinder you could shape the bottom into legs and feet and band those down.

A great option, from a scrap dealer, would be a forklift tine. I have my eyes out for one but they go fast around here.

There are as many options as there are junkyards and imaginations.

Edited by Vern Wimmer
I type like a chimp on Red Bull

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Allright :) well the most I use is a 12 pound sledge converted to a one-hand use hammer ;) So I'll just have to go easy on the horns. The anvil is between 5-600 pounds :) Old Scottish pattern I believe

 

20160223_165949 (2).jpg

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9 hours ago, Warner Smith said:

From a cost perspective, I really like the idea of the railroad rail.  What would be a good base, and where is a good source for something like this?   I'm literally just starting out, so trying to keep my expenses down until I know if I like or can do this.  

                                            Thanks,

                                             Warner

find a metal shop and get a drop of steel the heaver the better if you have a scrap yard go there i got 10 inch round 30 something long and i welded legs to it and use that over my real anvil unless i need a hardy my favorite was a 5 foot long 2.5-3 inch round bit of machine shaft i set it in to the ground and i hammered on that it was less than 100lbs but all of its mas was under hammer with each blow the 10 inch is almost 500lbs but not all under the hammer each time and i can get it to rock a little short bits of round can be cast in concrete and left in the bucket for use and tool organizing 

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As far as I know the number one thing to break an anvil is using a heavy sledgehammer on a hardy tool with a shank that is too big for the hole. Other wise there are few things that will actually damage a well made anvil, exept some small dings and chipping on the edges.

I still try to avoid hitting the anvil with my hammer, but that is more to save my hammer faces from being scarred instead of the anvil getting damage.

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2 hours ago, dragoncutlery said:

find a metal shop and get a drop of steel the heaver the better if you have a scrap yard go there i got 10 inch round 30 something long and i welded legs to it and use that over my real anvil unless i need a hardy my favorite was a 5 foot long 2.5-3 inch round bit of machine shaft i set it in to the ground and i hammered on that it was less than 100lbs but all of its mas was under hammer with each blow the 10 inch is almost 500lbs but not all under the hammer each time and i can get it to rock a little short bits of round can be cast in concrete and left in the bucket for use and tool organizing 

I have a metal scrapper about a half mile from my house.   I'll stop by there today and ask what they have, and ask them to be on the lookout for me. 

    Warner 

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Ask if they have any tool steel blocks.  Sometimes they will.  And if you live in a decent sized town or city, there is a good chance there may be a heat treating company.  You could call them and ask how much it would be heat treat said piece of tool steel (you must know what the tool steel is though).  A cheaper way to get a decent anvil

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6 minutes ago, Wes Detrick said:

Ask if they have any tool steel blocks.  Sometimes they will.  And if you live in a decent sized town or city, there is a good chance there may be a heat treating company.  You could call them and ask how much it would be heat treat said piece of tool steel (you must know what the tool steel is though).  A cheaper way to get a decent anvil

Thanks Wes!  I DO live in a larger city....found a heat treating place right in my city.  http://www.elginind.com/heat-treat/

I'll check with the scrap place and see what they have....

                            Warner

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6 hours ago, Warner Smith said:

Thanks Wes!  I DO live in a larger city....found a heat treating place right in my city.  http://www.elginind.com/heat-treat/

I'll check with the scrap place and see what they have....

                            Warner

Excellent!  Then I would shoot for something like 4140 for the steel.  It is very common, pretty affordable and it is easy to resurface if it gets banged up a bit.

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6 hours ago, Wes Detrick said:

Ask if they have any tool steel blocks.  Sometimes they will.  And if you live in a decent sized town or city, there is a good chance there may be a heat treating company.  You could call them and ask how much it would be heat treat said piece of tool steel (you must know what the tool steel is though).  A cheaper way to get a decent anvil

Well, I stopped off at the scrap place, and the guy I spoke with said they only get stuff like that a few times a year.  But, you never know WHEN those times will come, so I left my name and number with him.  I also told him what I wanted to use it for, as an anvil, and told him to look out for anything he thinks could work for that....including an anvil in case anyone brings one in. (Hey, you never know!).  Like i said, the place is about a half mile from my house, so I can stop in from time to time, also.

                               Warner

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I am kind of surprised, given how American bladesmiths are aware of the relatively small anvils the Japanese swordsmiths use(d), that someone hasn't produced a decent sized block that could be, say, spiked in the end of a peeler core, railroad tie etc. I know some are selling modified rr rail but I can't imagine a dedicated design being all that expensive. It would help get people started on 4" or so blades then still be a pin setter later

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13 minutes ago, Vern Wimmer said:

I am kind of surprised, given how American bladesmiths are aware of the relatively small anvils the Japanese swordsmiths use(d), that someone hasn't produced a decent sized block that could be, say, spiked in the end of a peeler core, railroad tie etc. I know some are selling modified rr rail but I can't imagine a dedicated design being all that expensive. It would help get people started on 4" or so blades then still be a pin setter later

Ask, and ye shall receive.

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8 minutes ago, Wes Detrick said:

Thank you. I don't know why I couldn't find it? (OK, I'm a simian). Now I can suggest it to those who want to start cheap.

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1 hour ago, Vern Wimmer said:

Thank you. I don't know why I couldn't find it? (OK, I'm a simian). Now I can suggest it to those who want to start cheap.

 

1 hour ago, Warner Smith said:

That looks doable!!   Thanks Wes!

               Warner

You are welcome, to both of you.  That anvil gets recommended quite a bit on this forum since the price is just right.  They make a one without a stake that is cheaper, and they also will make custom lengths as well, so if you want one that is 4" x 4" x 8", you can email them and they will quote you a price for it.  Or at least they would in the past...

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The more things like this that I can pass along to those interested the greater the chance someone else might take up the craft. 

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The jackhammer bits used in large excavators make an excellent post anvil; I found mine at a scrap yard.

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