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All of the track pieces I'm finding online are around 20lbs and 60$ plus shipping. I'm planning a trip to a couple scrapyards this weekend. Just wanted to know if this was a viable option as an anvil. The weight size and shape. 

Hopefully the Gov opens stuff back up and I can go rooting around. 

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Not done yet but this was cut from 4" plate. Horn was roughed with a O/A torch the finished with a 7" zircon flap disc. Feet cut separate and will be severely welded ;)

This is a 80# piece of drop from cutting a hole in a steel plate. No one said an anvil has to have the standard anvil shape.

140-lb pre-1910 Peter Wright. Aged, badly abused, and severely chipped, but no cracks or large chunks broken off. Stand fabbed from scrap angle, strap iron and some fresh 1" square tubing. Two "cutout

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What you want is something that has compact mass. So compare a piece of rail to a cube of steel.  Which is more compact?

RR anvils were common benchtop anvils used for straightening nails and bending cold sheet metal. They are not a good approximation of an anvil for smithing!  If used for smithing they work better vertically to get more steel under the hammer face.

US$3 a pound for what you can buy at my local scrapyard for 20 cents a pound  seems a good deal---if you are selling it. At 20 pounds; too light and way too expensive!

Don't forget to ask around heavy equipment repair places.  A lot of dozer chunks even have hardy holes in them! Here is a 50 pound slab of steel with two 1" sq holes in it.  Cost me US$10 + driving 12 miles and a stroll through my local scrapyard. (Note the body of the holes are square but the tops are round to countersink bolt heads for dirt work.)

1228445122_cuttingplate(2).jpg.ac801705e082094ee20beeb74075819b.jpg

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Rail isn't worth $3/lb + shipping and a 20lb. piece is more a jeweler's anvil size. $49 is kind of spendy for a 40lb. block unless it's something special. 

Have you visited any heavy equipment/truck shops? Bring a box of doughnuts and you could score big time. I'm just a likable BSer and often have to say no thanks, I don't need that or that or those over there or . . . A large truck axle or piece of broken shaft mounted on end works a treat s an anvil. 

If you pick up RR rail for decent don't fall into the trap of thinking it should look like a "real" (London pattern) anvil. Nor do you need a "flat" face, they can be handy but hardly necessary. Mounted on end you have good depth of rebound and as Charles Stevens has demonstrated beautifully the web and flanges make a wide selection of bottom tools. Just don't get in a hurry and grind up a bunch you THINK you need. Grind them as you need them you won't make as many mistakes. If you  NEED a flat face the entire foot of the anvil is flat and right there. So you have to work on a vertical face, it lets you sight down it which is SOOOOO much easier than hunkering down and sighting on a London pattern anvil's face. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Ill make the guy an offer on and see what he says. Planning on running around to some shops and scrap yards hopefully this weekend. Really want to find something decent to get me started until a good deal comes along. 

And that dozer plate looks awesome. Square and round holes all in one piece. 

 

Thanks for the help guys. The search continues. Stay safe. 

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I wish you were closer; I trip over this stuff faster than I can use it!  I hosted a meeting of the local ABANA affiliate at my smithy once and after doing the demo, I said I could do another one and told them what it would be; or we could go visit my local scrapyard that lets you wander the piles. (I had asked the scrapyard owner about bringing in a group earlier and gotten an OK).  The group said Yes!  So we did both...

Now for a chunk of steel for an improvised anvil there is this one:

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40000 pounds of an old naval gun in two handy sized pieces!

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3 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

A lot of dozer chunks even have hardy holes in them!

Yep, dozers are made out of anvils. This one cost me $35 U.S. and weighs 110 pounds. We have 3 London pattern anvils but couldn't pass this up.:)

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Took about ten minutes to make a bick out of sucker rod. The stump was free from a tree I cut down that was too close to the house and leaning.

100_1873-1.thumb.jpg.4101b13dca16515dc0a17f6e3ec6c04e.jpg

 

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Thats amazing. Yeah I wish there were more groups near Atlanta and our scrap yards generally dont have naval ship pieces just laying around haha. Just got back from one about 20min away and they wouldn't let me walk through but said I could check the hoppers. No luck mostly just push mowers and tubing. But I looked up some machine shops some of which repair tractors, backhoes etc. So well see what's happening. 

Iron dragon something like that would be all I need to do what I want. Looks awesome. 

Gotta be honest when I started looking into this I didnt think finding an anvil would be so hard but there was a lot I didnt know about them. 

So thanks for all the info guys and I'll definitely post when i get it so i can show my victory.

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It is very odd that I keep running across things like dock weights and a good sized mooring cleat and the naval gun in an area that is rated as being a desert with even the local river being dry most of the time.  I blame it on New Mexico Tech;  they have a well known explosives program and all sorts of weird stuff gets blown up out on their blast pads---probably why Myth Busters used to visit on a regular basis!

I cherish my "relationship" with the scrapyard owner that lets me have free access to the piles and try to never do anything that might cause them to revoke it.

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Well i suppose I'll have to start making friends with them as well if I want access to material. I've heard it's a good place to get brass and other material cheap as well. 

But until I get to know what I'm doing I'll just keep walking down the railroad in search of spikes. Saw somebody on here found a plate. 

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Trespassing on a railroad right-of-way is illegal in every state (there’s even a federal law that provides guidance for consistency for that state legislation), so that’s not something we can recommend. Track plates make lousy anvils anyway. 

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The Rail Road Police have rather extensive powers  compared to the local cops.  You don't want to meet them!  I get my RR steel at my local scrapyard, there always seems to be a good selection especially after they have redone tracks near by.

(Especially after 9-11; the RR Police got very aggressive. Just think about it; RR tracks haul very hazardous materials often right through the center of large cities. I know one where heavily used RR tracks are about 4 blocks from the state capitol!)

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A high speed line going from Boston to Springfield  used to be kinda free to walk around..(off the beaten path outside a small down down a part of an old road along a river, no traffic, middle woods kinda deal)  there were some old mill ruins from 1700's and such.. Really cool area.. No one used to care.. 

last time I stopped there the police showed up and asked me the 100 quesitons and license.    He said " Only fisherman are really supposed to be down here and even them are not supposed to be here"..    The old road runs along side the tracks maybe 1000 ft away and there is a major fishing area on the other side where people go to swim. 

It still blows my mind that a cop would come down that far out of town just to check up..   

The old mill site is really early and the main road used to go thru the river at that stretch.  The train police do patrol it as it's a high speed freight and passenger line.  they use to be cool too.. Best thing is to bring a fishing pole or a kayak I guess. 

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55 minutes ago, JHCC said:

The breadth of knowledge on this forum -- blacksmithing or not, even useful or not -- is quite something.

Are you suggesting some of us have a lot of un-useful knowledge?????  :D

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No it was directed at me and refers to me recently having finished a biography of Claude Shannon who did a lot of the seminal work on Information Theory and things like Signal to Noise ratios and Redundancies in Communication.  I was just pointing out that I was often a source of "noise" on these forums dedicated to smithing. (And that Glenn has been very tolerant of folks using these forums as a more general communications method.)

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Well, if you want to say you are often a source of "noise" on these forums, that's fine.  Just see to it you let me lay blame and title to my own shortcomings, if you don't mind!  :D

(you know, I think this sequestration is driving the whole world completely insane..............I'm speaking for myself, of course!) :rolleyes:

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Shortcomings?  Let us know what the problem is, and we can work together to solve it.  We want you to succeed.  When you do succeed, it means that we were able to be a small part of that success, and to share your pride.  It is all about doing better each time you try.  

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So I'm talking to a person about this right now. Days they have somebody looking to buy at 650$US. Per what I've read here I told them it's not worth it and I'd give them 2.50 to 3$ per pound and they said they'd call me back. Deal or no deal? Before I commit. 

And I didnt mean to start anything but anything I can learn anywhere from anyone is reason enough for me to read. Many thanks. 

Anvil 02.jpg

Anvil 01.jpg

Hey Budden 87#

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