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I Forge Iron

square peg vs round hole

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For reasons that I can't quite explain I decided to make the hardy in the anvil I'm building by driving a square drift into a round hole. Eveything was going fine yesterday, I pulled it out of the furnace and got the drift about 40% into (then back out of) the hole without a problem, then ran out of time. Last night I got one of the guys to "help" me, and his "easy" and mine are very different. So while I was tapping it in he went to hitting and before I could say (insert bad words here) it was way too deep, so I turned it over and cooled the end of the drift with air to try to drive it out. That's when I had to go fix something in the Mill which of course explains why the anvil and the drift are now one. It's funnier now then it was last night, and I'm confident that'll continue on. So laugh with me, or even at me :lol: and enjoy the pics. Updates to follow :D

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I'm guessing that you have maybe already tried the brute force option? So now maybe try freezing the drift with refrigerant? Vinegar as a lube / etchant might loosen it? In the old days you could've sprayed it with freon but now maybe something like high pressure air (from divers tanks)? Or maybe CO2? You should have enough mass in the anvil to get a good shrink on the drift without affecting the hole size much I would think.

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Bigfoot: I hadn't really tried to get it out other than at the time, so I'll start with brute force and then move onto whatever else comes next. We've talked about getiing some liquid nitrogen for bushings and such but so far the safety geeks have put the kiebosh on it, so I'll try the CO idea, thanks.

Sam: yes it is, but I'm hoping I can find something else first.

more to come....

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Yea the furnace is about 30'x 40', we're pushing out 5 1/2" billets about 28' long. I'm using an inspection door for my anvils which works great unless I get a call. I'm a millwright and as long as everything's running good I can usually get some time to play around, but when it breaks it's GO time.

Well I've got it upside down with the drift in a bucket of salty ice-water, I've put a port-a-power on top to drive it out. I figure I'll let it soak for a couple of hours and keep feeding it ice, then I'll hit the anvil with a rosebud and push it right out, sounds easy huh.

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could play hang man with it, weld a link for cable or chain to the drift, heat the whole thing to about a dull or so orange, cool the drift, give it a whack then let it drop short on the chain,? weld and lever?
gear puller welded to the drift and oxy the surround? (re drill if it snaps)(porta power good, not good at heat)
or are you trying to save the tool?

big air tool from the other end if there was a hole all the way through?

i do the weld, heat, cool, and rip out, thing or throw in bin method for small stuff.

maybe use coke/coal dust or charcoal grind? or any other high tech anti-stickerometer stuff? were you using a non sticker type stuff?

biggest ive drifted by hand was four inches...made sure lots of dust(non stick).

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Slice off the protruding tool with a cutting torch and then cut or drill out the mass of the drift and then drive out the remnants from the bottom?

Most of the other methods seem like more work than making a new drift. Did I miss something obvious?

Great project!

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  • 4 months later...


I ended up with a torch after trying many different ways to remove the drift, it wasn't as bad as i thought it would be and i didn't damage the anvil. I'd rather be lucky than good. So the hole is square about 3" down, then turns back to round.

A little bit of clean up to the face and I'll be ready to heat treat, then I'll weld on a couple of feet, which will be two pieces of billet about 12" long welded crossways with a gap between, so that I'll have a place to upset with. It should end up about 300 lbs. and look like Mr. Hofi's.



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  • 2 months later...

Update: I finally got around to heat-treating it last night with pretty good results, they're not exactly what I expected though. I soaked it in the furnace for about 2 1/2 hours, then pulled it out and threw it in the water flume (which is flowing substantial water) and viola. Well kinda, actually when I threw it in it got hung up on the chain and just the tip (4 inchs) of the horn went in the water. So I unhooked it and laid it in the water on it's side, about 6" deep, which left the welded on part poking up out of the water. I then turned an 1 1/2" water hose on the top side because it didn't have much water covering it. Looking at the RHC #'s I've put on with soapstone you can see that the softer side and the ends were well under the water and the harder side (except for the step ?) got the hose.


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