primtechsmith

ASO: Anvil Shaped Objects

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I have seen, and heard of a few Anvil Shaped Objects. Any of you guys ever used or do use an ASO? I think it is important to help new smiths realize they do not need a Peter Wright to do the job at hand.

What ASO ideas do you have, or have used?

Peyton

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Hopefully this works. haven't posted a pic in the new forums before, so here goes. Slightly modified RR track anvil with swage ability. I wanted something light I could run around without too much hassle. Probably be handy to keep around later when I do find a decent anvil(and a shop to put her in). I did another mod on it of drilling 4, 1/2 inch holes to allow the use of lag bolts to attach to a stump or bench. Though the rr spikes do see to be an appropriate way to hold this one down ;).


http://www.iforgeiron.com/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/1691/ppuser/268

1103.attach

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This is the anvil I used for over 25 years when demonstrating with my 18th. Century travelling forge until this fall. I used Simmons & Turley's book as a basis and have since found other original "block anvils." This happens to be material used in large truck axles in the late 70's, not sure what it is. It has a spike welded on the bottom and stuck into a hole. The large straps on the stump are staples to keep the log from splitting out throughout the checks and keep the anvil from turning while working on it. Many were amazed to watch me make hooks and chain on this with out a horn. I learned early on, while making scrolls, I preferred to not use the horn, so I applied that to making hooks. I did round one corner to help dress certain curves and hooks. I also drilled a hole into the face and a hole in the side to be a clean out for punching. However, most of the time a "bolster bar", (a flat bar with holes,) works as well or better. That is a hardy in the stump. The main thing is to have a flat hard surface to pound on. To quote Glenn, "the tools don't make the blacksmith...." I also like to apply the keep it simply philosophy.

1104.attach

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My first anvil was a 10 inch long piece of Railroad Rail, later I modified it by welding a 4 inch wide half inch thick steel plate to the top and bottom to give me a wider working surface and add more stability to it. Late I purchased a real ASO it had Mexico embossed on the base. It was 75 lbs of crudely cast iron that I paid $65 for. I used it for a couple years until I purchased a 97 lb Wilkenson and later was given a 150 lb Vulcan. The 75 lb ASO was used for another 2 years by a new aspiring smith and was returned to me last year. It is currently loaned to another young smith who won't be using it for a while because he was just deployed to Afganistan. While it isn't the prettiest thing in the world, it serves the function it was designed for. All a blacksmith needs is some hot metal to beat, something to beat it with and something to beat it on.

Woody

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I think it is important to distinguish between ASOs that are POS cracking prone cast iron in a classic anvil shape, and ASOs that are usable as anvils. Then there are the cast steel harbor freight anvils that while not complete junk are not completely great (but i have found that they make a fairly stable hardy holder...)
-Aaron @ the SCF

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Cool anvils guys, thanks! I am loving the versatility of RR track, there are so many variations to what type and shape and uses of it it is amazing. I REALLY want to get some, and start production hehe.

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First anvil I had was made in china, cast steel 50kg. Looked like the worlds ugliest Peddinghaus 2 horn anvil. BUT, the sucker had a smooth face and was properly heat treated. After using it a few years, I gave it to my friend (12 years ago). It is in continuous use still, having knives, flint strikers, black powder rifle parts forged on it. Not all ASO' are total xxxx; once in a while you get lucky:)

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I have a 200lb english anvil I think its a Brooks, and a ASO a big square 8"x8"x8"
block of 4140 that was an off cut from a machine shop, similar to the Jymm Posted, I have radius'd most of edges to a different radius and left one almost sharp. I keep it on a wood block near my anvil and use it all the time a very useful anvil.

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First anvil I had was made in china, cast steel 50kg. Looked like the worlds ugliest Peddinghaus 2 horn anvil. BUT, the sucker had a smooth face and was properly heat treated. After using it a few years, I gave it to my friend (12 years ago). It is in continuous use still, having knives, flint strikers, black powder rifle parts forged on it. Not all ASO' are total xxxx; once in a while you get lucky:)




I totally agree, and posted wuite the lengthy post on it before the "great forum purge". ASOs, especially the ones that are cheap(like my first little love, my 22 pound Central Forge anvil), are extremely useful, as they are premade cutom anvils. all it takes is a little modification, a bolting to a hevay sturdy stump or stand, and a little grindign if you want and you have a great swage block, hardy tool holder, pretty much anything you can think of. RR spikes happen to fit PERFECTLY in the hardie hole on my little 22 pounder, and the head can be shaped into any number of swage tops, for spoons, cups, vases, forks, you name it. They are often overlooked, but in truth are great to have around. And if anyone has any spares, I would be happy to take them for you and give them a good home.

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"great forum purge"?

I do not remember any material ever being removed from this site, let alone purged. Are you referring to the unfortunate loss of data due to the server crash?

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I used a chunk of rail road rail for years. Rang like crazy!
I used a 140 lb. Russian cast steel anvil for demos after the rr rail.
This year, I used a big sheet metal stake anvil set in part of a car axle for a base.
I have also used a flat heavy chunk of steel beside the fire to use when forge welding.

My feeling is if it works, use it! :D

Pam

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There seems to be a bit of jargon mismatch here: ASO "Anvil Shaped Object" refers *only* to items that are made and sold as anvils but are *NOT* usable for that purpose---I once had to buy a 220# cast iron anvil as my only anvil had been stolen just a couple of days before a day long demo at a museum. It was vaguely anvil shaped but it *DENTED* under hot steel being worked on it---not a hammer ding the hot stel was actually harder than the cold anvil face. I never used it again. It was an ASO

Now there is a specific term for items that don't look like a London pattern anvil but are quite usuable as an anvil it's------*ANVIL* not ASO as they are not AS; just Anvil.

One of my favorites was the broken knuckle off a train car coupler. It had a flat section and a curved section and weighed about 50 pounds and was *free* alongside the RR tracks.

My Y1K anvil is a simple rectangular solid of steel. I hope if I use it enough it will get the lovely mushroom shape like the roman one in the museum at Bath England.

I am also a big proponent of broken anvils---usually much cheaper than on in "good" shape and often very usable. I have one with the horn broken off and two with the heels broken off and one with everything above the waist weld broken off. Total cost of several hundered pounds of anvil chunks was US$45 and $40 of that was for a 125# anvil with a good horn and great face with just the heel broken off---never seen one in that good of condition with such a major insult to it...

Thomas "lets keep our jargon pure!"

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Let me rephrase my original statement to "what do you use as an alternative to the traditional anvil." ASO, hunk of steel, etc.

Peyton "jargon dumb, and with good intentions..." :-)

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Anstee used a cheese weight when he did his experiments on pattern welding.

Several knifmakers use *large* square stock cast into a 5 gal bucket of concrete so that the end is up and used to forge on.

Large sledgehammer heads mounted in a stump have been used as anvils.

Rocks have been used

Thomas

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my working "anvil" from Thanksgiving '04 thru this past August was a 75 lb chunk of I beam from the scrap yard. I ground a notch in one wing for bending, drilled a half inch hole in the other wing (each about an inch thick) for punching, and c-clamped a heavy jackhammer bit to the web to act as a horn, and did most of my early work on that.
No rebound to speak of and you had to keep the hammer blows over the central web to keep the ring down, but it got me started and didn't discourage enough to make me quit.
replaced with a 104 lb PW, but I'm sure I'll find some use for that much steel.

Michael

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this morning I found out the new business next door has used heavy truck axles. not exactly cheap but a big chunk of steel for less than $100. could make a post anvil or nice stand for a vice. I'ma put back some pennies and see what I cam come up with.

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I used a 12"x12"x2" piece of plate an old blacksmith gave me for two years... It was his first anvil, set in a stump, it works great! About a year ago, found a 107# Trenton... I'll pass the hunk 'o plate to the son in law...

Matt, how big are these hunks of axle you found?

Bill

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PTree used to work for a place that made such axles and had several scrapped ones---he still has one with the flange buried in the dirt to make a very heavy duty sledging anvil.

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Bill the biggest ones are from class A road tractors ( freightliner , international) they're about 3 1/2 , 4' long and 2" dia. with a flange/plate on the end, the hub, with 8-10 holes for lugs . they're solid probly 45-50 lbs.

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If you look at Glenn's post vise in blueprints I think you could put a large base plate on one and have a very useful tool.

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here is something I make when I get time

 

Image001-4.jpg

the body and horn is the working part of a sub soiler or mole plough, the table is fork lift tine, the socket is for my stake tools but later ones were nearer to and fixed to the back leg or to the base

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Man I need a welder! that's cool. I'm finding all kinds of stuff today. turns out the Southern Railway yard is just 3mi. from where I work. bet they got some fun stuff.

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