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Has anyone out there ever used molten lead within, say a heavy walled tube to provide anvil mass for a power hammer?
I'm toying with the idea for a machine I'm constructing. It seems plausible. Due to the shortage of large, used steel bar stock for an anvil I'm looking outside the box, and I'm not going to Ryerson to get it $$$..???....mb

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The problem with poured lead is that it will shrink as it cools and not remain firmly attached as a solid mass.
I was wondering if the beneficial effects that some report of backing their anvils with sand contained in a box might transfer over to filling a heavy walled tube with something like lead or steel shot or something similar.

Maybe if you welded a shaft with crossbars to the bottom of the anvil plate and then poured the lead thru the bottom with the assembly standing upside down,then once cool flipped it then welded the lead filled assembly to the baseplate.Even if the lead broke free from the tube it would still be attached to the anvil plate/sow block where it would do the most good.
Most cast anvils have a void in the base and that doesn`t seem to hinder or adversely effect them so a void between the lead and the baseplate would be like the same void between the base of the anvil and the anvil stand,no?

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It is not just about mass. (weight). Mass will help keep the hammer from jumping around. Lead has NO spring back whatsoever. Steel is highly elastic. Thicker steel amplifies the effect. Thick enough steel provides optimun pushback or resistance to the hammer(tup)s blow. Lead will not have any effect on this. If you want to help a hammer using lead, fill the tube steel frame work that most hammers are made from these days. Actualy, don't fill it, 1/3 full at most would be effective.

Glenn, pretty sure he meant molten only in the sense of casting to a shape.

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The problem with poured lead is that it will shrink as it cools and not remain firmly attached as a solid mass.

Bob, Thanks for the input. I didn't mention all of my brainstorm. I was also thinking to put 4 large welded rebar rods the length of the tube in each corner to capture the pb (I'm using 5x5x1/2 tube). I had planed to fill from the top and that would take multiple pours, but on the last let it overflow and rasp it flush before welding the sow plate...mb
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I never did get much response from the "sand box crowd" so never really got any solid theory behind the why of it all.
What I was thinking of was to take something like mechanical tubing(ultra heavy wall) and then machine a shoulder on a thick piece of round to fit into the ID of the tube and still have a very thick steel anvil plate and then fix the lead to the rod below.
Now that I think of it there are vibration damping assemblies that work on the idea that a weight attached to a rod will counteract/absorb the vibration from machinery that may work here.Is the primary function of the mass of the anvil inertia of rest,resistance to deformation,absorbing vibration,all of the above or something I am missing completely.
I ask this because I have most of the larger material collected for a power hammer and am missing the anvil.I had planned to start on construction as a new year`s project.
My present choices for an anvil are mechanical tube left over from a tugboat prop shaft alley and ultra heavy I beam that I planned to box in with heavy plate.Either way I planned to fill them with something other than air if I used either material.I have the I beam,would have to trade for the shaft alley material(he wants bronze).

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I added a 1000lb steel box filled with poured lead to the back of the baseplate of my dads Bull hammer... And it did help quite a bit... I dont think that was the best solution but I happened to have a 1000lb box of lead and no big bits of solid steel so it seemed like a natural thing to do.... The last bull hammer I had I put on a 4" thick base plate, better yet

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I don't believe the lead would shrink away from the walls if they are warmed first. My Dad, and I made Lingcod jigs out of chromed tubing that we poured lead into. Never had a separation.

You didn't mention how heavy a hammer you are building.

One thing that I have wondered about was making a hollow hammer (tup) that was filled halfway with lead shot so that it would work like a deadblow hammer. Curious if that would work any better, especially for the smaller sizes. I realize the lost rebound would make the upstroke a little more difficult.

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Macbruce,
I've been on the same quest as you. All I can turn up is new solid material here in Baton Rouge which sells for about 65cents a pound. I have found a lot of heavy walled tubing/pipe and was thinking of doing the same. I'm thinking of filling the tubing with any and all long solid scrap I could put my hands on.. I've seen some re-bar that would work great... Then the voids that are left pour lead in. Find a heavy cap plate 1.25 - 1.5 thick or thicker to weld on top. Then the dies would be bolted to that and help spread the load across the top. Thats got to work. I don't think I'd sweat the voids, and with all the pieces for the lead to stick to I doubt that shrinkage would be a problem. Lead does shrink a lot when it cools..

The ram could be constructed the same way.... We are on the same path.

One more thought.... Lead is heavier than steel.....

What style hammer are you thinking about? I'm going to build one similar to the new style Kinyon air hammer..

What area of the country are you in... you mentioned Ryerson....

AJ


[Has anyone out there ever used molten lead within, say a heavy walled tube to provide anvil mass for a power hammer?
I'm toying with the idea for a machine I'm constructing. It seems plausible.]

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Nakedanvil,

Lets take the lead out of the picture. I saw some heavy tubing yesterday... must of be 8in in dia and must of had 2.5in wall thickness. Not to big of a hole in center. Weld a thick top plate over the end. That wouldn't work as an anvil? The hole in the middle would kill the hammer blow? I'm just asking, I don't have any idea. The top plate wouldn'b be loose..... Thanks, Aj

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If you use heavy wall tube thats near 8 with 2.5 wall you would be looking at around a 3 hole in the middle, I would think about the possibility of a power hammer with a hardy hole right in the center of the anvil, could be pretty nice for certain operations

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Why not take your 500 pounds of lead down to your local scrapper and trade him for a 500 pound chunk of steel?

Given how easy lead is to work with, if this is such a great idea, how come hand-hammer anvils aren't made this way. Ever use a lead filled hand hammer?


Good point Grant. I heard scrap lead was $.60 per pound yesterday. Just shy of the NEW price of steel. Kind of puts it in perspective, doesn't it.
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Nakedanvil,

Lets take the lead out of the picture. I saw some heavy tubing yesterday... must of be 8in in dia and must of had 2.5in wall thickness. Not to big of a hole in center. Weld a thick top plate over the end. That wouldn't work as an anvil? The hole in the middle would kill the hammer blow? I'm just asking, I don't have any idea. The top plate wouldn'b be loose..... Thanks, Aj


Awesome. Get the giant bit of tube, AND a piece of 2 1/2" shaft, Vee the ends good, weld it up and you will have a serious anvil.
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I second looking into the heavy walled pipe. That may simplify you die setup.

A couple of years ago lead was pushing $2 a pound for scrap. If it was me, I might look into selling it to guys who make sinkers, or bullets to get a better price. Either that or make a bunch of sinkers if you have the molds. More than likely I would just keep it around because I am always finding a use for it. Some leather workers use a lead block to punch into. This keeps the hole punches, and strap end cutters from dulling.

Grant, I have a couple of dead blow hammers that are lead filled. Absolutely no rebound to them.

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Nakedanvil,

Lets take the lead out of the picture. I saw some heavy tubing yesterday... must of be 8in in dia and must of had 2.5in wall thickness. Not to big of a hole in center. Weld a thick top plate over the end. That wouldn't work as an anvil? The hole in the middle would kill the hammer blow? I'm just asking, I don't have any idea. The top plate wouldn'b be loose..... Thanks, Aj


Only if you're depending on what is IN the hole to be the anvil.
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If you use heavy wall tube thats near 8 with 2.5 wall you would be looking at around a 3 hole in the middle, I would think about the possibility of a power hammer with a hardy hole right in the center of the anvil, could be pretty nice for certain operations

Guys, The thing I'm trying to get a handle on is: if I use some kind of heavy pipe or tubing and cover it with a heavy piece of plate would that be a mistake to use as an anvil? In my simple mind, and limited experiance, if the top plate is thick say 2in plus, layed on top of heavy tubing filled with scrap metal and a small amount of lead wheel weights meled down, is that a screw up...? The lead would keep all ths scrap steel from bouncing around and add weight to the anvil.

I guess the bottom line is, anything will work, but it may not be the best way to go... If I got to go that way, then do it and don't look back. I just thought there were more opinions out there... thanks, have a Merry Christmas!!! AJ
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To do a good job with the lead right it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth (not to mention even if you’re getting the lead for free your still melting down a couple hundred pound of lead and breathing all those fumes). Air hammers aren’t cheap to build because you can only cut so many corners. The anvil is one of those corners. The head of an air hammers spends very little time in contact with the anvil. So that quick return of energy provided by a steel anvil is that much more important to the overall power of the hammer. On the other hand a dead anvil sucks when you’re the one swinging the hammer, but if you are not worried about having the power to forge big stock under this little hammer then a dead anvil might not be such a bad thing. After all you can forge on a rock; it’s just not any fun.
I think you would be better off with as many inches of solid steel directly under the bottom die, and then just use something inexpensive like sand to add the weight you need to keep the hammer stable.

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To do a good job with the lead right it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth (not to mention even if you’re getting the lead for free your still melting down a couple hundred pound of lead and breathing all those fumes). Air hammers aren’t cheap to build because you can only cut so many corners. The anvil is one of those corners. The head of an air hammers spends very little time in contact with the anvil. So that quick return of energy provided by a steel anvil is that much more important to the overall power of the hammer. On the other hand a dead anvil sucks when you’re the one swinging the hammer, but if you are not worried about having the power to forge big stock under this little hammer then a dead anvil might not be such a bad thing. After all you can forge on a rock; it’s just not any fun.
I think you would be better off with as many inches of solid steel directly under the bottom die, and then just use something inexpensive like sand to add the weight you need to keep the hammer stable.

Mr Phillips, That's what I needed, someone to put things in focus for me.. I'm starting to get a better picture of what's going on. I'm going to continue my quest on looking for some solid stock, and try to get rid of all my "junk" tendencies. There are pleanty of other places to cut corners. Have a good holiday! aj
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Thanks for the many responses. I'll try to address as many as I can here. The hammer is to be an inverted cylinder type,80lb.....I'm trying to reach for but probably won't reach a 10:1 tup to anvil ratio, which I believe can be fudged on, and we don't need to kick that one around again please........As far as lead shrinkage, has anyone ever poured lead into a cylinder (no draft) and tried to get it out, you can't. The shrinkage occurs mainly at the top.......I wish I could find .30 to.40 cent a lb big barstock here, I've looked hard but come up empty........I'm going to a tire shop (tire weights)that I can get cheap......As far as dealing with molten lead, take the necessary precautions and bida bing. I've been screwing with lead for 30 yrs and am only mildly demented!.....Rebound? that is a good one, I do plan to add steel to the mix and there is allot of steel in the tube, base, end cap,dies. would that be totally nixed as far as rebound? Hot steel doesn't have any rebound near as I can tell. I NEVER have but have seen others miss a blow and have the hammer fly into their face, some anvils don't have that much pop, are they worthless?.....Is forging iron on a steel anvil with a pb filled hammer the same as forging iron with a steel hammer on a pb filled anvil? I still haven't decided, but it will require an anvil, maybe tungsten!....................Happy holidays.......Bruce Macmillan

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Nah tungsten is too brittle, unless you are looking to actually forge in the fire itself :rolleyes:

I would think that the 2.5" heavy walled tube with a thick cap welded on would be sufficient. Vee up a snug fitting plug into the end of the tube,weld it up, then cap it off. Don't know if you would really gain anything by adding the scrap, and lead to fill the rest up. It isn't like it is one solid piece. The lead, and steel act very different in how they react to harmonics.

As I understand it, rebound affects the hammering by providing a solid backup to the blow. If the anvil is too soft it absorbs the blow instead of pushing back. Kind of like hitting something on a steel block as opposed to a lead block. The steel will give productive hammering time. Hence I would concentrate on an anvil face that was sufficiently thick enough, and tough enough as to not flex under the hammer blows instead of worrying about filling the whole thing up. A solid 6" on top of that heavy tube should do it.

Do you have any mining operations in your area? They may have some large scrap bars available from old equipment in the form of axles, shafts, or hydraulic cylinders. A rail yard maintenance facility may also yield a suitable anvil.

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While you might be an angry blacksmith for a few days after you melt down and pour 800 pounds of tire weights, it’s the liver damage that I would worry about. Nothing we do at work on a daily basis is necessarily good for you and I wouldn’t dare get on here and lecture you about health but that’s a lot of lead! You would have to do it all in one pour.
I grew up in Winston Salem, NC near Bowman Grey Race Track, and as a metal worker, I got a lot of odd jobs due to my proximity to the stadium. Once such job was casting lead weights that would bolt on to the bottom of the cars to add weight where they needed it. I would set out 5 gallon buckets at all the tire shops around town and make rounds every couple of months to pick up the tire weights and drop off some “S” hooks, boot scrapes, etc.. as a good will gesture. I would pour the lead into 2” x 2” and 2” x 4” tubing , then I could drill holes through the lead and steel and it could all be bolted to the car. When you cast lead, it shrinks but it’s also fluffy. After a couple of seasons in a race car, the lead had been vibrated enough in a 2” x 2” x 6” tube that it was loose and with a little work could be knocked out with a hammer. Not only do you have to worry about the shrinkage of the lead but also the loss of volume over time due to the vibration of your hammer work forging the lead down.
So why is this so bad? You can forge on it but it’s no fun! Forging with a loose filled lead hammer is way better than forging with a loose filled lead anvil. Without a lot of work and mechanics to keep the lead tight and in the right tension, it will lower the power of your hammer without any real benefit other than just plain being heavy.

One way or the other I cant wait to see the end result!can you postpics?

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Nah tungsten is too brittle, unless you are looking to actually forge in the fire itself :rolleyes:

I would think that the 2.5" heavy walled tube with a thick cap welded on would be sufficient. Vee up a snug fitting plug into the end of the tube,weld it up, then cap it off. Don't know if you would really gain anything by adding the scrap, and lead to fill the rest up. It isn't like it is one solid piece. The lead, and steel act very different in how they react to harmonics.

As I understand it, rebound affects the hammering by providing a solid backup to the blow. If the anvil is too soft it absorbs the blow instead of pushing back. Kind of like hitting something on a steel block as opposed to a lead block. The steel will give productive hammering time. Hence I would concentrate on an anvil face that was sufficiently thick enough, and tough enough as to not flex under the hammer blows instead of worrying about filling the whole thing up. A solid 6" on top of that heavy tube should do it.

Do you have any mining operations in your area? They may have some large scrap bars available from old equipment in the form of axles, shafts, or hydraulic cylinders. A rail yard maintenance facility may also yield a suitable anvil.

Doc, Of course I plan to forge in the fire, doesn't everybody....that way I can keep the tungsten soft and the lead molten too, just kidding Glen..........Just driving around looking for suitable anvil stock has run into $$$. I do have the the 5x5x1/2 tube, which itself is clearly not ok. you guys have given me allot to ponder, good thing there's no rush....mb
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