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tagkver

anvil in fire

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I have a buddy who has a anvil that was in a house fire, it has no markings and he said he weighed it and it was 160lbs. The question is can anything be done for this anvil, or is it just to look at now?

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It *may* have gone a little soft. House fires may not have been that hot. I have a hard time believing that it went orange.

Still anvil shaped and plenty good for striker anvil, kids, people with poor aim.

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It would have to have gotten up in the +400OF range to begin to move the temper much... the hotter it got, the softer it got.

A feller with a lot of nerve and a lot of time on his hands could possibly re-harden one, but I'll leave that for the experts.

Best thing would be to clean it up and try it.

If it still has rebound and doesn't scratch & dent easily when you hit hot iron on it, I'd call it a user.

Don

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I have a buddy who has a anvil that was in a house fire,

I'd try it first. If it did get to hot and is soft now. I have a torch head big enough to get it hot through and through. Most people does not have a heating tip that big but, I had to buy it for a project some time back. I don't live that far from you if you are interested in trying to retemper it. Either way, you would not be out nothing but gas for the trip.

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Doesn't have to get to glowing to soften it. Any temp above it's original tempering temperature will make it softer than it was.

If it's in good shape otherwise I'd try to re-harden it, as I recall Charles McRaven in "Country Blacksmithing" talks about he how did this with one of his and how after heating to non-magnetic it was quenched with a Fire Department's high pressure hose---just dunking it in water is NOT sufficient due to the steam blanket effect. Anvil manufacturers used flumes from elevated water sources to get the pressure to beat through the steam blanket.

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The average house fire burns at around 1100 F if memory serves me correctly. Depending on the contents and any special flammable material it may go to 1700 F but that will be at the ceiling. It is likely this anvil was stored on the floor or a low stand so those temperatures would have been much lower. The heat builds from the ceiling down and I've seen melted TV sets with a VCR in the bottom of the same cabinet that still worked. Look at the walls and material around where the anvil was stored-is there still wallpaper, is the wood burned? That will give you a clue to how hot the anvil got. You can also have it Rockwell hardness tested to see how hard it is now. A simpler version of that test would be to check both the base and the top with a file to see if the top is still harder. You will probably find that the anvil is still OK.

I seem to remember someone about 25 years ago who re-hardened an anvil and they heated the top with the anvil upside down over the heat source and protected by a steel plate. When up to temperature they used chains and tongs to flip the anvil over and just kept playing a garden hose over the top until the anvil was cool, leaving just the top hard and the body softer.

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Test it with a ball bearing
http://anvilfire.com/article.php?bodyName=/FAQs/anvil-5.htm&titleName=anvilfire.com%20Blacksmithing%20FAQs%20Anvils%20Hardness

Just because it is softened does not make it useless. I am sure it will have more rebound than a cast iron anvil.

Phil

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I agree that the best thing to do is test it. Anything prior to that is pure speculation.
If the anvil was in a house fire in a rural area and if the response time of the FD was long and if all they could save was the foundation then I'd say that the anvil got too hot. Too many if's.

But like I said, it would all be speculation until you test the anvil. Good luck, hope it didn't get hurt in the fire and if it did then good luck re-hardening.

Mark<><

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I know bladesmiths who use mild steel anvils and are happy with them. It's vastly better than a cast iron ASO. So even if this anvil is soft, that doesn't make it unusable. Even if it's severely tempered martensite, it's likely a good bit harder than mild steel. I'd just start using it. If it seems soft -- dents easily, etc. -- then maybe consider rehardening it at some point, if you have the time and access to a fire hose or other high pressure water source. I wouldn't try hardening it unless I was pretty sure I could get the quench right. Otherwise you might very well just end up making it even softer.

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Thanks for all the good info my friend is trying to make up his mind what to do with it it has been in 2 fires where the house burnt all the way down so it got pretty hot personaly I think the dern thing is bad luck!

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Let me get this straight, one anvil has been in TWO HOUSE FIRES???
Make a movie about it and quick, Charlie Sheen is available!!

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