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Refacing a Cast Steel Anvil


Guest Springsteen

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Guest Springsteen

Hello,

I bought a 225# Kohlswa cast steel anvil circa 1930's, 6 months ago, and have been trying to figure out how to reface it. It has pitting across the entire face, pad and horn. The pits are around 1/16 to 1/8 inches deep, while the face is still very flat overall (though still pitted). Since it is cast steel, i don't think the Gunter Method would work all that well. I have been thinking of grinding down the face and polishing. I don't want to ruin the temper on the hardened face. Does anybody have any advice/ideas?

Thanks

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Hello,

I bought a 225# Kohlswa cast steel anvil circa 1930's, 6 months ago, and have been trying to figure out how to reface it. It has pitting across the entire face, pad and horn. The pits are around 1/16 to 1/8 inches deep, while the face is still very flat overall (though still pitted). Since it is cast steel, i don't think the Gunter Method would work all that well. I have been thinking of grinding down the face and polishing. I don't want to ruin the temper on the hardened face. Does anybody have any advice/ideas?

Thanks


If it was me personally, I would take it to a heat treater and get them to normalise the anvil. I would them use "Weldall" arc rods and lay a bead across the entire face then grind to flat, use an oxy/acetylene torch with a large tip and oxidising flame and running water to flame harden the face, then temper the anvil at 280 Degree Celsius in an oven to bring the face back to 50 Rc with at least four hours at temperature. Over here in Australia you would be looking at at least $100 to Normalise and $200 for the rods and maybe $50 in consumables to grind it flat.
A professional tool grinder will grind down 30,000 of an inch without ruining the temper but will cost a few hundred dollars, and leave the anvil 1mm thinner on the face.
The other option would be to mill off 10mm and get a high carbon steel( K 1040 to K 1070) face plate welded on using the plug welding technique. It is very time consuming but offers the best result when done by a professional welder. With such a nice anvil to start with I hope you do it justice which ever way you go.

Best of Luck,
Rob Kenning
Secretary
Artist Blacksmith Association South Australia.
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Cast anvils do not have the same hardness all the way down! As you go down from the top the hardness will decrease with depth so just surfacing it is not a great thing. This is actually a feature rather than a flaw as it makes the anvil less likely to break under hard use.

What part of the Gunter process do you think will cause issues? I have seen it successfully used to bring an anvil that was milled into uselessness back to usable state when our local ABANA affiliate held an Anvil Repair clinic; getting pro welding done free save for the cost of the rods is a big help in the cost benefit calculations!

I have a HB that the face was finely pitted from over 50 years of condensation rusting on it (stored in an unheated shed near a creek in OH...). I have been just working on it and the scale is slowly polishing the face smooth.

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