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4140 post anvil question

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So, I picked up this piece of 4140 locally. It's 4.5 x 5 x 18" and weighs 90lbs.

My intent was to use it as a post anvil for some light bladesmithing.

I'm look to know if:
1. Can this make a decent anvil, or did I buy the wrong stuff?
2. should I further heat treat it? (was told it was pre-hardened)

I think this thing is harder than mild steel but still not too hard.

Thanks for any input!


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Should work just fine. Many folks make hammers from 4140 so it should be a good steel for a anvil. If it is alredy hard I would leave it alone. Just find some way to attach it to a stump or stand. Use something that it heavy and that the whole thing is very stiff and dose not wiggle at all when you forge on it. Use the thing for a few weeks or months and if you see that it starts to dent easily then you might look into having it heat treated and asking the person to reach hardness of about 58 Rockwell.

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I do like 4140 for this job, but I have only ever worked with it or seen it available in either annealed condition, or prehardened to rockwell 32, give or take, the prehardened stock I think ranges from about 28 to 34, (within range for machining and cutting for HSS), this is a lot harder than mild steel, but a lot softer than a true hard anvil face, when you dent it up a bit you can easily grind and sand a nice new face, and / or have it hardened, as much as I love the profile of an "english pattern" anvil, I find a post anvil handier for bladesmithing, as the horn and tail and hardie are less helpfull and often get in the way. Conclusion: it would be most ideal to have the top surface rehardened to the 50 to 60 range, but weigh the costs with what you intend to ue it for. It will work as it is.

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Thanks guys for the input. It's ok to ask, I paid $150 for the piece. I probably jumped the gun and should have done more research on it, but in the end, I think I'll be very happy with this. I will look to have at least one end hardened. I do think it's about 30 rockwell now. If I find a place local to do the hardening, I will break at least one edge if not 3.

Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate the feedback! I was worried that I bought something that wouldn't be usable as I intended.

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Just outside my shop is a 452# 4140 anvil that is in the as forged condition. We use it as a sledging anvil. Not all day, and not real often, but it has held up well We recently forged a split cross from 2.5" square stock, there are actually 6 segments done on a cell phone, but as you can see the big axle forging does not move much. The end has not mushroomed, and we have used sledges as big as 20#
here is a link

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