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I Forge Iron

just got an mini anvil, and need something to make

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I recently got a 1.5# anvil for free. As soon as I can acquire some firebricks, I will make a small forge/smelter.

In the meantime, I am trying to figure out what I could even use this mini anvil for (other than a paperweight).

It is a Japanese cast anvil, with a single rounded horn, and a 2 by 5 inch face. Only markings on it are JAPAN along the base on one side.
I am interested in medieval weapons and armor.

At this point in time I do not have the funds to buy a decent anvil.


Am I just stuck making jewelry and chain mail?

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With that anvil; yup only good for straightening nails and setting rivets if it's cast iron; if you were close I'd let you have a chunk of RR Rail I got for US$1 at the fleamarket and you could beat stuff on it. I am so sorry you can't afford to spend a couple of dollars to get a usable anvil---except that you could probably find one for FREE.

Please get it out of your head that you have to have a london pattern anvil to do smithing! The japanese forge katanas on anvils that look like a rectangular hunk of steel; there is a video of a professional bladesmith forging kukri using a sledge hammer head as his anvil.

NONE of the medieval arms and armour were made using the london pattern anvil NONE! I have documented plain cubes of metal with a spike on the bottom as being used for anvils for over 2000 years while the london pattern dates back a bit over 200 years.

When I made my complete beginner's kit for under US$25 I found the broken knuckle of a RR car coupler and it made a great anvil---had a flat section and a curved section weighed around 80 pounds and was free.

If you want to smith you will smith even if you have to use a curbstone as an anvil, ( Anstee did his work replicating early medieval pattern welded swords using a cheese weight as an anvil! "The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England", H.R.Ellis Davidson, appendices)

Here's another example of "improvised" anvil ton's better than a cast iron ASO (Anvil Shaped Object)

So stop focusing on "can't" and start focusing on DO! ("There is only do or do not"...)

Also if you put your general location in your profile you might get offered forging time at a local to you smithy---I have open forging on a regular basis here in Central NM for example.

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Luckily, I do live near a rail yard, and when the replace the rails, they just leave them off to the side of the tracks. I might just go grab a rail one of these days.

There is a spot where there have been rails sitting off to the side of the rail bed for about 6 months now.

I'll call them before just to ok it. I might just join the local group though.

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I would definately ask before taking a rail, you don't want to be arrested for something so trivial. I always ask the guys actually working instead of the management.
Management always says no, for fear of lawsuits or putting their butts on the line if someone higher up should get mad, but the worker guys usually know whats left is of no use to them and are happy not to have to clean it up!
Have fun!

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I highly agree with not talking to management. I always ask some working guy, preferably while I am in work clothes. I've gotten free railroad track, powerplant coal before I got good coal, lumber, bulldozer work and all kinds of things that I would never have gotten asking some guy in a suit.

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A cold sixpack of soda around lunch time will often break the ice. The more advanced technique of a cold sixpack of beer right around quitting time on a hot summer Friday got me a *lot* of welding done at the little neighborhood welding shop near me back in Ohio. There was enough staff that I didn't worry about being a party to over consumption; they just considered it a friendly thing from a neighbor and acted in kind.

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