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Well I pulled the trigger on making a railroad track anvil the other day. I went to the scrap yard the other day and found a 3' chunk of UNUSED railroad track and made it mine for the low, low price of $21.00. I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to do with it, I know I want to make a small anvil with a 3/4" hardie hole for general forging, but I'm thinking about making a smaller striking anvil, again with a 3/4" hardie hole, as well.

Things I know...
- The rail has not been used, so it's not work hardened.
- I can mar and dent it quite easily with cold iron.
- I spark tested it, it appeared to be high manganese.
- A magnet is attracted to the steel.
- It seems to file and grind easily.

Things I don't know...
- Will I need to harden the anvil when it's finished?
- How hard is it to drill? (for the hardie hole)
- Will the manganese steel work harden from forging on it?
- I know a torch will cut the rail, but how do I get a good, clean, square cut on the rail head?
- Is it weld able?

I have little-to-no experience doing anything like this, so any advise would be appreciated! Thanks!

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Make base supports to hold the rail, right side up, base side up and on end. Sometimes you want to draw material out, use the part that the train runs on. Sometimes you want something flat, turn it upside down. Sometimes you don't want to bend over when you are punching a hole, stand it on it;s end. There is no wrong side/face to an anvil.

If you hear the whistle blowing, RUN!!!!!!!

The rail is not hardened, if it was it would crack from the vibration of a train. Cut it with a band saw, drill it with whatever drill you have (drill it slower than you normally would). Weld extra pieces in to the end, to make what shape you want. There is no rule committee, you don't have to ask permission, as long as you have a note from your mom!!!!!


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In reply to your question about welding, I have about a 12 foot section of rail (500 pounds or so) that I drag my fields with. I welded a couple of horseshoes near the ends to fasten my chains to and with several years use as it ounces over rough fields, the welds are holding fine. Probably used 6011 or 6013 rod, nothing special.

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"The Complete Modern Blacksmith" has an entire chapter on making a rail anvil, including hardening and doing the hardy hole.

If you are in the USA you should be able to ILL a copy at your local public library. If you are elsewhere in the world I don't know...

I will say that *new* rail with the rounded top is harder to forge on than old rail with a flat face. I would keep one section for drawing on and flatten the rest.

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