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Trying to find a steel block


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I'm trying to find a large piece of steel for a makeshift anvil. I live in Northern Virginia and we don't have a lot of "junkyards", just metal recycling centers who don't sell their scrap. I've found a 4 inch diameter by 6 inch long steel cylinder on eBay for $30, but I would rater have a square block of steel. How and where might I get one in my area?

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Look for places that use that type and size material. Junk yards are where they send left overs to try to get money for coffee and donuts for the break room.  Look at machine shops, steel fab shops etc.

 

Start using TPAAAT for both an anvil and the block of steel. 

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I've found everything I've ever needed just by scrounging, dumpster diving, asking around, etc.  When you have more time than money, learning to scrounge is a necessity, and I would also say it's part of being a blacksmith these days.  Sometimes you get to the point where you just need to buy something...but a lot of times if you look hard enough in the right places you'll find what you're looking for.

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What size face are you looking for?  

 

There's a fella on ebay with a large chunk of 4140 for sale (150#!!), but it's cylindrical.  He does have some heavier plate, but it's all rectangular and smallish.  Definitely worth keeping an eye on his store, though....

 

http://www.ebay.com/sch/Metals-Alloys-/29402/i.html?item=400411526755&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&_sac=1&hash=item5d3a630663&_ssn=power-boater&rt=nc

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I lucked into exactly what you're looking for by walking into a local tool and die shop and talking to the owner about what I was looking for.  He had two 75 lb die blocks (with holes in them) sitting on the floor and he sold me both for $30 because they were just in his way.  I have an anvil now and I'd gladly part with one of the two blocks that I have but I can't imagine it being very economical getting it down to VA.  

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As mentioned an old die block will often be a great grade of steel, heat treated hard and tough and often available at scrap rate if you can track down places that used them; (drop forges, plastic extrusion, etc), sometimes the working face will actually serve as a swage for you too.

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