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I Forge Iron

My DIY Anvil...


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I decided it was high time I get a working anvil going. This will be used primarily for blades, therefore the work face doesn't need to be huge, just larger than the face of a hammer. I had an older 12lbs sledgehammer head laying around that I found at my old house...ding, ding, ding. I figured I could make a bucket anvil using concrete and a 6gal bucket. Then, I had a friend give me several scrap metal plates that were all uniformly sized. Awesome, now I have a lot of mass that will transmit the kinetic energy down to a 3/4" steel plate under the anvil and back up to the face...I think that's a good thing. I know the extra mass is good.

Here are my materials, minus the Quickrete.

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Now, never use a hammer to break out the bottom of the bucket, because you will crack it.

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I cut out the bottom of the barrel so I wouldn't end up busting it out sometime down the road while in use.

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I also had to grind down the corners of one of the plates so it could sit flat inside the bucket.

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I forgot to take pictures of how the plates are arranged, but, when viewed from the side, they'd look like this:

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| | | | | | | | | | 

The plate I ground down sits on top of the other nine plates with the hammer head centered on it.

Then, I set the  bucket on a piece of wood, filled it halfway with concrete and gently pounded the nine plates in place. I filled the bucket some more till the concrete was even with the top of the plates, then I set the tenth plate on top with the hammer head centered on it. I filled the bucket with the remainder of the concrete. I let the concrete start to set, wiggling the hammer head as it set. I wanted the hammer head to sit loosely so I could use some silicone caulk to mount it to reduce vibrations into the concrete around the head, it will also quiet any ring that the head may produce.

Here's the bottom plate I will use.

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The concrete is setting.

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Sitting on a scale...I was barely able to lift it enough to get it on the scale. BTW, that says 195lbs.

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Now I just have to finish letting the concrete dry and use the silicone to mount the hammer head.

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That'll work till something better shows up. I don't know how effective stacking the plates will be, sure it has mass but it doesn't count nearly as much if it isn't solidly connected, say welded. Did you put concrete between the plates? I believe that may reduce it's incident of rebound.

 

Still a good start, I've worked on far worse "anvils" and it doesn't matter so much so long as you can work the iron.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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There is a little bit on concrete between the plates that are lined up side by side, mostly the bottom half to keep them from moving too much. All of the plates are touching metal to metal, though, especially the top horizontal plate. The hammer head also contacts the top plate metal to metal. Before I wiggled the hammer head and made it loose, I struck it with a hammer and it had some really good rebound to it, not as good as my friend's 100-something pound Kohlswa, but good nonetheless.

 

You are right, though, it'll work till something better comes along.

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Won't the concrete just slowly braek apart with repeated hammering on the sledge?  Concrete doesn't like vibration.

 

That was the thought behind the silicone, to dampen the vibrations going directly from the hammer head to the concrete. Like I said before, the head still will contact the top plate metal to metal, there won't be any silicone between them, only between the head and concrete. There is only about a 1/8" gap between the concrete and hammer head, so it should fit tight without wobbling. It will also help quiet any ring that the head might have.

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I got the sledge head mounted with the silicone. There was about a 1/16"-1/8" gap so it was a snug fit and I was quite liberal with the silicone. Now to let that set. I tapped it with a small ball-peen and had the hammer rebound as high as it started, about jumped out of my hand. I'll give it 24 hours to set and then I can test it with a lawnmower blade that needs straightening. I'm really hoping that after all this work, it will be usable and work for my needs for the time being.

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I had a guy at the big flea market in Ardmore Tn tell me "you can use an Oak tree for an anvil as long as your steel is hot enough and you work fast!" I think your setup is at least better than an Oak tree so that is something.

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  • 1 year later...

 

I got the sledge head mounted with the silicone. There was about a 1/16"-1/8" gap so it was a snug fit and I was quite liberal with the silicone. Now to let that set. I tapped it with a small ball-peen and had the hammer rebound as high as it started, about jumped out of my hand. I'll give it 24 hours to set and then I can test it with a lawnmower blade that needs straightening. I'm really hoping that after all this work, it will be usable and work for my needs for the time being.

 

Any news? Has it withstood any serious beating? How much? I'm on a budget; a sledgehammer anvil is my only hope.
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I had a guy at the big flea market in Ardmore Tn tell me "you can use an Oak tree for an anvil as long as your steel is hot enough and you work fast!" I think your setup is at least better than an Oak tree so that is something.

 

We don't have oak so I had to make do with birch. (Go ahead guys go at it. <grin>) The yellow thing on the ground behind me is a Coleman Inflate All, a 12v DC blower intended to inflate matresses, boats, etc. but is works a treat as a forge blower.

 

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That was my field expedient forge, 12v blower, a couple feet of pipe, a wood fire, driller's hammer, a block of birch. All I was doing was untwisting a log tong but it got untwisted, arced correctly, points set and is still hanging in my shop ready for the next time. that was when we were clearing land and building 15 years ago, didn't have time to drive to town and spend a gob on a new log tong. The next day I moved a less valuable anvil and forge tools to the build site. There was NO WAY I was going to risk my Soderfors untended in the woods as close to the road as our place is.

 

Anyhow, you don't need the tools, it's your thumbs and what you have in your head that do the work.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Welcome aboard Bored, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you might be surprised how may of us there are within visiting distance. By us I mean The Association of Alaskan Blacksmiths!

 

I live just up the Parks Hwy. across the city line from Wasilla, on Vine Rd. Lots of us in the Mat Su Valley, a number of guys in Anchorage, Eagle R., Chugiak, etc. a couple few on the Peninsula, some more in the interior and SE. We don't hear much from Reed but he's on Kodiak.

 

PM me if you're shy, Art On Fire is June 21st at the Museum of Transportation and Industry by the Wasilla Airport. A few of us will be demoing there. The next club meeting is July 12th. Get with me for directions to Pat's.

 

Frosty The Lucky. AKA club pres.

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It works great, not as good as a real anvil, but great nonetheless. Nice rebound and quiet. Its a pretty small working surface but it helps with hammer control and accuracy. It weighs a ton, lots of mass in there.

Now mine is not just quickrete, I have the RR plate structure inside the quickrete.

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Well, a very massive branch on one of my ash trees just inexplicably broke off, so I'm splitting the difference: I'm mating a section of it with a bucket 'o concrete, and a 10lb hammerhead, and I'll see how that works out. Thanks to broomhead for the tip.

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