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Halligan58

Rail Road Track Sizes

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Ok here is my problem, up untill about realalisticly 10 min ago I thought railroad tracks were all the same.. granted this is also after I was able to get a full section of track from a co-worker, I plan on making a starter anvil. I know what my cuts and measurements as in length are going to be but my problem is I think i have the wrong type track, I have a section of Flat bottom and the foot is 4 inches (the part that sits on the ties) and the head is 2 inches (the part the train rides on) now my cousin and I are super excited we finally have something to make an anvil with, but he thinks the head is supposed to be the same size as the foot but that is a Bullhead type track in which I CANT FIND ANY lol eastern NC I love this place but people are so selfish when it comes to scrap, So my question is this, Will my flat bottom with a measurement of 2 inch head and 4 inch foot be perfect for an amature with no real shop just a shed, and if so should i use the head or the foot for striking surface?

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Your track sounds a little small to me. All the pieces of track I have are larger, 6" across for the base and the rail top is 3". That being said, even those dimensions have varying weights. The ones I have are on the heavier end of the range, at 120# per linear yard.

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Actually, the best way to use rail is to stand it up, and strike on the end.  That puts the most mass of steel under the hammer.  You only need to have an area the size of your hammer head.  Rail is out there.  Just keep looking.  If you were closer to NJ, I would give you a piece.

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there are many types, yours sounds like our BS 50 O ( weight is about 50 lbs a yard )

bull head is heavier

UIC 54 is heavier ( 54kg per meter )

london underground is much heavier ( maybe 50 lbs per foot )

 

I stock all theses types and more but am on another continent

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. This is a perfect example of why you just can't take folk's opinions too seriously. If your cousin actually knew anything about rail, a track is two rails resting on cross ties, held at gauge by spikes and tie plates. Anyway, there are three sections to rail, the "flange" which is what rests on the cross ties, the "web" which is the section between the flange and the last piece which is the "rail". Yeah, that part is a little confusing and heck, I could have it wrong.

 

The common wisdom is to place rail on end and use the ends of the web and flange for handy tools like hardy, fuller and such.

 

If on the other hand a person would like a more Londonish rail anvil you can of course cut and grind one to London pattern shape though it'll be a bit on the light size. If However you were to cut two length say 18-20" long and cut a third about 12" long. Now, lay the two long pieces flange down off set say 8" if they're 20" long. Then slip the 12" length flange UP between them.

 

You'll be surprised at how little open space there is in the stack and if you weld them together you'll have a decent anvil with a flat face and a section of rail on one end you can form into a horn and a matching length on the other you can form into a heel or square horn or. . .

 

This is how the railroads stack rail to store or move, it's very stable and takes up the least amount of room. The flanges that make the foot will touch and there will be a gap between the rails almost exactly the same width and shape as the contact face of the rail. The rail face of the upside down length will also be touching the flanges on the bottom AND touching the two webs on either side.

 

What this makes, if you went with 12" lengths, is an anvil that is a tad heavier than the rail weight. Rail weight is lbs./yard or KG/meter. to make the horns/heel you remove some steel but it's mostly the web and some flange so you don't lose a lot. What's really cool though is you can make a really nice working weight anvil of really high quality steel for a little scrounging and work. If you used say 120lb rail, two lengths 18" long and one 12" long you'd have an anvil a little under 180lbs. You'd need 4' of 120lb. rail to start but. . .

 

The upside down flange that makes the face is supported totally by the rail underneath and the welds along the outside edges. Seriously almost complete contact throughout. Before you lay the right side up sections, cut about 1/4" from the matching edges but leave a few places intact so they touch and maintain position. This gives you a good gap to weld the two flanges and the rail of the upside down section together.

 

There is a temptation to cut sections from the outside webs so you can weld directly to the center web but this is so much more likely to warp the piece I've resisted. The three webs welded parallel make a VERY rigid body and it's not too likely to warp if you don't try welding ay of the joints in a single pass.

 

Heat treat is up to you, it's 1085 low alloy steel and you don't really want more than RC 55, rail isn't intended to take impact so temper some give into it.

 

Of course that's just my opinion I could be . . . full of it. <grin>

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I don't know where I'm eastern nc you live but the foss recycling in havelock seems to have a steady supply of railroad track for .50 cents a pound. They also have lots of scrap there for a pretty decent price. Found a post vice there last time I went. If the one in havelock is to far the ones in Jacksonville and Lagrange also sell scrap to the public.

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people stingy with scrap here too. i think it`s the 10 cents a pound they get for it. railway track up in northern ontario is there for the picking, they just tore up hundreds of km of track thru ottawa past north bay. finding a piece you can lift, theres the trick. heavy stuff, but well used, lots of folding(is that the right word) on the top, so you need to grind that off to make an anvil in the traditional sense. stand it on end as mentioned earlier

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