Glenn

Anvil height, how can you tell if it is the right height

Recommended Posts

 Very interesting, but I miss your point. What does that have to do with my response to the original post?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, jlpservicesinc said:

If a person is out of shape for a given activity soreness is part of the bodies building process and then it becomes to what level a person is willing to push themselves.. 

Yes and no.

if your muscles are sore after doing a particular activity, it may be a good thing unless it is your lower back muscles. If instead it is your joints that are sore, you are doing something wrong or something you shouldn't do at all. 

Hand forging is an asymmetrical, repetitive, high impact activity done in a semi stationary position and most of the time without the benefit of a warm up, stretching or light start. 

Unless you are built like a tank and only use 10% of your strength for forging, you are bound to get sore joint, bad back, elbow or shoulder bursitis and other marvels. 

You can of course get in shape just by doing your work, however most of the time, it is necessary to do some strength build up that is symmetrical, and endurance or resistance training even if it is 10 minutes a day at home. Any job that requires the repetitive use of one limb over another over and over, needs to be done with care. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Marc1 said:

Hand forging is an asymmetrical, repetitive, high impact activity done in a semi stationary position and most of the time without the benefit of a warm up, stretching or light start. 

Yes, indeed. And after a while we ourselves become asymmetrical. Have a look at your hammer hand forearm muscle compared with your opposite one. Sometimes I feel like one of those crabs with the one big nipper.  I don't have a death grip on the hammer either.

A physio friend of mine said I should practise hammering with the other hand, even if it is just belting a block of wood or something. I cannot forge left handed no matter how I try. No control at all. Not ambidextrous. Ambidangerous.

I get a bit of wrist pain at times, but mostly it's the little finger that feels the strain. Less so, since I lifted the anvil to wrist height rather than knuckle height.

And how many of us actually do a warm up? I know I should, but …..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Marc1 said:

Yes and no.

if your muscles are sore after doing a particular activity, it may be a good thing unless it is your lower back muscles. If instead it is your joints that are sore, you are doing something wrong or something you shouldn't do at all. 

Hand forging is an asymmetrical, repetitive, high impact activity done in a semi stationary position and most of the time without the benefit of a warm up, stretching or light start. 

Unless you are built like a tank and only use 10% of your strength for forging, you are bound to get sore joint, bad back, elbow or shoulder bursitis and other marvels. 

You can of course get in shape just by doing your work, however most of the time, it is necessary to do some strength build up that is symmetrical, and endurance or resistance training even if it is 10 minutes a day at home. Any job that requires the repetitive use of one limb over another over and over, needs to be done with care. 

I agree but, often to many times people only get a 2 part of the sentence when it comes to worrying about hurting themselves   

They get "dont do this"   and "pain/damage"..

This becomes their catch phrase as these are keys all there life..

As pointed out an exercise program would be best as would a stretching program but who does this.. (I do based on the different jobs I do).

I spent 8hrs outside in 28F doing a front right U joint on a freinds 2014 F250 and then some forging to finish up an order in that same 28f cold. Hunched over working on the truck, wrestling rusted, seized parts..  I could barely walk  or bend over after..

Today I feel great..  though I feel like I had a work out.. heavy parts, awkward movements, extreme cold with long term exposure..  all "Bad" things..  

I expect to be sore..  if i were doing this every day one adapts and then you start looking for ways of doing things better..  longer ratchet handles to lessen wrist damage,  anti vibration air guns..etc etc.. (all things I all ready own and use).

If you think this about blacksmithing then I'd guess you have never been a farrier " though what you wrote about blacksmithing is exponentially the truth in farrier work.."

Driving, jump out of the truck, suit up,  and get right to work..  0-100 in 5min after getting there.. finish up, drive to next job which can be 5min -45min or more driving time to do it all again..

When I Smith there is always a warm up period.. I also use a hand crank blower vs electric for this very reason of using both sides.. 

I take it slow and usually pick a lighter action action starting.. It's a common sense approach also using a lighter hammer to warm up with.. I also will use a lighter hammer if I have taken a week or more away from the forge and if I come back after 3 or 4 days and start work with a heavier hammer and feel anything amiss, i instantly switch to a lighter hammer..    

Be in tune with what the body is telling you ASAP.. But also understand why the body is telling you X, y and Z.. 

I've pointed out before we all have only a finite number of uses or movements, heart beats, etc, etc..   

It isnt till one has some experience within a given activity that they can then see for themselves the correct actions that need be taken... 

There is s difference promoting a behavior one on one with seeing, and applying what is shown vs"""""

Doing things smartly vs not doing them because you read something on the internet was my point..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all! I've read through this thread and others on anvil height. I have 65 inches of railroad track I'm going to cut and mount vertically. I thought about just digging a hole and putting the entire thing into the ground but a combination of factors dissuading me from that. First, the soil here has very large rocks that woukd need to be broken up. A hole also would mean a permanent location that I wouldn't be able to move. Somebody else suggested as little permenant choices as possible when designing my smithy. 

Anyway, since have to cut this railroad anvil anyway, I'm wondering how much anvil to base height there should be? I know the striking height should be about wrist height and I'll need to tailor it using the methods previously outlined here. But how much room should I leave for the base? I was originally thinking about 3.5 inches and using 3 layers of 2x4 on the bottom and then going up the side to secure both vertically andhorizontally? 

Is that enough weight under the anvil? Taller? Shorter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First set up a practice anvil of some nature and adjust the height until you find what anvil height works best for you. 

Next figure out an anvil stand, and stand bottom, that will support your rr track anvil on end. 

Now that you have the entire assembly together, you can measure the length of the track needed to fit the stand.

Keep the remainder of the track available to use in a horizontal position on a table etc. You can then turn it to any position needed for the project at hand. Horizontal you can make use of the rail head, the flat base, and all the inside and outside curves of the track. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually adjust my anvil height for the task at hand. Since my anvil is mounted on a heavy tree stump and my floor is dirt with about 4 inches of limestone gravel on top. I adjust by digging the gravel away or adding more which adjusts my height relative to the anvil. Hammering on the steel in a hole has it's advantages.:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've dug myself in so deep I'm surrounded by dwarves:D Sturdy wood blocks are handy to raise shorter smiths on a concrete floor when the anvil height is fixed. I wonder if an old barber chair base would tolerate being hammered on with an anvil sitting atop the cylinder?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a range of anvil "stumps" for when I teach and try to get students working on one that's close to their requirements.  It was always amusing when someone would try to use "Larry's anvil" at SOFA, Larry was 6'4"(?) and most folks were *not*!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Glenn said:

Next figure out an anvil stand, and stand bottom, that will support your rr track anvil on end. 

------------

Keep the remainder of the track available to use in a horizontal position on a table etc. You can then turn it to any position needed for the project at hand. Horizontal you can make use of the rail head, the flat base, and all the inside and outside curves of the track. 

But how do I figure out an anvil stand if I dont have the angle cut to length yet? Both the top-heavyness and the overall weight will change considerably once its cut. 

Also, if I'm going to make a multilayered wooden stand, is there a big enough difference between 2x4's and say 2x8's, other than cost obviously? 

As far as keeping the cut off peice for a horizontal rail, definitly! I'm even considering mounting it behind the vertical anvil, grinding it flat and maybe putting a hardie hole in it. 

Before its referenced, I'm very familiar with the "another anvil thread" and will be incorporating some of the ideas in it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take the overall weight and divide by the overall length to get weight per length. for example 100 pounds and 5 feet makes it 20 pounds per foot. Same with the wood, weight per length times total length of the wood equals the weight of the wood. I would suggest a wooden block of standing lumber (end grain up) about 2/3 to 3/4 the height of the stand. A block 12-16 inches square with the track in the center. Screw, bolt, and glue the lumber together.  It is your anvil and stand, make what you think will work for you.

Add a piece of 1 inch sq heavy walled tubing into the stand as a hardie hole (grin)

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have one section a length that you are looking at for a starting height..  Make a steel triangle that the RR slides into but rests on the ground.. Then dig a hole and put a big rock in it an set the RR on this .. Change the height till you find what you like. 

For me this typically is 6 months of working on it.. After years of this i now know instantly if an anvil is the right height or not.. Depending on how easy it is to change I might not bother if it's a demo or training session where I won't be fighting the height for hours or days on end.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Thursigar said:

But how do I figure out an anvil stand if I dont have the angle cut to length yet?

figuring the height of your stand takes a bit of math.

1: hold your forearm parallel to the ground. your hammer face too should be parallel to the ground.

2: measure, or have a friend measure the distance from your hammer facs to the ground.

3: subtract ths height of your anvil from this(2 anove)

4: now you have the height of your stand.

5: do a full scale side view drawing of your stand, legs and top. now you can measure the length of your legs and cut and weld it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Glenn said:

 I would suggest a wooden block of standing lumber (end grain up) about 2/3 to 3/4 the height of the anvil height. A block 12-16 inches square with the rr track in the center. Screw, bolt, and glue the lumber together.  It is your anvil and stand, make what you think will work for you.

Add a piece of 1 inch sq heavy walled tubing into the stand as a hardie hole (grin)

I'm assuming you mean for this block to be behind the anvil. Assuming correctly. How much of the basbase do I put under it to create an L shape, if any at all?

I also saw another L stand that had metal plates on top. I assume th 0 is is because the grain is vertical and the anvil surface area is small when positioned vertically and may dig into or split the lumber. But what about energy loss? Wouldn't having a metal plate and wooden blocks make you lose energy since they are none unit? 

56 minutes ago, anvil said:

3: subtract this height of your anvil from this (2 above)

4: now you have the height of your stand.

But I need to cut the anvil to height, so the 3rd step is difficult without considering the 4th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, anvil said:

1: hold your forearm parallel to the ground. your hammer face too should be parallel to the ground.

This doesn't make sense to me. With my forearm parallel to the ground I have to hold my wrist bent forward at an uncomfortable angle to make the hammer face parallel with the ground. 

Please explain what you mean, maybe a picture. I'm not saying this isn't a good method but it's not making sense to me.

I've always set my anvils between wrist and knuckle height when standing relaxed in my work shoes. I don't need an exact height but do prefer it a little lower for heavy hammering or using top tools.

Thursigar: NO stacked lumber under the anvil, any anvil if it's possible to avoid. The more layers the more energy lost. 

You have an excellent piece of rail all it needs is a foot under it so it doesn't get driven into the ground over time. A foot is the "L" folk are talking about, visualize a hand truck "nose" or a simple candle holder. Something wide enough it is stable. Holding it vertical can be really simple, I prefer a piece of lumber that is wider than the rail's flange, a long spacer on each side that frames the flange. The spacers would be slightly thicker than the flange. Screwed into the frame are a couple pieces that over lap the flange and hold it in place. You don't want to attach the rail, it isn't going anywhere you DO want to be able to lift it out so you can flip it over and access the other end.

You can make this kind of frame from welded steel or bolt it it's not critical, the stand only holds the rail vertical it doesn't need to be structural beyond that.

Whether you use a piece of wood timber say: 4" x 4" 6" x 6", length of oak round, whatever, stop it below the anvil's face say at least 6" so it doesn't interfere with using the sides. You can mount other handy tools to the block so don't paint any more corners than you have to.

Rail mounted vertically has more useful surfaces than laying horizontally besides having a much better depth of rebound. If you need a large flat face there's one right there and it's easier than most folk think to hand the stock vertically and hammer horizontally. The rounded inside corners where flange transitions into web and web into rail cap are swages. All this is there you can grind many more tools in the ends and this is why you want to be able to flip it end for end easily it lets you double the number of bottom tools you grind in.

Make sense?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thursigar, have you read through the Improvised Anvils thread Charles put together?  There may be some ideas in there.  If it were me, I'd treat this like a post anvil and I'd get some thick walled round or square pipe that the RR track fits into vertically, weld the bottom of pipe to a 8"x8" or 12"x12" 1/2" thick metal plate, fill partially with pea gravel and tamp, put in your cut RR track vertically, fill the rest of the way with the pea gravel, tamping every few inches.  Use metal wedges to wedge between sides of pipe and RR track at the top.  You would only need 12" to 18" of RR track for this and if you use pea gravel, you can adjust the height up or down as needed.  You could also use concrete and maybe some rebar instead of pea gravel to lock the RR track in place but you would lose the ability to adjust height if that's important to you.  Just a thought...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Frosty said:
5 hours ago, anvil said:

1: hold your forearm parallel to the ground. your hammer face too should be parallel to the ground.

This doesn't make sense to me

Frosty, thanks for catching that. My bad. 

I meant to say when the hammer handle is parallel, not the forearm.

I usually use knuckle height, but have found that's not always correct, so have been using the hammer handle as my guide.

4 hours ago, Thursigar said:

But I need to cut the anvil to height, so the 3rd step is difficult without considering the 4th

I think you are using a rr track vertical, correct?

Then figure where your hammer face is parallel to the ground, and this is where the face of your anvil should be.

Then get the end of the track as close to the ground as you can, and fill the rest in with wood.  ;)  :)

 If you do like I said, when you are done with step 3, you are at the bottom of your anvil.  :) :) With any luck, whatever you do next will keep it from falling to the ground. :) good luck! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Frosty said:

Thursigar: NO stacked lumber under the anvil, any anvil if it's possible to avoid. The more layers the more energy lost. 

 

This is actually what I suspected, thank you for confirming it!

13 hours ago, Frosty said:

You have an excellent piece of rail all it needs is a foot under it so it doesn't get driven into the ground over time. A foot is the "L" folk are talking about, visualize a hand truck "nose" or a simple candle holder. Something wide enough it is stable. Holding it vertical can be really simple, I prefer a piece of lumber that is wider than the rail's flange, a long spacer on each side that frames the flange. The spacers would be slightly thicker than the flange. Screwed into the frame are a couple pieces that over lap the flange and hold it in place. You don't want to attach the rail, it isn't going anywhere you DO want to be able to lift it out so you can flip it over and access the other end.

2

The Hand truck nose analogy really cleared it up. basically get it as low to the ground as possible while still maintaining a wider solid base. So Im looking to build the post out of lumber like he below pic, but only run the lumber up 3/4 of the size of the anvil and not have as much wood UNDER the anvil since I have it. Instead, Im thinking the same board size ran the entire length from front to back underneath? Something like the pic below, but single 2x8 instead of the metal plate. Also lower on the vertical lumber. 

d8145fdac36fb24afeee2fc2359e402c.jpg.a7efa6356c59fb77462106515a7f84af.jpg

13 hours ago, Frosty said:

All this is there you can grind many more tools in the ends and this is why you want to be able to flip it end for end easily it lets you double the number of bottom tools you grind in.

1

Yes, I'm planning on doing a hardy hot cut, bending forks, and maaaybe a fuller (undecided on the 3rd tool). 

13 hours ago, Frosty said:

Make sense?

 

 

12 hours ago, kjbarth said:

Thursigar, have you read through the Improvised Anvils thread Charles put together?  There may be some ideas in there.

 

Multiple times, Ive even saved some of the pics for reference!

12 hours ago, kjbarth said:

 If it were me, I'd treat this like a post anvil and I'd get some thick walled round or square pipe that the RR track fits into vertically, weld the bottom of pipe to a 8"x8" or 12"x12" 1/2" thick metal plate, fill partially with pea gravel and tamp, put in your cut RR track vertically, fill the rest of the way with the pea gravel, tamping every few inches.  Use metal wedges to wedge between sides of pipe and RR track at the top.  You would only need 12" to 18" of RR track for this and if you use pea gravel, you can adjust the height up or down as needed.  You could also use concrete and maybe some rebar instead of pea gravel to lock the RR track in place but you would lose the ability to adjust height if that's important to you.  Just a thought...

I really like this idea, its unique and I think it would look cool. Should be able to move it pretty easy too. Unfortunately, I do not have a welder nor do I know how to weld. It's on my list of things to learn, but blacksmithing took preference!

10 hours ago, anvil said:

I think you are using a rr track vertical, correct?

Then figure where your hammer face is parallel to the ground, and this is where the face of your anvil should be.

Then get the end of the track as close to the ground as you can, and fill the rest in with wood.  ;)  :)

 If you do like I said, when you are done with step 3, you are at the bottom of your anvil.  :) :) With any luck, whatever you do next will keep it from falling to the ground. :) good luck! 

2

Yes, vertical. The problem is that I can get it to the ground, and even under it if I so desired. The piece is 65 inches long and the thing Im trying to figure out is where to cut it. Where I cut it is dependent upon the base design, which I think I am close to. 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dont cut it,  keep all your mass. So Keep the mass and bury it. That piece of plate on the bottom will keep it from sinking further into the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good deal, I like to know things like this and that was out of my ball park. Got it now I think.

Holding the hammer at your side with the handle parallel to the ground?

I like my anvils between knuckle and wrist though I have two I should mount the 200 lb. Trenton at knuckle height and the 125 lb. Soderfors at wrist height. One for sledge work the other for nice fancies. Nothing's always correct, we just have to adjust our blows.

Tursigar: I think you have the picture, sometimes more ideas is worse than too few. 

Burying the full length as Anvil suggests is attractive , it'd give you a good 200 lbs. under the hammer but you have to know that's where it's always going to be. I move my anvil around in my shop while working on it too often for it  to work for me. That's just me though and what works for me doesn't mean a whole lot out there.

That's a nice length of rail though, maybe two vertical and one horizontal bench anvils. If you had a welder and time to preheat and post heat it could be welded into a sort of London pattern(ish) 200 lb. anvil. Whatever you decide you don't have to do it right away, you can just lay it on its side and use it till you decide. Yes?

Frosty The Lucky.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't have that long of a piece of rr track so I mounted mine horizontal. I wasn't too worried though because I already had a post anvil.

IMG_20181117_131821.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All if this has been fantastic advice everyone! 

On 11/17/2018 at 6:05 PM, Frosty said:

Burying the full length as Anvil suggests is attractive , it'd give you a good 200 lbs. under the hammer but you have to know that's where it's always going to be. 

I am not committed enough to burying it. Between the rocks that I would need to break through as well as then having to literally build my smithy around it, no thanks.

Quote

. Whatever you decide you don't have to do it right away, you can just lay it on its side and use it till you decide. Yes?

I am almost done with the design and just have one more question:

Which would be better 4 4x4 lumber blocks for the backing or 4 2x8's? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The backing (post) only needs to keep it from falling over, it's not really structural. Once you develop hammer control to the point you aren't knocking things sideways you could use a couple surveyor's stakes. Whatever you use it needs to be wider than the rail flange so you can make a clip to hold it up. Heck a couple pieces of angle iron drilled for screws is probably the easiest. All you need for tools is a hack saw, hand drill, bits and wrench or screw driver. 

A 4" x 4" is probably not wide enough, I don't know of any rail with a flange that narrow. 6" x 6" maybe or a 2" x 6" is probably good. 

Cut a couple pieces of 2" x 2" (thickness isn't important) angle iron say 20" long. With the lumber laying on the ground or better along the edge of a bench, lay the rial on it aligned along the edge. Put the angle iron on the rail flange and mark it at the center of the 2" x 6" or a way down the 6" x 6". Center punch it a couple or three places and drill it for wood screws. Lay it back on the rail flange on the wood and pilot drill for the screws. Repeat on the other side of the lumber. THEN screw the angle iron to the post. If you do the first one before you mark the other side it'll be canted at an odd angle and make it harder. Yes?

Screw the angle iron to the lumber and stand it up on the foot. You can lag screw the lumber to the foot from underneath no problem. Counter sink the screws will prevent it rocking. 

Another option for mounting the post is by bracketing it with angle iron, screwed to the foot and just wide enough for the post to slip in. A couple more screws into the post and it's secure. Tapping the holes in the foot to receive the screws would be better than trying to get self taping screws to work in plate

Make sense?

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.