njanvilman

Making a Fisher anvil, O1 tool steel source?

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I have been contacted by a representative of SOFA about casting a Fisher anvil at the Quad States meet.  There are many technical problems to be worked out.  The first is a question for everyone:  Who is a good source for O1 tool steel?  This is what is needed for the face and horn.  The face is easy; probably 1/4" flat stock.  But I will need some thicker, maybe 3/4" to carve the steel for the horn.  We are still working out what size anvil to attempt, so I do not know a width yet.

 

So if anyone has a recommendation of who to contact for this material, let me know.  Not much is needed.  We will probably only be doing a 20 - 30 lb anvil.  If anyone has any 1/4" x 1 1/2", that will do for the face.  But a thicker piece(3/4" x 1 1/2"?)  will probably be needed for me to shape the horn steel.

 

This is very tentative.  I am not sure if we can pull this off.  There are a lot of parts of the process to create and figure out.

 

Thanks.

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That is awesome. I still want to cast a 5-10 lbr for giggles one day. I really hope this makes it on YouTube.

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Greetings Josh,

 

You might try Moses Glick in PA.  He sells tool steel on EBay.   I have purchased material from him before and have been pleased.   Some sizes listed now. Also a piece of 7/16 by 4 by 18 listed by another supplier for 60.00

Sounds like quite a project...

 

Forge on and make beautiful things

Jim

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We will probably only be doing a 20 - 30 lb anvil. 

 

Oh come on, go all in and do one of at least 1000 lbs.    LOL :P

 

 

I'd also love to see a video of the process. I might even have to set the time aside to go to see what you do if you make it.

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Oh come on, go all in and do one of at least 1000 lbs.    LOL :P

 

 

I'd also love to see a video of the process. I might even have to set the time aside to go to see what you do if you make it.

I would love to go big, but the whole setup will have to be created at QS, so we will be limited by what we can do.

 

DSW, North of Phili...so close to NJ.  Let me know when you want to visit the museum.  Have you been to it?  I cannot keep track who has been here.

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No I haven't but I really want to. I sent you a PM last year, but we couldn't match schedules when I was down working at the Jersey shore. I'm hoping to get the chance this winter, but I'm headed out of town again to the DC area to work on a handicapped bath room for my parents since this is the slow time of year for work. Hopefully after this trip I'll be done until the weather gets warmer... My helper isn't at all interested in standing outside running a wet saw to cut tile in freezing weather for some strange reason.  ( sheeze)

 

At worst I have another 2 jobs down at the shore coming up this year. One starting end of Feb/march and one as soon as the weather gets warm enough that the house is liveable ( no heat) and  the temps stay high enough that I can urethane a floor safely.

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Let me know when you have the time.  I am 45 minutes from the Pa turnpike/NJ turnpike bridge.  Near 07727.

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DSW: 1000#?  Weren't you there last year when Patrick was using the 1000#+ anvil he had built?

 

 

I would think you need several sets of tool steel pieces so you and try more than once.  As I recall it took them several attempts to forge weld the face on the anvil a couple of years ago and folks are quite familiar with that process!

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I attempted to do this as a senior project when I was getting my metallurgical engineering degree, but rather than an anvil, I used a generic square type shape. I used 1" thick S7 tools steel and built a variety of pattern heights. I worked with a local foundary pouring steel. The goal of my project was to see how much metal (height) was needed to bond to a room temperature steel plate. I triied a variety, up to 8" I think. None of mine bonded, but in doing the subsequent metallography I discovered the foundrymen had added a coating to the plates preventing them from bonding. Apparently they mistook them for steel chills that they use to locally cool regions of castings more rapidly and in that application you don't want the block to stick. What I did find out was that at 8" thick using liquid steel you do have enough metal to heat that plate to around 1800F. I know what I did is not exactly how Fisher's were made, but it was still a cool project and I do think you could design a mold system that would allow a room temperature steel face plate to stick to a low allow steel cast anvil.

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Mcmaster Carr has O1 steel plate multiple thickness and widths. 1 1/2, 3, and 6 ft lengths. 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 1 1/2 ft is listed at about $27 the 3/4 piece lists at $33.
Is this the first Fisher you have cast?

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01 seems a strange choice to me. Shouldn't you use something a little tougher?

I'd have thought a lower carbon spring steel would have been better or is this simply for proof of concept?

Andy

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DSW: 1000#?  Weren't you there last year when Patrick was using the 1000#+ anvil he had built?

 

 

Thomas I think you have me confused with some one else. Who's Patrick and where did I supposedly see him?

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Thanks for the replies.  I will try to respond as best I can:

 

O1 steel is what Fisher used on their anvils.  We are trying to duplicate what was done.  I am sure there are better steels out there, but we are trying to keep it authentic.

 

The steel welded to the cast iron in the mold.  It was not forge welded on.

 

Depending on the final size anvil decided on, and the amount of iron we can make, we will probably try to pour 2 anvils in different flasks.

 

The original horn steel was CAST out of tool steel.  I have never been able to find out who did them for Fisher.  I do have some of the original blanks, just not any small enough for what we are planning.  It will not be too much work to machine/grind/file/sand a small horn from a block to tool steel.  I have a Bridgeport mill and all of the tools needed.

 

Thank you for the tool steel sources.  Once the final size is determined, I will get what is needed.

 

Since the horn piece is only a top piece, and I have un-used tops pieces as guides, it will be easier to do stock removal from a rectangle than a round section, and less to take off.

 

 

As I said above, this is all in its early stages of planning.  I will keep everyone informed as progress is made.  Thanks for everyone's interest.

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DSW see the post underneath mine?   Patrick was the Friday night demonstrator at Quad-State in 2014; they were making pattern welded sledges and he brought the 1000+ pound anvil he had made.  His day job is as metallurgist at Scott Forge.  My point was that a 1000#'r had already been to Quad-State.  Been there, done that, got the shirt...(of course I got to see the mile long anvil and Ptree's "Anvilstream" as well Quad-State abounds with odd ball items---and oddballs for that matter...)

 

I was lucky enough to go to Quad-State even though I live in New Mexico; when I lived 1350 miles closer I never missed them!

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DSW see the post underneath mine?   Patrick was the Friday night demonstrator at Quad-State in 2014; they were making pattern welded sledges and he brought the 1000+ pound anvil he had made.  His day job is as metallurgist at Scott Forge.  My point was that a 1000#'r had already been to Quad-State.  Been there, done that, got the shirt...(of course I got to see the mile long anvil and Ptree's "Anvilstream" as well Quad-State abounds with odd ball items---and oddballs for that matter...)

 

I was lucky enough to go to Quad-State even though I live in New Mexico; when I lived 1350 miles closer I never missed them!

 

 

TP  Please start your own thread if you want to talk about your life experiences.  Keep posts to items relevant to "CASTING A FISHER ANVIL".  Thank you.

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If this project actually happens keep us all posted. Not only will I show up for that but I'll add some muscle to it if you guys can find a use for me ;)

George

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In the last 24 hours, we have gotten the ball rolling.  We will probably be doing several 20 lb anvils.  I will be working with Johny Williams, of Alabama.  He did the iron pour at SOFA eight years ago.  It will take a lot of experimental foundry work.  Hopefully we will be able to try this out ahead of time to make sure it will work.   The fun part is recreating what Fisher did over 500,000 times in 120 years of anvil making.  They solved the mystery of the iron/steel weld, now we try to recreate what they did.

 

Updates are we progress.

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Just curious about the choice of the top plate thickness. The only fisher I have seen is mine, so I am not judging the choice. Mine has about a 3/4" top plate, were the plates smaller as you went Down in weight? I would worry the preheat would be lost really fast with a thinner plate.

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I am very interested in seeing what you come up with, is there any surviving literature or instructions as to how the steel face was mated to the  cast iron regarding pre heat temp   of mold and steel face, cast iron temp before poor  ,steel surface condition fluxing etc?

 Is the body grey or white cast iron?

 

 Are you doing this at quad state this year?

 

I find Fishers fascinating, possibly because I have never knowingly seen one in the flesh, they are rare here in the UK,  partly because the smith in me has a loyalty to forged anvils and I like that they are different from that  (rebelious- apart from the crowd) and lastly because they have such a loyal following. 

 

 I would have thought O1 would be a great steel for an anvil face, easy hardening (comparatively)  is there any information how a deep hardening steel like O1 was quenched on the originals?

Good luck with your project.

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Just curious about the choice of the top plate thickness. The only fisher I have seen is mine, so I am not judging the choice. Mine has about a 3/4" top plate, were the plates smaller as you went Down in weight? I would worry the preheat would be lost really fast with a thinner plate.

 

Teeny guy

 

I hate to tell you, but your top plate is not 3/4" thick.  Look carefully at the anvil, particularly where the top plate meets the cutting table.  You should be able to see the top plate thickness there.  What looks like a thick plate is just a good old foundrymans/patternmakers trick.  The casting has that line about 3/4" down from the top.  It is actually iron made to look like a thick top.  Depending on the size of your anvil, the steel plate went from 3/16" to 1/2"(on the 800).

 

I have seen Fisher anvils advertised as having a "double thick top plate".  NO such thing.  It is just an illusion that Fisher did to make everyone think the top plate was thicker than it was.  But what they did was adequate; look at how well many of the Fisher anvils have held up.  Yes, a lot have chips, broken, and worn out tops, but these are working tools that have had a lot of use and abuse in their lifetimes.

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I am very interested in seeing what you come up with, is there any surviving literature or instructions as to how the steel face was mated to the  cast iron regarding pre heat temp   of mold and steel face, cast iron temp before poor  ,steel surface condition fluxing etc?

 Is the body grey or white cast iron?

 

From my work on this companies history for the last 15 years, I think I know how it was done.  This project will be a great test to see if I am correct.  I am working with an experience foundryman, and hope between us we will be successful.  I will fully explain the process in my future book on Fisher & Norris.  Everything we do will be videoed too.

 

 Are you doing this at quad state this year?

 

If all goes well with our trial run this spring, the goal is to do it at Quad States.  We should know by May.

 

I find Fishers fascinating, possibly because I have never knowingly seen one in the flesh, they are rare here in the UK,  partly because the smith in me has a loyalty to forged anvils and I like that they are different from that  (rebelious- apart from the crowd) and lastly because they have such a loyal following. 

 

Fisher did make over 500,000 anvils over 120 years, so there are plenty in the States.  If you are ever over here, there are many of us with Fishers that you could try out.  Fisher did ship anvils all over the world, though I do not think too many made it to England.  Most probably went to South America, Africa and Canada.

 

 I would have thought O1 would be a great steel for an anvil face, easy hardening (comparatively)  is there any information how a deep hardening steel like O1 was quenched on the originals?

 

The face plate actually got annealed during the pour.  After the anvil was cleaned up, sprues removed, and all of the grinding was done, the face was hardened.  Not the horn.  The face of O1 was not that thick.  The anvil was suspended over a coal fire and the face was brought up to a red/hardening temperature.  The anvil was then swung and quenched in a large tub of water.  If the face stayed on and hardened properly, the anvil was painted and shipped out.

 

 

Good luck with your project.

 

Thanks.

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