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Hello, all, I'm a very novice "blacksmith" and had a few questions that I'm sure have been answered before but I'm not sure how to search up the answers.

1. Is it OK to work cold mild steel that's maybe no more than 1/8" thick (and never on edge) on my Peter Wright 207# anvil? I know I've read that you shouldn't hammer on cold steel on an anvil, but sometimes I need to shape some sheet metal cold and wanted to make sure this is OK. I would not be pounding on it too hard, of course, since it's just sheet metal/mild steel.


2. I need to make some "C" shaped brackets out of 1/4" MS (this would be heated before shaping, of course) to hold 2x4 lumber. I plan to arc weld the "C" shaped pieces to longer vertical pieces that would be pounded into the ground and used to hold 2x4 lumber to keep dogs from going under the house.

I had planned to use the corner of the anvil's top to make the first 90° bend, but I'm not sure how to make the second 90° bend since my anvil is wider than the 3.5" height of a 2x4. Should I put something into the hardie hole to hammer against after I start the bend on the edge of the anvil?


3. Is it OK to work metal on the "tail" of a Peter Wright anvil like mine? The tool steel top looks like it is a half-inch or more thick...


I apologize for these really basic questions, but I have no one to learn from around here.






Edited by Crunch
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I'm certain someone more experienced will answer this better and someone will contradict me, but here's my two cents worth from just my own albeit limited experience:

1.  I do this sometimes, I've used my own Peter Wright to shape similar sheet metal cold, as well as to put a cold piece of steel on to correct a bend or such just before I go to weld it.  For what it's worth or not I've seen my own instructors do the same, right or wrong.  My PW is very old and very scarred, I'm not sure I really COULD do a lot of damage to it with either operation noted.  I've honestly NOT heard someone say you can't work cold on an anvil, though I guess that makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose because of fear of damaging the face?   But like I said, my PW's face is already full of "character marks," not sure that's my biggest concern. 

2.  On the additional bend, I have successfully used my pritchel hole or hardy hole for such operations, in fact I prefer the pritchel when I'm making very SHARP bends in steel with a diameter where I can stick it in that hole.  Other option would be a vise, but of course it'd depend on your vise dimensions.  Other option would be to fashion yourself a quick jig for that purpose, you mention welding so you no doubt have the materials to do that. 

3.  I think I just answered this question by answering the above - I work on the tail quite a bit when using the pritchel or hardy for various things, including several special tools/jigs I have that fit in the hardy and require me working on that end.  



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Yes it's ok to work thin section mild steel cold; the danger is working higher alloy steels that can mark the anvil face or working large section where you really need to wallop it to get it to move and so run the danger of damaging the anvil face with a misstrike.

I use a large postvise for tighter bends; but the hardy can be used, especially with hot metal.

The heel is made to be used but not abused!

Sounds like you are re-inventing the tentstake. Why not just bend a piece of rebar over to hold the wood and point the end for driving into the ground?

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I concure with both spanky and TP, tho in the past faced with a simulare issue i have used PT stakes and 2x lumber. It alowed me to level the 2x (skirting trailers and instaling wire mesh and trelius to keep varmits out from under cabins) if you want to use steel, punching and using screws or nailes would alow you to control "level"

as to bending opperations, the bend fathest from the end is the one to do first, you can use the step and your cross or streit pein to start the second bend (strike the inside of the bend) once you get it started refine over the heal, selective cooling also helps. If your just making long staples (saves welding, make the bend to 180 and then refine to two square bends over the heal.

the biggest isue I see working cold on old anvils (horseshoes) is that the wraught body gets scared up by the heals when you open up a shoe, and the horn as well when you adust heals and branches. 

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Don't forget the ladies Crunch, especially NOT the ones with talent swinging hammers.

You can do simple bends like you describe with a crescent wrench or two. You won't be able to pull it a full 90 but it'll be close enough to finish on the anvil.

The long part of the bend doesn't need to be longer than the width of the face, a little longer than the thickness of the heal is plenty. Once started hold the long section on the side of the heal with the tab over the edge and on the face and square it up.

No sweat cold forming mild steel on the anvil, you'll hear it start to work harden so you can normalize it before maybe damaging the work. No, don't work high carbon or high alloy on it cold. The old adage about not working the black metal refers to wrought iron, not mild steel. Wrought will splinter like a green branch worked cold.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Oops...sorry, ladies! No slight intended!

Thanks for the tip on the heel, Frosty, as well as the wrought. I think I found a piece of wrought iron recently. I may post up a pic and see if it's worth trying to do anything with it.

I appreciate all the help. This place is great!





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