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Hardy Tool for Beginner Discussion


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So I recently got my anvil, and I need to make a few tools. I want to make a hold-down for the Pritchel hole, because I only have two hands and I don't have long tongs yet. But I need to start making a couple of hardy tools.

The main one is a Fuller or a Cutoff tool. I started using the end of a railroad spike, and it was great. Problem is, is that I had to hit it carefully so as not to have it fly off the anvil cause I couldn't hold it down (no tongs  just vice grips). But I was messing around with it, and the railroad spike (canadian) is the same size *really close anyway* to my hardy hole in the anvil.

So I had an idea, if I just find a bunch (I have 3) of spikes, should I just square up the head, then upset the metal so I make a block that I can taper to go into the hardy hole and set it that way, or should I put the end in and weld right onto the head of the nail with whatever I want? Like maybe weld a 1/4" round to it or whatever for a swage, the other end of a railroad spike for a fuller or... whatever I need at the time.

Are there any cons to this like long term. Will it damage the anvil if it's loose. etc.

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For safety, I'd look into doing something for tongs 1st if you want to use spikes. You don't have to make fancy forged tongs to start out with ( though they are good skills projects, they are often what I'd call medium to advanced beginner projects). On member here has a set of old slip joint pliers that he simply arc welded on some rod to make longer reigns. I've also seen them done as water pump pliers for larger stock. You might also look up twist tongs. Just about anyone can make those with minimal tools. Arkie here posted these up.




As far as welding a shank onto a hardy tool, yes you can do that. I'd watch using RR spikes because the area below the head isn't always flat. You don't want the spike to act like a wedge and split the heel. You'll either want to grind/file it flat, or heat the spike and upset it slightly in the hardy hole to shape the spike to the hole. here's one I welded a shank onto a piece of 1" x 5/8", then heated and shaped the profile I wanted with it in the hardy hole. Be aware that sometimes the welds will fail if you don't prep the piece well. A good bevel and plenty of weld helps.



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Hi Kardall, 

welcome to the forum. :)


First of all, don't make unnecessary work for yourself if you don't have to. You can pick up a brick chisel from home depot that will do everything you need it to for a hot cut. I used one for years and years without any issues. If I dented it I just re-ground the edge and away I went. - Just make sure to buy one that fits into your hardy hole. 

Personally I recommend a beginner buys their first couple of tongs. Not everyone can afford it I know, but two pairs of tongs go a long way. I wouldn't recommend making a set just yet. 

As for your hold down, that's an easy enough project. Mild steel will be just fine for that. 


All the best 


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Other options for the two botom tools your asking about, 

a sutable hot cut (or cold cut for that matter) can be cut or forger from a peice of leaf spring, fit it so it fits diaginal in your hardy hole. Minimal work, may gain. I use knuckles from sucker rod, as the midium sized stuff has a 1" square already, and a 18" chunch has a handle, lol.

Second, for a fuller, a round bar bent into a "Z" is the most basic. Just set it on the anvil. One can also bend it double, fit it in the hardy hole and bend it back down to lay flat. A longer section can be bent like a hair pin, so now you have a top and bottom fuller in the same tool. 

Most spikes are something like 7/8", and wile hardy holes very, mine used 1", for both. If the spike fits, great. Slop wont hurt the anvil, wile a wedge will. 

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