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From reading other posts and threads, I have become aware that extreme cold is not friendly to anvils. My question is, what is the coldest atmospheric temperature you would consider too cold to forge without an anvil pre-heat? Our average winter lows are probably around -15 to -20 C.

Thanks 

Viking

 

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How was your anvil made?  What has been it's work history?  What kind of work do you do on it?

For me it's generally more that a cold anvil is harder to work on as the workpiece chills more rapidly. If it's below 15 degC I'll probably prewarm it for work reasons and therefore not worry about anvil safety reasons.  Personally I have never felt the need to cool an anvil and sometimes at the end of a travel session a small---100#---anvil may be almost uncomfortably hot to load bare handed by a student.  (I'm of the age that when I get out of work on a summer evening and the car has been in the sun all day I find the hot steering wheel feels good on my finger joints...)  We've had an old school professional smith on these forums before that mentions boiling the lunch time tea water on their anvils---and they were NOT small ones!

Happiness is a warm anvil!

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Temperature measurement of Centigrade (Celsius) -20 to -15 to Fahrenheit is -4 to+5. Try an electric blanket overnight. You do not want the chance of having the heal separate when using a hardy tool.

T.P. is right A cold anvil will suck out the heat from a piece of hot iron in double time.

SLAG.

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You need to ask yourself do you really NEED to work with temperatures so low that your clothing to stay warm restricts your movement? 

Remember that the radiant heat from the fire may feel good but the outside layers of clothing may be near the point of catching fire.

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All this talk of cold weather what are you guys doing working outside? In an indoor shop it should be a non issue.

If you are in fact working outside in temps like that (can't imagine why) yes it will pull heat from your work pretty fast but it shouldn't take long at all to warm up your anvil. Heat up a piece of scrap 2 or 3 times and let it sit on your cold anvil. That will bring up your temp good enough.

If you're looking to do some welding that will be harder. You really want your anvil to be hot for that.

George

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5 minutes ago, Glenn said:

You need to ask yourself do you really NEED to work with temperatures so low that your clothing to stay warm restricts your movement? 

Remember that the radiant heat from the fire may feel good but the outside layers of clothing may be near the point of catching fire.

And winter clothing tends to be more likely to have been fabricated from synthetic materials--those which melt into lava, stick to your skin, and leave horrendous burns if something goes wrong.  Just a reminder to think about that coat you choose--a "ski coat" with a nylon shell is a terrible idea.  Much "polar fleece" is also made from meltable synthetics.  Just be sure to check labels and stay away from the worst of the dangerous options.

Back to the original subject--This report from some college students has decent graphs and explanation of their tests of cold weather brittleness on metals  http://srjcstaff.santarosa.edu/~yataiiya/E45/PROJECTS/DBT experiment.pdf    Reading around the web, the number that seems to keep coming up as the "time to start worrying about the issue " is -20c.  I'd probably wrap a pipe heating cable around my anvil waist if I were worried about the issue so that it stayed a hair warmer at very little energy usage--maybe toss a heavy cotton towel over when not in use to act as a bit of an insulator for the heating cable.

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Thanks for all the info, so much to work with!

TP: I wish I could answer two of those questions. The anvil just showed up one day with my uncle, he said he got it off an old rail road man. It is well used, and the only marking I can see is the weight. Unfortunately there was a bit of mis-use, the edges are chipped away, the table is full of chisel marks, the hardie hole is a little mis-shapen, and I would venture to say it was left in the elements a few times. As for the third question, I plan on using the anvil for a variety of tasks, so far I've made a few tools, knives, makeshift hardies etc. I have a deep interest in weaponsmithing so I imagine that is what the majority of the use will be.

I ask because my plan was to build a un-insulated shed in the back yard. Currently I'm working out of my heated garage with my gassy, and I love it. But I really do want to get out side and start using charcoal(and the old lady wants to be able to park inside). Ideally, I'd get some land outside of town and build a proper smithy, but alas, I'm too broke for that!

As for myself in the cold, I wouldn't say I enjoy it, but being a born and bred Canadian I can handle cold, especially when I'm working. I don't imagine I'll get a hankering to forge when its really cold, but -20ish is only a couple layers, no need for a parka/ski jacket.

Thanks again everyone!

Viking

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