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I Forge Iron

Casting an anvil

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Not far from me is a steel foundry. I called a few days back to ask if they had ever cast anvil. The person I talked to in sales said they had not to her knowledge, but would be interested.

The questions as asked,

Would it need to below carbon, or high carbon?

What steel composition was I considering?

What volume of steel would it require? (This question regarded to price quotes)

So, if you could have a custom cast anvil, what would you choose?

What features would you have and why?

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High carbon 

I Imagine something air hardening to keep labor costs down? Otherwise it would require a heat treat. Depends on alloy prices

200 pounds seems to be the best compromise between portable and useful for a wide range of stock/hammer sizes

I would do something in the french/italian style, already tons of London and German patterns available.

I imagine with a small batch the costs will be to high to beat Nimba's but you never know

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I remember a few years ago seeing a long thread (not sure if here, although I believe so) about one guy who worked in a foundry an had 5-6 anvils cast, after pages and pages of asking recomendations and tuning the design. He actually used stainless steel in the end (because that was what he had access to in his work). If someone can find that thread or remembers it, it could be a great help here, since it was a REALLY detailed discussion, many pages long.

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:High or low carbon? depends a lot on other alloying elements

What alloy?   What alloys do they usually work with; selecting one of them will generally be MUCH cheaper!

What volume? 10 to 1000 pounds + material for the riser. (in general a good shop anvil are around 150 to 250 pounds, 100 pounds makes a nice anvil for travel and the HUGE anvils are more "industrial" in nature---though due to anvil envy, a lot of us own them....

If I could get one custom cast I would like a copy of that French armouring anvil with the face on the side. I'd like a nice large NIMBA to go with my other anvils in my harem...(My wife claims the proper plural term is a Harem of Anvils).

In general it will probably cost MUCH more to have one done than to buy one, even a new one. (Unless it's a G job)

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Once you establish what alloy they most commonly cast and it's applicability as an anvil you need to start thinking about heat treat. I'd want something in the medium high C range, say 60-75 pts.  if it's low alloy. The foundry will be able to heat treat or have a company on tap that does. Heat treat is often necessary as soon as the piece is broken out of the mold. Not always but often.

If they cast Vanadium or other high alloy steels it will require professional heat treatment. Soderfors used a water tower to quench anvils with a specific quantity at a specific temperature through a specific nozzle designated by the size, shape of the anvil. Residual heat in the body drew the temper. The Soderfors foundry cast tons of steel a day and it was old had. IIRC the story I read said the New water tower was a medieval upgrade.

Shape depends on your market, who are you going to make anvils for? Farrier, ornamental, architectural, armorers, Period demonstrators, etc.?

For me personally something in the 200-250lb. range with a conical horn and a heal both shorter and thicker in the waste than my Soderfors. All that assuming it's at least close to as hard and nicely finished. That's me though and I don't make a lot of use of the horn or heal. If I need a bridge I drop one in the hardy hole if I have to weld it up first. That's no big deal for a boy with two 20' sticks of 1" sq and a welder.

Stake anvils might be marketable, nothing fancy, just something you can drive into the ground or a block of wood while you're sitting around a camp fire. Oh say in the 30-50lb range, a boy can do a LOT on a simple anvil and it beats knocking down a couple half racks.

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 9 months later...

i had mine cast at Nisku foundry in Edmonton, AB.  around 2001.it was cast from their biggest pattern they had kept from the "old days" which is a 100lb. they normally cast sewer grates and manhole covers and my anvil was the first they cast in about 30 - 40 years.they were not actually sure. cast in ductile iron and they recommended a face hardening weld which i never did get around to doing. it has dents and dings and a small chunk taken out of the face while i was learning how to hit steel. it's still in good shape otherwise and only cost me $290.00 + tax. it rings nicely

that all being said, if a pattern is provided, nisku foundry might do a custom cast

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I personally would want something like the Le Pig anvil, just because casting gives you a unique opportunity to make something you'll likely never be able to buy. I would also guess that a mold without the feet with a consistent overall thickness may give you a pricebreak, but I know nothing about mold making or quoting such things. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

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