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I Forge Iron

Anglo Saxon Anvil project

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You could just go with a medium carbon steel and heat treat it, harder to forge than mild. The originals were primarily just a lump of wrought iron, TP might know when they started forgewelding higher carbon steels to the face.  

Scrounged stock that would work (he started with 1 1/4") is the heavy square springs used in old load leveling hitches (1 1/4" square medium steel) 2" square like used in truck drawbar size (mild but can be had in medium carbon as machine shop drops) the head off of a piece of train track (1 1/2x3" high carbon) 2" over the road truck axle (dump trucks usualy have the heavier ones as they do off pavement work, and spinning the tires and then finding traction under a heavy load is a sure way to snap one). Unles you want the barraging rights to forging one from wrought. If you have access to welding equipment and want to go just a bit bigger a piece of rail head welded to a 2" shank (pre and post heat and weld all the way from center out) would give you a 3" face. 3"x 12" with a horn, tapers heal and a prichel hole is about the biggest, most advanced anvil from the Viking era. 

As to heat treat, you should be small enugh not to get bitten buy steem  jacketing, water should be fine for medium carbon, the face coming out just about RH 55, the body will benifit from draw tempering, for safety you might consider quenching a small piece of rail in warm oil, the in the compleatly modern blacksmith, quenching an admittedly larger anvil was done in water. This would need to tempers to bring the face down to RH-55 or so, and the bick some what softer (it would so suck to knock if the tip of the bick) if welding a mild shank to a hunk of rail, the shank would not need to be tempered, but check it with a file, know telling what's in the scrap pile. 

I acualy have pieces of rail cut for just such a project. 



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I can't watch videos at work, (and after work I'm loading for a day long demo Saturday); but how accurate an anvil are you trying to make?   If it just  needs to look right then 4140 or 4340 steel should work fine and is fairly easily found.  Are you located in Milwaukee or just a fan of of their tools?

Also the alloys the Anglo-Saxons worked were generally softer and worked at a higher temperature than modern steels (real wrought iron often works best at temperatures where modern steels are burning like a sparkler!) Will you be working Wrought Iron and WI derived steels or modern alloys?

If you are going for accuracy some of the Phosphorus containing wrought iron Globe is selling might make a good face for it as high Phosphorus is harder than plain WI as well as being harder to work. (Pleiner mentions it being selected for edge material in "The Celtic Sword").  However I have not worked with the Globe WI and so don't know how high the Phosphorus content is and so how hard it gets.

My Y1K anvil was based on the one at the Roman museum in Bath, England and on the Hylestad  Stave Church carvings.  It does lack the lovely mushrooming found on many such anvils due to long years of work...

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Great info. I will buy some old wrought iron from Globe in Minnesota (I’m in Milwaukee so it’s not crazy far away....and yes I love Milwaukee tools).

As for the Anglo Saxon anvil, I’m not striving for historical accuracy. Will try 1045 since I have a nice 1.5 inch square bar. Once this anvil is heat treated, should I come back with a propane torch to heat/air cool just the little horn so it is softer and less prone to break off? 

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It may help to forge a blunt point on the end to be the anvil face to aid in upsetting. Also the use of a fuller to further upset the face is useful. About the only way I know to upset a largish peice of medium or high carbon stock with a hand hammer. Bend a peice of round stock to set on the anvil face, either with a square (1/2 can be folded in half twice to make a 1" square and forged square to fit a 3/4" hardy hole, or simply forged into a "Z" to set on the anvil face, start in the middle and  forge out in both directions after setting down the initial upset. 

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