bajajoaquin

Welding on an S7 Face Plate

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I've been dancing around what to do with anvils, since my Hill has beat up edges. Prices of anvils in my area (Southern California) are unreasonably high, and I have a small stash of 95-lb mild steel blocks. Some searching shows that I can find an S-7 plate of the right dimensions for my steel blocks for about $100. This would be a 1" thick plate. The idea is to use the technique of using a steel bar to support the center of the plate off the steel body, then using a welder to fill the void with welding wire. I was looking at drawings, and decided that having it on the diagonal would give a better liklihood of having no dead spots in the middle where there wasn't full penetration. I'd repeat this with a second (and possibly a third) block underneath for something over 200 or 300 lb. The goal would be to have something with similar or greater mass to my current anvil (185lb) with like-new, unbroken edges.

The material sheet for S7 says it should be pre-heated to 500F. I can accommodate that. It's an air-hardening steel, but in sections over 1" it should be quenched in oil or interruption-quenched in water to achieve full hardness. I might be able to accomplish that, but I might also be okay without maximum hardness.

My welder is a small 180-amp Lincoln MIG, so there would be lots of passes. But the cost, including welding wire, would be around $250. Spending low four figures on a "new" anvil is just not in the cards right now as that money just went to try to fix a car project that went pear-shaped. An anvil fabricated with a single mild steel block would be about 125 lb, with two blocks would be about 235, and three blocks would be 350lb.

Another option is that Eureka Alloys sells S7 MIG wire which could be used to face over build-up wire. This would be a MIG version of Avadon's TIG'd S7 face.

Here are my questions: Am I likely to get sufficient penetration, or adequate fill with this method to be worth the effort, or am I looking at hours and hours of work to achieve a dull thud with little rebound? I don't want to find crazing and stress cracks after all this effort, so any comments on experience with welding S7 to mild steel? Would this process be better or worse with a thinner (1/2"  or 3/4") face plate? Is the toughness of S7 a bigger factor than the hardness, or what is the importance of maximizing hardness and figuring out quench? Assuming average competence, and not a lifetime of welding expertise, am I likely to end up with an anvil that is superior to a block of mild steel? Is MIGging on S7 wire for a hard face a better option?

face plate.jpg

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I'm not remotely qualified to answer the welding question, but what about hardening one of those mild steel blocks with Super Quench? You can find the formula here on IFI, and it's going to cost you a LOT less than the welding consumables. Even if it doesn't work, you've only wasted one block out of your stash. Might be worth considering.

Oh, and if you want something of comparable mass, you could weld two of your 95 lb. blocks together. 

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You have several options.

Use the mild steel block as is. Yellow hot steel is softer than cold mild steel.

Make a saddle out of the S7 that drops over your anvil.

Look at JHM anvils. A 125 Journeyman is around $750 from Anvil Brand

Weld up the edges on the Hill with the Gunter method.

Why do you want sharp edges? They promote cold shuts in the work, If you need a sharp edge you can make a saddle, or a bottom tool that drops in the hardy hole.

Find a large piece of scrap made from a heat treated tool steel and use it; forklift forks, bucket pins, hydraulic breaker points, dozer blade, etc..

Trying to MIG weld that will be a nightmare. Stick would be much better. What is the duty cycle on you welder at maximum output? And do you know what the duty cycle means?

You would be better off just running some hardfacing rod on the block

 

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5 hours ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

 

Yes, I have those options, but they really don't address my goals, and really don't provide any new information.

If mild steel was as good as tool steel, we'd see anvils made from mild steel. I have an anvil with a tool steel face, I don't want to go backwards.

A saddle of S7 would not be a part of the mass of the anvil and would lose a large amount of efficiency.  This would be a backward step.

That JHM anvil is ductile iron rather than steel, and would be darn near a thousand bucks by the time I get it shipped. It's significantly smaller than my current 185-lb anvil, and I don't care for farrier pattern anvils. I really don't want to go down 33% in mass to a cast iron farrier anvil for that kind of money. You're talking about quadrupling my budget here. That's not insignificant.

Consensus is not to do Gunter method on anvils unless the damage is really bad, making the anvil unusable, which is not the state mine is in. There are issues with HAZ softening. There are issues with specific alloys being required and skills for working on wrought bases. The level of expertise is generally described as "don't do this unless you are an expert." I am trying to come up with a solution that trades some of the advantages I have (materials, information, design), for those I don't (expert welding technique).

I didn't say I wanted sharp edges. I am aware of the issues with edge sharpness.This is not a thread about how to properly dress anvil edges. It's asking about the feasibility of fabricating an anvil with materials and equipment I have current or inexpensive access to. But since you asked, I want better edges because it's hard to get a clean shoulder when doing half-faced hammer blows. I'm particularly working on drawing out over the edge of the anvil when making shoulders on leaves and such. I prefer drawing out on the edge like that to drawing using the horn. I could get a block, but that has the same issue as a saddle, and it's not as good as simply having good edges on an anvil.

Tool steel drops are not thick on the ground around me. I could probably find one eventually, but a forklift tine will have clean edges when laid out horizontally, which is suboptimal. Standing it on end will require cutting, grinding and fabricating, which I can do, but then why not use the 300lb of steel I already have? The answer may end up being that the fabrication involved in cutting and grinding a forklift tine is within my means where adding a tool steel face isn't. That's exactly what I'm trying to find out here. Some other shape? Sure, but it's likely to be smaller  and I don't need an improvised anvil. I have a serviceable 185-lb London pattern anvil, and I don't need a makeshift anvil. The goal is to get better.

I know what duty cycle is. It's 30% at max output. If I'm not spending the money on a new or good-condition used anvil, I'm also not buying a new welder.  This is the equipment I have. Note that duty cycle isn't the most significant issue. It's the question of whether 180 amps is sufficient to get enough heat into the weld zone and build up the solid mass of metal. It may well not be enough. But that is why I'm asking.

I'm not entirely clear on what you mean by hardfacing rod: are you suggesting that running S7 MIG wire is a better choice to attempting to weld on a plate using the method suggested, or is this a repeat of the suggestion that I should buy a new welder? If it's an opinion that MIGging the face is a better choice, thank you. Can you elaborate? I haven't been able to get pricing on the S-7 wire yet, but Stoody hardfacing wire is $7-$10 per pound. The only other hardfacing wire I've seen that is available in 0.035" wire is more for abrasion resistance than shock resistance, so is not appropriate for this application. In fact, I have a roll of it sitting under my workbench that I bought seven or eight years ago before I understood the difference between shock-absorbing and abrasion-resistant hard-face wire.

In general, I understand that this is an extensive, difficult undertaking. I understand that it's going to be hot, heavy, dirty work that is going to take a bigger time and effort commitment than I'm allowing for, and I'm allowing for a lot. That's exactly why I'm trying to figure out if it's feasible with a reasonable chance of success.

 

5 hours ago, JHCC said:

I'm not remotely qualified to answer the welding question, but what about hardening one of those mild steel blocks with Super Quench? You can find the formula here on IFI, and it's going to cost you a LOT less than the welding consumables. Even if it doesn't work, you've only wasted one block out of your stash. Might be worth considering. 

Oh, and if you want something of comparable mass, you could weld two of your 95 lb. blocks together. 

Welding consumables would be about $150, the tool steel plate somewhere around $100. Perhaps more than Super Quench, but quenching a mass of steel like that is not without its own challenges. That's one of the advantages of S7: it's air hardening. There are issues with hardening the thick cross section, but that's one of the things I'm trying to figure out.

Yes, the plan is to weld two blocks together, perhaps all three. If I can weld two big blocks together, then I can also weld on a tool-steel face. There are frequent comments here about using the technique of spacing the plate with a piece of rod and back-filling with filler rod. However, I haven't really read a lot of discussion about the details of the technique. How did it work out? What was learned along the way? If you were doing it again, how would you do it differently, or would you do it at all?

The way I analogize it in my head is that you're using the welding arc to slowly pour steel into the gap. It's of course different, because you need the heat of the arc to penetrate sufficiently into the base metal to get good adhesion. However, because you're asking the joint to function in compression rather than shear or tension, the main concern seems to be porosity and getting smooth, complete fill, rather than what would be considered "strength" in a pipeline weld. So it's not clear to me how much flexibility this technique has.

I had considered testing the process with the two blocks of mild steel. If I can successfully join two 95-lb masses, I should be able to join one 18-lb plate to a 95-lb plate. But now that I think of it, I can buy scrap mild steel that will mimic my application, and for $50 in welding wire, I can test it. I can test the rebound of the 95-lb block, test the rebound of a plate set on the block (worst case), and then test the rebound of the plate welded to the block using this method. Hmmm... Interesting.

Still, since my family demands a lot of my time (happily!), I was hoping to get more insight rather than adding more labor.

 

 

 

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It looks like you have an idea of what you want to do, particularly with that sketch.  I have to ask, have you mocked that up to see just how big a gap that would be just to fit the MIGs tip in and move it into the needed angles to get a complete fill?  That limitation may answer whether you want to bother with that particular procedure since the amount of filler materials could really start to add up.

Personally, I'd go with the proper buildup for S7 hardfacing- at least you can see where you're likely to have missed spots or porosity.  Still not a walk in the park, though.  Having not worked on a nice clean, hard anvil m'self, I cant speak to whether there's appreciable difference between just a hard skin or a hard substrate, as well.

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Well, to cut thru the bs and hit simple, here's the deal. Do realize I just skimmed these posts, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't brought up. If so, apologies ahead of time.

You need to do a full weld between the s-7 and the mild steel. Anything less is a waste of time. So, depending on your abilities, that means either plug weld from the top, or stick yer rod deep and hope for the best.

Any voids and you might as well just use the S-7 plate.

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Greetings Baja, 

          Let’s get down to reality, You can spend the same time making some very saleable things and make enough money to purchase a good anvil . Why waist good material on something that most already know is going to fail.. Sorry that I’m so blunt but this is this old boys 2c. Who has been smithin fo 40 yeats.. 

Forge on and make beautiful things 

Jim

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41 minutes ago, anvil said:

Well, to cut thru the bs and hit simple

Please ignore my post above, my smarter than me phone is playing really weird games!

Just understand that Robbs method has nothing to do with the severity of the job. It works quite well for a minor build of a swayed face and tuning up your edges as it does filling a large void. The rod truly only cares that you follow proper procedures including pre and post heat.

Its great benefit is that you can see 100% of your fill, which isn't the case with either a plug weld or sticking your stinger in that deep void.

The other is that these two rods work about as best as you can find for marrying either wrought or old "cast" to the old high carbon face and the final top coat.

No mattet, have fun

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I’m a novice and terrible welder, so I can’t and won’t give advice on that other than the gap you’d need to get in there and MIG the various parts fully would require an awful lot of wire and effort. The gap needed to get your MIG gun in I believe is significantly greater than needed than if you were stick welding . 

Im more interested in how you will heat treat the beast? I see you mentioned 500* preheat, but that’s for welding purposes not hardening. Any S7 steel from a supplier is fully annealed unless you got a used flat die from a shop somewhere - then it’s probably hardened but to what? Depends what the die was used for.

If it just needed a perimeter weld, you could heat treat the 1” thick S7 plate first (yourself or professionally), then weld it on to the mild steel block, but we both know that a perimeter weld isn’t what you need. But if you fully back fill all that, with a 500* preheat to start, that sucker is going to get darn hot, and screw with your HT.  At 800*f you’re tempered down to 53 RC. I wouldn’t want it less than that hardness, except perhaps the edges.

So say you weld first then heat treat, do you have a means to through heat that giant mass to 1750*f , and keep it there for 30-45 minutes? If not you will need to involve a professional heat treater, especially if this size material requires an oil or compressed gas quench (which is probable). I would NOT water quench S7, interrupted or not, especially being welded to mild, I’d be surprised if the top plate and/or weld didn’t get damaged. A pro with experience doing similar size/multi composition could have high chance of success, but then they’d also have proper fast oil or gas quenching means.

Doing ANYTHING less than best practice heat treat on this would in my book be a waste, especially since you said you’ll have $$ put into this. Saving money, at the expense of performance, won’t meet your goals of making a really good anvil (since as you said you have 185lb London pattern anvil in decent shape).

Hope my ramble makes sense,

Steve

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I am with jim on this one it is possible to acomplish what you say but if you factor in your time and costs it would be better spent making something to sell to raise the funds you need for the new anvil

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Maybe I'm being contrarian, but I think I get what bajajoaquin is after. While yeah, he could spend is time making stuff and selling it to get a bigger/different anvil, that isn't what he wants to do. Like, maybe he makes stuff that he doesn't want to or can't sell or something. No judgment, bajajoaquin---if you want to hammer up a bunch of whatevers and hoard them in your basement, more power to you, dude. Seriously. I think you've been pretty clear about what you want to do and why, and you're looking for advice on how to do it.

Does anyone have any thoughts about what he's specifically asking? Because I'd like to hear about that, too. Not that I have any plans to do what baja is planning, (well, not today, but you never know) but I always learn stuff when someone tries to work the problem within its stated scenario. And I appreciate the time and experience it takes to answer questions like this, so thank you in advance for that.

Honestly, bajajoaquin, you don't want my advice on how to weld this up because my welding is laughable. In all fairness, I am getting better---I realized it the other day when I fabbed an anvil stand and I knew what to do and how I was going to do it before I started and it all workesd, which was a nice change from my usual, "I gotta go to Harbor Freight and get some more cut-off wheels and grinding disks because I welded something and it didn't quite work and when I say "quite" I mean "not at all" and I'll be back in half an hour unless I see something I can't live without, honey" situation.

Someone up above analogized that you're essentially going to use your your Lincoln 180 MIG to fill the gap between the top plate and the block. The piece down the center is essentially a stand-off so you can do the fill. Hope I got that right. And what you want to know is if someone thinks, given your stated budget, tools, and time, if this will work successfully. And if not, if they have an alternative plan using those same limitations of budget, tools, and time that will give you a result that meets your needs.

I'm kinda tempted, though I am ignorant, to say that if you can get the MIG gun in the space, you pre-heat and do each weld as if you're filling a gap, it would work. Maybe.

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No standard MIG gun that I know of will fit in that small of a gap. You could actually take the gas nozzle off, the metal would act as a dam in that small of a gap. Standard insulator is about 3/4" on a 300 amp gun.

Stick is the only viable low-cost option.

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I know that the common wisdom seems to be to not do it, but dang I want to see it done.  

 

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Well,  let me back up and say “do what you think will make happy, or even just want to do”. I’m a huge proponent of that for sure.

Im not one of the many here that wouldn’t repair the edges of an anvil, and I’ve put money into hobbies and tools I had no chance of ever getting back, and I regularly take the path that others won’t~  just to see where it would take me or sometimes too stubborn or even lazy to switch paths. I’m not judging your choice of making versus buying, the economics of your labor or any of that. 

My point is many folks, even ( maybe especially?!) blacksmiths have wrong ideas and methods of heat treating steel, PARTICULARLY highly alloyed and/or air hardening ones. They barely have the rudiments of dealing with a basic hypo eutectic, simple carbon steel and think they can apply this “knowledge” of get it red, or to nonmagnetic,  and quench in 2 quarts motor oil to all “tool steels”. Folks also think that if they get the steel harder than it started, then they did it right, it’s good ! They also don’t realize that proper heat treated simple 1045-1080 will far out perform (toughness, hardness, etc) improperly heat treated S-7 (let alone something such as M2, 154CM, D2, etc which is even more complex). They also underestimate the the equipment and knowledge needed to properly heat treat these materials ESPECIALLY in very large, heavy, thick sections. Let alone that same steel affected by previous odd thermal cycles and it being welded to another steel that won’t harden at all. 

I AM NOT SAYING THAT PERSON IS YOU, please don’t read that into what I’m saying. 

 I’m making a cautionary statement that many don’t know what they don’t know, nor what the consequences of that is. All of us, my self included, need to be open and honest with ourselves and others as to what our knowledge and skill levels are, so that we can assess the probability of success, what level of success at that, and if we will be happy and well served with the fruit of our labors.

Wishing you all the best if continue this project, and that in the end you have created something that serves you well and makes you proud.

Best

Steve

 

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Baja: Yes, it CAN be done that way sort of. The general idea is workable but as has been brought up you aren't going to get a mig gun in there unless you leave a BIG gap which will mean multiple passes to make width in the gap. Don't forget holding your hand in that gap between blocks of 500 f. steel. Think pizza oven conditions.

As a practical matter, you need to lay the spacer flat, on the diamond is a bad thing. It doesn't need to be square stock either, rectangular works fine, say 3/8" x however wide you need the gap to fit your gun.

You also can NOT use one standoff down the center it will NOT work. When molten steel freezes and cools it shrinks, pulls in welder jargon. Your first pass will pull the plate probably all the way into contact on that side. You won't be able to go fast enough to run stitches on both sides and compensate it's a large thin area so it'll warp. Running it corner to corner will make it worse.

There's an easy fix though you can just insert more spacers, you don't even need to weld them in just put a couple few on each side of the center spacer so the plate can NOT be pulled down. Actually it's better not to tack them in so you can move them. Put them as close to the bead as you can without interfering with running your passes on each side. Once it's cooled to ambient (of the project, not air) move the spacers out and repeat your passes. Do this till the gap is filled.

As John says you could remove the cup and probably maintain your plasma column but you still have the rest of the gun to fit into the gap. 

If however you use a stick welder, you can get 100% penetration on a 1/2" weldment at approx 120 amps. So, you can use 1/2" sq.for the stand off and stiffeners and do a full fillet in a single pass using 7024 Jet rod. The slag often peals off as the weld freezes but the stuff pulls like a draft horse. The little gap holder pieces are a must. Your first pass on each side will penetrate the whole way through a 1/2" sq spacer, no problem. 

I haven't seen it since school but we had welding rods of various types in long lengths for welding heavy section like we're discussing here. It'd be a little tight in a 1/2" gap but 7024 runs like water, once you get a good puddle you don't need to flag to get penetration on both sides of a gap that size. 

Anyway, it's doable but a LOT of darned UNPLEASANT, HOT WORK. 

And with the HOT mass of the block it's welded to I don't know if S 7 will harden.

There's an alternative I've been thinking about for years just never wanted to go to the work. How about silver soldering or brazing the S 7 to the blocks? The join is strong enough, I know for a fact. I brazed tungsten carbide cutting bits to teeth for years and if stalling a 353 Detroit diesel running 2,000 rpm. cold doesn't knock them off and heck the carbides shatter before breaking the braze. NOTHING you can do to it with a hand hammer no matter how many hands you use will phase it. 

Hmmmm?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty, sweat them together in a kiln. You can get silver soldering alloys in sheets. I have been considering this for an old cast iron ASO I have.

 

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1 hour ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

Frosty, sweat them together in a kiln. You can get silver soldering alloys in sheets. I have been considering this for an old cast iron ASO I have.

 

I'm NOT alone in the universe!?!?:D I was thinking of matching and polishing then tinning the faces and clamping them together before the braze, solder, etc, froze to cool.

Part of my lazy old guy dithering is how hard it is to grind Vasco wear (grader edge) to a decent polish for the joint. 

I still think it's a viable way to turn a junk ASO into a functional anvil.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Wait wait wait.

BIGGUNDOCTOR, could you go over this sweat in a kiln idea for me? I'm intrigued. 

Srsly, would you please expand a bit more on what you're thinking? And anybody else (looking at you, Frosty), I'd love to get more about this idea.

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Sweating solder is heating the joint and allowing the solder to be drawn in by capillary action. I believe Guns was talking about matching, fluxing and laying sheet solder between the face plate and body then bringing them both to temperature in a kiln. I don't "think" this is actually sweating a joint but could be wrong I'm years out of date of the subject.

Tinning is applying a thin layer of solder, braze, etc. to each face of the joint, bringing them together and making the solder that way.

The thinner the layer of solder, Brazing is hard soldering by the way, the stronger the joint. Hence matching and polishing the surfaces in my thinking. Shiniest is goodester you know.

No, don't bring up my pickup truck! <_<

Frosty The Lucky.

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I would never bring up your pickup truck, Frost. I have manners.

It's the kiln part I'm intrigued by. Are we talking like doing the thinning and tinning, then fluxing and laying in a thin sheet of solder, and then bring up with kiln to temp to melt the solder, and then----ramping down to do some kind of heat treat?

I think this sounds dang near brilliant, but I know just enough to be dangerous.

I vote Guns do it and Skype it so we can all watch live and shout advice at him. "Dude, don't get burned!" "Dude, fix your butt cleavage!" You know, the usual crap you yell when you're helping. And if Guns doesn't respect our voting him into office as official kiln solder testing guy, I may have to get my blacksmith/metalworker neighbor dude to think about how to do this because if he starts doing it, he'll end up just doing it. Or more accurately, we'll end up doing it, which would be pretty neat.

I'm gonna go ask my neighbor what he thinks of this idea. We wants me to build an anvil (famous last words, "It'll only take a weekend!") and he's got the gear, but he really wants to do the rails and rod style of build and I am not sure if that's the way I want to go. 

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Frosty, I have always heard of sweating parts together as when the solder is between them to start and then you heat them until they fuse together. The Sterling SMGs were done this way. All jigged up then put in a furnace. With an inert atmosphere there would be no scaling. Otherwise the anvil may need to be painted with some sort of oxygen barrier - I have used flux on small parts. Yes, machined dead flat to get the best fit. Not polished, but a slightly rough surface, say a 60-125 rms  finish. Just enough that a fingernail would drag on it.

Ohio, If the steel plate is air hardening tool steel , and the solder melting temp is high enough you could get some hardening by just removing it and letting it cool, or blast it with an air hose. It may not be fully hard, but it would be harder than annealed.

Another method I was thinking of would be to tin the anvil first with an O/A torch, then heat the fluxed plate up to temp and just set it on top to sweat them together.

This would be a good application for an induction pancake coil.

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If it's brilliant it's TOO HOT:o

No, that's not really what we're talking about. I'll let Guns describe what he has in mine, there are different ways to do a sheet solder/braze.

The term Matching means to make the parts of the joint touch as completely as possible like grinding the valves on a gas engine. If we're going for the gold matching the face plate and anvil body would include lapping compound and a vibratory table. I'd call smoking the plate and having it rub clean good enough. We're talking cheap cast iron ASO here getting it this clean and smooth would be about the limit and maybe not attainable.

Tinning means to put a very thin layer of solder on a surface before making the join. Soldering copper we cleaned, fluxed heated and applied solder, once covered we wiped it off with a dry rag. Get it right and the surface solder makes the foil look like plate. Jewelers gold solder can be seen through at this thickness. This ain't going to happen on good cast iron let alone cheap Chinese junk cast iron so getting an even layer is as good as you're likely to get.

The steel plate will take a thinner layer to cover once it's been polished like a mirror. 

Tin the plate first then apply it when you get the body tinned, residual heat will make the join. Cool it however you like silver solder has a liquidus well below annealing let along hardening critical temp. You won't be able to heat treat a soldered joint so use a silver solder with a low temp liquidus. 

Brazing on the other hand can be a pretty high temp process and may require a quench proper and tempering. I wouldn't Tin a braze. Match the faces, dust it with brazing flux and lay pieces of brazing rod across the joint about 1" apart. I'd originally planned on standing the project plate down on split fire brick stubs so the weight of the anvil body applied pressure. The stubs allowed the burner flame to pass under it. The kiln was going to be a length of 55 gl. drum lined with Kaowool open side down spaced off the ground an inch or so. Propane burners at the top oriented to make a vortex, the exhaust is through the gap below.

The gaps were to let me see the joint so I could tell when the brazing rod melted and I could shut the burners off, drop the kiln on the ground and let it cool.

Just so you know  a piece of I was going to use 1" Vascowear grader edge, for the face plate and you do NOT want to quench it from critical temp, B-A-D things will happen, it's nominally in the range of 120 pts. carbon, some manganese, a little nickle and significant tungsten carbide for abrasion resistance. No, you do NOT want to harden it. However the stuff in it's annealed state is impact resistant enough to bring 70,000+ lbs of road grader to a dead stop from 27 mph in the width of a manhole cover without breaking the edge. Tears the mold board and circle off the grader and sends the operator through the windshield if s/he's stupid enough to not have a seat belt on. It'll hurt the operator regardless just not as badly as blowing your through the windshield and maybe rolling over your unconscious carcass. It's happened, just not in our camp.

You have to match the anvil to the Vascowear, the stuff laughs at your typical grinding disk let alone lapping compound but braze doesn't need a perfect match to be stronger than any human can effect with a mere muscle powered hammer.

Frosty The Lucky.

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10 minutes ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

Frosty, I have always heard of sweating parts together as when the solder is between them to start and then you heat them until they fuse together. The Sterling SMGs were done this way.

Okay, that works for me, I'm not versed with soldering on that scale. I was taught sweating copper pipe in jr. high school shop class, way different thing and that's what I've always thought of when I hear sweating solder.

Yeah, a mirror polish is probably excessive especially on this project, cast iron ain't good for mirrors.  I get carried away now and then you know. If a little is good a LOT must be better. Right? :rolleyes: 

I think I'll go along with voting you the solder anvil faces guy. Pictures please. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty, the process you described is almost exactly what my neighbor just said when I asked him how he would do this. He said, "drown it in flux," and "I'd put the solder more toward the center," but otherwise, the process, including flipping it over to use the ASO's weight, was the same. Also, he didn't say anything about Vascowear but he did say, "I have a piece of grader blade we could use for the top plate," and I am not kidding.

He also busted up his knee, so I don't see us doing this any time soon. I did offer to move all the tools in his shop over to my place while he was on the mend and he appreciated that. Told ya I had manners.

Guns better hurry up and do this so I can see it.

 

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