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Dressing my Sledge hammer head anvil

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I have a 12# old royal sledge hammer head. I plan to use it as my first anvil. I would appreciate guidance on two topics.

Firstly, the face of the sledge has a bit of a dome to it. Should I do anything to try to grind this down and flatten it? Are sledge heads differential heat treated and I'm going to grind off the hardened area or is the whole head hard.

Secondly, I have a large log I intend to cut down and pretty-fy to use as a stand. I would really appreciate any good suggestions on how to put a square hole in the middle of this round peg.

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I just used a drill to dig out as much of the hole as I could, then cleaned the hole up with a chisel.  Be sure to make a provision for strapping it in to the log (like a bar through the handle hole lag screwed into the log).  Mine was obviously lashed together from what was on hand, and could have been more rigid. 

I'd just start using it as is until you get a feel for how it works, I found that I needed to grind a bit off two of the sides so that I hade a reasonably square edge for making right angle bends, but your needs may vary.  Most commercial heads tend to be hardened pretty deep, so flattening it shouldn't be a huge concern, but once again I'd hold off on doing that to start with.sledgehead.thumb.jpg.6354689bd1444019861e4d33d8e2bb90.jpg

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Like Hoj, I'd use a drill to rough it out then hammer and chisel the rest.  The bottom of the hole doesnt need to be perfect. You'll want a snug fit but don't make it to where you can't remove it if you wanted. I like the bar through the eye and lag bolt idea.  

I'd start out using it as is until you find you need it modified through use. Just expect that they are all hardened differently. If you need to grind it just keep it cool as you go. If it's getting warm just cool it off in some water then continue. That will help maintain the heat treat that it has. 

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I found the importance of the bar tying it down is if you've bent something over the edge and are doing some side hammering then things like wedges didn't hold it securely enough and the sledge head tended to move a bit.  I leveled the bottom of the hole with some dry sand, and over time it became *really* powdered.  Regardless it's an easy way to get the bottom to conform to the tool.

Oh, and unless you have two levels of cutout, give a tiny bit of clearance between the octagonal and square cross sections (with the square slightly proud), if you don't cut out the square then the head may start to wedge it- good for securing it, but it may not do it level, or depending on the log may act more like a splitting wedge.

the other thing I was able to do was slide a small bick into the handle hole to use for tweaking some small bends, take such an ability into consideration when designing a strap-down.

As an addendum here's a quick cross-section of what I did (minus the better method of securing).IMG_0747.thumb.jpg.681c3a0e17a55e7fa3616b03f996c532.jpg

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Alright. My whole yard is sand so that will be easy. I was thinking of using a piece of 1/2 round stock I have a 6" drop of. And then using conduit brackets with long deck screws to secure them. Any reason this would not work?

 

Also as a noob working on my forging vocabulary, a bick is similar to an anvil horn?

I have the bits and chisels working in it now. Turns out the log is cedar which is a pleasant surprise. Though the wood feels almost spongy when I'm trying to drill and chisle.

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Yeah your mount idea should work fine. 

If the wood is spongy then it might not be good for a stand. You'll want the wood hard and dry, otherwise it will be absorbing hammer blows and slowly sinking your sledge head deeper into the wood loosening your mount, or pushing side to side widening the mounting divot. 

Yes a bick or bickern is generaly describing the horn of an anvil or a tool of cylindrical shape.  

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The log I'm using is also made of cedar.  Spongy is bad, as it's a wood that's already prone to splitting easily (which is why I have banding on mine to mitigate that).

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Might call a tree service and tell them you need a log for an anvil stump and see if they would give/sell you one cheap...

I've made a bunch of stands from dimensional lumber---oriented vertically of course.  For your use it has the advantage that you can start the hole with a saw while the pieces are still separate.

Here's an example. (the one at the back center)  I left the screws long to give handles to move it. If you are prone to running into them you could cut them down or put old hose on it to make guards.  (This one is made from oak that was once the floorboards for a horse trailer---the scrap yard gave it to me for free.)

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Got my 6 year old involved. He had a blast using my hide mallet to chisel. I will be grabbing a set of ratchet straps from HF to wrap it with to be in the safe side. The spongy was only on the first inch or so from the end. Then it got solid.

Love the notch in the tree to hang my hammer from.

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Ratchet straps aren't likely to help prevent splitting since they're fairly elastic.   It looks like your log is bigger than the one I have, so splitting may not be an issue.  

Now go heat n' beat some metal!

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Nice job!

Forget the ratchet strap. Hot metal and nylon strapping dont play nice. Try to find some metal hanger strapping to wrap it with.

Cool hammer hanger too. 

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My first forged whatsit. I decided to work on my tapering and bending, so I made a fire hook for my fire table. Its basic but I got a taper I'm really happy with.15493196335947518858073911280388.thumb.jpg.63f8f85fdacec0f9f15c5dd3b5f7385a.jpg

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Keep at it. You'll be forging all kinds of tools and trinkets in no time. 

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Next day off will be a pair of flat tongs so I can work small pieces instead of just long stock.

This is a life dream I've had since I was 6 and my grandmother used to take me to the renaissance fair. All I wanted to do was sit and watch the Smith's work. 27 years later and I'm at the very start of following that dream. So happy I want to cry.

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Happy is good but Blacksmiths don't cry! Well unless we burn ourselves that is. Just kidding I'm feeling good for you, made my day. 

Don't mess with the face of the hammer, you won't need to make "crisp" 90 bends for some time and that's not really done on the edge anyway. There are some good how to videos on that one if someone remembers where the link is?

I like strap stock and screws for a hammer head hold down but using rnd. bar and conduit brackets opens the possibility of using a bar that extends off the edge of the stand for a bick. You have me reconsidering my preferences. Good deal.  ;)

Something else to consider is the other face of your anvil, you can grind special shapes on one face and still have the other. 

Nice taper. Make a fire "rake" next. Rather than a long taper draw the end 6" or so wide and put a point on the end. Now bend it on the flat so you can poke clinker out of the fire grate with the point, reach across the forge and pull coal to you or push it away. Yes? I use mine in the wood stove in the house. Best fire poker I've used.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The only thing I would suggest for modding the hammer face is to have one of edges ground with a more generous radius than the rest, it certainly made it nicer for drawing out than the corners that were already on mine.  You can see where i did that on mine, it's the closest edge to the camera.

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May do just that. My bigger concern is that the head in profile has a bit of a rounded dome shape to it. Made it a bit harder to get things trued up after bending.

Thank you all. Without the forum I wouldn't have made this point. It has truly shown me that even what I thought I knew I needed to check and verify. It is a lesson i intend to keep with me.

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That sort of fix doesn't really require the mass of an anvil,  so a small plate of reasonable thickness could be used for knocking out small bends.

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That's perfect then. I have a scrap piece of 1/2" plate that looks like it was cut out of something with an oxyaccetaleen(sp?). Its about 2"x10". I'll clean the edges of it down and it use it. 

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Well, while this forum is an example of good info, you are an example of someone starting out Using that info and we appreciate the updates and seeing you succeeding. We all learn from eachother. 

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