picker77

Proposed "moveable" knife work anvil - a reasonable plan?

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Shop room is tight, shared with a tractor and a truck, plus several mowers. As a result, most of my machinery is on casters. I don't have the floor space for a permanent anvil location, at least not inside the shop, so I need a knife work anvil that is sort of "moveable" so I can walk/drag it over to a corner when not in use. I want to make use of a 9" x 4-1/4" chunk of round D2 shafting for the actual anvil, supported on top of a length of 4x4 dropped inside a piece of heavy wall 6" oilfield pipe, with the whole thing held vertical inside the pipe, surrounded with fine sand. Base would be a 12" square 3/8 mild steel plate on 1/8" tabs to create kind of a "tripod" base to avoid wobble, since my shop floor is not perfectly flat in some places. Attached is a sketch of this proposed rig. I'm new at all this, so I'd appreciate any constructive (or even non-constructive) comments before I fire up my cutting torch and start doing things that might be hard to undo. :)

134659839_Knifeworkanvil.thumb.jpg.3c7e71a26ee6516ee969bd97a0823fd1.jpg

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I'd suggest a tripod with two "tip up wheels" so stable on uneven floor and easily movable.

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Thanks, Thomas. It so happens I have a 1/2" axle and a couple of 6" lawnmower-style wheels leftover from another project. I had considered wheels when drawing this up, but was afraid it might end up too top-heavy to safely move on wheels, so was figuring on "walking" it in zig-zag fashion to move it.  However, I doubt the whole thing will exceed 120 lb, so maybe that's not as much of a worry as I thought.

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Yeah, like most folks I also have a couple of hand trucks - in line with the KISS principle I probably ought to just use one of those. But then I tend to overthink and overbuild everything. The first 48" x 24" coffee table I made back in the day we still use in the den, mainly because it has a nice big chess board built into the top, but also because I can put my feet on it watching football without attracting incoming fire, heh. But it takes both of us to move it if the wife wants to vacuum. :)

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This little build is about done (with a pair of small non-swivel casters included, thanks to the sage advice of Mr. Thomas and other's advice). But before I start beating on the end of this piece of D2 shafting, I need some advice regarding heat treating D2. I have little experience with high-end tool steels, and non in HT of larger pieces of steel. For tools, I have the usual MIG and O/A torch rigs, a 6-gallon bucket of vermiculite, 2x72 grinder, full set of test files, canola oil, and a toaster oven that regulates fairly well up to about 550. Unfortunately, my personal HT experience and knowledge, especially for large/thick stock like this, would fit in a thimble.

So: First, does chunk form D2 need HT at all for my intended use of light forging and knife making?

Hoping the answer is no, but if it does, should I attempt to surface HT the working face using tools on hand? If the answer is it requires professional "full" HT, there are a couple of local shops that CAN do it, but not sure they'd be willing to mess with a job this small - and even if they would it might be prohibitively costly. I noticed one shop even advertises it has three large ovens, the largest of which can handle objects the size a pickup truck and up to 40' long.  :o

Lastly, would it be of benefit in forging to radius part of the sharp shoulder of the working face?

So, before I call this project done, can someone chime in with HT advice?  Thanks!

D2 Shafting.JPG

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4 hours ago, picker77 said:

So, before I call this project done, can someone chime in with HT advice?  Thanks!

NO! Just as it sits it's probably harder than you need. D2 is Die steel, nothing you're going to do needs those properties and it is NOT something you can heat treat in your shop. You might, MIGHT get away with it if it were say 1/4" thick blade but there are too many issues getting something that size to quench properly even if it were low alloy like a 10xx series. 

Radius some of the edge to start, you can always increase it if you wish but its awfully hard to sharpen them back up. Even then you can just turn it over if you want something really different. Yes?

That's going to be a nice anvil just as she is. You have a pretty good plan, don't over think it and you'll be fine.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I agree you are not going to be able to heat treat that hunk of D2 on your own and especially not just heat treat the face of it.

Use it as it stands! (And if they have another  piece like that let Chris know please!)

I'd radius a quarter of the circumference at one curve and two others at different curves and leave 1/4 of the circumference alone (as well as the other end).

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I've got the same supplier lookin' for a piece 5x5x12  out of 4140 or 1050 to make a post anvil.  Will just have to wait and see.  I'm in no rush..............don't even have a forge put together yet.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks to the Curmudgeon Tag Team for that welcome advice, and believe me, I'll be glad to follow it!  A fine application of "if it ain't broke don't fix it". Thanks, Gentlemen. And Chris, I'm keeping a weather eye out. Also, I'll PM you re wood.

PS: Thanks, TP for the ideas on the radius, hadn't occurred to me to use two or three different radii around the edge. I think I'll do that.

Edited by picker77
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You know the blacksmith's version of that old adage don't you? "If it ain't broke, break it."

Frosty The Lucky.

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Mr. Frosty,

Has quipped, speaking of blacksmiths  ""If it ain't broke, break it."

SLAG strongly suggests that Glenn have a look at this saying and seriously consider adding it to the  "blacksmith gems, aphorisms, and brilliancies"  thread of this I Forge Iron web site.

Just sayyin',

SLAG.

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Well Picker77, I just got a call from Specialty Metals.  Talk about sticker shock! 5 x5x12....4140....heat treated.................$845.:o:wacko:  He quoted me something else that was annealed but after hearing it was $600-something, I lost interest.  Heck, I can buy a brand new Black Robin anvil for $460 plus freight.  Guess I'll just stick with my 50# Vulcan anvil and wait for my lottery ticket to pay off.  :lol:

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You new guys and heat treating everything! 

Stop going to metal suppliers and hit machine shops that specialize in oil tools. Many years ago I hit THE only one in Anchorage looking for a piece of round stock for a proposed English wheel. The guy GAVE me a piece of 4140 out of their "scrap" too small for their needs bin. 6"rnd x 12" long 4140 too small to make a pull pin from. Then he threw in a slice off the tool joint bar, 14" dia. OD x 6" ID x 3" thick.

He wouldn't rake any money, said doing the paperwork would end up costing them, hauling truckloads to the recycling center barely broke even. Price for scrap steel is all it was worth. 

The old spring shop was the same way. Bring PPE and there's the drops, don't get hurt, take what you want.

When you DO go to the steel supplier do NOT ask for a length to be cut to haul even if they ask, say no thanks. The guys at the counter HAVE to charge by the cut. The guys in the yard loading you out will ask and just whack it for you. I've never been to a steel yard that was different. 

If for some crazy reason the yard guys don't offer. . . maybe the boss is having a smoke or something. Anyway, if they don't offer, don't say anything just get out your hack saw and start cutting. They'll have it cut and loaded faster than you can put your hack saw away. ;)

Frosty The Lucky.

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I didn't ask him for HT steel, Frosty............it was all he could find in the size I was asking.  Heck, I wouldn't have them cut anything!  I'm up front at the "bits and pieces" bin.  I just thought I'd ask him to to try and locate a piece of 4140 the size I wanted.  When he called today, I told him to forget it.........and forget looking unless he stumbles onto a drop-off that I can afford.  (Cheap!)  I'll stick with my parsley little 50# anvil and be thankful to have it.

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Broken axles from a TRUCK shop stood on end flange up make excellent anvils. Heck a pickup truck axle works well. A little grinding to smooth the end is recommended of course. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I take it PPE is "Personal Protective Equipment", as in hard hat, glasses, and gloves...:)   There is no doubt "new" tool steel prices can cause knees to go weak. The little piece of 4-1/2" D2 round I'm using for this project would have been about $40 per inch or about $400 plus shipping, if ordered online from one of the big guys like Speedy Metals. Off the "drops and cuts rack" locally it was about a fifth of that, including trimming up one end, so I had no complaints at all. But Frosty is correct, free is much better, ha. Yesterday I walked by a couple of discarded forks lying in the dirt at a local scrap/salvage place, didn't ask about price but I'd bet it would have been pretty cheap. Not sure what steel lift forks are made from, but because of the lawyers I'm pretty sure they would have to be good quality, albeit still mystery steel.

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I'm sure your D-2 is hard enough for any hot work you're likely to be doing on it. Mild steel is hard enough just try not to miss the work or you'll have a ding to remind you not to do it again.

Pnut

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Thanks, Irondragon, for the links. The tine TP used to make his are clearly thicker and heavier than the ones I saw yesterday, obviously from a BIG lift truck, plus the ones I saw didn't have the round stock at the top, just had simple hooks at the back. Although there's probably no such thing as a "skinny" fork tine, I doubt the ones I saw would be thick enough to be useful to repeat TP's design without stacking and welding together, which I'd kinda like to avoid.

PNUT: Thanks - You're right, and following the advice of you and others I've already abandoned the HT idea!

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Did you see the second anvil they made from the off cuts of the big tine?   As the original source was a major steel casting company, they were big tines. I'd expect some of the oilfield forklifts would use large ones too.  Have you called around Forklift places looking for damaged tines---explaining you want to cut them up to make an anvil? 

Just like we were required to cut up the welding gas tanks that had failed hydrotest before we could take them off the Hydro Test company's lot (to make forge bodies for a gas forge building workshop SOFA put on), liability may require that the Forklift place cut the tines up to be sure they can't be reused as FLTs---if they are nice, cutting to the size you need would be a plus and well worth a dozen doughnuts!

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Well, this thing is essentially finished, with a couple of minor modifications from the original sketch. It's 120 lb give or take a few, but I haven't added the sand yet, not sure if I will or not. I'd just as soon not, unless there's a good reason. Takes up almost no real estate in the shop, and it's surprisingly stable on it's feet and easy to push around the shop, as long as I grab the anvil top and always push only in the direction of the wheels. Because it's a heavy, narrow-footed tripod, I added a couple of "safety stops" at the front corners that are 1/4" shorter than the front 2x2 leg. Keeps it from tipping very far even if I push it in the wrong direction. The D2 face feels good to pound on, I heated up a couple of pieces of strap and beat them around some, and the face feels absolutely solid when struck, and gives nice "feedback" to a hammer. For knife work I'm hoping this will do the trick. I did some rounding on advice of a couple of the Curmudgeon clan, might do more but want to use it a while before I do anything non-recoverable to it. However, I still need to find a couple of hammers. All I have is a 1 lb cross pein, a couple of small & medium sledges, and a hefty 3-1/2 lb straight pein that belonged to my grandfather and is probably older than me. Being still in forging boot camp I don't need $120 hammers to start with, probably will look to a 2 lb Vaughan for starters. Now on to finding a forge. For several reasons, not the least of which is resale value, I'm leaning toward a turn-key commercial unit like the NC Knifemaker or similar.

Please don't choke on the colors - I had some green engine enamel and some Rustoleum left over from another job and I'm too cheap to throw leftovers away. :)

DSC01035.JPG

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Looks like a nice anvil you have there. Those aren't chokey colors, I think of them as security colors. Anybody walks off with it will be easy enough to spot. 

About the sand, unless you're actually going to put the anvil ON it or you need to damp the ring I wouldn't do it. Making the stand heavier won't do anything for the anvil. If it makes it more stable quieter, etc. then sure, otherwise I wouldn't.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Posted (edited)

It looks good but a mite tall, unless it's just the camera angle. Is there something below the anvil to stop tools or stock from falling all the way to the bottom past the 4X4? That's the only reason I can see to add sand.

Edited by Irondragon Forge & Clay
just went back & looked at the diaghram

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