Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Thoughts on this already-made railroad track anvil for a beginner


Recommended Posts

So I'm back again. As you may recall, my last Craigslist anvil find was a disappointment. The anvil was a little more sway-backed than I liked and had only 40% or so rebound... not worth the asking price. This one JUST popped up locally (could be there in 15 mins) and is asking $95. I'm assuming it was a railroad or similar-type track in a former life, but it seems to have been formed into an anvil shape some time ago, with hardy and pritchell holes, nice flat top face with sharp-ish corners, a little mini-table, and a decently-shaped horn. Current seller states he thinks hardy hole is 3/8", and will have to weigh the anvil later today to tell me weight. He purchased it in the condition it is now, and never got around to using it like he thought.

I know in general track anvils aren't ideal, and the usual recommendation is to mount/use them installed long-wise, using the cut end as the work face (to get more mass under the face). So I'm sure this isn't what a pro would pick. But I'm brand new to this, and this is very local, and seems like a very reasonable price (depending on what it weighs out at). Just trying to get a feel for HOW non-ideal this setup would be, and if its "worth" the $95. Now I know cost/worth is subjective, but is this the sort of thing where I'll be able to do some simple work and start learning the basics, and figure out if this is a hobby I want to sink some money into and get a "real" anvil? Or is this something where i'll just end up fighting the crappy anvil, and it will make learning harder, and not be very useable? Any advice is appreciated!

 

 

anvil1.jpg

anvil2.jpg

anvil3.jpg

anvil4.jpg

anvil5.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

for $95 you can get a nice cut off of large stock to use and have change left, I would pass, a anvil does not need to look like a London pattern and the waist of this will be springy soaking up the blows

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not good for the price. Nowhere near a "good" anvil. As Steve mentioned, you could get a bigger chunk of steel to get forging on for way less. Then get learning and forging on it while you save up and find the kind of anvil you want. 

One recommendation from me, if I were to even give advice to my younger self, don't think you Need "The" tools to get started when there are many cheaper easier to find ways to make or get what you do need to start. The one thing you are missing out on in waiting or hunting it Experience!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Find machine shops, fab/welding shops, large equipment repair or rental shops, or scrap yards near you and try to find a heavy drop or counterweight from an excavator or the like. The steel supplier by me sells remnants of mild steel for forty cents a pound. I seen a piece of four inch bar stock about a foot and a half long last time I was there. Check for a steel supplier near you.

Pnut

Link to post
Share on other sites

By the base measurement, I estimate that this is made from 150 pound per yard rail. It should weigh 35#. That would cost $2.71/# US.

I have a number of these things - they wander in like stray cats. Nice bench tool, but pricey.  I use these things, but they are no match against my scrap  3" x 24" round bar, stood on end, which beats, with a 3# hammer, my 5 ton fly press for crushing granite.

The narrow waste on a rail anvil leaves much to be desired. Your milage may vary.

Robert Taylor

Link to post
Share on other sites

All I'd give the seller for that poor thing is THE LOOK. Anvils don't function on their looks. Anvils function according the most basic rules of physics eg. rigid resistance to movement under impact. Stand a piece of rail on end and they make a very effective anvil, the hammer impact is trying to compress high carbon steel lengthwise. Lay if flat and it will flex like a car spring absorbing energy. The web is relatively narrow so the only depth of impact on that poor little thing, sad as it is would be along the very center of the face where it was left.

As suggested hit the scrap yard, machine shop, heavy truck repair, etc. and ask for drops or replaced parts. A semi drive axle mounted on end makes a fine anvil. Seriously excellent anvil.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I passed on a perfect anvil it was a cut off from a drive axle,  around 16 inch diameter or so, from a steel mills hot roller wheel. weighed over 100# per foot. as it sat,  it was about 10 foot long... still was only 35 cents Lb back then

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oooh, 31" of that would've done me a treat when I was needing an anvil. About 258 lbs. Perfect. Stand 3 sections like that together and you have a power hammer base with a space for punched slugs.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I consistently pass on small section of rail at the scrapyard. Any of them could be had for $5. My first anvil was section of smaller sized rail I got at a flea market for $4. Like everyone has said there are much cheaper anvil options out there. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...