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Anvil horror

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I think people tend to overestimate their own qualities as a welder, and underestimate how hard it is to actually weld an anvil correctly without ruining it's functionality. You almost need to be a professional welder with a profound knowledge of metalurgy and anvils. I can get two pieces of metal to stick with various forms of welding and brazing, and I know quite a bit about hardening steels and such, but i don't consider myself good enough to weld an anvil, nor do I have the experience on how to NOT ruin the temper and grain of an anvil.

Will I use a hardfacing rod to touch up an anvil ? depends. On my own anvils ?  nope / never.  On an anvil which is going to be used and I'll be accountable if something breaks/cracks? Nope.

But if someone brings a real beat up anvil; and I explain them up front that I give no guarantees at all, and this will cost a nice penny in just my wasted time alone ... sure, I'll weld that.  I've hardfaced vulcan's with a good chunk of the faceplate missing twice. Is the anvil as good as a new vulcan? No. But it will look shiny and straight. And sometimes that's all people want... a nice shiny straight anvil.

Once a woman asked me to put a layer of stainless steel on top; so she could put the anvil outside as a memory to her late husband - and he was a hobbyist blacksmith who kept his anvil so flat and clean with a grinder the entire faceplate was almost gone except a couple millimeters. Wasn't a good anvil either, but I did that job for free. Every time I drive by her house and see that shiny anvil in the garden, makes me smile :D That was also a really good job for PR, because after that one, my requests for knives, sharpening services and other forgings almost doubled.


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I've said my piece regarding anvil repair enough times I'm not going to repeat myself till I need to. 

I know, lots of us howl about not ruining anvils by "repairing them." Most folk who want to "restore" an anvil do not know how to use them or what's necessary. Either as a tool, what is required to do good repairs or if a repair is desirable.

We can't reach through our screen and take away your welding rod or turn your mill off. The ONLY thing we CAN do is warn folks of the potential harm they're likely to do without good reason. We back our experience with examples we've seen and observed. 

We get some pretty "that's not nice" complaints too often and I'm afraid our responses to the "gold star for trying" crowd is adult talk. Folk who take warnings as personal attacks need to grow up, blacksmithing is inherently dangerous and using damaged tools makes it more so.

You warn children to look both ways before crossing a street. No? I do and I don't have children of my own, I've even had a little talk with parents who let their kids do dangerous stuff like run ahead in parking lots. 

So yeah, we warn people about the damage that can be done to tools by ignorant "repairs" and often in all caps even bolded. 

Before anybody out there has a hissy fit about being called ignorant. EVERYBODY IS IGNORANT. Ignorance can be cured, there are 50,000 members on Iforge and many MANY of us just love to help folks cure their ignorance. I can't count the times IFI has eased my ignorance, it's an almost daily occurrence. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I am a profesional welder and have my own milling machine . Thanks to finding this site I have neither welded nor milled my anvil. I had planned on doing both at one time. That would have been stupid.  Was my stupidity cured?  Was I not stupid to begin with but  just ignorant?

That answer may only be found in the eye of the beerholder!

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The lab rat, my Russian cast steel, once-available-at-hobo-fright, cost me $XXxx amount new. A ball bearing dented the top and rebounded 50-55% before I began. I've owned it more than twenty years, and it's original job was for setting rivets in leather tool bags. Today I hauled it in to work to use on a job, then hauled it home again. The whole top rings true, but ... the cracks are visible. I spose I can air arc the top back to base metal and start over. C'est la vie.

Being that I do weld professionally, and the rods were probably more outlay than I had in the anvil, I pulled the trigger. I stuck to the Gunther-Schuler method as close as I could manage, but there are always unforeseen variations. I want to know how to do this kind of work, it is possible. I post here knowing that I am wide open to critique. It's all good.

Failure teaches more than success.

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If there are face cracks from a bad pour, chasing out those cracks can open a can of worms that is very hard to put the cover back on.  Depending on the metal ( the weld can nearly almost lead to a crack right next to the area you just welded even with heat)..  

"The number 1 thing that separates the pro from any other is the ability to adjust to what is being shown (feedback) and then take appropriate action to get the desired result"... 

I have worked on all varieties of metals with both forging and fabrication and some of the old foreign stuff as well as domestic early stuff can be tough. 

The keys when welding the anvil is the preheat and slow cool or normalizing type of cooling. Ideally the preheat allows for some adjustment in tension between the base metal and the bead slowing down the cooling some and lessening tension. (weld beads are always contracting mainly in length but also in width). 

Post up some photo's of the cracks.  Interesting for sure. 


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