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Drunken Dwarf

Possibly Pine Anvil Stand

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Hi all

 

I have a question about the wood for my anvil stand. I made a stand (not quite finished yet) out of the largest peices of wood I could find locally (100mm x 200mm sleepers). They're kinda roughly glues together (sleepers weren't flat and I lack the proper tooling to make them flat, but it's pretty xxxx strong)

I was listening to "The Forgecast" in the truck and they said that the one wood to not make your stand out of is pine, due to the fire hazard of the sap and oils. The sleepers I used commercial link removed were advertised as "Scandanavian Softwood", now just listed as softwood, so there's a good chance they are pine if not spruce.

The wood itself seems pretty dry and it's pressure treated, (I didnt know if the podcast was talking about sawn, treated wood or fresh stumps), would the fire safety still be an issue with what I have or could I safely use it?

Any advice would be great (except for replacing it with steel, I can't weld)

 

Many thanks

Drunken Dwarf

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17 minutes ago, Drunken Dwarf said:

I can't weld)

You can drill holes and rivet or bolt metal together.  

 

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This is true. I didn't flesh out my original post enough I don't think. There are ways to fabricate an anvil stand without welding, that's true, my personal preference would be for a wooden stand but in reality, getting a forging surface going is more important to me than personal preference. However, if possible I would like to limit costs, my main interest is whether I can use the sleeper-made block I have as I already have it so there's no additional costs/time etc.

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I've had several pine stands, whether it is dimensioned lumber (pressure treated or not) or logs.  I've had a few small smoldering fires from hot metal sat on them or tiny bits of coke or charcoal that had been stuck on the work piece and fell, but nothing that I would consider a particularly high fire risk. I think having a shut down routine the way Frosty recommends is important -- part of that is to make sure to take some time after your fire is out and your nose is clear to smell for a fire. The pine fires have been obvious to me every time. 

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DD, use what you have available now to build a working stand, at the correct height for YOU.  There is always time to make a second stand later.  

End grain of wood is tough and will not flash into flames at the touch of a match or one piece of hot iron.  If you are still concerned, heat up a piece of iron, lay it on a piece of scrap wood, and intentionally try to set it on fire. You may get a small flame with prolonged exposure to the hot metal but that is expected. Most likely it will just char and leave a burned mark.  They used end grain wood for shop floors for years.

If you are still concerned about a fire hazard, coat the surface with a fire retardant, or cover it with some thin metal flashing like they use on a roof, or a piece of thin metal such as car metal. Make it larger than the wood surface and fold it over the edge of the wood by an inch or more.  It should have little effect on the use of the anvil.

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These are the worst of the pine "fires" I have had in routine forging. The only one still smoldering when I noticed it was the one on the log. I don't see pine as unsafe for you work platforms. 

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The pine fire thing sounds like someone trying to find something to complain about and justify their pre-conceived opinion.

Obviously you wouldn't use pitch pine--it'd be a sticky mess. However, the usual pine boards, even with a little pitch, are not going to go up like a camp fire on you without plenty of warning for you to do something.

One can also make a pretty cheap fire retardant for wood from borax in water sprayed on...so if there are worries, look it up.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Drunken Dwarf said:

I was listening to "The Forgecast" in the truck and they said that the one wood to not make your stand out of is pine, due to the fire hazard of the sap and oils.

Hi DD, when the above advice is in theory correct, yes pine burns easier than Iron Bark ... you can stop this from happening by charring your stand intentionally with a roof plumber's torch aka propane blow torch, flamethrower or similar.  Once you get a nice black surface, most of the flammable materials is used up and you will need much higher temperature for the wood to start burning again. 

And the stand will look real cool ! :)

Don't worry too much about the armchair specialists you hear on tv or radio. Make your own experience. 

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Thank you for all of the awesome input. You guys never cease to be incredibly helpful. After this I will go ahead with what I have, I've got the day off on Wedensday to finish the stand ;)

I've cut it 1cm too high on purpose and my plan is to use my router to route out a 1cm deep footprint of my anvil to keep it nice and secure horizontally. (Got a sheet of dense rubber to lay in the cutout too for deadening). And treat the stand with BLO probably.

Anvil will be fastened down with chain and turn buckles, shouldn't take more than a day to get it all finished:)

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I wouldn't use BLO, it will probably be more flammable than the pine. Marc1 has a good idea there, I would just char it and have a water source near be for the unlikely event of a small smoldering piece of overlooked piece of hot metal. Another thing if you let the scale build up, that should insulate it.

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And why not incorporate the boric acid treatment along with the charing ?  Char it then boric acid  (available at any pharmacy here (Chemist across the pond)).  The boric acid comes as a powder - dissolve it in water and apply.

Link to information about borate: http://www.americanborate.com/all-about-borates/borate-applications/borates-in-flame-retardants/

What about the borax we use as flux ?

Alan

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OTOH if you char it it is harder to detect new hot spots to keep an eye on.  I'd go with the borax soak if you can get it over there anymore.

I bolted several of my anvil stands together out of 2"x12" oak boards that were the floor of a scrapped horse trailer.  Rough sawn, kicked, abused, etc---they have worked just fine...

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I googled about getting Borax in the UK and came across some hippe girls blog saying that it's been reclassified in the EU as a hazardous material (which we knew already) but that reclassification means it can't be bought in the EU or UK, only borax substitute (dont know if it works the same way for smithing). Although the standard English method taught over here, and I know used by my local smiths, is not to use flux at all. Welding becomes more about maintaining a clean fire.

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Posted (edited)

That seems a bit extreme. People still use borax as a laundry detergent in the US. You don't need to go to a drugstore to get it. It's sold in the cleaning aisle of most supermarkets here. Boric acid powder is also available at large supermarkets and hardware stores here as roach poison.  You can get 100% boric acid powder at Walmart. It's used in some medical preparations also. 

Pnut

Edited by pnut

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Posted (edited)

You definiately can't get it in supermarkets here, possibly chemists but that would be the only option. Looking at the classifications it's considered a risk to fertility and unborn children. The risk is obviously negligable, and yes, it does seem extreme. But on the other hand, just because people use it doesn't mean it's safe.

Edited by Mod30
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Posted (edited)

I've never looked into what the risks are with borax. I've put boric acid mixed with water in the eye of my cat following my vets orders. Here twenty mule team Borax detergent is a sort of old timey product. I have not seen it used by anyone under 70   in their laundry. They used to sponsor a cowboy TV show in the late fifties early sixties here called "Death Valley Days". 

Most things are dangerous. I think how and if it's regulated depends on how dangerous and how much influence that particular industry can bring it's influence to bear. I will use the words alcohol and tobacco to illustrate the idea. I don't want to stray too far down this road though, but I will look into the dangers of borax as I have never thought of it as any more dangerous than any other detergent.  Thanks for pointing it out. 

Pnut

Edited by pnut

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Many things are regulated and there are so many factors to regulation that you can't really use that as any basis for judgement. But I like to at least look up the stuff I don't know about before I use it, if you don't get into the habit of that then it's not a big stretch to start thinking "Well, galvanised steel is everywhere and cheap, why shouldn't I build my forge pipe out of it" if you've never actually come across the dangers of zinc.

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There is nothing wrong with using pine for an anvil stand:D. It is only lighter, softer and less durable than the hardwood I use in the form of oak stands (2x) and one made of beech wood. Regarding the fire hazard, the wood will charr on contact with a hot workpiece or tool upon contact. Maybe a little more than with hardwood. To slow down this process and ensure that the surface of the stand becomes less fire-sensitive, the idea of Mark to use shou sugi ban is a very good idea. This method has been used in Japan for thousands of years to protect softwood against flammability, water absorption / rot and insect infestation. I also use shou sugi ban as a decoration and extra dimension when treating my pedestals and wood elements for my sculptures.
As far as Borax is concerned, it is almost as difficult for private individuals to get it as powder in Belgium as in the UK. However, I have discovered that it is available in any good pharmacy. In addition to fire welding, I also need Borax as an addition to my bronze casting. According to the pharmacist, in addition to the treatment of previously mentioned eye infections, it will also be good against sweaty feet<_<.
If everything does not help, Borax is still used as an additive / oxidation inhibitor for brazing and a well-sorted welding material trade has it in stock (in large packages)

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3 hours ago, Drunken Dwarf said:

I like to at least look up the stuff I don't know about before I use it,

I am a firm believer in reading the MSDS for the things I use also. I don't use borax for welding but like Hans said I have used it in a pair of shoes that I stepped in stagnant water while wearing. I washed them and after they were dry I put a sprinkle of Borax on the insoles and let them sit over night. I did take for granted that it was safe to use for it's labeled purpose since it's been around for nearly a hundred years but like talcum powder containing asbestos you never can tell. That of course wouldn't have been covered in a MSDS though. Which makes me wonder what type and amount of exposure is considered dangerous when it comes to Borax. I'm going to have a look now. 

Pnut

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Here in the USA buying it as a laundry additive is MUCH cheaper than buying it in the pharmacy/chemists a common purveyor sells it for 7 UScents per oz. Likewise boric acid sold as a roach killer is much cheaper than pharmaceutical grade stuff sold as an eyewash. I tend to pick up boric acid at the fleamarket for around US$1 per pound for old roach killer and buy a 4 pound box of Borax at the supermarket. It's a pretty good mix at 1:4 for welding flux.

Borax: LD50 for rats is 2.66 gm/kg  So if I were  rat I'd have to eat a bit over 266 grams, over 1/2 a pound to kill myself off.  Considered low in toxicity.

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Look at the floor of my shop. Lots of welding, and grinding goes on there, along with various red hot chunks of steel being dropped, (oops butter fingers). I prefer to work on a wood floor, easier on the back, and other joints. ;)

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I don't think you have to worry about fire. In normal use, nothing hot enough to cause a fire should be on the top of your pine stand. Hot iron that isn't in my forge goes on the ground till cool. Hot tools are the same. They are usually left on my anvil step or cooled in water and put away. Hot Cut ends fall to the floor. The only thing that ends up on your stand is scale which wont cause a problem. 

Also, insetting your anvil into the stand is a good idea. If its deep enough and a snug enough fit, you wont need chain. And, consider using a fine sand instead of rubber to set your anvil on. This deadens the sound and makes it very easy to level your anvil. And, I'm sure, scale is hot enough to at least add the smell of hot rubber to your shop. 

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On 1/3/2020 at 11:00 AM, Drunken Dwarf said:

You definiately can't get it in supermarkets here, possibly chemists but that would be the only option. Looking at the classifications it's considered a risk to fertility and unborn children. The risk is obviously negligable, and yes, it does seem extreme. But on the other hand, just because people use it doesn't mean it's safe.

Drunken Dwarf- here in the UK you can buy it easily on eBay. In fact, many sellers sell small quantities (100-200g per pack). 200g = £2.75. I bought one of these, keep it in an old tobacco tin, and its lasted ages. Next time I'll probably buy enough to fill a pour bottle Torbjorn Ahmen style. 1kg tub = £5.99.  

 

As for your Pine stand..... my stand is made from softwood sleepers, and edges at the top with pine 2x2" to form a kind of socket to sit my block anvil into. Occassionally I have dropped or placed hot metal on this rim. It flashes up with a little flame, chars a little, but not what I would describe as a fire hazard....... there are plenty of worse fire hazards around my shop, starting with the walls! Just be careful- keep track of hot metal, especially when chiseling off pieces or whatever, stay clean and tidy, and do a 5 minute sweep-up after forging while the fire goes fully out.

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i bought a few kg's off amazon or ebay a year or so ago, so im sure it is still available over here.

i think iv still got most of it unused as iv not yet got my forge up to welding temp yet. if you cant get hold of any i can probably drop some over to you. I cross the river and pop up to Nawich from time to time.

 

iv used a random bits of pine for dishing hot metal on a few times and it didn't seem any worse than any other wood iv used. i do always check everything is out and cold after each sessino though as im currently in a wooden workshop with exposed polystyrene insulation.

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If using borax as a fire retardant is too risky for you, just pour water on the block a while before putting hot steel on it. 

Has Brexit helped with the crazy stupid chicken little ban everything dangerous crowd? We have more than our share of such idjits, red dye #9 IIRC was banned as a carcinogen a rat drinking some stupid quantity per day MIGHT get cancer, probably pop like a balloon. The most sensible part of the regulation is it's banned in rat poison! Wouldn't want rats you're poisoning to risk cancer if they life 50-60 years you  know.

I've read the MSDS for borax and don't see any risk for any but the extremely over indulgent.  Fertility risk for the . . . unborn?:huh: Are the unborn getting pregnant and having babies now? 

Don't stand over the hot steel you're fluxing and breath the fumes. I've been using borax in one form or another for I don't know how long and nothing has gone wrong. . .  gone wrong. . .  gone wrong. . .  gone wrong. . . :rolleyes:

Must be old joke day in my head.

Frosty The Lucky.

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