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M.G.

Makeshift Anvil questions from a noob

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Hey guys, I am very new to the craft, and the forum,  so I hope this is an acceptable place for these questions.

I just picked up a 10" round off cut of steel, it weighs about 100 lbs.

Wanting to use this as a basic anvil shaped object. I figure it has plenty of mass. But what I am wondering is, if I should attempt to heat treat the striking surface somehow?? Or if a non hardened and tempered piece of steel is acceptable to use as an anvil? 

 

20200518_144104.jpg

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Posted (edited)

As long as it is steel - not cast iron - it will make a perfectly good anvil as it is. No heat treat required. I would build a stand for it and put it to use right away

 

Those edges, or should I say edge looks a little too sharp. It would be a good idea to round some of it off slightly with a sanding disc. 

Edited by Jonnytait
Sharp Edges

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A block of steel that works as an anvil, it is an anvil, no matter the shape. An ASO or Anvil Shaped Object, it is an object that looks like the modern anvil anvil (for example  London pattern anvil) but made of very low quality material (for example cast iron) and it is sold very cheap in the market. An ASO has no use in blacksmithing. Probably you can use it as a door stop or as a boat anchor.

Before you post your questions, make a search in the forum about "improvised", "homemade", "diy" or 'makeshift" anvil. You will get many threads. Here it is one example and good luck in your blacksmith journey

 

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Excellent! Thanks for the input. I will be softening the edge for sure. And I was considering grinding a slight step in to one side.   We will be building a small coal forge next week and start hitting some steel soon!

Yeah I quickly realized I have picked up something much more useful than an ASO, the guy I got it from claims its high carbon off cut he got from a machine shop a while back.so I'm pretty certain it is not iron. But when it makes it to the shop, I will give it a spark test.... does anyone have any other methods they like to check scrap?

 I could and will always do more research, the digging and learning is never ending. But I find it nice to engage with the community, and often there is more unlikely knowlage to gain once you get people talking. Thanks.

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Got any friends at the university in metallurgy that can do spark spectroscopy on it? 

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Posted (edited)

Nope, I don't think I know anyone that has access to that kind of technology.  I was under the impression that I could hit it with a grinder and visually analysis the spark pattern coming off the workpiece, to get a general idea of the carbon content. But if there is no need to worry about hardening the work surface to get use from the piece, then I assume it dosnt matter if it is mild steel or high carbon... is this a safe assumption? Thanks a bunch, I appreciate the input.

Edited by Mod30
Remove quote & @tag

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Correct, especially starting out when hammer control may still need some work, have a surface you can grind clean without the issues that causes with commercial anvils can be a big positive!

When you get good you can decide whether to heat treat that one, or find another.

Spark testing without the fancy equipment can give you some pointers to what it may be---especially if you have a number of samples to compare it against directly.

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Posted (edited)

sweet thanks

Edited by Mod30
Remove quote.

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Update: got that beast on a stand. 

20200520_174117.jpg

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Isn't that a thing of beauty? 

Use it the way it is until you figure out what you want from an anvil. Just round a bit the edges. Do you have the possibility to use both the flat faces and the round surface of the cylinder?

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Weight makes it hard to move around to swap using sides. I'd certainly hammer stock on the side for drawing though.

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I bet you could forge curve up, if you fallow the ridge it’s dang net flat for near a foot, then across the ridge for drawing. A 1/2” bar, heck even a 3/4” one wouldn’t notice the difference long ways. Still have a more or less square edge at each end/side

 

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Good point.  Some folks would  have more issues with it sliding off sideways as they can't hammer flat yet.

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The weight definitely makes it difficult to swap the orientation without a chain hoist or cherry picker, it will sit just like it is. This thing weighs as much if not more than some anvils. My calculations put it at about 230-250lbs. 

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An engine hoist is one of my best yard sale finds ever. The gentleman was hemming and hawing about selling it at the marked price of $100 and I was reaching for my wallet but his wife stepped up and said $50 if you load it now. IIRC this very model were going for around $600 at the time and it looked new.

I LOVE my engine hoist, I can pick either of my anvils with stand and set them in the pickup between the wheel wells. Making it easy to roll around is the prime reason I sweep the shop floor. Gotta love lift capacity!

 Frosty The Lucky.

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Man, I'm gettin' to the point in life I wouldn't mind picking up a good engine hoist for $50.  I even think my little wife would approve of my spending that amount for one.   Even picking up that 80# upsetting block and putting it in the back of my truck yesterday was a bit on the edge of what I can dead-lift like that.  I can handle 60# bags of grain with little problem, but that extra 20# like to torqued my back.  I cleaned the rust off of it today with my r-angle grinder and will have to admit I did it on the floor and not up on my work bench!

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I'm sooooo happy I don't have to use an A frame and levers anymore. Deb was almost as excited as I was, I had a heck of a time getting her to let me dicker. 

 Frosty The Lucky.

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"A-Frame"???????  Heck, I don't even have that much assistance.  It's all back work around my place.  I do have a Hi-Lift jack that has saved my bacon more than once. (that and come-a-longs) Never lifted a vehicle with it, but have lifted a whole lot of other things with it.

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Oh yeah, an engin hoist would be great, im always on the hunt for a good deal on a cherry picker for the shop. I've also been considering an overhead chain hoist for the shop too. But either way I need to get a welder first, then I'll be able to weld tabs on to the round and have a way to secure and move it with said lifting device.  Also building an A frame or tripod hoist with pullies wouldn't be too hard of a job. Im digging the thoughts.  

I just picked up some more drops that the guy had laying around.  A few of these ones were snickered 4140. I am thinking I possibly have a good striking anvil here, as well as a few pieces that may make a good treadle hammer at some point. And a nice thick walled piece that I will make serve as a substitute for not having a hole in the anvil, so I can drift holes.... just a few of the ideas I have running around in my head. If you guys have any thoughts or suggestions on ways to make tooling for the trade i would love to hear em.

Here is a flick of the load I picked up today.20200531_142915.jpg.8bf64e85b71dcafa4a2c0c40aac7b243.jpg

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I am pretty stoked. I can't wait to get to put it to use. Hopefully soon, we are trying to get the forge built in the next week or so. Im scrapping together most of this operation so some parts come together faster than others. Next im trying to source somebody's old BBQ to build a small semi portable JABOD to burn charcoal. 

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