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I Forge Iron

What Can I Make With New Railroad Track ?


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Hi Everyone,

My buddy dropped off a 136 lb 3’ piece of NEW railroad track.  It has a large printed paper taped on to the side of the rail that says “New”.

I already have a couple of old railroad tracks in use as “anvils”, one vertical 30” piece and one horizontal 12”.

I appreciate any advice or ideas,

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Wow.  136 pounds at three feet, makes it ostensibly 136# rail.  That makes it about the worst piece of rail one could ever get one's hands on. It may even be jinxed. I advise that you you ship it out here to San Diego, as soon as possible, before something bad happens.  I can not pay the freight, but I will dispose of it for the sake of the Greater Good.

All kidding aside, that would make a great anvil standing on end.  136# rail is nothing to sneeze at.  I find those thin web sections indispensable, the head section substantial, and quite complimentary to an "anvil" shaped anvil.

Robert Taylor

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Stand it on end as an anvil and consider the modification teenylittlemetalguy has made as a vise.  A second anvil and heavy anvil is always good to have in a convenient location.  Be sure and thank your buddy for thinking of you.

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Not knowing your tooling it's hard to suggest:  cutting off the web, heating it in the forge and forging a substantial bickern from it with your large powerhammer.  Some folks here could do that as a Saturday morning project.  Others would be looking at *months* of work.

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Thanks everyone

The link to the vise and rr track is awesome

I am a beginner , so no power hammer or press. 
I do have a HF horizontal band saw, 

I thought being it was new, it has not work hardened from trains travelling on it. 
It looks nice sitting on top of a 6” by 6” by 4’ piece of Ipe.

 

 

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If you're going to cut it in a band saw clamp it upside down, the contact surface is hardened during manufacture to minimize wear and friction between rail and train tire. Modern rail is induction hardened a few thousandths deep so can be cut with a saw from underneath. The saw teeth don't come in direct contact with the hardened steel and literally chips the hard steel rather than cut it. 

Stand it on end or you'll loose most of it's best anvil qualities and it has some excellent qualities. On end. Laying flat the force fro hammer blows will be absorbed by flexing the rail's full length, even if it's mounted solidly. On end the energy isn't absorbed, it's reflected back into the work from underneath, the greater the thickness directly under the hammer the more energy is returned. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Keep the short piece or medium length of track so you can lay it down horizontally when needed.  You can then use all the inside and outside curves as a swage block.

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I made a tool from two short lengths of heavy rr track about 12" long. I then mounted them on a ~ 1"x1' square plate. The edge of the track lines up with the edge of the plate. I put the shallow slope of the track facing in. 

Now you have a great tool for bending or straightening heavy iron hot or cold. It also makes a great upsetting plate. Pic on request

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Look at the shapes. The head is a 1-1/2”x3” solid chunk, sliced in 1-1/2” chunks it makes nice hammer head, top and bottom tool stock. 

The web is 7/8” a not bad size for punches and chisels if cut into strips, and the foot tapers from 7/8-1/2” So is a good start for drifts. Not that 12” hunks of rail mounted in end don’t make good starter anvils when friends  come buy. 

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