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Swage block production inquiry


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Hello all,

I recently got my hands on several huge 4.5" thick steel plates.  My first thought was to cut them cut into swage blocks.  After looking into the cost for water-jet cutting these, I'm not sure if its worth it.  I planned to keep one and sell the rest to at least get myself a cheaper than market swage block.  

Its nearly impossible for me to tell the value of a swage block I've seen everything from a couple hundred bucks to a several thousand (yes, size and quality matters, but still not a clear trend).  

What do you these blocks would be valued at if they're 18"x18"x4.5" roughly 300 pounds unknown steel from the 1920-30s likely more robust than mild.  Assume they'll look and feel high quality. Mid-west USA sales region.   

Appreciate any advise and i'll post my results and designs if I move forward with cutting these.

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Steel scrap rate is maybe what, 5 cents a pound, so they're worth at least $15 each if you take them to the scrapyard and unload them. I can buy a new, quality 143 pound swage block (14" square X 4" thick) from Holland Anvil already finished for $500. I'd be really surprised if you could have them cut commercially by a machine shop for anything that would make it economical, let alone profitable for resale, but if somebody is looking for a custom piece normal pricing doesn't apply. If you had your own machine shop and could cut them in your spare time, maybe you could make a couple bucks.

If the sides are fairly good, they could make a nice improvised anvil as-is. A 4.5" X 18" working face has lots of possibility, with a substantial mass below it. Stand them on edge and you could use the different faces for different purposes (grind/machine your swage depressions on the side faces). 

Without knowing a material grade or hardness of the plates as they sit, it's tough to make any better recommendation.


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You pretty much want a top end custom price to make it worth while.    I've owned a swage block for over 36 years and some of those years I haven't used it.  Very handy when I need it; but I generally make a swage for my large anvil if I need to use a particular form more than a couple of times..

Anything you can do to narrow down the paid for cutting?  Like clamp two together and drill the half rounds, saw the V's with a big bandsaw; etc.  Get it down to where only the must be done by waterjet shapes are done the more expensive ways.

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3 hours ago, JME1149 said:

 I can buy a new, quality 143 pound swage block (14" square X 4" thick) from Holland Anvil already finished for $500.

Its funny you mention Holland anvil because they're not far from me and they're my target price to be well below...I'm going to test the steel to get an idea on hardness and quality.  So far, the cheapest I could produce an 18x18 block for would be $900 in theory which isn't bad considering itll be 300 lbs.  The anvil idea is a fair point too, thank you.  

1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

You pretty much want a top end custom price to make it worth while.

I've had the same thought but I'm not sure how I could cut anything without spending a lot of money on tools.  I don't think I own anything capable of properly machining the sides.   I have a buddy with a big horizontal bandsaw but arranging the steel in a way to cut V's would be crazy hard.  

I could jet just the holes for much less, and see if buyers want to machine their own edges but that seems unlikely.  Thank you for the advise it was helpful.  

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