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I Forge Iron

Cutting my (improvised) anvil in half.

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So I have been playing with my anvil for a couple of months and I'm not really thrilled with the width of the face on my anvil. It just feels too narrow for me.  It could very well be my inexperience because I have seen on here folks using very small anvils that make the hunk of iron I have look enormous, and they do fantastic work, so tell me to quit whining if that's what I need to hear B)

Anyway, I currently have it sitting so that I have this.  The i beam does not get hammered on, it's just what the vise is bolted to.  Next to the I beam is what I hit things on.  Pig Iron according to dad, but it's probably some sort of wrought iron in reality.  I may have been rolled through some sort of rolling press at some point because it has that slight curve.  It's a couple of inches wide there, maybe 2 1/2.  Its on its side giving about 10 inches of mass underneath.  It's about 19 inches long.

What I'm thinking about doing is cutting it in half and putting the chunks side by side, fitting the curvature together to gain a wider surface to hit.  I'd have to totally rework the stand, and that's ok

An alternative would be to just flip it on it's side, convex side up.  I would lose the mass under the hammer, but would gain a substantial amount of work surface. I might also be able to drill out a pritichel hole and I might even be able to figure out how to get a hardie hole in there.  This would also mean having to do things to my stand to get it back up to the correct height.

A third option would be to move the I beam with the vise on it .  As it sits, I have to partially reach across it to work, or take a couple of extra steps so that I am facing it length wise.

So should I mess with it or learn to deal with it?   


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That piece of steel should weigh about 134 pounds.  If you use it as is, you have a 2-1/2 inch wide x 19 inch long surface.  Lay it down and 10 inches wide and 19 inches long is a good size anvil face with a bit of a sway back.  The other way, 10 inches wide and 19 inches long is a good size anvil face with a bit of a hump in the anvil face.   If you work across the 10 side the bend should not matter much. 

Another option is to stand the metal up on end, square and flatten the end, and use it as a 2-1/2 x 10 inch anvil face with the full 134 pounds directly below where the hammer hits.

You can only move metal the size of the hammer face, no matter how large the anvil face is.   If people can use the end of a sledge hammer head as a blacksmithing anvil, you should be in high clover with your piece of 134 pound metal.

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For the time being, you have an anvil. If the I beam is in the way, move it. Other than that, as Glenn mentioned you have usable sides. 

If you really wanted a pritchel hole or hardy hole you "could" add those if you want to.

I'd use what you got while you look for something better. 

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The problem with standing it fully on end is that those two particular  ends are really ratty, and the curve is such that all the mass wouldn't  be under the work surface., the way I have it gives the most mass under the hammer.

 I can make it do for a while I guess..  I have to shuffle things about to make stuff more comfortable I suppose, and just get used to working on that narrow area

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If for some reason you need more face, turn the work so the length supplies the backing you need. If you watch videos by high end smiths you'll note they almost always work across the anvil, not lengthways. 

Straightening work works very well on an end grain wooden block, I have two birch rounds in my shop, one about 30" high the other about 50". Neither is ideal but the tall one is good when you really need to see what's happening. The too low one is good near the anvil, it doesn't get in the way and you can use top tools on it if necessary. 

A wood "anvil" and or mallet doesn't actually forge the project unless it's REALLY hot, however it's a good non-rebounding surface that doesn't mar texture while straightening. A wooden mallet on the anvil face is good when the shape and texture isn't a delicate. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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