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Making Anvil from Large Scrap Steel Bar (6" wide x 7" high x 8 feet long)


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I found this big chunk of steel at the scrapyard yesterday.  I'm not sure what it was initially used for, but it looks like a cement curb used in parking lots.  The steel bar has a 6" wide face, 7" high, and is 8 feet long.  Both ends are beveled and there's a convenient 1" square hole on the top face on each beveled end. It weighs about 1,100 lbs and I bought it for $180. Figure I can make a couple of anvils and/or anvil shaped objects out of it.  Whatever I do with it, I'm sure it will one day come in handy on my homestead.  

I don't know what kind of steel it is.  I took a metal file to it at the scrapyard and also tried filing a piece of truck leaf spring laying nearby and I couldn't tell the difference when filing the two. When I get it home this week, I can try more tests to see if it is some kind of medium or higher carbon steel; but I doubt it is.  

If it's only mild steel, any idea's on what can be done to get the face hardened, ie  hardened steel plate welded to the face?  In my little time researching anvil making, doesn't sound like that is ideal unless the whole top plate is forge welded to the base. Unfortunately, forge welding something like this isn't something I'd be able to do. 

If you have any idea's or recommendations and making an anvil or perhaps ideas what this chunk of steel could be made into for use in my metal/blacksmithing shop, I'd love to hear them.  Thanks!

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Always glad to hear from an "ooper."  That's another place where they know how to do winter. I almost went to Michigan Tech in Houghton.  I ended up at the University of Wyoming instead.

If it turns out to be decent steel I'd cut the ends off at about 150 pounds length (a bit over a foot long if my calculations are correct) and use or pass them on/sell as anvils.  Other pieces could be set on the floor/ground as sow/up setting blocks or also used as anvils.

IMO your biggest problem will be cutting it up, particularly since moving a half ton plus around is not an easy proposition.

In any case, cool find.  How much did you have to pay per pound?

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand." 

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Cool find. But even if it would be "just" mild steel; it's still a whole bunch of Siamese anvils not yet separated from each other :D

And don't bother too much with hardened steel plates; mild steel is just as capabel an anvil as a steel one. I'd argue that a good base is more important than the steel quality, and modern day mild steel is actually fairly good quality. 

 

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Curious, is it by any chance magnetic? 1100lbs of steel for only $180 is quite the deal you made.

to quote Thomas: "Just a little jargon correction: Anvil Shaped Object is something made out of cast iron and generally sold as an anvil; but can't be used for long term smithing as it's made from cast iron and is soft and fragile.  I think you meant an "improvised anvil" made from a solid chunk of steel, it may not look like a London pattern anvil; but it can be used as an anvil pretty much forever.

Improvised anvils are anvils, anvil shaped objects are trash!"

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If you plan on staying where you're at for a long time there's enough length to be able to bury it in the ground to your proper working height and make it extremely stable. 

Pnut

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Subdivide it and use the chunks as anvil.  If a face gets too dinged you can grind it smooth. If you end up grinding it so much it's lost a lot of mas; move to the next chunk.  I'd definitely save the ends with the hardy holes in them for personal use!

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Posted (edited)
On 3/3/2021 at 12:50 AM, George N. M. said:

Always glad to hear from an "ooper."  That's another place where they know how to do winter. I almost went to Michigan Tech in Houghton.  I ended up at the University of Wyoming instead. 

Ahh, good ole Michigan Tech.  I got my Electrical Engineering degree from MTU. We had a saying about MTU back in the days.  "MTU, where men are men and so are the women".  Somewhat typical of Engineering schools back in the 80's, especially schools located far north and in the middle of nowhere.

I haven't yet hauled the steel bar home, but when I do, I have a backhoe and farm tractor at my place so moving it around should be a big issue.  I'm estimating the steel bar to weigh about 1,100 lbs and I paid $180.   I guess that's $0.16/lb.  

 

On 3/3/2021 at 3:33 AM, Deimos said:

Curious, is it by any chance magnetic? 1100lbs of steel for only $180 is quite the deal you made.

I need to swing by the scrapyard today and I'll do the magnet test. 

Thanks for the correction on the difference between an ASO and Improvised Anvil.  I'm a bit new to blacksmithing so the basics are still being learned.  

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No problem, I copied that from my own post when Thomas  corrected me. As newbies it is real easy to just get the terms wrong (like smelting and melting, especially if you are also translating everything from English to Dutch and vice versa), if you have not already done so, read up on the "Read this First" section at the top of the page, it is a great help.

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. Do you have a name, nick, handle we can address you by? Landrand is kind of clunky for casual conversation. I married a UPer and BOY was she surprised at her first Alaskan winter. Anchorage's average snow fall is less than a modest dump in the UP. We have ice and crazy drivers instead.

That's an anvil mother. An anvil anything you hit or beat other things on. An anvil shaped object only looks like a London Pattern anvil as a marketing ploy to dispose of excess low quality cast iron. The London Pattern is only one of hundreds of anvil shapes and is relatively recent. Don't get caught by the myth it needs a horn, with the 1" square hole you can make any number of bottom tools including but not limited to: fullers, bics and cones to perform the usual functions of a horn. 

That's a great score at a better price. Do you have or have access to a horizontal band saw? Unless that's hardened high carbon or some abrasion resistant steel a bandsaw will cut it easily and leave nice clean flat surfaces. 

DANG! I'm spacing on the name of the town where Deb lived when I met her. I wrote the whole post expecting it to click but oh NO,:o NO WAY. Deb lived in Houghton for a few years before moving a couple times finally settling on a Hobby farm just outside . . . DRATS didn't work! I'm a TBI survivor and aphasia is an every day issue, I'm sure it'll come to me right after posting, I HOPE I recall it while I can still edit. DANG I had to SAY THAT! <sigh> I'm hopeless. 

Ironwood in Gogebic county! Her place was less than 10 miles from Superior so 6' of snow wasn't anything special. It's a pain to have to trick your brain into recalling something you know darned well is hiding in there. <sigh>

Frosty The Lucky.

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Back in the Neolithic when I was looking at colleges MTU was the Michigan School of Mining and Technology aka Michigan Mines.  I suspect the vibe at MTU isn't much different than that at UW.  The other one on my short list besides MTU and UW was New Mexico School of Mines where Thomas Powers lives and works.  Small world. 

If you do any blacksmith teaching you could just mount the bar horizontally and have forging stations along it.

I hope that it turns out that it is good steel.

Once you have done whatever you are going to do with it let us know.  We LOVE pictures.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Posted (edited)
On 3/3/2021 at 12:01 PM, Frosty said:

That's a great score at a better price. Do you have or have access to a horizontal band saw? Unless that's hardened high carbon or some abrasion resistant steel a bandsaw will cut it easily and leave nice clean flat surfaces. 

Thanks for the info Frosty.  My first name is Rob. 

Eight years ago, I spent about 6 months in Alaska for work.  It was the end of February when I left the UP and we had about 4 to 5 feet of snow on the ground.  I arrive in Anchorage and as I was driving from the Airport to Wasilla, I was passing fields that had no snow whatsoever.  That's when I realized how bad the UP is weather wise.  Fortunately, our winters are much warmer than Alaska's.  Unlike AK, we may get a week or two of below zero temps during the whole winter. In AK, I recall the temps being below zero quite often.  AK is so cold, that rivers and streams freeze solid.  That's unheard of around here.

As far as the big steel bar I recently bought, I'm going to wait a bit before I cut it up into smaller anvil pieces.  I have a good size shop so I'll get a couple of hardwood tree stumps and I'll set/fasten the 8' bar to on each end.  I have a shop table and shelving units on wheels. When the 8 foot anvil isn't being used, I can wheel these alongside so the anvil isn't taking up unnecessary space.   

I don't have a horizontal bandsaw but it is on my shopping list.  Perhaps when I get more familiar/educated with blacksmithing and anvils, then I'll make the decision on how best to cut it and/or shape it.  In the meantime, I just might have one of the largest anvils in the UP or perhaps all of Michigan! 

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On 3/3/2021 at 11:08 PM, landrand said:

AK is so cold, that rivers and streams freeze solid.

Nice to meet you Rob.

No they don't, just the tops all the way across, they only LOOK frozen solid. You ain't seen flooding until you see a waterway freeze solid. During break up (denotes when the river ice starts breaking up) ice starts flowing downstream and often jams backing up and the water begins to rise. The Yukon typically floods thousands of acres. 

What were you doing up here? 

Deb wanted me to ask if you remember Dick Storm? 

Be careful laying that bar of steel on two wood blocks like that. If it falls on a foot it'll be gone right then and there. It'd probably only take an hour or so to cut it with a large hacksaw. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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