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Grubbing around in the river again. Is that gas torch cutting on the end? 

Too small for an anvil but I feel it should be a tool, what's the best way to put this to good use. Also got half a sleeper, a frustrated dog and sore shoulders... 

track-01-01.jpeg

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Definitely torch cut, but certainly NOT too small for an anvil. I have a backup/teaching anvil made from a similar chunk of track:

EFFB8E1D-4FEC-4600-A99A-F0CFF3D02EBD.jpeg

Hot-cut and mini-horn cut into one end:

06299744-B341-4AE1-B656-5D0E24626BDF.jpeg

And you can turn it on its side to use the inside curves as swages:

5F431E76-9460-471B-86C5-B22C61C39620.jpeg

 

 

Check out the improvised anvils thread for other examples. 

 

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It's definitely usable as an anvil Not being able to move my piece of rail around easily is the one drawback to having such a long piece but I think the added mass makes up for the inconvenience. I've learned to use the web etc as it stands without moving or flipping it around. 

That piece would make a great bottom fuller for drawing out stock or as a die for a treadle or power hammer. 

Pnut

 

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Wow you people are helpful. I've bought it a friend - a ten inch section of track. I figure the small section gets shaped into a marvelous multi faced anvil and the larger flattened on the face as a larger striking surface. 

I'm thinking sand box for the stand for maximum flexibility - I don't have a great deal of space 

I think I know the answer to this but I've not seen it mentioned - I don't need to temper do I? If this stuff was hardened it'd shatter under a train 

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I would say, no, don't mess about with any heat treating.  Rails are pretty tough steel to begin with and if they have seen heavy use the top of the rail may be work hardened.  I doubt that you would gain enough from heat treating to justify the effort.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I've been wondering about that myself. I've got my eye on a couple of rail clips next time I'm walking the dog that way - modern ones, wonder if they're the same steel. 

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Hammer, yes. Knife, no. That steel is tough stuff and forging it down into a bar for a knife doesn't sound very fun to me. You could use the web or feet and it would be slightly easier, but that's still a decent amount of work. I wouldn't be surprised if it made a decent knife though.

I can say the rail clips/anchors make decent knives. 

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There are a LOT of discussions of rail clips on the forum. Take a look at those.

You can always do a test-harden.

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Note that you can harden and draw temper such that rail wouldn't shatter under a train. It's a continuum not binary!

May I commend to your attention Alexander Weygers "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" that includes a chapter on how he would make smithing anvils from rail---*including* heat treating! 

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The section on test hardening is quite good too, even if some of his metallurgical info is a bit off. 

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Just made a hefty box for both pieces, just need to get some sand. The end of the the large piece is really rough, I'll see if I can slice off a useful piece when I tidy that - looks like it'd make a really good small eye hoe if I bent the flats round to form the eye. If it works it'd be worth buying a section for the purpose - I can bribe the allotment committee into letting me set up down there... 

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