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Can Steel be Welded to an Iron Anvil-Shaped-Object?


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Historically, some anvils have been made with a smooth top working face of hardened steel welded/attached to a cast or wrought iron body, though this manufacturing method is no longer in common use.

Could someone today take a piece of harden-able Steel and Weld it to an Iron "Anvil-Shaped-Object," then use it as an anvil without it coming apart?

How was the Steel attached back in the day? Was the "Iron" portion of the anvil poured/cast onto the steel face upside down?

Edited by DerekC
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In theory, preparation employing a 45-degree edge bevel around the perimeter of the ASO and the Steel Face material followed by Pre-Heating of the Cast or Wrought-Iron ASO and using Nickel or "Ni-Rod" welding filler material would be the way to go about it, Cast-Iron to Steel.

The Steel-Face (after welding) might well also need to be heat-treated and stress-relieved.

That would be my best guess, but I'm not sure if anyone out there knows any better from knowledge or personal experience.

I also wonder, does anyone know if the Harbor Freight Tools 55-lb Anvil-Shaped-Object is Cast-Iron (2–4% carbon, 1–6% silicon, and small amounts of manganese) or is it Wrought-Iron (less than 0.25% carbon?)

Edited by DerekC
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Thanks. So, not Wrought-Iron.

Still, can welding a steel face on work?

Also, if not wrought-iron, is the Cast-Iron in an Anvil-Shaped-Object (such as the HFT 55-pound item,) "white-cast-iron," "grey-cast-iron," or "gray-Ductile-cast-iron?"

As in this Wikipedia quote below:

Cast iron contains 2–4% carbon, 1–6% silicon, and small amounts of manganese. Contaminants present in pig iron that negatively affect material properties, such as sulfur and phosphorus, have been reduced to an acceptable level.
It has a melting point in the range of 1420–1470 K, which is lower than either of its two main components, and makes it the first product to be melted when carbon and iron are heated together.

Its mechanical properties vary greatly, dependent upon the form carbon takes in the alloy. 'White' cast irons contain their carbon in the form of cementite, or iron carbide. This hard, brittle compound dominates the mechanical properties of white cast irons, rendering them hard, but unresistant to shock.

The broken surface of a white cast iron is full of fine facets of the broken carbide, a very pale, silvery, shiny material, hence the appellation.

In grey iron the carbon exists free as fine flakes of graphite, and also renders the material brittle due to the stress-raising nature of the sharp edged flakes of graphite.

A newer variant of grey iron, referred to as ductile iron is specially treated with trace amounts of magnesium to alter the shape of graphite to spheroids, or nodules, vastly increasing the toughness and strength of the material.
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In theory, preparation employing a 45-degree edge bevel around the perimeter of the ASO and the Steel Face material followed by Pre-Heating of the Cast or Wrought-Iron ASO and using Nickel or "Ni-Rod" welding filler material would be the way to go about it, Cast-Iron to Steel.

The Steel-Face (after welding) might well also need to be heat-treated and stress-relieved.

That would be my best guess, but I'm not sure if anyone out there knows any better from knowledge or personal experience.

I also wonder, does anyone know if the Harbor Freight Tools 55-lb Anvil-Shaped-Object is Cast-Iron (2
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I would think that if you weld a steel plate to the top of an ASO it would only be attached at the edges and it would be very springy because it is not fully fused to the anvil.


That's true.. and it might have a awful ring or thud to it. Might have to drill some holes in the plate and have to weld the center/middle. But by the time you get into all this why not just buy a real anvil. I mean there are real anvils 40-50#'ers on ebay for not to ridiculous of a price.
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Appreciate the replies, link, advice, etc.

I already thought about drilling a few holes in the face to secure it to the ASO in areas beyond just the edges. If I go this route, I'll likely try that too.

The reason I'm considering this, is that I have been looking around locally for an anvil for the last three months. Checked out EBay too.

Tried to find some used Rail-Road Rail and also looked for a supplier for heavy (3-to-4-inch) Plate, but not much luck with that thus far. I bought some (relatively) thick steel 1 1/4-inch thick) plate ($0.50/lb scrap piece) and heavy 6-inch I-Beam, but would like a "Real" anvil eventually, when I can find a decent deal.

I can afford around $250 for an anvil, but this has to include shipping. Most places that have an anvil I can afford, are far enough away, that shipping amounts to $100 or more.

I have feelers out and I'm sure that over the next six-months to a year, something will turn up locally that I can pick-up on my own, and avoid the high shipping costs.

Edited by DerekC
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The original method of producing Fisher and Vulcan steel faced cast iron anvils involves heating a tool steel face plate to about welding temp and pouring liquid cast iron on top of it in a mold.

Sure you can do this yourself; expect to spend thousands of dollars doing it before you get good at it.

A perimeter weld on cast iron doesn't buy you much expecially for impact use.

Why not just go buy a large chunk of *steel* at the scrap yard and have a much superior anvil to start with? Use your ASO to hold hardy tools.

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Appreciate the replies, link, advice, etc.

I already thought about drilling a few holes in the face to secure it to the ASO in areas beyond just the edges. If I go this route, I'll likely try that too.

The reason I'm considering this, is that I have been looking around locally for an anvil for the last three months. Checked out EBay too.

Tried to find some used Rail-Road Rail and also looked for a supplier for heavy (3-to-4-inch) Plate, but not much luck with that thus far. I bought some (relatively) thick steel 1 1/4-inch thick) plate ($0.50/lb scrap piece) and heavy 6-inch I-Beam, but would like a "Real" anvil eventually, when I can find a decent deal.

I can afford around $250 for an anvil, but this has to include shipping. Most places that have an anvil I can afford, are far enough away, that shipping amounts to $100 or more.

I have feelers out and I'm sure that over the next six-months to a year, something will turn up locally that I can pick-up on my own, and avoid the high shipping costs.



Check out grizzly tool I saw some decent ASO anvils in their catalog for a decent price. They're probably actually be better quality then your standard ebay ASO

Here's a 100#'er for 129+76$ shipping.. you can't beat that... heck even if you demolish the thing by two years you'll have gotten your moneys worth.
G8148 100 lb. Anvil

and here is there 200# for $239.00+76$ shipping.. you could always round out the horn and do whatever other dressing you like.
G8149 200 lb. Anvil


Anyone got any other links to favorite ASO's to help him?
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I've posted my idea before but will do so again.

Grind the ASO and steel plate to match closely, the better the finish the better.

Build a frame to hold the plate and anvil upside down on top of it with brazing or silver solder rod between the two.

Build a fire and bring it to brazing temp and remove. When cooled below the solidus of the filler, quench the plate. Or if you use grader edge heat treat is (probably) unnecessary.

Frosty

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you could "dry weld" the tool steel face on a large chunk of iron
- same method used in making mosaic damascus...

- clean both flat steel faces of oxides
- weld a bead around the edge of 2 pieces to be joined ( this is to exclude oxygen )
- bring the piece up to a yellow weld heat and then sledge the face till you feel its welded.. . no flux needed

- then heat treat it


Greg

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you could "dry weld" the tool steel face on a large chunk of iron
- same method used in making mosaic damascus...

- clean both flat steel faces of oxides
- weld a bead around the edge of 2 pieces to be joined ( this is to exclude oxygen )
- bring the piece up to a yellow weld heat and then sledge the face till you feel its welded.. . no flux needed

- then heat treat it


Greg


Remember that this is 'cast' iron, not 'wrought' -- it will crumble if you hit it when hot.
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An ASO is just that. I would use it as it is and not worry about "improving" it. My first anvil was an ASO and it worked well till I got a better one. I loaned it to a kid that is just learning and he is using it now. Remember that your time is worth something too. While you are trying to "improve" the ASO you could be doing something that would bring you estra $ to buy a good anvil. Keep looking. I bought my second anvil, and then I was given a 150 lb Vulcan.

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thanks Matt
i shoulda been a little bit clearer... your right, the cast iron would go to mush under the hammer..
- low carbon steel is what i meant ...

the cast iron aso isn't really worth the hassle to upgrade the face, in my opinion.. .. use it the way it is

since you can still find deals on the oldy's .... last year i picked up a 170lb pw for 75 bucks... just have to be watchful for them;)


G

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