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I Forge Iron

Using Railroad Track is an Old Idea

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Was studying pictures from the Civil War. One was of the room Stonewall Jackson had died in, post war (the photo was post war. Jackson of course died during the war of wounds inflicted by friendly fire). The room was empty except for coopers tools which also included a rail on a sawhorse. Not sure what it was for... they had a stack of wood bands, so they probably weren't cutting and riveting metal bands.

Anyhow, thought it was interesting to see it documented.

I've heard of short-horn anvils being a 19th century thing, but I saw a photo of a military blacksmith with what looked like a 200lb anvil with a horn as long as any.

These are in books, so I can't just post a link for you. Sorry.

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I have a book called Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them (reprint from 1912, available from Lee Valley Tools) that depicts one of those. The text reads: A homemade anvil can be constructed from a 4-foot piece of railroad rail mounted on a trestle as shown in the sketch. This affair will stand a lot of heavy pounding, and comes in handy in many ways. The rail is just about the right shape to make an anvil.

But without hardening the surface it won't have much rebound. The Complete Modern Blacksmith from Alexander G. Weygers depicts hardening and tempering a smaller rail anvil.

Good Luck!

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No short horned anvils are an 18th century thing; in the 19th century we got the long horn and heel designs; though they tended to lengthen as the century grew older.

I have an 1828 William Foster that has a quite normal sized horn and used to own an 1898 swell horned Hay-Buden that had an enourmously long horn.

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Speaking of a long horned Hay Budden, when I was bidding on an anvil on Ebay, there came up this Hay Budden with an enormously long horn and a long but very narrow face, about 3 inches. The overall effect of the appearance, to me and those who bid on it, was this was one beautiful anvil, maybe not as functional as a 4.5-5 inch face would be (as this should have had for it's size) but what an anvil! A show piece for a collector or a conversation starter for any blacksmith. It bid out at $3100.

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