TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?
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  1. #1
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    TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Hey all,

    I rarely post as most of the questions I come up with have been answered, and I can usually find something by searching...not this time.

    I do some blacksmithing as a hobby and have a thing for anvils....have had over 50 of them at this point so I'm something of an anvil geek. I have a couple of beauties that I use regularly, but also have two that need to be repaired and that's where my question comes in.

    The first one I want to repair is a 151# Fisher from 1847-1852 when they were in Maine...not very common to find. Like all Fishers it has a cast iron body with a tool steel top plate that I've been told is W2. Someone cold-hammered on it at some point and broke a chunk off the face along the right side, and another near the heel. The damage on the side makes it almost useless as an anvil (almost).

    The standard anvil repair plan for this is get it to clean metal, pre-heat to 450*F, run a buttering pass with a high nickel rod then build up with Stoody 2110 rod, unlimited passes, then switch to Stoody 1105 for up to three final passes.

    I'm wondering if there are any drawbacks to TIG for the buttering pass? My thought was it would be easier to see the work and I'm not worried about how long it would take compared to a buttering pass with stick. Are there any downsides I'm missing like limited penetration depth? My machine maxes at 210 amps as a reference point.

    Lastly, I already have a good supply of Inconel 62 rod (71% nickel). I've seen 55% and 99% nickel used for buttering passes and am tempted to try the Inconcel since I've had really good luck using that on cast iron in other applications. I can get other filler rod easily enough, but thought I'd throw it out there in case anybody has tried it before.

    Thanks in advance....here's a pic of the poor old girl.

    Name:  IMG_4677.jpg
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    Check out my website dedicated to restoring U.S. made vises: http://mivise.com

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  2. #2
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    Hey all,

    I rarely post as most of the questions I come up with have been answered, and I can usually find something by searching...not this time.

    I do some blacksmithing as a hobby and have a thing for anvils....have had over 50 of them at this point so I'm something of an anvil geek. I have a couple of beauties that I use regularly, but also have two that need to be repaired and that's where my question comes in.

    The first one I want to repair is a 151# Fisher from 1847-1852 when they were in Maine...not very common to find. Like all Fishers it has a cast iron body with a tool steel top plate that I've been told is W2. Someone cold-hammered on it at some point and broke a chunk off the face along the right side, and another near the heel. The damage on the side makes it almost useless as an anvil (almost).

    The standard anvil repair plan for this is get it to clean metal, pre-heat to 450*F, run a buttering pass with a high nickel rod then build up with Stoody 2110 rod, unlimited passes, then switch to Stoody 1105 for up to three final passes.

    I'm wondering if there are any drawbacks to TIG for the buttering pass? My thought was it would be easier to see the work and I'm not worried about how long it would take compared to a buttering pass with stick. Are there any downsides I'm missing like limited penetration depth? My machine maxes at 210 amps as a reference point.

    Lastly, I already have a good supply of Inconel 62 rod (71% nickel). I've seen 55% and 99% nickel used for buttering passes and am tempted to try the Inconcel since I've had really good luck using that on cast iron in other applications. I can get other filler rod easily enough, but thought I'd throw it out there in case anybody has tried it before.

    Thanks in advance....here's a pic of the poor old girl.

    Name:  IMG_4677.jpg
Views: 406
Size:  92.7 KB
    I may not be much help as I have more questions than answers for you but, I tried tig'n on an old dirty rail road anvil. Total failure as garbage boiled out. Maybe ac would work I don't tho. What did work was suggested here on ww is 7018. Are you going to resurface with W2?

    Question for you, are anvils made from malleable cast iron? From what I recently learned is gray cast cracks and cracks, no tensile strength like steel. Another question, is white cast used in engine blocks and where else is white used. Thanks and good luck with repair.

    Edit: a member motolife tigd some railroad track and it came out beautiful but I think it was new track and he polished to a mirror finish first. Maybe he can give good advice.
    Last edited by Insaneride; 01-10-2019 at 08:36 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    I would butter it with a stick rod. Allstate #7 was the best I ever used but I don't think they are made any more. UTP has a couple of good butter rods as well and I have used their other cast iron rods through the years with great success. For the build up, I would use LH110M. It has 1% moly in it and work toughens well. I have fixed several anvils with it and all have worked out very well.

  4. #4
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Thanks insaneride. I’ll leave it too castweld when he sees this. Might not be bad idea to give it breaks while welding on it tho and keep it warm while giving it a break Name:  8C593757-0B44-484B-ACDC-DD46915A228C.jpg
Views: 264
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  5. #5
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by Insaneride View Post
    I may not be much help as I have more questions than answers for you but, I tried tig'n on an old dirty rail road anvil. Total failure as garbage boiled out. Maybe ac would work I don't tho. What did work was suggested here on ww is 7018. Are you going to resurface with W2?

    Question for you, are anvils made from malleable cast iron? From what I recently learned is gray cast cracks and cracks, no tensile strength like steel. Another question, is white cast used in engine blocks and where else is white used. Thanks and good luck with repair.

    Edit: a member motolife tigd some railroad track and it came out beautiful but I think it was new track and he polished to a mirror finish first. Maybe he can give good advice.
    The second Stoody rod I mentioned (1105) will be used for the top layer(s)....it's the one most recommended and people have been using it for years with good success and it is a pretty good color match from what I've read as well.

    Anvils have been made using many different methods and materials over the years. Vintage anvils generally fall into three categories: wrought iron bodies with tool steel top plates (most common), cast iron bodies with tool steel top plates, and cast steel. All have their pluses and minuses, but it's mostly just preference. I have had and used all three kinds and like them all.

    New high quality anvils are made from cast steel, but they're expensive. For example, I have a new 330# Refflinghaus which is cast steel and I paid $2,600 for it. I got lucky and didn't have to pay shipping, but most people have to add that as well. Refflinghaus guarantees a Rockwell hardness of 59-60 minimum for the face. New decent anvils are made from malleable iron that can be hardened, but only to a point....they max out around 52-54 Rockwell. Most are on the lower end with 48-52 being most common, so they're a bit on the soft side.

    I've had good luck welding both regular grey cast iron, and malleable iron/ductile iron using TIG and several different filler rods. I borrowed a method from a friend that works really well: I use a die grinder with a carbide bit to get to clean metal...nice thing is it doesn't leave anything behind that causes a problem the way grinding wheels and discs can. Then I run an arc with the torch the full length of the area to be welded. That brings black, sooty carbon to the surface which gets brushed away with a stainless brush. Do that two or three times until the carbon stops coming out. Then lay a root pass with the Inconel and build up and outwards with partially overlapped beads. I've been surprised how well it works, but my friend who told me about this started TIG welding back in the 1960s, so he's seen a thing or two!
    Check out my website dedicated to restoring U.S. made vises: http://mivise.com

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  6. #6
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I would butter it with a stick rod. Allstate #7 was the best I ever used but I don't think they are made any more. UTP has a couple of good butter rods as well and I have used their other cast iron rods through the years with great success. For the build up, I would use LH110M. It has 1% moly in it and work toughens well. I have fixed several anvils with it and all have worked out very well.

    Thanks...I'll poke around and see if anybody has something equivalent to the Allstate #7.
    Check out my website dedicated to restoring U.S. made vises: http://mivise.com

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  7. #7
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    The only anvils I have are little ones of somewhat poor quality. The best one (in my possession) is a Vulcan fifty pounds +/-.

    Wondering in your case if sending yours to a machine shop to have the tool steel cut away and somehow welding, brazing, soldering a new tool steel top working surface would even be possible or feasible?

    Your pictures seem to look like the damage is in the tool steel top?

    Sorry for not describing the correct anatomy of an anvil!

    Let us know what you end up doing regardless.

    Have a good one and good luck!
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  8. #8
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    I have a 77lb anvil that was given to me in bad shape. I used the ni55 to butter then the 2110 and 1105 study to build up my anvil. I knocked off flux of ni55 and tigged some on, i did not like the results and switched to arc welding it on. Much better results, the flux seems to help with the impurities of the iron. If you are getting a 450 degree preheat you shouldnt be having anything boil up out of casting. Conventional oils turn to ash at 375 and synthetics will turn to ash at 425. I pre cook iron that i will be welding a mimnimum of 450, it eleminates smoking of oil in casting and the ash can be brushed off allowing a better weld. I think you are on the right track. If it were me i would just arc rod and forget tigging it
    Peter
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  9. #9
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    Feb 2012
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by G-ManBart View Post
    The second Stoody rod I mentioned (1105) will be used for the top layer(s)....it's the one most recommended and people have been using it for years with good success and it is a pretty good color match from what I've read as well.

    Anvils have been made using many different methods and materials over the years. Vintage anvils generally fall into three categories: wrought iron bodies with tool steel top plates (most common), cast iron bodies with tool steel top plates, and cast steel. All have their pluses and minuses, but it's mostly just preference. I have had and used all three kinds and like them all.

    New high quality anvils are made from cast steel, but they're expensive. For example, I have a new 330# Refflinghaus which is cast steel and I paid $2,600 for it. I got lucky and didn't have to pay shipping, but most people have to add that as well. Refflinghaus guarantees a Rockwell hardness of 59-60 minimum for the face. New decent anvils are made from malleable iron that can be hardened, but only to a point....they max out around 52-54 Rockwell. Most are on the lower end with 48-52 being most common, so they're a bit on the soft side.

    I've had good luck welding both regular grey cast iron, and malleable iron/ductile iron using TIG and several different filler rods. I borrowed a method from a friend that works really well: I use a die grinder with a carbide bit to get to clean metal...nice thing is it doesn't leave anything behind that causes a problem the way grinding wheels and discs can. Then I run an arc with the torch the full length of the area to be welded. That brings black, sooty carbon to the surface which gets brushed away with a stainless brush. Do that two or three times until the carbon stops coming out. Then lay a root pass with the Inconel and build up and outwards with partially overlapped beads. I've been surprised how well it works, but my friend who told me about this started TIG welding back in the 1960s, so he's seen a thing or two!
    Thanks. I like the advice about bringing the soot up. I think zap mentioned that for aluminum . I was blind about using that method on cast. Not that I'm good enuf to weld cast tho but I'm not afraid.

  10. #10
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by crab fisherman View Post

    Wondering in your case if sending yours to a machine shop to have the tool steel cut away and somehow welding, brazing, soldering a new tool steel top working surface would even be possible or feasible?

    Your pictures seem to look like the damage is in the tool steel top?

    Sorry for not describing the correct anatomy of an anvil!

    Let us know what you end up doing regardless.

    Have a good one and good luck!
    The damage is primarily to the tool steel top plate...maybe a bit of the cast iron cracked off at the same time, but not much. I suspect someone cold hammered on the edge and it broke a chunk off. After the buttering pass I should be able to build up the extra bit where it lost some of the cast iron without much trouble (or so I hope!).

    Generally speaking, there's really no reliable way to put a new top plate on a cast iron bodied anvil. When they were made the top plate was placed in the bottom of the mould, molten cast iron was poured in to heat the top plate up to welding temperature, and after a set period of time, more cast iron was poured in to fill the rest of the mould, and weld to the top plate. Fun fact...they left mill scale on the top of the top plate so that the molten cast iron used to heat it to welding temperature would adhere permanently. The bottom of the face plate was polished so that the molten cast iron would weld to it. They would pour anvils on Friday and let them cool over the weekend, then start cracking open the moulds on Mondays. The cast iron used to heat the top plate would just pop off because of the mill scale....pretty smart process! Welding along the perimeter doesn't give a satisfactory results as it really needs to be affixed to the body securely everywhere.

    Some brave folks will replace the top plate on an anvil with a wrought iron body. They put the body in one forge, raised it to welding temperature, then put the top plate in another forge to get it to welding temperature (the two materials have different welding temps, making it harder to manage). Once both parts are at welding temps they set the top plate on the body and three or four guys with sledge hammers and one guy holding a large flatter (like a hammer with a large, flat face) beat the top plate to forge weld it to the body. Back when anvils were made this way they would use a large trip hammer or power hammer to forge weld the top plate to the body...and it didn't always stay put!

    I have the Stoody rods as well as some nickel rod on order....just going to stick with stick (pun intended)!
    Check out my website dedicated to restoring U.S. made vises: http://mivise.com

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  11. #11
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Quote Originally Posted by castweld View Post
    I have a 77lb anvil that was given to me in bad shape. I used the ni55 to butter then the 2110 and 1105 study to build up my anvil. I knocked off flux of ni55 and tigged some on, i did not like the results and switched to arc welding it on. Much better results, the flux seems to help with the impurities of the iron. If you are getting a 450 degree preheat you shouldnt be having anything boil up out of casting. Conventional oils turn to ash at 375 and synthetics will turn to ash at 425. I pre cook iron that i will be welding a mimnimum of 450, it eleminates smoking of oil in casting and the ash can be brushed off allowing a better weld. I think you are on the right track. If it were me i would just arc rod and forget tigging it
    Peter

    Thanks....that's helpful. I ordered the two Stoody rods and some Ni55 today at the local shop. The good thing is that I can't really make the anvil any less useful, so worst case I will have spent some money on supplies and I'm not really out anything. More to follow...
    Check out my website dedicated to restoring U.S. made vises: http://mivise.com

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    Everlast PowerTig 210EXT

  12. #12
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    Re: TIG for buttering pass on cast iron?

    Are anvils actually made from cast iron? I would have thought that they would be cast steel, I haven't been around too many, but it seems as though they have a nice ring to them that I don't think cast iron would give. I don't know, just curious. Thanks
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