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Thread: Blacksmithing and forging

  1. #1851
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Gotta say - I think rebound and "anvil ring" are misleading. You just need mass and a hard surface. My gripe with I beam and railway track is the "I" shape. It's the same problem you run into with a farriers anvil. With the railway track, the edges of your anvil are unsupported. With a farriers anvil it isn't as big of an issue, because if you're working over the waist of the anvil, your edges are still supported, but they have less support over the heel and horn (by necessity).

    If I was to make an anvil out of track or I beam (or anything else for that matter), I'd make sure to have the working EDGES of the face well supported. I do a lot of my heavy hammering on the edges of the anvil to draw out material, isolate material, etc. With the "I" shape of the rail, you're going to be wasting some energy in your edge strikes because the edge is going to want to deflect downward.

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  3. #1852
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Hey, Shootr, how's that copper san mai coming?

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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    I spent all spring being a carpenter - building the grandkids a play set/fort thing in the yard. Then summer came. Wednesday starts a two week tour of the South with the missus and my son. Nashville, Smoky Mountains, New Orleans and parts in between. THEN I'll be able to get back into the shop!

    But I've been itching to get back at it. I have a bunch of things I want to get started on. I think a Moai statue will be the first project. That'll be more cut and weld though.

    Regarding anvil's, I'm still using the steel block I made from some hydraulic cylinder caps. It works fine for what I've been doing and it's movable - which I need. It's just pretty soft and I'm always on the lookout for something else that won't break the bank. Would something like AR plate welded to the top help? any?
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  7. #1854
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Quote Originally Posted by Shootr View Post
    I spent all spring being a carpenter - building the grandkids a play set/fort thing in the yard. Then summer came. Wednesday starts a two week tour of the South with the missus and my son. Nashville, Smoky Mountains, New Orleans and parts in between. THEN I'll be able to get back into the shop!

    But I've been itching to get back at it. I have a bunch of things I want to get started on. I think a Moai statue will be the first project. That'll be more cut and weld though.

    Regarding anvil's, I'm still using the steel block I made from some hydraulic cylinder caps. It works fine for what I've been doing and it's movable - which I need. It's just pretty soft and I'm always on the lookout for something else that won't break the bank. Would something like AR plate welded to the top help? any?
    It very well could help. Make sure the existing steel and the AR plate meet up tight. You don't want any real gap there where they could flex.

    I've looked into making copper/steel San Mai (Cu Mai, as you said). I've also looked into making knives with titanium bodies and steel edges joined by copper. Ti is light, Cu bonds to both, and steel is... well, it's steel. You can heat treat a lot of types of steel BELOW the melting point of copper. You do have to be careful, though. Certain copper alloys also have a higher melting point AND are tougher. I know Aluminum bronze is tougher - they use it in non-sparking tools for hazardous locations. I can't remember the melting point of it... Heck I can't remember the melting point of copper. I'm fairly certain I know what it is, but I'm not going to hazard a guess here. Google it.

    If you want to get into knife making or anything like that and have questions - I suggest you join the KnifeDogs forum. I'm a member. It's not as active as welding web, but if you post a question, you aught to get an answer within a day or two. The folks over there turn out some REALLY nice knives. Damascus, San Mai, etc.

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  9. #1855
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    RR track is ok for most folks' just starting out forging. Rebound is over-emphasized. Anything significantly harder than the hot metal you are working with will suffice. Old RR track is actually work hardened to some extent. Even the head of a 12-15# sledge hammer will work. There are a lot beginners out there who use nothing else but the RR track until they can work their way up to a quality old/new anvil. I wouldn't hesitate to use a RR track. Find a large hay spike, cut off the sharp end quite a bit, and weld about 6-8" of it on the end of the track. The horn on an anvil is used mainly to shape curves, not heavy handed forging.

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  11. #1856
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Train track is mediocre, at best. For sheetmetal work, no worries, but for forging serious metal.... you're better off without it unless there's zero option.

    What makes an anvil work is the mass directly under a the hammer's impact point. The I cross-section of the track is specifically designed to minimize mass in the piece. See the problem?

    It's also a bit of a misconception that you need a long/wide face on the anvil. There's only so much hot steel you can work before it's too cold for hammering, so there's really no need for a big face except those rare instances where you're needing to straighten something. The reason real anvils have such a large face is because it's a natural byproduct of producing a lump of steel that has significant mass under the hammer's impact point. The "London Pattern" anvil was developed to be something of a one-size-fits-all tool. It combines a way to make rings (the horn as a mandrel) and also to punch holes or fix ancillary tooling (the heel). Back in the day when folks were reliant upon horse and wagon to move, and were dirt poor, being able to get a single tool that would allow you do to a lot of things.... well, that was just a good idea.

    For general smithing today, you're much better off buying a 4x4x4 cube of mild steel to use as an anvil. When bedded into a stump, it provides a good bit of mass under the hammer and you'll see a big difference between it and something like a train track or i-beam.

    Funny story - I do most of my rune carving while sitting at my bench just because it's easier to manage all my chisels. The bench is about 1000# of solid steel construction with a top that's 1-1/4" thick. You'd think that it would make a great anvil and really give me a bunch of feedback when I'm hammering on it. Nope. My 300# Fisher anvil if orders of magnitude better as an anvil.

    Why? Because the bench provides almost no mass right under the impact point of the hammer. While there's a half-ton of table there, the top is only a bit more than an inch thick where I'm hitting and all the support for the top is several feet away. That means the top is bouncing and flexing under my hammer's blow. It might not be much bounce and bend, but it's still bounce and bend.

    With my Fisher anvil, the mass of the thing is directly under where I'm hitting and there's no way for anything to give, thereby absorbing the force applied.

    I wouldn't buy a train track anvil unless I was doing sheetmetal work and needed the curves and hollows it provides. A short section is great to have in the shop, but.... it's not as handy as you'd think.

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  13. #1857
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    The app crashed when I tried to reply regarding track about a week ago.

    Boiling down my 10 minutes of lost typing (grrrr)

    If I was to forge on a piece of track, I'd weld in webbing to support the edges of the track to stiffen the face up and reduce deflection.

    A lot of my forging is on the edge of the anvil (drawing and or isolating). Doing that on a track section is going to cause deflection along its length. The web is going to bend and act like a spring.

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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    ...or you look for a long enough chunk to use it as an upright. I don't use it for forging, but my upright is really handy for general repair work. Have to agree with Vaughn, I have at least 3 RR anvils kicking around the shop, and I rarely use them. 98% of the time it's the upright.
    Last edited by whtbaron; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:16 AM.
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    ... use it as an upright....
    That's the key. While it reduces the striking area available, a track in the vertical orientation puts all of the mass directly under the hammer's impact point and maximizes what the "anvil" can do. Give it a try and you'll see a world of difference between how the same track acts in both settings.

    I have seen a lot of very interesting anvil designs made from rail track. The key, though, is always designing them for maximum efficiency as it relates to the size and shape of the steel that's in the track.



    In the end, for how much work is involved in transforming a section of track into a functional anvil, I always recommend just starting with a chunk of steel that's already a good anvil and building up from there.



    Kind of reminds me of that Timothy Dyck fella on Youtube making some really nice axes and hatchets out of old railroad tracks. Yea, the steel was dirt cheap, maybe even free, but then he has to go through a ton of labor, fuel, and time to get the tracks turned into blanks that he can make choppers with. Seems to me that he'd be far better off just buying steel that's in the size he needs. Sure, there's some ju nu se pas to making them out of old train tracks, but..... dang! How much money did it cost to get the tracks blanked out to the right size before you could even begin to forge the blanks into hatchets and axes? More power to him, honestly. It's a fun process to watch and his marketing is phenomenal. I wouldn't do it, but.....

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    Blacksmithing and forging

    not that i have looked closely....but it would appear that relatively "not bad" quality anvils are now available for considerably less than the outrageous price per pound people like myself were asking just a few years back.

    I suppose what I'm saying is there is no reason why anyone semi-serious about blacksmithing should not be able to acquire a proper anvil.


    the anvil photo below is of no relevance.

    just felt like posting the pic because "that's what i do".

    edit. maybe i'll be asked to leave and start my own forum. lol

    Last edited by Lis2323; 4 Weeks Ago at 04:32 PM.
    :

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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    not that i have looked closely....but it would appear that relatively "not bad" quality anvils are now available for considerably less than the outrageous price per pound people like myself were asking just a few years back.

    I suppose what I'm saying is there is no reason why anyone semi-serious about blacksmithing should not be able to acquire a proper anvil.


    the anvil photo below is of no relevance.

    just felt like posting the pic because "that's what i do".

    edit. maybe i'll be asked to leave and start my own forum. lol

    Last I checked, 6 or 7 dollars a pound (USD) is fair for a GOOD anvil. I dunno, though.

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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    I haven't noticed anything, including anvils, getting any cheaper around here...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Blacksmithing and forging

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    I haven't noticed anything, including anvils, getting any cheaper around here...
    I should have clarified. Used prices are still outrageous and new ones are now (sort of) attractively priced. Check Princess Auto





    here's one on amazonca.

    it must have a "french"
    horn

    https://www.amazon.ca/Happybuy-Black...25956850&psc=1
    Last edited by Lis2323; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:36 PM.
    :

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  23. #1864
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    I should have clarified. Used prices are still outrageous and new ones are now (sort of) attractively priced. Check Princess Auto





    here's one on amazonca.

    it must have a "french"
    horn

    https://www.amazon.ca/Happybuy-Black...25956850&psc=1
    Well dang! Those ARE good prices... I think.

    Depends on what kind of steel they're made of, though.

    That's a weird place to put a hole, too. Right in the center of the step between the face and the horn. Wouldn't do much good for using with a pritchell punch.

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  25. #1865
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Been doing a "Tour of the South" with the missus and adult son. In the Smoky Mountains was a homestead and these hinges made from horseshoes caught my eye. Filed away for future reference.

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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Here's another type. One shoe on the door, one on the wall. The tips on one shoe are formed into a pin and the other shoe has the tips curled into a closed loop. Saw these on an outhouse door and decided to make a set for mineself.

    Name:  100_2887.jpg
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    Well dang! Those ARE good prices... I think.

    Depends on what kind of steel they're made of, though.

    That's a weird place to put a hole, too. Right in the center of the step between the face and the horn. Wouldn't do much good for using with a pritchell punch.

    Sent from my Lincoln Buzzbox using Tapatalk
    Yea.... one description says "cast steel" another says "drop forged" but it looks like they both come out of the same Chinese mold. I guess I still think of the $45 I paid for my uncle's Peter Wright as more "reasonable".... apparently not in today's world. If I was going to buy new, I think I'd still rather pay $700 for a quality product than $400 for a suspect one. Unfortunately a quick search of the quality ones still put 100 lbs in the $1600 Cdn. range. Locally I still see anything resembling a decent anvil over 80 lbs selling for $700 plus at auction...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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  31. #1868
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    First step in buying an anvil is deciding on what you want to do.

    For general tinkering because you don't know what you want to do.... get a block of steel and throw some hard-facing rod on it. That'll finish to about 55Rc which is comparable to what quality anvils are, plus you get experience welding and grinding and all that fun stuff. It's a win-win situation.

    Or, save your ducats and buy a real anvil from someone like Rathole Forge when they start production again. Yea, buying a new anvil is pricey, but it's an investment you don't really lose out on. There's no real maintenance costs, so you can just sell it when your done using it and make 90% of your purchase price back. Think of it like you're renting the anvil. The monthly rental fees are dirt cheap when you know you can get almost all the upfront costs back the minute you decide to part ways with it.

    As long as you buy a quality name-brand anvil like Rathole, Holland, or Nimba.

    Even a cube of mild steel that you've hard-faced can actually net you a nice return if you decide to sell it. Jewelers and armorers are often looking for a starter anvil, and a 4x4x4 bench anvil is considered very attractive due to the price. If you can find enough stock, you might even be able to make a few of them and sell the extras to offset the cost of the one you keep for yourself. If you have any kind of jewelry/art community in the area, reach out to them and see if there's interest in some "locally made" bench anvils for a good price. Often, those are the kind of people who like helping in the local community. Plus it's good advertisement for someone doing artsy-fartsy statues and the like.

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  33. #1869
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Quote Originally Posted by VaughnT View Post
    First step in buying an anvil is deciding on what you want to do.

    For general tinkering because you don't know what you want to do.... get a block of steel and throw some hard-facing rod on it. That'll finish to about 55Rc which is comparable to what quality anvils are, plus you get experience welding and grinding and all that fun stuff. It's a win-win situation.

    Or, save your ducats and buy a real anvil from someone like Rathole Forge when they start production again. Yea, buying a new anvil is pricey, but it's an investment you don't really lose out on. There's no real maintenance costs, so you can just sell it when your done using it and make 90% of your purchase price back. Think of it like you're renting the anvil. The monthly rental fees are dirt cheap when you know you can get almost all the upfront costs back the minute you decide to part ways with it.

    As long as you buy a quality name-brand anvil like Rathole, Holland, or Nimba.

    Even a cube of mild steel that you've hard-faced can actually net you a nice return if you decide to sell it. Jewelers and armorers are often looking for a starter anvil, and a 4x4x4 bench anvil is considered very attractive due to the price. If you can find enough stock, you might even be able to make a few of them and sell the extras to offset the cost of the one you keep for yourself. If you have any kind of jewelry/art community in the area, reach out to them and see if there's interest in some "locally made" bench anvils for a good price. Often, those are the kind of people who like helping in the local community. Plus it's good advertisement for someone doing artsy-fartsy statues and the like.
    If you don't need a horn or hardie tooling, you're probably better off buying a big block of steel. If you decide you need a horn, you can MAKE a horn separate and either weld it on or have it mounted separately. If you decide you need (want) hardie tooling down the road, drill 4 1/4" holes in a square, drill a 1" hole in the middle, then clean it all up with a die grinder with an aggressive burr. (Or use you're 1" square broach and a big press if you have them)

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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Shooter is already working on the block of steel and home made horn... I think he longs for a 'real anvil" mostly to join the big boys...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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  36. #1871
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Lots of great ways to attain functionality but you have to admit a “real” anvil is what will bring a smile to your face every time


    :

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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Looks great 👍
    Can pick it up with one hand 🙋*♂️

    Dave





    Ok on forklift lever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    Lots of great ways to attain functionality but you have to admit a “real” anvil is what will bring a smile to your face every time



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  40. #1873
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    I have this piece of 4.5"×6" chunk of steel I like to use for cold hammering or light forging.

    Like Vaughn mentioned, I can put this on my 3/4" thick welding table and tell the difference in how the metal responds.

    The advantages behind this chunk are that I don't care if I miss with the hammer and I can take it with me.

    This is another item I frequently take with me when I travel. I can precut dogwood flowers and leaves and just bang away in a hotel parking lot.



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  42. #1874
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Quote Originally Posted by Lis2323 View Post
    I should have clarified. Used prices are still outrageous and new ones are now (sort of) attractively priced. Check Princess Auto



    Like a lot of Princess Auto products, I've become more suspect of the Kanca line since I bought the last vise. Their literature is poorly translated Chinese that borders on false advertising. Is it forged, or supposedly "for forging"? Since it's not a post vise, it's not really either I suspect. They seem to be better quality than the garden ornament Chinesium adorning the other shelves, but I doubt that it's much better metal... most of the changes seem to be prettier paint and design changes to improve strength rather than better metal. The anvils use a stout body more like a Peddinghaus than an English anvil, and the vise uses short arms to put less leverage on the body. Stronger maybe, but it leaves less clamping room for larger objects (note the pads are not replaceable). Orange lettering matches the bench color nicely though...Name:  IMG_9761.jpg
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    Last edited by whtbaron; 3 Weeks Ago at 10:53 AM.
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    Re: Blacksmithing and forging

    Working on another dogwood branch. I added some lines to these hammers to start. I am going to make a bottom die for the hardy hole next.

    A spring swage for texturing will be worked on one of these days.





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