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Thread: What hardface rods do I need?

  1. #1
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    What hardface rods do I need?

    I'm going to weld up the face of my anvil. It has chips and dings in the face and I want to fix it up... I figure it's been beat on with a hammer for a hundred and something years - I reckon it deserves attention. Plus, the edges REALLY need to be dressed so I can get the full potential out of it.

    I got some hardface rods from a buddy of mine and welded up most of the problem areas... OOPS. Wrong rods. They DID work, but after some years of beating on it with big hammers they're cracking and one repair in particular is not looking good. If I hit it one good time I think it'll start to come off. It adhered fine, but got brittle. Edit: area maybe 1/8" by 1/2" on the front edge

    I'm working with a cast iron body anvil with a tool steel surface forge welded to it. I'm very comfortable welding cast iron. I'm going to gouge all of the bad hardfacing out. After I get all of the bad weld out, I'm going to cover any cast iron in a high nickel electrode. After that, I want to build up with hardface to be level with the tool steel surface, THEN add another few passes of hardface and grind it flat and dress the edges.

    I plan on preheating the entire anvil to around 450 degrees and probably apply post heat for a while, then bury it in sand or dry bentonite clay, then let it cool for a day or so.

    I've heard a lot of different suggestions on different rods. Stuff like "start with a layer of X, then so many layers of Y, then cap with Z".

    The rod needs to stick to carbon steel plate and nickel filler metal and hold up to a lot of impact. The original steel face is very hard.

    Whatcha think would be a good choice?

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    I do blacksmithing but am far from an expert, but I suggest you go over to a blacksmithing forum website and ask their opinion first BEFORE welding on an anvil. This is apparently a sore subject for a lot of blacksmiths, as a LOT of good old anvils have been ruined by welding. Also, if you do choose to weld on it, I don't think hard-facing rod is what you want. But whatever you do, please research this further before even striking an arc on your anvil. On many if not all of them, they have a tool steel face that has been heat-treated (hardened and tempered to a particular hardness/toughness) and even striking an arc on one will permanently change it (typically you will get a hard spot at the arc strike due to the mass of the anvil "quenching" the spot where the arc strike melted it) and possilbly ruin it ... and as you can guess, re-hardening and re-tempering the face of an anvil ain't for the faint-hearted...sometimes you come across anvils that were in barns that burned down, and the fire wipes out the heat treatment of the face in the same way.

    I have a nice old 207# Peter Wright (and a 165# Peddinghaus) and I wouldn't dream of welding on either one of them in a million years.

    Some good blacksmithing forums:

    https://www.iforgeiron.com/
    https://www.anvilfire.com/index.php

    Good luck.

    ETA: I answered before reading your entire post but now I see that you have already welded on it. It sounds like you've already changed it...welding on it (and subsequent quenching) has created a "hard spot" at the weld, and the cracking is due to that...I'm not sure how to fix that, short of grinding out all the weld material and re-hardenng and re-tempering the tool-steel face...let us know what you come up with, please.
    Last edited by Kelvin; 02-24-2022 at 07:18 AM.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    I agree with Kelvin, being a blacksmith myself. As for any welding you have already done, the damage is done in those areas and will be subject to further degradation. Anvil repair is not for amateurs and one should research it thoroughly before attempting it. The "bible" for anvil repair is the Rob Guenther (sp?) method.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    I'm honestly not worried about messing up the anvil. The edges were so beat up that it was near unusable before I welded them up. It came from a saw shop at a large sawmill and they beat the hell out of it.

    The Robb G. method calls for Stoody 1105 and Stoody 2110.

    I just want a few more opinions before I buy a couple hundred dollars worth of specialty rods that I don't have another need for.

    I haven't looked at prices on nickel rods in a while... Airgas wants $500 for a 10 pound can. Crazy.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Hardfacing rods are expensive. Even "cheap" ones.
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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    I agree 👍
    Great money if some else is paying for rod and time.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Freebirdwelds View Post
    Hardfacing rods are expensive. Even "cheap" ones.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    I agree 👍
    Great money if some else is paying for rod and time.

    Dave
    Yup. Seems like any sort of specialty rod is gonna cost an arm and a leg. I have some Messer aluminum rods that cost $200 for a 4 pound box.

    Honestly, I'm looking forward to getting to weld up that anvil. Haven't burned that many rods back go back in a couple years.

    When you think about it, it is still worth a few hundred dollars to fix up a good size anvil with anvil prices like they are right now. A NEW 125 pound cast steel anvil is $1000.

    I really aught to weigh my anvil... if I had to guess, I'd say 150 to 175lb, but it's attached to a 350 pound piece of white oak
    Last edited by 52 Ford; 02-24-2022 at 08:46 PM. Reason: Typo

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    I will probably draw some flack for this, but a few of us have "patched" damaged anvils successfully without going through the time/expense of the Robb G method. Since your anvil was already damaged during the previous weld, you really don't have much to lose and don't seem to have any sentimental attachment to it so I would think it's a candidate. Instead of the the risk of pre-heating, I chose to minimize the total heat involved. My theory was that if the anvil doesn't get any hotter than it would out in the sun, you have less risk of doing damage. I used my 180 Mig ( I don't remember which wire, but it was nothing special... just what I had in it for sheet metal. I'm out of province at the moment so I won't be back to check until next week) on high heat in short bursts. I would grind out the crack but try not to go any deeper than you have to, and you shouldn't do any extra damage. When it starts to get too hot to put your hand on... stop for a beer. I will say that my patched area has slightly less rebound than the rest, but it has held up well for years (must be around 7 or 8) and cost next to nothing. If the worst that can happen is that your patch pops out and leaves you with the same repair you need to do now, you really have nothing to lose.
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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    I will probably draw some flack for this, but a few of us have "patched" damaged anvils successfully without going through the time/expense of the Robb G method. Since your anvil was already damaged during the previous weld, you really don't have much to lose and don't seem to have any sentimental attachment to it so I would think it's a candidate. Instead of the the risk of pre-heating, I chose to minimize the total heat involved. My theory was that if the anvil doesn't get any hotter than it would out in the sun, you have less risk of doing damage. I used my 180 Mig ( I don't remember which wire, but it was nothing special... just what I had in it for sheet metal. I'm out of province at the moment so I won't be back to check until next week) on high heat in short bursts. I would grind out the crack but try not to go any deeper than you have to, and you shouldn't do any extra damage. When it starts to get too hot to put your hand on... stop for a beer. I will say that my patched area has slightly less rebound than the rest, but it has held up well for years (must be around 7 or 8) and cost next to nothing. If the worst that can happen is that your patch pops out and leaves you with the same repair you need to do now, you really have nothing to lose.
    Not getting flack from me. Thr anvil does have a little sentimental value to me, but it's not like it's my great, great grandpa's or something. It came from the sawshop at a family friend's sawmill. The mill bought it, and my forge, new back in the early 1900's or late 1800's. It's a big piece of cast iron and steel, though. Not rocket surgery. All I want is a nice, tough, flat surface with square edges so I can shape hot steel.

    I like your idea of keeping it cold rather than doing a preheat. I've welded an old cast iron pot that had worn down to maybe 1/16" thick in some areas and had cracked in half. What I did after a lot of trial and error was I had a spay bottle of water and would keep the cast iron wet. I'd make sure I had standing water on either side of the crack as I welded. It didn't crack at all when I did it like that. I was using a Palco rod that I think is comparable to Nomacast.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    As long charging someone else happy 😊 😃 days.
    My 100 pound anvil is over 60 old used today it sits outside for most life. Maybe paint ever 40 years.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    Yup. Seems like any sort of specialty rod is gonna cost an arm and a leg. I have some Messer aluminum rods that cost $200 for a 4 pound box.

    Honestly, I'm looking forward to getting to weld up that anvil. Haven't burned that many rods back go back in a couple years.

    When you think about it, it is still worth a few hundred dollars to fix up a good size anvil with anvil prices like they are right now. A NEW 125 pound cast steel anvil is $1000.

    I really aught to weigh my anvil... if I had to guess, I'd say 150 to 175lb, but it's attached to a 350 pound piece of white oak

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    As long charging someone else happy 😊 😃 days.
    My 100 pound anvil is over 60 old used today it sits outside for most life. Maybe paint ever 40 years.

    Dave
    Instead of paint, I use boiled linseed oil on all my tools and my anvil. Works great to keep tools from rusting and keeps wood handles in good shape. Sort of glues wood fiber back together on old handles.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    I have only use boiled linseed oil on gun stocks.
    But may start using tools too now.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    Instead of paint, I use boiled linseed oil on all my tools and my anvil. Works great to keep tools from rusting and keeps wood handles in good shape. Sort of glues wood fiber back together on old handles.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    I have only use boiled linseed oil on gun stocks.
    But may start using tools too now.

    Dave
    Yes. Absolutely do. Linseed makes for an excellent metal finish and once it's dry it's pretty tough, too.
    Using it as a "hot finish" works really well when you're forging something. Once I'm done forging something like a piece of hardware, I do my heat treat if that's required, then get it up to a couple hundred degrees and wipe it down the a rag soaked in linseed oil. You want the part hot enough that the oil smokes.
    With my hammer handles, I heat them up with a torch till they start to char and them soak them in oil while they're still hot, then wrap the handle in pallet wrap and let it sit for a day or so. I wipe the handles down maybe once or twice a year.
    Charring the wood makes the handles harder, too.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Thank you
    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    Yes. Absolutely do. Linseed makes for an excellent metal finish and once it's dry it's pretty tough, too.
    Using it as a "hot finish" works really well when you're forging something. Once I'm done forging something like a piece of hardware, I do my heat treat if that's required, then get it up to a couple hundred degrees and wipe it down the a rag soaked in linseed oil. You want the part hot enough that the oil smokes.
    With my hammer handles, I heat them up with a torch till they start to char and them soak them in oil while they're still hot, then wrap the handle in pallet wrap and let it sit for a day or so. I wipe the handles down maybe once or twice a year.
    Charring the wood makes the handles harder, too.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    My theory was that if the anvil doesn't get any hotter than it would out in the sun, you have less risk of doing damage. I used my 180 Mig
    If you're welding on the anvil, and the weld is fusing to the steel substrate, that means the steel had to get up to 2500F locally. (You have to melt the substrate, even if only in a tiny spot, to get steel to stick to steel. You get the same effect with nothing more than an arc strike.) And since the face of the anvil is tool steel (high-carbon steel) that means that the steel where you welded it will then get quenched by the "heat sink" of the rest of the anvil. Viola -- hard spot and consequent cracking down the road. It sucks, but that's the way it is...(This melting-and-quenching-and-hardening issue is one big reason why weld inspectors will fail you for leaving arc strikes around pipe welds. These arc strikes become stress risers that focus strain and eventually lead to fatigue and cracking.)

    In the Lincoln Welding book "Metals and How to Weld Them," for welding high-carbon steel (which is what the anvil face is made of), they recommend a filler that they call "25-20" which is 25% Cr and 20% Ni and closely corresponds to ER310. Apparently the high nickel content of the filler adds ductility and even if some of the carbon from the HC steel substrate dissolves into the weld puddle, it won't be enough to transform the weld deposit into "high carbon" steel, so it shouldn't get excessively hardened by the quenching it will experience on cooling due to the "heat sink" effect of the big heavy anvil soaking up the heat real fast. That said, you still will have changed the mechanical properties of the HC steel right next to the weld...
    Last edited by Kelvin; 02-25-2022 at 04:08 AM.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    In the Lincoln Welding book "Metals and How to Weld Them,".
    Here are a few excerpts from that book that may be useful:






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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    To be clear, I was also working on a Peter Wright, which is a forged steel, not a cast iron base. I thought the OP was working on the top plate, which is where my method would likely work. If you are getting into the cast iron, that's a whole nuther story...
    The harder you fall, the higher you bounce...

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Cast iron is fun part of welding.
    To do good everything has to right. Then easy-going. White iron more fun

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    To be clear, I was also working on a Peter Wright, which is a forged steel, not a cast iron base. I thought the OP was working on the top plate, which is where my method would likely work. If you are getting into the cast iron, that's a whole nuther story...
    Last edited by smithdoor; 02-25-2022 at 10:09 AM.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    I would do some blacksmith forum research,,, BUT!!!,,, (there is always a but,,)
    the but in this case is that the blacksmith might be great with low carbon steel, and a forge,, and a big hammer,,
    BUT, the guy may not know, or understand high carbon, or other high alloy steel. Your recommendations might be being typed by some low carbon steel specialist blacksmith.
    VERY few of those guys are up to date on modern alloy steels that would make an anvil "sing"
    Most of them heat a piece of hot rolled low carbon steel, and make a sellable paper weight, or hinge,,,

    The following assumes this will be a working anvil, not a show piece:
    If it were MY anvil, and it had as much damage as described,, I would NEVER try to repair it with welding buildup.
    No ones weld buildup could come close to a newly manufactured piece of steel. That much weld in MOST backyard situations will inadvertently have slag inclusions,,
    I would find a piece of steel that is the right alloy,, and weld the new piece of steel to the anvil,, resulting in a perfect surface, and edge.

    If the anvil needs holes, round or square,, add the holes prior to welding.

    Heck, there are probably pieces of bulldozer blade parts that are an alloy that could be hardened,, and would be stronger, and more impact resistant than ANY 120 year old technology.

    I guess it all depends on whether you want a show piece,, or a SUPER NEW technology surface that will make you the best blacksmith.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    To be clear, I was also working on a Peter Wright, which is a forged steel, not a cast iron base. I thought the OP was working on the top plate, which is where my method would likely work. If you are getting into the cast iron, that's a whole nuther story...
    PW anvils are made of wrought iron (waist) and Sheffield tool steel forge-welded for the face. If you weld on the tool steel face, you will get hard spots and cracking for the reasons mentioned.

    As for the folks on blacksmithing forums not knowing what they are talking about, I have found them to be quite knowledgeable. You just have to sift the wheat from the chaff, which is not too hard if you read what they have to say.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    As for the folks on blacksmithing forums not knowing what they are talking about, I have found them to be quite knowledgeable.
    "Frosty" on the iforgeiron website is one who seems to know what he's talking about. Maybe the OP could post up there, or ask him directly in a PM.

    https://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/615...elding-repair/

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetMK View Post
    I would do some blacksmith forum research,,, BUT!!!,,, (there is always a but,,)
    the but in this case is that the blacksmith might be great with low carbon steel, and a forge,, and a big hammer,,
    BUT, the guy may not know, or understand high carbon, or other high alloy steel. Your recommendations might be being typed by some low carbon steel specialist blacksmith.
    VERY few of those guys are up to date on modern alloy steels that would make an anvil "sing"
    Most of them heat a piece of hot rolled low carbon steel, and make a sellable paper weight, or hinge,,,

    The following assumes this will be a working anvil, not a show piece:
    If it were MY anvil, and it had as much damage as described,, I would NEVER try to repair it with welding buildup.
    No ones weld buildup could come close to a newly manufactured piece of steel. That much weld in MOST backyard situations will inadvertently have slag inclusions,,
    I would find a piece of steel that is the right alloy,, and weld the new piece of steel to the anvil,, resulting in a perfect surface, and edge.

    If the anvil needs holes, round or square,, add the holes prior to welding.

    Heck, there are probably pieces of bulldozer blade parts that are an alloy that could be hardened,, and would be stronger, and more impact resistant than ANY 120 year old technology.

    I guess it all depends on whether you want a show piece,, or a SUPER NEW technology surface that will make you the best blacksmith.
    I made some wedges from corner bits yrs ago and had to toss them as they would spall from hammer strikes making them dangerous to personnel.
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  34. #23
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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by mla2ofus View Post
    I made some wedges from corner bits yrs ago and had to toss them as they would spall from hammer strikes making them dangerous to personnel.
    You're talkin bucket teeth, right? Yeah the only wedges I like to use are low carbon steel and wood. When I'm running my chainsaw mill, I use wedges that I cut out of a sheet of 1" thick white plastic. They're easy to see if you drop them, they don't rot, and they aren't a hazard if you hit them with the chain.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by whtbaron View Post
    To be clear, I was also working on a Peter Wright, which is a forged steel, not a cast iron base. I thought the OP was working on the top plate, which is where my method would likely work. If you are getting into the cast iron, that's a whole nuther story...
    I'm just assuming I'm going to be getting into the cast base. I don't THINK the top plate is awfully thick.

    I've never welded real wrought iron, but from what I understand, it behaves very similar to steel. I have forged it though... behaved like steel in the fire and at the anvil.

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    Re: What hardface rods do I need?

    Quote Originally Posted by 52 Ford View Post
    It's a big piece of cast iron and steel, though. Not rocket surgery. All I want is a nice, tough, flat surface with square edges so I can shape hot steel.
    I'm not asking this to be picky...it really makes a difference. Are you sure it's cast iron and tool steel? Fisher, Vulcan and Badger are the only common anvils you'll find with a cast iron body and tool steel face. The vast majority of vintage anvils fall into one of three main camps: wrought iron body with a tool steel face, mystery metal cast base, wrought iron body and tool steel face or solid cast steel. If you don't have any sections of face that are delaminated it doesn't make as much of a difference, but often working on edges you're trying to tie in the body to the tool steel face and that's where the difference lies.

    Yes, I'm an anvil geek and have had 100+ over the years
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