RR Anvil Build

The initial post for this build is in the archive and can be accessed at this link:

June 4, 2017 Update

Continuing from the home page post, this is the piece I will be working with, it weighs 45 lbs. even after rusting for 60 years. My intention is to grind 2 horns, one the oval dull pointed standard horn and on the other end a more cone shaped horn.

For a stand I like the heavy stump idea but I haven't decided yet. A bit busy this time of year, so this project is a good pick to devote the occasional free hr. too. I new I had some heavy stamping press, die set, base plates in storage, but it took a while to find the heaviest 1" thick plate. This plate is almost as thick as the top section of the rail and is good quality tool steel, I should be able to harden it. The plan is to weld this as a new face on the large but light anvil. If it hardens up well I will be doing the same to the rail anvil, making for a larger face and adding 15 lbs. to the total weight.

So here's a picture of the plate being sawed for the light anvil.

My poor 4 1/2 X 6 metal saw is constantly being abused with me feeding it over sized material and odd shapes beyond it's capacity but like the rabbit it just keeps going and going, touch wood.

Here is the finished face, bottom up, the bevel all around the edge is to take a heavy multi-pass weld. The punching hole is drilled 1/2" and the hardy hole is drilled 3/4". My 3/4" silver and demming drill bit needed sharpening, the swarf indicates my 30" belt sander/grinder did a decent job of it.

And this indicates how the new face will be welded to the lite anvil after being hardened. The mark up indicates 6-3/8 steel gussets, 3 each side, to be welded on at the same time to strengthen the base.

I believe this will transform what was a sheet metal working anvil to one which will handle lite forging work. It has the size of a 140 lb. anvil but will come in at around 45-50 lbs.

I can now move on to the rail anvil this one is ready for hardening and welding.

June 6, 2017 Update.

So I got a couple hrs. in this afternoon. I first measured and cut out the face for the RR anvil. Drilled out the punch hole to 1/2" and the hardy hole to 3/4". Squared up the 4 sides on the disk sander and ground a slight rounding on the top and corner edges. Brought in the RR section, measured it off and did a rough mark-up to guide my cutting and grinding. Here are a couple of pictures.

Okay now I just have to cut and grind off everything that doesn't look like an anvil, ha ha. After that I can break out my furnace and try to harden the faces and then do some welding.

June 7, 2017 Update

Keeping the top surfaces all in the same plane would be a little tricky with a grinder, so I decided to face them off on the mill/drill. I have never faced anything this big or this tough before. After a solid mounting to the table the job went smoothly. Fortunately I had a carbide insert facing tool, after going 1/8" deep a file still had a hard time nicking it.

Heres the facing all done.

Here is a good idea of were I am going with this. The face in place the step and the horns ready to grind.

So next is the grinder work, Probably start burning holes in my shirt this weekend a little to busy the next couple of days.

June 8, 2017 Update

What can I say, once I start a project I am completely addicted. Got started roughing out the anvil after lunch and couldn't put the grinders down if my life depended on it ha ha. So we made good progress and got the anvil completely roughed out. Here are some pictures.

With face right side.

With face left side.

After 4 hrs. of steady grinding all my grinders survived although the 7" import smelled a little wonky a couple of times, and I only set my self on fire once, lol. Not a problem this is my grinding shirt. There's another 3 or 4 holes below the bottom of the picture, from a previous grind lol.

If your following, and interested in hand forging check back here tomorrow for a free-bee.

June 9.2017 Update

As mentioned yesterday if you are interested or already do hand forging there is an excellent book published in 1911 by Popular Mechanics publishers, "Hand-Forging And Wrought-Iron Ornamental Work". Cornell University Library did an excellent job of cleaning up a digital copy and uploaded it to the internet archive. I dug it out of my files the other day and printed it off (note, the cover was my creation). I bound it as described in another post, so I could have a paper copy handy. Here are some pictures. 

The first half of the 208 page book deals with tools and methods of hand forging. The second half  has many examples of ornamental iron work and methods of production. If you would like a copy of this nice clean digital copy go to my book download page at this link. Size is 3.23 MB.


June 9, 2017 Update-2

Well I don't usually work after supper but I couldn't resist today, got in a couple of hrs. refining the horns. I put less of a top curve on the short horn than is normal since the second horn is a full cone. Heavier work can be done on the short horn, where as the cone is for lighter more delicate work. Here are some pictures.


And This is what it looks like so far.

It will take another day of work to finish the refinements and clean up the anvil and then I could start thinking about heat treating the faces.

June 10, 2017 Update

Too many errands to run today for much shop time. I did manage to squeeze in an hr. to square up the hardy holes, the hard way, with files.Heres a picture.

Both the hardy and punch holes will get drilled through the bases, to give good tool clearance, after all the welding is done.

June 11, 2017 Update

Got up this morning, the wind was gusting a bit, the power went out before I could make my second cup of coffee. Ontario has a first world , reliable power grid - the prices are first world the highest in North America and the grid will reliably knock the power out every time the wind or rain start to pick up. I could write a 10 page rant on this topic but they have heard it all before and the system just gets worse. 

With the power out I figured it would be a good time to heat treat the anvil faces using my atmospheric burner, since it doesn't require fan power. After placing the steel faces inside the furnace I started the burner, it lit on the first try and ramped up nicely with a stable flame.

After 20 minutes I cut back the burner to check temp. Close but not quite need the bright red to reach the top. Ramped up the burner for another 5 minutes, then I cut the burner back and held it there for 15 minutes. I then opened up the furnace and using a 3' ready rod through the hardy hole, I dropped both pieces into a 5 gallon bucket of brine solution.

After cooling I checked the hardness, A file will nick them but the ball end of a ball pein hammer leaves no noticeable dents, with moderate force. Good for me, annealing not necessary, when I do the heavy welding some annealing will occur then.

So above are the faces after cleaning up with grinder and disk sander, ready to weld tomorrow.

June 12, 2017 Update

Spent the better part of today welding both anvils. For the light anvil I decided rather than gussets in the support base, heavy wall steel tubing would give better support. It will now take some heavy pounding easily. My welds don't look great but they are strong with good penatration. The grinders will clean them all up tomorrow. 

June 13, 2017 Update

Finished the anvils today, except for the paint, and none to soon getting to hot for grinders and stick welders. I drilled the hardy holes through the bases and deepened the punch hole. Drilled the bases for 1/2" lag bolts to mount to there stands. Ground all the welds I could get at and wire brushed most of the rust and paint. Went over both anvils with a fine disk sander to finish refining and finishing the surface. Here are some pictures.

My steel order is to be delivered Friday, lots of hot rolled mild steel shapes coming for future smithing projects. I will apply a couple of coats of high heat flat black paint to the bases next couple of days and post finished picture on Thursday. It will be a while before I put them to use and I haven't decided on the location yet so I will hold of on the bases till I am ready to put them to use, I will post pictures then.

For all the finished pictures go to the June 15, 2017 post on the home page. Or click on this link.

Hope you enjoyed this build.