Drilling a pritchel hole in a old anvil

Anyone ever try to drill a pritchel hole in an old anvil which doesn't have one?
I'm looking for options for doing that. I've got an old 1820's Mouse Hole
Forge anvil without a pritchel hole which I'm currently working on refacing using hardfacing MIG wire. I've stopped before putting on the final layers of the hardest (HRC 55? range) layers because I've decided I really don't want to live without a pritchel hole if I don't have to and it will be easier to hardface around a whole than to try and drill though the hardfacing later.
The current top layer of the anvil is BB-G hardfacing wire which is around HRC 45 in range. My standard drill bits aren't cutting it. But I've not even got down to the original steel plate in the anvil which I think might be harder.
Annealing the steel and then trying to heat treat it later doesn't really seem like much of an option here - and I have no clue what that would do to the hard facing layers I've already put down on the anvil. So if I'm going to do this, I think drilling or grinding though it is the only workable option.
I've talked to a couple of machine shops. The first didn't even want to try it, and the second would be happy to try, but could not make any grantees and would charge $85 an hour plus the cost of any tooling he broke while trying.
I just ordered a 1/2" carbide bit from enco to experiment with ($45 with shipping). That's really about the limit of how much money I want to waste on this. Really just wondering if anyone here had every tried such a thing and had any advice about it.
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Curt, a carbide drill wil not care much about metal hardness. However, it will require a rigid machine. You are on the right track buying the carbide drill, though much cheaper alternatives are available on ebay, esp. carbide tipped drills. I would say on ebay a good 1/2" drill can be had for about $15, including shipping. I have a few of such drills. They are invaluable when drilling tough stuff like bearing balls, which I had to do recently.
Just keep them cool enough.
i
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I'll second that, Iggy - I've often used masonry-type caarbide-tipped bits on hardened/tempered steel (usually store-bought knife blades) with good results.
While not the most accurately sized, they'll do for pilot holes and other non-dimensionally-critical purposes.
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There are carbide tipped drills for metal, I was referring to those kinds, not masonry drills.
Example is here.
http://cgi.ebay.com/1-New-Butterfield-Carbide-Tipped-31-32-Drill-Bit-3-MT_W0QQitemZ120473563547QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0cc8b19b&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14
ebay has plenty of those if you look deep
i
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http://cgi.ebay.com/1-New-Butterfield-Carbide-Tipped-31-32-Drill-Bit-3-MT_W0QQitemZ120473563547QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0cc8b19b&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14
<chuckle>
Iggy, in this area we've learned to "make do" a very, very long time ago.
The masonry drills are: 1. cheap 2. available at 24-hour Wal*Marts 3. Cheap 4. available at lumber yards 5. CHEAP
Did I mention "cheap"? <grin>
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I am not sure if you mentioned cheap, but the masonry drills that I saw, were sharpened in a way that would make it difficult to drill steel. At the very least, you would need to resharpen them.
i
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My drill press is not what you would call rigid. :) I'll have to see how it does (will probably break the bit!)

That's why I should post questions before placing my orders. :)

I probably already have some carbide tipped masonry bits large enough. I just assumed their design wouldn't work on steel - didn't even think to try them.

My pritchel hole is certainly not critical. If it looks more round than square, that's good enough for me and better than no hole. I'll have to experiment with some of my masonry bits first just to see what happens.
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Curt, I was not referring to carbide tipped masonry bits, but instead, to carbide tipped drill bits for metal. They are made from steel, with carbide tips on the ends. They are probably less fragile.
Igor

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Yeah, I know you were. I was not confused about that. I've looked though the selection on eBay as well and almost ordered some but decided I need to wait for the bit I already ordered to show up and do more experimenting first.
Thanks for the ideas.
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I've used these types of drills in the past with great success. I've found you should not cool them. Use lots of speed and pressure. The theory is that the friction heats up the steel, softens it and the drill then penetrates. The tips are brazed on with a high temperature alloy, not just normal braze. The swarf comes off up to red hot. I've seen them drill bearing races and files this way.
John
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The amount of pressure varies with the amount of material being removed: from not too much for simply enlarging an existing hole to quite a bit to drill a large one.
I've had my best luck by drilling a small-diameter pilot hole and then using successively larger bits 'till I get what I need. <g>
'Course, I'm one of those idjits who'll use diamond burrs on tempered steel...with results that, at least, please me. <G>
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I drilled a 1/4"x1/4" stick of Mo-Max steel for my lathe. I was making a form tool.
I used a solid carbide drill in my quality (1930) Delta Drill press that will hold a number 80 drill in the 1/2" chuck!
I had the steel on a solid surface and clamped into place. It drilled nicely.
The drill and the work got red - bright red hot.
Went right though. I let both cool in place by themselves. Both cooled by metal mass of the chuck or the vice. The drill was almost like new - I think a layer of vaporized metal deposited on parts of the drill. It felt sharp as before.
I made the tool and cut some brass. It worked for me.
Martin
John wrote:

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Funny you should ask. I just this minute came in from the shop where I just finished facing my first railroad track anvil. And then, I drilled the pritchel hole. No trouble with that, though. But I do have trouble drilling the track where I have torch cut it. Next time I will spot anneal those araas. Good thing I have my trusty Drill Doctor!
I wonder if it could be done with a cnc plasma or cnc water jet. I know they will both cut the material, but I don't know how deep they can go. And you may have to go an inch or so. I know guys who would cut that hole with an oxyacetylene cutting torch and do a pretty good job, but you'd still want to clean the hole up with a carbide burr. ---It would be fast and cheap, tho. Also, what about finding a shop that does EDM? They could eat out that hole for you pretty acurately. I don't know cost. Of course, if you do anything to that Mouse Hole anvil, several people will probably hate you for the rest of your life. <G>
Pete Stanaitis
Curt Welch wrote:

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Plasma would require massive current to go say the 1 1/2" thickness Cole drill with a carbide drill -
You would likely have to drill a hole through for the plasma or water jet to start in. Blasting out that thickness without issues is rare. I do 1/2" 400 BHN often. It uses 40 amps. Martin
spaco wrote:

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The heel on this anvil is very short and gets thick fast. The deep end of the hole will be about 2". I could push it closer to the end and keep it to about 1 1/2" deep.

I've got long carbide burrs to do just that. But no skilled O/A guys I could trust.

Yeah, might be high. I have no clue what they would charge. It just seems like a high end machine that would come with high end rates.

Too late. :) Yeah, when I first started to work on it, it was sort of a coin toss as to whether to put it on the shelf as a museum piece or to work on it and make it usable again. I got it for $100 and knew nothing about it's history. It looked like someone had given up on it as an anvil and started to use it for chipping ice with a pick axe. Or maybe even breaking rocks? The face was bowed down about 1/2" in the middle and there wasn't a single flat spot or even semi-sharp edge on it. The whole anvil had been painted black to hide just how bad the face was. It wasn't usable for hitting hot metal unless the goal was to add a unique texture to your metal.
The markings are hard to read, but it's marked M&H ARMITAGE MOUSE HOLE which according to this post:
http://www.abana.org/resources/discus/messages/4/442.html?1141695362
Puts it at 1820 to 1835. Other resources indicate that the pritchel hole showed up around 1830 so mine's somewhere in the 1820 to 1830 age if all that is correct.
When I bought it, I though it was just a crappy old cheap anvil that needed a lot of work. But when I figured out what it was, and how old it was, I really didn't know whether to save it, or try to use it. I opted for fixing it. I've already put about 7 layers of beads, first to get it flat again, and then the last two for the medium hardfacing (HRC 45 range). The plan is to put 2 more layers of HRC 55 hardfacing to finish it off.
When I started, the plan was not to add the pritchel hole because the missing hole was part of its heritage. But I've changed my mind at this point and decided I really want the pritchel hole if I can make it happen affordably. So I'm waiting on the last two layers of hardfacing until I figure out what I'm doing with the pritchel hole.

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Your comment:
The face was bowed down about 1/2" in the middle and there wasn't a

might be a clue to how to do it. I have seen a number of old anvils whose faces were soft enough to be deformed by hammering and that sounds like one of them. Maybe means that it would be easier to drill after the first 1/16" or so.
Pete Stanaitis
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Good point Pete. It might not be as bad as I've feared. I didn't try drilling the face before I covered it up. It seemed fairly hard testing it with a file however. The only thing I've tried to drill so far is the top layer of HRC 45 range hardfacing I added to it. But with the amount of dings in the face, maybe it really wasn't all that hard!
Since we are talking about it, I just uploaded some pictures of the anvil and the work I'm doing on it and the stand I made as well as a few other projects.
http://picasaweb.google.com/Curt.Welch/BlacksmithProjects #

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I give you a lot of credit. That's a lot of work!!! You are a much better welder than I am. I draw the line at grinding the faces.
Pete Stanaitis ---------------------------------------

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On 28 Sep 2009 19:29:39 GMT in alt.crafts.blacksmithing, snipped-for-privacy@kcwc.com (Curt Welch) wrote,

EDM. Find somebody with a sinker EDM or even just a tap-buster.
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Yep - and drill a hole through the carbide drill as well :-)
Martin
David Harmon wrote:

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