Expanding on this, bu the time you've figured out how to do it and
risked doing nasty things to the anvil, a machinist could have done it
For me time is money, and I've had to learn that sometimes it's cheaper
to let someone else do the job for me.
i have been a practicing smith for over 50 years. as well as a tool
collector. an old anvil like your mouse hole can tell a lot of stories
if you know how to read it. this world is full of anvils, i hope you
don't butcher that old anvil of yours and make it it's last story.
have fun, mark
On Sep 28, 2:29 pm, email@example.com (Curt Welch) wrote:
If you talk with someone at a welding supply place, you might be able
to get either supplies for an oxygen lance or rods for thermite
cutting. Those should go through just about anything and also be
relatively controlled. You could also find someone familiar with
If you're doing all of this restoration work to your anvil, I'm sure
that filling in a pritchel hole shouldn't be a big problem if you
decide to reverse the work you've done.
Well, if I get carried away and melt the thing down to a bubbling blob of
goo that dripped though the hole in my workbench in a thermite accident, it
might be more than just "filling the mistake in". :) But yet, I'm not too
worried about drilling partial holes in the face because it would be easy
compared to everything else to just fill that back in again if I decide to
give up on the pritchel hole.
Well, there is a another harsh, crude way to get a hole started
through the tough stuff. Got a stick welder? Grab some 1/8" 6011,
dip them in water, and crank the amps way up. Probably give you a
hardenned edge once it cools, but might be enough for you to burn
through your hardfaceing bigger than it needs to be, then drill the
softer material underneath the rest of the way through at size. Fill
the top edge back to just undersize as you're putting your final
hardfacing on the rest of the top, and tidy up with a die grinder.
They also make special burning rods, but I've not had great results
with them. If you try this, you're probably better to have the anvil
on its side to give the molten bits somewhere to go...
Yeah, I've got a Lincoln tombstone welder I could do that with. Good idea.
If I can't cut through the hardstuff with the bits I'm going to try, I'll
keep that in mind as an option. It could be a good way to locally anneal
the hard face plate when I get down to it if it stops the drilling. Hum,
maybe I could go buy a tig tungsten rod and use it in the Lincon with some
shelding gas from my mig machine. I'll do some tests on other material
first before I work on the anvil if I decide to try that route. But I'd
much rather drill a clean hole through it than play with that and then have
to do all the extra clean up work afterwards. I'm waiting for the bit I
ordered to show up before I do anything else.
I tried one of those cutting rods once back in school just to see how it
worked. Made a real mess, that's for sure, but it did cut up the piece of
3/8 plate I was experimenting with. O/A at least has the decency to burn
away the extra metal. With those burning rods, it just melts and drips all
over the place.
Turned out to be easier than I suspected.
I week or two ago, I had tried some standard HSS drills and they were
really not working. Not sure if they were dull, or if the hardfacing I had
on the top layer was too hard. Probably a bit of both.
I bought a 5/16" cobalt drill from Home Depot, but hadn't tried it in the
drill press because it was tricky to set up the anvil on the drill press.
I tried with just a hand drill to see how it would work. It was making
some progress, but didn't seem like it was really going to work.
That's when I ordered the 1/2" carbide drill and posted the questions
It showed up yesterday so today I got back to work on the project. Since
my first attempt, I happened to have gotten an old cabinet and located it
next to the drill press. That, with a 2x6, turned out to make a nice way
to place the anvil on the press without having the drill press try to flip
over on me. See pictures.
However, the new fancy carbide bit was too long for that configuration. So
I was going to have do move the cabinet and get something else so I could
lower the table and abvil a few more inches to use the long carbide bit.
But before doing that, I wanted to try the other options.
First, I tried the cobalt bit again - this time in the drill press instead
of by hand. Worked just fine as long as I used lots of cutting fluid. It
was so easy it almost felt like I was drilling lead. But it was only 5/16
and I wanted at least 1/2" so I had to make it wider.
Next I pulled out a standard 3/8" HSS bit. This was only cutting an extra
1/16" on the hole. But it too worked fine.
I don't know if this was working because the hard plate on the anvil wasn't
really very hard, or if the cobalt drill really was good enough to get
though it without issue. When cutting with the cobalt drill and the
followup with the HSS drill, I really didn't notice any difference at the
different layers of the hole.
Next, since you guys had suggested it, I dug out a 1/2" masonry bit. It
was a bit chewed up from drilling concrete. It was short enough that I
could try it in the drill press configuration I had so I went ahead and
At first, it was making lots of noise, straining the drill press bearings
and belt drive, and mostly just chewing up the hole edge. But I took it
out and re-ground the outer edges of the tips a bit, and then it started
cutting. It was still making a lot of noise, and this was really too large
a job for my drill press, but it worked. Took me about 15 minutes to get
all the way though.
I didn't risk trying the "let it get red hot" technique mentioned here. I
kept it flooded with lots of cutting fluid. I couldn't apply the amount of
pressure it really needed because the bit would just jam and slip in the
chuck. So it was cutting off fine powder chips from the anvil and going
With this bit, I did notice a big difference after it got though the anvil
face plate and into the soft wrought iron body. But it was still too big a
hole for my drill press. It just didn't have the power to do it correctly
so it was still slow going.
None the less, it made it all the way though and produced a very clean
result - far cleaner than what I needed for a pritchel hole. I would have
been happy with something much rougher. The hole turned out to be about
.52" which was just perfect because I can easily slide a 1/2" rod into the
hole to make a hold down tool out of.
Thanks for all the ideas from everyone. I'm glad I didn't have to use most
of them. I never would have even thought to try that masonry bit had you
guys not suggested it! It's doubt its design would cut a new hole in steel
very well, but for widening a hole already cut, it sure worked for me.
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