Making an anvil

I'm planning on building a propane forge and am wanting an anvil. I'm just starting in all this and know nothing. Being poor buying a new
anvil is out of the question and I'm not wanting to wait till I find one at an auction as that could take forever. My brother suggested I make the basic shape out of a series of sections I can cut out of 3/16 steel on a CNC plasma cutter I run. He said weld them together and then weld some tool steel to the top. Is this a practical idea? What about a temp anvil till I find an auction anvil? Fella at work, a welder, suggested using Nickle(think it was) rod and machine it flat. I have acess to a mill. I can't get back on the internet for maybe a week to answere any of y'alls comments but I'll check maybe next weekend. Kenny
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If you do this and it works, definately get back on here and let us know. I've thought about the same project, but managed to find a used anvil that is sufficient for now. No idea if welding a stack of plate together would be tough enough to keep from delaminating when you're beating on it, but it's a tempting idea. My thought on it would require a lot more work, but might result in a better finished product- I would cut 1/4" obrounds in each plate pretty close to one another, staggered on each layer. Fill up all the slots with weld, grind flat, then move on to the next layer and repeat until you've got it all built up.
At least then, you've got a lot more weld holding the thing together, and it is (at least, hopefully) less likely to have hollow spots due to the plate warping when welding it.
I think rather than trying to weld tool steel to the top, you might want to look into having a welder cover the top with hardfacing rod. If I am correct, you won't be machining either of them with a mill- that's a job for a grinder.
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Butter wrote:

I wouldn't expect that to hold up, but I'm not a welder just an amature blacksmith. I suggust you check iforgeiron.com under the blueprints section for homemade anvils and find the ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Assn of Northe America assuming you're in N. Amer.) site and check for a local chapter.
Where are you and what other resources do you have? A charcoal forge may prove cheaper to build and fuel than propane.
ron
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i remember (about 50 years ago) wanting an anvil. as a ten year old i started forging on a chunk of granite. when i found out that rocks don't hold up to well as an anvil, some how i got my hands on a short piece of railroad track. it worked much better ! that was also my first lesson in blacksmithing. you try something, fumble around until you find something or a method that works. in today's world there is a lot of scrap around. a guy can make a lot of tools an self teach on any old chunk of steel. don't let not having an anvil stop you from forging. have fun, mark
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r payne wrote:

Hi Ron,
A charcoal/coal forge can be the cheaper option. I've said this one before, 2 x elbows, 2 x length of pipe, some rebar, and air source and a hole in the ground. That's probably as cheap as you can get for charcoal/coal. Estimate $20 AUD, without the air source and including some charcoal. The air source can be a vacuum cleaner with a blow, and a way to adjust the air flow. You can probably do really cheap if you are good at scrounging.
Cheap for propane, is a JTH-7 Bernzomatic hose torch, some pol adapters, and a K26 fire brick, and some wire, is probably the cheapest you can do for propane. Estimate about $110 AUD, and the torch can be used for other applications.
Oh and there's f*ck-all construction skill required for either ;-)
Regards Charles
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Butter wrote:

Hey Kenny,
My first anvil was a lump of 3" diameter steel rod, embedded in a small bucket of concrete. It was only ever used for knives and small jobs, but it was fine.
A chunk of steel or a railway coupling will do until you can afford a wonder anvil.
Regards Charles
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I think you'd be better off looking around for something to use like a piece of railroad track until you get a feel for blacksmithing. If you take the laminated route, you will be doing a lot of grinding anyway, so why not do it on the railroad track? Railroad track is measured by pounds per yard. "120 pound" used to be the standard for main line rail. 2 feet of it would make a pretty good start. I have heard that the new main line rail is 150 pound. That would be even better. Of course, lighter rail will work, too. You just have to fasten it well to a stump, etc. so it won't move around. Look around the internet for discussions on how to dress it to shape.
Find other local blacksmiths. Make some connections. If you have any way to do a few "G" jobs with that plasma cutter, you should be able to trade for just about anything. Many blacksmiths have extra equipment to sell or trade, or loan.
As another poster asked: Where are you? You may be right in the backyard of some of the folks who watch this group. There are at least 70 blacksmith clubs around the USA. Locate your closest ABANA affiliate and contact them. Join or visit the one closest to you. Show some honest, humble interest and you will be surprised how accomodating these folks can be.
Pete Stanaitis -------------------
Butter wrote:

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"As another poster asked: Where are you? You may be right in the backyard of some of the folks who watch this group"
I'm in Arkansas in Cleburne co. I'm going to try this idea of the laminated plates welded together for an anvil. The material is free, I need welding practice and have nothing to lose. I'm going to see about welding with the nickol rod of the face. I'll take some pictures and post them when I get going; As for the forge I'm going with a propane forge for now since I need something portable, and can get most of the materials free. Someone asked what resourses I have.. I work in a weld shop where we make large (up to 8ft OD)tanks. I run the CNC plasma table, Sub arc and learning the 8ft rools we have. I can get free steel. Brother has a machine shop(I'm a machinist). Also have welder friends who will help. I'm looking for a metal scrap yard in the area for material I don't have cheap acess too. There is one in Clarksville, ar but need one closer. I'm also going to start one on one classes with blacksmith at Fork Center in Mt VIew hopefully this week. Kenny
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Welders everywhere will vicariously cuss you for that nickel rod! It doesn't bond worth a hoot to structural steel and it's a b*tch to get off. A couple of weeks ago I had an adventure with a friend's hydraulic log splitter where someone decided that nickel filler would be the fancy way. Under stress it lifted right out of the steel like concrete poured in a groove in the dirt. Spent the better part of two days grinding all that crap out and then welding it properly.
If I were looking for a hard face, I might try hardface rods. I'd test it on a small piece first, to make sure it isn't too brittle. I don't think it will be, considering the beating it gets on heavy equipment parts but just to be sure... A layer of hardface nicely surface ground might just be the cat's patoot!
Anyway, I think your idea will work. If you're building it up from plate, may I suggest drilling the plates and plug welding each to the preceding plate? Scatter the holes from plate to plate so that one weld doesn't end up on top of the next. This technique should result in a much more "bouncy" stack than plates with tiny spaces between them, as would be the case with edge welding only. After you finish welding, you might also consider stress-relieving the whole assembly by heating it red hot and allowing to cool slowly.
John
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John De Armond
See my website for my current email address
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seems like a lot of good advise here. if you are determined to go ahead with your layered anvil, may i suggest bigger is better. if you have access to free material, why not make a four or five hundred pound anvil. have fun, mark
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I meant to say hardfacing rod. I've talked to a couple of welders who suggested that and the blacksmith I am currently taking Sat classes from also said to give this project a try. I'm planning on drilling thru the plates and filling it up with weld. I'm thinking of making it somewhere in the 250 lbs range since anything bigger I'll never be able to move. In the mean time I have a large piece of metal from a disassembled iron worker I'm going to use
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Butter wrote:

Unless you are getting the materials and time for free, you are better off buying an anvil.
Got a Harbour Freight store near you? They sell some east european cast steel anvils that are supposed to be quite decent, or at least they did.
Stay away from cast iron, for the most part.
There ar lots of anvils around, but it takes a little legwork or luck to find the deals. Decide what your time is worth, too.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Kenny,
Check your local scrap yard and ask what they have in large dimension steel. Scrap prices are at all time highs so it may be pricey. I've heard as high as $160 per ton. Keep an eye on Ebay as well. I was lucky and caught one at a local aution. I have to tease some nickels and dimes together to buy insulation for a propane forge.I found a freon tank in the dumpster at work. YEE HAA!!
Good luck.
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Last time I sold "tin" they -gave- me 10c a pound. ($200/ton)
Same for zinc, 10c ...which was something I would just give them since it wasn't worth weighing before at 1c.
Alvin in AZ
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Any big piece of steel will do the job to get started. Short chunks of railroad rail are common along the track routes. Keep an eye open for work crews rebuilding the tracks (or a train wreck) and you'll find track small enough to use. I bought one of the Harbor Freight anvils at about 120lb for about 60 dollars and it's ok. Dings up easier than my track anvil but it has other features that I like - so does my track. They each have their uses. If you've got track and a band saw you can make some nifty tools too . Even I beam can be used to get started on.
GA

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Lots of folks use a section of railroad track. The heavier the better. You can undercut the ends and shape them to suit. Works pretty well. Check scrap yards for rails or if there is a railroad maintenance shop in your area they would probably let you have 3 or 4 feet of it for free. Good luck. 73 Gary

Gary Pewitt N9ZSV Sturgeon's Law "Ninety percent of everything is crap"
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Yep, I used to collect nice pieces and give them away. The SP's official rules were "no rail sold". ;)
Alvin in AZ retired signal ape
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Kenny,
You might find better results if you can make your anvil out of thick stock, especially if it is one solid piece. I realize this may be harder to come by, but several indivual layers with voids might give you a dead anvil. A good anvil has a nice bounce that helps you get more work done. I found an article that might be of interest. Try this:http://www.metalwebnews.com/howto/anvil1/anvil2.html
This article should help get you started.
Paul
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Paul, thanks a bunch for posting the web page. I hope it helps Kenny, I know it has really helped me. What a fund of useful information. 73 Gary
On 22 May 2007 04:38:54 -0700, paul snipped-for-privacy@excite.com wrote:

Gary Pewitt N9ZSV Sturgeon's Law "Ninety percent of everything is crap"
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If you're trying to get an anvil as cheaply as possible, you'd probable be better off just using any heavy piece of steel you can find. People make some incredible things with some really crude equipment, and I wouldn't worry about the anvil too much. As you do more you will probable want better equipment, but you don't have to worry about that right now. Of course, a lot of it will depend on what you plan on doing. If you're planning on just making knives, a full anvil is probably more than you'll need, anyway.
I'm not saying that making an anvil won't work -- I'd bet that it will be fine. Just that it seems like a lot of work for something that you probably won't keep for a while. You'll probably be better off just buying a 110 pound anvil from Harbor Freight.
Also, try talking to some local blacksmithing groups. They might know of some local resources, like good junk yards.
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