Well, my anvil is about done. I need to talk with the welding/fab shop that
did most of the work as to how they did it. For $35 they plasma cut out the
area for a horn, cut a hardy hole, and welded the base to the rail. The welds
look great. Since i had the face flattened and ground down to 80 grit with a
belt sander, they even went ahead and pre-work hardened the surface with a
power hammer with a flattening attatchment, and even went as far as to
sandblast the thing, to pretty it up for some finish (i'm thinking epoxy or BBQ
paint on non-forging surfaces).
The guy assured me that if the surface and the welds could hold up to the
heavy, heavy blows they inflicted on it, that there is almost nothing i could
do to damage it with a 3 pound sledge.
What was funny about the whole deal was that i went in with stuff from the web
and a couple books and tried to take the owner of the shop to school on what
welding materials to use.....
He listened for a while then said, "let me show you something" and took me into
the shop, where he already had about 5 RR anvils custom built for various jobs.
One of the anvils was simply a flattened section of track, mounted to heavy
angle and tube "sawhorse" kind of rig---that was his general purpose anvil to
bash out stuff, for straightening stuff. He had one, more or less in the
traditional shape of an anvil, and another that was a real beauty, with a
flattened horn on one end, and a perfectly cone shaped horn on the other.
I saw that, and told him to torch out and weld whatever he saw fit. The whole
deal cost $40, not bad for the work he did on it. He even plasma cut and
machined a square hardy hole, and threw in some chunks of cutoff rail that i
could use to make the hardies with (basically, a chunk of rail, with one end
machined to fit the hardy hole), that i can machine into whatever shape i need
(a cuttoff hardie is my number one thing, then probably a spring fullering tool
Today, i'm on the lookout for another chunk of rail. My fiance has a tiny
little anvil for silver smithing---it's a lovely little thing (only about 10
pounds) that has a perfectly round horn on one side, and a flattened horn on
the other, with only a small hammering face in the middle. I think if i could
scale that up to something to resist a 3 pound sledge, made of rail, it would
be great for more delicate work. My current anvil with most certainly be used
almost exclusively for blade smithing. A smaller, double horned anvil would be
good for more intricate work (although i don't currently posses the skills to
do much more than bash pieces into tool and knife shapes). Also, i was
thinking of having a twisting jig made out of another section of track, and as
a final item, using another section of track, this time mounted upside down for
a wider, flatter surface, probably having at least one side boxed in, and
filled with maybe a hundred pounds of iron and steel scrap packed in
there--just really a heavy as hell flat platform that will not deform under the
Still, I thought the pre-workhardening step they performed was excellent. It
saves me from trying to heat treat the object, as well as proving to me that if
it can handle that kind of repeated, super heavy pounding without the welds
failing, it can handle anyting my wimpy 3 pound sledge can throw at it.
Anyways, i got the face of the anvil to about 80 grit, nice and flat. The
power hammering mushroomed the sides a bit, so i'm going to re-finish it to 80
to re-true up the surface, then mabye take it down to 120 grit, which should be
fine for my needs. I'm going to use a big pnuematic "jitterbug" that a buddy
from a body shop has---it has a huge surface, which will take care of smoothing
out any small deviatons in the surface.
Still, i'm pretty stoked about it. Should be bashing away soon. I'll keep you
guys posted on any developements, especially any speciallty anvils that I hope
to have made in the coming weeks.