I'm making it out of laminated pieces of steel 1in thick min. I took
a pic of a friends anvil and then put into autocad. from there i made
a program to cut the shape out on the CNC plasma table at work. Now i
want to weld on a piece of tool steel on top, grind to shape and then
heat tread. Any ideas on which tool steel to use and how thick does it
need to be. Thanks
It'll be interesting to see what other replies you get. Some modern made
anvils are cast from solid 4140. I suppose you could use that. Anvil faces
are often about 1/2" thick, but--- I'd be concerned about the way you attach
the face to the base. I think you will need to weld the face onto the base
from the center to the outside. This would require some really deep vee-ing
of the base. Ask others about the best rod to use and the amount of preheat
you will need.
In case you don't get a really good weld, it might be good to use 3/4" or
1" thick material for the face.
I think that many older anvils had faces made of fairly high carbon steel,
like 1070 or 1095. But I think I'd avoid that and go with a more forgiving
material like 4140. I know it is used for a lot of power hammer dies.
It is also an oil hardening material, so it's more likely to get hard in the
quench, where the mass of material in the base will slow cooling a lot.
Consider AR400 or higher number. AR - abrasion resistance.
Take a check on this site - look at their uses on various metals.
On 4/12/2011 7:09 PM, Butter wrote:
I would vote for 4140 as well. If you try to cheat and just weld it on the
sides, you will probably not be very happy with the results. It will make
a noticeable hollow sound when you hammer on it and more of your energy
from your hammer blows will be lost to the bouncing that will happen
between the face and the body. Welding a deep weld to get it all the way
across or course will be a bit of a challenge but I think worth the
You could try to forge weld the face to the body which is how it used to be
done. Good luck with that however.
Another option is to create the face surface from multiple levels of
Here's Ernie's page on what he did to make a home made anvil that way:
I used the same hardfacing wire to reface the entire face of my Mouse Hole
anvil and have been happy with the results. It's probably not as hard as
it should be, but like I said, I'm happy with the results. I just take
care not to hit the anvil with a hammer (or tooling).
I think your problem will be more doing a sucessful 'all surface' weld
rather than choosing the material - unless you have Naismiths drop
hammer in your yard of course. You'll be very dissapointed with the
results if the weld is only on the periphery as the plate will ring.
You might be best with a wear resistant steel - high manganese - and
drill holes in it and do a series of plug welds, but you need to match
the welding rod to the steel plate.
About not welding just the perifery. I hadn't thought of that but
since i've still got my sections unwelded i suppose i could bevel and
weld each to the top and then to each other. I did put holes in each
section so they would weld together not just on the outside. Unless
there is a reason not to I'd be mig welding this. Otherwize i'd get
one of the welders to stick weld it. I work in a weld shop by the way.
I'll look into finding a piece of 4140.
How would you go about heating this big thing up to harden it? I
suppose i could build a heat treat oven but thats a lot of trouble. I
was thinking of just using a couple torches. I've heat treated lots of
0-1 but they were all small parts. Maybe take an old oven and some of
the scrap metal from work, to make a tempering oven.
I'm taking a knife making class next month is why i'm dusting off
this unfinished project. I've already got a propane forge i made.
If I were you, I'd be looking for a commercial heat treater. You need to
harden and probably temper the piece.
You need even heat, accurate temperature control to do a good job and then
you need BIG quench tank for the
quench operation. And, since it is an oil quenching material, you need a
way to make CERTAIN that there is NO
water in the quench oil when you sink the part into it.
If you luck out, you may find a company that takes whole pallet loads at a
time into the furnace and you can just
add your part to the batch.
You might even find a foundry that pours 4140 and see where they get their
stuff heat treated. The above
batching idea applies here as well.
I did this some years ago with a half dozen 10Kg anvils that I had cast.
I think I paid about 3 cents per pound
for hardening and tempering that way.
I'd suggest that you buy half hard or full hard 4140 to begin with, but
I'm afraid that, between pre and post heating as well as welding heat, the
hardness may be compromised during your fabrication process anyway.
That sounds like a plan!
Distortion is always a question however. Each section you weld on will want
to make the face bow down. Even with 1" thick plate, the distortion could
be significant if you are not careful. Grinding the face flat after
welding might be required.
I'm no expert, but I would think mig would be fine.
No clue. I heard told that some old anvil shop in England was near a lake
and they would throw the hot anvils into the lake to heat treat them! It
caused a water shortage for the local town at time because they turned so
much of the water into steam.
I have no clue if that is an urban legend or if there was some truth to it.
Making your own large anvil IS a lot of trouble! :)
Might work if you have enough insulation to keep the anvil from radiating
too much heat away. You are going to need large torches and lots of fuel
before you are done however. A large coal fire might be cheaper but again,
I have no experience trying something like that. You would need some sort
of crane or special tongs with helpers to move the anvil around when hot in
With 4140 welded to a mild steel base, I would think you could just drop it
in water to heat treat it and not have to worry about tempering it.
Because you are cooling from only one side (effectively) I don't think the
4140 will be able to cool down too fast. Maybe the edges will get too
brittle and need to be tempered but even that I find doubtful. But again,
this is just my guess, not an experienced opinion. If it is too hard and
brittle, and you hit it hard with a sledge and an edge shatters, the pieces
will fly away like a bullet and can really hurt someone (or you), so just
keep that in mind!
I talked with my brother about the heat treating (he's a tool maker
and engineer) He said to heat treat the 4140 first and then weld short
sections at a t ime. With maybe the 4140 laying flat in water. Take my
time. As for the idea of a comercial heat treater i'd think it would
cost a fortune. So far i've spent time andd nothing else. I'll be
spending quiet a bit on the 4140 I'm imagining.
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