the Russian Anvil and what to do with it

OK. Because of the recommendations here on RCM I bought that anvil
from HF. Got it home and then read the thread about looking for used
anvils. If the volume of the ring is proportional to the quality of
the anvil then this is a good one. And the hammer bounces back nicely
too. So, I need to mount this thing to something. And the horn is
really rough so I think it needs grinding. Some folks bolt the anvil
to a stump and drag that around the shop. Is there something better?
Or, rather, are there better mounts for different situations? There's
no way to bolt this sucker down and based on the ring may be fairly
hard. So it will either need to be welded to mounts or clamped to the
mount. Since the horn is gonna get ground is there any particular
shape to strive for? And should it be real smooth? And shouldn't the
flat surface also be pretty smooth?
Thanks,
Eric
Reply to
Eric R Snow
Loading thread data ...
"Eric R Snow" wrote: (clip) So it will either need to be welded to mounts or clamped to the mount. Since the horn is gonna get ground is there any particular shape to strive for? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I would place it on a stump, and hold it in place with bent "nails"--large bridge spikes driven in part way and then bent over the corners of the anvil base (are there feet?)
The top of the horn should be a straight horizontal line. Every cross section should be a circle, so when you are hammering a ring to shape, it can be driven onto the horn to make it round.
Reply to
Leo Lichtman
I bought the 110 lb version from HF. Like you say, it really rings. I ground and polished the top surface as well as the horn. I drilled and tapped holes in the bottom to mount it to an arm I welded onto my welding table. I put a 1/4" layer of rubber sheet between the anvil and the arm just so I can still hear it ring :>). I use mine for working with sheet metal - primarily aluminum. The polished surfaces look so good I guess I'll have to get another for heavy duty beating.
Reply to
Terry Mayhugh
Eric R Snow snipped-for-privacy@whidbey.com
I guess the ring and bounce are good indicators, if you might be looking at iron that might have been cast in anvil shape to be passed off as a working anvil.
If you're looking at different "good" anvils, you probably don't necessarily want a ringer. As to the bounce, high bounce may be good for you, maybe not. There used to be one maker (Fisher, iirc) that sold its anvils for low bounce, on the logic that you can thereby impart more of the hammer force to shaping the work than into the rebound.
To feel better at the end of the day because you have high bounce? Not sure about that as a standard. To hit the work fewer times to get the same result is also something to strive for. Whether low bounce gets that, I don't know.
Just be aware that, when you lean over the job in your intensity, when you miss the work and hit only the anvil face, the cross of that cross peen is in your forehead. Be safe.
As to the shape, a little side-to-side crown on the face, and no really sharp edges, but several different radii, depending on your intended uses.
Frank Morrison
Reply to
Fdmorrison
I keep my 6 or 8 inches of railroad track in a bucket of sand. Not very solid (like a 10 pounds chunk of steel ever was in the first place!) but works for me and my 16 oz hammer (stop snickering!).
Tim
-- "I've got more trophies than Wayne Gretsky and the Pope combined!" - Homer Simpson Website @
formatting link

Reply to
Tim Williams
That "logic" sounds like something the marketing department came up with. A lower bounce means the anvil is absorbing more of the energy from the hammer strike, so you could expect less energy, not more, to be available for shaping the work.
Reply to
Bert
Stumps work well. The anvil in my shop right now is on a rolling stand. I built a cart for working on anvils and decided it was a good place to park one. Mine is a 18" x 18" square on top. The cart with the wheels is about 18 inches tall. It sits on 6" diameter solid steel wheels, 2 swivels and 2 fixed. I just roll it into a corner when it's not being used. To stop it from moving around I wrap lengths of chain under the wheels. An old stagehand trick to stop carts from rolling on slopes.
The cart is built from 2" x 4" x 1/8" wall tube with 1/4" steel on top. Real beefy and very practical since I am not doing much smithing right now.
You should try grinding it down to a flat surface on the face and a even taper on the horn. Using a 4-1/2" right angle grinder, rough it with a grinding wheel and finish with a flapper wheel. No need to get carried away with a quest for perfection. Flat is good enough.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
Anvil horns come in several flavors. One is the one you're probably thinking of, the one that comes on a London pattern, or blacksmithing anvil. Anywhere you cut that horn you'd get a circular cross section. Another kind of horn is one with a constant radius on the top, but which gets narrower towards the nose. This is what's on the HF anvils. This isn't a bad thing. If you heat a bar and want to bend it over the horn and you do it on a conventional anvil if you aren't skilled, it will want to bend into a spiral, not a 2-dimensional bend. If you do it over your new anvil horn it will stay 2-dimensional much more easily. I have cleaned up a few of these anvils for friends and what I recommend is to take a 4½" angle grinder with a 5/8-11 spindle and get a coarse flap wheel at the welding store and use that to dress the top of the horn. They still will show some casting blowholes but they'll look *much* better and will work just fine.
As to an anvil stand, this is a real can of worms. First thing you have to decide is whether you want to fasten your stand to the floor. If you don't, probably because you want to maybe move it out of the way when you aren't forging, then you need something portable but that stays put while forging. You also probably want a stand that isn't much bigger than the base of the anvil, as sometimes you need that space down by the anvil while forging. You also want the horn and heel to stick out into free space. Some guys make metal boxes open on top and fill them with sand, and put wood on top of the sand and the anvil on the wood. This deadens sound, plus you can adjust the height if you want to. Many people get tired of wearing earplugs while forging and try to dampen that bright ring. This is really effectively accomplished by putting a piece of sheet lead beneath the base of the anvil. I've done this, and it works really well, much better than wrapping with chain, using heavy magnets, etc. I chose to just cut a rectangular solid of wood 12x12x21" and made 2 little forgings to keep the anvil from moving sideways. My anvil doesn't bounce straight up - after all, it's real heavy! I can easily grab the heel and horn and "walk" the anvil and its stand around, and if I want to move it a long ways away I can just pick the anvil up and put it in the truck. See pix:
formatting link
I like my anvil stand and wouldn't change the design. - Grant
Eric R Snow wrote:
Reply to
Grant Erwin
A stump is the traditional, dirt-floored smithy anvil mount. I've seen everything from leather straps nailed to the stump to steel banding iron recommended for holding it in place. They used two straps crossing from each end over the feet. Any blacksmithing book should have a picture. I've got an anvil stand from the local school, looks like a project for the kids. It's made from 1" plywood and has some storage space built in on the sides, no straps needed, there's a nice heavy edge all the way around that keeps the anvil from walking off. Works fine for my 180 lb anvil. In one of my knife books, the author built up a bunch of anvil stands from MDF scraps, just glued them up in a tall enough stack and sawed them a little larger than the anvil base.
The smoother your working surfaces are, the smoother your workpieces will be and the less finishing you'll have to do. Jeweler's anvils are polished, most work is cold, though. A lot depends on what you want to do. If you want as-forged pieces and don't want to do a lot of finishing, you may want to put in a little extra effort to get a smooth surface. If you're just doing rough shaping on pieces that are going to be machined later and have a lot of scale, it may not make much sense to spend a lot of time doing anvil polishing. Hit it with a flap wheel on an angle grinder and call it good.
Stan
Reply to
Stan Schaefer
Thank you Grant and Ernie especially for the anvil advice and thanks to the others who have replied. I now need to decide which stand to make. I am thinking about finding a maple log and using it. I figure wheels could be mounted somehow for portability and the wood, with perhaps a lead shim, will absorb just the right amount of ring. Though I have a forge with a hand driven blower courtesy of my brother I have never used it. I will be using this anvil for other pounding duties for now. But, it's time to buy some coal and at least learn a little about wrought iron. There are folks blacksmithing and teaching blacksmithing here on the island so I bet I can trade some machine work for some instruction. Anybody know where to buy coal in the Puget Sound area? Cheers, eric
Reply to
Eric R Snow
I have found no affordable source of blacksmithing coal in the Seattle area.
The nearest volume dealer is Lazarri Fuel in South San Fancisco, and they only carry it as sand. Those loopy californians like it that way.
Propane is your best option around here.
Personally I love coal forging. It is much more...elegant...than propane.
Coal is unfortunately very rude in an urban situation. The cloud of sulphur smoke when you first coke up, is enough to draw the fire department in most cities and seriously annoy your neighbors.
You can buy it mail order from Centaur forge, but it is pricey.
The best stuff is Poco #3 from the #3 Pocohontas Mine in West Virginia. A low sulphur, dense Bituminous coal, with just enough silica to weld your clinkers together at the bottom of your firepot.
Stay away from stokers' coal (the soft coal they use in power plants), or Anthracite ( way too dense to light or keep lit in a coal forge)
There is some stuff from Oklahoma that is fair, but nothing is as good as Poco#3.
Hardwood charcoal works, but it burns fast and hot, and you will use a LOT of it.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
Mebbe I should go to Black Diamond and dig some up. I found some on Tiger Mountain in a stream once but it was real low quality and would hardly burn. The east side of Whidbey has some "proto coal" that washes up from time to time but it will only stink up a beach fire without adding any heat to it. The west side has some stuff that's better. It can be used to start beach fires. There are still visible roots in it. Eric
Reply to
Eric R Snow
The wrong coal is next to useless. When I was young I went over to the big piles of coal next to Purdue University's power plant and filled a 50 lb. bag
When I lit it in my forge, it would not stop coking out. Eventually I shut it down and threw it away. It had way too much sulphur in it to use for blacksmithing.
As I stated there are only 2 sources of useable smithing coal. West Virginia and Oklahoma.
You will have more luck with charcoal than bad coal.
Charcoal does burn very clean.
Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler
It does indeed, and it makes learning to forge weld a much less painful process. At an SCA Metalsmiths' Symposium, on the charcoal forges the welds just seemed to fall together.
I'm learning quite a bit in my training. Ended up taking lessons with a man who works welding aluminum truck trailers together. I visit for a while after his work hours and pay an hourly rate. The local vocational school's classses were full. Seems like everybody in the county wants to learn to weld. (And I figured it was long past time to learn to do it right:)
After learning to forge weld and pattern weld, arc processes are downright sensible.
Still have a problem now and then with a jump weld or a drop tongs one. Have any tips for me, Ernie?
Reply to
John Husvar
How about a new machine - the wood stove that uses pellets - but with charcoal. Constantly feeding the fire to maintain a certain fire...
Martin
Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn
I hope you do too. There just doesn't seem to be anything that satisfies like shaping hot iron. Well, almost anything. :)
Aside from the satisfaction of any job done well, there's just something about hammer and tongs work.
One nice thing about charcoal: The number of neighbor complaints drops significantly.
Best, John
Reply to
John Husvar
It looks like I'm gonna be building a propane forge. I have a 500 gallon tank so it will always be handy. And, I've got one of those weed burners which are really just a propane fired rocket motor :). It should be even better than a rosebud for heatin large objects. ERS
Reply to
Eric R Snow
You'd think so, but not really. Even my Reil-style monster burner only reaches maybe 1500°F in open air, despite its incredibly generous heat output. Now, surround the work with firebricks, give it a few minutes and it'll make a mess of anything!
Tim
-- "I've got more trophies than Wayne Gretsky and the Pope combined!" - Homer Simpson Website @
formatting link

Reply to
Tim Williams
I have two Magnum propane torches. These are used mostly to torch down roofing but they work great on weeds too. Sometimes I heat forged parts afterwards with them just to smoke on some oil. Those torches work *really* well for that. I would not want to use it for heating something to red, though. The heat is more diffuse than that. It might work, though.
Grant
Reply to
Grant Erwin

Site Timeline

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.