Some months back we had some discussion on either RCM or SEJW about
making anvils. Ernie gave us links to some very interesting pictures
demonstrating cutting out anvil blanks from 3" or so steel plate, then
grinding and hardfacing to produce beautiful anvils.
I've been wondering whether it would be feasible to "laminate" an
anvil out of a series of vertical sections cut out of thinner plate. I
don't have access to 3" steel plate, nor do I have a ready means to
cut it if I did. But I do have a bunch of 1/4" thick sheet steel, and
may be able to get hold of some 1/2" sheet. I have access to a plasma
cutter that can easily cut the 1/4"; I'm not sure if it would cut the
1/2" plate, but maybe I could haggle it into the rough shape. What I
was thinking about was not only bevelling and welding up around the
edges, but also cutting three or four holes in the same place on each
of the sections, so that I could plug weld -- in effect, creating
several continuous sections running across the laminations at various
points in the body of the anvil, as well as the continuous outer
"skin" of the anvil. Then grind flat and add hardfacing ...
Here is roughly what each lamination might look like (within the
severe limitations of ASCII graphics!):
\__ _ _ __/
\_ (_) (_) __/
\ _ / / (_) \
Basically each lamination would be a lengthwise, vertical cross
section of the anvil shape, with the holes cut as shown to plug weld
each lamination to the next. Each lamination section would not be
identical -- one would need to leave a gap in the tail part of some
sections for the hardee hole (is that the right term?), and taper back
the laminations on each side to create the rough shape of the horn.
What do you think? Obviously, this would be a fair bit of work ... but
I'm not sure it would be all that much more work than what Ernie has
demonstrated using 3" thick steel -- there would be a lot of grinding
to do either way! But would the resulting anvil be an absolute piece
of junk? Besides costing more and being a whole lot more work, how it
might compare to the $59 special at Harbor Freight?
Alternatively, would one get more satisfactory results by doing the
lamination horizontally rather than vertically? I was thinking that
doing it horizontally might result in some "springiness" of the
resulting anvil ... but maybe the same thing would be true either way?
I look forward to your (no doubt gracious!) feedback on yet another
Might work. Seems like a lot more work (and quite possibly money, given
the price of steel these days) than putting out feelers for an old anvil
and waiting, and/or driving far enough to find one without waiting quite
If you can find thicker plate scrap, finding and paying someone with the
tools to cut it is not difficult (a plain old oxy-acetelyene torch can
do 6") and probably the scrapyard would be equipped and happy to do the
Not sure if I would ask a scrap yard to cut an anvil form unless I could
see what they were capable of regarding cut quality. Having seen some
scrap yards cutting it is closer to severing rather than profiling.
Quality of cut was not an issue.
That's what I did. I came across some 1 1/4" x 6" pieces of bar stock &
laminated the three profiles together. I cut two more pieces, one for the
face and one for the base. I beveled them with the torch and welded
together. I thought about plug welding the laminates together, too, but
didn't think it was necessary. After hardfacing, lots and lots of
grinding. Thanks again to Ernie for the idea.
Hope this helps
I would think that with so many layers (since you are using 1/4" stock), you
would have lots of dead spots in the anvil if laid horizontally. I would
also randomly place my plug welds instead of an entire series of welds on
one axis thru the block of steel. Otherwise it sounds like a great idea.
Thanks for the encouragement -- so far, at least, it doesn't sound
like I am completely crazy for contemplating this!
Shawn (or anyone else, chip in!), talk to me a bit more about your
thought about randomly placing the plug welds. I had thought about
this at first, but then thought perhaps it would be better to have
some areas of connection that go all the way through from one side to
the other. What I'm worried about is having the 1/4" plates springing
apart a bit under the hammer. I guess even randomly placed plug welds
would counteract that to some degree ... but thought maybe a
consistent placement would help even more -- ??
I'm guessing that the possible objection to putting the plug welds all
in the same location is putting heat and stress into the same place
over and over again -- ??
I am picturing five or so plug welds all the way through from your
description. Perhaps you meant more. I would go all the way through with
the welds at the corners and in the center but I would also fill in the
voids between the through holes with a plug weld every other lamination or
so, especially given that you'll be using 1/4" stock. This would really
solidify the whole thing. Not knowing the dimensions of the final product,
this may be a moot point. I think that if there is sufficient unwelded area
between the through plug welds, you would warp the laminations and have gaps
between them. I think that this may lead to a dead spot.
Andy: If you have A H F in your area they sell A pretty nice 100#
Russian cast anvil for A bit more than A buck A pound that is on sale
quite often for around 80 bucks. I wouldn't want to do horse shoeing
with it but it's OK for home shop use .
To make your own I suspect you'll use more than A C- note in
Yeah, I know. If I do go ahead with this wacky idea, it would be more for
the sake of the challenge, and being able to say "I built it myself!" than
for the economics ...
I do have plenty of steel plate that was given to me for free, so the cost
would be in the welding and hardfacing rods, and in the grinding wheels ...
How much do hardfacing rods cost, anyway??