Refacing Anvil... an interesting response to hardfacing questions

I know that this topic has been revisited many times... I've started the search for Rankin BBG and DDG dual-shield hardfacing wires, based upon some voices of experience in this group.

I called Rankin directly. I then had a chance to speak with one of their technical sales support team, and we talked about my application of their hardfacing wires, and that he would get back to me the following business day.

He said that Rankin would not recommend a hardfacing wire for an anvil. I was shocked. He mentioned that after consulting with several application engineers, that they would not be surprised if the hardfaced layer would delaminate from the anvil after some period of time. He recommended a Tool Steel build-up, and then doing a proper Heat Treat. I'm not up for the excitement of 250+ pounds of 1700 degree steel...not to mention the quench.

I don't have enough experience with Hardfacing to understand his concern. What do your thoughts/experiences tell you?

The pair of anvils I'm rebuilding are cast steel... Fishers to be exact.

Thanks all, _kevin

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Engineers can be smart, engineers can be dumb, engineers tend to remember failures more than successes (when we succeed, our boss -- or Marketing -- gets a bonus, when we fail, _we_ get a beating), engineers may or may not think creatively. So apps engineers like this will often warn you away from a process if it "only" works 99 times out of 100.

Note that this is often not unreasonable: imagine if the surface in question were buried in some super-expensive machine, and if it delaminated it would take some significant (and significantly expensive) part of the machine with it when it died. In that case, the 99% chance of success is far outweighed by the 1% chance of disaster, and the correct engineering answer is "don't do that".

So you have to ask yourself: just how much do you care if the thing delaminates, and how likely is it that someone will get hurt? If the answer is "not much" and "not very", then call them back and see if you can get them to cough up how likely they think it'll be to have trouble. If the answer is "every time, before you get all four shoes on the horse" then you know not to proceed. If, on the other hand, the answer is "once in a blue moon", well ...

Just keep in mind that if you do hard face the damn thing then you should take responsibility for your own actions in going against the expert's recommendation.

I'm thinking of the scene in the original Kung Fu movie where Grasshopper grabs the brazier with his forearms...

Reply to
Tim Wescott

Not surprising that you got that answer. I somewhat doubt that anvil refacing is something they would do a lot! They cannot be sure of the carbon content, current surface hardness and your welding ability to be able to say "sure thats gonna be fine"

Does that mean it won't work. NOPE.

I resurfaced the top of my hay budden anvil about 3 years ago. Used a stick welder and laid the anvil in the forge and got it hot first. That was to drive out ant oil/moisture and to limit any heat problems. Made a simple two layer shield so I could weld close to the forge and went to work. The worst part of the entire process was grinding it back to shape. I cheated on the top and had a friend use a blanchard machine do that...

Reply to
Steve W.

It is my understanding that quality anvils were originally made with a layer of harder steel on the face, in fact I *think* I've even seen it in a brochure or sales release. But, of course, they don't tell you how they do it :-)

(It would make an interesting forge welding project though :-)


John D. (jdslocombatgmail)

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I'm probably preaching to the converted but "Hard Facing" materials vary tremendously, depending upon their intended use.

Possibly a better method, rather then settle on Rankin, is to cruise the Web and read up on all the various materials that are available and select a rod recommended for, say rock crusher jaws and contact that manufacturer.

You may find that the best product is applied with A.O., stick, TIG or MIG, but at least you will be making an informed selection.

Of course, if you have already done all this you should ignore this post :-)


John D. (jdslocombatgmail)

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I refaced my anvil with 8018C3 and it's held up well. After all, one is using it by hitting hot metal with a hammer. The hot metal being hit will always be softer than the anvil. I thought I'd use a hardfacing weld deposit some time, but I've just never gotten a round tuit.

I did use 250F preheat though. Then I had the top milled flat with the base and I hand ground and filed the corners to the shape I wanted.

it's a wrought iron anvil with a steel face. Curious, the repairs I made to the horn with 6011 are a different color than the original metal.


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Depends on who made it and when. Some old anvils are forged steel, some are cast steel, some are cast iron with a layer of steel forge welded to the top, some are cast steel with a hardened surface.

The forge welded tops are done just like any other forge welding. Heat the entire anvil to welding heat, toss on some flux and use the BIG sledge to weld on the plate in one heat if at all possible. Once you get it welded on then you get out the big flatter and smooth the top. Then finish dressing it with a file.

Reply to
Steve W.

Whether you think you can or can't, you're right. Henry Ford

Nothing's going to be like new. But back in those days, they did not have the availability of the rods we have today that can give us metallurgical properties right out of the cellophane wrapper.

My thoughts are this:

Unless you are going to strike it very hard, it is going to be for forming softened heated metal.

If you get a very good bead on there, each side tied in with the other, and no big slag inclusions, porosity, or wagon tracks, the new big patch should remain homogeneous.

Lastly, as mentioned by another poster, the shaping afterward would be the biggie.

And any heat treating one might do, although using a couple hundred year old method of simply building a roaring fire over it, and then taking the appropriate quenching steps might give better results than expected. Or worse. The Japanese did some mighty fine stuff with their Samurai blades hundreds of years ago, sometimes tending the fire for days. Be sure to take YouTube videos of it, and turn off the sound so we don't hear all the screaming.

Steve ........ good luck.

Reply to
Steve B

karchiba wrote in news:3df450a5-b11c-43f6-

Kevin, I'd strongly suggest re-posting your questions on alt.crafts.blacksmithing where there are quite a number of folks who use (and repair) anvils on a very regular basis.

While a few - on rare occasions - post here, you'll be more likely to get an authoritative answer there.

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I would also suggest iforgeiron forum. What I know is that people do frown upon anvil refacings. It seems partly to be caused by their snobbery, as far as I could tell.

Regarding a comment that anvils only are used to strike soft pieces of metal, this is mostly true, but not entirely true. Sometimes work gets cold, or anvil is used for straightening cold things, etc. A good smack with a big hammer, hitting the anvil hard, could happen occasionally.

At the very least, I would obtain and follow the proper buttering procedures.

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Indeed, I know a guy that makes museum quality armor, and his anvils hardly ever feel hot metal. It's virtually all cold work.

My basic take on it is that hardfacing is something you should only resort to when the anvil is a basketcase, because the practical problems of proper anvil heat treatment (the 250 lbs of 1700F and assosicated quench the OP mentions) are far out of the scale of nearly all hobby metalworkers & the anvil composition/type is unknown or guessed at in most cases. If the anvil is a basketcase, hardfacing will either help, or not, and you'll either have a useable anvil, or you'll still have a basketcase.

alt.crafts.blacksmithing is low traffic and high s/n, with several people who have done this, though I don't happen to recall if any have done it on the particular type/brand. with cast base material, there may be cause to build a layer of steel deposit before hardfacing. In any case, do all the fill-in/repair work with regular steel rod - you don't want to be filling chips and divots with hardface.

For a lot of work, a little swayback or some low spots can actually be more useful than an entire surface that's blanchard-ground to a flat plane - you can use certain spots on the anvil to get certain things done, if you know what's where on your anvil. Likewise, various radii can be distributed around the edge, rather than having it all sharp-square edged. Some flat & sharp sections are of use, of course.

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I believe the "voice of experience" referred to is me.

I have had great luck with Rankin wires, and have never had a surface delaminate in 16 years of use.

What bothers the guys at Rankin is that BBG is listed for light impact and heavy abrasion. To these guys heavy impact is a 50 ton rock crusher pulverizing granite.

No matter how hard you think you can strike an anvil, it will not ever qualify as anything more than a "light" impact on their scale.

I have had to throw away partial spools because I let them get moisture in the flux. Make sure to store them off the machine in a sealed bag with uncooked white rice or some other form of dessicant.

Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler

The primary reason is because they think it will "ruin" the anvil. The idea being that if an anvil is that worn you retire it and buy/make a new one. My view is that if a blacksmith of the past had access to the tools of today they would use them. Stick welding instead of forge welding? YOU bet, although there are times when forge welding works easier.

NOT on my anvils. I have anvil shaped items for that. It is one of the few things that the cast iron anvils and railroad tracks are good for. My forge anvils only see hot steel.

Reply to
Steve W.

I've done some more research, and I've made a mistake...the Fisher Anvils that I'm going to be refacing, are a cast iron with a tool steel plate. I couldn't make out the forge weld seam on the sides of the anvils. Luckily, all of the top plate is still intact, so I do not have to worry about nickel rod. This will be a steel build-up process.

I have read everyone's postings, and I appreciate the input. I can also appreciate Rankin's point of view about what "hard impact" would be, and how that may delaminate the hardfaced layer from the anvil. I may do some repousse' work, and that would be harder on the anvil than hot iron forging, so I do want this repair to be the best it can be. I don't like doing shoddy work.

Since I only have a hundred dollars in each of the anvils, I'm going to take the worst of the pair, and go the route of the BBG and DDG MIG wire. I'll post this same request on and the celticknot, and see what additional information may be provided. I respond back to the group any other helpful information.

thanks again, _kevin

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Ernie, I've read your postings about your experience with the BBG and DDG wires. Thanks for sharing that information.

You mentioned that you had to throw out some of that wire, due to improper storage. What issues does that cause with the weldability (?) of that wire? Is it due to moisture absorption? Could that wire be placed into an over to dry it out?

Thanks, _kevin

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If the flux inside the wire absorbs too much moisture, you get uncontrollable porosity in your weld deposits.

Drying in an oven would be an option if the wire came on steel wire spools. Unfortunately it comes on plastic spools.

In theory I could respool the wire onto a steel spool, and then bake it if I had that much free time. I don't.

I still have a 700 lb anvil that it only partially hardfaced.

Someday I will buy a new spool and finish it.

Reply to
Ernie Leimkuhler

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