View Full Version : What metal for scrounged anvil?


Mike Routen
04-14-2003, 11:47 AM
Gentlemen,

I've been truely bitten by the knifemaking bug and want to get started in earnest.

After picking up the "$50 Knife Shop" I now realize that there is a wide range of possibilities of materials to use for an anvil.

I'm preparing to call the local steel scrap yards, but wanted to know what I should be looking for in something that is big, heavy and flat. If it's easier to list what I should avoid, that works too.

I've read the article on anvilfire regarding the large, flat plate anvil and am hoping I can find something like that in one of the local yards. However, I'm open to suggestions. Wayne Goddard started with half of a railroad car hitch. Does anyone else have similar type experiences? I'd really like to get something to pound on that doesn't cost more than $20 - $40. I know that I could get and use RR rail, but I've heard that it is pretty "bouncy" by design and is not the best material to use.

Please Help! I just got back from the Eugene show and am having fits because I don't have something to pound on!:(

Thanks in advance!

- Mike

Ray Rogers
04-14-2003, 12:37 PM
I think the problem with trying to tell you what to look for is that there may be other useful items at the junk yard that would be just as good but would be over looked. Basically, you've got $40 to spend on this project and you're looking for non-anvil items to use as anvils. Nothing wrong with that, but I think the best you will be able to do is find something large, heavy, hard, flat, and affordable and give it a try. Literally anything that fits that description will work. We know that some things will work better than others but which things will likely just be a matter of testing. Also, don't overlook a piece of railroad track just because it might be bouncy - it also might not be bouncy or maybe it can be modified.

Finally, $40 is enough to get a 55 lbs anvil from Harbor Freight (usually, depends on their stock). According to the rule of thumb for anvil sizes that I read somewhere, an anvil's minimum weight should be about 20 times as much as the heaviest hammer you intend to use. That works out to 80 pounds for a 4 pound hammer and most of us never need to use a 4 pound hammer...

BrianC
04-14-2003, 02:46 PM
I made one out of a chunk of 3.5 x 8 x 18" chunk of forklift fork. It weighs about 150# This material is either 4140 or 15B30 and is pretty hard as is. I can mark it with a hammer but I have to smack it pretty hard. I see you are in Washington as well, I can come up with a nother chunk for you if you want to pick it up for a very good price (free;) ). I am in the Vancouver/Portland area so if it is handy let me know.

Mike Routen
04-14-2003, 02:50 PM
BrianC,

I just sent you a PM. Please let me know (here) if you do not get it.

I live in Vancouver, work in Gresham so it sounds like we're pretty close. I will gladly take you up on your generous offer!

Thanks,

- Mike :D

BrianC
04-14-2003, 06:31 PM
The world is getting smaller, I live in Camas and work in Gresham as well so I am sure we can figure something out. I have never posted on this board before so am not sure what a PM is or how to pick it up although if it went to my other email. I wont see it for a while yet today

Mike Routen
04-14-2003, 06:57 PM
BrianC,

In the buttons on the top-right of the page, there is a "user cp" button. That links you to your "control panel" and that is where you will find your private messages as well as any threads that you subscribe to.

Feel free to call me or email me at the info in the pm, or just let me know on this thread when might be a good time to try and get together.

Or, if you don't get the pm, click on the "Profile" button at the bottom of one of my posts and email me directly.

I look forward to meeting you. Maybe we can share some bladesmithing ideas.

- Mike :)

GANNMADE
04-14-2003, 07:47 PM
I LOVE MY RAILROAD TRACK ANVIL.IT'S MOUNTED ON A BIG OAK
STUMP WITH FOUR BIG NAILS AND A CHAIN. IT'S 90 LBS AND
I GOT IT FOR $20:D

Mike Routen
04-14-2003, 10:46 PM
Ganmade,

How are you using your RR rail? Did you flatten the rail or are you using the "bottom" of the rail? Did you do any kind of reinforcing of the rail to make it a better anvil?

Have you found the rail to be really "bouncy"?

I'm going to have to set up a second anvil for my wife since she is about 3 inches shorter than I am and she said that she absolutely would not stand on a step to use the anvil set up for my height. Since she would probably be swinging a lighter hammer, I was thinking of using RR rail for her anvil.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

- Mike

Davis
04-15-2003, 07:42 AM
My first anvil was rr track.
If it's worn flat, you're okay, if the surface is still convex, it's still a bit soft.
Good thing is that the railroads replace the old, worn, "flattened/ work-hardened'' track, so if you're near a railyard, a chunk of track is free for the hauling away....

Just make sure you get a bigger piece than you 'think' you need.
The more weight, the better.

Trish

whv
04-15-2003, 08:08 PM
hijack - welcome to ckdf, mike.
.
mike - one of our members, tim lively (http://www.livelyknives.com/basicsetup.htm), has a basic forging section on his website. just click the link for some ideas. for an anvil, he recommends a 4x4x14" piece of mild steel sunk in a 5gal bucket of reinforced concrete! probably can't get much cheaper than that. :p

Mike Routen
04-17-2003, 03:44 PM
whv,

Thanks for the link. BrianC was generous enough to provide me with a significant piece of steel that should work very well for the anvil! Thank you Brian!


- Mike

GANNMADE
04-18-2003, 10:36 AM
THIS IS LATE BUT ALL I DID WAS NAIL AND CHAIN IT DOWN.
AND WENT TO WHIPPING ON HOT STEEL
:D
I DOESN'T BOUNCE AND IS VERY HARD:)