Thread: Rail anvil
16th June 2015, 12:48 PM #1
I've felt the need to bash hot steel for a while but was missing all the tools needed to do it, apart from a few hammers. Finding an anvil has been the biggest challenge, used ones either too beat up and/or overpriced, then there's the small choice of new ones which I can't justify buying when I don't know how long I'll pursue this. I should just attend a class and be done with it. But seeing what people make do with to get started I figured I'd make something out of rail line but wanted to use two pieces to increase its width. I saw this on youtube rchopp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MYfioSO_c4 a couple years ago and have wanted to do something similar.
The rail line I have was cut from lengths used as a footrest/gutter around a bar in a pub in the 90s and is 53kg/m size. Last year I dug them out and was going to make a start but loss interest, but here they are before I started.
I'm using primarily a 9" and 5" grinder to do all the cutting and grinding plus drill press and hacksaw.
This shot was after mating the two sides together ready for welding. The base of the rail was trimmed from both sides then ground from above and below for root welds. The sides of the rail head was lightly faced by sanding and similarly ground for root welds but not overly deep.
One edge is being built up to make it square. Getting the interior root passes done was difficult. I'm using mainly 6013 satincraft 3.2 and 2.5mm rods, plus tried some 7018 ferrocraft and later, building up some non contact areas with some chinese 3.2mm rods.
Round v's square edge.
Everytime I though I left enough material behind there were still more passes to be done.
More filleting and grinding... during a cleanup and out of curiosity I counted 100 plus expended rods. At this point I also had gone through seven 9" cutting discs.
16th June 2015 12:48 PM # ADSGoogle Adsense Advertisement
- Join Date
- Advertising world
16th June 2015, 01:02 PM #2
This wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be, though it did take a whole day. I wanted the horn as round as possible without a flat top that some rail anvils seem to have. I measured, scribed, cut and ground till I had the shape I wanted.
Whilst profiling the horn it was obvious the join between the two rail heads had to be ground and welded again. The underside of the horn is being built up with the chinese 3.2mm rod.
Finishing the horn. A small amount of rail scrap was welded to from the tip horn then ground.
16th June 2015, 01:31 PM #3
I forgot to add the dimensions... The face is 15" 38cm by 5.5" 14cm and the horn is 7" 18cm long. The hardie hole was cut before I mated the two halves together and is 3/4" though it needs a clean out. I will add a pritchel hole too at some stage.
I could spend many more hours more makin' it pretty or accept the shape it's got now. There's one major flaw of course, it's too damned soft. Particularly the welded areas. A slight tap on the square edge puts a bevel on it. This wasn't unexpected and the best thing would be to add some high carbon plate to the top like what rchopp did in the youtube vids above, or should've ground the rail heads flat to begin with. But first I gotta have a go at case hardening or carburising with the realisation I'll probably have very little success.
I thought I'd crack open the oxyacetylene, get the anvil glowing red then hit it with a carburising flame. I didn't get it anywhere near hot enough and was reluctant to keep using up the acetylene so gave up but not before turning the O2 off and painting the anvil carbon black. Not that it'll do anything.
I don't have my forge built yet and I need to get the anvil glowing. Regardless of how much carbon if any I can get to dissolve in the anvil's face, I need a way to heat the anvil for quenching. I have this old clapped out GMC compressor which I've tossed in the trailer for the tip a few times but keep retrieving it thinking it may be of some use. It may be the basis for a suitable fire pit of sorts to heat the anvil. Without adding any grate or blower to force air I experimented a little last night by getting a fire going and chucking the anvil on top. It seems to fit well. I also made a tool from some rod which threads through the anvil to retrieve it from the fire, then lifts it into a 50L galv bin full of water. Not too many pictures but the idea worked. It was raining heavily so kinda put a dampener on proceedings.
16th June 2015, 03:11 PM #4Member
- Join Date
- Feb 2013
- Picton NSW
Thats what I love to see, no excuses, just getting the job done.
I can;t wait to see what creations come from your fire now you are up and running!
17th June 2015, 11:20 PM #5
Nothing fancy I'm afraid. LOL. I need to work on technique because videos make forging look easy, especially when they're sped up. Last night I beat a bit rusty rod into a small raker by placing it in the shed's wood heater and put a few hammer marks in the anvil's face in the process. So I thought I'd have another go at heating and quenching the anvil. I don't reckon it got hot enough but it was hotter over the previous night's effort.
I used the shed wood heater to get bits of wood burning and reducing to orange hot coals. I filled the "GMC furnace" as I'm calling it, with coals and burning chunks of wood and sat the anvil in there for a couple of hours. As the wood burned and the anvil sank I used the shed fan to get the fire hotter. The anvil wasn't glowing, well maybe slightly, the GMC furnace was glowing in places and the tyres melted which wasn't unexpected. I was glad to see the blackened sides of the anvil face were shiny black before I removed it. I read somewhere that's a good sign. Anyway, at 0130 this morning I removed the anvil after fan forcing the fire for some time and dunked it in the 50L garbage bin of water. Personally I reckon there was an improvement in hardness but again, no real evidence. From what I've read, I need to get it a red, up over 720C in order to change the steel's structure but again, I doubt it happened. What did happen was the anvil was harder to clean and my polish pads which worked the first time and whilst making the anvil shiny during finishing the horn, wouldn't buff the face or the horn. The blackening went but I couldn't get the steel mirror like. After making a second raker this afternoon, there were blemishes in the face but no marking like before this quench. So that'll do for heat treatment. I started building the forge today and tested the fire pot, but I might start a new thread for that because there's not much on charcoal forges v's coke and coal.
Here's the crude but effective fan forced GMC furnace. If there's one thing it is good at is making charcoal when the cutout is placed on top. That will be it's primary function now as that is what my forge will run on.
Just have to drill a pritchel hole, should've done it sooner, and grind the back flat and that'll do. Oh except make a stand. I'll probably stack sleeper offcuts but I don't know yet. The thing rings again, so bloody loud. The single rail lengths rung but once two halves were welded it was more of a thud. After the last heat it rings though, hmmm. I've hung a magnet off the back and held place a shoe on the horn, both which helped but I'll come up with a permanent solution when I get it properly mounted.
Also, bathroom scales says the anvil weighs a whole 36.2kg. Man it feels heavier than that, and I was expecting it be 50 at least, but given it was 53kg/m line, and the resultant size, the final weight makes sense. Here's a final pic after using it this afternoon. The hammering blemishes can't be felt as divots or the like. We'll see how it holds up after more use but I'm pretty happy with it for now.
26th June 2015, 06:28 PM #6
Pretty much done now. I got three bits of old sleepers lined up, squared and bolted together to form the base. I got the pritchel hole drilled to 12.5mm and seeing how hard it was to get that hole finished I decided against putting bigger bolts in the rail bottom to hold the anvil down and instead went for 8mm holes and smaller countersunk screws. I also fixed the tip of the horn so far as it needed some more welding and grinding to fill a void between the tip I welded on.
Ten 200 x 12mm gal bolts for the sleepers plus smaller ones to hold the anvil down, though I ended up using big screws. Hinge for the ash dump flap on the forge plus an auger bit and pre drilled gal bracketing that I cut up for to use as large washers.
The three sleeper offcuts for the anvil base being put together. It took a lot more effort than I thought it would to bore 10 holes and get those bolts in.
Final fit. I didn't take a pic of the hold down screws but you can see the heads. The chain softens the ring somewhat. It's from some farming equipment, I dunno, I've had it in the shed for years but it's perfect for wrapping round the anvil.
The rear of the anvil still needs to be ground flat and square but too lazy to do it.
Tip of the horn fixed
Looks real good if I can say so myself. With the bolts, square washers, rusting chain and weathered wood, it just looks rustic I suppose, and it works. I can't remember height but if I'm standing next to it my fingers easily rest on top.
And finally, although I'm keen to start making a range of tongs and other tools, I was on the Waterside metal Art studio site the other day and followed the link to The Tree Project. Incredible monument, I hadn't heard about it before. The gallery of leaves is worth a look and that's what I thought I'd have a go at shaping my scrap rusty 12mm rods into. Meh, turned out ok.
26th June 2015, 06:37 PM #7
I've been just looking
But now I'm really impressed
And I'm also impressed you like it too
You don't often here that but well done
26th June 2015, 07:39 PM #8
I am also impressedThe person who never made a mistake never made anything
26th June 2015, 08:32 PM #9.
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
I wouldn't have used galv bolts, just black steel and then sprayed them with vinegar and they would have gone lightly rusty to match the chain.
Leaves look good!
26th June 2015, 09:25 PM #10
Thanks for the comments fellas.
Bob I agree and the thought crossed my mind a few days ago to maybe even paint these with acid solution. I don't mind the contrast now but only because I've been looking at them in situ for a week. They remind me of recent repairs to an old wooden bridge. The gal wasn't a planned decision because I think I bought them before I found the chain, I can't remember, but these coach screws were there at the big green shed and was all they had apart from those green ones for treated pine and the stainless ones were too short.
28th June 2015, 02:44 PM #11
If you want a possible improvement to ring and weight, fill the cavity between the two rails with oil & sand. Of course you will need to cover the ends, drill a hole to fill through and plug with a bolt.
Welcome to the Hot Metal Beaters club.…..Live a Quiet Life & Work with your Hands
28th June 2015, 03:08 PM #12.
- Join Date
- Feb 2006
28th June 2015, 03:31 PM #13
That is a beauty.Cliff.
If you find a post of mine that is missing a pic that you'd like to see, let me know & I'll see if I can find a copy.
29th June 2015, 06:39 PM #14
DSEL74 and Bob, in researching prior to beginning I thought of adding expanding foam to the void in the middle. Still worth a try because it'll be fairly easy to remove if useless. The chain helps a bit and holding a bare hand on the horn works the best but impractical. A welding magnet works too but wrong shape means it won't stay on. I've read about sand and oil in legs for anvil stands but like the idea of putting it in the anvil's void. Capping each end won't be an issue. I thought I may need the void to stick stuff in, like the chain for example, but I'm pretty sure now that after using the anvil for a number of days the void will be of no use so I might as well fill it.
Similarly, filling with lead. I like the idea. Apart from hacking 3 large dead car batteries I've got, I'm not sure where I'd get the lead from. No scrap merchants near me anymore, Access moved out a few years ago.
Oil and sand or lead, the anvil stand is creeping on the floor when using a heavier hammer and blows on angles so I'll have to sort that out and a bit more weight will help.
29th June 2015, 06:46 PM #15
If I can ask the hot metal beaters (I like that)
Why oil and sand
Not just sand
By midlife in forum THE SMITHYReplies: 7Last Post: 26th July 2013, 09:54 PM
By auscab in forum THE SMITHYReplies: 6Last Post: 28th January 2013, 10:34 PM
By Andy Mac in forum HOMEMADE TOOLS AND JIGS ETC.Replies: 2Last Post: 26th October 2005, 11:34 AM