Anvil

The finished product on the old stand.

Those who have been following this website for awhile may remember the anvil stand. For about three years of my time here with Alexandrea I have worked on a 50# cast iron anvil. Yes, just the one you are thinking of. That old block has produced a lot of work. It also created a lot of work. My elbow can tell you!

I have been on the anvil hunt for most of my life. A large, well made anvil would be a welcome addition to the shop. Until we find one, we make do with what we have. Since we need a portable anvil I decided to try my hand at making a small one. I also had several leaf ends and leaves from semi-truck spring assemblies. This steel is very tough. It requires a noticeably greater heat to perform cutting with the torch. Most of the initial cutting was done with abrasive cutting wheels on a 4 and 1/2″ grinder.

Close view of the spring material.

The billets were cut out of the middle section and one end. I left the two pieces in the middle fastened with the bolt that originally holds the leaves together. In pictures below you will get an idea of how the pieces were fit and welded.

Initial block.

The thickest portion from the leaf was cut off at about 8″. It was turned to have the bow up, whereupon I tacked the edges down and then as thoroughly as possible filled the arched cavity with weldment. The welding you see in these initial pictures was all done with 107/18 Excalibur rod from Lincoln. These electrodes are used for welding up hard plate in submarines(and I imagine in other vessels subject to the same type of flexing stress), hard surfacing teeth and blades for heavy machines, and other high strength applications. This specific type is used by the Army engineers. You cannot buy these exact rods that I know of. They were donated many moons ago by the local engineers and some cans were given to students at the end of the semester. I believe the rods I got are 1/8″ or 5/32″.

However Lincoln makes a similar rod for the civilian market. It is 110/18 which is used for the same sort of tasks where a high tensile strength is needed, marketed for crane booms and trailers. I have not yet used these electrodes, but I imagine they must handle similar. As many of you readers will know, the “110” or “107” part of the number refers to the tensile strength of the weldment. “18” refers to the type of flux, which “18” is low hydrogen. All electrodes with this type of flux, in my experience, produce welds that clean very easily. Both types of rod(107 and 110) are made to weld with a DC(direct current) welder. I did all these welds with a Lincoln AC welder at roughly 180A. Yes, they do stick more often. Once the puddle is formed however they operate as smooth and wet as any rod with the low hydrogen flux. They really are fun to weld with.

Initial marking cuts for a square horn.

Once the body was welded I had this doofy looking horn on the front. Marking a taper with a scratch awl and rule I began to lay in cuts to follow. As I said before this steel is very tough. Where I was making the tapering cuts the material was about 3/4″ thick. We have many cut-off wheels for our pneumatic die grinder where I was doing the anvil. So very slowly, very carefully, I began to cut off the ears.

Now I am going to warn you three times. At the bottom of this article will be a safety lesson in which there are some pictures of my face bleeding a little. If these sorts of images startle you, scroll carefully. The ears took me into the night and an accident cut short the work. I returned a few days later and cut off the remaining material.

Fitting up.

After I cut off the ears I flipped them over and welded down first one and then the other, the seam in the middle was left wide enough to reach the bottom. I filled all the voids with weldment.

Voids still visible.

Once the block and horn were created I welded on some 1/2″ feet to secure it to the post. The side touch up work was done with 7018 electrode since the sides do not need the same hardness. The weldment holds up quite well to the hammering.

Back at the homestead.

The welding finished, I brought it home for more grinding. I did not need to grind much. The cutting step has still never been added. I want to add in the groove you see there, a mild steel block which will not dull hot chisels and drifts. That is in the future still. The anvil functions very well without it currently.

A closer look at the square horn.

Now there is one more picture below of the finished anvil on the older stand. Below that is the picture that may startle you. There is warning two. The anvil stand we made a post about was used at first, buried into the floor of the shop a bit. We have another stand now, but that article will be for later!

Mounted and in use!

The finished anvil weighs about 30#. It is portable, rings and returns much better force to the work. It is too light for some things, but it does work admirably.

Last warning, there is a picture below of my face bleeding. Now, a lesson about abrasive cutting wheels. They can, and do, disintegrate. They spin at about 35,000 RPM. It can be very tempting to use them until you wear them down to the spline. Be aware, the more abuse you subject them to, the more flimsy they get. I was tired, it was 2100(9:00 PM) and that was the real safety issue. It is a bad idea to continue working with high speed tools once you are fatigued. It is also hard not to do. Work has to get done.

While cutting off the tapered pieces to create the horn, I was wearing leather gloves and safety glasses. Those spectacles saved my left eye. I am not the best fellow when it comes to wearing safety equipment. Nor will I preach to you about wearing it. What follows is just an example of why safety glasses are one piece of gear you should use. Because I was working tired I neglected to keep my body out of line with the spinning wheel. This is a habit anyone using high speed tools should develop.

Right about the time the wheel came apart I was holding it with both hands in front of my left side. Roughly a quarter of the wheel struck my breast and a larger piece of the disc struck my left cheekbone and rolled up my safety glasses. The force drove the bottom of the frame into my eye socket with enough force to mouse my eye a little. There is a very neat line on the lens where the wheel continued.

I took this immediately after.

On my breast I received a penetrating wound of about half of an inch in depth. That got a few stitches. Six I believe. On my face I received a stylish cut upon my cheek. What is important to me the most, I have two eyes.

I need both eyes to watch all these children.

No sermon. Just a funny story that stayed funny. Be careful out there folks. You never know when things can go sideways. Fortunately dad was home at the time and took me up to the doctor. Use good judgement, form good safety habits and keep working. Until next time dear readers,

Fare well wherever you fare,

Warm regards,

Wulf

Published by Wulf's Fire

I am a father, husband and smith. I focus on doing a the best things I can with what I have available. This leads to some creative solutions. My wife and three children live and work a homestead and smithy in the swamps of northern Florida.

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