Thursday, October 23, 2014


For a long time I have been scanning the auction sites here for a suitable anvil to replace my little homemade rail track unit. This one caught my eye as it had several little features I liked. There are a couple of little cleats on the heal for bending, the step up to the face from the horn is steep and rounded off, and there is that little rounded flat coming off of the horn, which creates a nice little depression for knocking things out in. The other feature is that the anvil comes with a steel top and an aluminium base, these are bolted together with a rubber pad in between. This makes the unit quite a bit lighter than it would be if it were all steel, and the rubber pad knocks out any ringing. I believe it is a delta future 1 anvil for farriers made in America. I checked prices and I guess I paid the equivalent of the price for a new one in the US. Anyway, I enjoyed polishing it up and hope to enjoy many happy hours with it in the shop. I am considering swapping it on to the newer stump at the back, but having just fitted the swage block into that I am reluctant to chop it down to the proper height and lose that bit of work. Maybe a trip to the dam to pick up a suitable stump when the weather picks up.
I built a little forge to facilitate the ironwork. I had an old hammer head welded to a length of bar for a long time, I played with forging it with the press, but it was hard going with only the torch to heat it. Having got the forge fired up for some grille work I was tempted to use the heat on the hammer head and got it into this shape after a few heats. It started out as a pretty square lump. Hard to believe that the mass of metal is the same in both ends.
The forge is an old barbecue plate with the top from an old gas cylinder welded in under it. The usual T shaped pipe to blow air into and allow cinders to drop down out of the forge. Scaffolding pipe was what I had most of, so I used that, then had the idea of simply mounting the thing to the wall with a few odd scaffolding joints. I didn't want to put legs on it as I will be tidying it out of the way soon.
I had to redo the hammer a little after taking this picture, the long end was slightly too shapely. It doesn't look as good after adjustment, but it works better. The one by its side is something like the original shape, but slightly smaller. I just let the head cool down on the forge when I had done shaping it to let it anneal, then I heated the face up to non magnetic and dropped it in the slack tub. And the same for the tip of the long end. It seems OK, not quite as hard as the face of the anvil, but the body should still be soft enough to take shocks without thinking about cracking up.