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Jim Lawrie




Location: Tasmania
Joined: 19 May 2010

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 19 May, 2010 5:15 pm    Post subject: Anvils; depth of hardening on work face.         Reply with quote

Hi, first post newbie here.

I was wondering if anyone here would know how deep the hardening is on the face of a modern steel anvil?

I have one that is pitted and would like to get it milled, but I'm a bit apprehensive that I might end up milling the hardened steel off and do more damage than good.

The pitting is less than 1mm in depth, although the corners are chipped 5mm and I'd like to renew those as well.
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R D Moore




Location: Portland Oregon
Joined: 09 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Wed 19 May, 2010 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a link to a thread on a different forum that you may want to read;
http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/13042-re-face...ntry130256

1mm pits don't sound too bad to me, but I'm a newbie at the craft. The old pros there will have tons of information for you.

And I'm assuming, of course, that you intend to hammer hot steel on it and not use it for something else. Happy

"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation" ...Gen. Douglas Macarthur
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Jim Lawrie




Location: Tasmania
Joined: 19 May 2010

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 19 May, 2010 5:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been working mild steel on it, but it's transferring pitting to the work. I'd like to hot work medium carbon steel on it (I'd like to try some 15th c. German pauldrons) but as it is it's not going to be worth working thinner steel on it.

Thanks very much for the link, that's pretty much what I was wondering about.
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Myles Mulkey





Joined: 31 Jul 2008

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Wed 19 May, 2010 6:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It may not necessarily be the anvil that's the problem. Lots of things cause pits and dimples while forging, including incorrectly-angled hammer blows, whether the hammer has been crowned, and firescale. Keeping the piece clean while forging by scraping with a wire brush helps to keep scale to a minimum, and I suspect this may be the problem more than pitting on the anvil. But I could be wrong, do you have a picture you could show us to give us a better idea of the severity of the pitting?
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Jim Lawrie




Location: Tasmania
Joined: 19 May 2010

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed 19 May, 2010 7:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not here, I'll be picking up the anvil this weekend (it's not very large).

I should point out that we've only done cold work so far, and I've got a good set of shaping hammers that are used for nothing else. The big reason I want to work hot is because the mild seems too heavy for anything apart from helmets. I have a (now quite rusty) set of Churburg 18 gauntlets that ended up about 1kg/2lb per gauntlet when using 18 gauge/1mm mild.

Medium carbon steel is fairly expensive, so I'm trying to limit my duds before I start Happy
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Vilkas V.




Location: norcal
Joined: 10 Aug 2009

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu 20 May, 2010 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All of the new anvils that I am aware of will dent if you hit the face with a hammer. They honestly don't make them like they used to. Anvils used to be made by forge welding a face of hardened steel on the body. This isn't done anymore that I know of.

People claim that new anvils will work harden over time, but speaking to some black smiths that are long in the tooth, steel anvils that are 20 years old and used daily still dent when struck with a hammer.

If you really want to fix those dents in your anvil, the easiest option would be to meg weld and grind flush. Of course you can also just finish your work via hammering at a lower temp.
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Cesare M Firenze




Location: Up state N.Y
Joined: 25 Sep 2009

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu 20 May, 2010 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you mig weld the anvil face you will need to heat treat afterwords. The weld will remove the temper and make it soft steel again. I don't know who heat treats anvils. The few dents in my anvils I just try to avoid.
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 10 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 20 May, 2010 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it is possible, you might actually consider a softer hammer. Most anvils are not really for cold work. Mine is supposed to be Rockwell 45 to 50. I have actually sought out some softer hammers such as Swedish pattern ones from Blacksmiths Depot that are considered similar in hardness, and less likely to dent it if the hammer accidentally hits it.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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