Introduction: Homemade Anvil (from Rusty Railroadtrack)


This is my instructable for the before / after competition.

Also i had a need for a small anvil.

I make steel flowers and that kind of stuff sometimes, so far i have used very odd methods and hammered against what ever metal i have found.

Finally i decided to make good tool for it. This anvil is mostly for that use.

Of course it will have many other uses too.

Material is 200mm ( 8") long pieco of railroadtrack, wich i have found sometime ago.

For the stand i used piece log.

2mm thick sheetmetal, screws and two 150mm long pieces of 30 x 20mm L-profile

Stand is oiled with layers of linseed oil.


Angle grinder. (850w 125mm ) Cutting would be easier with bigger.

2mm cut of wheels (used 2 + old leftovers first)

8mm grinding wheel (used 1)

steel brush ( wheel )

40 and 80 grit flap disks (used little bit both, can still be used)

For the stand:

Axe, drill, hammer (1mm cut off wheel)

Step 1: Video Tuturial.

Video shows the process.

More pictures starting from the step 2

Step 2: Rough Shaping...

I used chalk for drawing lines to the railroad.

Then i cut material out using 2mm cut off wheels, as much as it was possible.

Shape for the anvil is from my head, i had somewhat accurate idea about what kind of shapes i need, so i shaped it following that idea.

After very rough cuts. (Using little too small angle grinder for cutting material in this thickness, result wasn't very smooth.)

I had to cut from many directions to get pieces off, it took a little time, but when result was what i wanted..

It was time to start rough shaping with 8mm grinding wheel.

Step 3: Shaping..

Same continues with the horn..

Rough shaping with rough grinding wheel, and when the shape is near desired one.

Smoothening with flap disc.

Because this anvil is mostly for making round or groovy objects, i didn't need very long "sharp edge".

So, i made it to the back part. Sanded, and used right angle to check when the surface is straight.

Then removing rust with the steel brush. ( can be done in the first place too, personally i leave rust on its place as long as possible, because it gives little protection to the surface if cut off / grinding wheel slips)

Step 4: Stand..

For the stand i used a piece from a log. Wood is pine, i fell it last year, it wasn't not perfectly dry, but enough.

I peeled the log and straightened the ends with angle grinder using flap disc.

Then i cut "collars" from the 2mm thick steel sheet, drilled holes to it, and connected collars to the log with screws.

I cut off the extra and hammered joint smooth.

Step 5: Connecting Anvil to the Stand.

For connecting anvil to the stand i used two 150mm long pieces of 20 x 30mm L-profile

I copied the shape from the anvil, made cuts and sanding with the angle grinder.

Drilled holes, and the screwed "holders" to the log with long screws.

Then i hammered the "fingers" down, against the anvil. Result was very sturdy.

Finally oiled the stand with linseed oil.


Remember to vote, me or someone else, just vote. :)

Thank you for checking this out!


fghuertas made it!(author)2017-06-28

Amazing, very nice and very useful

BurlyWoodWorks+-+Create+Something made it!(author)2017-06-17

Nice! I have one of these, i might try that with it!

NikyN2 made it!(author)2017-05-25

random question: so, wouldn't the heat from the power tools ruin the heat treat of the metal? shouldn't you redo said heat treat? (at least "partially" so it isn't brittle but it's hard enough).

note, I have *some* experience working with metal, but I'm guessing less than you, so all I really want with this question is to learn. ;)

DarrenB78 made it!(author)2017-05-29

The rail won't have been heat treated unless you count the 'air quench' whilst on the cooling bank at the rolling mill and you would have to heat to around 500 deg C to temper an alloy steel anyway. If you wanted to increase the hardness that would be possible but not really a job for home as you will need to heat to maybe 850 deg or more and then quench in oil. Then you would have to temper at around 500 deg and quench in water.

Rathkennamike made it!(author)2017-06-01

Train rails ar made of a steel alloy that 'work hardens'. So as you us it the surface will harden.

CPUDOCTHE1. made it!(author)2017-05-25

You have to heat the steel enough to change the color (think red/orange) to change the temper. Grinding in one spot long enough to heat it so that it turns blue in a small spot is BAD.

NikyN2 made it!(author)2017-05-26

yes, that's what I thought. but in my (again, small) experience, that happens quite fast with power tools.

though, I guess, with thick pieces of metal, it doesn't happen so fast, so you can actually do it without ruining the heat treatment...

see, I know that, once hardened, metals get tempered so they aren't as brittle (steel, actually, not all metals). tempering usually happens around, 300 or 400F (just making up the numbers, I'm bad at Fahrenheit - being from EU and that), so you can safely heat it up to that temp and nothing will change. I'm just wondering.. is that the temp where it turns blue? or, being a railroad, is it hardened to an, er.. harder hardness, and so you would go above said temper temp *before* it visibly changes color?

PS: again, just wanting to learn a bit more about metals...

Cdn+Sapper made it!(author)2017-05-30

The depth of the heating effect of the power tools will be very limited especially considering the thermal mass around the location being cut. Most of the ,metal that would have been affected appears to have been ground and sanded away. But if it is a concern the metal could be cut under a thin stream of water from an aquarium pump. As someone who has cut far too much rebar in the rain, no, it won't kill you. Mind you I am in Canada and we work with 120v.

Cdn+Sapper made it!(author)2017-05-30

The finished piece looks beautiful!

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-30

Thank you!

Sugarimp made it!(author)2017-05-30

That's fantastic! You get my vote :-)

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-30

Thank you very much! That's great!

robbadooz made it!(author)2017-05-29

I'm voting! I'm voting!

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-30

That's just great! :)

rippa700 made it!(author)2017-05-30

Beautiful job, well done.

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-30

Thank you!

bendl57 made it!(author)2017-05-29

Excellent instructional video !!! I love your workmanship. I would proud to have made one of these.

tim_n made it!(author)2017-05-28

I've got just the bit of railway line for this... Just need to get off my bottom and make this. Excellent work I hope you're chuffed with it (apologies for train related puns)

devsmith made it!(author)2017-05-25

Nice work! What are the plastic strips on the drill press used for?

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-28

I use them for clamping. Those are nylon, and very strong. In this case i used them as a "guard", if drill stucks, those prevent workpiece to spin around.

85rocco made it!(author)2017-05-25

Wow, that's a lot of grinding! You're a far more patient man than I and it shows, the end result is gorgeous.

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-28

Thank you!

Cecjr3 made it!(author)2017-05-25

how many hours to make such a beautiful piece?

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-28

4 hours.. about.

mirmehr made it!(author)2017-05-26

very very nice!

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-28


Magnum270 made it!(author)2017-05-26

Great job! As others have said it is a work of art. I really like your system of clamping to the wooden block. I have had a piece of railway line for years intended for this purpose and this may sour me on. I will probably use oxygen acetylene to cut the profiles. The metal would be high silicon so hardening and tempering is not needed as it is wear resistant.

JohnBAngel made it!(author)2017-05-25

The idea is great, however, the piece of track rail that you show in this project is not a standard track rail. I have been looking for a piece of rail similar to this one for 5 years now. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places. Can anyone out there help me locate an oversized track rail? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

AndrewD204 made it!(author)2017-05-25

It looks like a standard piece of flat-bottomed rail to me.

rocketride made it!(author)2017-05-26

It looks a lot taller in the flange (and wider) than any of the rails I see around here (northeast US).

AndrewD204 made it!(author)2017-05-26

Perhaps you use a different spec. in the US. You'll find loads of this stuff in England.

jsollien made it!(author)2017-05-25

Judging from the "old fashion cold pressed linseed oil" bottle, written in Finnish, my best guess is that this rail is from outside of the US.

RodHaka made it!(author)2017-05-25

Nice workmanship bro. As a boily, I have a bit of an idea of the time, effort & pride you put in mate, well done. That video was also great . Cutting it the way you did wouldn't have affected it anymore than a hot summers day here in Aus with kilometre long coal & cattle trains roll'n over it all day, lol. Glad to see you using grinder & Flap discs on wood, its something I've been doing for decades.
Cheers mate...

bd5 made it!(author)2017-05-25

Cool instructable. Maybe use 4 railroad spikes with bolts welded to
the spikes to hold the anvil in place? It would add to the cool factor.

M2Field made it!(author)2017-05-25

Super nice! And now I know exactly what to do with my hunk of RR track. Thank you

carbwiz made it!(author)2017-05-25

well done

sconnors made it!(author)2017-05-25

It would be cool to mount the anvil with railroad spikes. Beautiful job! Wouldn't have thought you could do this with a grinder.

cdavenport made it!(author)2017-05-25

Nowhere close to the amount of heat required to make the steel lose its temper. Grind away!

AmieB made it!(author)2017-05-25

The end result is absolutely beautiful!

Nugene2001 made it!(author)2017-05-25

I would not have the heart to put this out in some dirty ole shop. This would look great in the Family Room next to the fireplace. Beautiful work.

shallnot made it!(author)2017-05-25

I once visited a blacksmith’s shop/gallery and commented to her that she must not have been open long as the shop was so clean. She replied that the studio had been in operation for two years. She kept the place immaculately clean. The phrase “you could eat off the floor” came to mind. From then on I’ve tried not to have a “dirty ole shop”.

jtackkett made it!(author)2017-05-25

Very nice. Looks great and instructable was well-documented. As others have said, this is a work of art.

Captain+Teague+1978 made it!(author)2017-05-25

I enjoyed your video and found it strangely relaxing and almost therapeutic to watch- nice workmanship

sharpstick made it!(author)2017-05-25

How long did the grinding take?

kz1 made it!(author)2017-05-24

Nice. When I went to school to be a machinist, one of the projects was to take a section of 100 pound rail, chuck it up in a large lathe, and turn the horn down. Then it was off to the surface grinder to to grind the heel and sides of the anvil. The last phase was heat treating the entire piece in a gas fired furnace. I didn't choose to make one of those but now regret that decision.

AM+bros+Custom made it!(author)2017-05-23

nice, friend how many cutting and grinding wheel spend for making this anvil.

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-24

Thanks. I used two 2mm cut off wheels, and couple leftovers that we're used a bit. 8mm grinding wheel is still usable, also those flap disc ( edges ate gone, but can be used for something) Steel brush wheel looks still like new. Also i used one 1mm thick cut off wheel for making chokers/rims. Overall cost for me was something like 25$

JohnM623 made it!(author)2017-05-23

WOW, what a great idea and job very well done !!

I saw your mini anvil and thought, hum, I should make one of these for my big anvil (about 200 pounder).

Rail track is very tough stuff and works well as an anvil of some sort. We used it at home on the farm for an anvil but it was not nearly as pretty.

Thanks foe the idea.

Tuomas+Soikkeli made it!(author)2017-05-24

Thanks for checking it out!

CrazyClever made it!(author)2017-05-23

Great idea and great execution. Keep making cool things! Voted :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Just a fellow who want's to learn new tricks and skills.
More by Tuomas Soikkeli:Homemade Branding IronGetting More From Your Angle GrinderMy Metal Vise
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