Instructables

Railway Line Anvil

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This Instructable describes how I made a small anvil for light forging work. It is made from a lump of railway line standing on end, welded to a plate of steel and firmly mounted to a hardwood stump.
 
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Step 1: Technological Ingredients

Picture of Technological Ingredients
Tools required:

Something to abrade steel with, I used a file and an angle grinder

A welder of some variety. I used a basic stick welder, though a MIG would have been easier to use.

Wood butchering equipment. I used a chainsaw and a hatchet but there are many other tools that could work

Drill - electric or otherwise

Heavy hammer

File card

Ring spanner

Chipping hammer

Personal Protective Equipment

Welding mask with correct filter glass - wear this when welding, obviously.

Protective clothing - Wear tough, close fitting, non flammable clothing when working with hot, heavy, sharp or fast moving things.

Protective footwear - This should be strong and non-flammable so they stop your feet being crushed and burned as badly.

Safety Glasses - May as well wear these the whole time, it's amazing how often stuff bounces off them.

Ear muffs - or other hearing protection. Wear when using loud tools.


Materials:

A lump of railway line or other heavy steel section. Finding this can be difficult if you don't want to spend too much cash but scrap metal dealers are a possibility. Looking around railway tracks may be dangerous and illegal depending on where you live.

A piece of heavy steel plate. This spreads the impact loads over a larger area of the wooden stand, increasing the effectiveness of the anvil somewhat. It also makes it easier to mount. I used a railway fish plate which is convenient because it already has mounting holes.
curvy772 years ago
lol nice anvil man. much better than mine. all i had to begin with was a few stumps and some bricks.......bricks werent smart (lol) and the stump only worked when it didnt fall over.
2 stroke 3 years ago
where did you get the rail way piece from
Railroad track prolly... You should totally get a cutting torch and cut through a track near you. Just don't get caught by the po-po. And always remember to wear a helmet. SAFETY FIRST!
if u do that make sure its an abandoned railway.
otterstedt2 years ago
Rails work great as anvil! I build a simpler Version some 30 years ago. And I still use it ;-)
I like it. It is very similiar to the one I have on this site. Rails do make good anvils.
RangerJ2 years ago
Interesting.
rimar20002 years ago
Good instructable, thanks for sharing. I am doing something similar, but I have no cutting torch, I must to pay the work.
Blaaken4 years ago
i think it would be awesome if someone actuallyposted lke a series on here about smithying, i'm 15 and want to learn but my parens don't reall want me learning that. but yeah, so  like if you posted one on making a forge, one on an anvil, also i don't thnk you made a part for bending the metal. but like so you could say how to make a forge, a quelching tank, exactly what type of hammers to use, and stufflike that so you could make a whole series of nstructables about only smithing!

Blaaken
A quenching tank is self-explanatory lad. Find a container that your work could fit in and fill it with either oil or water depending on what you're doing, done. And if you've already read blacksmithing sites, then you should know what you're doing... So go do it you lazy bum.
Why not try a blacksmithing site rather than instructables?
when i posted that i meant it as in an actual site had an account on here basically and posted alot on here. i've used black smithing websites. also, everything i asked as an example, i already know lol
punkhead582 years ago
I use a 50lb Chinese-made cast iron anvil with a 1/4 inch mild steel plate JB Welded to the face. It works great for forging small knives and tools.
nurdee12 years ago
I use rails as anvils often. They work great.
first off, im only 17 and havent done much blacksmithing. but my anvil is a half-inch galvinized angle bracket lag bolted to a stump. works great unless you get it too hot, then the galv gives off toxic fumes.
Anyone know if a chunk of cast bronze would work for an anvil?
Leon Close (author)  pyrotechnical5 years ago
It would, but only for working metals softer than bronze, like silver or gold. Since bronze is relatively valuable, you could probably trade it to a scrap metal dealer for a larger lump of steel, which would make a better anvil.
or sell the bronze for a really good anvil b/c bronze is really expensive (7" x 10" x .25" piece costs around $25 and that's not for a new piece)
cool, I was going to cast an anvil shaped thing for an anvil, but i plan on working steel. But thanks anyway.
It probably wouldnt work unles you have a really big foundry and the means to heat treat it properly. try this link
http://www.metalwebnews.com/howto/anvil1/anvil2.html
Kiernan3 years ago
Im just brainstorming here, I dont have access to any heavy woodworking tools or welding equipment right now. what if I chiseled a hole into the middle of a stump put the track in and cemented it in how long would it hold till the cement started to crumble
Wolframite3 years ago
I've done that before, fast and dirty, and long arcing like crazy to burn the slag out. It works, but it doesn't make for great welds. But when thats all you have, and the job has to get done now, you do it.
spylock4 years ago
Its illegal around here to have a peice of railroad track without a paper from the railroad saying that they gave it to you,I would love to have a peice,but itd be easier just buying an anvil,tip if youre buying an anvil,dont let them pass off cast iron for steel,take a hammer and hit the horn,if it rings youre good,if it clanks not so good.Although a cheap cast iron anvil is better than no anvil.
Deathcapt5 years ago
I'm thinking of just getting a chunk of railway, putting it into a large bucket, filling the bucket half way with concrete, and then being done. Is this a bad plan? will the concrete crack or what-ever if I'm smashing this home made anvil?
It would work for a bit then fall apart... try apoxy and add a bunch of filler rock so you dont need to buy too much
Leon Close (author)  Deathcapt5 years ago
You mean like this? I can't see why it wouldn't work. Coil up some steel reinforcing rod and put it in the bucket before you pour the concrete, should stop cracking.
Yeah, good thinking with the reinforcing rod. I have to wait until the summer to get this set up at my new home, but I'm certainly looking forward to getting my forge on!
KronoNaut4 years ago
Here is another option.
http://www.castle-ranch.com/page7.php

Gary
sstought5 years ago
Concrete doesn't work as an anvil stand, unless its only for very light work or for a very short time. Its strong and heavy, but repeated pounding will slowly crack it inside. I wouldn't want an anvil to suddenly fall on me from the concrete giving out. Stumps or steel stands are your best bet.
scafool5 years ago
We used to be able to get rail cut offs like that. We used to just burn some holes in the lower flanges or gring notches into them so we could spike them down to a stump. The top were the train wheels rode is really hard.
thedog4586 years ago
hey how did you make the little anvil because I'm 13 and do I a lot of smiting but I only need a small anvil and in not to wiling to use my money to by a anvil when I have railway line to use so how did you make it?
aha...another teenager who likes smithing... this makes me happy...what do you make, specifically? i only transform iron nails into little swords yet, and i just use the head of a big broken hammer. a big piece of solid iron will always work.
i make daggers and sword but i cant any more because its summer and it will be way to hot where i live to make any thing with fire.
ahh oke. it's just, i don't know anyone around here that likes smithing and wants to practice it so i was interested. i'm now have to ask my parents permission to make a forge...
well i would show you mine but i pulled it down im curntly makeing a new 1
Leon Close (author)  thedog4585 years ago
I didn't make it, I got it cut by someone using an oxy-acetylene torch. It's pretty hopeless for forging on, far too light. It might be ok for very fine work though. What sort of work are you doing?
not to heavy stuff just light stuff and sum medium.thanks anyway
Leon Close (author)  thedog4585 years ago
How big is the piece of railway line you're using? If it's at least 30cm or so long you would probably be best off mounting it as is shown in the Instructable. The end of the line is not a very big striking area, but it gives you a reasonably solid striking surface. An anvil horn is useful, but you can do plenty of interesting work with just a simple flat striking surface and a hammer.
panstar15 years ago
I made something like this but for mounting a vice ,I just bolted everything together by drilling and tapping thought. but I used a large flywheel from a large diesal engine as a foot & just drilled and tapped bolt holes to bolt the vice down. I never welded anything b/c I never had a wielder large enough at the time. But I have a older 250 amp stick wielder now but I never really needed to weld it anyway b/c I actually broke the vice & it still held together the only other thing I did was mount a grinder on it for general sharping and grinding .
pappyld046 years ago
The small pieces of iron you seek are always available if you are willing to ask a worker. With all the theft that happens here I just wait until they are work on something nearby then go and ask. At times I've spotted what I needed and other times I asked if they knew of it or have even walked the tracks until I found one. I'm sure this is the best way to abtain this iron since they throw it away into the ditches. As long as you don't get greedy or steal it they are just like you and I. They tinker at home also!!!
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