Homemade Anvil (from Rusty Railroadtrack)




About: Just a fellow who want's to learn new tricks and skills.


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!

Before and After Contest 2017

Second Prize in the
Before and After Contest 2017



    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest
    • 1 Hour Challenge

      1 Hour Challenge
    • Frozen Treats Challenge

      Frozen Treats Challenge

    61 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Komea alasin, ai vitsi... Onko iforgeiron.com tuttu sivusto? Iha simona vinkkiä ja inspistä näitä seponhommia koskien.
    Great looking anvil... Have you checked out iforgeiron.com? Lots of inspiration and advice for blacksmiths there.


    1 year ago

    Amazing, very nice and very useful


    2 years ago

    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. ;)

    5 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.


    Reply 2 years ago

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


    Reply 2 years ago

    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.


    Reply 2 years ago

    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 SapperNikyN2

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.


    2 years ago

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


    2 years ago

    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)