Scored a YouTube-famous-ish railroad track anvil!

Discussion in 'Black smithing projects' started by Tobho Mott, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Heres the new "anvil". It's about 50# or so, I guess


    Yes, I need to vacuum my trunk.

    Did the 50 minute trek to a truck stop in Cornwall (Ontario) to meet a guy who just bought himself a real anvil and was willing to part with this, his old one.

    He drives a truck for a living and was on his way to Texas from New Brunswick yesterday, and the timing worked out just right to meet up and chat for an hour or so in the parking lot.

    This is actually the other half of the same piece of rail that he gave YouTuber Paul from Paul's Garage a while back (I met him in the metal working section of Paul's chat server on Discord, where I sometimes go to shoot the BS with like minded pyros and internet weirdos when work is slow and there's no new posts here or on AA). Who knows, maybe one day I will meet Paul and we can reunite the ends of our anvils, just like halves of a broken heart shaped locket in a cheesy romance movie, except with far fewer hugs and kisses and crying, and way more smashing stuff with hammers. :D

    I almost ran over a peacock on the back roads getting there. Pea hen technically, I guess. How weird is that?! I'd expect just about any other animal before that (dodged or braked for several on the way home, in fact). It wasn't even near anyone's yard or farm as far as I could tell, this was apparently some sort of a feral ditch peafowl. Now I've really seen it all!

    Anyhow, I sort of have an anvil now! Should be handy, and good for some fun times - making tools for the foundry, venting my frustrations, etc.

    It has holes for mounting which you can see in the pic, and if you look close, there's also a couple of larger holes in the vertical section that should be handy for bending or straightening stuff I guess.

    It also has marker lines drawn on it for where its last owner was thinking about cutting bits off to form a horn of sorts. Maybe I'll try that sometime down the line, but I'll probably hold off on that for a while and see what I can do with it as-is first.

    I'm quite happy to have this, been keeping my eyes out for one of these for several years now, and I'm glad I was patient - you can NOT beat the price I got this thing for!

    The local blacksmith I recently helped with a copper casting project has given me a coupon code for his website that's good to sign me up for one of his one day classes for free, those are mostly blade making classes which do sound fun, but I'm really just hoping to learn some basic techniques and skills so I can go back home and figure out how to forge whatever I want. So after that happens, I might just even have something like the first clue what to do with this thing! Should be fun.

    I think the new furnace will work just fine as a forge if I turn it on its side, or else I do still have enough materials left over to build a dedicated forge if I decide I want ("need") one.

    Should keep me in hobby projects for a while! :D

    Fishers Wax Works likes this.
  2. Jason

    Jason Gold

    Peacock? I hit a porcupine with the airplane the other night. I just touched down and saw him come from the left. I back taxied and took a look. It looked like a coon until I parked. That's when I saw the quills stuck in the brake and the tires on the left gear.

    Great starter Anvil. Thanks to YT, the prices of decent used ones has gotten out of control.:rolleyes:
  3. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    Yup, a peacock. First one I've seen outside of a zoo.

    Good thing yours wasn't one of those flying porcupines, they're endangered you know...

  4. That will make a nice anvil. I guess I'll have to look and see what Paul made. I've made several rail anvils and still have about 8 ft of rail to make more. You really can make a nice horn it you just spend the time. A Hardy Hole is more valuable than a horn, you can make a decent one by welding a tube out of 1/4" or 3/8" plate and welding it to the heel then make Hardy tools to set in it. one of those can be a horn shaped bick to do light horn work over.

    It is pretty hard to hold an anvil down, it really needs to be able to bounce. I think you will do well just building a shallow frame around the base and let it set there and bounce at will.

    Looks like it has had some good use. Rail generally has more crown than a blacksmith anvil but sometimes it is worn flat when you get it. Crown is good as it helps keep the work from curling up when struck. Farrier's anvils generally don't have crown.
    Melterskelter likes this.
  5. FishbonzWV

    FishbonzWV Silver Banner Member

    I've got a 'youth model'. It used to be part of the city's trolley system (1889-1939).
    I had a retaining wall collapse and found it and another 8 foot section in the wall.


    And here's a shot of Jason and his ground crew after they plucked the quills. LoL

    Tobho Mott and Jason like this.
  6. I found this one in a pile of junk. Used it a few times to set rivets.


    It's short but heavy rail.
    Jason likes this.
  7. Petee716

    Petee716 Gold Banner Member

    I've got a chunk of rail like yours too Jeff. I'm not sure where I got it but it comes in handy. I've also used the hub portion of a brake rotor to do curved stuff. That's how I formed the curved parts of my crucible tongs.

  8. Jason

    Jason Gold

    I wonder how many cut off wheels it took to do that???:eek: Slicing up a section of rail is no easy task. When I bought my Peter Wright anvil, the guy had a shaped piece of track. I gave 20bucks for it and gave it to my brother in law. A big chunk of steel is handy to have around.
  9. I cut 120# rail and don't get too much wear on a 14" cutoff wheel.
  10. Jason

    Jason Gold

    lol, that's a big cutoff wheel.. I'm spinning those little 4inch discs... I go through those like water at my house.:(
  11. Tobho Mott

    Tobho Mott Administrator Staff Member Banner Member

    The guy told me he used up 4 cutoff wheels cutting the thing in two. He didn't say what size.

    Thanks for the tips. I'm not going to make any modifications right away, probably I'll just think about it for a while and play around with it a bit as-is in the meantime. Should be fun!

  12. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Gold Banner Member

    I recently bought a 7 inch Mikita angle grinder. Night and day difference over the 4.5” Milwaukee. Blades cut ten times more material but only cost $2.90 if bought in a ten pack. Well worth it to me. Of course, grinds and cuts much faster than the 4.5 also. This is a very rugged well made-in-Japan tool. Reportedly, the design is unchanged in 25 yrs.

    Tobho Mott likes this.
  13. It's just a standard chop saw.
    Great Makita. Did you say you use it for cutoff? I'd be scared to do that, a little twist in the cut and you've got a chunk of blade flying. But I don't like 4-1/2" 1/16" blades either. 3" hand held is all I do.
  14. Melterskelter

    Melterskelter Gold Banner Member

    Yes, I had some misgivings about the larger tool as well. But, I needed the larger blade diameter to degate some of my castings.

    What I found is I positively love this tool and do not feel out of control with it. On the contrary, the much larger mass of the tool and its excellent balance have resulted in the Milwaukee only rarely being used now---in the circunmstance where I want to have one grinder setup with a cuttoff blade and the other witha grinding disc. That saves switching from one disc to another and back and forth. I did buy a leather apron to wear for safety and to avoid (did it a couple times) burning a hole in my pant leg from the large stream of sparks generated by the cutoff wheel.

    For most cutoff I just let the weight of the tool push the blade down into the cut. For lengthwise cuts I let a good portion of the blade be in the previously made kerf and that keeps the blade in line and helps make a nice straight cut. Same technique sort of works with the smaller wheel, but works much better with the 7.

    For heavier cuts, I do wear a full heavy duty face shield and full length leather ferrier apron and I always avoid being inline with the blade as I am aware of the potential for blade shattering. I have yet to experience that on any cutoff tool. The 7" blades seem to be pretty rugged so that with reasonable care that should be unlikely. I do know that if one tries to use the cutoff blade as a grinder, that thins the blade edge quickly, so I avoid that.


  15. Years ago I had a 7" grinder with a 9" wheel. Ground so fast I'd replace the wheel at 7".

    I may need to get another one after reading your description. I can't get everything into my chop saw. I was hacking up a box section a year ago with a right angle die grinder with a 3"x1/16" blade, no guard of course, I was tired, and caught it in the cut. It broke in half and made a gash in my forearm deep enough I went and got four stitches in it. Still my main remote cutoff if the torch or plasma is not needed.
  16. Jason

    Jason Gold

    I know this is unorthodox as all hell, but I've been having good luck cutting up my bronze with a diamond wheel on my dewalt handheld. I thought it would go dull fast running it dry, but it hasn't so far. Nothing fancy, just a steel lenox blade from BLowes. And I've cut a crapload of bronze with it. My ingots are those fat 4inch bastards.:eek: Takes a lot of patience with a small blade.:(:oops:
    Petee716 likes this.
  17. Petee716

    Petee716 Gold Banner Member

    I have the same one and I haven't had to buy a new cutoff wheel in a couple of years now. They claim it works for nonferrous, and it cuts bronze pretty darned good without loading up, but forget about aluminum. It works pretty well on steel. Most of the steel cutting I do is incidental here-and-there stuff so I'm not using it daily or weekly, but I'd have gone through at least a dozen regular cutoff wheels by now and the diamond blade still seems good as new. Other real advantages are that there is no blade dust, the blade always has the same reach, and you don't have to worry as much about it coming apart on you. The down sides are that is about half as fast as a regular wheel and leaves a nasty burr. I surely wouldn't use it to cut a chunk of railroad track.

  18. Reading this thread,same deal I started out will a piece of rail track as a anvil,then I'v scored a piece so long I couldn't fit it in my 20ft shipping container = 8"angle grinder to the rescue!

    I'v killed a few 8" grinders over the years..1st one was at work grinding out sheet steel bath tubs,it was set up with a rubber backed disk & steel rated sanding disks,the rubber disk exploded,thank f@*k it was winter & I was suitably rugged up under the leather apron,still flying rubber disks bits in the goolys will put you in hospital (harhar 40years later back at the same hospital doing chemo)..

    2nd 8" grinder (with a wire brush cup (learnt my leason from No 1) died trying to take 10 coats of paint off my 1977 F100 cab.

    Still on my 3rd 8" grinder,

    Hand grinders are the most deadly tool as rated by OHS type orgs = be afraid/alert & have P.P.T gear on gentleman..

    As for a anvil, au$400 got me a date stamped & government symboled(i.e that weid arrow stamp on old pommy convicts clothing) 1846 76kg( 167 lb) anvil

    I looked it up,you guys in the USA where still burning witchs at the stake,When my baby was made..puts it perspective
    Its stand is a old 1940's industrial sign post with a 2" thick & 2ft square steel base, & has a tappered column post,wich made me think to measure n cut the column into sections..

    So I could slide a section of the narrower part of the column inside the outer bigger section of the column,then weld column 1 to column 2 at both ends..

    bugger weighs in at 125kg (275lb) without the anvil (442lb/201kg with the anvil) & because of the column in a column (I used 3 column sections) the iner most column & the top end of the sign spins 360°,

    so helps fully in getting to that awkward spot on the other side of the anvil,

    One idea I pinched was to make a steel open box/weld on top of the 360 ° column,was to place the anvil in,that way you can back fill it with sand (b4 the anvil go's in) to accommodate the more taller/shorter freinds/ kids by razing/lowering the anvil hight..

    P.S look closely at the anvil snap shot,& in the anvil base/box section,what your not seeing clearly is a tooth from a bulldozer main track cog..

    (Oh & a tow ball thats allso been modded with a square back finger to drop in the hardy square hole)

    22 teeth in a dozer cog, I'v scabbed 2 cogs, (harhar you see so much more sitting in a 9ton Kenworth prime mover & not just IDIOT drivers ahead!)..

    1 has very rounded teeth,the 2nd has very pointed teeth..

    The back of the cog was cut (8" grinder ;) to a squared finger that drops into the hardy hole in my anvil.

    Same anvil tool bit from Germany =$180 (allthough the German one is finnished alot nicer (I bet they didn't use a 8" hand angle grinder ! )..

    Au$200 (us$165) a ton for scrap steel = about au$7-$10's.= $0.45cents ea tooth & about that much in electricity to cut it out & square the hardy hole finger..

    1/2 the fun is repurposing things..

    Or spying down into big industrial wast bins!..
    Tobho Mott and Jason like this.
  19. Jason

    Jason Gold

    "burning witches..." That was epic!

    Anvils here are running 5-10 bucks a pound thanks to that stupid tv show.:rolleyes: I paid my ass off for my sexy swedish soderfors. I dont use it much, but I'm glad I own it.

    Fishers Wax Works likes this.
  20. Nice and shiney ,I moded(used a router) a old telephone pole (gumtree hard wood) for the base of my 1st stand) - (of the same sort of base as yours) to be recessed in & noted I could flip the anvil on its side, to still fit in its wooded base but lets you use that curved section from the base up the side,just in case your thinking of making old school armer or pannel beating a nice curved pannel...

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