Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stump Anvil

    Today I tackled an industrial job at the forge. This was a learning experience for me, and one of the most important things I realized was that I am a foolhardy young man who should have gotten a friend to strike for me. However, because I am foolhardy, I went ahead and moved all of this metal by myself (with the help of a 4 pound hand-sledge).

My starting stock was 1090 Railroad Rail.
The next step was fitting my tongs to the stock:
I will pause here and mention to any smiths looking to use railroad rail as stock: It is in the 10XX series of carbon steels, so it is plain carbon steel. Nevertheless, it is in the 1080-1090 range, and must be handled like a tool steel. I had no experience forging tool steel when I began, and made a terrible mistake a little ways in. (In my defense, I thought it was 1050-1060 steel, like the clips are.)
This steel needs only to be worked at a yellow heat, not a sparking white heat. I burned the metal and wasted some fuel, metal, and work. Don't be stupid, a yellow heat is good enough.
Anyways, back to my story here.
I got the metal hot (as naturally a blacksmith would do!) and let it soak in the heat after I cut the blast. Then, using my hot cut (which is now unfortunately unhardened and untempered thanks to today's work) I cut the webbing.
Heat and Beat session next! The steel is too hot.
Because my steel was too hot, the grain structure grew to be too large, and cracked when I let it reaching a burning heat. I am not sure exactly what happened, but clearly my grain size was huge.
Here the grain size is evident:
After the little nugget was sheared off, I resumed forging, making sure to keep the steel a bit cooler.
The rail is taking shape! Now, the webs of these things are about 3/4" wide, and this one was 1 1/2" deep. So, hand-forging 1090 steel is extremely slow business.
Unfortunately I did not get a picture of it being quenched, but it was a lot of steam. I used a running stream of water from the spigot. (Fancy french word for pipe sticking out of the ground with water pouring forth: Spigot!)
Here it is, embedded in a stump!
That was today's work: A stump anvil! I have not weighed it yet, but I believe it to weigh around 3- 4 lbs, at least I hope. Usually stump anvils are heavier than that. Oh well, I will make do. Determination is my strong point. I used to forge in a campfire with a plastic 5-gallon bucket lid (of yellow color, I might irrelevantly add) to fan the flames. So, I know hard work, and it knows me. We happen to be on a first name basis. So, whatever I make on this stump anvil will be hard work. Nevertheless, we can't all be spoiled with a #400 perfect Armitage Mousehole Anvil and a three burner gas forge, now can we?
Hm, this anvil appears to be perfect for a portable forge, don't you think?
(hey wait a minute! Didn't I make a pair of tongs that would be perfect as well? What is going on here?!? Are these Spoilers?!?)
I am going to end this blog post with a link to my facebook page. That is a hint, dearest readers.

1 comment:

  1. The stump anvil seems interesting. Be sure to post some pictures of it in action!