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anvil idea

Apr 14, 2006
so i have been do alot of research and it is pretty crazy the prices they want for basically a hunk of steel. from what i have read here on the search and other sites seems like mass is the one of the critical factors. many have welded plates on to get more weight. so here i am thinking and may not work at all. anyways i have huge amounts of lead, as in hundreds of pounds of it from work. well i have this RR track and was thinking maybe weld a small box togteher, melt down say 150 lbs of lead and put the RR track about have way up the side of the box. from making fish weights i know the lead will kinda bond to the metal of the RR track and this would give it much more mass in a small area. so what u all think or have i lost my mind? yes i know all dangers of playing with melted lead.
I think that lead is probably too soft. It would definitely have the nedessary mass, but I think the railroad track would just sink down into the lead over time.
Might also become a breathing hazard after you pound on it for awhile too :confused:
The idea is sound, but the methodology is a bit flawed. Get some steel plate from the scrap yard. Weld up a box with the bottom of 1" plate and the sides of 1/4" plate. It doesn't have to be pretty, and the top should extend beyond the sides an inch of two. Now you have a heavy open ended box of steel.Dimensions should be to fit your piece of anvil material that will be pounded on. I would say a box with 6" high sides,measuring 10X18" would be great.If using RR track, weld it to the top plate (open end down on the box). Turn the unit upside down, setting it on strong cinder blocks, and fill to the brim with lead.You should have a very heavy anvil with a hard striking surface and lots of mass to keep it from hopping about.You can make a base for a small real anvil (say a 70 pounder)the same way.If that is what you do, weld foot braces to the top to hold the anvil in place, but allow it to be removed for taking to hammer ins and demos.
All this work is only cost and time effective if you can get the materials free (or real cheap) and have the time and equipment to make the base up.Otherwise, a big 100 pound block of steel from the scrap yard will do fine as a base
One thing that's imporant to remember is, the anvil isnt just a 'hunk of steel' it's a tool. While having more mass is desireable, you need to retain the tool-qualities while increasing the mass for it to have any beneficial effect. The purpose of an anvil is to reflect the force of your hammer blow back into the object being worked.

The reason people want very heavy bases for their anvils is to prevent the anvil from hopping / sliding around, which is wasted energy that's not going into the project. The base doenst change the quality of the anvil ontop of it, a bad anvil with a 500lb stump is still a bad anvil. A hunk of welded steel plates isnt going to have the rebound of a proper anvil. Yes, you'll be able to pound out steel on it, but you're going to wear your arm out a lot faster and have to do a lot more work to get the same job done.