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Will an anvil in a major shop fire lose its temper?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Mecha, Oct 19, 2020.

  1. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Hi guys,

    I assumed my anvil lost its hardness during the the recent shop fire, and intended to re HT it in the future.

    Soneone is saying I should test it to see if it lost its hardness before messing with it, though.

    How does one do it without a hardness tester that can test an anvil? I know rebound can be tested with a ball bearing, and of course it could simply be used and possibly damaged.

    The anvil was in the middle of a raging inferno for 30 minutes and the fireman said it remained a major heat source and they had to hose the hell out of it and the trip hammer.

    Pics here:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CGgZtqrDpFn/?igshid=jilhcsxef875


    Do you think it was annealed?
     
  2. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley Riley Knife and Tool

    Oct 17, 2007
    A rebound test would be the first thing I’d try. Is it possible the hardness/temper was affected? Absolutely. Was it completely ruined or will it need re-heat treated? Not necessarily.

    Have you rebound tested it before?
     
    Mecha likes this.
  3. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I would guess that if the anvil was in the middle of the fire for 30 minutes it easily reached a high enough temperature to affect the hardness significantly.
    I looked at a chart and it says that a 400°F temper gets Rc57 for 4140 steel. Heated to 700°F and that drops to Rc47. at 1000°F it is Rc36. At 1200°F it is RC29.
     
    Mecha likes this.
  4. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Probably.
    I remember the DeRosiers going through something similar a few years ago up in Alaska. They posted a video on Youtube or Facebook where they used a backhoe to transfer their anvil from the heat treating fire pit to dunking it in their lake to quench. IIRC it worked pretty well.
    Perhaps you could try contacting them for more info?
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020
    Mecha, 12345678910 and SBuzek like this.
  5. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
     
    SBuzek likes this.
  6. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    A few fairly mild taps with a rounding hammer were golf-balling the anvil face. It’s definitely much softer than before.

    Anvil heat-treat partyyyyyy! :D
     
  7. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    Oh god,. This sounds like burning man. Maybe more literally than the original...
     
    Mecha likes this.
  8. ShannonSteelLabs

    ShannonSteelLabs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 9, 2015
    Well hopefully the party is fun!

    And at the end you get your anvil right at the perfect hardness!!
     
    Mecha likes this.
  9. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    With luck it will be a good spectacle.
     
    jux t and WValtakis like this.
  10. A.McPherson

    A.McPherson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2012
    I hear it's to be a party of special magnificence!

    Good luck! That actually sounds like a good bit of fun! So you have a river to quench it in?

    Oh heck yeah, I just looked on the map! You're right next to the colombia! I couldn't remember where longview was... To be fair I haven't lived in WA since 2009, sorry!
     
    Mecha likes this.
  11. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    What others have done in an anvil hardening is to put a large ring of 1/2" stock through the hardie hole. Attach that through a heavy chain and weld the ring up solid. Use the chain and a bobcat or other method to pull the anvil out of the charcoal pile and lift/lower/drag it into the quench. It takes a LOT of water to quench an anvil, BTW. A pond or stream is best. Drop it in and have a beer while it cools. Even submerged, I have been told they stay too hot to touch for a considerable time.
     
    oldmanwilly and ShannonSteelLabs like this.
  12. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Good idea with the ring. I think it will be lifted with a long pole on a fulcrum that can be spun around to swing the anvil from the coal to the stream. The anvil is only 135 lbs so it’s manageable.

    A long quench is what’s expected, with this fairly big mass of steel. I have access to a large, fast-flowing cold stream for quenching, and expect an auto-tempering effect just due to the heat emanating from within the anvil.

    The steel plant where my brother works puts huge coils of processed sheet steel outside that maintain hundreds of degrees for days on end.

    There are two dynamics at play: both the mass, and the surface area from which heat can be transferred to another medium, which is really small compared to the mass.
     
    WValtakis likes this.
  13. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Yep this is gonna be fun. :D One thing though...I have no idea how much charcoal it will take. 2 bags? 3 bags? o_O
     
    jux t likes this.
  14. WValtakis

    WValtakis Hand Engraving, Anodizing and Embellishment Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 29, 2004
    Depends on the size of the bag:p
     
  15. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013
    Big ones.
     
    WValtakis likes this.
  16. A.McPherson

    A.McPherson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2012
    Lol, the question isn't how much will it take, but how much do you have?
     
    Mecha likes this.
  17. Jrmysell

    Jrmysell

    431
    May 18, 2014
    We definitely need a video of this when it happens
     
    oldmanwilly, Mecha, jux t and 2 others like this.
  18. scherf68

    scherf68 Basic Member Basic Member

    70
    Feb 12, 2020
    I vote video as well, would be so amazing to watch.
     
    Mecha likes this.
  19. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley Riley Knife and Tool

    Oct 17, 2007
    Used to work at the steel mill formerly known as Bethlehem Steel here in NW Indiana, and part of my supervisory role was RCS (Raw Coil Storage) where the hot rolled coils were immediately brought from the hot mill prior to pickling. The thing is though, they have to be at a minimum temperature before you can run them through a pickling line, so most had to sit for about a week or more before they were ready. During the colder winter months, they'd swing them out into the aisleways to keep various water, oil and hydraulic lines from freezing up. We'd be huddled around them like hobos just trying to keep warm. After a few days in the coil field, you could wrap your lunch up in a foil pack and set it inside the eye of a coil to cook. Some guys cooked turkeys in them during the holidays. :D
    Supposedly they'd take a select few coils out to Lake Michigan and dunk them for rapid cooling if they were in a hurry, otherwise we'd soak them with a fire hose to take the edge off. Things got steamy pretty quick.
     
    oldmanwilly, Mecha and Jesse Latham like this.
  20. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I would split up a LOT of wood and start a good bonfire. Once burned down a bit, place the anvil in the center. Add more wood and keep adding it as the coals burn down. The eventual goal is to get the anvil a good glowing color. You may even need an air-pipe to raise the temp of tA magnet on a pole can check for reaching critical. After it has reached the desired temp - about 150°F above critical - drag the anvil out with the chain and slide in the carry pipe ... then walk over into the stream and put it in. With the mass of an anvil, speed from the fire to the quench isn't a big issue.
     
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