Brainstorming: Bonding Tool Steel to Cast Iron

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Ken Scharabok, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    At one time anvils had either a cast iron or wrought iron body with a steel plate to top. Some are still in use after well over 100 years. For example, I have a Fisher anvil made in 1918. Cast iron body and steel plate. Probably 95% as good a new on usage. As far as I know all anvil are produced today as one piece castings as either cast iron or cast steel. The latter have the top plate hardened. The expensive ones well, the el-cheapos coming out of Russia and Asia today are little more than cast ductile steel of dubious casting quality.

    I am wondering if there isn't still a market for anvils like the Fisher. They perfected the process of putting a very hot top plate in a mold and then injecting cast iron into the mold in such a manner to get a 100% plate to body weld virtually every time. Obviously that is out of my capability.

    However, Grizzly Industries (www.grizzly.com - search on anvils) sells cast iron anvils in 55, 100, 200 and 300 lb weights. As work anvils they are more of what is called ASO (anvil shaped objects) since if you miss the work and hit the top plate you will leave a ding or dent. However, metal shops can now do precision cutting of plates to where they could cut out a top plate (say out of stainless steel or something equivalent) with the hardy and pritchel hole in the plate to where it would overlay one of these sizes (say the 55, 100 and 200).

    Question is how could a top plate like this be permanent/securely bonded to the cast iron top? Welding would be out. Anyone know of an adhesive bonding (perhaps a two part mix) which would permanently join the steel to the cast iron? It would need to stand up to vibration. (Think of the concept of putting superglue on the top of the anvil and then positioning the top plate on it.)

    I have also considered the possibility of making the top plate drop on. Once it is cut out, mild steel flat stock would be used on the sides to create a lip to keep the top position in place. Problem I see here is the anvil would be noisy. Perhaps felt could be glued onto the bottom of the top plate for cushioning the impact between the loose top plate and body?

    Other practical (KISS) possiblities? (And please don't go off into things like laser welding - KISS!!!!)

    Ken Scharabok
     
  2. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I guess you could make a "drop on" setup and clamp it with bolts to say another plate (cold rolled steel) on bottom. It would keep the top plate from bouncing around. Are you thinking of selling these as an upgrade to the cheap anvils?
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Yes, they would be sold separately as an upgrade kit. This would allow them to purchase the anvil from Grizzly and the upgrade plate from me.

    At least the Grizzly anvils (except for the horn), look like anvils.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  4. gutshot

    gutshot Guest

  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I'm no expert but aren't there two types of anvils, forged and cast? Forgings being better because the hammer blows resinate through the anvil and back tot eh work......... Ah but I'm out of my league. Your idea sounds great, if you can get it to fasten super tightly to the cast base. I'd work out a hook and clamp thread tightening system that you can tighten up as it loosenes off. Make the top peice "U" shaped to fit over the top and the tensioning gear attached well below that to stay out of the way of the work being done. You could encorporate a swing away clamp system into the threaded rods to hold work supplimentary to the pritchard based clamps.
     
  6. John Hill

    John Hill Grand Master

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    Yes, I think braze would be the way to go but I think you would have to use paste and do the job in a furnace adequate to heat the whole anvil.

    Other ideas, countersunk machines screws, weld pegs on the underside of the plate to drop into holes in the anvil, drill holes in the plate and weld through to the anvil proper fairing off to make a smooth top surface.

    Even lead solder might work as you are bonding over a large surface, tin both surfaces and sweat them together.

    Instand glue might work but you would need a true surface on both pieces.
     
  7. Timber

    Timber Well-Known Member

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    I guess stick welding is out of the question?

    Timber
     
  8. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    Have the top of the anvil milled with a flycutter, flux everything, lay some silver solder wire on it, and heat the whole works.

    I wouldn't make a plate that drops over the top fit too closely because the tolerance on the castings is probably pretty sloppy.
     
  9. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    You're getting too complicated with answers.

    Plan: Buyer buys anvil from Grizzly for direct delivery to them. They buy plate from me (with perhaps some time of adhesive provided). They bond plate to anvil. Or plate arrives as simply a drop over the anvil. I don't like this approach as the edges would be mild steel and would not hold up to working on them (and a good bit of blacksmithing is over the edge of the anvil). Thus, back to some type of easy, yet permanent bonding.

    On anvils: Basic types: Cast iron body with steel plate bonded during casting process (Fisher and Vulcan mostly). Cast mild steel base, wrought iron upper body and steel plate forge welded on. All wrought iron body and steel plate forge welded on. All cast iron. All cast steel with the top area heat treated for hardness. Even anvils with the plate forge welded on were hardened. In England they would heat the complete anvil very hot and then place it under the chute from a waterwheel. In the U.S. mostly they put it in a tube under a water tower and then rapidly flowed water under it. The better cast steel ones are flame hardened. My understanding of process is anvil top is exposed to hot flame torches and then slowly lowered into a quenching solution. On the new Russian and Asian imports, I suspect they just drop the hot anvil into a tank of water.

    Ken Scharabok
     
  10. Steve in Ohio

    Steve in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    Ken,
    do you really see that big of a market for this item????I guess I see this from another angle,most people that use an anvil are more than likely hands on type people.............right.......so why would they not make there own plate if needed???I would.
    There is a bonding process that would work for what you want to do,it's a two part mix that requires heat (controlled like time and temp.)But that gets expensive..........
    The other way you could mount this plate is with(Gibb-Screws)tapped in the side rails of the slip over plate...............
    What about some type of stand or mounting assembly for these anvils.....I think that may be an item that would sell..........
     
  11. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Ken, I do not think the task is achieveable in the manner desired. With some machining to the vise and a properly designed plate I think it would be achievable using mechanical fasteners such a tapered dowels.
     
  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I was thinking that if it was "U" shaped you be providing a better edge to form things over! Heck machine in some dies to form specialty bends or patterns! You know half a dozen 1 inch rare earth magnets recessed into the plate and that thing is never coming off...........
     
  13. Ed Norman

    Ed Norman Well-Known Member

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    Degrease everything with acetone. Slather it with Acraglas Gel from Brownell's, Inc. and plop the plate on top of the anvil. The rougher the parts are, the better. Let it dry and it will stay there.
     
  14. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I offer anvil stands now. Will custom build to suit buyer's anvil situation (primarily height more than footprint).

    You may find this hard to believe, but people will pay other people to do things for them they would easily do themselves. For example, I've paid say $5.00 for a hammer head, put in a $.65 flea market handle and resold it for $20.00. Value is it is now ready to use.

    Almost all of the blacksmithing tools I offer on eBay I make are simple cut and drill or cut and stick work. People are willing to pay me somewhat nicely for doing it for them. If you want to take a look go to www.ebay.com and do a seller search on scharabo.

    My brainstorming was in how someone might buy an anvil base (now sold as a cast iron anvil shaped object [ASO]) and easily add a tool steel quality (say stainless steel) top to it to provide an anvil much like the old Fishers or Vulcans.

    Bear in mind my target market isn't professional blacksmiths. It is the hobby or weekend warrior.

    I may have another option if I would find stainless steel in 3/8" x 5 1/2" strips. A piece the distance between the front of the hardy hole and front of the plate would be cut. I could weld on a shank at the back to fit down into the hardy hole and a front lip to sit down to the level of the step (the small area between the plate and horn). To use it as a forging surface they drop it on the anvil. To use the hardy hole they take it off and put the hardy in the hardy hole.

    I have made one like this for a 50 lb anvil. I bought it knowing the top was in poor condition. However, I can weld one back using 7018 rod in short order. When I tried to weld the top of this one, I found it was solid cast iron. I'm speculating it originally had a steel top plate but it came off. Someone continued to use the anvil anyway. (To heat up the anvil to use nickel rod would not have been cost effective.)

    If available, I SWAG the cost of a piece of stainless, say 3/8" x 5 1/2" x 6", to be about $15. I would have to sell it for $30 to make it worth doing. Thus, at $110 for the anvil, $55.00 delivery on it from Grizzly, $30 for a plate from me, say $8.70 shipping, they could have a user anvil set-up for about $205 - or $2.00 per pound. Competitive with what a used anvil plus shipping would cost on eBay.

    However, that would still be siginificantly more than the 110 lb ASOs Russian or Asian imports being sold as cast steel.

    Ken Scharabok