Blacksmith tools can be expensive and difficult to find. Most blacksmith tools can be manufactured from common items found in many scrap yards. Improvised tools are found in nearly every blacksmith shop as historical reproductions are harder to come by.
Things You'll Need
- 12- to 24-inch by 6- to 18-inch block of steel
- Cutting torch or 9-inch right angle grinder with abrasive saw
- 24-grit wheel
- 80-grit mop or flapper disk
- Railroad spikes or large diameter rebar
- Large ball from trailer hitch
- 1-inch and 2-inch wide square steel bar stock
- 110-volt gasless MIG welder
- Large decommissioned oxygen tank
Use a torch or abrasive saw on a 9-inch right angle grinder to cut a block of steel a few inches longer than the item you need to hammer. Small anvils can be 12 by 6, and can also be made from a length of railroad rail. Medium anvils can be 12 by 24 blocks of steel, and large anvils can be made from 18 by 24 or 18 by 30 blocks.
Shape the rail profile using your torch or abrasive saw so that it resembles the diagram.
Grind all surfaces with a 24-grit wheel to rough grind the shape of the anvil and smooth the roughest areas.
Grind all surfaces with an 80-grit mop or flapper disk to remove any remaining burrs and give your anvil a rough-polished finish.
Place anvil on a stand or stump at a convenient height for you.
Cutting Hardies and Ball Stakes
Use a 110-volt gasless MIG welder to attach a trailer hitch ball to the flat top of a large-diameter piece of rebar.
Grind the welds until they are smooth, as in the diagram.
Weld a square of steel to a length of square steel bar stock as shown, to make a cutting hardy.
Cut or grind away the areas in yellow as shown in the diagram that accompanies the previous step.
Finish with a 24-grit grinding wheel and an 80-grit mop or flapper wheel.
Obtain a large, decommissioned oxygen tank from a welding supply company. You may have to make several calls to find a company that will sell one.
Bury the tank upside down so that 2/3 is still above ground.
Use an 80-grit flapper wheel or mop disk on a right-angle grinder to finish the surface.
Tips & Warnings
- Match the size of the ball or block for your hardies and stakes to the size of the item you intend to smith with them. Decommissioned oxygen tanks have had the brass valve stem removed and the serial numbers have been ground away. Once the valve is off, there is no more danger of fire or explosion.
- Always wear wrap-around eye protection when cutting or grinding metal. Keep a large, fully charged ABC fire extinguisher within reach at all times when using any welding or grinding tools. Have a 5-gallon bucket of water and a bucket of sand handy as well.
- Gypsy Wilburn; Artisan and Industrial Blacksmith; Carrollton, Ohio; tool-making demonstration Sept. 2, 2009
- Jock Dempsey: Demonstration #45: Railroad Tools
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