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TOPIC: Anvil face heat treatment

Anvil face heat treatment 25 Sep 2008 08:03 #1

I would like to know if anyone has any advise about the heat treatment of an anvil face.
As I am going to clean up an old anvil. The anvil has no identifying marks, other than "made in Australia" on one side, and "Sydney" on the other.

Cheers Mick
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 25 Sep 2008 13:10 #2

  • IRNWKR_2
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If you have a steel race bearing laying around you can drop it on the face of the anvil from about 24" high and it is said if it rebounds to about 85% it is hard enough. The old Kolshwa will get around 100% some times more the newer american made ( the better ones ) will get around 85-90. If you do the test and your 85% or better I wouldnt worry about the hardness and if you are rebuilding the edges with hardening rod it shouldnt change the hardness of the anvil.
Jason Gilliland
"whether you think you can or think you caint your usually right" Henry Ford

"Im not as good as I once was, but Im just as good once as I ever was" My Grandad

"a wink is as good as a nod, to a blind mule" Barney Fyffe
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 25 Sep 2008 15:52 #3

  • NorvalWilhelm
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Both my anvils are 100 pounders made in England. I tested the hardness with just a file and both filed very easily. They certainly are not hard. I would be suprised if they did have hardened surfaces???
[SIGPIC]C:\Documents and Settings\norval\My Documents\My Pictures\jan22 017.jpg[/SIGPIC]
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 25 Sep 2008 20:40 #4

  • Jaye Perry
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NorvalWilhelm wrote:
Both my anvils are 100 pounders made in England. I tested the hardness with just a file and both filed very easily. They certainly are not hard. I would be suprised if they did have hardened surfaces???

Most anvils that come from Europe are "hardened"; anvils made in USA are work hardened.
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 25 Sep 2008 21:50 #5

Jaye Perry wrote:
. . . anvils made in USA are work hardened.

For a moment there . . .

. . . while reading that,

I thought I heard a tin whistle, or was it a flute, playing.

Hey Mick,

To answer your question, about heat-treating the face of you anvil,
It is a big job to heat treat a hundred lb anvil.

Oh yea, you didn't mention how big it was.

Even a seventy lb chunk of steel would need to be quenched in the appropriate quench.
What kind of steel is it? Is it an air/water/or oil quenched steel?
If oil, how hot should the oil already be before you attempt to quench?

The chances are that you will only need to clean the anvil up,
As it likely has not lost its hardness.

If that is really what is needed then there are proper ways of doing that.

I would not add a welded rod, not even a hardening rod.
The minute you add that much heat to your anvil,
(Molten steel???- That’s what a weld is !!!)
Yes then you would need to RE-Harden.
Not only that but you would need to anneal the anvil first.
I have heard of just raising the body temp of the anvil to 450-750 Deg. F.
And then welding, but again I would not recommend that either.

Rehardening, is best left to the pros that have
a oven large enough and hot enough to do it.
Don’t forget in order to align the transformation
of a pearlite steel state into a hardened martensitic condition,
you need to be in the 1600-2000 Deg. F. range.
In the hardening world that is called “Critical Temperature”

I hope that helps.
Bradley SaintJohn

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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 25 Sep 2008 23:32 #6

  • Jaye Perry
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Bradley-1stChoice;126564]For a moment there . . .

. . . while reading that,

I thought I heard a tin whistle, or was it a flute, playing.


And Canuck,!!
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 26 Sep 2008 01:05 #7

  • IRNWKR_2
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Bradley-1stChoice wrote:


I would not add a welded rod, not even a hardening rod.
The minute you add that much heat to your anvil,
(Molten steel???- That’s what a weld is !!!)
Yes then you would need to RE-Harden.

I hate to say your wrong but, you are. You will get less heat build up from running a couple beads on the edge than you will from banging out roadster for half a day. I have rebuilt edges on several anvils and usually the anvil is cool to the touch every where but where you weld. The only place were the anvil looses its temper is concentrated around the weld wich is fine because you cover it up with the hardened rod.
Jason Gilliland
"whether you think you can or think you caint your usually right" Henry Ford

"Im not as good as I once was, but Im just as good once as I ever was" My Grandad

"a wink is as good as a nod, to a blind mule" Barney Fyffe
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 26 Sep 2008 02:55 #8

IRNWKR_2 wrote:
I hate to say your wrong but, you are. You will get less heat build up from running a couple beads on the edge than you will from banging out roadster for half a day. I have rebuilt edges on several anvils and usually the anvil is cool to the touch every where but where you weld. The only place were the anvil looses its temper is concentrated around the weld wich is fine because you cover it up with the hardened rod.

Well Golly, I guess you got me there,
That was an exceptionally wonderful explanation, and so I concede. :D

Quesadilla :cool:

or is that

Que Sera :rolleyes:

PS. Everyone else Check here
Bradley SaintJohn

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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 26 Sep 2008 10:25 #9

Well golly gosh.
I reckon I have an explanation to welding on anvil edges. Even though the you see a weld pool of molten metal when welding, this does not mean that the welding rod is mixing with the anvil material. The main body of the weld material will sit on top of the steel. However under the weld, it is fused/welded to the steel. This is called the heat affected zone (haz). At that ponit (haz) the weld material and the steel is mixed together. An example of this is to weld one or two runs of stainless steel rod onto a rust bit of steel, leave it in the wheather a bit, an you will see the welded runs havn,t rusted at all.
Dueing the weld process, very small amounts steel elements are burnt off, for example carbon. Some alloy steels are "weld senitive" so to weld many runs may not be good, and that there are set out "welding procedures" for special steels. On the anvil, I would of thought that the temper would be reduced or gone around the welded area only, also the of number weld runs, will reflect how much heat you are puting into it, and how much temper you are lossing. I agree if your going to do it text book, after welding it, it should be re-heat treated, as Bradley-1stChoice said.


If I was was welding on an anvil, I would pre heat it. Mainly because; if you don,t, the coldness or chill of the anvil will have a quenching affect on the weld, in particular in the haz., making it to brittel there. And that at a later time ,that welded edge may just come right off, and it will break along the haz.

I was given this anvil new(about 65- 70 pounds) 23 years ago by a metalergist that worked at a foundery. I have lost contact with him. I dont think this anvil has been machined , so I don,t know if it has been heat treated either. It may have been a second. It has some small 1/64 holes in the face.
I did try the ball bearing test as sujested , maybe 80%. I have been told that I can buy a Rockwell hardness test kit ,but don,t know anything about them. I would like to know its hardness as a starting point , and then I can go form there. The edges are fine and don,t need repair.

After hardness testing I will send it to the machinist shop for a clean up.

If it does need heat treatment, whats wrong with heating up the face with a massive heating torch (oxy-actelene) to maybe a dull red and then tipping it upside down, submurge the face in about 1/4" into a vat of oil? I will call it a poor mans quench/heatreatment (ha,ha). And then retest with the hardness tester. What do you think of this method? Has any body tried this method?
thanks for your input guys, any further help is apprecieated

Regards Mick
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 26 Sep 2008 12:49 #10

Funny how folks mostly answer everything but your question.

I'd say you've got a pretty good handle on things,
except the amount of heat needed to HEAT TREAT steel.
don't forget that in order to get any SIGNIFICANT HARDNESS
the steel needs to reach “Critical Temperature”
Some examples of “Critical Temperature”
H13____-1560F
AISI S7 - 1470F
AISI D2 - 1850F
AISI 01 - 1370F
AISI A2 - 1750F

The chart below is a guide only,
the lighting in the room will change the look of the color,
as I am sure YOU are aware of that.

Give it a shot, and let us know how it goes.

Bradley SaintJohn

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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 26 Sep 2008 13:45 #11

  • NorvalWilhelm
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If you were heating it with a torch a quick way to tell if it is hot enough is to use a magnet. Steel is a body centered cubic/structure. When heated to the proper range it's structure changes to a face centered cubic or non magnetic.
So if a magnet doesn't touch the steel it is hot enough to quench.
But once quenched it would be too hard if you did a good job so you need to temper it by reheating to a lower temperature.
Again I can not see anyone doing this to 70-100 pound piece of steel.
I also have a number of rockwell hardness testers and no way I could hold an anvil and take a reading.
Taking a file to something gives a good indication of hardness. A spring is about 44 RC, a cam shaft 62 RC.
If you can leave a good mark with a file it is soft or in the 20 or 30 range.
[SIGPIC]C:\Documents and Settings\norval\My Documents\My Pictures\jan22 017.jpg[/SIGPIC]
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 26 Sep 2008 13:47 #12

  • NorvalWilhelm
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Forgot. The rule of thumb is 10 minutes per inch of thickness at that temperature. How thick is an anvil???
Try holding that with a torch.
[SIGPIC]C:\Documents and Settings\norval\My Documents\My Pictures\jan22 017.jpg[/SIGPIC]
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 26 Sep 2008 14:05 #13

Good info Norval,

Tempering, Temp. is on average 70% of Critical Temperature.

Raise to Tempering, Temp. then let air cool.
And it is Recomended to Temper twice.
Bradley SaintJohn

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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 27 Sep 2008 01:53 #14

Take a look here..Anvil repair..Ive done it myself...I rebuilt the heel of a hay budden..

http://www.iforgeiron.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=321:bp0101&catid=14:blueprints-100-200&Itemid=26
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RE:Anvil face heat treatment 27 Sep 2008 01:58 #15

Look at the 9th post down on repair...
http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/f7/anvil-repair-6803/
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