An improvised anvil

Well, it starts … I’ve acquired the first bit of ‘stuff’ that I need to set up my own shop.

I’ve been looking for some time now, for the basic equipment for my own shop – a forge, anvil, vise, etc.; and haven’t been having much luck. I’m planning on building my own forge (a ‘break drum’ type) once I find the spare time, and have collected all the materials.

My brother was looking into having a couple of the guys at his work (a heavy steel related shop) fabricate an improvised anvil for me, from a heavy plate drop … but that’s fallen through. One of the pieces of machinery is off line, and since it’s little-used in their shop, it’s not their highest priority to get it fixed – which is completely understandable.

Kijiji, etc. hasn’t had much of late, so, plan “B” it is. I just came across this:

Crane Rail Crane Rail

It’s an 18″ length of 175 lb crane rail, which is similar to rail road track (which many a beginner smith has used as a first improvised anvil), only heavier with a much thicker top rail and web section. This particular chunk of rail weighs in at just over 85 lbs., which is not too bad at all!

The question now is what, if anything, I do to the rail to make it more anvil-like. I’ve seen photos online of others who have carved horns onto these, had the top rails machined flat, drilled in pritchel & hardy holes, etc. Is it worth the effort? The expense? … we’ll see.

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