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I have found a 6lb bench anvil in excellent shape but it’s to soft to
use. Dose anyone no the proper way to harden it either with torch or
burnout oven? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Made By Hand

Check out news:rec.crafts.blacksmithing they can give you good
advice. If you have an arc welder and don’t mind a bit of work you can
hard face it. Not sure it’s worth the effort for such a small anvil

The best solution is to take it to a good machine shop, and have them
weld a steel bench block to the working surface of the anvil. Likely
it is cast iron, and there is no effective way to work harden it to
the point where it would be useful for jewelry forging.

Jim Small
Small Wonders

Billy Bob If you bought it for really cheap from a hobby or a none pro
place,those anvils cannot be Hardened ,because they usually are made
of mild can case harden them ,but that just hardness a very
thin layer of the surface, that’s all you can do for mild steel. the
largest torch you can get ,heat the whole thing up in a fire brick
cavern ,up to cherry red and plunge in oil ,motor ,or heavy vegetable
will work. make sure you and the shop are fire proof,oil will smoke
and burn…

good luck

I have one, which I was able to harden somewhat, as it was soft too.
I put it in my coal forge, brought it to a visible red head, then
dropped it in a bucket of salt water. If it doesn’t have a high
enough carbon content, you’ll never get it hardened to a good temper.
You can, however, go to a welding supply store and get a can of
"casenite" or it’s equivalent. It’s a case hardening powder. If you
can still find the stuff, follow the directions on the can. You
could heat it in a kiln, or even a good wood fire would do. Chances
are, if it’s soft now, it probably doesn’t have enough carbon in it
to over-harden or crack. If you wanted to go to the trouble, you
could always grind it down about 1/8", then build it back up with
"frog-alloy" (also from welding supply store, or get some “weld mold
325” from the welding supply. Gotta have an arc welder, of course.)
I think I’d try to find the case-hardening powder, build a good
bonfire, bolt a stout length of chain onto it, throw it into the
heart of the fire. When you see it’s color is that of the matrix of
the fire, pull it out, powder it down, then drop it in a big bucket
of cold water. If it splits in two. . .well, you can get another for
cheap at harbor-freight and take it to a machine shop and have it
professionally hardened (yeah, sure). If you want a good anvil, call
up Centaur Forge (414-763-9175) and get a catalog. It won’t be cheap
though. Another way to get a good bench anvil is find a local
blacksmith ( and have him forge one out for you out of
H-13 air hardening steel. Offer to trade him for a nice little
miniature one made out of silver, or some nice earrings for his wife
(or her husband, for that matter.)

David L. Huffman

Thanks all for help sure am glad I didn’t have to pay for this one
guess I will find a good railroad tie.

Made By Hand


I too found an anvil, this is a 9 pounder. I tried to work some 14k y
gold on it and it actually dented the surface of the anvil ! Good
thing I only paid 8 bucks for it!! If you find out what to do off
Orchid, can you pass it along?

Daniel H
St Louis

You can’t beat an old piece of rail. They are really hard. I had one
for my first anvil. It was about 12" in length so I took it to a
machine shop and had it cut in two. I had one face highly ground and
polished by the machine shop and left the other all pitted and scarred
The pitted one was great for giving me interesting textures on the
things I was forging. Alma.

FWIW anyone who tries to hardface an anvil using Jetweld rods or
similar low hydrogen rods should bake them in the oven at 250 degrees
farenheight for several hours and only weld on clear sunny days with
low humidity. (In the US Southeast best is to wait until a dry winter
day as summers are too humid.) Procedure for weldors using them every
day is take them from a fresh, sealed can and then store them
immediately in the oven taking them out only to use. Low hydrogen
electrodes are very sensitive and any water at
all in or on them will result in porosity. Geo.

Hi BillyBob, You can get wonderful tools and anvils from a company
that does Horse Shoeing stuff and Blacksmith stuff. Centaur Forge
1-800-666-9175 …No you don’t need a horse to order their
cataalog…hee…hee…Susan Chastain

Dear Alma,

I second the motion ! You can do no better than a section of rail for
an anvil ! I got mine at a flea mart many years ago and it is a
beauty. It is about ten inches long and has been cleanly sawn off at
each end. It has another nice little touch in that it has large
raised numbers just above the flange…1989…indicating the year
of manufacture. I have it mounted on a 24’" tall section of 10"x12"
timber. I have tried my damnedest to make a dent in it and it just
keeps plugging along as smoothly as ever ! When you consider the fact
that it has been subjected to millions of pounds of rolling over many
years it is no wonder that it has become work hardened.
Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.