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Steel bench block clean-up

Hello Orchidians,

Can someone tell me how to polish my steel bench blocks to get the
dents out and restore the smooth level surface it once had?

Would a metal/machine shop be my best bet, or is that even cost
effective given the price of a new block is around $35.00?

What typically becomes of old beat up bench blocks, do you modify
them to serve other purposes, such as an anvil?

I appreciate any advice that any of you can give me.

Vicki Stone

Vicki- I know the perfect tool for this task, as well as anvil,
hammer face, and stake refinishing. It’s called an apprentice.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

1 Like
Would a metal/machine shop be my best bet, or is that even cost
effective given the price of a new block is around $35.00? 

$35… I’d buy a new one for that price.

Regards Charles A.

I just bought a new bench block for myself at IMS (“industrial metal
supply” for.99c per pound. about 6"L x 4"W x 3/8"D of cold rolled
steel - basically out of their scrap pile and quite happy w/ it). I
highly recommend checking out your local metal suppliers for scrap. I
saw a nice block of steel in the “artist bin” for.30c a LB but
decided on a larger surface area and went with the.99c per LB (but it
only cost me about $5).

Shop around…


Polishing an anvil & bench block

I am unable to find the original question, sorry, but I have an
answer about how to polish your anvil and bench block.

Harbor Freight carries a “Polishing Kit” that fits either 4" or 6"
angle grinders. The kit comes with 6 polishing pad disks ranging
from 40 grit all the way up to 800. I was able to polish my blocks,
stakes and anvils to a very bright and level surface with the use of
these. You definitely want to watch the thickness of the polishing
pad for wear-down while you use them or you can leave a nice nick
from the center post of the tool on your freshly polished surface.

Keep the face of the pads nice and level while you are working so
your anvil/blocks keep a nice and level surface. I would also try
not to let your anvil or blocks get too hot, although I don’t think
you can ruin the temper with just the heat from an angle grinder’s
pad, but to be cautious I let mine cool off when they started to get
pretty warm. (Yes, if you have an apprentice to do the job you are
much better off, as it is very messy work. It can be time consuming
too, depending on how damaged the surfaces are. It took me about 3
hours of work on my large anvil, and about 2 hours total to do my
smaller bench top anvil, my stakes and my 4" bench block. They are
shiny and new again, and the large anvil was badly dinged from years
of use by its previous blacksmith owner.

I will add in here that Blacksmithing swap meets make for great tool
shopping! I got my 68 pound anvil and 2 wonderful stakes for a total
of less than $175.00. Get in there early to get the best used tools.
I have even been able to purchase some very nice used files that
just needed a good cleaning. Those files that are too dull to cut
anymore, I buy to forge into knife blades. (Well, I no longer have
access to the forges I used when I was in college, so next year I
will be shopping for the even bigger toys, er…tools!)

Definitely do the job OUTSIDE, (TONS of steel dust), and ALWAYS wear
an industrial grade respirator when grinding steel. The usual eye
and ear protection, are appropriate as well.

Hope this helps whoever was asking.

Would a metal/machine shop be my best bet, or is that even cost
effective given the price of a new block is around $35.00? $35...
I'd buy a new one for that price. 

I’d agree with Charles except there’s a caveat - a $35 bench block of
any size is going to be mild steel. The OP block is banged up for the
same reason. Mine are tool steel and they last pretty much forever,
and we wail away on them daily. You can buy blocks of tool steel from
suppliers and Ebay and such - they won’t be cheap…

Hi Guys,

You could use tempered spring steel, and that’s a lot cheaper, you
just have to do a little running around.

However tool steel blocks are a dandy solution, just find a steel
store and you’ll be sweet. You’ll need to finish one side to work

Regards Charles A.

Otto Frei has slightly miss manufactured bench blocks available on
closeout right now in three different sizes. These are case hardened
blocks. The defect consists of too many radiused edges rather than
sharp edges. I believe the original manufacturer was Durston. Find
them here

or listed under Closeouts on the side bar menu on their website. I
don’t own stock just a satisfied customer.

Michael Edwards
Flying M Designs

Hoi, I use a belt sander (cheep brand) with 180 and 240 grit paper
and finish with 1000 grit wet/dry by hand, i use it for all my tool
making /cleaning (not for ball punches, still do them by hand).Try on
a hammer first until you get in to it.Don’t change direction!
North-south only,if you go east west as well you will get nasty

Good luck Kif.