I have succeeded in making mushroom stakes from industrial size
bolts. Now I want to try to make a t-stake. I have two pieces of
tool steel 1"x1"x14". One, I will shape for the top of the stake, the
other I will taper and stick into a hole in a large wooden stump.

I plan to take the stake to a shop which will harden and temper it.

The shop says I shouldn’t weld the two pieces together because it
will create cracks in the metal.

Can anyone comment on this and recommend a better approach?

Stuart LeVine

Stuart, this seems like a good question to post to:

It’s a diverse group that includes blacksmiths and makers of large
steel sculptures.

Marilyn Smith

Can anyone comment and recommend a better approach to make a

I have done blacksmithing industrially and made my own tools .
Journeyman Millwright - 28 years.

First get a section of rail road track . 60 to 90 pound track is
great. Lighter track is not as common.That is figured in lbs. per
yard. A finished T - stake should weigh 10 to 15 lbs. A finished anvil
should weigh 20 to 25 lbs.

Another good source stakes and mandrels are surplus auto finishing
tools. Library’s have books on auto body work and the accompanying

I would recommend getting a section of rail road track and a cutting
torch. Cut away what does not look like a T - stake , get a side
grinder and grind away the rest.

Grind, file, and sand to a 320 grit finish. Do not harden it. It is
tough and wear resistant enough. Then leave a base about 4 X 6 in to
lag bolt to your stump.

While You are at it, cut another one to look like a small blacksmith
anvil . The last one I made, I cut out of 2 1/2 X 8 tool steel.

A great source of tough tool steel blanks are broken fork lift
prongs. By law they can not be re welded.

I most highly recommend a book offered by Charles Lewton Brain .

" The Making of Tools " by Alexander G. Weygers Now a 3 volume set.

  • Outstanding book, Outstanding dealer .

I have no Axe to grind or agenda to push here .

This is late to answer you but here is one reply I got from art
metal. Other remarks were not to harden the stake for non-ferrous

Marilyn Smith

I make up a lot of my stakes my self. Never worry about hardening
the surface. Some of my “stakes” are just a piece of pipe sanded
smooth and put in a vise. I make them out of what ever piece of
scrap iron I can find. But I think the question here is the welding
part. Even though silver is basically soft to work with it does
build up tension. With the tension you get some springy action when
you hit and sometimes have to hit a little harder. To weld the joint
of the two pieces with ‘just’ a butt joint there probably be some
cracking of the weld in the future. To be sure you could use some
7018 or something and run a couple of beads and V out and probably
would never have any problem. Depends on how long you want to keep
the stake for 10 yrs or more? Or just a onecy twicey thing? If only
a onecy time I have brazed some and they have held. But not looking
at seven inches of leverage. My suggestion is instead of welding why
not get a piece of scrap 1" plate and cut out the “T”. I usually
just make one sided stakes (don’t need as big of piece of scrap) to
work with and custom fit to the form required. By the way if she is
trying to make a stake for raising — better off to buy, that way the
angle for raising is all ready figured in to the stake. Here is a pic
of some home made ones there were made just for one

time use. They don’t have to be pretty all over, just where you are
going to hit. It takes some time to grind and sand and file and
polish but basically free. Warren Townsend