BigWooly
Hello all. I've been lurking for awhile, but this is my first post so forgive me if I'm on a bit of a learning curve. I'm self admittedly tech challenged so here I go. 
  Finally in a spot where I can re-ignight my metal tinkering and have pulled together all my old "anvils" and a few recent scrapyard finds. Now I'm looking for input, ideas, and mostly actual working knowledge on how to most effectively put them to use.
  My main area of starting projects will be some basic knives, bbq tools, and maybe some decorative baubles to weld on our various gates. (Scrolls, leaves, mangled flowers, things in this vein). Not sure if that really matters but more info can't hurt, right?
  My current selection of anvil type items to bang on consists of 2x 40lb steel dumbbells, 3x 2ft sections of light gauge rail, 3x 2x10x18ish mild steel counter balances (from an older than me dozer), and my crowning jewel (I think) approx 2ft of the working tip from a large hydraulic breaker. 4in diameter round 2ft long with a large chisel point on one end. 
  My current thoughts are to weld the counter balances together to make a large striking anvil so as to provide some forgiveness while I work on my striking accuracy.  Probably set up on end to provide a 6in wide striking surface. 
  Second, cut the handle off one of the dumbbells, and weld the lobes together for a 40ish lb chunk of harder steel after my accuracy game has come along. 
  My biggest wonder (I think) is how to best use the breaker tip? Originally i had thought to strap it down on its side to use as a horn, but I'm starting to wonder if I'd be better served to mount it in a stump so i can swap ends. Using the cut end as a round flat striking surface, or flipped over as a giant cutting tool. I know it's better to strike over the mass of the anvil but I'd hate to waste the closest thing to a horn I've got just to have another flat surface to whack things on. 
  Any direction would be greatly appreciated. If there's any information i left out please let me know. Typing this on my phone so I'm already feeling like I'm rambling.  I'll try to post some pictures this evening after work if that would help in any way. 
  Thanks in advance, and more importantly, thanks for all the valuable insight I've gained from lurking around for the last few months. 
Joseph. 
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Mike Westbrook
Welcome to the forum I think your right about the breaker point don't mess that up the long round side would work like a horn for tapering and you can always have a machine shop turn it into a cone mandrel in the future and I'm sure it's at least 1055 or harder the other good thought is mass it makes whatever your surface is work better my 180 lb anvil is seated on a steel plate bedded on 260 lbs compacted sand inside a stand all that mass works to keep it very solid and the sand deadens the ring with all that said welding up parts is a bit of a chore if you just stack parts and weld around them they will still act as separate peices because they are not one (kinda dead and springy ) the only good way is to place a ball bearing between the two peices leaving a gap big enough for a welding rod and build your way out to the edges then both peices will be one which takes lots and lots of time and welding and you will still have something you probably aren't in love with you can make and add mass with the peices you have I would just favor saving for an anvil they are hard to find no doubt but even a small anvil on the right base can feel like a larger one and you will have the pleasure of the Hardy and pritchel holes I spend alot of time on Hardy tools and would miss the option greatly don't be afraid of a used anvil as long as it's not cracked most of the surfaces can be cleaned up i only use a small section of sharp square edge the rest is rounded and tapered for drawing out tapers and starting scrolls and rings .....happy hammering 
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jmccustomknives
An anvil needs two things, mass and hardness.  The mass is needed to counter the hammers force and at minimum is around a 20 to 1 ratio with 40 to 1 being optimal.  The second part is the anvil needs to be hard enough to reflect the energy from the hammer strike, this is sometimes referred to as rebound.  With that being said a lot of things can be used as a makeshift anvil, some work well.  Avoid anything cast iron as they are brittle.  For knives a square top works most excellent.  keep us up to date on your progress.

Rule #10;  "I can make that" translates to; "I'm to cheap to buy it new."

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BigWooly
Thank you for the input. Sincerely. 
  Unfortunately, any extra moneys for the foreseeable future are already allocated to goat production so I've got to work with what I can get my hands on.  But a legit anvil is most definitely holding 3-4 spots on the ol' bucket list. 
  Considering the dead feel of welded plates, would I possibly be better off laying one of the counter weights on its side as a striking "anvil", in the meantime to schwack some metal and build my arm up?  I've hit the ground a few times (when I bounced more than went splat) and have some arthritis action in my good shoulder. Gonna need to build that up slow n steady. They are 75lbs each but I figure that doesn't mean much if its spread out the wrong way. I appreciate the concept of learning the right way once.  But, I also know I'm a lazy slug that does better if I get a start and barrel ass on through rather than wait to do it just perfect the first time. I'll get there in my own time. 
  I'll try to take some pictures tomorrow morning.  Planning to mount it all to a stand made from 2x4's screwed and glued, wrapped with metal strap (top n bottom), and turned up on end.  2x4's are the most uniform piece of lumber around my parts.  4x4's and larger are trash around here. 
  Thought about a sand filled base but want to see how well my tie down method works before sacrificing tie down strength due to sand core. (If that makes sense) At this point leaning towards simi pre-formed hot 1" strap with lag bolts screwed down tight. 
  I'm I generally in the right train of thought? Any glaring items I'm missing?  And again, a huge sincere thank you for the replys and information. 
Wooly
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Mike Westbrook
Wooly I had one other thought you could take what you feel is your best peice weld it to a section of large pipe or well casing fill it with high strength cement and sink it in the ground that should make for a heavy solid post anvil of sorts that might actually might be fairly decent just a thought 
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anvil
You are overthinking this puppy. Starting with no experience take it one step at a time. What you need is a flat surface firmly mounted to some sort of a stand, wood or metal, and this stand firmly connected to the ground. 

Leave all the rest alone. As you gain experience you will figure out uses for all the rest.

Your next priority should be a good post vice. Note a post vice, not a machinist vice.

I'm assuming you have some semblance of a forge.

This triad, and, of course, a hammer are the primary tools of our craft. 

Most important, start beating hot iron soonest and often.
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BigWooly
Tweaked my back this weekend so I'm stuck looking and thinking but here's a pic of my 20190205_084343.jpg "aso's". Just sitting around looking pretty, waiting to be banged on. 
While I'm on the mend, what books or other websites would y'all recommend for a newbie metal schwacker?  Trying to learn wherever I can. 
Wooly
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Scrambler82
I shouldn't even comment on your ideas because I don't have enough experience BUT... looking at your picture and reading what you posted, I think I would use the Heaviest Railroad Track, with the Weight Plate under it and secured in a wooden frame.
Make sure if using wood, stand each piece on end, not flat on the 4" side, glue and screw.

If you make a good solid stand out of wood it should work, once you added the weight plate it will add mass to the overall package, you might consider the stand being the size of the weight.   Then secure the track !
There is no reason that it can't work.


[20190205_084343] 
Do It Right The First Time !
GrevB
Location: SoCal, USA
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