by Dan Bradley

PreHeating Forge & Anvil

Published in the March 2002 Issue of Anvil Magazine

Winter is still here. Depending on the people you talk with, the balance of the winter will either be really cold or quite mild. Depending on where you live, there are going to be cold days. Besides our own bodies feeling the cold and getting a slow start, our equipment feels the same way. The one piece of equipment that feels the cold the most and refuses to work well until it is warm is our anvil. My own anvil that I use in the field is an ancient 150-lb. Trenton, and believe me, she is useless when cold. But the hotter she gets, the better she works.

Now that most of us do use a gas forge, the way I warm up my anvil also helps in getting the gas forge up to temperature. This gets the steel hotter faster.

Before I start on my first horse of the day I will fire up my gas forge and place a piece of steel 3/8" x 4" x 6" inside. I have a door on the forge which I close. I then trim the front end of my client's horse. This is about enough time for both the steel and the forge refractor to get hot. I pull the steel out, lay it on the anvil, and close the door to the forge. I then return and finish the rest of the horse. Now when I get back to my anvil the surface temperature is up and my forge has a heat soak to it. Your steel will heat up faster and the temperature will not be drawn off by a cold anvil face. This is an old, old trick, even though we are still very young-right?

Care of a Riveted Tool

The best way to care for any riveted tool is very simple. At least once a week wash the tool in water. Just slosh it around in your water bucket, wipe it off, and spray WD-40 all over the rivet. Open and close the tool as you do this. The WD-40 will draw the water out of the rivet. Wipe it off again and use a few drops of light machine oil, 3-in-one oil, gun oil or something comparable. As you open and close the tool, use a few drops of the light oil on the rivet and between the reins. Wipe the tool down and that's it.

Dirt is your enemy when it comes to a rivet tool. And of course in our profession, we're never around much dirt-yeah, right! Remember, a clean tool will make your job easier.

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