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Isn’t it much easier to replace a hammer than an anvil?
So I would think that you would want your hammer to be less hard than your anvil.
The top quality anvils that we have tested and sell range in hardiness from HRC 55 - 62 with an average around 58 HRC on the center mass of the anvil. This is not the horn(s) or edges as many of those areas are closer to the lower figure of 55 HRC. These ratings are not the same for commercially made hand-held forging hammers.
Please note I was very specific in writing, “commercially made hand-held forging hammers,” as the term blacksmithing hammer has pretty much become a very loose term. So loose that some even group ba
Use flux or not? The real question is do you understand what flux is for?
Flux is used to reduce the temperature at which the surface elements (scale, impurities, etc.) become fluid on the surface of the metal. It protects the surface from erosion due to air or gas blasting against the metal. Therefore if you do not use flux you must raise the temperature enough to make the elements on the surface fluid.
The argument for forging with a small hammer vs. a larger hammer is much like the argument of which truck is better, Ford or Chevy. If you've been forging for a while you probably have an opinion on this. Hopefully, if you have been forging for a while you also have tested your opinions as well. Have you forged with a larger hammer enough to know it is not right for you?
In the USA bituminous coal is divided into high-volatile, medium volatile, and low volatile groups. Metallurgical grade Blacksmithing Coal would fall into the low-volatile group. The higher the volatile rating the more the coal fire will propagate or spread. Lower volatile coal SHOULD coke without moisture being added. Herein lies the rub.. Adding water does several things that work against us.