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dickb

Repairing an Anvil

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I bought a one hundred sixty pound Mousehole anvil and the top is a little swayback. I can't say exactly how much because it's sitting upside down in the trunk of my car. I haven't figured out yet how to get it out, but I'm working on it.

I am a new blacksmith, not a collector, and intend to use the anvil.

I'm considering having it milled flat or maybe blanchard ground flat but I don't know if this will damage or ruin it.

Can anyone advise me if this is a good or bad idea?



Thanks

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Don't grind it, you are removing the steel plate. It will work just fine as is.
By using the search feature at the top of this page, I found these discussions of repairing and resurfacing anvils:

- http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/f83/rusty-anvil-13995/
- http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/f83/saltwater-anvil-14072/
- http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/f56/hard-facing-rods-tig-13052/
- http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/f83/so-i-bought-anvil-13528/
- http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/f83/anvil-dressing-13314/

To get the anvil out you could:
- find someone to grab the other end
- borrow or rent an engine hoist
- have a tow truck come over and lift it out with the truck's boom

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Bad idea, use it as it, swayback is actually a bonus. I have a mousehole with around 3/16" of swayback in it, and it works good for straightening stock, the swayback helps with "springback" that you get.

At the very least, use it for 6 months before making a decision.

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Once you start using it you will find uses for the sway back. Asd jeff said it is real good to straighten items. I have a 108lb Mousehole and it has a pretty big swayback but it comes in Handy. I wouldnt change a thing. Mine one of the corners is came un welded so once get a chance I plan on building it back up , but dont plan on filling the swayback up , its just to useful.
Chris

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Good that you asked first. Many good anvils have been ruined in the milling machine or on the grinder. Post some pictures if you aren't sure. Chances are that your anvil "as is" is in better shape than those many of us use. You really do want some swayback.
The hard plate on top of the anvil is pretty thin. The body of the anvil is very soft. If your plate is 3/8" thick and you mill off 1/4" to clean it up, you now have a junk anvil.

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A little ... sway ... is generally put into an anvil by the original maker. It is there for a purpose. The main group of people who WANT a perfectly flat anvil tend to be knife makers.

Much more important is how beat up is the surface? Lots of dings/dents? How chipped up are the edges?

Some of the edges/corners you will want to round (radius) over anyway. Sharp corners are nice, but rounded corners work better for most work. So if some edges are chipped a little, consider grinding/sanding them rounded - possible to different radius's.

Dings/dents on the surface get reflected in the underside of anything you work on that section. Light dings/dents can be smoothed out with an angle grinder/sander or belt sander. Big/deep dents/dings tend to need to be welded up then ground/sanded flush and smooth.

So be more concerned about the overall surface than a little sway. And milling the whole surface always seems like the ... quick fix. But you would be far ahead to have the surfaced properly welded up with the correct hard welding rod, and then ground flat/smooth - with a slight sway in it (unless you are a knife maker and want that perfectly flat face).

Mikey

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A little ... sway ... is generally put into an anvil by the original maker. It is there for a purpose. .......... Mikey


I suspected that might be the case, as probably all the Mousehole anvils and other old anvils that I have looked at, even those with near-pristine top plates, all had at least a wee bit of a sway. I personally find a bit of a sway useful in straightening pieces. :D

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Even if the face is dinged up enough you don't like the results on your forged work welding and grinding is always risky enough to consider alternatives. The alternative I recommend is making a hardy tool with a polished face.

Don't try to grind the face flat, as said sway isn't a bad thing, even if it's severe. Another thing to think about, there're probably only a few machinists in the country who know how to do it properly. You MUST make sure the foot and face are parallel in both axes which is rare for anvils as made.

If a machinist mounts an anvil in a mill or grinder and starts on the face there's a very real probability of grinding through the face on one end before it's flat and all you'll have is a garden decoration.

Properly dressing the face in a machine shop will probably cost more than buying an anvil in better shape if you're patient.

Just put it to use once you get a couple neighbors to help get it out of the trunk. Teenagers are perfect for the task. ;)

Frosty

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for getting it out if you were close to me i would show you how i use my muscles instead of my brain and just pick it up out of there and have ihave done this before and i wounder whymy back hurts every now and then or just like every one said get help or even a tree branch thats big and hanging out fare enough and use comelong chain hoist

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For removing it from the trunk, if it's still there, my first idea would be to get a good solid 2X4 or better 2X6 that is longer than the car is wide and chain the anvil to the board and (with help) lift it out that way.

Or you could rock it back and forth adding boards under the sides to raise it to a level you can work with it.

Just a couple ideas.

Kendrick

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