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I Forge Iron

Anvil ID

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Hi everyone,

We are going to buy an anvil that we know little about. The problem is we don't have the time or resources to beat around the bush enough to find alternatives. This is in Portugal, the other side of the Atlantic, so it might be an interesting challenge to all the anvil-identifying experts around here :)

I've never heard about the quality of anvils of this pattern, and am wondering about it. There is no writing on the visible side of the anvil, the edges are somewhat worn but holding, and anvil face juts out slightly on the sides, which is what I'm most suspicious about (maybe it was welded on?). It's displayed along with a nice looking stake anvil, which is such a speciality item that I hope both have been used together and are good quality. The face looks OK, but that hardy-looking thing doesn't seem like it comes off (though we've been assured it does).

So again, I'm suspicious but I'm willing to give it a try since the alternatives are really slim. As long as the horns don't break off it should do for now!

Does anyone know anything about this type of anvil?

Thanks in advance for any info! :)




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It kind of looks like cast metal from all the little bumps where the paint is wearing off. I did not see a handling hole under the horn either. How is the ring and rebound? cast iron is junk but cast steel is great and should ring like a bell. From the pics it looks to be in great shape and good size as well. A large punch from the bottom will probably get out that hardie.

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Wow, so many responses already! Thanks a lot everyone!

I'm afraid I'm on your side of the Atlantic right now and can't make it ring myself, and the person getting it hasn't had a chance. I'm hoping he will! He also looked for markings (to get the weight), and found absolutely none, which is strange.

From my understanding, cast iron would chip instead of bend/compress, and the corners/edges of the face appear not to have chipped. Hopefully it won't be too soft either, and leave hammer marks all over the place. The stake anvil appears to have been under heavy use, and the information we have is that the anvil should be pretty old.

The fact that the table juts off from the main body and that Old World Anvils appears to be USA based makes me sceptical that that's the origin. I can't get a clear picture of a B31 pattern, but from the small one here it does seem rather similar. I'm not going to dare hope for that though, since we could find no markings.

I think we are going ahead with the purchase. If anyone has any more ideas or hints about what to expect from this piece, let me know!

Thanks again! All this is really appreciated!

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Only make sure to have your friend ring it and maybe spark test on the bottom, cast iron gives little to no sparks. But if it rings go for it. That is a very common style of anvil in that part of the world. and judging by the grinders next to it it is 300 lbs or more. I have an old french anvil brought here to repair the statue of liberty and it looks similar to that, 400 lbs.

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AF, the type of spark given off by the metal will tell you something about what you're grinding. Tool steel throws off different sparks than mild steel, and cast iron throws off different kinds of sparks than wrought iron. If the faceplate is integral to the body of the anvil, meaning that they aren't two separate parts welded together, you can grind a bit on the foot of the anvil to see what the sparks look like. A cast iron anvil is about useless, but an anvil made from cast steel, like a lot of modern anvils, would be perfectly suitable for working on.

If this anvil is old, the chances of it being cast steel are slim. Of course, we have to define "old"!

My thoughts: if the anvil is large, over 150#, it's more than likely that it will be a good anvil for a shop. Large anvils were made for working, not decorator pieces, and no shop would invest the money into something that might break in two with the first hammer swing. Not having a maker's mark is a bit curious, but I wouldn't worry too much as my little anvil has the faintest writing you've ever seen.

Do the ball bearing test for rebound and listen to the ring.

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