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I Forge Iron

What to do with my Anvil


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I am new here and I am in the process of learning this "Trade" as a hobby. In starting to find the various tools of the trade, I came across a Anvil at the local scrap yard. I don't know much about anvils but from what I have read on the Net and what I found on the anvil is that it is a 1843 William Foster. It has a H stamped on it but it looks like there was something stamped in front of it. The scales at the scrap yard weighed it at 106lbs. The problem with it is that the face isn't exactly flat, it's got a slight dip in it. No square edges and there is a small piece of the face missing on one side. I have read that you can weld the face up and regrind it flat. Should I do that to such an old anvil or keep looking for one in better shape?
Thanks
Kenny

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Kenny,

My recommendation is to snag the anvil and keep looking! I don't know exactly what your after, or what your background is, but I'd be inclined to snag an anvil like that at scrap yard prices. As far as resurfacing... My understanding, if you want to repair an anvil face, is to pre-heat the anvil to about 450 degrees, then build up the face using some 7014 or similar welding rod. This takes a fair amount of work, and I don't know if that is something you are prepared to do. Also, you may find that rounded edges might have some advantages over square edges. What condition / shape is the horn in?

Disclaimer: I'm still a newbie blacksmith.

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Kenny,

I was in the same boat as you. I found a decent anvil and all I did was worry about it not being flat enough, chips and dips. I even had it at a grinding shop to blanchard grind the face, luckily I went and picked it up before they got to it.

I kept blaming the anvil for my problems till a much better smith came by and did some amazing work on it proving the problem wasn't the anvil!

I would grab that anvil, clean up the face and try it out. You certainly are not going to stop with one anvil so make some room for the rest of the collection.

Check around your area for other smiths, you might find one who knows how and has the tools to weld up that face.

Get to it and have fun - Mike

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Thanks for the input. I went ahead and picked up the anvil, couldn't pass it up for .15 cents a pound. The horn is in decent shape except for the tip, looks like it may have been dropped on it and has flattened the tip just a little. I'll clean it up and see how it works for me as is first.
Thanks
Kenny

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The problem with it is that the face isn't exactly flat, it's got a slight dip in it. No square edges and there is a small piece of the face missing on one side.


That's a Problem??:o I've been hammering over an anvil exactly like that (different brand) for the better part of 8 or 9 years!! You usually work across the face anyways, so a slight dip from front to back won't do much harm at all. Also, sharp corners cause cold shunts. A corner with a radius is more useful probably 95% of the time. And besides, at that age, the anvil could have belong to the personal farriers of one of the great generals of the American Civil War (assuming you are in America ;) ) You wouldn't want to modify such a national treasure would you? Okay, maybe that was a bit of a stretch.

Try working over it the way it is. You'll probably find that it'll do about anything you want.

-Aaron @ the SCF
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Howdy from East TEXAS!! You will be glad you bought that one for $.15p/lb!! WHAT A DEAL! Even if it is not in "prestine" condition. As stated before, you can work around the rough spots and learn the 'sweet' spots as you learn this fine art of blacksmithing. The point of the horn being "flat" was done on purpose. Most likely the original owner did it to keep form poking holes in his leg. ;) Very few, if any, old anvils have a sharp point on the horn. As far as the 'dip' or sway in the face, don't worry about that either. I have several anvils, some flat, some with a slight sway, very little difference in the end product from working flat or swayed. Possiblely if you worked 10-12hrs. forging every day you would notice a difference but then you would be good enough that it wouldn't matter to you. :) Enjoy your new find and learn all you can of this great art!

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Kenny,

I've got three anvils in my shop of a good size for most forging work. Two are older and have a bit of a curve in the center of the face and rounded edges. The other has a perfectly flat face and sharp edges. Guess which one is the anvil I use 95% of the time? Not the one with the flat face. That one I use as a flattening plate or when I need a sharp corner or a small pritchel hole, but that's about it. Other than that, my anvil has that dip.

The trick is to not only be aware of it, but to work around it and with it as the case may be. Learning your anvil is, in my opinion, almost as important as hammer control, because if you disregard the quirks of an anvil's shape, etc, it can make life...difficult.

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This old Haybudden has almost an eight of an inch of depression in the sweet spot, Doesn't hurt it abit.

It was my Fathers Plow Anvil, the depression is caused by the crushing of the Wrought iron under the hard face from continual use over many years in one spot .

1673.attach

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