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I have recently purchased what I believe is a forged anvil. The face is slightly concave and I had read somewhere that it was possible to flatten it out and have a steel plate welded to it. I am new to this, so forgive me for not offering all of the necessary details. If more information is necessary, or even pictures, I will be happy to provide.

If this is do-able, what thickness and type of steel would be best for the job?

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Welcome,Slightly concave is not a problem and can advantages for straightening.....lemons to lemonade .....Leave it be.

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Howdy from East TEXAS!! and welcome to IFI! If you would, go to your profile page and edit to include your location. This way we could probably direct you to someone "just up the street" from you. Or at the very least an ABANA group in your general area.

As to the weld a steel plate on your anvil....WAIT!!!! we will need to see pictures first. You state the face being slightly concave, that is not a bad thing, it allows you to be able to straighten your work easier....most metal has 'memory', meaning if slightly bent it will return to it's original state. So if you bend it a little past where you want it to go then it will be closer to straight....makes sense? Most likely your anvil will only need to be used! :D Take a hammer and tap on the face of the anvil to check the rebound. Rebound is what you want. It's like the anvil is throwing the hammer back at you.

Pictures of the face, both sides, front/rear, and bottom will help us identify you anvil.

Glad you are here and once again, welcome, enjoy your new addiction!!! :P

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Thanks for the warm welcome! I have updated my profile accordingly. I will try and get some pictures in the morning before work, as I will probably get home after dark today. I have joined our local blacksmith association, which meets once a month.

How much rebound am I looking for? Let's say I hold the hammer about 6 inches above the face of the anvil and drop the weight of the hammer on it? What should I expect?

Thanks for the reply! I am enjoying already, though I scarcely know how to make anything but a few hooks ; )

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The law of gravity won't let it rebound 100% but I have had anvils that will give 90-95% rebound. The best method is with a steel ball bearing using a scale to measure height drop from and rebound. Ya done good by joining your local BS group. I believe Brian Brazeal and LDW are members of that group and are members here on IFI, I know there are others but for the life of me I can't remember their names...sorry guys...it's a senior thing... I would suggest that you take your anvil to the next meeting and let some of the members have a look-see and go from there. Much better to give anvil repair suggestions/recommendations after seeing the subject in real life! BUT, please post pics here too! We blacksmiths have a thing about looking at pictures of anvils...you, too, will get that in due time, I'm sure!

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The law of gravity allows 100% rebound with no problems---the laws of thermodynamics is what says "you can't break even".

Over at anvilfire.com drag down the navigate menu and go to 21st Century then look for Testing Anvil Rebound on that page for a link to a good test with values from actual tests in it.

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The law of gravity allows 100% rebound with no problems---the laws of thermodynamics is what says "you can't break even".

Over at anvilfire.com drag down the navigate menu and go to 21st Century then look for Testing Anvil Rebound on that page for a link to a good test with values from actual tests in it.

I stand (or rather sit) corrected

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Thanks guys. I will check that out. Of course, with it being concave, I may not be able to get that bearing to bounce straight back up ; )

Could you explain to me the importance of the hardness of the anvil and the relationship of the bounce to the blacksmith and the piece being forged?

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The harder the anvil face is the better the rebound. Try rebounding a hammer on a pile of sand or something soft- no rebound, then try on something hard like a good anvil or another hammer if you are careful not to hit it to hard- good rebound.
Rob

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I get that for sure. I'm going to take a stab at this. The harder the anvil face, the less the anvil "gives", which transfers more energy into the piece that is being worked, rather than the anvil itself. Less rebound = anvil absorbing energy...Am I close?

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You don't need to measure re-bound with a micrometer. A good estimate will do fine. Your anvil would pretty much have to have worn through the hardened face to be curved enough to not give you a rough estimate!

I have one anvil I use for knifemaking just because it has a smooth face with a slight concavity. It was one of my first anvils and after 25 years or so working with it I know just how to use it to tap a blade so it springs back straight! Much easier using that old 91 pound anvil than the 515# one with a dead flat face!

Generally we advise people NOT to modify their anvil till they have used it a bunch and figured out what is actually a feature, what can be lived with and what just has to be fixed on it. So far in the last 30 years of smithing I have had *2* anvils repaired. One, a Vulcan, had the edges built up before I sold it on and the other a 400+ pound Trenton(?) had repairs to the air arc gouging that some idjit weldor at a copper mine put into the dead smooth face. Both times the work was done at an anvil repair workshop held by my local blacksmithing group where we had the right equipment, materials and highly skilled weldor-smiths do them. (note that these workshops were 1500 miles apart as I moved between them).

I have one anvil where the face was finely pitted due to condensation from 50+ years sitting in a damp location. I did nothing to it but use it and the scale and hot metal are slowly polishing it to a beautiful face!

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how interesting. thanks d justin hamilton - and welcome to the site :)

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My personal feelings about anvil repair are unless it is dang near to point of no use it is better to leave it alone. A sway backed anvil is not a big problem for most of us unless we are in the class of professional blacksmith but if we are in the category of weekend blacksmith it will work for another forty or fifty years in such condition and produce very acceptable work. Heck, it will probably produce very acceptable work for a professional blacksmith but since you are a professional you may as well buy a new one that way it is tax deductible and will cost about as much as you will put in to bringing and old one into near new condition, so why put all that effort into it, you still have an old anvil. Unless it an unusual or somewhat rare type of old anvil leave well enough alone. For a good part of my career in working hot steel on an anvil the one I used only had half a hard face and then in scouting around I found my one true love as far as anvils are concerned and that is my 300# Fisher. Now I could have spent a lot of money on my nice half faced wrought iron anvil or saved my money and ended up with my Fisher. I suggest that you save your money for an anvil that ain't needing to be "fixed", it will save you in the long run. You just use that one "as is" and keep an eye out for the right one that is headed your way.

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I agree don't mess with the anvil i have my great great grandfathers anvil that i use and it is 110 pounds no idea the brand and is probably 150+ years old (ill try to post pics when i get a chance to see if any of you have an idea on the brand, it is forged) and it has a missing chip off the face but 90% of the face is in great condition (for its age) so as long as it works for what i need it for i wont let anyone touch it because it has character. i like to day dream about how that chip got there as it was a farm workshop anvil. so long story short i would see if i could live with it and if so i would use it until you can't. just my opinion though and remember i only use my 3-5 times a week for a few hours here and there.

Tim

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