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Hi, All,

I'm picking up a 4.5/5" angle grinder and have an anvil that could use some help on the horn. There are some chisel cut marks and some other indents that I would like to take out and would also like to refine the tip. Someone suggested that I use a flap disc/wheel but I am wondering what grits to use. Also, to refine the edges of the face.

Thanks.

Eric

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40 grit to move a lot of metal. 80 to 120 grit for smoothing up. Files will help to identify the areas that need to be ground back. Also for round areas I like to use a sanding belt cut apart... the shoeshine motions get a lot of work done fast and tend to correct any small irregularities in shape.

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I've forged the horn tips on a few wrought anvils. It's easiest if you rock the anvil back so that it rests on its heel with the horn diagonally upward. I use an oxy rosebud heating tip and I usually get at least a two inch heat. I hammer on the bottom of the horn first, then work around the sides, and finally finish the top. It's a free-hand approach. You don't have to put the anvil on another anvil to forge and shape the end of the horn.

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I usually suggest not getting the horn too sharp; if you need a small point make a bic for the hardy hole! I think a couple of anvils I've bought cheap were from have a sharp horn and someone running into it for tthe 3rd time that week in their garage or basement.

Some people sharpen their horn and then make a horn shoe to protect themselves from it.

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I'm curious about cleaning up my anvil as well. My anvil is a loaner; so I want to be very careful with what I do to it (Also, I'll ask the owner before I do anything).

Like any anvil; the face has a ton of blemishes and dings. Some are around an 1/8" deep. It looks like the tool steel plate on top is around 3/4" thick. Is it acceptable to 'resurface' the anvil with careful grinding? And is that what people are talking about when they use the term 'resurface'?

It's a pain in the XXXX to be doing detailed work and have the rust pattern or dings from the anvil on the back side of my work.

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If someone wanted to grind on the face of any of my anvils I would ask that they first grind an equivalent amount off their own face.

3/4"would be quite a thick plate; what brand anvil is it? Some have "false plates" in their design.

As for resurfacing it could be anything from a light go over with a belt sander to surface grinding, milling, welding, etc (and many people get into trouble expecting anvils that were "free-handed" under steam hammers to have tops and bottoms parallel to each other---I have personally seen several where they milled completely through the face at one end getting it parallel to the bottom---instead of milling the bottom parallel to the face and then lightly kissing the face)

A lot of welders don't know about how anvils were made and can mess up the heat treat or get HAZ cracking trying to "repair" an anvil.

Lastly a lot of people want to dress the edges sharp when the old books on smithing tell you the first thing to do with a new anvil is to round the edges! Helps keep them from chipping and also helps keep them from putting cold shuts in your work.

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Im of the school of thought that an anvil is a tool, and has to earn its keep. I have no problem taking a milling machine, grinder etc to the face of an anvil (I own!) I wouldnt use a hammer with indents in its face!

My own main anvil is a beautiful 250 ish P/w. I milled a couple of mm from its face and dressed the edges and horn up nicely with a flap disc. My bladesmiting improved as a result. I worked on the basis that the little peter wright is mine for the next 40 odd years, if the next owner wants to moan the face is 2mm to thin when im dead im not to bothered :)

I bought this little chap on ebay - someone had been cold chiseling on the face :( - Here he is after a sympathetic half hour with an angle grinder. useable again, just another chapter in his life (yes, this anvil has gender, and is not just an object to me!) , probably the oldest double horn anvil Ive ever seen, including photos online.... 4 1/2" bish bash bosch :D

4-1.jpg

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How about a fellow I know who milled the face till it was about 2mm thick? The every hammer blow would dent it's beautiful shiny smooth surface with sharp edges!

There is moderation in everything, (even moderation!); but if you don't know enough that you have to ask such questions the best bet IMNSHO is to leave it alone and use it for a while.

I have an anvil that sat waiting for several years till we had an Anvil Repair Clinic for our blacksmithing group. Only 2 people turned up with anvils to be repaired, me and the guy mentioned above. His took around 5 hours of work using a good sized commercial welder being run by a talented blacksmith who teaches welding at the local college.

Mine took less time as it merely suffered air arc gouging and some crush injuries at a copper mine---the face was beautiful between the damage.

Funny thing about knifemaking, I still use my old 90+ pound Arm and Hammer for straightening as it has a gentle swale in it as compared to my dead flat 515# Fisher

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Thomas, Im not suggesting destroying an old anvil to make it a surface plate (though my p.w is one now, even though it would have had a radius top face when new!) but it the anvil has dings and pings all over the face, why not dress it up a bit?

I dont really forge on the horn of my anvil, it tends to be more of a 'pushing over it' motion so im not to bothered about the finish on it as it does not indent the workpiece - an anvil without a smooth 'flatish' area on the face would be horrible to use (for me!) - I do agree with you about folks not knowing what they are doing over milling / grinding an anvil, but a tickle here and there with a grinder is not a sin!

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And John; I don't fear for any anvil in your care----however new people often tend to over do it. I like the suggestion that folks should gain a bit of experience before they go modifying their anvil; then it's *their* anvil and they have the right to do anything to it---even if it's a *bad* idea!

Off for a 3 day weekend! Armistice Day tomorrow!

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Thanks for the great input. I have got 60, 80 and 120 grit flap discs. I know I probably have some belts around, too, if I need them. I hand started to work with files and some emery cloth strips that I have but it was taking way too long. Not really looking to reshape much but the tip is fairly heavily mushroom and the are chisel marks on the upper surfaces of the table and horns (face is pretty clean). The lots of marks on the sides and bottom of the horn. I believe these are probably punch marks. I'm going to leave the ones near the bottom for now but want to clean up the sides.

Thanks again!

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I reforged the horn tip of my Trenton anvil shortly after buying it. Gary Jameson explained to me how to heat the last few inches of the horn tip with a OA torch, hold a heavy sledge on one side as an "anvil", and hammer opposite to reforge. Once I had cleaned up the anvil and got up enough courage, I did it just like he told me working my way around the tip. Worked flawlessly and took the flattened, mushroomed tip out to a nice useable point. Very similar to Mr. Turley's approach above, but with the back up hammer to support the work. I also used a flap disk on the horn top to take out a bunch of chisel marks.

Many people will tell you that a horn tip doesn't need to be pointed to sharply, and they're right. But, I do use the tip quite a bit on some projects. An approriate hardy tool would probably suffice.

And, I do have a cover for the tip, so my kids don't poke themselves on it while working with me.

-Derek

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myself i use it the way it is... just a lite 120 flap discing and thats all...
-for a true flat or a true cone shape... i'll use an anvil block/hardy or a cone shaped hardy/ bick

its an old tool, and they come with character ... through use, they seem to smooth up abit... or that is my perception ?

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Had a chance to work on it today a bit. Cleaned up really well. Went at it a little with the 60 then hit it with the 120. Overall, I'm pleased. I am glad that I picked up a variable speed grinder. For something like this I was only at 2-3, with 6 being the fastest.

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Since the table is designed for chiseling on I would not be too concerned about chisel marks there. The face is a different matter! I get cutting plates and saddles for my anvils I teach with as students seem to have problems cutting with precision.

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