David Sanders

bought an old ebay fix-it-up anvil

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Hello all new to the site and to Blacksmithing and today i bought my first anvil. Still not sure as to the manufacture but needs a little repair to the Hardface. Im a welder by trade in the navy and i know it can be fixed. i found this on ebay and the guy posted that it was 250 to 300 lbs. He originally had it for 300 but after a few emails i talked him to 250 with some gas money to meet me 3/4 the way to my place . he lived 100 miles away after he pulled up and opened the back of his van i could tell by looking at it it wasnt 250 or 300 it was closer to 200. but i had already paid for it and it still has a nice ring to it even though the face is a little damaged but all in all i was happy. he even had an old pot to give to the wife for free after i got home. figured she would use it as a planter. on the way home i knew of an old abandoned rail track to my amazment had an engine running down it something i havent seen in the 12 years i have lived here. some of the tracks i was able to shift with my foot thats how old this section was. while i was there i found 8 rail spikes to the side scatered so i collected them and took em home. there are some stamp marks on the side of the anvil i make them out to be 1.2.20 thats all i could find. it anyone has some info on this anvil i would like to know. i restore old equipment to use in my shop, kind of a hobbie to fix something old to use again. thanks for reading, Dave

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from the looks of the tracks they are used- there is a lack of rust on the tops. Could've been from a few deliveries by that train, but I'd say they must just run every once in a while. That's a good score if you like fixing them up. It kinda looks like it sat at the bottom of a pond, the way it is really black and shiny.

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That is a lot better than a lot of folks started with use and enjoy! And keep in mind tht ;picking up spikes along right aways is consisdered theft and tresspassing in some areas..Just sayin!

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Thanks for that info Rich Hale. I will keep that in mind for now on. Wouldn't think spikes tossed to the side would be a problem but I can see where that could be an issue if someone did have a problem. There are a lot of scrapers around here and that I don't need to be confused with if someone saw me.

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Hey David, welcome to IFI. Where in VA Beach are you? I'm in NC and travel to VA Beach quite often. Dr's, commissary, work......
As Rich stated, the RR takes a dim view of people walking the tracks let alone taking spikes so try to keep that to a minimum.

There is a good blacksmithing group in the tidewater area. Tidewater Blacksmith's Guild.

This is their site:
http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/92-tidewater-blacksmith-guild/

They are well established and those that I have met are really good guys.

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Not a bad looking anvil, seen and worked on worse. Take wire wire wheel to it and get some of that paint off so we can see the real condition. Looks as though it has had a lot of use after part of the hard face broke off which should show a lot of folk here that consider an anvil in that condition totally useless. However one broken like that is still useful for general smithing work, just ain't as pretty as a new one. What comes off of an anvil is more about the smith than the anvil. Welcome IFI we look forward to hearing from you often.

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Hey David, welcome to IFI. Where in VA Beach are you? I'm in NC and travel to VA Beach quite often. Dr's, commissary, work......
As Rich stated, the RR takes a dim view of people walking the tracks let alone taking spikes so try to keep that to a minimum.

There is a good blacksmithing group in the tidewater area. Tidewater Blacksmith's Guild.

This is their site:
http://www.iforgeiro...acksmith-guild/

They are well established and those that I have met are really good guys.


thanks mark for the group info. i found them on facebook as well. looks like a good group of folks. im located 3 miles from littlecreek naval down independace. as soon as i get thngs going i will try to go to a meet and greet and see some action.

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Not a bad looking anvil, seen and worked on worse. Take wire wire wheel to it and get some of that paint off so we can see the real condition. Looks as though it has had a lot of use after part of the hard face broke off which should show a lot of folk here that consider an anvil in that condition totally useless. However one broken like that is still useful for general smithing work, just ain't as pretty as a new one. What comes off of an anvil is more about the smith than the anvil. Welcome IFI we look forward to hearing from you often.


plan on taking a wire wheel to it tomorrow as soon as i get off work. still curious as to the make. after looking around it looks similar to a peter wright or mousehole. after i clean it i might find more markings

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looks like 1 2 20 on the side. If that's right then your anvil should have been 188lb when it was made. Be careful buying on eBay, most sellers are flat out lairs or are vary bad at measuring weight. Anyway I recommend that you look up "Rob Gunter anvil repair". A vary good set of instructions on repairing old anvils. Good luck on the fix up!

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Great find. I almost bought a "350#" anvil on ebay. Went to see it and saw that there was no way it weighed that much! For the price he was asking, I was doing good if it weighed 350, but not if it weighed less than 300. I told him that and he got back to me later to let me know that it actually weighed 260!

Still, you got a great pot for a planter, too. That offsets the overage on the anvil because those old pots don't come cheap!

Can't wait to see how you repair it!

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Ok i went ahead and done some sandblasting on the thing and got it cleaned up to see all i could see wrong with it and found the lable stamps and a few cracks around 2 of the feet. cracks are there but after some good looks from a buddy in NDT cracks are superficial and should be still sound. they look like the feet were forged on seperately during the forgeing process and ended up cracking later maybe due to not forge welding the feet on enough on that side when it was made. Still has a nice ring to it. the lable stamps i can hardly make out but after staring a while and doing a little history serching i made out M&H ARMITAGE MOUSEHOLE. from another site i found how to date them and this anvil if i am reading it right was made 1820 to 1835 which would explain all the wear and tear from the years of abuse. Im still going to repair it and still going to use the crap out of it cause things are ment to be used. Love finding out the story behind the equipment i use, makes it all that much more fun and exciting to make things.


Mousehole Forge anvils can be dated from their logos: (These are all cicra - about - dates and the words would be stacked):

1780 - 1795: MOUSEHOLE
1795 - 1820: C&A MOUSEHOLE
1820 - 1835: M&H ARMITAGE MOUSEHOLE
1835 - 1854: HENRY ARMITAGE MOUSEHOLE
1854 - 1875: M&H ARMITAGE MOUSEHOLE FORGE
1878: BROOKS & COOPER MOUSEHOLE FORGE SHEFFIELD WARRANTED (with the outline of a mouse and HOLE for the first time)
1879: M&H ARMITAGE MOUSEHOLE FORGE SHEFFIELD WARRANTED (mouse) HOLE PATENT
1880: M&H ARMITAGE MOUSE HOLE FORGE (mouse) HOLE WARRANTED
1895: M&H ARMITAGE (mouse) HOLE SHEFFIELD
1896: M&H ARMITAGE MOUSEHOLE FORGE SHEFFIELD WARRANTED PATENT (mouse) HOLE
1911: M&H ARMITAGE MOUSEHOLE FORGE SHEFFIELD ENGLAND WARRNANTED (mouse) HOLE PATENT
1927-1933?: OWEN-THOMAS THE OLD FORGE SHEFFIELD ENGLAND

Notes:
- C&A = Cockshutt & Armitage
- M&H = Morgan and Henry
- Mousehole Forge is the only known manufacturer to use dots/periods between the weight numbers, such as 1 . 3 . 14. Sometimes all which remains of the logo is the dots.
- Weight markings are in the British stone system to where the first represents multiples of 112 (1/20th long ton), the second multiples of 28 and the third remaining pounds. Usually off from scale weight a bit.
- Mousehole Forge was one of the last British anvil makers to change from the old style to the modern (more blocky) feet. They did so cicra 1895.
- The origins of the name of Mousehole is not certain. The square handling holes in an old anvil are called mouseholes. In England a bend in a river with a deep spot is known as a mousehole and Mousehole Forge was located at such as spot. There is a coastal English town named Mousehole and it was well known as the site of a brief French invasion about the time the forge was started.
- Mousehole Forge contined to use water power (heave or tilt hammers) long after other manufactures switched to mechanical hammers. All Mousehole anvils are pretty well 'handmade'.

Source: The Mousehole Forge by Richard A. Postman (with John and Julia Hatfield) http://www.abana.org/resources/discus/messages/4/442.html?1254101882

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Ha another squid. I was a welder in the navy oh so many moons ago and spent half my tour in Little creek.
Be sure to preheat and slow cool. I have repaired a mouse hole like that one only a little lighter and a 108 peter wright with the stoody and they have both held up very well. I built an enclosure out of firebrick with a big kaowool pad. Once preheated I started welding and grinding. I kept checking the temp and reheated as necessary. then when finished welding to the proper height I took it back to temp and put the kaowool over it and closed up the firebricks and left it until the next day. I ground it and have been using it for about 5 years now.
By the way thanks for the info on the dating now AI can clean mine up again and try to get a better idea on the date.

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