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Hi guys im in the process of looking to buy a cast iron Farriers type Blacksmiths Anvil. I have not actually looked at the said item yet but have attached two photos which the seller has sent me. I have a couple of questions regarding this anvil and its suitability for the type of work I intend to do with it (should I decide to purchase it).
You will see its 102kgs and made by JB ENGLAND.

I would like your opinions on what you can see as the condition of it and what do you guess its worth. Mainly I am a hobbiest knife maker and forge blades from 5160 steel. in the main I use a 3lbs blacksmiths hammer and forge down to about between 5mm to 4mm before final finishing on the belt grinder.
Of interest I have read in some quarters that farriers type anvils are not a good bet for general type blacksmithing-blade forging work. Dont know how true this is. The other thing that is also slightly bugging me it that a lot of opinion seems to be saying steer well clear of cast anvils as they are very inferior to forged anvils. Unfortunately my budget only allows me to look at secondhand cast ones at present.
Checking the anvil:
I have been told also to look out for parrallel cracks running 3-4mm from the stricking surface which my indicate poor depth heat treatment after surface hardening of the anvils striking surface?.

Please have a look at the photos and let me know what you think


Any advice about how to check out the anvil and its suitability will be very greatfully recieved.
Regards to all Hammer and tongs.

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Don't confuse cast steel with cast iron. Jymm Hoffman has a GREAT cast steel anvil well worth the money. For cast iron peruse harbor freight or Grizzly and you should see the differences after some study. There are other good to top quality cast steel anvils and 1 good cast iron made by Fisher if you can find one.

With all of that I have no I dea what kind of quality that one may be. Can you give it a try and see what it does for you? That would at least remove some of the rust for the current owner.

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To me that looks like a Brooks anvil made in England, Centaur Forge used to carry them once Kowlswa anvils became unavailable in the early 1980's. A very good anvil if it is. I would check cast steel vs iron by checking the rebound of a hammer on the face. If good rebound it should be steel and it will have a nice ringing sound to it.
Hope this helps
Mike

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Hi Guys
Clarke-kenski-its not that cheap the guy wants equivalent of $2oo for it and its 120 miles away .Why do you say that I will not be happy with it-some experience you have had?
Im beginning to have doubts but im being told at this end that these go for between $200 and $300 in england. These things seem to fetch silly money. However that said the seller is going to send me more photos of the striking surface then I guess its decision time. Shame its 3 hours or so drive away. Thanks for the advice any way guys the jurys out on this one I think.
Thanks H&TONGS

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Not personaly but i was watching This Old House a few years back when Bob gave away all the cast iron heating radiators in the house.Well they followed the guy to the scrap yard where they proceeded to pile up the radiators and some cast iron bath tubs, then with a crane and an electromagnet they lifted a huge sheet of STEEL and repeatedly dropped it until they had nothing but bits and pieces of cast iron.So hitting a big chunk of it shaped like an anvil with a STEEL hammer doesnt seem right to me. Some guys usem and are happy though:) My every day anvil is a 350 pound kohlswa that is cast steel ,which if its the last anvil i ever buy id be happy(my wife would be too!)

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Yes but this one seems to have a cast steel plate on top as most older anvils do i know there were some that were cast Iron. My 200lb fisher has a 1 inch thick plate on top. But the fact is most new steel anvils are a little pricey for when you are starting out. You can get a forge , older cast iron with steel plate anvil, and many tools for the price of a single new cast steel anvil.:D

Sean

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Hammerandtongs,
$200 is not bad for an older anvil in good condition. Some people are very lucky and find free or very low cost anvils and some arent( like me). My 200lb fisher anvil (from 1940) cost me $450 and i am happy with it. You may want to find a junkyard/ scrap yard(i dont know what they are called on the other side of the pond) as you may be lucky and find an anvil sitting there:D


Sean

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As far as anvils go, we must remember not many of us can afford a quality new anvil (I am purposely excepting the cheapo stuff). This leaves us with finding what everyone else in the world calls antiques; the majority of anvils we use are at least fifty years old or more. I have seen many anvils made prior to 1940, and admit seeing ones with the horn or heel broken off, the face separating from the body, severe saddling of the face, deep dents in the face from being too soft, and edges blown off from being too hard. Any anvil, whether cast iron, cast steel, wrought iron or railway iron, that has survived any appreciable amount of work should be one worth considering.
Pragmatism, price and availability are most important.

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After a little more research I feel what you are looking at is a Brooks-Vaughn cast steel anvil. I have only seen 1 in person and would have paid twice the asking price you have been offered. As far as I know they are very good anvils made in England and they were imported for a while to the US by Centaur Forge back in the early 1980's. A check in the archives produced this photo. I hope it helps. I for one would jump on an anvil for that price in half as good a shape.

http://www.iforgeiron.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=704

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Please allow me to ask a question that seems to have been overlooked when prices of anvils are discussed.

If you purchase the anvil, can you then use the anvil to make money, enough money to replenish the funds from where they were borrowed? If the answer is yes, then the investment in the anvil is acceptable, if the time period for making the money (and the pay back) is reasonable.

If the cost of the anvil is a direct out of pocket expense, then the question is how deep are your pockets?

As to whether the anvil is cast, wrought, or forged, the real question is can the anvil can pay for itself. There is admittedly a concern as to the ability of the anvil to preform, but no one said you had to have a farriers anvil to make horse shoes, or that you could not make horse shoes on a London pattern anvil. The style of the anvil just makes it easier.

Also, no one said you could not sell the anvil later, which would result in pure profit or help offset the investment in another anvil.

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Hi,
It looks ok to me, I have used anvils in worse condition!! Wouldn't we all like to have state of the art equipment and tools to use!! If you have a look at the thread entitled West African Blacksmith, you will see that it is possible to make amazingly beautiful and functional items with the most rudimentary of equipment. I worked in India and there they used an old battered piece of railway iron. $200 doesn't seem too steep -- it is true that in the UK a london pattern anvil in such condition will sell for anywhere between

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Im not saying there any thing wrong with that anvil,it looks in good condition .and its also true that in some parts of the world folks use a flat rock for an anvil.When i typed in ebay.co.uk this morning i see some very interesting anvils,like the saw makers anvil that is wrought iron with a steel face,note the sqaure hole in front. at 12 by12 by18 should be great for bladework and currently at 100 dollars with 5 hours to go is a steal and a big peter wright on a stand at 98dollars and 4 days to go,also the guys anvil and tools he says he got from the railroad co.30years ago is worth a look.What im saying is take your time and do the reseach ,if this is a big investment all the more reason to do some studying.I found my kohlswa 10 miles from my house here in south florida.good luck :)

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1: it is *not* a farriers pattern anvil---too large, no clip and the heel it very thick

2: if it's cast iron I would not take it for US$100

3: if it's cast steel US$200 is a steal!

4: if it's cast iron with a steel face---like Fisher or a Vulcan it would be a bit of a toss up for me---I love Fishers and dislike Vulcans

5: Don't expect the seller to know what they are talking about---I've had stores here in the US trying to tell me that cast iron and cast steel are the same thing!

If you don't know enough to judge it, (BTW anvilfire.com has a good section on testing anvils---the ball bearing test), get someone who can go with you and look it over.

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I have collected the anvil here are some photos




After a four and half hour return trip and a bit of work sanding off the surface rust I was quite pleased with the result.:) Thanks for the great interest in this thread which i have found very helpful and informative in coming to the decision to buy this second hand anvil, which I do not regret. Looking foward to some hot metal bashing Best regards Hammer&Tongs

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