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What do you guys think of this anvil.

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I am exchanging emails with a guy about this anvil.  I am a beginner and it is larger than I was thinking of starting with, but I am considering it.  He says it is a 325 lb Vaughan Brooks.  I have a couple of concerns.


1.  I have asked for more pics but haven't gotten any yet, I will probably make the 2 hour trip to look at it and give it the rebound tests I've read about.


2.  The face swayback and the droop in the heel.  It seems like the face is in good shape and the corners are intact, but this makes me suspect that it has been ground by hand.  I am thinking that kind of wear should be accompanied by more face and edge wear.  Also the drop from the face to the table seems short, which makes me suspicious of grinding again.


3.  He's asking $900.  On the BS forums this seems high, but not totally out of line.


4.  I am also tentative about its size, I thought I would be starting with something smaller.



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That is a big anvil!  I am concerned about the lack of step, but brooks may not have had a big one.  But if it has been surfaced, then all the "hardness" of the face may have been removed.


900$ is more than I would pay, but I also don't have that kind of money hanging around.

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Looks like a monster. Price is always dependant on location, so take that into account.


The only real "smart" way to play this is to ask if he's firm on his price, as you would like to inspect it's condition "in person" and make a decision on what you're willing to pay from there.


Always tell them "Sure, it's a great price for a great anvil..." but have them relate to you along the basis that you're looking at pictures, and those pictures draw up some very real concerns... If those concerns turn out to be valid flaws in the product, then you have to adjust your budget... If that's not the case, then that's a great price, for a great anvil".....


I think it's really important that you adress sellers with the matter of fact. You intend to use the product as a tool, if that tool is lacking, than a compromise has to be on the table. I've dropped a ball bearing on an anvil recently, and got about a %10 thud, a repeat test yeilded %40, then another thud. I explained to the gentleman that I couldn't negate that as very real performance characteristic, and that I would be taking a risk in buying it... Question is "Can you make that risk more comforting to me?"


Wish you the best, and where are you located???

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Good Morning,


A bird in hand is worth twelve in the bush!! Who cares if you think it is too big, it is on your plate. Large anvils are HARD to find, when you are looking for one.


A sway in the working table is not a problem, I have found it is easier to straighten something out than a flat top. The angle on the heel? I don't think that you will be doing a lot of work out there :) :)  If you want an anvil like new, buy it new.


If you are going to go for a drive, take cash. I wouldn't be surprised if you can steal it for $5-700.00. Put $500.00 (??) in one pocket, bring it out in a lump, "This is all that I have".  Take a friend, If the seller asks for more, ask your friend if you can "borrow" (your money) the balance.


Ask him if there is anything that he is looking for, that you might have or can scrounge to use for a trade (ask in advance).


If you get it, you won't be able to wear it out in your lifetime. :D





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While the price is a bit on the "high" side, it's less that $3/lb if his weight is right, and that's a fair price for an anvil of that size and condition.  It's not a great price that you'll be bragging to all your smithing buddies about, but it's certainly fair.  A new anvil would set you back that and more, and that's not even counting the cost of shipping.


The condition of the anvil is above fair.  The sway in the face is minimal and I'm not seeing any chips or gouges.  The edges look almost new and that horn hasn't seen much work.


Overall, it would be a great anvil to have in the shop.  A big anvil is hard to come across, and a big anvil that hasn't been abused is even harder to find!  Do you need something that big to be a blacksmith?  Certainly not.  But they are wondrous things to have and I would never consider getting rid of mine.


If you can talk him down a few bucks, great.  If you can't, you're still getting a pretty good deal and will have all the anvil you could possibly need for any smithing task...... including forging large anchors.

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Welcome aboard Brett, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in your header you might be happily surprised to find out how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.


That's not a bad price for an anvil that size and condition. the sway and droopy tail do draw my interest though. Both are mighty even across the face, it almost looks like it was bent rather than worn. The droopy tail might, MIGHT be evidence of being in a fire but that wouldn't explain the sway. I'd check it's hardness just in case, anvils that have gone through a fire bad enough to "damage" them usually have the temper run out of them and are soft. Take a sharp draw file and see how it cuts o you could try scratching it with a pocket knife. If a pocket knife will scratch the face it's been "normalized" or annealed in a fire and be worth a serious discount.


Even so, it's not a bad price, I'd give it serious consideration.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Well I pulled the trigger, it has obviously been ground but the face is still hard with good rebound.  The sway is significant, but there is plenty of flat workspace on the anvil left.  Unless i start doing some heavy sledge work, I think this anvil will barely notice my use.  I ended up paying asking for a couple of reasons: I was planning on buying a new 200lb TFS for about $1200 (money left for other tools), the guy was a NWBA(Northwest Blacksmith Associan) member, and he needed the money for an emergency truck repair.  Like Vaughn T said, I can't really brag about the smokin deal I got, but I feel like I got a fine used anvil at a fair price.  I am glad that my anvil fever has passed.  Thanks for the input, it was very helpful.


The anvil is stamped "Vaughn Brooks England"  3 0 6 (342lb nominal weight).  The previous owner bought it from an antique dealer who brought it over from 

Singapore.  He thinks it may have been a ship's anvil because it has some greenish corrosion (maybe paint) on it. 


Brett Collett

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The price isn't that bad, actually, when you consider that you got the stand, too.  It would cost you time, energy and money to make a stump of similar quality.  If the stump is too low, you can always add 3 blocks under it to raise it up.  Inletting the anvil base is a nice touch.


Overall, I think you did really well for yourself.  If you decide to sell the anvil in a year, you won't lose any money!

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