Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Well, the anvil search didn't take long...

Recommended Posts

About 3 weeks ago I decided that my own blacksmithing equipment was in order, and started putting the word out with all of the likely suspects that I was looking for an anvil.  Several of the people I know have said they see them from time to time, and are now on the hunt.


Meanwhile I see a Craig’s List add for a beat up post vice that is near me.  After some emails back and forth, I decided that the vice was too beat up for the price.  On a hunch I mentioned to the guy that I had just gotten hooked on blacksmithing as was really looking for an anvil more than a vice.


His reply was something on the order of, “Heck, I’ve got two anvils, a nicer post vice, and lots of tools down in the blacksmith shop.  Haven’t used any of that stuff in years, and I might as well sell it.”  I had no idea the guy even had a blacksmith shop.


When I got to his place, he had a little Fisher anvil sitting in his house.  It was probably only about 50 pounds, but in nice shape.  He asked if it was big enough for me, and I explained that I was looking for something a little larger.  Then said we should go on down to his blacksmith shop and look at the bigger anvil.


When we got to his shop, a 3-walled shack in the middle of the woods, I was a bit disappointed.  He had an anvil on a stump, but it was still pretty small.  It was dark, and the anvil was pretty rusted up so I couldn’t see any markings.   However the edges were nice and the top seemed flat.  When he said $150, I said sold.


Then he said he wanted $35 for his blower, which still worked, and $75 for a nice 5.5” post vice.  I felt so bad that I just blindly paid him a lump sum for a pile of tongs and tools without even looking through them.  Then on my way out he threw in an unopened bag of coal, a 9lb can of some sort of flux, and an old blacksmithing book.  At this point I was thinking I should try to buy the little Fisher, but he was starting to get seller's remorse and told me that all he would need is a little gas forge a hammer and his small anvil if he ever wanted to make another knife.  After that, I didn't ask about the little one.


Here is the anvil I did buy:


It is a 105# Peter Wright.  I was a little disappointed once I started cleaning off the rust because the face is pretty pitted.  However, it is a start.  I may see if one of the local machine shops can wet grind the face to clean it up.  I think 0.030” would get rid of the pitting.


Here is most of the rest of the haul:



Now I just need to build a forge, and a shop to put it all in :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not grind the anvil top.  Just wire wheel it and start using it.  Hammering and use has a way of smoothing out the face.  You do not need a perfect face unless you are doing silver or gold.  Just use it for a while.  I think you will eventually forget about grinding.


Nice haul.  Now just build a forge.  Lots of ideas of IFI.  It does not have to be fancy.  Do a bit of research and you will be forging soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I bought mine, also a Perter Wright, it to was pitted. I decided to use it as it came to me. I have never regretted that decision. The pits will work out over time. Although the face will never have a glass smooth finish it will present a good working surface after some use. That one seems to have good edges and be in good working condition. Be happy with this excellent find. Wire brush it and go to work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK Guys, you have talked me into leaving the face alone for now.  I can always grind it later if I decide I want to.  Besides, right now it is a much better anvil than I am a smith :)


Here are a couple of pics after a few minutes with a wire brush and some oil. I brushed off most of the rust, and sprayed it with some liquid wrench penetrating oil.  I've done this before with other bare steel items, but I was surprised how black it turned.  As I have seen mentioned on this site several times, oil mixed with light rust powder makes a very durable finish.




Here is a close up of the pitting on the face:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

ditto ditto ditto


I bought an HB in central ohio that had been stored in a shed near a creek---had similar pitting.  Several years later the sweet spot is shiny and smooth just from using it!


Remember that anvil are often NOT parallel top to bottom and I've seen several that were milled *through* the face trying to "clean them up"


My standard statement:  Only remove as much from the face of the anvil as you are willing to remove from your own face!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got a Peter wright also, the face plate is very hard, and the pitting on mine is much deeper. I don't think you'll notice anything from those pits.

The advice I was given on here was to just use it for a good while and then "if" they are causing problems then look into removing them.

Lovely anvil by the way

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm on the bandwagon, too!  I've often heard new smith talk about milling down the face of their anvils to get them smooth and shiny, and it's always something they want to do right off the bat.  


As my compatriots have noted, take some time to learn the anvil, forge on it, and then decide what you NEED to do to it.  More than likely, that pitting won't have any negative impact on the quality of the work you produce on the anvil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a friend that when he was just a new smith had the face of his anvil milled smooth, flat and sharp edged.  It was then too thin to work on.  He kept that anvil for 20 years until finally he was able to get it to an anvil repair day at the local ABANA chapter where a professional welder using industrial equipment spent over 5 hours building the face back till it could be used again.  Luckily only 2 anvils showed up for the clinic as both needed a lot of work and being pretty large even the pre-heat was time consuming!  (My 400+# trenton was the other, it had a hard life with an abusive mine maintenance team.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...