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I Forge Iron

First real anvil, opinions?

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Hey guys,


I just bought my first actual anvil. Found it on Craiglist. It's a Peter Wright, #168. I got it for $225 and just a 20 minute drive away. The main issue is with the heel. The body of the heel is in tact well but as you can see the top part is cracked. I don't know a lot about anvil so I'm not sure how this happened, if it can or should be fixed etc. There is a bolt running through it to keep it attached. However, the horn and face are in excellent condition. There is no sway to the anvil, the edges are somewhat rough but doesn't bother me. All four feet are in perfect condition. The rebound on it is very nice! I'm very happy with this purchase, what do you guys think?










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As long as you do most of your work on the face end of the anvil toward the horn, you should be alright.  If the broken end gives you problems, you could always grind a v into the cracks, all the way to the body, and weld them up.  Just use a heat sink on the good part of the anvil to preserve the hardness.. 


Its your anvil now.  You can do whatever it takes to make it right.

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Build your hardy tooling to sit over the body of the anvil---a short offset towards the horn. You can weld it up if you wish just do a proper preheat/cool down so as to not mess up the temper of the face or introduce HAZ cracking. One of my favorite anvils has it's heel busted plumb off---I use it for sledging as there is much less for a misstrike to cause problems with.

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I would not get to precious about it, its an anvil, it is supposed to be used, you will certainly get your $225 dollars worth out of it. A Good Buy!


Looking at the photos I can see some telltale scolloping along the edge, that says the edge has been rebuilt (welded) at some point, so the may be some softer patches along the edge. Provided the work is softer than the edge I cant see that being a real problem. I personally would not be babying it to much, that kinda defeats the purpose of buying a used anvil in the first place. if you run out of good edges to use, it will be time for a replacement or rebuild.


Although glancing blows on the edges from a cross-eyed striker wielding a 12 pound tool steel sledge hammer might be asking for trouble :D

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If you are concerned about the heel, just don't be too rough on it.  I have a very old mousehole anvil that has a crack going from the corner of the hardie hole to the outside edge of the anvil, and the sound when tapping the heel lightly with a hammer is pretty dead.  That anvil was what I primarily used for a couple years as a hobby smith until I upgraded, and it worked great.  I think with the old wrought iron body anvils this isn't all that uncommon of a problem.  If you are going to be using hardie tools a lot that require hard hitting you can always hold them in a post vise.  Building a bolster block is another option for hardie tooling.

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