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Hi All,

In the series "you can not have enough of a good thing" i bought another anvil today but this one more for its unusual shape than anything else. looks like a nice big table with enough holes in it to twist and turn. As soon as i have it home I'll look if there are any markings on it. the anvil is 68.5x13x26.5 cm and from the size i would guess 120 ish kg (but that figure is probably totally of the mark).  I have no idea if there is a reason for this anvil type and I can not find any info on it or anything similar.

Any ideas?

vaporlock.

IMG_5223.JPG

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it's clear that's a special purpose anvil, but for what trade, i don,t know. check the area's specific trades/manufactures. in the cutlery areas, you can find cutler's anvils, etc.

I don't know to consider you happy or unhappy to live in a such anvil rich country like France, where you can find the most diverse and great anvils at very decent prices. 3 years ago I discovered the anvils on leboncoin.fr and I got mad, now I'm better, but at the beginning I was sick for months... but somehow I have 3 french anvils, among which there's a "pig" double horned anvil. 

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Hi Matei, 

 

Yes, I think I saw your thread on the "pig style" anvil you found and the subsequent discussion on which country it was made in. as you once said, The area of France richest in anvils is the northern half of france and especially in the west. 

The south where i live is a bit poorer in anvil culture. If ever you need a hand getting one shipped, let me know, we will see what is possible.

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Wow, that is cool! The curved side-exit hardie is a dead giveaway that it's either of French make or produced for a French importer, but 3 hardies, that is a new one to me. The signature vertical seam between the legs is common to that pattern, and suggests that it was made by the same foundry as many of the single hole anvils of the same pattern, so it probably isn't a style preference of that anvil maker, but rather a specially produced anvil for a specific trade, as Matei noted. There are some features that hint at the possible use. One is the size of the face. It looks longer than most pig anvils and the placement of the hardies coupled with the length suggests that a long uninterrupted working face was important to whatever they were making on it, so probably a long item that needs to be very flat and straight, like a blade of some sort. But whatever it was also required a variety of die geometries that were in use simultaneously, like on a cutler's anvil, so it was probably not for making saws or files. The typical English solution is to have a number of slots cut into the face, but if you want to preserve as much flat work area as possible, multiple hardies are a better way to go. There was a high demand for sabres in France during the time this anvil would have been made, so it might be a specialty cutlers anvil made for producing longer blades. There was also a worldwide demand for large "Sabatier" chefs knifes produced in the Thiers region of France, and like the Sheffield tradition, they used a "fully forged" approach that requires a specialty anvil with many geometries. If you are ever in the Thiers area, you should stop by the Musée de la Coutellerie and bring a picture, they might be able to identify it. Whatever it is, it's a hell of a collector's piece, nice find!

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Hi Ian,

Interesting thoughts, I actually bought the anvil a few km away from Thiers. Apparently it had been in the family for three generations .

I asked the seller if he could provide a bit more info on the history of the anvil and he will check with his dad whose father used to use it.

 

 

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Hey Vaporlock that's one unusual anvil you have there. - Out of interest are all the hardy holes the same size? There can't be very many of those anvils left in the world that's for sure. 

I have no idea what it's use might have been sadly. Though for some reason I do suspect it was for making cutlery of some sort. 

Are there any makers marks? 

 

All the best 

Andy

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Hi Andy,

The anvil is on it's way and I will look for makers marks as soon as. I keep looking for references to this type of anvil but I can not even find one that vaguely looks like this one. The region it comes from hints heavily at blade forging but even there i do not see another one like it.

I am hoping the previous owner will be able to tell me a bit more about its "maybe" specialised use. 

 

Hi Ian,

I missed your post. waw, such efficiency, the point where he says this is the most important part of the blade and bangs away with this big doghead .... amazing . I have to look at it a few times.

 

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Explains a lot right? He's Sheffield school so I'm sure techniques differ a lot, plus he's using a different type of cutler's anvil, but it explains perfectly why a cutler would need several hardie holes. Unlike most modern smiths, you'll notice he leaves his hardie chisel in at all times, because he uses it for much more than cut-offs. For instance, you can see him use his hardie chisel to forge out the tang in record time by cutting and splaying it rather than drawing it out on the face. A lot of instructors would have a fit if you left your chisel in all the time, but if you want to make knifes at that kind of pace, you can't be switching out hardie tools all the time.

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Matto, that's for sure French. the French have more types of anvils and have many anvil manufacturers (I think more than the italians), so I don't see why to import them (even that I saw some american or english ones for sale in France and german ones in the N-E of the country)

I also saw some slot/dovetaliled anvils for sale in France, some in Thiers area, so they made and use them, too.

Vaporlock - that anvil wasn't mine, I just commented on it. I still have to take some pictures of my anvils and show off here, but I'm a bit lazy :)

as French anvils, I have a Hulot-Harmel of 101kg , then a no-name older "pig" of about 150kg, then an army small "field" anvil of ~30kg, the one with a hollow conical sheet metal toolbox as base, to be carried on mules/horses, and a cube, maybe tin-smith, ~60kg anvil which is still to be shipped from Toulouse, where a friend bought it to me.

and thank you for the help offer :)

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That anvil is not known as a "pig anvil" anywhere but on iforgeiron. It is simply a French anvil, descended from the so-called church-window continental European anvils.

It is a style of anvil you will find often around Thiers, as it is a couteliers anvil, probably also used by taillandiers also, but mainly by couteliers. 

The many hardy holes take the place of the "gates" seen in Sheffield anvils, though you see these French anvils with gates as well.

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I don't know if it's universally and officially known as "pig anvil", that's the first thing that come in mind when you see one, so, maybe more people have called it like this independently. I've already seen them called "cochon" in french, Is just an unofficial nickname and the most of the people seem to know what we're talking about. I saw it used in other places than IFI. for my part, that's why I always put that nickname between commas.

 

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11 hours ago, Ian Sayers said:

 

Sure it can be said to look like a pig, but "pig anvil" is not a style, like "London Pattern" or "Styrian Pattern". "Pig anvil" is an internet term; This type of anvil was never marketed as a "pig anvil" by its manufacturers, and in its country of origin the majority of anvils look this way, and they are just called "anvils". 

 

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