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I Forge Iron

Howdy! Can you identify this for me?

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Hey guys.  I'm relatively new to blacksmithing and I was wondering if someone would be able to identify my anvil.  I found it in my dad's back yard and I don't really know enough about it to determine if it's cast iron or steel.  In one pic, you can see a sprue they forgot to grind off.  Unless that's some sort of makers mark?  I don't know enough about anvils to determine if this is an ASO or not, but from what I've read and from what I've heard, I'm beginning to believe it is an ASO.  The rebound isn't so great and the face already has some chips coming off it.  The face measures about 3" across by maybe 10-11" long?  I've used it once or twice but I may be able to come across some railroad track in the near future so this might be moot.  Anyway, thanks in advance.  





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Welcome aboard, glad to have you.

You need to brush the rust and scale off the face to do a reliable rebound test. It's hard to tell from the pics is the USA cast proud or recessed?

What's it weigh? There are plenty of good cast anvils but they're steel or have high carbon steel faces foundry welded to a cast iron body like a Fisher. After Mr. Bessemer made steel cheaper than gold it rapidly became cheaper in materials and labor to cast anvils from steel. Being cast isn't a real determining fact, it is however a signal to investigate more closely. A LOT of south of the border knock offs are made using existing good quality anvils for the pattern and casting them from cast iron. You see a lot of these online as known quality brands for bargain prices.

Take a wire brush NOT a grinding disk !:o! to the face till its reasonably clean, wear a dust mask. Once it's shined up some drop a ball bearing from a distance say 10" and eyeball estimate how high it rebounds as a %. Figure 75%+ as pretty good to excellent and less than 60% as limp biscuit poor, I've found ASOs with better than 60% rebound. Work a pattern across the face and listen for an abrupt change in tone, dead spots are a B-A-D sign.

Not all anvils "ring" some clank, some clunk others will make your ears bleed. Thuds are a generally BAD sign, clunks and clanks might mean a HC steel face foundry welded to a cast iron body. A cast steel anvil tends to hurt your ears with a missed blow, some are like the devil's tuning fork.

Keep us up on what you find.

Frosty The Lucky.

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There is a noticeable seam line along the face that spans from the horn to the back that appears to have been ground.  Yeah, I figured it was an ASO.  I got it for free out of my pops' backyard, so I reckon its not a complete loss...might give my buddy a call and get that railroad track instead.  Thanks guys!  I THOUGHT it was cast iron but I wasn't sure.  Frosty, thanks for the tips.  The USA is not recessed into the anvil; it is raised.  There are no other real markings on it other than that and the sprue they didn't grind off. I wasn't sure if it was cast steel or iron though...I've read about the cheaper cast iron anvils and I thought that's what this could be.  I'd say it weighs about 40-45lbs.    My friend has a chunk of railroad track he was using but he swapped it out with a big piece of I beam with tool steel welded all over it, so I will more than likely end up with another free 'anvil'.  I still haven't been able to do much with the one I have because of the weather and the holidays.  Hopefully next week will be a little more forgiving.

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