Caleb

First anvil purchase, would like a little advice

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Hello all,

I'm looking at moving away from my railroad track section anvil I have been using and purchasing my first actual anvil.  I have found 2 in my area that I am considering, but I would love to get some insight on what people thought of the 2 I am looking at.  One is a 100# Vulcan anvil ($450) and the other just says it's a 100# English blacksmith anvil ($650). 

 Link removed due to no third party or off site sales policy

Any info is greatly appreciated!

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I believe vulcan is cast iron, so you would want to pass on that one.And the other one seems very expensive at over $6 a pound. My best advice for you is to wait a bit for a better deal to come up. Also, you should put your location on your profile so we know where you are looking. That will allow us all to best recommend things for you.

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Sharp edges on both those anvils concerns me. The comment on the 2nd one being recently "refurbished" makes me want to run away. Sadly too many people feel anvils have to be "perfect" and try and mess with them. Most have no real idea how to properly "restore" a damaged anvil and many are ruined by people who simply don't know what they are doing. I have a suspicion that is the case with both of those anvils. The 1st clearly shows grinder marks on the sides at the top along with those clean edges that makes me think someone may have welded on that anvil. The comment on the 2nd one that said it was "refurbished" along with the sharp edges almost guarantees that one was welded up.

 

Those anvils may have been perfectly good before someone messed with them, but the way they are now I probably wouldn't pay half what I would have if they hadn't been touched.

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I would probably go take a look at the Vulcan, if it was around here at least. Not being sure what the anvil market is like in your area I can't offer advice to you but that wouldn't be a bad price in these parts. Take a large ball bearing with you and test the rebound to see what's what. Vulcan isn't Fisher, but my understanding is that they were decent anvils in their time.

The second is a bit dodgy - and the similar wording between posts would make me somewhat apprehensive about the Vulcan. Either way, unless they knew what they were doing during the refurbishing the price seems very steep. At least it's not one of those rare step-faced anvils that pops up from time to time...

The bottom line is, if you are interested and want to have a look then check them out. You never know, even if both of those anvils have been damaged, the seller may have another that they are getting ready to "refurbish" and you can save them the trouble of doing so. Might as well ask since it seems like the guy has a stack of anvils somewhere.

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Mr Dark Nebulah Please learn before posting.  Vulcans have a steel face and a cast iron body---just like Fishers  They are not at the same quality level as Fishers; but are usable.  They were the most common brand of anvils used in the US public schools.  I am not a big fan of them but I do recognize their merits.The greatest of which is that they are a quiet anvil.  What I intensely dislike is when someone wants top dollar for a low tier anvil.  However that one looks pretty much unused and probably has it's sharp edges legitimately.

I'd wonder if the second one is a Brooks cast steel anvil; a quality brand, I'd ask just exactly what was done to refurbish it and any grinding or milling I'd tell the owner that that drops the price substantially!

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Caleb, I would say that a gold start would be to read through the forums about anvils. A little reading can save you money, and frustration.

I have a 150# Vulcan that came out of a closed high school metal shop. They have thinner top plates, and suffered from casting flaws, but they are in the realm of working anvils. Consider them the bottom rung on the anvil ladder-every ladder has a first step.

I agree that the second looks like a Brooks, and they get good reviews.

Price wise they are overpriced in my opinion, but then again people are paying a LOT more than I ever would for an anvil today. But I did find 2 anvils last year for close to $1 a pound. 138# Peter Wright at a garage sale for $100, and a 96# Hay Budden for $100.. They are out there , you just have to keep looking.

Refurbished could mean anything, so I would call to see just exactly what had been done. Grinding, milling, welding would be a red flag for me. Anything that reduces the top plate thickness, or messes with the tempering reduces its life, and can cause other issues.

If your rail isn't doing what you want you can always upgrade your homemade anvil. A big chunk of scrap steel can be purchased from a scrap yard for around 25¢ a pound now. That means you can get a 200# anvil for $50. And yes, it will be a real anvil, just not a London pattern anvil. Forklift forks can make excellent anvils either as is, or cut and welded. Do not let the lack of a "real anvil" hold you back. Upgrade a little at a time, and when you find a good deal on a name brand anvil get it. 

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Welcome aboard Caleb, glad to have you. Even if nobody had risked damaging them "refurbishing" they're pretty over priced even in most of Alaska.

You aren't so far out in the sticks you won't find a nice tool for a decent price just be patient. There's nothing wrong with a rail anvil even if it's not idea.

The advice I think most important in the tool hunt is "do NOT get in a hurry!" Patience pays dividends, you need to be ready to move but don't jump at something just because it's there. You almost never see anything on Craigslist or Ebay that isn't puffed. Puffing is exaggerating the merits of whatever's being sold. Blacksmith tools are almost always called antiques, vintage, etc. or they're refurbished, restored, repaired, etc.

Antique isn't what we're looking for we're looking for tools, I don't pay extra for old and refurbishing in ANY manner drops the value, sometimes to scrap. Depends on how much damage is done in "restoration."

Frosty The Lucky.

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That second anvil definetly looks like a brooks to me with a coat of black on it insted of their factory blue.  I love my 100# brooks , looks to be in similar condition too but I paid half that, however i don't know the market out in your neck of the woods, but can say they are fine anvils.

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8 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Mr Dark Nebulah Please learn before posting.  Vulcans have a steel face and a cast iron body---just like Fishers  They are not at the same quality level as Fishers; but are usable.  They were the most common brand of anvils used in the US public schools.  I am not a big fan of them but I do recognize their merits.The greatest of which is that they are a quiet anvil.  What I intensely dislike is when someone wants top dollar for a low tier anvil.  However that one looks pretty much unused and probably has it's sharp edges legitimately.

I'd wonder if the second one is a Brooks cast steel anvil; a quality brand, I'd ask just exactly what was done to refurbish it and any grinding or milling I'd tell the owner that that drops the price substantially!

Sorry TP. I am completely aware I don't know much, I meant to add that to my post. I was just trying to pass on what I had heard, and what I heard was people don't neccesarilly like vulcans, especially at that price. I'm sorry for any confusion.

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Thanks for all the feedback everyone!  I think I definitely have a bit more to consider before I just jump on some of the first anvils I find. I might make a phone call to find out more about these two, but unless everything checks out I'll probably keep using my rail anvil for now.  Thanks a ton!

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On 2/3/2016 at 1:14 PM, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

Also, are you using the rail laying flat, or stood on end?

I am laying the rail flat on a stump.

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Try standing it on end it'll have a much better depth of rebound and move metal a LOT more efficiently. You don't really need much more anvil face than the size of the hammer.

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 2/6/2016 at 9:49 PM, Frosty said:

Try standing it on end it'll have a much better depth of rebound and move metal a LOT more efficiently. You don't really need much more anvil face than the size of the hammer.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

On 2/6/2016 at 5:56 AM, Charles R. Stevens said:

Look at every face of that rail, each face can work steel in a different way, and can be modified to aid you.  

Thanks for the ideas guys!

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