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I Forge Iron

My New Anvil - did I do any good?

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Brand new Blacksmith (hobbyist) here.   I've been watching anvils in my area for quite a while, but found it hard to justify $500-$1000 on a larger and nicer anvil while just starting out. 

Found this on CL today shortly after it was posted.   Weighs 95 pounds.   Cast base with about 3/4" steel on top.  Paid $200.

No markings at all that I can tell - unless they've eroded over time.  I believe it has a decent ring for a cheap anvil, but not a really beautiful one.  

I did notice there's also a mold line in the casting where the two molds met.  I'm a bit nervous this is some sort of cheap import.   Should there be more of a drop at the table?

All the above said, if it doesn't break it'll probably more than suit my purposes while starting out.   Any thoughts on what this 95 pound anvil is?   It's wet in the pictures, just pressure washed it.


P.S. I'm thinking of carefully smoothing the top surface (slowly to manage heat) with a grinding wheel and flap disc).  It's flat overall but is pitted and dinged.  Any reason not to?   I don't have access to a large mill unfortunately.

Anvil 1.png

Anvil 2.png

Anvil 3.png

Anvil 4.png

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Welcome to the club. Update your profile to include a location, you might be surprised how many smiths are close by.

As for the anvil, the close-up picture of the side appears to show something, might be an Arm & Hammer?? Don't put too much faith in how loudly it rings, some of the best anvils barely make any sound at all, while other great anvils will cause hearing loss from their ring. It all depends on how they were created. A better test is the rebound of the top surface. Drop a large ball bearing from a fixed height and measure how high it bounces back, higher is better.

Don't grind the top, flap wheel is OK to clean it up somewhat, but the best way is to start using it.

Pull up a comfy chair, grab a drink and snack, and start reading through the many thousands of threads here, you will probably have most of your questions answered before you can think to ask them.

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Definitely not an arm &hammer anvil. It may be a Vulcan though I cannot say for sure. Vulcans aren't bad anvils, but not great. Regardless, I would buy one if the price was right. Do not grind the surface. No reason to. Just use it and the face will polish itself through use. The pitting does not look bad enough so it shouldn't show up in your work. 

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Both Vulcans and Arm and hammer anvils use an Arm holding a Hammer as their logo; however for a vulcan the logo is cast proud of the surface and for an arm and hammer it's stamped into the surface of the side of the anvil.  Arm and Hammer is one of the top American brands and generally has the marks of the steam hammer showing on the bottom of the heel from where it was forged.  Vulcan is on the lowest tier of "real anvils" and not ASOs so a big difference between them! Vulcans were made with the "Fisher process" of casting iron onto a hot steel piece for the face and horn.  However the Vulcans used thinner steel and did not have the quality of the Fisher. Vulcans are a quiet anvil and should thud rather than ring. (A virtue in many locations!)

Milling the face of a vulcan should only be done after you mill your own face.  The steel face on a vulcan is very thin, grinding or milling pretty much destroys the anvil that could be used as it stands.  Note that that is not a 3/4" steel plate that is a cast iron casting trying to fake you into thinking it has a thick steel face.

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Greetings and welcome American,

Just firmly tap the face of your anvil with the ball end of a ball peen hammer. A dent will tell you what you have. You can also try a few strokes with a file . If the file slides off easy and does not scar the surface is at least hard.. I wish you well. 

Forge on and make beautiful things


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I think it is an ASO but do a rebound test or like Jim mentioned a hardness test. The anvils that have a cast base with a steel plate usually the plate doesn't overhang both sides, I have seen where it is shifted slightly to one side or the other. 

Hopefully yours is a cast steel not cast iron.

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