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kiddcaprix

Columbian anvil, worth it?

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Well hello again all,  I just got a lead on a, from what looks to be, pristine (from pic) Columbian anvil close to me.  Not sure on the weight but I am guessing around 200ish?  The dimensions are 27.75" x 11" x 4.75" ish.  Based on the rough calculator of L * H - 110 = M, that puts it around about 195ish give or take.  He is asking for $450.  Might be able to get it for a bit less. I know these are cast steel and have heard they are great anvils.  From the pic, this looks decent.  I am driving by his house tomorrow and was thinking of stopping and checking it out.  Is this worth the trip/effort?  Haven't read a lot about the Columbians!  Best pic I got.

Thanks for any suggestions or info.

-Adam

 

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Get a proper weight on it---got a bathroom scale? US$2 a pound would be considered a very good price for one in that condition depending on your location. $3 a pound would be OK depending on location.  Check for rebound and ring too.

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What got me was how nice that face looks. Doesn't even look touched.  I was going to take a scale with me.  That is about the price I have been seeing everything around here for.

If you had a choice would you take about a 130lbs-ish 1845 William Foster over this for around the same price?

-Adam

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No; Columbians are good anvils and the condition is excellent and the size is (guessed) larger

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If you are going for a "using" anvil the age isn't a plus vs size and condition. (I have an 1828 William Foster in very poor condition indeed; so bad I bought it for under US$20...for a special project)

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I talked with the older gentleman over the phone about the Columbian, he doesn't know the weight but proceeded to hit the face with a claw hammer to let me hear the ring over the phone.  It was hard to get a word in with that guy.  He is not into blacksmithing and just collected things but is FIRM on the price.  I am going to look at it tomorrow and weigh it but am fairly certain it is around 200.  If it looks as good as it does in the photo, I might be bringing it home with me!

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Ring is not necessarily a good indicator of an anvils condition (although a buzz in the ring can be a warning sign). Columbians are cast steel and usually will ring loudly, but a Fischer is nice and quiet and still an excellent anvil. Check rebound, but it looks purty.

If that weight is correct, or even close, an excellent price. My little (90 lbs) Columbian is a great anvil.

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My comments were for this particular anvil---a Columbian: lack of ring means a major problem unless it has been muted by it's mounting method.  A bounce test will also rule out the other possible "hidden" issue:  possible softening in a structure fire.  A tap with a hammer will give a go/no go answer simply and easily interpreted.

Other brands of anvils may have differing results: (Vulcan, Fisher, Badger, etc)

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According to old ads for Colombian anvils and given the dimensions you sited it should weigh around 200lbs. $450 would be a very good deal. If it were me, I would be there grinning with money in hand.

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6 hours ago, kiddcaprix said:

From the pic, this looks decent

it looks great! I would jump on it before its gone! that is if it passes the ball bearing test, no cracks that you can see or hear, ect.

                                                                                                                      Littleblacksmith

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Well, I took the scale and weighed it. Came in right at 180. Rings great, no cracks, awesome rebound all over the face. Even on the horn and step. My one inch ball almost smacked me in the face on the return bounce. 80-90% rebound.  Was hoping for closer to 200lbs but... the ol' girl looks almost new.   Looks like a cast "C" or "G" on the opposite side.  She has an interesting badge riveted under the triangled c that, I believe, reads HSB & Co and REV-O-NOC.  Looks like it is a gun manufacturer amongst other things.  Might be some cool history there I might try to dig up.  Not sure if they sold anvils, or it was part of their shop and they tagged their capital goods??! Didn't get any off, so $2.50 a lb. She is a bit bigger than my Vulcan so should do pretty well.  Happy and home, sitting on a stump in the garage. Waiting to be used.

Sorry about the photos, they are from the iPad and not the phone (phone was dead). Will try to get a better shot of the badge in the daylight tomorrow.

Thanks for the advice all.

-Adamimage.jpeg.5bbd2957244fef53091b1eadb78eaimage.jpeg.f80888f73bf608049be5bf9d045eaimage.jpeg.f092a2a174dad18323743c940fc17image.jpeg.a6d7cb3c9c0387f866f01f810ab9f

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  Adam,

  Very glad it worked out. Looks good, and at a great price. Its time to start making, smoke, noise, and fire. 

  I would like to see a video, of you standing on your head, forging. (Smiley face thingy )

  N.N.F.

Edited by NoName
more to say

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Thanks guys. I was wondering if there is a dramatic difference really between a wroght iron forged base and a cast steel base? The mass (in comparable weights) would be the same and the faces are roughly the same hardness. So I would think the "work" done by the anvil would be about the same.  What would one benefit from a forged iron vs cast (steel) base if rebound and "work" where equal? Does the forged base reflect more energy than the cast steel? I know iron is more ductile than steel so those would absorb the energy more. 

I have only worked on my Vulcan and Columbian now so really don't have a comparison to say a Peter Wright/Hay Budden/Trenton etc. The Columbian is significantly different from the Vulcan (cast steel vs iron). Would a forged base feel or work steel better/different than the Columbian? Anyone have experience with both? Just wondering. 

On a side note, one thing I noticed with my anvil vs others I have seen is the embossed triangle with the c is cast with horn to the right. All the other anvils have it cast with horn to the left. I have yet to find a picture of one like mine! Just something I noticed. I would assume that they would have been consistent in their process with placement of the mark. Maybe it was based on weight? 

Sorry about the photos. Dont know how they came in upside down. Not sure how to fix them also.

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Ok, I must have not searched very well! Anvilfires Columbian page shows an anvil with the logo on the same side as mine. Still the only one i have seen other than mine. 

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The major difference with the base section being wrought iron vs cast steel is that it became cheaper to have them made in steel.  At the base it's mainly having the inertial mass coupled to the working part.    Now the upper part starts getting into the grade of cast steel and wrought iron.  You want a material to back up the face that resists sagging and resists fracturing so it's not all one or the other---it depends on the details of either material---though in the advertising of the era manufacturers will claim their materials and methods ARE THE BEST as restrictions on advertising were even less in use then than now.

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Thanks Thomas for the reply.  I worked on the old girl a bit more last night and really noticed quite a difference from the Vulcan to the Columbian.  I have to tie the anvil to the base but liked the feel.

I found a bit more info on the tag on the side of the anvil.  HSB & Co was supplier of all types of tools and supplies back in the late 1800's to well into the 1900's.  Some re-branded stuff, some of their own stuff.  I found a catalog from 1922 showing that they did in fact sell their own anvils, but may have had them made from a company.  Their process they state doesn't really match the Columbian process from a stand point of all cast vs forged and cast.  The weight on the anvil doesn't align with the ones they sell.  Still interesting.  I wonder if anyone has actually seen a specific "HSB& Co. Rev-O-Noc" anvil?  Maybe they had Columbian make these? Anyway, interesting none the less.

-Adam

hibbard-no-69-ii_Page_065.jpg

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Thomas

Is cast steel a typo for cast Iron?

It is of course vastly cheaper to cast iron against the steel plate than to manufacture a wrought body and the weld it. Am I right in assuming that it is also a method less prone to failure?  

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For sure on it being cast steel. I can defiantly tell/feel/hear the difference between the full cast iron 100lber I bought years ago (now a door stop/starter anvil for my 3 year old son (cold forging)) to the Vulcan which is cast and plated to the Columbian.  The Columbian is night and day different.  Starting to really enjoy it. 

-Adam

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Sorry. misunderstood. I thought you referred to the "base section" which in some anvils is cast Iron.

You did write "base section being wrought iron vs cast steel" you know. easy for a foreigner to misunderstand.

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Perhaps we are not using Base the same way. I am using it as everything below the *waist* of the anvil---where traditionally made london pattern anvils were sometimes forge welded and in later times sometimes cast steel bases were welded to the top sections of higher carbon steels for faceplateless anvils.

I personally know of no anvil with a steel top section and a cast iron base section.  All the anvils using cast iron I know of the entire anvil is cast iron save for a steel face plate welded on during the casting phase. Or totally cast iron often ASO's, sometimes ductile using anvils.

So for non-cast iron anvils:   Base, Top Section and Faceplate or Base, Top section (including the hardened face)

Were you using "base" for everything below the faceplate?

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I thought you were. To me, a "base" is something on which something different i.e. in this case a steel plate is carried. However the misunderstanding was created by your contrasting "wrought" to "cast steel" where wrought obviously excluded the steel part.

All anvils I have personal experience of have been cast steel so all I think know about other designs comes from this site and anvil fire. I believed that a wrought iron anvil is all wrought except a steel plate on top and that the weld at the waist was because of difficulties in shaping the whole body in one piece.. Is that incorrect?

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