Jump to content
I Forge Iron

just joined... looking at a vulcan anvil?


Recommended Posts

Hi all, i just joined the forum and am gathering information on blacksmithing. I am a rig welder by trade and figured this would be a hobby i would enjoy. maybe turn into more than a hobby. I have been looking for an anvil through Facebook friends and family while cruising through craigslist. Found a Vulcan for $450, looks to be a 170#er. the seller doesn't know. I offered 1.50/lb which would be $255. I have done some research, and found that they are considered to be low end anvils. They are cast iron, they chip and crack easily. this one looks to be in great condition. Should be fine for a beginner... right?

The guy said he could only go down to 325. I thanked him for his time, and he immediately said he could do the 255 if i bought it today. question is did i still offer him too much for what it is?

Craigslist link removed

please let me know what your thoughts are. I'm itching to buy one and get started, but i don't want to over pay for something i shouldn't have bought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

$255 seems pretty reasonable if your guess on the weight is accurate. I've only seen #80, #100, and #200 Vulcans, so I'm not familiar enough with the in-between sizes to speculate based solely on appearance.

I did my first two years of blacksmithing on a Vulcan anvil in MUCH worse shape than that. And even after I switched over to my new Peter Wright, I still sold my 200# Vulcan for $400, again, in MUCH worse shape, very easily. Almost anything remotely anvil shaped is worth at least $2/lb. Anvils are a good investment, and hobby-smithing is becoming more and more popular... Prices on anvils are going up fast, you'll almost always be able to get back what you pay for one if you don't go bonkers.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with a Vulcan anvil. Yes, they are made out of cast iron, but they do have a steel face, and that's what counts. Actually, cast iron anvils have a few benefits that their wrought iron kin lack. Firstly, they are quiet. Having gone from that 200lb cast iron Vulcan to my 250lb forged wrought iron Peter Wright, I do miss the gentle "thwack" vs the loud ring whenever I work on the horn... the ring has it's own charm... but, I digress....

Furthermore, wrought anvils have a tendency to develop a swayback over their 100+years of service life. This is something that does not happen with cast iron, as it is does not deform nearly as easily as wrought iron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome aboard. Personally I would pay that for that anvil. It looks pretty clean. Should be a good starter anvil and if something else comes along later you can upgrade. I say get it and get hammering. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That anvil looks to be in excellent shape and if the weight is accurate and you can get it for under US$2 a pound probably a decent buy depending on your location. Bring a bathroom scale as "guessed weights" can be very very wrong with anvils.

I have an old Vulcan anvil, it is definitely not swayback, instead the edges have broken off until it's ridgebacked and with a cast iron body pretty much impossible to repair. (Horn has been broken off too---it's on my "wall of shame" of very abused anvils. Sort of tied in Worst Place with my Peter Wright that's missing the entire top of the anvil above the waist.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rule 1 in smithing:  Never get itchy.  Time and patience are your friends.

Anvil pricing is highly location specific but in the current market (for my area), $ 1.50/lb for a good vulcan would be quite reasonable.  Just be sure to verify the weight.  Unless there is something quite wrong with it or you damage it, you won't lose money should you decide to upgrade to one of the better brands in the future.

However....as others will mention, you can get a chunk of scrap metal for much less money that will be a perfectly serviceable anvil to begin working with. If you get lucky, you might even find a hard large shaft (or similar) that would be a better anvil than a Vulcan.  It won't be "anvil shaped" but lots of "real" anvils aren't anvil-shaped.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the input. Makes me feel a little better that vulcans are seen as suitable. the only reason i estimated 170lbs was i think i saw a 17 in the casting of the emblem. i was thinking of taking a bathroom scale with me when i go check it out, and now i definitely will.

5 minutes ago, Anachronist58 said:

If you live in Anviltopia, the anvils are free. Right off the tree. Bakersfield, and California, for that matter, is no Anviltopia, where they run up to $8/#.

You are on your way, yes?

I was born and raised here and have never seen one just laying around. the only one I've seen belonged to a buddy who shoes horses and he said he's been looking for a long time for a replacement. That they are hard to come by and very expensive when they do come up. i told the guy i could come up tomorrow. and he hasn't replied i'll see if he's still willing on the price for tomorrow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My contact with him was through text mess. he called me and gave me a little more info as to what markings were on the anvil. it has a 44 stamp and a 10 stamp, so i assume it's a 100#er. gave him a little more info on what he has that i have gathered in my research, he said he may be willing to go down to 200 beings it's smaller than he expected, giving time to sell it for more. i may just call him tomorrow and tell him i have 200 in hand yes or no and i'll be on my way. It's only 30 miles from the house.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So i drove the 30 miles to look at it, and a 100lb anvil is a bit smaller than i expected or was looking for. I haven't seen many anvils in person in recent memory. Told the guy i wasn't intrested in it at $250 do to the diffrence in expected size vs. Actual size. Was honestly going to walk away from it. I told him i'd give him time to sell it for a price closer to what he wanted. He pitched 230 i said i wouldnt be able to explain paying any more than 200 for it to the wife, and he let me take it for that. Happy about the purchase price. It IS in very good condition. looks like it sat on the shelf somewhere and was almost never used. Still has casting material in every crease. Edges have minimal signs of usage.

Feel free to tell me what you think

1469163331104-1142676031.jpg

14691633891011181241845.jpg

146916344865359020444.jpg

1469163536237-1971094436.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think its a great deal and a vulcan in really nice condition. I have a 150lb vulcan and it is a good anvil. flat and quiet. the edges are prone to chipping and the surface plate is not thick so be careful working on the edges. although not a top of the line wrought anvil, it is much better than rail or other makeshift anvils.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm beginning to think it's a trick of our minds that we need a bigger anvil. My first was a 90# Trenton....and after getting it all I could think of was how badly I needed a bigger one. And now I have a bigger anvil, I still end up using the 90# sometimes.

That Vulcan will take care of you as long as you return the favor and take care if it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blacksmiths suffer terribly from "anvil envy" and you will see many a small hobby shop outfitted with anvils that graced only the largest industrial shops in their original postings.

Most of us do not commonly work on several hundred pound pieces using a bunch of strikers with 16# sledges; but we still covet the anvils that were used for that sort of thing...Me I have a 91# Arm & Hammer anvil right next to my 515# Fisher as the A&H has a nearly sharp heel and the heel on the fisher is thicker than many an anvil's face is wide...Would I turn down a free 750# West anvil?  Heck no!  But I realize it's only the addiction speaking...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, 927xpert said:

And the very next day this shows up through one of my contacts, that i may be abel to pick up for free!!! Dont have any info on it, just this picture. Looks to be a Fisher.

3158.jpeg

Yes, it is a Fisher.  If there is no name on the front, it was probably made during the Crossley years, 1962 to 1979.  Post some pictures of the other side, under the heel and I can tell you more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A free Fisher. I think I HATE YOU! . . . Oh wait a second I'm pretty darned  HAPPY with my 125lb. Soderfors,:wub: screamingly loud as it is. . . Okay, that was just FREE(!!!! :o) anvil envy speaking I don't hate you, REALLY I don't. Sweet score, take something nice for the gentleman offering it to you.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Xpert welcome aboard. Glad to see another rig worker on here. I'm a third party contractor working in the North Sea myself. Hope you guys over in the US are fairing better than us at the minute. It's nothing but doom and gloom here at the minute and most of us are working trip to trip with no idea what's happening at the end of the month. 

 

That Vulcan looks pretty good to me. So what if it's not the best anvil in the world, it will work perfectly well for you, especially in that condition.

 

Though I have to say if you get that Fisher for free I will be very jealous. I've only ever seen 4 Fisher's in the UK. I own one and two others are owned by people I know. The fourth disappeared into ebay history. I love my little 100lb Fisher, it's a lovely anvil to work on. 

 

All the best 

Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andy my pops has been an oilfield rig welder 30+ years and told me he hasn't ever seen it this bad. The area we live in is all oil/ag. I broke out in my own rig 4 years ago and its been a struggle for sure. But the bills get paid food gets bought and i have a little extra to play with so i cant complain... there are others who are in much worse situations. Hope things turn around soon for all of us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was a Mudlogger back when I first got out of college; I got hit in the crash of '83; but as my mother grew up in Oklahoma I had heard boom and bust stores "at my Mother's knee" and so when the Bust came back then I didn't owe a cent and had money in the bank---and went and worked with a swordmaker for a year.  Never made it back to Geology though; last 3 jobs have been in Computer Science (and the first one paid for a degree in it before the dotcom bust hit and I was back on the street.)  I'm hoping the current job will take me to retirement.  Though I was hoping that for my first job too come to think of it...   Busts are time to tool up if you can manage it as folks are selling out.   Good Luck to all!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, 927xpert said:

Andy my pops has been an oilfield rig welder 30+ years and told me he hasn't ever seen it this bad. The area we live in is all oil/ag. I broke out in my own rig 4 years ago and its been a struggle for sure. But the bills get paid food gets bought and i have a little extra to play with so i cant complain... there are others who are in much worse situations. Hope things turn around soon for all of us.

Our 25+year guys are saying much the same, they've never seen it this bad. Hopefully things will pick up sooner rather than later. 

TP, I'm logging myself. I can't imagine things have changed much though amazingly it seems we're the only branch of my company still ticking over nicely. Mainly down to massively reduced head count. :wacko:

Oh well. Just got to ride the storm. 

But come on Xpert - did you bag that Fisher too? 

Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's the bust that got me working with the swordmaker; I had the cash stored up and no job prospects, so lived cheap and had a great year!  At the end of which I got married and had a family to support and so got a "real job"  in a different field until I got to the one that sent me to get a CIS degree---while working full time with a 100 year old house AND a young family...I'm still in CIS but 3 jobs on: 14 years, 9 years and currently 3 years

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...