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Reading Creek Forger

#4 Swage block identification and critiques

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Yesterday I acquired my first and hopefully my last swage block. The only mark I can find on the block is a No. 4 with no other logo or manufacturer's identification.  I originally agreed to buy it a year ago but the seller and I have not been able to get together.  Yesterday he delivered it to an event we were both attending.  I agreed to buy it sight unseen based on his asking price and my knowledge of the guys integrity.  He refused to take any money until I had the change to look at it but when I saw it I believed i had been given a great deal.  He had said something about a Vulcan swage block but I could not remember if it was the one I agreed to purchase or another he had.  It seems to be in fantastic condition with little sign of wear.  it has a rust brown patine with some dirt but other than that like new.  In fact it appears to need to some dressing to reduce the sharp corners around the holes and edges.  I checked online and it appears to be have been made by Illinois Iron and Tool Co for Vulcan and is a #4 which would seem to indicate it weighs 168 lbs.  Other than the No. 4 is there any way to confirm or indicate the manufacturer.  Does anyone have one or know anything about these swage blocks.  I have heard that Vulcan anvils have a thin plate of tool steel over a cast body but they are softer than most other quality anvils.  I have never heard anything about Vulcan or Illinois Iron and Tool Co. swage blocks.  I hesitate to say how little I paid but I would appreciate any comments as to the quality and or help with positively identifying it.

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Old cast tools from reputable manufacturers tended to be made of ductile iron (or 'gun iron' or 'semi-steel'), not to be confused with grey cast iron, which is the lowest grade.

A photo would allow us to compare it to known catalog images. Most were unmarked in any way, like leg vises, and sold by many vendors.

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