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I Forge Iron

Cutler anvil?

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So here's the story.  Years ago, my stepfather told me his father had an old anvil in a shed in a back field.  He would tell people if they could lift the anvil into their truck they could have it.  Fast foward to a couple years ago.  My step father did some dozer work cleaning up that field.  My stepgrandfather was a milk hauler/pig farmer, I can only assume he got the anvil at an auction or trading something with someone.  He does not blacksmith, most likely dropped the anvil in the shed as soon as he got it and never gave it a second look.  I asked my step father a couple days ago, "what ever happened to that old anvil of your dad's?"  He said, "it's out in the shop now."

So, yesterday I wandered out to the shop to see what it was.  I think it is a cutler's anvil?  I did not measure it yet so I dont have any weight yet.  "Estimating" roughly 20x6x12 inches   should put this around 400lbs.  I will try to get some measurements later.  Also, it is very weathered.  If there is any marking on it, it will need some cleaning to find.  

I have Postman's anvil book and there is only a couple mentions of cutler anvils.  I google searched and found no info either.  I am very curious to how these type of anvils were used.  The slots and dimples for tooling, swaging, or what?  How are they made? Who used these anvils?  Knife makers, file makers, tool makers?  I'm not finding any real solid info on the history.






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Ok, I can see it as a production anvil.  Found a video on youtube of a man using one with different tooling in the slots.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=zpeyhC-UIFg&app=desktop

So just like making tools for hardy holes, you could make tools for the slots.  That is pretty cool stuff.  

The flat face on the rear is about 6x6  that seams like plenty of area to work with.  Were these type anvils generally hardened like other anvils?  If someone tries to straighten a cold piece of rebar with a 6lbs sledge, how bad are they gonna screw this up?  I ask, because my stepdad has alot of people come and go as employees and alot of them don't know/don't care how to handle other people's tools.  Do I need to tell him to make it off limits to his guys?




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Wow on that video.  Expected to do 288 blades a day minimum.  Assuming a 10 hour work day not including any breaks, that's 2 minutes and 5 seconds per blade from raw bar through tempering.  I know some people are able to go into robotic-concentration mode but my limited attention span would certainly have me wandering off task in short order.



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Nice score on the anvil, now all you need do is learn how to make dovetails so you can start making tooling for it. Oh yes put it OFF LIMITS! I'd lock it behind a fence or some schmuck will run a torch on it.

I've seen that video linked here a number of times but keep losing the link. Stupid software upgrades think they know what I should have bookmarked!

Sorry, end rant. Besides how the smith has his anvil set up did you watch how he controlled the steel under the hammer? I have NOT seen a better instructional video, he NEVER lets the belly curve get away from him drawing the edge bevel. 

Also, knowing he's forging high carbon steel, note the colors he works it. (or a blue temper would be too soft to hold an edge especially in commercial use) Note how often he forges the steel when it's well below red heat, you can hear it cool by the sound and it's clinking under the hammer.

The anvil and tooling is wicked KEWEL but watching him work is the real value to having this in your library and studying. His techniques are not just for bladesmithing, we all have to control the stock's curling when working one side or edge, it's basic blacksmithing.

Frosty The Lucky. 

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Ok got home from work and went to the ol' man's shop.  I did some wire wheeling and measuring.  After measuring and figuring the volume and 0.283 lbs per cubic inch. Anvil should weigh right close to 370lbs.

Measurements were 17.25" x 7" base. 17.25" x 5.5" top. 11.75" tall. 4"x4" x (2" taper to 5") hardy holder.  Has a 1" hardy hole.  The hardy holder looks like it may be welded on to the anvil.  It has 2 dovetailed and bow-tie shaped slots.  Also has 4 unknown divots in the face.

The front 5" x 5" face looks like a plate as a seam can be seen on one side of the body.  The middle and rear face show no visible seam.  There is also handling holes on the front, rear and underside.

I could not make out a name.  But there is something there.  It is wrote in a circular shape that I can only see partial of the bottom words.  Can only make out "OO??YN?"  I think it says Brooklyn.

Here are some more pics.


closeup name.jpg








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That video blows my mind.  Two gross of blades per day just is literally, mind boggling.  I worked two years with a master jeweler from Izmir Turkey.  He was phenomenal in that, every move was calculated, never a wasted motion, never a need to go back and "fix" a boo-boo.  The gentleman in the video reminded me of that, no wasted motion. Perfection that can only come from a God-given gift and decades of mastering the craft.  33 years as a bench jeweler, even having acquired a "master" status and yet I know, I'm not there yet.

Amazing and a thing of beauty to watch a true craftsman work.  Art and technique beautifully blended together.

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