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IronDogSmile

HI! and another Anvil Restore project for the day!

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Hi, I am new to the forum, I have been collecting tools for a while and have had off and on times with a forge. I will soon be ON again. I just picked up this anvil, not 2 miles from my house. After my search I believe it to be a old Arm & Hammer (because of the exposed face and rough heel and forge holds) anvil but with a few curiosities! In that it has a 3/4" hole in the step. Is this a type of anvil or a custom modification? I could not find nor what its for. 

It also sadly broke in half one day, but apparently was repaired enough to be satisfactory to the smith whenever that happened. Pre welding days? or smart way to not have to mess up heat treat?

The only I.D. marks are really worn and covered in oxidation on the front foot. Could no major logo be a sign this is a second? also a reason it might have chipped at the pritchel hole being too hard? not sure what would have caused that. 

 

So my plan of action pending advice is to make it work again. I will wire wheel the base and use some kind of mild abrasive pad to smooth out polish the top and horn etc..( i think at being about 1/2 plate I can lose a little and be OK and the pitting on the face is not that deep) cover in paste wax... Marvel at the Beauty!

 

anvil forge.jpg

anvil face.jpg

anvil top plate.jpg

anvil hole.jpg

anvil break.jpg

anvil mark.jpg

break in face.jpg

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Its possible I suppose but I do not know. I hear that the top and bottom are forge welded together to make arm & hammer so maybe it was a bad weld or something like that. I will have to test the rebound and take some measurements etc...

Yeah I will use some scratchy like disks that seem to work really well while being gentle enough. They are also kind of spongy so work harder on the high spots. I wouldn't use an angle grinder. Just want a shiney anvil top!

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use a wire brush to clean off the rust and try shining a light on it from different angles to see markings on the sides of the anvil, I also use a pressure washer to clean them, after that use it to shine it up as that is the best way to get a nice finish without losing metal from the face

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As they were welding several thousand years before that style of anvil came around, I doubt it was pre welding days. Now it might be pre arc welding days; but definitely not pre forge welding days.

The fire question deals with not only enhanced rust; but also the possibility that the face may have been softened.  The ball bearing test should show that after it's cleaned.

Don't do any grinding on the face!  But you may want to arc weld the waist back together---full penetration weld would be best.

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I meant arc welding yes.... but with more research I see arc welding was known about ( arc discovered in 1800, but carbon arc welder invented 1881). I think at this point I am not going to weld anything as long as the original fix is working I see no need to do so. I can always do it if the fixture gets lose. right now I do not even think my little 110 arc welder is even up to the job. 

It has also been sitting in a barn unpreserved for who knows how long for rust etc...  the top actually looks ok and in much better condition than many other old anvils. 

I am not going to grind! never said it. I said mild abrasive.... as is a wire wheel.

 

Well thanks so far i should have some time on Weds to work on it. And will bring back results of test. 

 

 

any ideas about that table hole?

 

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The do not grind gets added to pretty much all "rough" anvil posts; as we have so many folks out there who will grind or mill their anvil face and so destroy it's usability!  It really hurts when it's an anvil that didn't need it at all!  So you got it as a standard comment.

As the table is soft my guess would be that it's an aftermarket retrofit by a previous owner.  Does the bottom show any sings of punching it?  (In which case it would have been a factory feature)

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Ok that I can understand. I saw a you tub vid of a young man "restoring" an old axe head, and yeah to my dismay ground it all down til it looked modern, and possibly lost its treat. I would have just used steel wool and some W-D40 on that one and ground the edge down. I definately would not want to lose any character this anvil has. I already have a larger budden I can use for heavy work but I think I can get a flatter top from this one with no filler needed. 

I have been collecting a lot of smith tools but my more modern tools are not as good. So I basically used a wire wheel in my drill in short burst (to let cool) but its not that fast so its really not as good as some other products I have used.  Here is a pic of a stake plate I worked on. I started with the wire brush and even after several passes was not giving me a deep enough finish. So I used these like scotch brite pads on a disk and it cleaned up to the right amount. While still keeping even the machining lines on the surface of the metal. 

 

for some more fun here is one of 2 drill pressed I have restored. Came to me totally frozen.

pexto stake.jpg

drill press rust 2.jpg

drill press restore.jpg

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I think that anvil is a strong candidate for electrolysis. That much pitting is going to be hard to clean up without damaging the working face.

Nice job on the post drills and stake plate. Do you use the tools or are you a collector? Either way it's nice to see the stuff cleaned up and useful again.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The answer is YES. I loooove tools, most works of art in design and function and ingenuity. Some of my best are a cast iron drill press off a WW2 battleship I got near Annapolis MD. I use it, and intend to. A old forged bark spud with a neat wood handle, and yes I have used it! My 210 lb Budden was in my college room 14 yrs ago, I sometimes rode it likes a surf board. Intend to use it 7 generations.    I have always wanted to be a metal smith, maker, of all trades. So I have many tools mostly hand tools. Some I do use, some I just find neat but practically may never need. and if I can find a good deal I will restore and one and see if someone appreciates its new form in an exchange. 

Really the issue is not about having the tools to do the job. I need a space. I am working on fixing a small shed  near a farm field for hot work and wheeling things out of a garage for power stuff. So that is my goal among the many other things I must do in a Michigan summer. 

When I was a teacher I had a nice little shed to work in, but honestly, between work as a teacher and everything I mostly just had fun building the shop and putting it together than having the time to use it to make stuff...  oh, there's the anvil and press and gas forge I assembled.

shop 1.jpg

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On another note. Topically... I didn't find the pitting to be that bad on the face of the anvil. Mostly on the sides and bottom.  But still What is the difference in takin' 1/32 off 1/2 inch hard plate still supported by 100# iron? 

I am not too familiar or set up at all to do electro-plating but it might be worth looking up to see what that would cost and might accomplish. Thanks for the tip!

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If you only have 1/32" of rust hot iron and a hammer will take care of it just fine. ONLY taking 1/32" off with a grinder is a LOT harder than you think without a surface grinder and using a surface grinder almost assures you'll take too much off. 

Electrolysis is NOT plating though the process is the same. All you need is a plastic tub you can completely submerge the anvil in. An electrolyte, baking soda works fine and a trickle charger. The new chargers that automatically shut off when the battery is charged don't work you need a manual controlled one.

The anvil needs to be off the bottom so electrolyte can circulate under it freely. I like driving a few nails up through a piece of plywood. Attach the positive pole (anode) to a sacrificial piece of steel and hang it in the solution, connect the negative pole (Cathode) to the anvil one of the nails is a good spot. Reduction occurs at the Cathode. The bubbles will be free oxygen and hydrogen.

Turn it on and keep an eye on it the rust will be reduced to clean iron faster than one would think. Any rust you pick, chip or brush off will leave pits, holes, etc. where it was.

You can reduce the rust chemically too but it leaves you with a hazmat to dispose of.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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thank you for the write up Frosty (and all who replied) I did look at that electrolysis (not electro plating) But I thought there might be a process that bonded fresh iron to the rust molocules in place.

Turns out its pretty simple and I think I have most things to do it, so its worth a try cause it might help me with some other stuff too..

 

thanks 

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How many years of use would it take to remove 1/32"?  That's what you are removing from the anvil.  Now what happens if the next 8 owners all take 1/32" off?  Your 1/2" face plate is now 1/2 it's thickness + what use wear it had.

It's your anvil and you can do what you want with it; we just like people to wait until they understand smithing before they do irreversible changes to their equipment  (Not totally irreversible, I know a smith who when he was just getting started had his anvil milled FLAT and sharp edged and ended up not having enough faceplate left to use.  Now he paid good money for the anvil and paid more good money to have it destroyed and then kept it unused for 20 years until we had an anvil repair day. A professional Welder spent over 5 hours building up a usable face on it using industrial welding equipment; luckily for free though he donated for the consumables.  If we had warned him in time he not only would have saved the money spent destroying and repairing his anvil he would have had 20 years of using it!)

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I get what your saying but Nothing last forever especially if you want to hone the tool. Why sharpen a knife? every time that is done it removed metal that can't come back. eventually there will be no usable knife. The idea is not to forget about it and make it more usable, I don't really want to add pit marks to my work. I guess if this thing survives 8 owners someone will have to reface it with welds, but honestly that seems like it could go even worse if not heat treated right. The idea for me is to take care of it. With the tools I'm using 1/32 would take me quite a while to do. I'm just looking to get a smooth top. 

so what is enough face plate? 

 

 

 

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Just a suggestion:  Why don't you use it as is for a few months - up to a year even - and then if you still think it needs modification you'll have a good handle on exactly how you'd like it to be different.  Deep pits can show up on your work, but if they are shallow as you indicate then you hammer marks are more likely to be noticeable than anything the pits will introduce to your work. I have a Peter Wright whose face looked similar to your pictured anvil when I got it.  After cleaning it up I found the pits weren't nearly as bad as I thought.  I mostly make blades, but I haven't noticed any real problems that I can attribute to the pitting in the face of the anvil.

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There's another aspect about the 1/32" estimation. Let's assume for the purposes of discussion it's an accurate depth. The problem is it's 0.03125" to the Top of the pits and if you don't know, the rust at the bottom of the pits is usually deeper. So, you grind 0.03125" to the top of the face, then grind ANOTHER 0.03125" of sound steel to reach the bottom of the visible pitting. Now you have to grind through the rust at the bottom of the pit, at least ANOTHER 0.03125" usually more. 

Okay, lets assume it's a lucky day and say 0.09375" (3/32") cleans the pits out completely. What about the rest of the face? It's not flat even if it was before getting tossed in the wet, corrosion doesn't happen at an even rate. So more metal has to be removed from the high spots to treat the low spots. 

You have to remove more than the apparent depth of rust to actually clean the face with a grinder of whatever kind. Around 3x the apparent depth of rust is a conservative amount of material to remove to clean the rust off is a fair rule of thumb. Taking 1/8" off 1/2" inch face is a significant loss.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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A bit of Diesel poured into a metal can and applied with a paint brush works wonders on rust. A dab of Diesel and a little elbow grease with a brass brush will clean it up.

Learned this trick from my boss when I worked at the museum cleaning old hand tools.

Just beware: Diesel is hazardous and you only need a cupful to make it work.  

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I appreciate the feedback. thank you for your time.  

The good and the specifics now that I had time to do some measuring.

25 5/8" long, by 10 3/4"high.  the plate is 5/8'' I guesstimate about 110-130 lbs. 

More on the mystery of the step hole, or... I think I know what broke the anvil.

The hole on the step is odd it is about 5/8" wide and 1" deep but the sides not creating the edge of the step go down at a further angle creating a small pocket in the step. the outer edges of the step are quite flared out and the ones near the hole are curled over.  This to me suggest some kind of jig possibly used for cold work which eventually spit the seam. But what what this for and why make the jig into the anvil is unknown.  I might attribute some of the bowling of the hole to be partly from erosion because there is a lot of grit, dust, slag, rust etc... at the bottom. But I cannot agree to that exclusively because it is not uniform, being that the sides near the edge are flat. 

I am fascinated and want to try electrolysis since it is so easy to assemble, it may work wonders for me later. I will keep this project posted. and see what I feel is the best step after that. 

falling more smitten over this one all the day. 

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