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Hey all, 

My brother, father and I have decided we are going to learn this craft. None of us have any experience, but are all excited to learn! After researching anvils for a month or so to get an idea of what to look for, I came across a 160# hay budden which I think looks like it is in great shape for a good deal. I can't quite read the first two digits of the serial number on the foot under the horn (maybe 44?). I don't have the master book (Anvils in America), does anyone have an idea of when this beauty was made? 

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I recall there were changes over time in the number of handling holes, with some variation based upon weight, as well as the shape of the depression in the base.  Pictures of the base along with pictures of any handling holes might help as well.

You sure picked a good one to find first!

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Most would say to forge on her/him for a year then see if you want to. Honestly most of those chips are probably older than you or I. An experienced smith might very well touch them up, then again maybe not. My farrier anvils have rounded edges, about 1" in the heal and about a 1/4" in the front. 

The only fight you will get from most of us is going off 1/2 cocked and doing something to ruin an anvil like that, she can go another century or two. Just do your reserch, consider the opinions of experienced smiths, ask the anvil and hot steel their opinions and then do what you think is best. Just remember, it's hard to put material back on a hardened tool steel plat.

By the way, even I go off 1/2 cocked. Welcome to Glenn's front porch, I think I need to apologies to you. Sorry we got off on the wrong foot, I was mulling over a sore spot and I used you to get on my soap box.

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I am not a master smith by any stretch but I do have a Hay Budden anvil with some similar chips. There is one area in particular that has a rather large chip that can be quite useful for some some bottom fullering  I took the advise of one of my mentors and touched that area very lightly a bit at a time and took out a sharp edge or two so it became a "go to spot" for some applications. I did not touch that spot for at least six months until I was certain it would be a good choice. Even then I would just touch it and use it for a bit until I was certain I wanted another softening. Look for those special spots on that anvil and use them to your advantage. I really believe a brand new anvil would tempt me more in terms of grinding than would an old one that over time has developed some areas that are useful. Your Hay Budden is a great anvil. 

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It's funny how with use you start liking certain parts of your anvil edges for certain tasks.  There is a 1" section that's perfect for necking down stuff I make a lot of.  If you gave me a brand new anvil I'd have to grind the edge to match at the same place just so I could find it fast!

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Sharp edges are not your friend, they lead to cold shunts, and cold shunts lead to cracks in things you forge, so "restoration by trying to weld up and grind the edges is a step backwards, not to mention with out very spacifically materials and techniques you can dammmage the top plate. Certainly don't try to mill or goring the top flat either, that will ruin an anvil fast. As you learn to work an anvil you will find the "improfections" become assets. Try flattening a cold bar on a flat anvil, tough to do, but with just a fraction of an inch dip and it flattens very fast. A slight crown is another matter, as it speeds drawing. You will see, the anvil and steel will show you how they want to be worked

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14 hours ago, G-ManBart said:

I'm not asking to start an argument...just an honest question.  You wouldn't lightly dress the sharp edges on some of those chips so they don't get worse?

From what I see in the pictures there are no sharp edges to those chips, just decades of honest work.

Unless I saw something in person to contradict that the only thing I would put on that beauty is hot steel/iron. Not arguing just my opinion on what I see.

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Fair enough.  I opened the first picture up to it's full size, and it looked like the one chip at the front, and one near the back had sharp edges on the top side, but it could just be the lighting since metal isn't easy to get good pictures of.  Obviously, running a finger over them would be worth lots of pictures :)

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  • 6 months later...

Yep, beautiful anvil that is.  I would make one correction to what you said though.  It was not from a collector hoard.  It was from a “failed collector hoard”.  Because, seriously, what collector would release that beauty?

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  • 2 years later...

Well, when i was young my dad always told me i could break an anvil. I didnt know if it might be too valuable for a beginner or worst case could it be "dead"? A hammer barely bounces off the center. Could somebody have ruined it

And the cast stand is no where near as heavy as the anvil itself and not mounted to the floor (yet) it is only as wide as the foot and not as long as the horn.

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Pictures!  As to the possibility of it being ruined: Is the steel face plate still on?  Has it been through a fire?  Is your hammer hard?

This is sounding like: "I have a used car; was it in a wreck?"  How would you answer that question with that amount of information provided?

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