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I just got this anvil for free yesterday, has good bounce but there is barely a square inch of flat surface to use. Is there any way to get this to have a mostly full flat face again? Also I have no idea what brand this is. I've been reading articles half the day on how you should almost never attempt to fix one, but in its current state it's hard to see how it'll be much use! Its about 150 pounds at my best guess, measurements are 3.5"x13" by 10" tall. I appreciate any help!

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Welcome aboard Pat(?) glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the Iforge crew live within visiting distance. 

That old lady has seen some rough times. The way the heal is close to breaking off I think you'd have to spend more bringing her into hard working condition than buying a new anvil. Normally I'd suggest you make a flat smooth bottom die with a welded on shank to fit the hardy hole. Unfortunately the heal looks to want to break through hardy hole. 

You could make a smooth flat saddle plate but it wouldn't be efficient for forging, plannishing, flattening, etc. maybe but it's not a great solution. 

Right now I'm thinking you use it as is, stay away from the heal and take a careful look at the horn. Then find a piece of flat steel to do the finish work on. You might be able to sell that anvil for decent money as an antique. I don't think there's much left to repair unless you have money to burn.

I welded up some missing face on an anvil a few years ago, about 1/3 what's missing on the heal of yours. Just the rod cost $110. Another $50. for grinding cups and disks to clean it up. I burned 40lbs. of charcoal briquettes to preheat and post heat it. Oh IIRC $6.00 for the tempil stick.

And before you give that too much thought I've been welding and doing it right for close to 50 years.

Frosty The Lucky.

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We have a friend that has been welding about the same, so I have faith in his ability, but I wasn't sure about messing with the hardness of the anvil from welding across most of the face. I also have a connection at a large machine shop that would be able to mill the face.

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If you have a connection at a large machine shop you may want to just have him call you when they get a large hardened piece of drop steel from a job. They could radius it properly and maybe even weld something like gusseted square tube to it to act as a hardy. You'd still have this old girl to use the horn on. 

I guess another question tho, are you interested in blacksmithing or did you just jump at the chance when offered a free anvil? Just trying to gauge how much effort is "worth it" if others give you advice on a repair of the face and cracked heel. 

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There is still usable face left on that anvil. It's not a waste to get hammering on that one. I'm thinking like frosty said and find a flat chunk of steel to do finish work on. 

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Don't mill the face unless your planning to weld on a new one! Two options exist for repair of that anvil, welding with the right methods and rods (backer and hard facing) or mill it off, and weld on a new face, that requires getting under the plate to compleatly weld from the center to the edges. It also requires grinding out the crack and welding the heal up. After that you need to heat treat the new face. R55 is a good goal, hint steam jacketing is an issue. You can build off set hardy tools to get you over the center of the anvil. 

If your welder budy will work for beer (and knows how to weld wraught Iron), and your machine at knows a good heat treet shop with a quench block or a large oil vat that will work reasonably an new steel face might be an option. 

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Just accept it's foibles and start pounding.  People make amazing stuff with a lot worse.  Sure, there will be times when the wear gets frustrating but it won't take long before you learn to work around the worst of that without thinking.  Heck, it was free which is a better deal than most people ever run across.

It's a bit like your first car--for most it had 3 different brands of balding tires, worn out seats with a spring poking you in the exact wrong place, and a cantankerous engine that always seemed to need tweaking-- but people still have fond memories of that first car and what it gave to them.

By the time  you fix everything that needs "fixing", you'd be into it as much cost and labor as chasing something better.  And better WILL eventually come around on it's own if you keep your feelers out.

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People have hammered out beautiful objects on a lot worse than that. Put it to work until you find something better!

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Charcold, I am very interested in smithing, I've started volunteering at a loving history museum as an apprentice blacksmith under a very knowledgeable guy. I already have a cheap anvil with a 2"x2"x8" piece of 4130 for the top that will work, but I would really like to get this one back to looking and working as originally intended. So I'm not really looking for alternatives to this or using it like it is, because I do have another that will work. I am looking for the proper information to get this one fixed so it can be used to it fullest potential without having to work around any flaws.

I came here because I figured this would be the best resource around. Some of you have pointed me in the right direction and I truly appreciate that!

This is the anvil and top "plate" I have now. Next to nothing for a horn but the new one can sure be used for that! Along with a decent section of rail, also pictured.

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The Robb Gunter method is pretty much the gold standard of anvil repair.  If you don't know how the details affect the results DON'T VARY FROM IT!

Of course stating you want to repair it before you know a lot about how smithing works is a bit like deciding to rebuild your car's engine when you've never held a wrench before...

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6 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Of course stating you want to repair it before you know a lot about how smithing works is a bit like deciding to rebuild your car's engine when you've never held a wrench before..

Well, I do know one person (my brother, actually; one of the least handy people I know) who did precisely that (well, to be fair, he had held a wrench before, but had never done anything more mechanically complicated than changing a tire). To his credit, he did his research, took his time, invested in (or borrowed) the right tools, listened the advice of competent mechanics (shade tree and otherwise), and did exactly what he was supposed to do without trying to make it up as he went along. It worked out pretty well. However, that was essentially following a set of instructions that didn't have nearly as many variables and judgment calls as repairing an anvil would.

Getting back to the original question, though, I second what other folks have said above about the challenges of fixing this particular anvil. I'd like to throw out another option: if you got it for free, why not sell it, take the proceeds plus what you would have spent on welding and grinding, and invest in an anvil that doesn't have so many problems?

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Thomas Powers, I'll look that procedure up.

JHCC, to entertain the idea, do you have a rough ballpark as to what it may go for? It has some writing on the side and I'll try to clean it up to see if I can make any of it out. Like I said, I don't know much about anvils so any direction to finding a buyer or a fair price would be welcomed!

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I don't know what the anvil market is like in Kansas, so I can't really answer accurately. It does seem to be a seller's market for anvils these days, though, especially with the popularity of Forged In Fire. It seems like people are charging a lot more for anvils in much worse condition than what you've got there.

Definitely clean it up and give it a coat of paste wax. If you find some markings, that might help with advertising it to sell. It looks like it's marked 1 - 0 - 14, which would be 126 lbs by the hundredweight system ((112 x 1) + (28 x 0) + (1 x 14)). The lines look like a Mousehole Forge or similar mid-nineteenth century English anvil (I think I can see characteristic Mousehole divots between the numbers of the weight stamp, and the underside of the horn looks like it has the typical Mousehole ridge), but it's hard to say for sure without knowing if there are additional markings. Mouseholes are great anvils, but the condition of this one would make it hard to charge as much as a good one would bring.

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Ok, I will clean it and try to get some better pictures tonight. As far as selling it out of area, does the buyer usually pay shipping, or the seller?

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Buyer. What if you sell it for $200 and the shipping costs you $100?

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