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Bought my First Anvil!


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Found an ad in a local paper for a 50 to 60 pound anvil. I was reluctant to call the seller because I thought this anvil would be way too small. I drove over and an old farmer took me out back behind his house where he had 2 anvils sitting outside in the weather. They were both about the same size. One had "Arm & Hammer" stamped on the side, and the other was an "M&H Armitage".

The A&H looked quite rusty and it appeared that someone welded a flat plate on top of the anvil. I am not sure if this normal or if it was later remanufactured. The surface was very flat and the edges were perfectly square.

The M&H had a less flat surface and slightly rounded edges, but it had minimal rust and looked more stout to me. Guy told me I could take my choice. I chose the M&H. We loaded it on my truck and I was thinking, either I have gotten really weak or this thing weighs a lot more than 50 to 60 pounds.

Took it home and looked at the stampings more closey. It says, "M&H Armitage Mouse Hole 1 . 0 . 26. I put it on a scale and it weighs 135 pounds! I was amazed that an anvil that sat outside in the weather had jut minimal surface rust.

Anyway, I don't know much about anvils. Is the M&H a good one? Would I have better off with the A&H?

I appreciate the feedback. Thanks!

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sounds like you got a great deal! if you can afford it (sounds like the price was right )see if you can get the other one also! the anvil you got sounds like a good one can you post pics?the main thing i do when looking over a anvil is take a hammer and tap the face in verious places and see how the hammer bounces .. you want a good bounce from all over the face but especially the center where you do most of your work . that said i will then ck flatness of face and ck the edges .. edges dont need to be perfectly sharp in fact a little rounded is good for most work. if it has all that going for it i consider it a "good " anvil if it has problems I figure worth accordingly. have fun!

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Mouse hole is a great brand of traditionally made english anvils. The do have a squatter "industrial" look to them than many of the long horn and heeled american anvils but that is usually a bonus not a problem as it puts more of the anvil mass under the hammer rather than out in "tuning fork mode".

The english hundred weight system (CWT) goes: First number is hundredweights, 112 pounds, second number is quarter hundred weights, 28 pounds and the last number is pounds. So for anvils the second number must be 0-3 and the last 0-27

For your anvil that would be 1 x 112 + 0 x 28 + 26 = 138 pounds well within tolerance of bathroom scales and the old scales used in those times at the factory.

Now the Arm and Hammer anvil; was that stamped *in* or was it a logo that projected from the side? Two anvils manufacturers used the arm and hammer logo: vulcan that are a cast iron steel faced anvil with the logo projecting and Arm & Hammer that was a wrought iron steel faced anvil with the logo and writing stamped into the side. Arm & Hammers are *much* superior to vulcans *unless* sound is a major issue.

The things that can go wrong with traditionally made anvils are: delamination---test by tapping with a hammer and getting a dull sound or even buzzing rather than the "ting" and wearing through the face plate---not usually a big problem unless some idjit has ground the face down thinning the plate radically trying to get a dead flat/smooth surface---but trashing the anvil doing so and finally being in a structure fire that de-tempers the face making it soft---check for that with the bounce test.

Repairs can be done to anvils; several anvil manufacturers offered such services for used anvils re-forging them and forge welding on a new face. However many modern repairs do more dammage than they fix as most weldors and machinists don't know squat about anvils and so use the wrong techniques through ignorance. Some ABANA affiliates put on anvil repair workshops where folks that know what they are doing help out the rest of us.

Repairing an anvil usually drops it's price (as you don't know if it was done right or not), but may make it much more usefull to a smith.

Anvils are usually sold by weight so you may have got a real steal---how much did you give? If it was cheap you may want to try to buy the other one too.

Thomas

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I am quite certain the A&H anvil is gone. The farmer told me that he got at least a dozen calls and that people were on the way when I arrived. I believe him. I've been looking for an anvil for years and usually within hours of an ad being placed, I would call and the anvil would be sold. I just got lucky because this anvil was very close to my house.

I paid $200 for it. I think that's a fair price.

If I remember correctly, the A&H had lettering that faced outwards, (not stamped inwards). For some reason the A&H just didn't feel good to me. To me, the A&H looked like some one took 3 pieces of metal and welded them together and then never bothered to grind off the ugly weld marks. The face on that anvil was perfectly flat - like no one ever took a hammer to it and the corners were very sharp. It looked like someone put a 3/8" piece of metal on top and welded it down. Maybe it is suppossed to look like that.

I should have brought a hammer with me so I could strike them and check for rebound.

Like I said, I know little about Anvils.

Thanks for thre responses, you guys are great! I'm looking forward to pounding some iron!

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Attaboy Guage!! You got a good anvil AND at a real good price! I love to hear of success stories like this one. Now, post pictures of your new treasure and we expect a few pictures of some thing you have made from this toy...er, I mean TOOL. ;)

Now after reading this post would you please go to the top of the page and click on "user CP" and update your profile stating where you live. There could be one or more of us in your location that would be willing to meet you and swap lies...stories, yea, stories. Have fun.

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Now after reading this post would you please go to the top of the page and click on "user CP" and update your profile stating where you live. There could be one or more of us in your location that would be willing to meet you and swap lies...stories, yea, stories. Have fun.



Thomas - How rude of me! I never properly introduced myself. I live in Southern New Jersey near Vineland and Milville. I work in Philadelphia as a Regional Finance Manager for a global consulting company.

I started restoring old cars when I was 13, and soon realized that a lot of parts can be fixed or made from scratch if you have the right tools, so I started to teach myself how to weld and I bought an Atlas lathe. In my opinion, the anvil is the oldest and most basic of metal working tools. Currently my "automotive" projects have been limited to old Land Cruiser and Mercedes Diesels.

I'll try and post some pictures of the anvil this weekend. I am away on business and I won't be back home until Friday.

By the way, before I left, the farmer that I bought the anvil from was both surprised and amused to see how happy I was with my purchase. He told me that he was sure he had at least one or two more anvils in one of his barns. He said he would look over the weekend, and if he could find them, he would call me. So, if he finds anything good in those barns, I might post pictures of more than one anvil. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for having me as a member.
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Cool! No telling what he'll find in the barn. I was given an old home made forge with a GREAT Buffalo blower that turns oh so smooth. I will probably scrap (as in use for something else) the forge as it is too heavy and really not made that well. I don't think it had been used. The man that gave it to me was pleased to do so as he knew it would be used. I told him what I planned to do with the forge part and he had no problem. (4x4x1/4 legs, frame from the same 3'sq with 1/4" plate filling the frame. Has 3" pipe for the ash and air. The thang weighs a ton! His goats had been playing on it for the past 8-10 yrs he said. :) ) Glad you're here.

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If they stuck out then that is a Vulcan and not an Arm and Hammer; Vulcans use an arm and hammer logo though. Vulcans can look a bit off from their manufacturing method; but them some folks don't like Fishers either.

My two main shop anvils are a 500+# Fisher and the newly refurbished 407# Trenton so one is fat and squat and the other long and thin and I love them both! (though looking for tooling for 1.5" hardy holes is a bit harder than the 1" size.

US$200 for 135# Mousehole in decent shape on the east coast is considered quite good!

I'd call the guy back earlier and check on the others!

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s6300292I am new to this forum and need some info on the anvil I purchased at an auction. It has vul5can in raised letters on one end of the base and I I & B Co on the other. I thought it might be Hay and Buddin but don't really know. I'll try to post some pics.
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s6300292I am new to this forum and need some info on the anvil I purchased at an auction. It has vul5can in raised letters on one end of the base and I I & B Co on the other. I thought it might be Hay and Buddin but don't really know. I'll try to post some pics.


It's a . . . Vulcan, says so right on the label. ;)

Welcome aboard.

If you go to the top of the page, click on "user cp" and edit your profile to say where you live you might find smiths living near you and you'd be able to get together for help, tips, etc.

Frosty
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I've been looking for a 100# anvil for over a year. I know some local smiths who claim to have over a dozen anvils. No danged wonder I can't find one! Has it occured to us that the reason anvils are so rare and expensive is that our brother smiths are hoarding them? C'mon guys, share the bounty! Well, the heck with it. I just bought a new TFS 100# Blacksmith anvil from my local farrier suppy. I plan to be buried with it!

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I have 42 anvils ranging from 20 lbs to 1243 lbs.
At every meeting that we have there are anvils for sale and i usually hold back and give the people that are in need of one first chance at a deal / sometimes they are still there at the end of the meeting.
Quadstate is a different story ( if you want that anvil and i want that anvil you had better get to it before me :)
I meet people everyday that have looked everywhere for an anvil and cant find one / that usually translates into they have been to a coulpe flea markets and asked a few friends and hope to find something real cheap or for free.
I just seem to fall over them everywhere i go and no i dont buy them all.
We went to hatteras on vacation last summer and i ran across 5 anvils on the way down there ( bought a pre 1790 colonial pattern ) was the best deal of the bunch because it didnt look like the rest of them. Left the other 4 for others. If i return and they are still there i may have another look at them.
When i first started out i waited around for the deal of the century too ( i just knew that once people knew that i was a blacksmith ) they would love for me to take all of this junk off of their hands for free or real cheap.
Some people collect knives , guns , belt buckles etc. i just like to collect anvils.
Its not like they dont still make new anvils everyday.
Are they high priced Yes
they still make new guns everyday
Are they high priced Yes and an old one in good shape will fetch a premium price too.
The high prices on ebay are not the sellers fault ( the high price comes from people bidding the price higher and higher ) SUPRISE

Try the Thomas Powers approach i hear it works.
Anvils are pretty plentiful around here so i havent had a need to try his method.
According to my wife my method is working too well now :)

Mike Tanner

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I have to agree about finding anvils ... the price has gone up but they are available .I had one come to me in my shop.... the guy stopped by about a month befor saying he had a anvil for sale and wondered if I was interested.at the time i had 4 and wasnt looking so i took his card to pass on to someone looking .I gave the card to a guy who seemed to be seriously looking but apperently not cause the guy inded up bringing the anvil by. he said he would give me a good deal on it or it was gona end up a lawn ornament in his son in laws yard!!! I bought it even tho I really didnt have the money ..
Turened it in less than a week and doubled my money ...the goy who got it was real happy with the deal he got! if you are really looking and your in america try craigs list ..

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Yep, I guess some guys live in the right locations to find anvils under every rock. Trust me, Craigs list in Houston has not had an anvil for sale since I moved here. Antique shops and eBay think anvils are made of gold or blacksmiths are all illiterate. I have asked all the folks in my smithing org. and nobody has one for sale or knows of one for sale. I have never seen one at a garage sale or estate sale. I think all the anvils down south got melted into canon balls and shot back north!!!

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Mike sounds like you are already using my method.

Quenchcrack, most of Houston is new, try the little towns out in the "country"; I mean I've found 2 anvils here in NM (besides the 2 real and 3 copies at the last implement auction) and they are fairly rare here; except for the fellow who claims he has 700 of them---he's willing to sell but most folks can't afford the east/west coast prices he wants---ebay has a lot to answer for.

Vulcan anvils have a tool steel face and a cast iron body and so are a quiet anvil. They are not as good an anvil as a Fisher, the other major make made that way and are substantially lower in grade than a Hey Budden. On the other hand they are a heck of a lot better than an HF cast iron ASO! Do not grind on the face as the vulcans tend to be a bit thin there and one the steel is gone you are back to a cast iron ASO.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Picked up the anvil from Alvin Farrier Supply in Tomball, TX. Nicely finished horn and face. Good shape to the hardy and pritchel. Plenty of mass under the main section of the table. Bottom had been milled flat but it wasn't perfectly flat. A bit of filework cleaned up the high spots. Built a stand out of 2x6's. Hopefully I will have some time tomorrow to mount the anvil and check it out. Dropping a ball peen onto the face from about 4" gave an excellent return. Seems to be a lively anvil but does not ring appreciably.

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