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I Forge Iron

My New Old Anvil

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I've been lurking on this forum for a long time soaking up and reading all the material I can.  As a newbie to blacksmithing, I wanted to really try my hand at things before asking questions so I avoid asking the same questions I see other newbies asking constantly.  Thank you to all who have shared wisdom, skills, and experience on here.  It has helped me enter this craft with much more knowledge than I would have had just jumping straight in.

I've been an accomplished flintknapper for 15 years making flint reproductions and some plain artwork.  As such, I know that you have to put your time in learning all the small skills before you attempt the larger projects.  At a show, my booth was set up next to blacksmith doing a demo.  I thought to myself "I think I could really do that."  A few years later I set up at another show and, you guessed it, was next to the same blacksmith.  That sealed it for me, because I really wanted to give forging a try.  I borrowed a junky anvil (couldn't even find anything like it in AIA) from my Dad, and got some basic hammers and a set of pick-up tongs and yes a gas forge from Diamond back.  I struggled, but each time I've forged I've gotten better and quicker at things.  It was obvious thought that I needed a better anvil.  A friend's friend's nephew was reported to have lots of blacksmith tools and anvils.  I ended up with this anvil, which after consulting AIA I believe it to be an early Boker Trenton made in Germany.  Perhaps Black Frog could confirm that.  

Reading and lurking here helped me get educated on the differences between Peter Wrights, Hay Buddens, Trentons, and the others.  Knowing good prices also helped me not make the typical newbie mistake of overpaying.  The guy who sold it to me didn't know what it was and thought it was a Peter Wright, but I found the diamond Trenton logo.  The feet steps confused me because I knew Trentons didn't have that feature.  He thought it weighed 150 lbs so I took his word for it but felt it was a little more than that.  I paid $2 per pound for an even $300.  $50 more got me an armful of tongs and hammers.  It was suggested to me by a farrier friend to have it machined flat and the edges sharpened.  Reading extensively here showed me that was a poor decision and I just cleaned it up with a wire wheel and began using it.  Thomas Powers' words of wisdom helped me to work with the sway in it and keep this old gal just like I found her.  She ended up being 179 lbs, so I paid under $2 in the end.  Here's some pictures of my new old gal.  Her rebound is pretty good.  I welcome any feedback on how early people feel it is.  I got a good idea from AIA that I checked out at my local library, but maybe someone like Black Frog has more information.  One question I have is what the machined off slant might have been used for on the trenton logo side.  It looks specific to some past smith's work.DSCN3866.thumb.JPG.9b3d48a96b0ac0603bfc9b590f3ec26e.JPGDSCN3866.thumb.JPG.9b3d48a96b0ac0603bfc9b590f3ec26e.JPGDSCN3865.thumb.JPG.2a72b52e3fecb55eb3ec5ed2b19eb425.JPGDSCN3858.thumb.JPG.92976f482bcf5208d7c43f99a9d86e8f.JPGDSCN3864.thumb.JPG.97dd34b94c170f9e587dcfc40f5a6c10.JPGDSCN3862.thumb.JPG.0af2409d87c408916d7c677d7369377f.JPGDSCN3845.thumb.JPG.5057d65edc22a46dffacea58714342f5.JPG



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Looks like a great anvil for almost anything you'd ever want to do. Metal workers and other folks that use tools modify their tools to do what they need. I have modified my tools which in the years to come may be considered a horrible mistake. Well apparently the previous owner of that anvil needed to take off that section of the top plate but it really is an insignificant modification as far as its actual use is considered.  I believe you will be able to everything you would ever need to do in the future.. Use it and make beautiful things!

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Welcome to IFI,

I congratulate you for doing the homework and using common sense. Now on your acquisition of a very good anvil I'd say ya done good, it still has generations of honest work left in her.

Just a guess on the modification to the edge, probably to make drawing out easier for some specialty the smith made regularly. Some of the members who know a lot more about anvils may have a better reason.

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Welcome aboard MC, glad to have you. Sweet score on that grand old lady of an anvil. Good decision regarding how to make her pretty again. There are European anvils with one side angled about that much though differently and I don't recall seeing one angled on both sides. Still, I can think of things I'd use the feature for without trying. For example sharpening log dogs or ice calks. Bend a 90 and use the angle to draw the end to a point with a minimum of muss and fuss. That's the sort of thing a smith who made things with that shape for  living would do with his anvil.

Ease my mind would you please. You DON'T wear those shiny, giant baggy pants do you?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks everyone for your input on the angled edge of the anvil and for a nice welcome.  That was actually my thought that I could use that spot to my advantage like I do with the sway in the sweet spot.  I kinda dig the fact that some past smith customized the anvil to make himself more productive.  I tend to do that myself.  I for sure won't be the last smith to use this anvil and am only it's current caretaker.

I can ease all your minds, I don't listen to rap and I don't wear shiny pants.  The only thing you can't touch in my shop is my favorite hammer :D and my Irish roots wouldn't win me any tanning contests.

I've been using this anvil since May and the face is polishing up nicely.  I'm mostly making hooks and hardware for my shop.  Because the edges on my anvil have a nice rounded radius, I had to forge brackets for a nice 40 lb square piece of metal that has sharp edges and a completely flat surface.  It works out nice for when flat and square is needed so I secured it to a post to keep it from ringing so loud and walking away while hammering.  I also forged L brackets to secure my post vise to its base.  Well actually I forged them but haven't had time to hook everything together. 

The little 70 lb anvil I borrowed from my Dad was shaped like a Vulcan, but had a cast seam running up the horn and through the body but not on the face.  What a difference when I switched from the little guy to the Trenton.  For the first time I understood what real rebound was.



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