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Improperly repaired anvil


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I just bought a new used anvil.  It's a 121# Mouse Hole.  The guy advertised it as in beat up condition and it was but the price was okay from what I could tell on the damage and to meet my needs.  I figured I could work around the sways and broken edges.  As I started using the anvil and the rust started coming off the face I realized someone welded the top of the anvil not just the edges.  The face is sufficiently hard were they welded but it's chipping on the edges and working to the center.  If you look at the picutes you can see where there is a slight different color and that's were the anvil has been welded.  I know it's recommended to not mess with the hard face but since this one has been welded up, and apparently not very well, I'm contemplating trying to fix it.  I work with a guy that welded railroad frogs for years and trained welders for years.  It seems like the process and theory is the same just different rods.  I'll buy the rods and make him a knife for the work so all it is going to cost me is the rods.  I realize this is probably more expensive than it is worth so.  What are your all's thoughts?

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I don’t think it could hurt your anvil if someone already did the damage.  I’d just suggest you do the research to make sure you’re friend is able to get everything just right.  Blues man was kind enough to give you your first point of data.  You may want to grind out  the areas where the bad weld should were made.  If it was the wrong rod it will keep on cracking despite the new welds.

I know Morrell Metalsmiths does an annual anvil repair workshop every year for the New England Blacksmiths.  You should inquire Tom find out if a similar workshop occurs in your area as well.  Once it is done correctly you will have a top notch anvil.

Good luck,

Lou

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It is very likely that the delamination of the face plate extends under what is currently left.  If so: It will be very difficult to solve as you need to do a full weld between the face plate  and the base or remove the delaminated face plate and do a full build up over the entire section.  If their is no delamination under the remaining plate just use Robb Gunther/Karl Schuler method of anvil repair and get to smithing!   (I had a friend who when young and clueless had the entire face of his anvil milled down to uselessness who had it built back up at an anvil repair day using the Gunther/Schuler method took about 5-6 hours of welding and grinding as I recall...after carrying the faceless anvil around for about 20 years and learning what he had done.)

Note that the main issue people run into welding on anvils is the lack of preheating and so the high carbon face they weld into gets HAZ cracking and extends the original problem further.

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I would ping test that whole top to get an idea of the extent of damage. 

I am thinking of using a propane weed burner for my preheat, or a maybe a bbq pot burner (which I have).  I don't have a weed burner, but will prolly get one tomorrow. That will handle the job better I think. Saturday looks promising, everything is starting off at 100* plus already!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I ping tested when I realized someone welded it and it definitely is bad throughout.  I’ve ground out the bad welds and cracks that started showing up as I was grinding.  If I’m successful in fixing I’ll post pictures otherwise I’ll just post about how I messed it up worse.  I’m thinking next time I’ll just save my money and buy a new one. 

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Best of luck, and keep us posted.

1 hour ago, Graywall said:

I’m thinking next time I’ll just save my money and buy a new one.

That would be wise. It's perfectly understandable that you would jump at the chance to buy The Undisputed King of Anvils, but even a king isn't worth much if he loses his uppermost part. Just ask Louis XVI.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I went a different route.  I started grinding the bad weld out and tried to grind the cracks out but the more I chased the cracks the deeper they went.  It looked like a camel when I stopped grinding.  The welding was done at work when the welders had down and while training so it didn’t cost anything.  During the cleanup they ground a little further down the side making the welds appear much deeper than they were  I still need to do some work cleaning up the grinding marks.  I’ll post how it does when I get to fire up my forge.  

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That's good to hear Graywall.  Please keep us posted as you use it.  It's always good to see repair results over a period of use.  If you have no problems it might help others to know what rods were used, etc......likewise if something goes wrong we can all learn from it.  I hope the repairs last for you and that you get many good years of use out of it.  

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  • 1 year later...

Update on this anvil.  It’s still working great.  After my friend gave it back I talked to him more about how he welded it up.  He used manganese and didn’t preheat because he said you don’t preheat with manganese.  I’m not a professional welder and it was free.  It’s holding up to some heavy use so I’m very pleased.

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The preheat was to avoid problems in the HAZ which doesn't "see" what type of rod was used.  Watch out for cracks next to where the weld was done! As the face is high carbon if any of it gets heated over the critical temp it can be "contact quenched" by the mass of the anvil and create a brittle zone in the HAZ. Was your weldor aware of the High C face?

Mn is used in a lot of steels designed for work hardening, so the welded area should improve with use.

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