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I Forge Iron

Rusty old anvil

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Rookie here, looking to scrape together a small shop piece by piece. I've been looking for anvils in WI and have been put off by the prices. Today, I found one in a broken down shed. I took some bad pictures with my phone. There's an upside down triangle on one side so I assume it's Columbian. It's really really rusty and has a chip out of the bottom corner of the heel. 

First off, can this be saved? It hasn't been used in decades. It has nice ring and rebound when hit with a wrench (that's all I had on hand). 

Any idea what I should offer for it? What would be a can't lose price? Does anyone have experience restoring something this bad?

Of course, I realize opinions are only that. I don't expect a firm answer and will make the decision on my own.





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Looks to be in good shape to me---rust comes off easily. I once bought an anvil that spent 50 years in an unheated shed in a swampy area in Ohio. Face was pitted with condensation rusting pits.  I brushed off the loose rust and just USED IT. Hammering hot iron/steel on it will polish it out without removing decades of uselife!  The sweet spot is nice and smooth and shiney on it today and the farther away from it the more the "original" surface is left.

If it's to a person old enough I start at US$1 a pound which was the going rate for 50 years or so. Then go up as needed. I probably would go to $2 a pound; but I have anvils. Others would consider $3 cheap---what can you afford and how desperate are you for it?

Don't forget to do the ring and bounce tests on it! (will need to wirebrush off the rust on a section of the face to do a good bounce test.)

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What they said on it. 

I was seeing the Colombian mark on it before I even read. They are supposed to be good anvils. Your definition of "really really rusty" must be different from mine. :) a wire wheel on a grinder will clean that up nicely then just apply some light oil, linseed oil or whatever other method you find searching the forum to your liking and use it. I've even used a flat engine clearcoat on one (not on the face) and it has held up fine. 

If the owner thinks the rust is that bad use that in bargaining. ;) What Thomas said on pricing. I generally won't go over $2.# but then I have a few anvils. When it starts getting up over $4-6#. depending on condition you Might be better looking into new. In todays market it seems like $3.# is still a bargain on an anvil in good using condition. 

Good luck!

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I'm struck with how flat the face is.  It seems to have had some rough use with a couple chips out of the edge of the face, but really not much use.  no cuts in the table.  I will love to see what that lady looks like after you give it a wire brushing a bit of oil and hot steel polish.  complain about the rust and negotiate it down.  

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Great advice all around. Thanks guys. I guess my impression of the thing might have been influenced by the setting. The pile of trash under my feet was giving way when I was trying to take the pictures and I'd been warned not to press against the outside wall of the shed in case the roof wanted to cave in. 

As for length and weight, best guess about 2 feet with the horn by 4 inches across the face. It was way heavier than I expected. I thought I could just pick it up and turn it around but that wasn't gonna happen without risking a foot (it was balanced on the edge of a milk wagon). I also didn't realize until now that the first picture has a can of rustoleum in back :ph34r:

I'll keep you posted.

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Size of face is only loosely correlated to weight. A fat waist can add a lot  and a thin attenuated anvil could weigh way less; but in general anvils tend to have some weight to them...Although it is often common to have people guess at the weight and be a hundred pounds off. (Usually they guess high--even when the weight in pounds is stamped on the side of the anvil! I've had to have one seller fetch out his bathroom scale to get him to believe that the stamped weight was pretty much the actual weight!)

(Had a swell horn HB farrier's anvil once that had a long narrow face, 3" wide ?, and weighed 199 pounds and my 112" PW has a face around 4" wide.)

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