czarjl

Anvil identification and possible horn repair

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I received my grandfather’s anvil that I plan to use. Family lore has that this came from the Buffalo ship yard and was used for making / cutting chain.

After some cleaning up with a wire brush and a lot of reading on this forum, I think it’s a Trenton. I know it weighs 200 pounds (checked with a scale) and the best I can make out the serial number is 162013 or 182013 (it was very hard to get a decent pic that showed the stamping). if someone would be kind enough to verify its make and to let me know about when it was produced, I would be very appreciative.

The face and horn have a lot of chisel marks and the horn has what looks like a deep torch cut. I know better than to grind the face and I think it will clean up with use. My concern is what should I do (if anything) with the horn? My initial thought is to fill the hole with weld but before doing that, I thought it might be better to ask for guidance.

I’ve used it a little bit on a make shift stand so I think I have it at a height I like. So, my next step its more cleaning, coat it with boiled linseed oil and build a nice stable stand to mount it.

Thank you,

Joe

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Deffinately a Trenton. You are good on not doing anything to the face but using it.

On this one it's a tough call on the horn. Someone will be along with more knowledge than me. Personally, were it mine, I would weld up the torch cut in the horn. That section closer to the tip would mostly get lighter work and it'd be better to have the full round there. 

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Welcome aboard Joe, glad to have you. Nice anvil and nicer to have a little family history to work on. The only thing I see needs attention is the torch cut in the horn, clean it out, weld it up and grind it smooth, it'll be fine. The chip in the edge is NOT an issue, work around it, trying to repair it isn't worth the risk to the heat treat in the HAZ (Heat Affect Zone). 

The chisel marks in the horn will largely go away when you put it to work, hammering hot steel will drive most of them smooth, what's left won't mess things up. If you  need a really smooth section of horn use the side instead of the top. Yes? Same for the punch marks in the step hot steel and hammer will make them largely disappear. I recommend you NOT using the step to chisel on, a sacrificial chisel plate is just too easy, a piece of mild steel to lay on the anvil face and protect the anvil and chisels. Yes?

If you'd like to clean it up a wire cup brush in a disk grinder will remove the rust, dirt and crud and if you'd like to preserve it Boiled Linseed oil (BLO) works nicely and will polymerize after a while and not be tacky. I like a carnuba paste wax, I have a can of Trewax but Bowling Alley wax is another high end brand. They're the stuff used to wax bowling alleys that requires a drum sander to remove for refinishing. Warm the anvil to hot coffee temp and wipe it on, it'll absorb into the finest nooks and crannies, then wipe off the excess. It'll last years. Johnson's paste floor wax is a good wax too though not carnuba tough. 

Yeah, I'm a fan of carnuba wax. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you for the confirmation that it is a Trenton and the advice on carnauba wax.

Now the question is how to weld up the torch cut in the horn (no other welding). From what I have read, it looks like I should preheat the anvil to 350-400F then weld. But what rod for on the horn?

Also got a base made. The chain and bolts are what I found in the garage, the bracket I made.

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See the face plate weld?  The body of that anvil is mild!  No preheat needed and a chance of messing up the heat treat of the face!  No special rod; however if it has a wrought iron body expect to have to put more filler in than you expect to as the ferrous silicates will float off.

 

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Here was a thread talking about welding wrought iron.

note that anvil wrought iron is more worked than some items made from wrought iron and should weld better than less worked fiberous wrought iron. 

I would V out the cut a bit and weld with mild steel rod/wire.

Just to be on the safe side I'd put a wet towel over the faceplate. Tho not enough heat should reach the face to do any harm. 

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Of course it depends on the anvil brand too; William Foster used rather crude wrought iron for their anvils according to a discussion I had with Mr Postman about possibilities for refacing my WF.

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Thank you for the info, I somehow didn't realize that the horn was wrought iron. 

 

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The horn is most likely wrought iron, as has been said.

Ive had good luck filling in with a torch and, believe it or not, coat hanger. Vee it if necessary, in order to get a complete fill.

When done with this step, place the anvil on the rear side of the base and the heel. Your horn should be pointed sorta up. Now use a rosebud and take a good heat on the e d of the horn. Use two hammers. Use a heavy hammer and your normal hand hammer. Say a 2.5# hammer and a 8-10# hammer. Use the heavy hammer to back up your hand hammer and forge the tip of your horn back into shape.

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For that logo stamp style, 182013 serial would be correct.

AIA indicates 1922.

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I'd just leave the horn tip as is. Most of my anvils have blunted horns, and it hasn't made them less useful to me.

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Has the torch cut on the horn kept you from doing a project?  If so what was the project?

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If I had that anvil I'd hit it with a wire cup put some BLO or wipe it down with floor wax and get to using it. It doesn't seem like the flaw in the horn would get in my way. I'd be happy to have a horn.

Pnut (Mike)

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Has anyone tried tung oil on their anvil?

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Not on the anvil, but I've used it instead of BLO in the classic blacksmith's goop.

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I decided to repair the horn. The anvil was absolutely usable before but since I plan to have this anvil forever I went ahead and fixed it.

I cleaned out the cut and welded with 6013 rod. I was surprised at how clean of a weld I got (was expecting a lot more slag). I then used a hand file and 120 grit flap disk to clean up my welds and the tip. Was just about to fire up the forge but it started to rain, so dragged it into the garage and gave it a  coat of BLO.

Thank you for the info on the production date and all the advice.

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Can't really tell there was anything wrong with it. Good job. Better results couldn't be asked for.

Pnut (Mike)

You should be able to pass it on to someone when you're gone. A good anvil lasts many lifetimes. That one is already on it's second generation hopefully it will have many more descendants of yours working on it in the future. Use it in good health.

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From the pictures, it's deffinately not a one piece upper. It clearly shows the face plate. No one piece uppers on these or Hay Buddens have I seen that. 

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On 5/14/2019 at 6:45 AM, czarjl said:

since I plan to have this anvil forever

One thing these old blacksmith tools have taught me is that we do not own these tools forever. At our best, we are just stewards, until the next smith comes along.

That being said, good job!

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