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Colonial Anvil ID

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Hello all,

I found what I believe to be a colonial anvil at an antique store in Canton, CT (the precise weight is unknown but I would guess 85 pounds or so). It was selling for 100 dollars. Considering its condition would this be worth buying? There appears to be two cracks, one running down the side that is less then a centimeter deep, and a larger crack on the top surface. I am not an expert on Anvil restoration but I know it is possible to repair cracks in some cases. Is this crack to severe to weld or can it be used regardless of the crack? Any idea on the time period of the anvil or any other useful bits of information regarding these styles of anvils. Currently I have a 180 pound Peter Wright so I do not need another anvil but considering the history of this particular piece maybe its worth buying.







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That crack looks too severe to weld, in my opinion. It is likely wrought iron there, so unless you know how to weld wrought I would not use it. 

If you want to preserve it for the historical value, then by all means! It certainly is beautiful.

Also, Welcome to IFI! 

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Still a lot of usable face over the sweet spot; but it does look like the forge weld for the horn area is failing and if so, the crack goes deep and would be very hard to do a full penetration weld.

If someone was starting out with nothing that would be a good anvil to buy inexpensively and use.  If the horn falls off the anvil is still usable and the horn can be made into a stand alone tool. I've seen another anvil with the same issue where it had a ring around the horn with two bars going back to under the heel with the ends threaded and a cross bar under the heel screwed down tight to hold it together.

Since you already have a good anvil I'd leave that one to someone who needs it.

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That may be a good candidate for the yearly anvil repair workshop at Morrel Metalsmiths this winter.  

Welcome to IFI Marcus, it’s good to see another neighbor here.  Do you attend the CT Blacksmith Guild events?

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If my 'next',  (succeeding),  question is Lame or even stupid, apologies are in order.

The question is:   have you done a ball bearing test on all of the surface of the anvil?

That will help you to make a determination whether to purchase the anvil or not.

If the rebound is satisfactory, then it may well be worthwhile to buy it and have the gang repair it at Dr. Lou's mentioned group at the Morrel metalsmiths repair workshop.

Dr. Lou, do they practice Mr. Gunther's repair process?

Just sayyin,


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The Gunter process was not designed for all the way through cracks, but rather face work.  Most anvil repair clinics I know of wouldn't handle an all the way through issue either even though they did work with MASSIVE face issues---like building back the entire face after someone milled most of the original one off to get sharp edges! (Which are a bad thing in smithing!!! If you need a sharp edge make a hardy tool with it!)

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The anvil definitely has seen better days, I can't imagine the difficulty it would take to restore it closer to its original beauty. I am not part of the Connecticut Blacksmith Guild but I have considered joining and attending events. I am relatively new to smithing (about a year or so of hammering) and I have always heard about the importance of attending events and classes, maybe its time to finally do that and learn from a blacksmith face to face. 

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Consider yourself invited to hang with me any time.  There are people near you who enjoy working with others.  I have learned so much more since joining them.


Concerning the anvil repair clinic at Morrel’s:  they have been saving 7nsavable anvils for a number of years.  I don’t know if this one is in their range but I bet Judson would know.  Leigh Morrel, the current president of ABANA, knows a thing or two and has been hosting this clinic for a while.  I have seen a few anvils saved there and they were well done.


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