picker77

Took a wild chance today on a 100# Kohlswa

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Been looking around my neck of the woods for a while, enough to know there aren't going to be any real "bargain" buys on a good quality anvil, with prices pretty much through the roof, even on beat up junk. But today I ran across a 100 lb Kohlswa that some idiot in the distant past had tried to repair the left side's chipped edge. Other than that I really liked the looks of this anvil, but figured the face was probably ruined from the repair attempt. However, when I bounced a BB around on it many times in many places, darned if it didn't have approximately 80% rebound everywhere from just in front of the hardy hole the length of the face, even right alongside that ill-fated attempted "repair" that had been tried on left edge. Around the heel behind the hardy hole & pritchel rebound averaged about 70%. Light 16 oz hammer blows displayed very springy rebound all over the face forward of the hardy hole. Surprisingly, the face is dead flat fore and aft and athwartships, and except for edge chipping, is in relatively good condition, and the horn is not bad. There is a very light/faded number "45" (painted?) above the Kohlswa/Sweden brand (see the yellow highlight), but other than that I see no markings or numbers at all. Anybody know what "45" means? Bottom line, I worked a deal at $4 a pound with fingers crossed, hoping I wasn't making a big mistake. I have looked at MANY anvils in this size range, usually either beat to crap (for $500 and up!) or, if in even reasonably decent shape, $700 or more, and I have to admit I kinda wanted a Swedish anvil but could never afford one in nice shape, especially one of the larger ones, and that was probably a "buy" factor. I'm going to use it a few months and see how it works out. Hammer taps ring only around the heel, forward of the hardy hole it's more of a click or sharp clank like my home brew D2 steel anvil sounds. Opinions welcome, shields are up and fingers crossed. :)

Everybody's always saying "we want more pictures!!", so here ya go. I have even more detail views if anybody is interested.

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I don't see a botched repair. Cast Swedish anvils tend to be REALLY hard so the edges chip. It looks like someone beat some large pieces out of one edge and smeone smoothed the chips out with a grinder. This isn't a bad thing, nothing compared to trying to fill the chipped out edges with weld would be. 

She has some miles on her but she's still a top shelf anvil, she'll be doing good work for your grand kids when they hand her down to theirs.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks, Frosty, that makes me feel better about it, I hope you’re right. I was casting a skeptical eye on that one edge (the top view shows it best) with that thin sliver of metal several inches long that’s separated from the main face. I have to admit, though, that under very close inspection it doesn’t resemble a weld bead, so I’m going with it!

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You did OK, in OK. 

You may want to smooth the edges up a little more, then get it mounted and get to work. If you need a smaller radius and can't find one on the anvil you can make a tool that drops into the hardy hole, or a saddle plate that drops over the face.

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I plan to do exactly that, soon as I get my home built 2-burner built. My two “Frosty model” T-burners are finished, starting on the shell & insulating next.

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8 minutes ago, picker77 said:

“Frosty model” T-burners

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: 

Good one, I haven't heard. You're more than welcome Picker, it's my pleasure.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Lol! That's definitely gonna happen soon as I get this little forge built! I'm trying to come up with (copy, steal,...) ideas from other folk's builds, it needs to be either sort of one-piece, or at least on wheels, to be able to move it around and in/out of the shop. I'm heading to junk dealers today to see if I can find a piece of light wall 10" tubing. Thinking 2 layers of wool, each rigidized, plus ITC coating, with a high alumina kiln shelf floor. Would also like to have a front door with access port and a port in the back wall for long stock. Still in the pencil stage. All I have so far is a bunch of ideas and a pair of Frosty's T-burners made by following his PDF.

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My first propane forge was made from "grain auger tubing" which was fairly light to pick up and move.  My second was a section of Oxy welding tank which is a beast.  Nice to be able to weld attachments to it for special jobs.  I have it mounted on a discarded gas grill cart. I pulled the grill body and bolted a steel plate to the top and have the gas forge mounted to the plate.  Over time I have upgraded the wheels and added more bracing but it's lasted me a decade now.  A neat trick for outdoor storage is to leave the grill body  in place and thoroughly wash it  (One of the DIY car washes with the pressure wand if they allow it) and just make it so you can open it up and raise the forge, use it and lower it and close the top...disguise and weather protection!

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Not a bad idea, I'll keep that in mind. And I have a newbie curiosity question: Re all those zillions of what look like chisel marks all over the body of this anvil - easy to see in those last two photos above - what caused those? Are they from actual use/wear, or is that from the casting process? If the marks were concentrated in a few areas, I'd think it was from some repetitive process, but hard to understand why they are so evenly distributed. I thought maybe a power chipping hammer type tool to do stress relief after the casting cooled, but maybe that's a reach, ha.

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If you haven't bought it yet, forget ITC-100 it's crazy expensive for something that isn't a particularly good kiln wash for forges. Plistex or Matrikote work much better, they fire hard and don't wear off nearly so quickly. Apply it in thin coats and let it dry between them. If you try applying it in a thick coat they're likely to shrink check and be susceptible to flaking off at heat. Think of it like painting a car, lots of really thin coats beats a couple thick ones every time. 

You seem to have a pretty good handle on forge construction.

About the T burner PDF. I'd LOVE to be able to edit it but it's so buried in the OS I don't think it's really possible. Anyway, what I recommended for mounting the Mig contact tip gas jets has changed. The brass fitting I used then has become really hard to find with an ID that can be tapped to receive a mig tip. Also, there are other mig tips available and not all have the same thread pitch I had available when I published the PDF.

All that said you have to play mounting the jet by ear. Take the drill bit necessary to the tap that matches the mig tip's threads. Ask at the welding supply, they usually carry the correct tap and drill bit. It's common to cross thread or otherwise mes up the threads in a mig gun making it necessary to chase them out and avoid having to replace part of the gun. Make sense?

Anyway, use the drill bit as a go, no-go gauge when you select the brass fitting. You need the drill bit to either slip in without any side slop or not slide in at all. I prefer them to not quite fit so I can drill chase the hole with the bit and the tap will fit correctly.

It doesn't make much difference what the brass fitting is supposed to do, you need it to screw into the T so a common thread is good, I had pipe thread fittings available so that's what I used. The important fitting once it's tapped for the mig tip is connecting to the propane supply. I REALLY prefer 1/8" copper tubing though you'll need a flare tool but those are common and reasonably cheap, try pawn shops for a couple bucks. Copper tubing isn't susceptible to fire outside the forge, unlike rubber hose. When fitting the supply line whatever you use do NOT hang a bunch of plumbing off the burner, especially long nipples. Long pipe nipples and bunches of fittings is downright dangerous. Things WILL bump the propane hose and if there's a LOT of leverage on the burner the least that will happen is bumping the jet out of alignment, the worst will be breaking the gas line loose or even drag the forge off the stand. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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No big deal about the edit, it's pretty self-explanatory anyway. I did have a bit of a search to find those brass 1/8 NPT to flare connectors, turned out they are Parker p/n 2P178 (that p/n is for a 10-pack). Not expensive at $6 a 10-pack, just not common. I stopped at a welding supply this AM and picked up a handful of official Tweco-branded .035 tips, and lo and behold they fit exactly into the same M6-1.0 threads I had already tapped for the Cal-Hawk and Vulcan brand box store tips I already had. I compared the two types of tips (Tweco brand vs others) by comparing the amount of "wiggle" when partially screwed into the brass fittings, and the fit was identical. So the thread thing (1/4-28 vs M6-1.0) appears to be a non-issue anyway, I just left mine tapped metric. Oh, and many thanks for the heads up on ITC-100, I have not bought refractory stuff yet but will certainly make a note of that.

I do have a forge design question about burner capacity vs volume (will probably have many more, ha) but should I PM it? Don't want to clutter up the Anvil thread... :)

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Picker 77: Congratulations on finding such a good anvil at a great price. You probably know as well as I do that in north Texas and Oklahoma, anvils are like searching for lost treasure on a sunken pirate ship. Hope she serves you well for many years:)

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Thanks, CGL. Not sure who put the word out that anvils in the Texas/Oklahoma area are all cast from solid gold, but it seems that way sometimes. Personally I hope “Forged in Fire” gets canceled after this season. Anvils around here are priced like beanie babies or Holland tulips used to be  right now, mainly because of that show. OTOH maybe in two years there will be a flood of fire sale anvil prices as many of the FIF fans figure out it’s not quite as easy as it looks, and I’ll be able to pick up a 300 lb German double horn for what I paid for this one!

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I completely agree. There aren't many to be found, and the ones that are, are at new prices. Most don't look in that great of shape either. I'd buy a new Peddinghaus #12 for what they are asking. Good thing there are so many improvised anvils around or many of us in this area may not have anything to work on. And that's exactly my sentiments on Forged In Fire. I have nothing against it really, but it's made it harder to afford things. I'm very happy for you on your find

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Saw one around here recently on CL that was worn and around 100-150 pounds I estimate; asking price US$2000

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Sigh... yep, it's a sad situation. Makes me doubly glad I stumbled onto this fairly decent little 100# Kohlswa. Wasn't cheap by any means, at least to my wallet, but after all the looking around this area, $4/lb suddenly didn't look so bad.

Frosty Alert:  There's a beautiful 520 lb Soderfors with a 1916 date on it that's currently at $500 with 21 bids and 2 days left. The guy had two (where in the heck to guys like that find these things?) and sold the first one a while back for as I recall $3200. Bill Gates and Jeff Zuckerberg are probably among the current bidders.  :(

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picker77, If you have not found a shell for the forge, I used a water heater tank. I strip the outer sheet metal and insulation off then cut both the length you want from the top of the water tank. The top dome is then removed. Split the tube you have just made down the middle. 2 ratch straps will pull it down to the size you want and then weld into place. Cut the top dome to fit the new size of tube that was created. This will be the rear of the forge. Insulate and cast as instructed elsware.   As a bonus the rest of the tank (it will be to long) can be left as is to use as a slack tub.

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Picker77, congrats on the "find".  I know you are excited.  You hit the nail on the head when you said folks think their anvils are made of gold.  It's ridiculous.    Heck, folks should have bought anvils back in the 80's instead of Gold and Silver!  Glad you got one.  I'm still lookin'.

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