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I Forge Iron

Possible Purchase: Arm & Hammer

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Hello all, I am a new member looking to get into Blacksmithing as a hobby. I find anvils to be beautiful, functional pieces of history, and I have been searching for an American made anvil for my small shop. I do not intend to create large pieces, and will require some mobility out of an anvil. As such, a fairly light weight anvil is what I have been looking for at this time. This will also help it conform to a relatively low budget.

I found an ad for an 88lb Arm & Hammer and am looking for some information. It looks to be in good condition, though one section of the face near the horn is rounded over. This may have been for a specific usage, or is it more likely repaired damage?

The serial number is 47789, which I understand to be quite near the end of the production run. Is it possible to tell the date of manufacture from this? The logo is stamped fairly crudely, and does not have the lower section that says "wrought iron" as other Arm & Hammer anvils have. 

The final concern I have is that the entire waist is welded. I understand that later Arm & Hammer / Vulcan anvils have welded waists, but I cannot find many photos of original A&H anvils welded like this. Could this be a repaired crack, or would this anvil have began life this way?

Asking price on this anvil is nearly $5/lb, which I understand is high, but anvils in my area (Southeastern Wisconsin) seem to be few and far between.

Thank you all for any insight you may have, and I look forward to joining in the blacksmithing hobby!

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A large percentage of anvils have a weld at the waist; they were forge welds and many top brands did them that way.  Some of the later anvils switched to arc welding and had very good luck with them. (I have the base from a Peter Wright where the forge weld failed---an arc weld would probably have been better!) A&H anvils tend to not be dressed as much as some of the other brands; but are still an excellent anvil. (I have been using a 91# A&H for over 30 years now.)

VULCAN ANVILS ARE NOT ANYTHING LIKE AN ARM AND HAMMER!  Vulcan anvils had a cast iron body and were poured and so did NOT have a welded waist---either type of welding!

Do the ball bearing test and the ring test and if they both pass I wouldn't worry about it .  I would try to talk the price down a bit though.  

Lighter anvils with edge damage have often been used for shoeing, I've seen some out this way from ranches that were nearly ridgebacks!


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Mr. R. Orange,

I suspect that the vendor is trying to pay off his ancient student loans before his retirement,

For five dollars a pound check out new anvils.

You want an anvil and NOT a "vintage" antique.

A brief list of good anvil manufacturers was posted 3 or 4 days ago. Check it out.

Also see the improvised anvil thread which is posted as a sticky on this site.

A slab of steel makes an excellent anvil. try it out, if you like hammering hot metal then consider a regular London pattern anvil.


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44 minutes ago, raworange said:

Southeastern Wisconsin)

Welcome aboard... we won't remember that once leaving this post, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show location. This thread will help you get the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST

Pictures of the anvil will help giving advice about it.

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Thank you! It makes sense that that the rounded edge is a feature and not a flaw. I notice that the logo on that anvil is the same as the one in the ad as well. Good to know.

Edited by Mod30
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I don't know about Wisconsin but here in KY four bucks a pound is about average. I saw a Peter Wright 165# for four hundred dollars. It wasn't in as good a shape as the one above but definitely in good condition.



Edited by pnut
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In my neck of the woods, $4 a lb. is a good price. I've seen anvils that aren't even half as good a shape as that one is and around the same size going for a whole lot more. I'd still try to talk them down, but I'd probably go for it if it were me. But maybe the availability of blacksmithing equipment isn't as scarce in Wisconsin as it is here. 

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I set up an appointment to look at it. I will keep this updated with what happens!

Here is a link to another anvil on the local Craigslist. A 138 lb Hay Budden with an asking price of $550. I have not contacted this guy, so it may have sold by now.

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$ 400 is no bargain but would sell quickly in my area.  The weight is ok but a hair on the light side depending on what you are doing.  And no, I don't mean "too" light, just that a few extra pounds can be nice to have for a shop anvil (vs traveling anvil).

My take is that you can do better with a lot of patience...but you also won't be doing badly if you grab this one. It's right on that balance point where yes/no is pretty equal.  If you find anything that tips the scales when you look, that'd help with a final decision.  Don't let anvil buyer's fever talk you into it--be brutal in your assessment because it's not the only anvil in the world and another will eventually come along.  At worst, you can find a great piece of scrap steel to tide you over until that happens.

And once you buy an anvil, magically another deal comes along-- usually a little better.  Murphy's law does that to taunt blacksmiths and keep that surly smirk on their faces.

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