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Are Peter Wrights Anvils Valuable? And Other PW Anvil Questions

What is your opinion of Peter Wrights Anvils?  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. What is your opinion of Peter Wrights Anvils?

    • High quality and valuable to own
    • Medium quality and commonly found
    • Low quality and not worth having

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I haven't posted here in a very long time, but I recently got a Peter Wright anvil (it was willed to me.) It was my great grandfathers, and he used it for shoeing the horses and apparently as a counterweight on his tractor! The pics I have posted below is how it looked when I brought it into my shop, and then after I cleaned it up. It is amazing what a wire wheel, emory cloth, wet/dry sandpaper, Liquid Wrench, and WD-40 can do. The anvil is gorgeous and rings like the liberty bell. 

Based upon the other posts I have read about Peter Wright's anvils, it would appear this is a pre-1900 model. It weighs approximately 158 pounds, though I doubt the scale is very accurate, it always says I weight more than I really do ;-) 

Are all PW anvils wrought iron? In other words, do some have a separate piece of steel welded to the top?

Lastly, I have no intention of selling it due to the immense sentimental value attached to it (and the fact that I forge regularly and its the best anvil I have ever had) but for its own sake, how much do you all think this is worth? I live in rural Missouri if that helps. Are these anvils rare? How do they compare to the revered Hay Budden anvils?



9563F2A6-2326-43CA-B641-1260C44298F6.heic BA3C77D5-9A0E-4613-95F1-3F6786A5091F.heic B4D0EC20-3A19-4056-89B7-9FD4A9FDE1B6.heic 9648A7D0-9052-46F0-B95F-C9753E9F548E.heic

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The stone weight stamped into it is 159 pounds. I think all Peter Wright's have a hardened face forge welded on. I've never worked on a PW so can't really compare them to HB anvils, but I'm sure other folks with experience on them will chime in. From the pictures I would say it's in excellent condition and can't think of anyone who wouldn't be proud to have one like it.

BTW welcome back, I'm sure you will find a lot of changes to the forum through updates. We won't remember your location once leaving this post, hence the suggestion to edit your profile to show it. This thread will help getting up to speed with helpful tips. READ THIS FIRST

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Peter Wrights are one of the two most common English anvils found in the USA, the other being Mousehole.  Yes they have a forge welded face and IIRC they were the first to make a single piece face rather than welding on strips side by side.  They are a relatively common valuable anvil. I have 2, 165# and 112# and like them very much, the 165# one I have been using for over 35 years now.  They don't seem as hard as my newer 134# HB but it's close. (I haven't used my 165# HB, earlier version, enough to compare it...)

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Good evening,

In Missouri, typically around $3 to $4 a lb if in good shape.  I have enough anvils that I can afford to wait for the bargains to appear.  Hay Buddens seem to me to perform slightly better, (i.e. slightly more rebound and move the metal a tiny bit faster) but ring louder, and the PW anvils I've had/played on have done just fine.  Peter Wrights used to be one of the most common imported English anvils.  If as you say, it's ringing like a bell, you may want to fasten it down, wrap some chain around it, and maybe put a cow magnet under the heel.  A loose anvil makes my tinnitus ring like Quasimodo swinging around Notre Dame.

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PW are very good workhorse. Don't abuse it and it will last 3 more generations. 

I have two, one is 250# and the other 450#, and there is nothing I can not make on those anvils. The 450 is like a king size bed :) ... had a previous hard life and the horn and table have a substantial depression, most likely from cold work on it. It does not bother me one bit though

The 250 is in much better nick, from being in a garage, hidden under a tarp for 40 years. 

PW are like an old F100 V8 flat head. Not fancy but will run forever. 

If you want to buy top range, buy a Refflinghaus. If you want a workhorse that will not break the bank, you can do much worse than a PW :) 

PS ... sorry forgot your question ... are they valuable?

Probably the wrong question. Define valuable. 

The value of a good is the rate at which it exchanges for other goods. This rate is usually expressed in money terms as a price.

The above is he dictionary definition of how price is formed in a free market. Distance and the lack of free flow of information makes the market less than free and transparent, and that gives lots of variations in price according to location. So a PW can be more 'valuable' in one place than another. Having said that, the term valuable in my view refers more to a subjective appreciation than a cold price assessment. 

Anvils tend to generate a lot of emotional baggage for some reason, and that tend to distort their real or percieved monetary value. A friend of mine has a PW who belonged to his father who repaired vintage car bumper bars on it cold. The anvil was a large one but was virtually useless with a massive deformation in the face that went 2" deep and 10 inch long. Yet he told me it was priceless and he will never sell it. 

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Thank you all very much for the feedback. I have another anvil (also been in my family for 2 generations) but it is in awful condition. I have a piece of railroad track that I used when I first started smithing that is much better than it. I have not forged on the PW yet, I am waiting until this school's semester is over. I am one of the dreaded university history professors, dun dun dun! However, I assure you, I am not the "typical" professor either (more like the opposite.) 

Anyways, Marc1, your point is well taken on the price system. Do I sense a fellow Austrian economist? It is not often that I see others talk accurately about the price system in a free market. Alas, the "value" is indeed a subjective value, as it should be in a free market.

Nobody Special, thank you for the suggestion on deadening the ring. I am 33 years old, and I have lost about 20% hearing in my left ear and tinnitus in both, compliments of the Taliban and RPG's. Side not, I have (had them, I cant find them now) some earplugs that are also headphones that work magnificently, PW Sound I think is the brand name.

In sum, I will treat my anvil with the respect it deserves (and out of respect to my forbearers) and hopefully my oldest son (he is nine) will take it when he is of age. He loves to work with me in the forge, and watches Forged in Fire in his spare time.

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Yes, the ring of the anvil is attractive and nostalgic for something like the first 2 minutes. All my anvils are dead silent, courtesy of large bolts and clamps to heavy steel tripods. 

i very much subscribe to the Austrian economic school of thought. Is it that obvious? :)

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They bragged about the high quality of the wrought iron used---which made them more prone to sag. OTOH I have the remains of a 1828 William Foster made of low grade wrought iron, (according to Postman, personal discussion) and it has lost the heel and 90% of the face---perhaps a bit of sway is a better deal.

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That is what I have always heard as well, anvils with high quality wrought iron are more likely to have sway. Why do you think this is?

Under pure speculation I could consider that 'contaminants' could strengthen the iron in some way. As I understand it adding certain metals such as chromium to steel can increase its strength and rigidity as it is more difficult for the iron atoms to move around the larger chromium atom requiring more force and higher heats to move the metal. Could it be that low grade wrought iron has certain contaminants that strengthen it over its higher grade counterpart much like the chromium in certain steel alloys?

I don't mean to hijack this thread with a off topic question. Just and interesting thought.


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Good Morning Marcus

Would you think that it has handled a life-time of physical abuse and it is willing to offer you the same privilege.

If someone beat you 10% of what Mr. Peter Wright has worked with, You may have a sway back as well. It is a testament to the product!! A flat Anvil surface is harder to straighten something on, having a little section the bent piece can spring back from, creates straightness. Forget the glitter and glamour, get away from your keyboard and start your Dance with Mr. Peter Wright. It is not Wrong, it is Wright.


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I have the same curiosity. My Hay Budden has a bit of sway as well and find it useful. It however does not keep me from being curious regarding the question regarding high quality wrought iron swaying more than lower quality. 

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Wrought iron had a wide range of "quality levels" it was sold at. (Muck bar, merchant bar, singly refined, doubly refined, triply refined)  As the "quality" goes up the amount of slag in the wrought iron goes down and the size of such stringers goes down and the number goes up---AND it's ductility when cold goes up.  There is also things like higher quality wrought iron usually has less sulfur or phosphorous to start with both of which affect ductility.  (Swedish charcoal smelted wrought iron was especially prized due to the low sulfur content for instance.)

So think of it like 1018 and A36, both steel but 1018 is generally much more ductile than A36 due to a cleaner spec.

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if you are having problems leveling/straightening your work on a flat faced anvil, you are hitting it too hard.

if you hit it too hard on a sway backed anvil, the bend gets reversed. 

That's why hammer control is so important.

It isn't harder to level/straighten on a flat anvil, the hard part is learning proper hammer control.


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