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which anvil?

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Hey guys, new to the forum and wanted some help on choosing an anvil.  I have a guy locally that has 4 anvils for sale. they are as follows:

Vulcan 100# (95lb actual)  very good condition

Hay Budden 100# (105lb actual)  very good condition

Peter Wright  (not sure actual weight, guessing around 100-150) fair condition - significant chipping on one side filled in with rough welds

ACME (not sure actual weight, guessing around 100-150) fair condition

he is also giving me a deal on a post vise for $100 

 he wants $300 for the Vulcan and $400 for each of the rest.  I have pics attached of the vulcan and budden.. what are your thoughts on which one to get?  This will be my first anvil, as I am just starting out.. 

thanks for the help!!










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Welcome aboard... have you read this yet? It will help you get the best out of the forum. READ THIS FIRST

Not knowing where in the world you are located, it's hard to put a value on anvils. If the post vise has a good screw & screw box and the Hay Budden passes the ring & rebound test they would follow me home.

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If you were standing right there with all three and hammer-tapped the Vulcan, followed by the others, you'd immediately see why there is value in upgrading.  While serviceable, Vulcan's are not much of a thrill to work on.  The "final word" should not be decided until you've done a proper rebound test, delamination test, and general inspection.  

I'd really hesitate on the PW that's been welded.  More anvils are wrecked by people doing bad and unnecessary cosmetic fixes with a welder than just about anything else.  

As to pricing, location location location.   The vise price is in the right "range" for many areas...but the critical thing is the screw-box wear.  If the screw is well on it's way to the graveyard, the price goes down on these quickly.  So again, INSPECT before making a deal.

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Location is SW Indiana.  I have been searching for a bit now, and it seems like most anvils are sold before I can even have a chance at them.  I will go back and thoroughly look again and do a rebound test before making any decisions.  

Since I am new to this, my goal was to stay under $400, so its vulcan and post vise, or hay budden with no post vise.

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Will they take counteroffers?  Are those Canadian dollars or Australian dollars? Those prices would be better in Canada and Great in Australia.

  The Vulcan anvil I would only recommend if you live in a densely populated area and MUST keep the sound down. I also worry as the face looks like it has been ground on and Vulcans have THIN faces!

The HB, (stamped 112 pounds?) looks in very nice shape; Do the  ring test and the ball bearing test and if it passes make a counter offer.

The others need to have photos posted to see if the damage is cosmetic or use altering.  ACME anvils were  rebranded anvils made by other good American anvil manufacturers for Sears and Roebuck.

Also what do you want to forge?  Some things will profit from more mass in the anvil while other will not---like: Should I buy a 2 door car or a 15 passenger van?  Knowing if you plan to haul a dozen people around can make a big difference in the answer! (We got 11 boyscouts in my 1965 VW Beetle; but I was glad I was the driver!)

~100 pound anvils are nice travel anvils; ~150# anvils are good shop anvils;  (The Peter Wright should be weight stamped on the waist in the CWT system: Leftmost number x 112#  +  middle number x 28# [only 0-3]  + rightmost number(s) [only 0-27]; so a 1 1 1 PW anvil weighs 141 pounds. a 1 3  4 PW weighs 200 pounds)

A worn out screw/screwbox should drop a vice's price by 1/2 or more in my opinion.  BTW what is that shim on the side of the vise there for?  Seems funny as any smith could tighten the U strap in less time than to make and install a shim.  If it's hiding a break or a crack then that's too much for it anywhere I have lived here in the USA.

Have 4 bills in your hand and offer $400 for the HB and postvise together. If not fold them up and walk away.

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I have a 110 pound Vulcan that I really like and use all the time. It was my first London Pattern anvil over 30 years ago. Like Thomas said be sure the hardened face has not been ground down. Vulcan's don't ring and the rebound is less than a HB, but you can tell by the sound all over the face if it has any de-lamination. Good catch on the shim Thomas, I didn't see that till you pointed it out (another bargaining point)

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Take the Hay Budden and the post vice without a doubt.

Lately I believe the prices for anvils have started to soften a bit. Try $300 for the anvil and $80 for the post vice.

Remember that if you are not ashamed at your own offer, your offer is too high :)

Those prices are cheap for Australia. 

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I ended up getting the Hay Budden, thanks for all the help!  Now as far as the surface face, is that something worth touching up with a grinder to remove that surface pitting?

the lettering is worn on the side, but enough to see the hay budden and Brooklyn New York. there is also a 12 or 120 which I assume is the weight even though the actual was around 110.  there was also a faint number on the front edge that i believe reads 1509?  any idea what that means?

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DO NOT use a grinder or any other metal removal device on the face or horn.

Do use hot metal to shine up the anvil face. Over time hitting hot metal on the anvil will smooth over the face.  Use the anvil for a year (2000 hours of hammer time) before you start making any changes.  By then you will know what, if any, changes or modifications are needed for the work YOU do.

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NO!  Forging on it will smooth and shine up that face just fine.  At least it did with my 134# HB that was stored for 50 years in an unheated shack in a swampy area near a creek near Lancaster Ohio, (condensation++)!

Also any face removal is cutting uselife off the anvil. I would encourage you to start off with a softer hammer that won't ding the anvil face.

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A wire brush on a grinder is about all it should need if there is rust you want removed. Followed by an oiling. Boiled Linseed Oil, Fogging Oil... something to stave off future corrosion. If not very rusty, just maintain a mild oiling of it. The face shouldn't need much oiling unless you plan on not forging for some time. 

Unless your edges are threatening to spall off (doesn't look like it from the pictures) don't grind on it, as previously mentioned. 


Congratulations on a beautiful acquisition!

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Thanks guys, I am really excited... the lettering is very faint, but from what I can make out I THINK the serial number may be 151067? Which would put it in the early 1900’s I believe? Any input on the serial number or when it could be from would be appreciated !


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