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Anvil with a dip

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Hi you are all going to think I am nuts but I have an anvil that sags in the middle it was my grandfather and great grandfathers and I want to bring it back to life now, I have tried to find some one to do it and have struck out except for one company and I am not sure what to think of what they say apparently they would grind it and then attach a 1/2 inch mild steel plate to the top with bolts as they say if it was welded it would crack.i don’t know I am about to start a forge work course soon so I have tried to get as much information as possible about blacksmithing as I can but one or two things about that don’t seem right hammering on mild steel would dent it and I would be back to square one very soon. two would bolting it down instead of welding it not mean it would come loose very quickly also they said that I could get the mild steel annealed and tempered what do people think


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We need a picture to see how severe  the swale and what type of anvil it is. However in general what they are suggesting is to charge you for RUINING your anvil as they don't know squat about how anvils were made and used.

If it's not severe and the face still passes the ball bearing and ring tests then the best thing is to do nothing.  I still go to my anvil with the swale in the face when I straighten hot knives as it does a great job of letting me go a touch too far and bounce back to dead straight.

If you must have it redone; look up the Gunther/Schuler method and have it followed EXACTLY.  Here in America some of the ABANA affiliates will have "anvil repair days" and have folks in the know do it right. (I had a friend who had an anvil's face milled flat and too thin to use.  He carried it around for about 20 years and finally brought it to a repair day where a professional welding instructor and professional smith spent 5 hours welding on it building the face back to usability.  All for just the cost of consumables!)

In 39 years of smithing I have now personally seen close to half a dozen anvils that I would suggest repairing before learning how to use them. I have seen thousands of anvils that are good to go from the gate!

Pictures please.

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Photos of the anvil are the first thing needed in answering your question.

Usually when a person suggests grinding on the face of an anvil, it is time to leave. They will do much more harm than good no matter what the price. 

What can you not do on the anvil as it is now  ?  

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Interesting solution. That is surely one that has never been proposed before. Bolt a new face to the anvil. 

I suggest to use U bolts at each end of the new face so not to harm your grandfather's anvil. This way you can replace the face at will every few month or so to keep the face pristine and without blemish and the edges and corners sharp, a feature that is essential for good forging results.

(Sarcasm off) 

When you start your blacksmithing course, tell the proposed solution to the class for them to have a good belly laugh at that company expense.  Treasure your gran anvil and don't "do" anything to ti but work on it. It does not need to be brought back to life because it is not dead, unless the whole face is missing. A bit of a dip or even a lot is usually not an issue. 

I hope you understand that sharp edges and corners are not required for forging since the anvil is not a die but a surface to hammer on, and just like your hammer face, does not need to be flat nor be pristine or sharp. It is a common misconception particularly from machine shops. All the best with your forging course. :)

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3 hours ago, Donaldnicolson said:

and I want to bring it back to life now,

Use it. That will bring it back to life. 

As the others mentioned, got pictures? Many "think" an anvil needs "repaired" when it is perfectly usable as is.

There are cases where they are not so usable.

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