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Worth the asking price?


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Hey everyone,

Found a possible anvil but not sure if it's really "worth" the asking price so to say.

Possibly a Dunn and Murcott? Cannot really see the words very well from the picture I was sent. Seller is asking $400. So would be right at $3/lb if it is 136#. Not quite sure if that last number is a 6 or something else. 

I had originally offered $275 when they first sent me photos because they asked me to make an offer and I figured might as well start low and see if we could come to an agreement. 

Anyway, just looking for thoughts from those more experienced than me on how this one looks. Haven't been able to see it in person to do a rebound or ring test at all. Thanks in advance!

anvil 1.jpg

anvil 2.jpg

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The edge chipping is a good sign of a hard steel face but not a guarantee. You can't expect the seller to do a rebound test nor give accurate results. Expect subjective results, like excellent!!! rather than a %.

YOU need to go lay hands on it to evaluate it properly It might stink but evaluating things yourself is part of YOUR due diligence. Sales of used . . . things are always AS IS unless you get a written guarantee from the seller, signed by seller and buyer.

You're going to have to take a bearing ball and go check it for yourself. And PLEASE DO NOT USE A 1" BEARING!!! Using so large a ball is from the group who believes "If a little is good a LOT must be better." A large bearing won't tell you anything a 1/2" bearing will, the only possible advantage is being easier to find when it takes a wild bounce. I carry three or four 3/8" bearings in my pocket without noticing. That many because they'll take wild bounces more often. 

What's the main reason NOT TO USE such large bearings? Let's do a little mental theater to illustrate why not. Imagine you drive an hour to inspect this very anvil. You can tell from the pics it looks good, the face appears flat and without dings in the pics. When you get there and wipe it off it's almost pristine! The seller is thinking he asked too little but is bound by the deal. Right? You're excited but want to be sure and drop your 1" bearing from 3' like we've seen lots of folk claim as the right height. CLUNK it barely bounces so you try another spot, CLUNK. You're bummed, that was a long drive to look at an anvil that's probably been through a fire and is dead.

So you say sorry, the anvil is dead and not worth buying and start to leave. The owner says WAIT A MINUTE, what about those big dents you put in it?! You have reduced it's value even as a decoration, you owe me $275. YOU ruined my anvil and I don't believe your test in the first place. I think it's just a scam to make me reduce the price.

Pay up or I'm going to call a cop, maybe file a law suit!

Many years ago when I was looking I had a seller try that on me for sliding a file across the face to check for hardness. He said I'd damaged it the file cut so easily. Fortunately it was a nothing mark and laughing it off worked. But visible dents are a different thing.

Long Frosty ramble I know but you do know Centaur voids ANY warrantee on an anvil if you do a rebound test. 1" bearings were denting the anvils but they extended it to ANY bearing ball. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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In today's market $3 a pound is not out of line, however with the (minor) edge damage you may be able to haggle a little. I would offer $350 to see what happens. Make sure you tell the seller you intend to use it in your blacksmith shop as that has convinced some sellers to lower the asking price. Like Frosty said the ring & rebound would indicate the condition of the hardened face plate. From what I have read they are good anvils and fairly scarce. If you do a search with your favorite search engine like this  Dunn and Murcott brooklyn ny iforgeiron.com there are about 5 threads about them. This is but one.

 

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Usually you can contact the person and ask things like what the dimensions are or if they know if its hard face/cast iron/cast steel etc

this can help you a lot

I was about to buy an anvil for 250 but after I asked the dimensions I realized that the face of the anvil was 11X3 inches which to me three inches isn't wide enough so I didn't buy it. 

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Of course a lot of sellers don't know squat about anvils. Caveat Emptor!   

(Which can work in your favor, I remember a couple of times the seller read the CWT weight as pounds and so the anvil was heavier than they had priced it at.  OTOH I've even more sellers tell me that the american made, weight stamped in pounds was CWT and wanted more money for an anvil!  Bringing a bathroom scale along with you can short circuit those arguments.)

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The seller thought it was 136#. When she first reached out to me, she admitted not knowing anything about it. But it was her father's and she was not super sure she wanted to sell. So quoting about the chipping on the face, I said depending on how it looks in person I'd start with the $275 offer. She had to ask her older sister who was POA of the estate about the price. Took her about a week to get back to me and said they thought it was a bit low because they had "done some reading" and found out they were "not common to find anymore."

They are only about an hour from me, so I may give it a few days (she mentioned trying to sell it in a sale they plan to have over Labor Day, so I think I might have some time) and then seeing if I can maybe make the drive and take a peek at it and see if we can do some haggling in person if it tests out decent.

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The other side of that coin is they might know just enough to know what to say in response to your questions! Caveat Emptor indeed! 

A lot has already been said, but my 2 cents is it's certainly worth checking out. Lots of life in that anvil and there are some aspects you really can't draw any conclusions on without seeing it in person. Also, I'll just mention that it may be worth checking it out sooner rather than later, that way you get take a look and make a decision before someone else makes it for you! (by buying it first)

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If I needed another anvil and it checks out, I would pay the asking price. The edge in the picture is not bad enough to bother me. I have a Hay Budden with worse edge's and it does not cause any problems. As a matter of fact sharp edges on an anvil are a detriment to good forging.

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There just isn't that much of a collectors market for anvils; so "rare" doesn't do much for price compared to method of manufacture and condition!

Q-Sanvils1.jpg.bfc25c7a3fbe70cf443ec33aed80c3f9.jpg

 This was just a part of one dealer's  hoard at Quad-State a couple of years ago. He wanted a pretty penny for them as I recall and I expect he left with most of them still on his trailers.

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I would make the trip to look at it for two reasons. First, the anvil cost bubble hasn’t burst yet, so 3/# is not bad. Second, if this happens to be an estate sale from a blacksmith, you never know what else could sweeten the deal.

David

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I get them by the lb. at either Bearing Engineering or Driveline Specialties in Anchorage. I understand they're available in bulk other places as well, transmission shops are a good bet. Grainger carries bearing balls in bulk! I just remember buying a bunch for slingshot ammo. A wrist rocket and a 1/2" bearing hardly makes a  moose's hide twitch. 

Calling around should pin an outlet down for you. It's really amazing how much demand there is for loose bearing balls as opposed to bearings as units.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Terminology differs in various places.  My local scrap yard could be considered a scrapyard, junkyard, salvage yard, metals recycling center, etc.

It has both random scrap---old fencing, farm steel, mine steel, appliances, clean out the garage, clean out the backyard---pretty much anything metal and also cars/trucks/? that are first mined for used parts and things like catalytic converters and then filled with random scrap and crushed and sold on to larger recycling places.  It also deals with Al, copper, stainless, etc.  It unusual in today's world in that it allows people to prowl the piles and pull stuff out to buy---I saw a guy  buy a bailer for an old cable tool drilling rig once and then there is me...

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Around me, a scrapyard has primarily metal scrap (ie automotive, structural, heavy machinery, some appliances), and a junkyard has other things like consumer waste, other appliances, chemical waste, pretty much everything. One of the scrapyards near me allows people to walk the yard and buy whatever they can find at a certain price per pound, the other one does not. The scrapyard is just the middle man between consumer/industrial scrap metal and the plants that take that scrap and process it back into "new" material. and the junk yard is the middleman between consumers/industry and the recycling centers/dump. Sometimes the dump is also owned by the junkyard.

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Thanks for the info folks. I'll have to make some calls during the workday. Seems these places near me close about 20-30 minutes after I get off work. Might be a good excuse to use some PTO time!

Found 100 3/8 steel ball on Amazon. Will be here Friday. 

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Being both a rural county once a mining center and a small town with a University that does interesting research; the local scrapyard gets a bit of everything in it.   The University was remodeling a building and a lot of HVAC stuff has hit the local scrapyard. I've been picking motors for future projects; like running my 25# LG: 1.5 HP single phase Dayton motor in excellent condition US$10...

Car specific salvage yards can be good sources of certain metals---if they will sell them as scrap and NOT as used parts!

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