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Picked up an old Swedish anvil, made by Lesjofors Bruk, Sweden in 1899. -Weight: 181 pounds.
Lots of dings in the face, no cracks, rings like a bell, very loud and the sound seems to last forever.
Lesjofors anvils from this era have a reputation of being of high quality.
I cleaned up the face somewhat with a flapdisk but a couple of the dings were a bit deep so I'll take it to a machine shop and let them mill the face.
It seems that the steel develops a patina instead of rusting.

anvil.jpg

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All of you are quite correct, not a good idea to remove the hardened face. -No idea how deep the hardening goes.
Would filling the dings with weld (stoody 2110 rods) be a better idea and then grind flat with a flap disk?
Doing nothing at all would still make the anvil quite usable though.

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There is a proven process to reface an anvil. However I think you will find that the cost and skills to do it properly may far outweigh the downsides of leaving the marks on the face. 

Glenn often recommends (wisely) to spend 2000 hours working on the anvil before deciding whether the "imperfections" are worth repairing or not.

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Let the old girl be. You can work on that surface no problem, and if you make decorative objects the anvil will add a lovely texture. Some of the smaller cuts will eventually flatten out. If in a few years time you are left with some cuts that bother you ... well just avoid them. Welding them requires preheating and the right rod for the job and if you get either wrong you risk the anvil to lose temper or the repair to come loose and make the damage worse. 

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I'll follow the advice given here then,- I'll do nothing.
I've been looking for an anvil for years, and now I've got one 121 years of age. Would be a shame to ruin it.

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Instead of a flap disc a better option probably would have been to planish the surface to knock the raised metal back down to where it came from. I have done that a lot with dinged up firearm screws. 

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I will say she is a beauty. I love Swedish anvils. I have a Soderfors and she rings like a church bell. She has a few blemishes, but then again so do I. You learn how to work around them or use them as features over time. 

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1 hour ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

Instead of a flap disc a better option probably would have been to planish the surface to knock the raised metal back down to where it came from. I have done that a lot with dinged up firearm screws. 

Very true. A chisel makes a lot of damage but does not remove steel. Grinding the lips of the cut is a sure way to never get that back. Anyway, what is done is done. Just working on it will improve that surface.

I remember a dodgy anvil we had in the shop years ago, that was given to the apprentice who put a lot of dings in it. As he progressed in his hammer control, the surface of the anvil eventually turned back to flat. Sure the edges mushroomed a bit but it was perfectly usable. Yours is a quality anvil that was mistreated badly. It deserves a few years of decent hard work to return some dignity to her :)

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I wonder what could have caused the damage.
A chisel will raise a lip, but the marks on this one looks similar to what you would see if a grinder with a thin cut-off wheel was used so there's nothing to planish.
Yes, it has been mistreated badly, and it makes me wonder what could have caused it.
However, the old anvil has been rescued from the grave and will give years of service still.

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14 hours ago, Frazer said:

There is a proven process to reface an anvil. However I think you will find that the cost and skills to do it properly may far outweigh the downsides of leaving the marks on the face. 

Glenn often recommends (wisely) to spend 2000 hours working on the anvil before deciding whether the "imperfections" are worth repairing or not.

Robb Gunther's method requires heating the anvil to 400 F before welding, but there exists a welding rod made from air hardening tool steel (Selectrode 1256) that do not require the base metal to be heated up. Hardness when untempered is 55-60 HRC.
But, it all depends on wether this rod welds well to the base material or not. If it does, all is well,-if not, the anvil is ruined.

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Why not test out the advice you have been given.  Choose a small out of the way area and photograph that area. Measure the ding(s) both length, width, and depth.  Use only that small area to forge some metal.  Give it a fair test of say 1 hour, 5 hours, and 10 hours of forging.  After each length of time, rephotograph and remeasure each ding.  This should give you an indication of any self healing with no harm being done to the anvil.

If this suggestion is a concern to you, use a chisel and lightly mark a test piece of mild steel and use the suggestion there first.  Choose a couple of ding in an out of the way area and photograph that area. Measure the ding(s) both length, width, and depth.  Use only those dings to use a light weight ball pein hammer and planish the anvils metal. Hammer directly on the anvil face with very light impact much like what you could use to hit on your own fingernail.  You are simply trying to move the edges of the ding back into the hole a small undetectable amount at a time.  If at any point you see a hammer mark in the area your working on, move to a lighter hammer and a lighter blow.  Measure you progress in hours. 

Once you have this test complete, you can count the hours spent, times the remainder of the dings, and calculate if you want to continue.  

Please let us know your results. 

 

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3 hours ago, emtor said:

there exists a welding rod made from air hardening tool steel (Selectrode 1256) that do not require the base metal to be heated up. Hardness when untempered is 55-60 HRC.

That is an interesting rod. It is designed to weld air hardening tool steels, and the statement not to preheat applies to these steels. Your anvil most likely isn't an air hardening tool steel, bur rather is likely a high carbon steel. I expect that the anvil would require preheat to not crack. The rod itself forms tempered (good) Martensite when cooled, but your anvil will likely form untempered (Bad!) Martensite if you don't preheat and slow cool. Of course, if you do preheat, you may overtemper the Selectrode 1256 deposit and have an anvil top softer than you were expecting. 

If you do end up trying it either way, please let us know how it turns out, what went well, and what you would do differently if you were going to do it again. 

If it were me, I would use it a good, long while before ever considering anvil surgery. 

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Please leave the anvil as is.  Preheating will most likely remove the temper from the face and you will end up with an ASO (anvil shaped object).  Welding on the face will do likewise, creating HAZ (heat affected zone) places all over the face.  Beautiful anvil...use it as is.

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As I said,-there is an air hardening tool steel welding rod to be had, but I do not know if this rod would match well with the steel in the anvil.
And if not, the anvil would be ruined, so I won't take that chance.
I'll start using the anvil as it is.
 

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Good Morning,

You can repair dents in an Anvil face by using a round end punch and work your way around the deformation and push the high parts down, causing the void area to fill. Yes it is a lot of care, but patience will pay off. You can do the same with the cut marks on the face. You can close up the cuts so they won't bother your work, the marks will be so small they will not show in your work. Use the Anvil as it should be used, you will learn to take care of your Anvil Face.

Welcome from the West (Left Coast) of Canada. My father was born south of Stockholm.

Neil

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On 8/15/2020 at 2:27 PM, emtor said:

I wonder what could have caused the damage.
A chisel will raise a lip, but the marks on this one looks similar to what you would see if a grinder with a thin cut-off wheel was used so there's nothing to planish.
Yes, it has been mistreated badly, and it makes me wonder what could have caused it.
However, the old anvil has been rescued from the grave and will give years of service still.

If the cuts are from cutting disk and not chisel,  they are likely to bother you less as you work on the anvil. The one that get hammered the most will also close up some. All in all it is likely to be more an aesthetic issue than a real one. 

Use it as it is for a while and see how you go. 

By the way ,what can you make? 

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Posted (edited)
On 8/16/2020 at 10:41 AM, swedefiddle said:

Welcome from the West (Left Coast) of Canada. My father was born south of Stockholm.

Neil

I'm a Norwegian expat presently living in the north of Sweden. Sweden is nice since it used to be an industrial nation, so there are loads of machines and equipment hiding in garages and barns to be had for cheap. Swedish stuff by the way, is of very high quality. -I like it here.

On 8/16/2020 at 3:22 PM, Marc1 said:

By the way ,what can you make? 

I'm not sure I understand the question.
-What I'm planning to make, or what I'm able to make (on an anvil)?
I make knives (stock removal method), so for doing that I really don't need an anvil, but it would be nice to be able to make chisels, drifts,  candleholders etc. and for that the anvil will come in handy.

Edited by Mod44
excessive quoting removed.
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Hmmm, going by some of the comments, it would almost seem as if welding an anvil is almost guaranteed to destroy the anvil. It seems strange to me because I have seen it done a lot by other smiths, preheating and welding seems to be common across the world, using the right rod. I personally know a guy who has repaired several anvils this way and he uses them, and I know there's a yearly event somewhere in the north east USA where people get their anvils repaired like this:

https://imgur.com/gallery/nzunV

I understand it's not an easy process and shouldn't be done by just anyone, but I wonder if some are exaggerating the risks in order to get newbies to not ruin their anvils by doing a half xxxxx job. And also because it's most often not required.

Edited by Mod44
Edited for language
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Posted (edited)

I know that many reface their anvils by welding, and it's OK as long as they follow the rules.
Preheating, correct rod that goes well with the base metal etc.
I'm not a welder by any stretch so I'll use the anvil as it is.
There's a video on YT where some guys are heating an anvil up to hardening temp and then dropping it in a barrel of oil.
-Not for the faint of heart.

 

 

Edited by Mod44
Quote removed. No need to quote what was just posted.
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Emtor,

You have pretty much summarized the reasons that trying to repair an anvil is best approached with caution.  Besides preheating a big hunk of metal you have to insulate it after the welding and allow it to cool down very slowly.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Cooling down is critical since the base metal and the weld will shrink at different rates. Too fast, and the welds will crack.
I once tried to weld cast iron with nickel rod, which should be just fine. It cracked due to the fact that I didn't preheat, and let it cool down without insulating.
 

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Repair work done by people who DON'T know what they are doing is quite liable to result in worse problems. Unfortunately you can be a a skilled welder; yet not know how to weld on anvils.  I've met a number of professional welders who don't know the difference between a Trenton and a Vulcan anvil and how that affects how it needs to be worked.

Just like you can have a top notch transmission repairman but still not go to them for rebuilding an engine!

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