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I Forge Iron

How to value an anvil

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Dear Kristen:  We need more information to give even a guess.  This is like you saying. "We have a Ford pickup.  What's it worth?"  The value of any anvil will depend largely on condition.  So, we need photos to see if is in perfect condition like it came from the factory yesterday or is a piece of junk only suitable as a boat anchor.  Also, please post your location because that will also have a bearing on the value.  There are places where an anvil is more in demand than others.  This is a world wide site and we don't know if you are in the USA, Latvia, South Africa, or Australia.

Give us more info and we will give it our best estimate.

Were there any more blacksmithing tools amongst your dad's stuff?  Things like unusual looking hammers, tongs, or things that appear to fit in a square hole in the anvil?  If so, they may have value too.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Kristen:  The anvil looks to be in good shape.  Others here with more familiarity with that brand will be able to offer a better estimate than I can.  The big pliers are tongs to hold hot metal.  Look around for anything else that you can't identify that looks "blacksmithy."  Don't forget to post your location.

Good luck and you may be able to make a deal here.

Or, you or someone in your family may want to get into the craft.  I would find it VERY cool to work with my father's or grandfather's tools.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Dear Kristen,

I have done a little research on Duracraft anvils and find that the name was used on Chinese imports in the 1980s and that at least some of them were just cast iron without a hardened steel face.  Unfortunately, a cast iron anvil is a very poor one because the metal is too soft.  The way to test any anvil is to drop a ball bearing (1" diameter or so, not a little pea sized one) from a foot or so above the anvil face and see how far up the ball bearing bounces.  If it comes up to 80-90% of the height it was dropped from it is a good anvil.  Also, you can try to make a SMALL cut with a file on the edge (by small I mean like one stroke with a small file) and see how well the file bites in.  If it easily bites in the anvil face is soft and it is a poor anvil.  If the file just skates off and only makes a bit of scratch it is a good quality anvil. 

If it turns out that the anvil is a poor one the forge, if it works and everything turns, may have more value than the anvil.  See if the fan in the snail shaped housing turns.  It does look like 2 of the 5 spokes on the cast iron large wheel are missing.

As I said, there will be other folk who know more than I do who will be able to offer more opinions.  Give it a day or 2 and you should get more thoughts.


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Duracraft anvils were sold through Sears & Roebuck in the late 1980s. There were different qualities listed so the ring & rebound will tell if that one is a good one or not. Looking at the picture it looks to be on the level of the Vulcan anvils, cast iron body with a thin face plate welded on. I don't remember if they produced a cast steel anvil or not. If I remember Duracraft was bought by Honeywell in the '90s. I would say it's worth $2.00-$3.00 U.S. per pound in the shape it is in probably closer to the high end.

The forge looks like a Champion or Canady-Otto lever rivet forge. Because there are no parts being made it probably would only be of interest to someone who has one they are trying to restore for parts or have the capability to make the missing parts. If you could find the missing spokes laying around, that would be a plus because they could be welded back on to the drive wheel. There should be a name on the blower side away from the picture.

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