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Peter Wright anvil damage advice or opinions


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Hello folks, 1st time post here. I've read and done the research that many of you have recommended in other posts before I put this up here in the hopes of being as informed as possible before asking the community for assistance. Now I'm ready to ask for you advice or opinions.

My son & I recently started collecting blacksmithing tools in hopes of making it a fun hobby for both of us. A good friend had this 1 3 1 (197lbs) Peter Wright anvil that he sold us for well under market price. Since the anvil was part of a Christmas surprise for our son, it was obtained & stored in wintertime cloudy & dark conditions (which is why I didn't notice this blemish until recently). 

The story behind this anvil is that it was used on a wagon as part of a mobile blacksmithing set in the late 1800's. From everything I can tell, this damage was here but kind of covered in a light patina before we started working on it. In one of the pictures below you can see the hint of the damage in the background as it's lit by the incandescent 1/2" bar stock in front.

So, fast-forward to now and we're the new proud owners. It's absolutely usable by working around this one side of the work surface but my OCD (I'm an architect by trade so let the good-natured ribbing begin) would like to do something at a minimum to prevent further damage or preferably repair this spot.

I've read and re-read the Rob Gunther & Karl Schuler process for anvil repair including their later amendment to change from Stoody rods to Messer rods.

We're in Nashville in case there are any experienced anvil restorers in the area.

Otherwise, based on these pictures, what would you seasoned pros recommend?

I want to thank the group in advance here. I've spent hours reading posts & think this is an amazing community of truly helpful and genuinely interested craftsfolks.

Thanks!

Damageclose-1.jpg

DamageClose2.jpg

DamageWide.jpg

FirstHeat.jpg

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I'd ignore it.   You already know about the proper method to repair it and hopefully you have read this quote:

"Practical Blacksmithing"; Volume 1, published in 1889; page 110: "For my own part I am satisfied not only that the sharp edges are useless, but that they are also destructive of good work. I cannot account for their existence except as a relic of a time  when the principles of forging were but little understood. I want both edges of my anvil rounded, not simply for a part of their length, but for their whole length."

Yes they were shipped with sharp edges; but the manufacturers thought the USERS would know exactly how they wanted them to be dressed for their work.

BTW I strongly doubt that was used on a wagon hauled mobile forge set up. I've actually owned a US Civil War travelling anvil and it was substantially under 100 pounds. 150# was considered a good size for a professional shop anvil and that one is getting towards "industrial" or major shop.  I just sold a 248# Peter wright with MUCH worse damage to the off edge---been used in the mines with strikes swinging sledges on it.

If you must repair it ask around the local ABANA affiliate for who is doing proper repairs and talk with them---I hauled a 400+ pound anvil 150 miles to get it fixed correctly---but it wasn't edge damage it was air arc gouging on the face!

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I would do nothing and just use the anvil, work around it as there is plenty of good edges. If you really feel you have to do something with it, very lighty file or sand any sharp bits in the damaged area

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Use the anvil for a year (2000 hours) before you do anything.  You may find that what you call damage may turn out to be a feature of the anvil that you can use.

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I really appreciate the advice from everyone. My biggest concern was doing more damage to it with that small edge sticking up. If the consensus is to leave it alone I'll take that advice.

I may hand file the small 1/4" edge that's sticking up just enough so it's not a sliced finger waiting to happen. 

I'm also suspect of it's use as a mobile anvil (having moved it enough myself) but that's what my older friend told me he'd been told. Not really relevant now anyway since it'll be here for a long time. 

Out of curiosity, what was the average thickness of the hardened steel top on these?

I appreciate your perspective Glenn, time has a funny way of turning oddities into beloved "features".

Thanks!

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I would file or grind off the "spur" for safety reasons but that is all.  Having a tab of nearly detached metal bothers me.  I have a very similar Peter Wright with so-so edges and it works fine.  If I need a sharp edge I will walk over to my old 100# Vulcan which was properly repaired some years ago using the Gunther method and has a very crisp edge.

My own opinion is that an anvil should have varying radii along its edge.  Sometimes you want a sharp, crisp edge and sometimes you want a curved edge and everything in between.  Where you have each and what position is most convenient is up to the individual.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."   

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For folks that want accurate edges on an old anvil I suggest making a tool for the hardy hole with 4 different edge radii sized so they line up with the edge of the anvil, then just rotate the tool till you get the edge you need for a project.

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