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Your thoughts on this anvil damage

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I’m coming back to blacksmithing after a forty year break and tomorrow I’m looking at this anvil and other items. It’s a 100lbs Trenton according to the seller. By the photos I can confirm it’s a Trenton but not the weight. What I’d like is your feedback on the damage shown in this photo. Thank you for your help.



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Welcome aboard.  You'll find lots of interesting, if somewhat eccentric, folk here with loads of knowledge to share.  Make sure you review the "Read this first" bit if you haven't already.

The severity of damage to an anvil is a function of the price you have to pay for it.  If the seller wants top dollar it needs to be in very good shape.  If it is damaged that needs to be reflected in the price.  So, I would say that the heel area of this anvil have been badly abused, probably with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch.  The hardie hole looks pretty unusable.  However, IF the rest of the anvil is in good shape and the price is right you may wish to acquire it.  The rest of the anvil may be perfectly adequate for hitting hot metal on it.  The damage makes for a good bargaining point with the seller.  There are alternative ways of using hardie tools than putting them in a hole in an anvil.

I will leave it to others to opine about the wisdom or lack thereof of trying to repair the damage by filling the voids with weld deposits except make sure that if it is done make sure whoever is doing it knows what they are doing.  Look up the Robb Gunther method of repairing anvils which involves heating the anvil before welding, using very particular types of welding rod, and very slowly allowing the anvil to cool.  It seems that there are not a lot of welders out there who have the knowledge and skill to do this correctly.

Good luck and keep us informed of your progress.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand." 

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I would not want to use that hardy hole or pritchel for fear of breaking off the heel. As George mentions---it's all about the price. I once bought a 120# Powell that was missing the heel, (weighed weight), paid US$40 and have used it a LOT especially for students who hit like lightning.  Face is dead flat and hard, horn is fair and I was happy paying that much for it back when anvil prices were substantially cheaper---1990's.  If the face is good I'd think about 1/2 the going rate for such an anvil in good shape.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you everyone for your comments. I’ve moved on and I’m looking at new anvil options. I’m thinking about a Rat Hole Anvil made in Jackson Wyoming. That’s only a few hours drive to go pick up and I could get in some great fly fishing while there. He hasn’t responded to my emails so I’ll try calling sometime this week.

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