Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Slice of 1908 anvil

Recommended Posts

Hello Guys; 


I'm somewhat speechless. I figured I'd cut a straight surface on the broken off horn from my 1908 Liegois weapons school anvi (

But like I promised; I'd etch the surface, see what's going on in mettalugry-land below the surface of my anvil. And when I pulled it from the ferric chloride, I was stumped. 

Before someone condems me, I didn't break off the horn, nor did I cut/grind at the anvil (yet). this is just the broken off horn.

If you zoom in on the cutoff; there's a LOT going on there. I was expecting to see 2 layers ... There's a LOT more going on in there. besides the steel top and the wrought iron body (the streaky black in the center); I have no clue. The sides seem to have things added; below the horn seem to be a part added; and inbetween the steel plate and the body there are several parts. I have no explation other than it's fascinating  :D

Anyone any idea what this is ? or how and why it was made like this ?




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm right hand side looks like a chunk of steel with very large grain structure.  Perhaps when they recycled wrought iron that was used they got a good sized chunk of steel included when they busheled it. (Old  Specifications would sometimes specify how much random steel could be busheled in with the wrought iron; just like steel specs may include how much sulfur or phosphorus was allowed.)  The large grain would have been from the forge welding temps and indicate it wasn't forged much afterwards.

Nice thick fine grained layer of steel on top!


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Some more details; I tried cutting with my bandsaw (not the top plate, I know that is hard); but even the bottom part dulled the saw before I was in a couple of mm. I assume impurities which are hard ?

A: Faceplate. nice fine grain, but why does it curve downwards on the edges ?

B: Under the faceplate, grainy look, and looks like a grainy weld too; runs almost to the other side, but tapers really thin. 

C: Also under the faceplate; but this section looks like pattern welded steel with a coarse grain (you can see layers ...)

D: main body in what I assume is wrought iron, it has that streaky look to it. However, I cannot explain the left-to-right difference. the left seems spotty, while the right has really large grain growth (I assume like Thomas said, prolonged forgewelding heat..)

E: Side of the anvil cover ? clearly a seperate piece; but honestly, no clue.

F: the same as E, but it doesn't run untill under the faceplate; soooo nope, no clue either.

G: even less of a clue; this is under the horn.

Cluesless as I am; the only thing I can imagine that would explain this patchwork is the horn failed before; and it was foregewelded back together (This anvil has been in the weapons school of Liege (predecessor of FN) for over a century; they have the equipement to do this).

Note: Ignore the yellow crack (I probably cut the slice too thin) and Ignore the green spots too; too thin in these places ...


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool, I've never seen a thin section of an anvil.

I think even a tungsten carbide bimetal saw blades would be dulled by the silica inclusions in wrought iron. Maybe not I've never tried sawing any. 

I have to go along with Thomas's observation, it makes sense. Being aware I don't know enough to have my own opinion so I'm going with someone else's. :) 

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Really interesting! I've never seen someone do this before. For "A", I believe the face curves down because the downward hammering while welding the face on causes the face to mushroom out a little, and when they hit from the side to knock the edges back it pushes some of it down the sides of the anvil. This is why anvil faceplates always look thicker judging by the edges than they really are.

The rest is pretty much a mystery to me as well. Hopefully others with more ideas will chime in. I really wonder if a slice from an anvil that did not break would show nearly as many inconsistencies as this one. Also, in terms of forged anvils, 1908 is fairly new. I wonder if as time went on it became harder and harder to avoid accidentally including some steel in the scrap as steel became more common.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember that these were built up from multiple pieces to start with; with all the possibilities of mixing various qualities of wrought iron, (and steel) together.   You probably wouldn't want a monolithic piece of wrought iron anyway as the build up helps to refine WI.

It  would be possible to have triply refined wrought iron welded to singly refined wrought iron with some "Bessemer" steel in the mix as well.  The forge welding was probably a mix of steam hammer and strikers with sledge hammers making the interfaces left uneven as well.  The failure of the horn indicates that this may not have been done by the best crew and so there may be some sloppiness forged in as well.

And as mentioned; the more recent the construction was done the greater chance for steel to creep into the busheling of material to make the blocks used. (And this might be considered a plus; as anvils made from the finest quality wrought irons tend to dip more in the face after use.)

I'd put a rust resistant clear coat on the slab and mount it on the wall of the smithy with a plaque describing what it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello All;


I had a call with Joey (TechnicusJoe), great guy. Hung on the fone for couple hours :D 

He was really interesting & interested in the slice and anvil; and he is going to adopt the broken off horn. I'm curious what he's going to do with it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...