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I Forge Iron

Anvil Identification and use of shelf?

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Hi, I am looking at buying this anvil pictured below. Very reasonable price for the size and the face/edges looks in good condition (Slight sway in the face).

I was wondering what people thought of the condition/manufacture, from what i've heard it looks like a Peter Wright with the flat edges on the feet? Also any estimations on weight? Cant see any markings but is 91cm long for reference.

Second point, any idea what the use of the small shelf is? I know usually when they are flush with the face it is useful for scroll work but is seems odd that it is lower down than the main face?

Thanks for any help


anvil pic.jpg

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That looks like a very good anvil. From what I have seen that style of anvil is know as a coachsmiths' anvil or side bick anvil. With the two pritchel holes, it looks like the Mousehole Forge anvils I have seen in old advertisements. The small side bick is used as a small square bick for making tight bends. I think it can also be used when making chain, but then it may have been reshaped to better suite that purpose. As far as weight goes I can not really guess. I am sure someone with more anvil lore than myself will be along to pass on more information.

Hope this helps,


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Looks like a very good anvil and I agree Peter Wright looking. They are usually marked on the side opposite the clip shelf. If you use a wire wheel to clean off the sides there may be remnants of the logo. I hope you have read about not doing any grinding, milling or welding on the hardened steel face, which does more harm than good. Have you done a ring & rebound test to make sure it hasn't been through a fire and lost it's hardness?

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I think you might be right about the mousehole suggestion if you compare to the advert attached! Pretty cool considering I live about 20 minutes away from Sheffield UK!

Is this a good thing? I know they're some of the older makes, anyone know if they had any issues?

Does the solid top it mentions refer to a hardened steel face do you think or simply a solid piece of wrought iron?

I will be viewing on Wednesday, will make sure to remember a bearing, small hammer and brush! And don't worry, I will only be taking a wire wheel to it, nothing more!

mousehole ad.jpg

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Depends on how you plan to use it---forging anchors it would probably get in the way and may get broken off; doing jewelry work it would be a big plus.  If you want us to tell you how you plan to use it...Buy it immediately and ship it to me as a gift!

Solid Top may refer to having a single plate for the face or having the entire top of the body being hardenable steel; or the top of the body is made from a single piece of wrought iron and not built up of pieces by forge welding. All are good things!

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I have a later Mousehole-1920's vintage, and it has a steel plate welded to what I assume is a wrought top. Not sure what the date on the posted ad is, but Brooks and Cooper was an earlier trademark 1875 to 1880 or so, for Mousehole. They eventually went back to M&H Armatage Mousehole.

You will only get a real idea of what you are looking at if you can see what trademark, if any, is on the side opposite from the one pictured.

You asked if Mouses have any known issues, I absolutely love my Mouse, I don't think I have ever heard any complaints about them. I would guess that Mousehole or PW are the most common English anvils in the US, and English anvils seem to be the most common imported anvils.  

We didn't start producing anvils in the US in great quantities until the mid 1800s. 

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Thanks for all the help! Quick update, I picked it up the other day and after a lot of huffing and puffing managed to get it to my shop.

Iv attached some pictures showing the condition. Seems the numbers are 3,3 and some double digit number (possibly 20?) so about 420lbs/190kgs + 10-20lbs!!! Not sure what the badge is at the bottom, very worn so couldn't make out any text.

The face is fairly rough and has a bit of sway but nothing too major! Cant tell if it has a steel top, I think I can see some seams but hard to say, has about 50-60% rebound with a ball bearing either way so not bad. Some nice sharp edges and really can't complain for £350 considering the size!

Given it a good wire wheeling and a heavy coat of BLO for the time being since it will be outside. Quite the upgrade I would say!

Any further advice on how I could clean up the face? I know I shouldn't take a grinder to it but do you think it will clean up at all over time or is there nothing much to do?





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