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Buying my first anvil, is this a good choice.

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I’ve been trying to get into blacksmithing for a while and even took a few classes. I’m about to buy this anvil because it’s close, to get me started in the hobby. I haven’t gotten a chance to see it in person, but I was wondering if any of the experienced people saw any red flags with it. 
Thanks for any advice. 





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Mammoth, welcome aboard from 7500' (and currently snowing) in SE Wyoming.  Glad to have you.

The anvil in question appears to have a cast body with a tool steel face, which is chipped in the corner nearest the horn.  As a cast anvil it will probably have less ring than a forged anvil but that doesn't really affect its use except that higher ringing anvils usually have better rebound which is important.  To test rebound take a ball bearing of about 3/4 - 1 " and drop it from 10" from the face of the anvil.  Measure how high it bounces back.  80%+ is good rebound, 90% is excellent.  Less than 50%, it is a POS and you should walk away.  Some good anvils have been through fires and have lost the temper in the face and have poor rebound.

You can do a rebound test with a hammer but if you are inexperienced and don't know how the rebound from a good anvil feels it is marginal if you coukd make an informed decision with this test.  Also, if the sound of the anvil varies much across the face it may mean the face plate has delaminated from the body, particularly if there is an area that sounds "dead.".  This is a BAD thing.

BTW, I've never seen that blunt a horn on an anvil that appears to be as manufactured.

I wouldn't buy it unless the rebound test was at least good.  A good improvised anvil (see the threads on the subject) is better than a poor London Pattern (this is a London Pattern anvil).  Smiths have been using a plain hunk of metal as an anvil for thousands of years.  The London Pattern has only been around for 250+ years.

If you put your general location in your profile we can give you better answers.  A surprising number of answersn are geography dependant.  I suspect from the ad that you are in the USA but you could also be in the UK or Tasmania.

Again, glad to have you.  Tells us about your shop and work.  We LOVE pictures.  I hope the craft is as rewarding to you as it has been for me for the last 44 years.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Welcome from the Ozark mountains. George N. M. pretty well covered it. There may be markings on the side opposite your first picture. There is plenty of working surface over the sweet spot as long as it passes the ring & rebound test. The hardened steel face plate looks pretty thin so no welding, grinding milling or sanding should be done on it.

Not knowing where in the world you are located makes it hard to try and figure out who made it or how much it's worth. The face damage will be a good bargaining point if you are up to haggling. You didn't mention how much the seller is asking for it, but at 200 pounds and the condition it's in, I wouldn't pay over $1.50 U.S. per pound.

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The swell under the hardy hole means it may be a Badger anvil.  The horn tip probably broke off as it is a steel faced cast iron anvil.

So a usable quiet *real* anvil; but not of the highest quality.  Check to see that the face is not delaminating  and don't pay top dollar for it---it's a "Ford Escort" anvil; don't pay Shelby Cobra prices!---And yes the 20 probably indicates 200#.

You can see how thick the steel face is where it's been broken; both on the face and on the horn.

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