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Should I buy this old anvil?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Dsalin31, Oct 15, 2018.

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  1. Dsalin31

    Dsalin31

    6
    Oct 15, 2018
    I found an ad for a used anvil for $150 which has damage but also weighs 140 pounds. I don't see a manufacturer's name and the seller does not know the name either. I am new to blacksmithing and I have been trying to find a decent, affordable anvil to start with. I want to use it for working with rebar. Any thoughts or feedback on whether I should buy or pass on this anvil would be greatly appreciated.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. JeffG@818

    [email protected]

    71
    Jul 4, 2018
    Seems like a lot for that anvil. The last time I saw damage on an anvil like that it had been "shot" and landed on a rock. Ol timers put black powder in the recess under the anvil and lit it, causing it to go many feet in the air. Make sure it hasn't been abused like that. Does it ring?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anvil_firing
     
    Stelth likes this.
  3. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    If you're just starting into blacksmithing, I'd recommend getting it. You will be hard pressed to find one that size for that little, even if it is damaged. I'd see if you can talk them down a bit because of the damage.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
    Ken H> likes this.
  4. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Or if you live within driving distance of Longview, WA you could head over to the Northwest Blacksmith Assn. Swaptoberfest swap meet, mini conference on the 26th. There are usually quite a few anvils for sale.
     
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  5. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    That is worth $0.50 to $0.75 a pound. If I were a person without any anvil, I wouldn't pay more than $100.
    As a person with an anvil, I wouldn't buy it at all.
     
  6. Ken H>

    Ken H>

    Dec 31, 2011
    What are your plans with rebar? For rebar work that anvil might do just as good as anything - all depending on the rebar work. Is it for bending rebar for concrete work?
     
  7. Dsalin31

    Dsalin31

    6
    Oct 15, 2018
    Yes, I would like to be able to bend as well as take two heated rebars and hammer them until they join into one just like in the video below. My main goal is to use rebar as a foundation/skeletal structure for the inside of my large clay sculptures so that they don't fall over. Do you think that that old anvil would work for that purpose?


     
  8. Dsalin31

    Dsalin31

    6
    Oct 15, 2018
    That is a great question. I will have to ask the seller if it rings.
     
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  9. Stelth

    Stelth

    Jul 15, 2007
    Jeff, thanks for linking the article on "anvil firing". I've never heard of such a thing before.
     
  10. Dsalin31

    Dsalin31

    6
    Oct 15, 2018
    Thanks for the feedback weo. Unfortunately I do not live within driving distance of that area but thanks for letting me know anyway.
     
  11. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    If you are just bending and forge welding rebar, then that anvil is fine. Offer $100 ... I bet he takes it.
     
    [email protected] and Ken H> like this.
  12. Dsalin31

    Dsalin31

    6
    Oct 15, 2018
    Thank you for the advice Stacy! $100 sounds like a good suggestion.
     
  13. Augus7us

    Augus7us

    687
    Oct 9, 2014
    Last year I sold an anvil about half that size with half the face chipped off for 180$.

    If it were me and I needed an anvil for $150 or less, I'd buy it. Like mentioned I'd offer 100$ or something along those lines. Use it and save up some money and buy a nicer anvil. Then put that one up for sale for $200.
     
  14. JeffG@818

    [email protected]

    71
    Jul 4, 2018
    My grandfather was a character, showed me lots of fun things.:D
     
    Stelth likes this.
  15. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    A few shots of shooting the anvil up at Daniel Boone's pasture party.

    Two identical anvils are set with the bases together. Black powder is placed in the void between the bases. A fuse if lit, and when the powder goes off the top anvil is shot a hundred feet into the air. If they have been properly leveled, the anvil lands only a few feet away from where it started … buried in the ground from the impact.

    Notice how the anvil has an almost identical damage to the one the OP wants to buy. It was caused by hitting the base anvil or a rock and breaking part of the heel off along the weld of the top plate.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
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  16. Dsalin31

    Dsalin31

    6
    Oct 15, 2018
    Wow. I can definitely see the similarity in the damage. That's something I have to consider. Thanks for putting together this information Stacy. And thanks all guys for your input in helping me to make a more informed decision on this anvil.
     
    [email protected] likes this.
  17. Lieblad

    Lieblad

    Jul 24, 2015
    I agree, offer 100$. Badly beaten second hand anvils are insane nowdays. You probably wont readily find another.. and that one is badly beaten.
    Aside from its broken heel, its face has substantial dents and pitting. It will do fine for heating & beating rebar artwork but to make nice forgings will be a challange.
    Anyway, as far as it ringing. With its heel damage, it might not ring, or ring kind of a weird tone. What does not mean its bad, just damage like that can throw off its resonance ability.
    But check if its decent rebound and hardplate is still firmly attached. ’Bounce’ a hammer all over its face. Any loose spots on its hardplate will easily feel and sound dead. Said that, dont be completely put off. If its loose near its damaged heel, Thats not unexpected plate to be loose right adjacent to the broken area.

    Btw, I mention ’bounce’ a hammer, does not mean strike with appreciable force. Basically, at about 12-16” let a hammer drop, your hand is just to guide so it hits where you want and not let it fall when it rebounds naturally.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
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  18. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    For bending and welding rebar, any heavy piece of metal from the junkyard will work. Even a piece of RR track mounted on a stump will work.
     
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  19. joedhiggins

    joedhiggins

    485
    May 31, 2016
    As said, 100$ seems reasonable. The steel face clearly has some thickness left to it, so it shouldn't be too hard to grind out most of the damage, though it is cupped a bit. I might run a straight edge across the face and see how deep the cupping is. If it is less than 1/8" I would probably pay $100. I would weld a plate onto the back to properly support a hardy tool. Any more than 1/8" of cupping, and I might offer him less and maybe either reface with hard surfacing weld metal or TIG it out using 1075 filler metal and reharden the face. Either way, this thing will be a project before it is usable.
     
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  20. anvilring

    anvilring

    Nov 29, 2000
    Since most of us only use about 4 square inches of an anvil, that one looks quite usable to me, however no one has ask one of the more important questions: does it rebound? That's very important. If it has good rebound, I'd buy it and repair the hardy hole. The more an anvil weighs, the better to use as a"fixture" or to hold same (in the hardy hole) as the more they weigh, they tend to hold their position w/o too much else to hold them down on the stump.
    This one looks like a Mouse Hole anvil to me; I own one. Very crude looking especially on the underside of the horn. If it's a Mouse Hole, it should have "Armitage" on the right side as well as three #'s which is it's weight in stones. Yours should be marked " 1 . 0 . 20 "

    How to read anvil weights from Britain:

    http://www.anvilfire.com/article.php?bodyName=/FAQs/anvil-6.htm
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018
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