WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from August 16 - 21, 2010 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

A friend of mine recently purchased two used anvils having enquired at the local farrier supply shop "how much?"..... after picking himself up off the floor at the sheer piracy going on there (112 lbs aso) $1100+tax .Yep thats right we live in Australia a land founded by convicts and apparently theres still a few selling horseshoes and anvils .
Well back to the two "new" editions , the first is marked
--------------------------
(horn facing right )
PETER
WRIGHT
PATENT
SOLID WROUGHT (in a circle)
( a letter "E" -maybe "3") hard to tell
3 2 14 (yep its big) 409 lb I believe
---------------------------------------
36.5"oal
15"h
face is 23.25"x 5.5" ,1.5" hardy ?pritchel
horn 10.25" 15"dia @ table
table 3" stepped down from face 3/4"
feet have step and measure 14"x13" in size

as far as i can see there are no other markings
The question is what year do you estimate it was made ?
As far as I know it was in a blacksmiths shop in Netherby Victoria Australia up until the shop closed down in the 1950's , Im not sure how long it was there or its history since "retirement" , I say that, as its in excellent condition and is mirror flat some small dings on the horn but otherwise had a fairly easy 100+ yrs (if I look half as good i'd be happy).
Now onto the second , its marked
-----------------------------
(horn facing right)
JOHNBROOKS
STOURBRIDGE
WARRENTED
JS

weight is on the other side 1.3.16 maybe(18)

-----------------------
25"oal
10.75"h
face 16"x4.25"
horn 7.25" 1.75" table

So far im yet to find anything out on this one only that Stourbridge is approx 10mile from Dudley UK .It looks very similar to the Peter Wright in the London pattern maybe just a little lower in scale . many thanks for any info on these two greats .
   Rik C - Monday, 08/16/10 11:10:49 EDT

On some web-site I saw a 750 ton steam hammer that was made in France, I believe they had to dig down to bed rock to support it, it is now on display.
   Mike T. - Monday, 08/16/10 11:12:41 EDT

oh , if anyone was wondering $1400 for the PW $600 for the JB ,thats aus $ so about 1260 and 540 US . Not sure if thats good or bad ,but a shipload better that buying new "junk".
   Rik C - Monday, 08/16/10 11:22:24 EDT

Rik, It is difficult to date Peter Wright anvils other than by fine details of style. The mark "patent" appears from 1853 on and the last PW's made were probably in the 1930's. So at a minimum it is 75 years old and a maximum of 150.

The Brooks is new to me other than the modern cast steel Vaughan/Brooks. I called Richard Postman and he says he has recorded a John Brooks for his new book that was made in 1827 and has no pritchel hole (an indication that an anvil was made prior to the 1830's.

Rik, the prices are similar to what you would pay in the U.S. in the current market. Sometimes you luck out and pay less but those are fair prices and as you note, they are better than new AND the quality is as good as or superior to anything new.

Here in the U.S. Peter Wright and Mousehole Forge had the majority of the market. In other parts of the British Empire companies like Alldays and Onions dominated the market. Other anvil makers sold their products everywhere other than the U.S. I suspect this was some sort of deal either controlled by the British Government or by some merchantile organization. Alldays and Onions was a huge company that made everything from anvils to automobiles but you don't see any of their products in the U.S.
   - guru - Monday, 08/16/10 11:54:55 EDT

thanks guru , great info , my imagination runs wild at the thought of what either of these fine tools have created in there life and what they may create in the future .
   Rik C - Monday, 08/16/10 21:13:40 EDT

I have an old worn out anvil from the 1700's that has a broken horn and face plate that is worn through. I've started to write its "auto biography" a couple times. How it was born of fire, shipped across the ocean in a small crowded sailing ship to Barbados and then was carried to Virginia by a freed Irish bondsman, then lost to an established blacksmith in a wager on a horse race. . . How it made parts for great plantation houses and repairs during three wars in Virginia, was made "second anvil" then worn out by an apprentice making nails after the revolution. . . and so on until the day it was sold at auction at a run down farm where share croppers had used it through the depression and into the 1960's when everyone left the farm. . . Lots of detail to fill in.
   - guru - Monday, 08/16/10 21:48:53 EDT

Guru, Sounds like a great story, keep going with it.
   Carver Jake - Monday, 08/16/10 23:45:29 EDT

0) prefer e-mail...

1) Ref: Sunday, 08/08/10 15:30:52 EDT
I believe your are correct, if I read correctly: F=ma -> a=F/m.

2) Went to a local "recycle" yard today. (I found and bought a RR spike and splitting maul head lying on the ground for $2.50--30cents/lb.) They have a two pieces of plate steel. Both are similar one is rectangular, the other is close. Approximate dimensions for the rectangular is 2"x12"x6'. I'm thinking this might be similar to A36 (structural steel) and is 30cents a pound if I buy it from the "young person" I talked to today. I might get it as low as 10-20cents if I talk to the "boss". I'm thinking I might be able to cut and form these into a decent DIY anvil for meer pennies on the (very weak) dollar. The "young person" I talked to today estimated the rectangular piece at 200lbs (he was less sure of his estimate the more he talked about it).

My question is, (I'll list my experience in a moment) should I buy this steel and work it into my first anvil--ignoring the 2tons of RR rail steel in my shed that I'm still finish building, but free was the right price. Or should I ignore the temptation to start such a project?

Resume':
I've recently taken two quarters of welding (but my major is Power-Plant Operations) and will complete my "welding certificate" as my last college quarter. I have a brand new Lincoln TIG 175 Square Wave. And Oxy-fuel: oxy-propane, oxy-acetylene. And MIG: Craftsman (ew!) 120Vac wanna-be welder. I recently cut some old (very?) RR track using oxy-propane with no helpful literature! and have used a oxy-acetylene cutting machine at the college I now attend. I'm 47-years-old and among the recently unemployed, since grey-hair is a disease that those with lack-of-intelligence are very susceptable to!

Cost:
The rectangular piece should cost somewhere in the range of $60 US. Both would be over twice that.

Should I buy the steel and build an anvil or two, or just try to find one that has already been built?

Dale
(Don't expect 100% coherancy tonight....)
   - Dale E. Edmons - Tuesday, 08/17/10 03:05:27 EDT

The weight estimate is off by more than half. Actual = 490 pounds.

For estimating purposes steel weighs 1/3 pound per cubic inch. So, take 2 by 12 equals 24, times 24 (1/3 of 72') = 576. This is a little high but as I noted, for estimating. Otherwise steel weighs .2835 lbs/cuin.

Since there are two similar pieces the total is 980 pounds. At 30c = ~$300.

This will undoubtedly make a superior power hammer anvil than bundling a bunch or RR-rail. Both will need a cap of about 2" to distribute the load equally across the parts. More cutting and welding will be necessary on the RR-rail anvil and this has costs other than just labor (rods, gas and electric).

I had a fellow write once that his wife was throwing a fit because the month he built his power hammer the electric bill jumper $200! She said it was all that welding (he had some 2" beads), He said no-way. . . I had to say I was sorry, the lady was right.

The goal of the Junk Yard Hammer builder is to build with what is on hand and as cheaply as possible. Welds don't have to be 2" beads. . . but there IS a cost that is difficult to estimate. And if you flame cut all that rail there will be a significant cost in abrasives grinding the ends sufficiently smooth and clean. It is hard to estimate these things but they do have a significant cost unless its a "government" job. Sometimes it is cheaper to pay to have things sawed square and clean.

No email address to send to. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 08:32:43 EDT

Old anvil story. Mine is shorter than Jock's. George Washington used it! (BOL)
I have a colonial anvil for sale @ $350 + shipping. I'm in Santa Fe. Three views: http://www.swaba-abana-chapter.org/images/Pictures/anvil%20back.JPG
Same url but substitute horn instead of back. Same url but substitute side instead of back.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 08/17/10 10:27:45 EDT

Great old anvil. Looks pretty small (as is common for these). What does it weigh?

My anvil story was going to be considerably more detailed and written from the anvil's point of view. . From birth to retirement. It occasionally gets used when I need an anvil for kids. However, I think I used it last to demonstrate that an old worn out broken down anvil was still a useful tool. I've started writing it several times and got distracted and not gotten back to it. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 11:24:01 EDT

Dale, I would have them cut it at least in half with a bandsaw; then you have 2 flat ends to match up if you're trying to double up on the width. I spent a couple hours and multiple angle grinder disks trying to grind a torch cut end flat before realizing that the steel yard would cut the piece for me for $10 a cut.
   mstu - Tuesday, 08/17/10 12:38:50 EDT

Guru,

I 2nd the idea of going-on with your Anvil-Story.

You did such a good job on telling the story of ( My First Anvil ) that it causes everyone that reads it to reflect back to when & how they got their own first anvil.
I don't see how this Anvil-Story that's stirring around in you wouldn't be any different.
   danial - Tuesday, 08/17/10 13:46:46 EDT

Thanks for the encouragement. I only have a hundred or so articles to edit/write at any time. . . I try to work on them according to the current interest, need or inspiration. I'm still writing a bunch on health/fittness and food. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 14:21:44 EDT

My old English anvil weighs 78 pounds. It has the handling holes.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 08/17/10 14:40:14 EDT

Speaking of early anvils, my friend Randy McDaniel told me of a wonderful portrait of a Philadelphia blacksmith, "Pat Lyon at the Forge," 1826-27. This painting shows Lyon wearing his apron and holding his hammer. The anvil is of a typical British shape and there is a sledge hammer in the foreground not unlike our current blacksmith sledges.
http://www.engr.psu.edu/mtah/articles/pdf/pat_lyon.pdf
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 08/17/10 14:54:35 EDT

Guru

I would love to read some of your health/fitness and food articles. When I was smith-ing full time and felt the pressure of time I would mosey down to the service station and get a cherry coke and something sticky/sweet/covered in chocolate. When my activity level dropped and my diet didn’t I blew up like that little grape girl in the willy wonka movie.

As im working out and getting into the shop more ive been doing a lot more high protein low fat and sugar diet that’s seemed to work very well for me. And i can see and feel the difference!

Im a fan of non processed foods, and most of my sugar intake comes from fruit. My favorite treat though is an almost fat free, sugar free cheesecake. It takes care of that sweetness urge that I get with out the sleepyness of most processed snacks.

Oh and i dont fix things for chocolate chip cookies anymore.
   Kevin - Tuesday, 08/17/10 15:17:53 EDT

Angone got a rough idea how much it'll be to ship a 350# anvil from say Georgia to utah? I know that ups and fedex ships freight but not the rates.
Currently I have a section of rr track that will be a light duty anvil seeing as it weighslbs like 55 lbs or so. I'm also looking to see about building a coal forge on the cheap, and I think I can build a *good* one for $75 or less.

PondRacer
   PondRacer - Tuesday, 08/17/10 16:26:26 EDT

Shipping: Pondracer, I would need two zip codes to get UPS rates. But I think you will need to ship by freight. I would guess $1/lb.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 17:01:52 EDT

I havent personally used it but ive heard good things about

http://www.uship.com/

you can put a shipment out for bids. A company might take it as part of an LTL shipment. If you go this route take a couple minutes to research your bidders before you award the job to someone.
   Kevin - Tuesday, 08/17/10 17:04:46 EDT

Health and Safety Articles: See The Guru's Story

Kevin, I've been on a "Nutritarian" diet. Its similar to a Vegan diet without the bread and sugar. A bit of misinformation is that you have to eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs to get protein. Vegetables contain sufficient protein to support athletes and body builders as well as anyone else.

Low fat is good but they are finding from large population studies as well as laboratory research that animal protein supports and encourages cancer. That includes protein powders that are extracted from dairy products.

Yeah. . my ex-wife was a fair cook but her specialties were cookies of all types . . . My specialty was eating them and pizza and pounds of cheese. . .

Our sugar-free "hit" had been coming from pudding but it is made with Aspartame (Nutri Sweet). This is another food additive to avoid since it was repeatedly proven to cause brain cancer and only got past the FDA by bribing its head with a three million dollar a year job in private industry. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 17:29:24 EDT

We just got our latest issue of Archeology magazine (Sept-Oct) and they had an article on the Rio Tinto mines in Spain that have been worked pretty much from the stone age on.

They mention that they have recovered 500 roman hammers and show a picture of a few roman iron items---showing the WI striations beautifully on one; but the best thing is one of the hammer is a "weight forward hammer"---I keep telling folks that it's not necessarily a "japanese hammer" but was known in Europe for centuries!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/17/10 17:39:26 EDT

The ancient Greeks who came before the Romans used the weight forward hammer in the Bronze age and carried it over into the Iron Age. They had both small hand hammers as well as sledges in this type design.

Greek Smiths
Greek Bronze Smiths - The Foundry Painter
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 17:58:05 EDT

Jock, is that depiction accurate? I would think that SOME form of protective clothing would be worn even at the most primitive foundries.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 08/17/10 18:04:30 EDT

CAN ANYONE OUT THERE TELL ME WHAT THE MARKINGS ON RR SPIKES MEAN.AND WHAT KIND OF STEEL MOWER BLADES ARE MADE OF.
   Terry Schuyler - Tuesday, 08/17/10 19:11:21 EDT

From the official specs:

Two classes of track spikes are given specifications, both low carbon and high carbon. Two sizes of track spike are identified, one of 5/8 inch square shaft and one of 9/16 inch.

Page 5-2-1. "A low carbon track spike will not contain greater than 0.12% carbon nor greater than 0.20% copper.

Page 5-2-2. Section 6a.
Bending properties: The body of a full size finished spike shall stand being bent cold through 180 degrees flat on itself without cracking on the outside portion of the bent portion.

Page 5-2-2 Section 11. Marking. A letter or brand indicating the manufacturer shall be pressed on the head of each spike while it is being formed. When copper is specified, the letters "CU" shall be added.

Page 5-2-3: Specifications for high carbon steel track spikes 1968. Carbon not greater than 0.30%, nor greater than 0.20% copper. Page 5-2-4. Section 6a. Bending properties: The body of a full size finished spike shall stand being bent cold through 120 degrees around a pin, the diameter of which is not greater than the thickness of the spike without cracking on the outside portion of the bent portion.

Page 5-2-5 Section 11. Marking: A letter or brand indicating manufacturer and also the letters "HC" indicating high carbon, shall be pressed on the head of each spike while it is being formed. When copper is specified, the letters "CU" shall be added."
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/17/10 19:18:18 EDT

Note that "high carbon" spikes top out at .3 the lower boundary for medium carbon steels.

Rail clips are .4-.6 %C and so make a much better blade.

Lawnmower blades vary depending on the age, manufacturer type of usage intended, etc. Some make good blades some won't harden much you have to test each one!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/17/10 19:22:17 EDT

Ancient Greek Work Clothing: Nip, I suspect so. Warriors of the time wore sandals, soft tin greeves and short body armour that did not cover the arms or legs. Women wore light nearly transparent gowns that often covered only one breast. Public nudity was common. Today over 2000 years later workers in Indian foundries have been filmed working in sandals or barefoot wearing nothing other than a loin cloth. Ancient Greek vase painters recorded many parts of Greek life.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 19:39:35 EDT

Terry Schuyler,

If you find a railroad spike with a number on top, don't do anything to it, it is a date nail. Years ago, when tracks were put down, a date nail was placed every so often to let the track gang know when the track was layed. I remember back in the mid seventies a track foreman pulled up some old track and there was a 12 on top of the spike. This meant the ties had been there since 1912 !! Ties used to be boiled in creosote, but not anymore. Old spikes like this are probably worth money, especially to a collector.
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 08/17/10 21:25:21 EDT

Interesting. . . Looks like I need to update the RR-spike FAQ.

Back in the teens and twenties when they were putting up power poles all over the country they initially thought that creosoted poles would have a 5 year life. Five years past and the poles were fine so they chalked up the life as 10 years. Then a decade went by and the poles were fine so they increased the life to 15 years. . . Well, in rural areas there are still poles placed in the twenties and thirties. They are approaching 100 years old and still in use.

On the other hand the old rail line that ran through my old home town is used for return coal cars going back to West Virginia. Seems like they have put down new ties every 5 or 10 years and regraded the ballast about every 5 years. It must be darn important to get all those empty cars back to West Virginia so that the coal for export is never interrupted.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 22:13:25 EDT

Guru, often heavily used RR tracks see severe abrasion wear on the ties. I bought a few old hand hewn ties, and the bottoms were smooth and displayed heavy wear. The harder parts like the knots stood proud of the worn surfaces. In my parts we often saw furnace slag for ballast, and it was glass like and was probably very different than areas that use more rounder stone.
   ptree - Tuesday, 08/17/10 22:17:04 EDT

I really enjoyed your indepth article about post vises. I have a 4 inch smooth jaw which is stamped on the side--MOSS & GAMBLE--Sheffield--Warranted--It has a little light rust on it and appears to have been used very gently over the years. I plan to use your photos as a guide to taking it apart to clean it. Thanks again for the great information
   bill - Tuesday, 08/17/10 22:52:53 EDT

From 31905 (Columbus GA) to 84601 (Provo UT)

PondRacer
   PondRacer - Tuesday, 08/17/10 23:06:05 EDT

UPS will not ship over 150 pounds. . . Try the http://www.uship.com/ website.

Dimensions of the anvil are about 30 x 12 x 14.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/17/10 23:30:27 EDT

UPS and FedEx both has _freight_ shipping, you have to ask them. Dunno what their rates are... I am checking out uship.com; I know I used ABF before, but that was for moving myself from TX to IL... was cheaper than even the uhaul :)

PondRacer
   PondRacer - Wednesday, 08/18/10 06:45:02 EDT

UPS and FedEx freight are not available everywhere and often you need an account to get a response about them. While I have a UPS account we are quite rural and do not have freight service that I can determine.

The last time I shipped an anvil, I crated it in a fork liftable crate and had to haul it 65 miles to a regional truck depot. When I received the same anvil I had to pay extra for palletizing but it arrived without the pallet but with a tangle of wire where it had been tied to a pallet. Somewhere enroute they decided that the pallet took up too much room and stripped it. . . Many times anvils are shipped crateless with the paperwork taped to the waist and or face.

Years ago someone tried to have an anvil shipped across country by blacksmith grapevine. I do not know if it worked or not.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/18/10 09:32:02 EDT

cross ties..

http://www.nscorp.com/footprints/world.html

click on extending cross tie life. happened to find this when i was browsing norfolk southern's website a few weeks ago.
   - Ty Murch - Wednesday, 08/18/10 11:21:43 EDT

Ahhhhh... So there's the catch I've been looking for... Makes sense then to possibly go through an LTL motor freight carrier (rare instances you can ship via Amtrak but will not work in this case)

Thanks!

PondRacer
   PondRacer - Wednesday, 08/18/10 12:17:01 EDT

I've been part of "blacksmith mail" from Quad-State to the middle of Arizona in two steps: (I was Q-S to mid NM and another smith was mid NM to mid AZ) It can work if you have good people; but is often slow if you have to have multiple legs.

The date stamps I have seen were on the heads of nails not spikes.

I'm happy to hear that creosoted poles have a long life as they are the supports for my shop extension. I got them with about 10 years on them and out here I'd expect them, to outlast me and my grandson, especially as they will be out of the sun and rain.

Ancient Smithing clothing: I would think that the traditional bullhide apron would be used even with not much else save a loincloth. Remember they were forging real wrough iron which can be a bit juicy when struck compared to modern mild steel---small ferrous silicate spheres in the dirt are an indicator that iron was forged in a location.

However when you are doing a picture for a paying customer you do what they want!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/18/10 13:09:01 EDT

After seeing the film of the Indian drudges working near naked and barefoot carrying ladles of molten iron down rows of floor molds I'd believe anything. . . These guys were casting man-hole covers for NYC.

Ancient Roman foundrymen wore sandals with soles raised on thin iron bars (to reduce the heat conductivity). Not much top splash protection but they could walk on the hot sand casting floor and not get burned. This was 2,000 years before the conditions in the Indian foundry were filmed.

But there IS the matter of style in the ancient art that may color the reality of the situation.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/18/10 13:46:05 EDT

Thomas P.

You are probably right about the date nail being an actual nail. I remember placing it in the desk drawer and do not remember it being as heavy as a spike.
   Mike T. - Wednesday, 08/18/10 15:26:28 EDT

Some of those rail "nails" were pretty darn heavy and could be called a "spike". While not a rail spike, they are pretty big.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/18/10 15:28:32 EDT

Hello i am doing a school project on blacksmiths in the medieval time, i was wondering what dietary needs a blacksmith would need e.g. if he needed more or less of a certain type of food.
Also was there life intense or laid back
i need to get in their head any other information would be great

thanks

Hadley in Nz
   Hadley in Nz - Wednesday, 08/18/10 17:44:04 EDT

Hadley, During Medieval times in Europe (I assume that is where you are talking about) life was hard. Depending on where and who you were your diet would vary a lot according to your prosperity. Folks worked to survive and rarely had a choice in diet as we do today. A skilled blacksmith of the time would be economically a little above a common laborer or subsistence farmer but not much. Since everyone worked physically hard most of the time there was not a lot of different caloric need from one person to the other.

As to exactly what their diet consisted of you will need to research that a bit more. Or perhaps one of our medievalists or reenactors will respond. I do know that in the Iron Age (prior to the Medieval period) the diet in Europe consisted of stews or gruels made of a lot of wild grains. They were a staple for many centuries.
Etymology: Middle English grewel, from Anglo-French gruel, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English grūt grout - Date: 14th century

------------------------------

Gruel is a food preparation consisting of some type of cereal— oat, wheat or rye flour, or also rice— boiled in water or milk. It is a thinner version of porridge that may be more often drunk than eaten and need not even be cooked. Historically, gruel, often made from millet or barley, or in hard times of chestnut flour and even the less tannic acorns of some oaks, has been the staple of the human diet, especially that of the peasantry - Wickapedia




   - guru - Wednesday, 08/18/10 18:11:21 EDT

Well there are the basic books "Life in a Medieval XYZ" a lot of them written by the Gies's that cover the basics then there are works like Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel that have good pictures of medieval smiths in them and such data as to when the started using coal.

Smiths could be anything from local "do everything" smiths in small villages to ones that lived in the big cities and were quite specialized and could be Master's of pretty large businesses, (sword and armour making were done *only* by specialized smiths in big towns!)

Physical labour was often quite hard in medieval times---but look into how many Saints days were celebrated. The total number of work days could end up be less than we have now! Diet of the working man had much less meat in it than that of nobility and many times could actually be "healthier" than that of the nobles.

To get into their head may I suggest "Medieval People" by Eileen Power which tries to give examples of how people thought back then.

Divers Arts, Theophilus, written circa 1120 A.D. has some sections on metalworking including case hardening of files and that infamous recipe on hardening steel in the urine of a "small red headed boy or of a goat fed ferns for three days" (and yes it works)

I have a fairly good library in this area and could make suggestions if you have more questions

Thomas
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/18/10 18:32:10 EDT

Peter Wright Swage Block?
A friend of mine called and said that a fellow wanted to trade or sell a 150 lb Peter Wright swage block after further discussion the guy said it was only marked England.
Any one ever seen a PW swage? mousehole?
   Greg S - Wednesday, 08/18/10 22:08:58 EDT

Hello,I was looking for my first anvil when I came across a Peter Wright 140#. I tested it with a 1" bearing and got an average bounce of 9 1/4" from 10" with a good ring.The face
is smooth except for a chip on the edge about 11/2" long by 3/8" the price is $400 should I pass or buy thanks in advance.
   Sean G - Wednesday, 08/18/10 23:05:07 EDT

Sean, If the anvil is perfect and has not had any repairs then the price is between right and on the high side. But PW's are going high these days for the same reason they were popular ages ago, name recognition. For a working anvil many non-name anvils of similar quality sell for 30 to 50% less.

PW Swage Block. . Never saw one but its possible. However, there were hundreds of anvil and blacksmith tool manufacturers in Great Britain. The "England" marking means nothing in identifying a manufacturer. Peter Wright primarily made anvils and vises clearly putting their name on most of the things they sold.

There has been a lot of forgery involving the Peter Wright brand in recent years and one must be very wary of things marked with the name that do not look like known products.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/18/10 23:36:21 EDT

Sean G: $400 would be too high here in Pensylvania, where I live, but might not be out of line where You live.

Location makes a big difference, as some places have few anvils, and that drives the price up.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 08/18/10 23:39:54 EDT

To clarify I was dropping the bearing from 10"'and the chip is in the face and looks to be about the full depth of the hardened plate. It runs along the edge 1 1/2" and in from the
edge 3/8" there were no cracks in the face
Or
   Sean G - Thursday, 08/19/10 00:08:47 EDT

Ok thanks,I live in Oklahoma I haven't been looking long I just have the fever you know. Plus I'm tired of my reinforced I-beam anvil lol
   Sean G - Thursday, 08/19/10 00:13:31 EDT

Oklahoma is not anvil poor like some of the Western and less populous states. The chipping is fairly normal for this age anvil but it is not pristine. The corner could be ground round. Should be worth about $250 to $300 tops. But the price is also much lower than a new high quality anvil would cost. Depends on how desperate you are and what you time looking for another anvil is worth.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/19/10 00:39:02 EDT

Thanks for the info and your time guys!!
   Sean G - Thursday, 08/19/10 00:54:38 EDT

Thanks for the info and your time guys!!
   Sean G - Thursday, 08/19/10 00:54:40 EDT

Sean, When's the next Salt Fork conference or meeting? You might get a line on an OK anvil at one of those.

I'm beginning to think we're getting an "anvil bubble" where folks keep upping the price on anvils but with no real base to it.

I know e-bay started rising prices at fleamarkets in OH because of what they were sing on sales to tool poor areas or to collectors; many a time I've had a dealer tell me that "that what it goes for on e-bay" and then when I ask why they are not selling it on e-bay they say they don't want the hassle and the overhead of selling on e-bay---(but they want the e-bay price...)

Round these parts, central NM, craigslist is a pretty good source for those who can watch and wait!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Thursday, 08/19/10 13:01:08 EDT

How do anvils get repaired?

Pondracer
   PondRacer - Thursday, 08/19/10 13:16:22 EDT

Looks like the next salt fort conference meeting is this Saturday the 21st.I found the anvil I was asking about on craigslist the seller had other "anvils" he was "reparing". I offered him $300 he wouldn't budge he told me he knew what anvils were worth, however he had no idea what I was doing when I checked the ring and hardness. This must be part of the problem people "know" anvils are valuable and aquire them to sell without really knowing much about them.
   Sean G - Thursday, 08/19/10 13:50:50 EDT

Personally, I ring bells, never cared a whit about whether either of my two anvils rings. Never tested em with a ball bearing either.
My point being, dont get too hung up on esoterica- find a good anvil, sure, but much more important, USE an anvil, any anvil, and learn to actually beat hot metal.

As Ken Kesey used to say, "look at the donut, not the hole".

My theory about why anvils are more expensive is not some sort of "bubble".
Its much simpler- supply and demand.

There are probably between 15,000 and 20,000 Hobby Blacksmiths in the USA today, and another couple hundred thousand home welding and fab guys who wouldnt mind having an anvil, even if they dont use it much.

Demand.

New anvils are being produced at a tiny fraction of the rate that anvils were made between 1800 and 1940. And as we all know, New Anvils can easily cost $1000 to $2500 these days.

Old anvils get worn out, scrapped, and promoted to lawn ornament all the time.

So we have lots less old anvils, and fewer, more expensive, new anvils-

Supply.

and it seems pretty obvious to me that supply is less than demand, especially at any price under $500.

Hence, prices go up.
   - Ries - Thursday, 08/19/10 14:38:18 EDT

Anvil Repair: Sean, 99.99% of people that repair anvils do not know what they are doing. All they know is that the have a flat face and sharp corners. NEITHER are required and sharp corners are NOT desired.

The old anvils have a hard face plate forge welded on. It is only about 1/2" to 5/8" thick on most anvils and when manufactured was ground flat which often makes it thinner from the factory. As hardened the surface of this plate is very hard and the hardness falls off and near the weld to the wrought body may be dead soft.

Many "repairers" machine or grind the anvil flat often removing half of the plate thickness. This results in a soft weak anvil. It is now JUNK that cannot be repaired.

The sway they are often trying to remove from the anvil is better for straightening than a flat surface. You cannot make a slight straightening bend on a flat surface but you can on a slightly swayed surface. An anvil IS NOT a precision reference surface, it is a heavy work surface. So all this grinding and machining has made the anvil LESS useful. . .

Others weld up the corners then grind them sharp. Sharp corners make BAD forgings and rough forgings, and sharp corners are easy to chip or ding. The welds are a different material and cause a HAZ (Heat Affected Zone) that may be very hard and brittle in some places and soft in others. Its just a BAD thing to do.

In most cases the chipped corners can be cleaned up by grinding the sides a little then radiusing what is left and if there is more severe chipping just smooth the corners and live with it.

Radiusing Anvil Corners

The majority of dings in an anvil face can be dressed by hammering if they are fresh raised chisel marks or corner cuts and the rest dusted off with a belt sander. This should not take off more than .005 to .010" (.12 to .25 mm). Often places that do not clean up become smoother over time from use as the metal moves under the hammer microscopic amounts.

I have a collection of old swayed and chipped anvils, anvils without horns. . . They are all very useful AS-IS.

To me a "repaired" anvil is no better than an ASO and I would not have one in my shop even as a door stop. If you see any hint of a repair on an anvil OR if you know a dealer deals in repaired anvils avoid them.

We had an acquaintance buy a pickup load of big anvils (250 to 450 pounds) from a dealer. They were all painted black all over. One old English anvil that weighed about 250 pounds that was loaned to Paw-Paw had been machined about 3/8" and the step recreated at an angle by grinding. It was soft all over the face and after light use was covered with hammer depressions and dinged corners. . . Another from the same dealer had a row of four 1" diameter holes drilled in the face and welded up (presumably to repair a loos face plate). The discoloration of the repair was hidden under the paint. All the anvils had some type of repair or another. As other have said here - "Beware of the painted lady".

The one where the face was machined 3/8" probably just had some sway and chipped corners neither of which would hurt the anvil. It was a well marked old brand that would have kept its value with the wear and tear. But the repair job ruined it.

The only reason for sharp corners on anvils is to show they are NEW. When buying old forged English anvils there may only be one or two per million that have sat somewhere unused. All the rest have been well used and should look like it. Graceful signs of wear are good. That means some idiot has not machined or welded the anvil. Signs of abuse are not so good but only reduce the value of the anvil slightly.

Folks think the "know" anvil prices by seeing the prices gotten by dealer on ebay. Many of these are selling good quality antique or collectors quality anvils to an international market. Most back them up and the prices are high when the items eventually sell. But out on the streets it is the real world. Go to blacksmithing meets, not just the annual conventions but the monthly meetings. There will often be folks there selling anvils at reasonable but not give away prices.

See Finding Anvils
   - guru - Thursday, 08/19/10 15:10:11 EDT

Note, I said "junk that cannot be repaired". . I should have said "junk that cannot affordably be repaired". Replacing an anvil face properly is more much costly than a good used anvil. And the results are STILL a repair job.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/19/10 15:15:18 EDT

Hmm so an anvil that is kinda rough looking could still be very useful as long as no real major repairs have been done to it, is that what I'm reading here?

Pondracer
   PondRacer - Thursday, 08/19/10 16:26:50 EDT

Ries, I agree with you about supply and demand if some one has something people want or need many times unless they want an absurd amount of $$ for it they can get top dollar for it eventually. I only rang the anvil to be sure there wasn't damage I couldn't see and the ball bearing I brougt because there were other anvils there an I wanted to be sure if I got one it was hardened.
Guru, I wouldn't buy a repaired anvil either the seller didn't actually have any repaired for sale
   Sean G - Thursday, 08/19/10 16:47:11 EDT

I was watching Ferrari pour an engine block on TV. They made a sand mold and some ingredient was added to the sand to hold it together. Now, how hard would it be to make a sand mold of an anvil and pour the steel yourself ? I thought of something like this....dig a pit in the ground, fill it with coke, have the crucible in the pit, pour coke all around the crucible, have blowers feeding into it. Once the steel is melted, have a short overhead rail to move it to the mold. By the way, in steel mills, what kind of metal is their crucible ( whatever its called ) made of ?
   Mike T. - Thursday, 08/19/10 17:21:27 EDT

Casting your Own: First, to cast steel you need almost twice the final part in melted steel for the sprue and risers to prevent shrinks. So, to pour a 100 pound anvil you need nearly 200 pounds of molten metal.

Second, melting steel rapidly changes its chemistry if it is not carefully protected from the atmosphere. High quality steel is run through chemical analysis just before the pour.

Third, the type steel poured is critical and how it is cooled and heat treated is also important. You can make a LOT of expensive scrap if you do not know what you are doing and have the proper facilities.

Small crucibles for steel are made of refractory material, often silicon carbide. Large bull crucibles are a strong steel shell lined with refractory (brick or castable refractory) which is then covered with special coatings like ITC-100 and ITC-296A to prevent erosion and metal sticking. Large ladles are very heavy and must have a mechanical means for controllably tipping them to make pours with spilling or splashing the white hot metal. See the Autobiography of James Nasmyth for the first "safety ladle".

Modern back yard founders often use tilting furnaces for pouring large amounts of metal. They include a built in crucible and spout and the entire device is designed to tilt to make pours. See Two (books) by Chastain, on Foundry Work

There are many bonding agents used in foundry sand. The easiest to use is Petro Bond. It is an oily bonding agent mixed with sand and makes the sand hold together when it is rammed up. However, it is not recommended for high temperature metals such as iron or steel. It will work but the sand is not reusable and the oil flash must be taken into consideration. For iron resin bond sand is commonly used. It can be coated with graphite mold wash to make very smooth castings. Its down side is that it must be ground up after use to use again. But the standard for centuries has been "green sand". This is simply sharp sand, clay bonding agent, a few things to temper the sand, and moisture. The trick to green sand is adjusting the moisture to where the sand bonds together with the least moisture. Molds are made the same day just before use so they do not dry out. Other bonding methods can be prepared days or weeks in advance of pouring.

There are a thousand other details to foundry work. I highly recommend the foundry books by CW Ammen and the smaller derivative works by Steve Chastin. There are also some good on-line foundry sites. Study them all.

Also remember that these are operations that take multiple workers and safety equipment for ALL hands. While it is possible to do small casting alone there is too high a likelihood of injury when pouring large amounts of metal. At a minimum you need someone to pull you out of the fire and call for help.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/19/10 18:36:41 EDT

Supply and Demand I remember back in the 1980's talking to other smiths about the fact that all the old power hammers had been found and the best anvils as well. . . So here we are 30 years later and folks are still finding really NICE old anvils and old blacksmithing tools and machines by the truck loads. While demand is way up largely due to Anvils in America creating a huge collector's market for old anvils there are STILL a lot of them out there.

At one time we thought that millions of these things had gone to scrap during the war scrap drives but even though many were collected they were often set aside as having more value than as scrap. We were still a country of blacksmith shops and power hammers are still used industrially today to make MANY small tools. Some machinery was scraped, much was not.

America at the turn of the 20th century was covered by millions of farms and every farm had a small anvil for repairs, and there were also many thousands of blacksmith shops to do the heavier work and light manufacturing that often had several anvils. There were also thousands of small manufacturing shops that just multiple anvils. In total there had to be 10's of millions of sets of blacksmiths tools in North America. Even if 75% was scraped there is a LOT of old blacksmiths tools out there.

New blacksmithing tools are now more plentiful than they have been for 75 years. While anvil manufacturing is far below the peak of the early 1900's it is more than sufficient to supply the demand that can afford new anvils.

So, while demand is UP the high prices are not because of a shortage tools. Much of the used tool market (as is the stock market) is driven by misconceptions (such as a shortage of used tools), inflation on the new tool market, fuel costs effecting everything . . .

Eventually the used tool market will dry up or become so polluted with the current junk that it will not be worth searching. It may be a little tighter, but for now there are still a lot of bargains to be had. It just depends on how much time you have. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 08/19/10 20:07:16 EDT

Mike T., We have had this discussion before and I think the conclusion was that you would be miles ahead having an anvil burned out of 4" or 5" stock, welding some feet on it and build up the face with hard surfacing rod.
Spend a lot of time with a hand grinder finish grinding and your done.
Even if you had several steel anvils poured with the intention of spreading the cost of production by selling the others you will still have a certain amount of post pour labor that will probably eat up the better part of a months worth of spare time.
If you want just one or two anvils for yourself then a burnout or weldment is the way to go. Check out the Guru's anvil building and design page, some good stuff there.
   - merl - Friday, 08/20/10 00:22:23 EDT

I just had most of this discussion today with a friend who wants to setup an iron foundry behind his shop. He has a good sense of the operation since he has been part of several iron smelts. However, he has no dreams of casting steel, he is looking at coupala melts and pouring grey iron to make swage blocks and similar items. He has a source of almost free foundry coke and a good space to work.

I've also given him the same advice about casting and needing a crew. The difference is casting is much more intense than smelting. It is fast paced. Once your furnace is hot it can be just minutes between taps. You can pour a LOT of iron in a day with a small coupala.

I haven't told him about ductile iron. . . ;)

We will have some film of a small foundry operation as soon as it is converted and edited to a reasonable length.
   - guru - Friday, 08/20/10 01:49:32 EDT

Pit Foundry: I've seen this done is shops that did occasional casting and wanted to do it the quick and dirty way. A crucible was set in an earthen pit, probably on a crucible block or brick. Then big propane burners were used manually heat the crucible to melt the brass in it. Looked to be about a 30 pound crucible. Once hot a pair of two man pouring tongs were used to lift and pour the metal.

Another setup I saw used was by an artist at a craft fair. It was a simple stack of foundry coke surrounding a small crucible and a blower (vacuum cleaner I think). I cannot remember but he must have had a surface of sand and refractory brick under the fire because it was being done on a concrete parking deck. I think there were some bricks being used to hold the shape of the fuel pile as well. Pre-made and calcined plaster molds heated on top of the fuel stack and when everything was ready the crucible lifted with tongs and the parts poured. I think he was making belt buckles. This was one of the most primitive foundry setups I think I have ever seen.

The little propane fired melting furnaces I have built that accepted a little crucible that holds 3.2 pounds of brass will melt a full crucible of metal about every 10 minutes or less once hot and only about 15 minutes from lighting the furnace to the first pour. You can fill a LOT of molds in a couple hours of pouring with a little home made melter.

While many folks think melting the metal is the hard part it is NOT. Making molds and knowing how to get good castings out of them is the hard part. I've made a LOT of bad castings and I've seen horrendous castings from commercial foundries that were casting from scrap and waste metal.

For some people making the pattern is one of the hard parts. See Molds I and Molds II. For me making patterns is easy. But I was brought up with mold making and sculpture. Pattern making is sculpture and the more artistic you are the better the pattern. If you've read my all my anvil and swage block articles you will find a LOT of condemnation of bad pattern making. There is no excuse. Its wood, plastic or wax carving. EASY compared to metal. EASY compared to making the sand molds and making the casting. But it IS art and often artless semi-skilled laborers are called upon to make patterns OR DIY folks without the artistic skills make their own patterns. The ART is important.

Low production or pre-production patterns are easy. They can be made of almost any material. Pre-production patterns can be made of junk glued together and finished. All they need to do is hold up long enough to make a metal or resin production pattern. These can be made with pieces of leather, wax, cardboard. . . From these a master mold is often made of hard plaster and then a production master made in the mold. While this sounds complicated it is all plaster (mud) and water cast in wood, plastic or metal boxes. But it takes some planning and experience.

The fellow I was talking about the back yard foundry was saying he did not have the necessary pattern making equipment. . . What equipment? A hand saw, rasp, possibly some chisels and sandpaper? Yeah, its GREAT to have a band saw, planer and so on. . But its just simple carving. Use auto body putty and it gets a LOT easier. . .

But when its time for that white hot metal to hit the sand THAT is when the troubles start.
   - guru - Friday, 08/20/10 11:18:27 EDT

One thing about the "primitive" foundry setup I mention above -- what was NOT primitive was the modern graphite or silicon carbide crucible and good fitting pouring tongs. Properly calcining a plaster mold for brass is not hard but it is easy to do poorly and get bad results.

Another tool my friend was complaining about was not having flasks (mold boxes). He had worked in a shop that did brass casting and had all the nifty modern tools. . . including nice light aluminium alloy snap flasks. But again, these can be made of wood and all you need (the hard part) is smooth flat boards, something that can be readily bought in our modern world. Just pine boards, some glue and dowels are needed. . . AND the knowledge. Get those books I mentioned and STUDY them! The knowledge is the power.
   - guru - Friday, 08/20/10 11:27:19 EDT

ANVIL BURN:

I have an anvil with a torch-mark on one side of the face of the anvil. It was a painted anvil and makes me sick everytime I look at it.
It's a 225-lb PeterWright that I dreamed of the torch mark being "filled in" with a good welder & welding-rod only after finding it under all the paint.

I was going to bring it up to you when anvil-repair was being talked about again, and see what I should do....
But now I'm feeling you'd just repeat what you've already said before (in the archives as well.) and I've got that sinking, sick feeling in my stomach over my bigger anvil.

So there's really no such dream of fixing this damage?
You don't even want to see a photo of it, do you....Sir?

Yeah, excuse me.
I think I'm gonna go throw-up.
   stupid-NEWBIE danial - Friday, 08/20/10 13:41:49 EDT

There is often a feeling that small do-it-yourself projects will be cheaper than factory "economies of scale" projects.

Generally this is only true if you consider all your time as worthless; otherwise just mowing lawns will often fund items at a much more competitive rate than trying to do them by yourself.

We see this a lot in swordmaking questions that I re-phrase as "I can't spend $10 for known good steel on a project that will take $1000 of my time to complete; how do I throw my time away using bad materials?"

Ringing an Anvil is a mandatory test when buying---would you buy a used car without starting it? Anvils that *should* ring but don't means something very very bad is going on---generally delamination of the face. Of course you should know what brands should ring, (cast *steel* and traditionally made anvils), and what brands don't (Fisher, Vulcan) and what brands don't and are actually ASOs---cast iron anviloids.

Once you get it back to the shop stopping the ringing is important!

The ball bearing test indicates if an anvil is properly hardened. If you get the wrong bounce the anvil may have been through a fire, or had the face planed down to soft stuff, or been welded up with the wrong alloy, or...,Anyway something is wrong and that anvil should not be bought as a "user".

Once bought the testing is over and the using starts!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Friday, 08/20/10 13:44:25 EDT

If the damage is impeding your work or you JUST CAN"T LIVE WITH IT. There are ways to fix it; but you have to know what you are doing!

I've been smithing 29 years now but when I picked up a 410# Trenton anvil that had been severely damaged by welders at a copper mine I waited until our local group had an anvil repair session run by a fellow who is both a professional welder---and teaches it at a local college!---and a highly trained smith.

He used Rob Gunter's anvil repair process which included a preheat---used an optical pyrometer to be sure we were at the right temperatures though a tempil stick would do...and the proper alloys and did a great job!

At this session he also repaired an anvil that a machinist had butchered by milling off the face till it was too thin to use. It took 5-6 *HOURS* of welding and grinding to get a usable face back on it!

My standard reply to "how much should I mill of the face of my anvil?" is "the same amount you will be willing to mill off your own face".

Thomas
   Thomas P - Friday, 08/20/10 13:54:30 EDT

Thomas,

Hearing about your 410-lb Trenton gives me hope then for this anvil.
I'm like you, I don't want ANY face removed from it either!
I can live with a "fixed/repaired" anvil though.
If it can be fixed, then it's going to be my anvil for the rest of my life. It can be ugly like the owner and grow old.
I'm not in a hurry with it, so maybe that's on my side of this.
410-pounder, huh? That's big.

Thanks again, Thomas.

   danial - Friday, 08/20/10 21:42:18 EDT

Just out of curiosity, I wonder if anvil molds could be made, taken to Nucor or someplace like that and have them poured ? Some enterprising guys could work full time just making molds and then have them poured.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 08/21/10 01:49:01 EDT

I HAZ YOUTOOB!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK2xJKN_26w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JoZ6m9CiKA

The world is no longer safe... :]

Too bad I don't like the sound of my voice on recordings. :D

That's all for now, but I will do at least one more video with this showing the whole kit up close. I thought I had done that already, but apparantly hadn't pushed the record button. Sheesh!
   - Stormcrow - Saturday, 08/21/10 02:35:36 EDT

Sorry I haven't been on for a while. Have had to do some work!

The shop shell is finished. Separate base for the hammer but the idiots have run plastic conduits through it!

Have to shed a few anvils. Giving one to a US smith in China.
   philip in china - Saturday, 08/21/10 08:30:28 EDT

Phillip, I would not run wires in those conduits. . . There is a high probability that the foundation will sink or floor heave and pinch the wires.

Underfloor plastic conduits are common these days but most that I have seen were a rat's nest of tangled tubes. . . When I put in underfloor conduits I have a plan including terminations and access boxes. It takes a lot of advance planning and then being sure it is done according to plan.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/21/10 10:31:19 EDT

Cast Steel Anvil Tools: Mike T. There was a guy a decade ago that was selling about 8 different tools taken from designs in one of the old books (Diderots I think). I bought a couple. There were flames, fullers, cradles, arches and a little anvil. All in cast steel.

Anvil
Anvil Tools seen at SouthEast Conference 1999


More recently I purchased a ball and a mushroom stake with bench top holder cast from ductile iron. Same Conference, different guy. Folks selling these kind of things come and go over the years.

The big problem is that most foundries WILL NOT deal with loose patterns (this is a common plain pattern). Most will not use production patterns (split and boarded) made outside their shop OR by pattern makers they do not know (unless you have a lot of financial leverage). Most will also not do one offs no matter who makes the pattern and how much you are willing to pay unless it is a very lucrative job. The good foundries that will do loose patterns are expensive enough that you are MUCH better off buying someone else's anvil.

For anvils, the casting is only about half the cost. They must also be machined and finished, then heat treated. A decade ago heat treating was being quoted at $0.30/lb. With increased fuel costs I am sure it is much more today. AND, if you pick the wrong heat treater and the anvil cracks in two they have a non-responsibility clause. Generally YOU specify the specifics, they just follow your instructions. Don't forget that the foundry will be on one location, the machine shop another and the heat treater another. . . Transportation costs 3 times when delivered to you.

You have to have the right contacts (work in management at the foundry), in the right location (all the resources in reasonable proximity) and be willing to pay top dollar for some of the services.

If you want to MAKE ANVILS see my Anvil Sketchbook on two piece fabricated anvils. It is economical enough to compete with Peddinghaus but not with Euroanvils. I DOES take a good sized shop but not a huge industrial facility. If you have the top machined and heat treated before welding to the base you have saved 50% in weight handling and per pound heat treatment costs. This also reduces the machine sizes needed by about half.

Someone will start making anvils this way. It has just become too onerous to deal with foundries on low production items.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/21/10 10:31:47 EDT

Guru, I agree that home shop cast anvils is a labor of love not a money saver.
For a fabbed anvil, have you seen the Brazeal Bros anvil made from a simple slab set on edge. I think I have photos somewhere of the one I made. A 2 to 3" thick slab say 12 to 16" square, set on edge. I porta band sawed the top to ropugh for 2 different diameter drawing parts and one sharp corner butcher area and one flat face area. Set on a welded steel tripod. weighed about 150 all up, but since I had 12"+ of solid steel under the hammer, if felt like much more. Took me an afternoon to cut and weld, and another couple of hours to grind and clean up. When I got a nice little demo anvil I sold that one.
   ptree - Saturday, 08/21/10 11:16:55 EDT

I milled the face on my bladesmithing 226lb peter wright anvil. It was nearly flat, but I skimmed a couple of mm off it to make it flat.

I am not an idiot. I prefer a flat face to work on, and its my anvil. The quality of my work has improved.

I dont get why people would use a dinged up anvil that marks their work. You wouldnt use a dinged up hammer would you???

Im all for making the tools useable to me, becasuse thats what they are, tools.
   - john n - Saturday, 08/21/10 12:45:08 EDT

I am dubious that you could flame cut, machine, and then heat treat a fabricated 2 piece anvil for much cheaper than a cast one.

At least, one of equal quality.

One of the great advantages of casting is your range of possible alloys.
The 3 or 4 small manufacturers that are making anvils in the USA today, like Nimba, Rathole, and the farriers anvils from TFS, are all made of tough, high carbon alloys well suited to anvils.

To buy a similar quality plate, in 6" or 8" thickness, would be VERY expensive- probably easily 2 bucks a pound, maybe more. Then you waste a lot of it in drops that are cut off.

Even if you can buy a decent sized milling machine used for pennies on the dollar, installing and running a good sized mill ( a bridgeport aint gonna cut it for this kind of work) is not cheap either.

I suppose if you pay yourself nothing, and buy all your tooling on ebay, and steal electricity from the neighbors, have no insurance, and pick up your materials at the steelyard with a wheel barrow- but in reality, the overhead costs for doing your own milling are not cheap.

Then, you have heat treating, as mentioned.

My guess is you quickly get into the place where, to keep a wife, you need to charge about the same amount per pound as the Nimba anvils.

And what you have gained is an enormous amount of work.
Yes, you "could" mill a conical horn with a manual mill. But it would mean most of your waking hours in the machine shop. Or, you could buy a used Haas VF 4 for $50,000 to $80,000, and do it with that- thereby negating any savings over just doing it right, and paying a foundry.

Russell Jacque proved that you can, using american patternmakers, foundries, and heat treaters, make a world class anvil and sell it for about what the huge european corporations sell those for, on a very small scale.
Which is $1200 to $2500, retail, these days.
There is now way to go much cheaper, no matter how you make it, unless you subsidize it with a LOT of free labor.

   - Ries - Saturday, 08/21/10 14:47:20 EDT

Guru,

You have some very nice anvil designs, your sketches are very artistic. Why don't you send your copyrights around to
some companies ? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 08/21/10 23:19:08 EDT

Ries, I think you are over estimating the additional work. All the anvil manufacturers you mentioned have to mill the anvil face. They also have to finish the horn which is either NOT being done OR its being done by hand. Many of those anvils you mentioned are also made of ductil iron and heat treated (not quite steel. . .).

I'm replacing patterns and molds with flame cutting. The only added operation is the turning of the horn which produces a finished horn replacing some of the skilled hand labor with machining. Yes, it still takes manpower but is less tedious.

The welding of the waist is no different than what Peddinghaus does. Drilling and broaching the hardy hole is no different than Peddinghaus, Nimba and others.

We used to build machinery that was very heavy. Some was made of plat up to 6" and 8" thick. One part was 4" thick, rolled into a six foot ring 20" tall and another ring rolled and welded making a step and then machined. This part was made as a ductile iron casting on one job and as a fabrication on another. The cost difference was negligable. What was important was delivery. The foundry capacity was often not available or some other scheduling problem. In any event, a lot of it was much heavier than making anvils and much more complicated.

A lot of shops have the necessary capacity and the machining requires no precision, just chip making.


   - guru - Sunday, 08/22/10 01:09:14 EDT

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2010 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC



Get anvilfire.com GEAR.















International Ceramics Products