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Yuri Sadykov
02-01-2012, 3:23 PM
Guys,

got a question about anvils. I have an anvil bought from HF. It is 10lb or something. I do not do any blacksmithing, but use it for "cold" work, pounding something with hammer on it. With time the anvil got a lot of dents and marks on it and surface became pretty uneven. I just start to think is it cheap anvil which is rather soft? Though I believe good ones have the same problem. I saw a lot old American made anvils which are in terrible shape. Is it supposed to use anvils for "cold" work, should the surface be thermally treated or some kind hardened surface plate should be used on top? Anybody flatten anvil surface and how?

John Aspinall
02-01-2012, 5:09 PM
Over on a blacksmithing forum, Harbor Freight's offerings are derisively known as "ASO"s, or Anvil Shaped Objects. That said, no anvil (or similarly shaped object) should be used for a lot of cold work if you value its appearance.

Refacing an anvil can be done. You can repair areas with beads of a special welding rod called a "hardface rod" then refinish by grinding. Welding on entirely new top plates of tool steel can also be done. Neither is a task I'd attempt without major guidance from a pro welder.

David G Baker
02-01-2012, 6:43 PM
My small anvil is made from railroad track. I don't use it much but there are no dents in it from use and I doubt that I am strong enough to cause any.

John Aspinall
02-01-2012, 11:06 PM
To test an anvil you bounce a ball bearing off the top face. On a good anvil you should get more than a 75% rebound all over the top face. That rebound implies that the energy behind your blows is going into the work, not being dissipated in the anvil.

My anvil is an 1850's-era London pattern anvil from Mousehole Forge. I consider it a good Craigslist score, even though it has a real dead spot in one place where the ball-bearing bounce turns into more of a "thud".

george wilson
02-03-2012, 12:16 PM
Cheap anvils are just made from cast iron. Good anvils have either a thick,hardened tool steel face on their tops,and welded around their horns,or can be made of solid tool steel like mine is.

True,you can see old anvils sway backed and beaten up,but those anvils stood over 100 years of heavy daily use to get them that way. My anvil cannot become sway backed since it is solid,hardened tool steel.

Eventually,the anvils with welded on tops can get sway backed,because even a 3/4" thick tool steel top can eventually get pounded into the soft,wrought iron body beneath the hardened top. It takes many.many years,though.

Steve Ryan
02-16-2012, 6:21 PM
Railroad track can make a nice anvil. The top surface where the wheels ran is seriously work hardened and will not be easy to dent. The rounded long edges are safe too. Be careful about striking close to a square edge because the metal can chip, and those chips come off with some speed. Enough to embed in your hand or take an eye out. I have a chunk that will some day become an anvil. If I can find it again.

george wilson
04-08-2012, 5:54 PM
A round edged anvil is not as useful as a fairly square corner. You often have to hammer square bends over the side of an anvil,and the round edge will not permit that.

I made the patterns for both types of anvils in use in the Anderson Blacksmith Shop in Williamsburg,Va.

An anvil should be tempered so that pieces do not readily chip off the corners.

Steve knight
04-08-2012, 10:01 PM
I have a grizzly anvil that dents with peening brass

Shawn Pixley
04-14-2012, 2:25 AM
A good anvil is typically forged or cast steel. It should ring at a tap. A ball bearing should rebound 85-90%. The top is typically dressed flat. I dress my edges in a variable taper from about a 1/16" radius to maybe 3/8" radius. This allows a choice of bends depending upon you intent. I typically work iron only hot. But I might work copper cold.

george wilson
04-15-2012, 4:53 PM
It is rather too bad for a company to represent a cast iron anvil as a good anvil. Cast iron is not suitable for hammering on. It's too soft,and will eventually crumble after enough hammering is done on it. They CAN be made from 4140 cast steel,and hardened. I made the patterns for the large #300 anvils in the Anderson Blacksmith Shop in Williamsburg. They had them cast thusly,and have been hammering on them for over 30 years without damaging their tops.

Since no properly made commercial anvils with welded on thick tops of tool steel,in 18th.C. patterns are currently available,we had to make our own patterns and have them cast,ground,and hardened.

I made another large anvil pattern in an earlier pattern before I retired for them. They are costing about $1500.00 each,unfortunately,but it's the only way we could get authentic pattern anvils.

I think if a large company could get them made in quantity,they would be a lot cheaper. But likely still to expensive for the casual user to invest in.

harry hood
04-30-2012, 6:18 PM
Has anybody seen the new one Lee Valley is selling in person? It's only 7lbs but also only $30: http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=69331&cat=51&ap=1

David G Baker
04-30-2012, 7:40 PM
Harry H,
Looks like it would be a handy item to have mounted on my bench especially if the specs are as stated by Lee Valley.

Shawn Pixley
06-02-2012, 9:32 PM
I got LOML one for Mothers' Day with the peen and fold hardies. It is a nice little anvil. We were concerned at first because the hardies wouldn't drop into the hardy hole. Cleaning the paint off the inside fixed that. You wouldn't want to do big work on it but for cold folding and forming, a nice little tool.


Has anybody seen the new one Lee Valley is selling in person? It's only 7lbs but also only $30: http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=69331&cat=51&ap=1

phil harold
06-03-2012, 11:33 PM
Mine bounces real good

But how can I fix the edges?
233589233590233591

harry hood
06-04-2012, 12:47 AM
I got LOML one for Mothers' Day with the peen and fold hardies.

You got your wife an anvil for Mothers' day? I trust that since you're still here she didn't bludgeon you with it...she sounds like a keeper, congratulations.

ray hampton
06-04-2012, 7:45 PM
You got your wife an anvil for Mothers' day? I trust that since you're still here she didn't bludgeon you with it...she sounds like a keeper, congratulations.

whom are the keeper , the anvil or the wife ?

harry hood
06-06-2012, 1:45 AM
whom are the keeper , the anvil or the wife ?

Both of course.

Shawn Pixley
06-06-2012, 11:26 AM
Yes she is a keeper (for 25 years now). I did have visions of a Wile Coyote, trap but none has yet materialized.


You got your wife an anvil for Mothers' day? I trust that since you're still here she didn't bludgeon you with it...she sounds like a keeper, congratulations.

Bernadette Semilla
06-28-2012, 9:54 PM
Hmm, do you think that little Lee Valley anvil attached firmly to a heavy wood base would work for small things? I know traditionally, swordmakers have done very fine work with stake anvils.

Shawn Pixley
06-29-2012, 1:02 AM
Hmm, do you think that little Lee Valley anvil attached firmly to a heavy wood base would work for small things? I know traditionally, swordmakers have done very fine work with stake anvils.

Absolutely! I think for cold or hot sheet work it is pretty good. It can also be used indoors. DW is doing a series of folded copper pieces. It is really too small any hot iron work. I am thinking of alloying some Rogin for cabinet pulls or box findings. The small size allows close, detail work.

george wilson
07-03-2012, 12:29 AM
Vulcans were REAL anvils,but not among the best anvils. I had a chipped Vulcan I just left at the toolmaker's shop I ran for many years in Williamsburg. I saw a NOS vulcan at a flea market. It had a 1/4" thick welded on top. Usually they are nearly 3/4" thick,and still chip anyway. Short of filling in your chips with hard facing welding rod,and re grinding,I don't know how to repair your anvil. Hard facing would probably be the best option,if you can get a good welder to do it.

george wilson
08-02-2012, 10:18 AM
NO hope for that anvil with broken edges,except for possibly getting a welder to build up the broken away areas with hard facing rods.I do not know if they can build hard face up that thick,though. Then,a bunch of grinding the edges back to square. Vulcan anvils were not the best. Hard to see how the top got that beat up unless it was not gotten hard enough when made. The anvil could have been in a fire and lost its hardness at some time in its history.

phil harold
08-02-2012, 12:28 PM
Thanks George
It does work for what I do
I might get the welder out on it...
thanks!

steven woodie
12-31-2012, 8:40 AM
Hi guys. I just joind Sawmill creek. I have been a woodworker all my adult life. But now i have decited to teach myself Blacksmithing. I plan to do the hole thing oldschool by this i mean . to build the shop i dont wont to use any modern power tool. i will hewn all the beem for then walls by hand . to nstart out the shop will be 8' X 10'. with a coal forge no power to the shop at all . I live in a small town and let it get around i was looking for a anvil. and thi guy showed at my plasce with two 85lbs anvils i gave $65.00 for them both i have the walls beams done next i,ll start to make the timber framed roof trusses249649249650

David G Baker
12-31-2012, 1:34 PM
Steven W.
I thought about doing some blacksmithing but I have so many other hobbies that I changed my mind. If I did try it I would use as many modern devises that would make the work easier for this old body. My Grandfather was a black smith but he passed away before I was born. I wish he was still around so I could have learned the craft from him. Good luck with your plans. There are several very helpful sites on the Internet that can help you out if you need information or ideas.

Steve H Graham
01-21-2013, 4:43 PM
The railroad suggestion is invaluable. I'll just go outside and grab a section of rail and then cut it to length with my nuclear bazooka.

Harold Matthews
03-16-2013, 9:07 PM
Didn't need a Nuclear Bazooka to build my anvil from RR track. :rolleyes::)

Just joined up a few days ago, and, looking around this place. Quite a mix of forums. I LIKE that.

Built mine with the Hardy hole, the pritchel hole, and the best shape I could get for the horn. Bought a collection of tools for the square hole, made a few, then moved down here, to CR. :rolleyes: Now, my primary hand, the right side, gets swollen and throbs from hard work, so, I need to get my son, in Fl. to dig it all out and see if I can sell it.

Need a controller and lighting for my electric bicycle-motorcycle. :D

Harold in CR

Don Kingston
03-31-2013, 5:43 AM
https://blacksmithsdepot.com/page.php?theLocation=/Resources/Product/Anvils/Peddinghaus_Anvils

Eric DeSilva
03-31-2013, 1:33 PM
Nice, but pretty darn expensive. I've bought a number of good old anvils with decent faces and corners for about $2 per pound...