Jump to content

Identifying an anvil brand


Recommended Posts

Hey Guys, I'm new to this forum (and smithing in general). I have searched high and low trying to find makers marks for anvils, with no results other than to buy a book on anvils (I'm not that involved yet).

 

I have an anvil that I bought at an auction several years ago. It's in pretty rough shape IMO, but I have it, so might as well use it for more than straightening bent objects. As far as ID goes, all I can see on the side, is what looks like a cresent moon. All the other writting (which there is quite a bit) is not clear enough to read. The only other marking is the number 8 cast into the base, near the foot on the horn end. If needed, I will try to get a pic of the markings, but I doubt they will show well in a pic. The anvil is probably around 75 lbs or so (thats a guess).

 

If any of the anvil experts out there have a clue as to who made this one, I'd appreciate hearing from them.

 

Thanks, Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you get a picture of it?

 

I have that anvil book and will help as best I can. As far as I know at the moment (I'm at work and the book is at home) the only cast anvil to use a crescent moon is the Southern Crescent. From what I remember they were made in Chattanooga, TN, I don't remember the dates. They are similar in quality to the Vulcan, being a cast iron anvil with a steel face. Of those, Fishers are by far the best, but many an object has been forged on a Vulcan (and a Crescent!). They tend to be a bit chippy on the edges, since the face is fairly thin compared to Fishers.

 

The 8 is most likely the weight x 10, or 80 pounds.

 

One way to bring out the writing is to rub it with chalk. You can also try to do a rubbing with a pencil on a piece or paper held on the anvil.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan, thanks for the quick reply! I tried the chalk, rubbing, etc... The only (fairly) clear thing that I can make out is the crescent moon, it's fairly clear but any text or numbers are far too blury to make out. As you said, it appears to be cast due to the numerous sand holes in the body (not the best of castings) The steel face is in really rough shape, and it does have lots of chipped edges on the cast under the edges of the steel. Someone cut off a section of the steel plate (about 2" or so) just behind the flat top of the horn. On the other end, the corner of the steel is broken off. I would guess that the steel plate is starting to break loose of the casting. I'm going to use it just to try out some smith working to see if I would like it (my guess is I will). The only forging I have ever done was back in high school. I made a chisel in metal shop.

 

I have a bandsaw mill, so I have lots of 1 1/4" x .045 steel to use for stuff, along with tons of other steel I have laying around. I thought of doing this years ago, but never got around to it (life's too short to do everything). I also have some kind of forge that has a hand cranked, gear and belt driven blower under it that I thought I could use to start with. I got that at a yard sale for $5. It was being used as a yard ornament and I believe it is some kind of rivet forge. I may take off the old blower and fit it with a motorized blower. I have always built most everything I need myself, welding it all together. There have been many times that I had to heat stock up with a torch to bend it, or put a flat on a piece of round stock but I never really thought about forging anything beyond that.

 

I will get some pics ASAP, but I think you called this one right. I'm in South Carolina, not so far from Chattanooga. It's a good possibility that anvil made it's way here.

 

Anyways, thanks again for the quick reply and info.

 

Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK Alan, I got a few pics of the rough old anvil.

 

Here's a pic of the "makers mark". The markings are much clearer in the pics than viewing it by eye.

Anvilandforge001-1.jpg

 

A side view

Anvilandforge005.jpg

 

Top view. The shine on the top is just from running a flap disc sanding wheel across the top to see how bad it was. The hardy hole is 3/4 x 3/4 (if that means anything)

Anvilandforge006.jpg

 

End view with the #8

Anvilandforge009.jpg

 

I hope this is what you needed.

 

This is off the subject, but here's a few pics of that forge I was talking about. Do you think it can be used for anything?

Anvilandforge007.jpg

Anvilandforge008-1.jpg

Those are a couple brazing rods laying across the top. They have nothing to do with the forge (at least I hope not!)

 

I think I will put a power blower on it. I would like to keep it original, but the belt is high dollar and the bearings in the blower have been poured in lead (kind of sticky) and the crank gear shaft and bushing/bearing are kind of worn. I really don't want to get that involved in a restoration project.

 

Thanks again for any advice.

 

Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, That's definitely a Southern Crescent! The top shows the damage usually associated with the lower tier of steel-faced cast anvils, but considering the only other Southern Crescent I've seen in the flesh had a 1/4" wide strip of steel left down the center with an inch or two of the cast chipped away on both edges, looking like a big hot cut instead of an anvil face, that one is in pretty good shape. :lol: Sorry I got kind of busy last night, and I didn't look it up in the Tome. I'll get to it sometime.

 

As for the forge, I started out with a little rivet forge similar to that. Mine had a bracket to take a hand-crank blwer instead of the built-in ratchet blower like yours, that's cool. B) I hear you on the getting it to work part. Do keep the parts, there are folks who look for those gears, etc. and will pay for 'em.

 

You will hear people telling you to line the pan with clay/concrete/adobe/ whatever, but I'm telling you not to do it. That forge was designed to be used without a lining. All you need to do is put a grate over the air inlet. I like 1/2" wide slots in a scrap of 1/4" plate laid over the hole. You can put a couple of hard firebricks on either side of the inlet to make a rectangular fire , but I always just used water to control the size and shape of the fire. You'll want to keep the coal mounded up high in the center if you want to weld in that forge.

 

If you're in upstate SC, you can get good coal from a couple of suppliers around Asheville, NC.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Alan. Yes, I'm in the upstate (Pickens, SC, near Clemson). Ashville is is about 1.5 hrs away. I think there's a place in Greenville, SC that still supplies coal as well. Had I known I would be looking for coal I could have had all I wanted a few years back. I was doing HVAC work for a customer that still had a bin full of it (like an 8' x 8' bin full!) and wanted to get rid of it to anyone that would haul it away! Go figure!

 

I'll keep the parts to the old forge blower. I really won't have to alter anything on the forge itself to add the power blower. If in time I no longer need or use it, I'll put all the original hardware back on it. I'm not sure what you mean by "ratchet type" blower. The big gear you see in the pic has a crank handle that goes on it. You just crank the wheel, it drives the small gear, which in turn drives an 8" or so flat belt pulley, which drives the blower's 1 1/4" or so pulley. I would guess that the blower would be spooling up big time with all the stepping up the gear and belt drive does. I did see a pic of a similar forge that had an "arm" that you pulled (kind of like a blacksmith's bellows) that would drive the big gear somehow. This one may have had that type of set-up at one time, but it's not evident as to where it would attach. The power blower I have is a 2 speed draft inducer fan from an unknown HVAC unit. I'm sure it will have to be run on low speed and dampered down a bit to keep from blowing the ash and coal out of the bowl, as it has more CFM's coming out of it than I would think the forge would need. The grate will be no problem to fab. I kind of like the idea of the firebrick to keep the coal contained. The bowl on it is about 18" wide I.D. and about 3" high. I don't think I need all that area.

 

I hate getting off of the original subject (as I have) but while I have your attention, I'm trying to get some info from Lenox Tools on the steel makeup of their band saw blades. All I know right now is that they are carbon steel blades. Can I just stack those blades without any other type of steel in between and still get a pattern in the finished material after welding? Also, the blades are .043-.045 thick. Do you think this will cause problems (bowing) when heating them up to weld, because they are so thin?

 

Thanks for all the info already, and any in the future!

 

Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whoop! I see what you mean about the forge blower, and I did assume it was one that had the wooden arm to pump the blower. My bad. :wacko:

 

If you keep the edges of the fire watered, you won't need the bricks. Some folks are paranoid about using water in a cast iron pan-type forge, but as long as you're careful to just sprinkle it you'll be fine. If you dump a whole bucket in while it's hot it will most likely cease to remain in one piece, but sprinkling from a can works great. ;) I used bricks for a while, but later decided I was just as happy without 'em. If you want to weld, you'll need the full three inches below the work with a couple inches on top, so be prepared to really mound up the coal.

 

As for bandsaw blades, you may want to stick some pallet strapping in between 'em to insure a contrasting layer. They will indeed warp when heated. A lot of folks run a bead of mig weld every few inches to make sure they stay in place. I have not done the bandsaw and strapping thing, even though I have a pile of both. Having 1/4" 1084 and .065" 15n20 is much easier to deal with. The 1/4" stock keeps things from warping, and the 15n20 makes nice bright lines in the finished product. Your bandsaw blade will probably make a bright line when etched, thus the pallet strapping. It should add dark lines. Be sure to sand both down to bare metal before you stack 'em up, and take the teeth off the bandsaw blade.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, I finally checked the listing in Anvils in America, and now we know just about what we did before. :(

 

All Postman has on Southern Crescent is that they were made by the Southern Skein and Foundry Co. of Chattanooga, and they show up in hardware wholesale catalogs in 1925 and 1932, in weights ranging from 5 lb to 250 lb. If you're interested, in 1925 that 80-pounder cost $16.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Go figure, I'm always a day late and a dollar short! If I had been around in 19 ot 25 I could have gotten that thing brand spankin new for less than a third of what I paid for it old and nasty! :angry: Of course, then I would be too dang old to want to use anyways :lol:

 

Thanks for looking up the anvil and all the other info, it's all interesting to me. I truly appreciate you taking the time to help out a rookie with questions you have probably heard ask a thousand times over. I belong to lots of other forums (mostly woodworking and saw mill related) and I have to say I have never had questions answered so quickly, nor so completely as I have here so far. This really is a great forum, even for the rookies!

 

BTW: I saw some of your work. Those hawks are very impressive. I really love the trowel the best out of all of them, very nice!

 

I'll be looking for some banding. I think I actually have some around, but I think it's only 1/2" or 3/4" wide. I would guess you really need it to be at least an inch or better, or doesn't it really matter?

 

Thanks so much for your help!

 

Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're welcome. B)

 

Ideally you want all the steels in the stack to be the same width. Otherwise you get cold shuts and bad welds on the edges that you have to grind out before doing anything else.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You're welcome. B)

 

Ideally you want all the steels in the stack to be the same width. Otherwise you get cold shuts and bad welds on the edges that you have to grind out before doing anything else.

 

On that note, what would the min stack width (approx) be to make for example, a 2" wide blade? I'm assuming (yeah I know as*-u-me) that a billet can be manipulated in width as well as length. yes, no??? I am only going to be doing practice forge welding of billets with different types of steel just to try to learn the process, along with forming the metal. If I can get that down somewhat, I will try to make something that I can use all the steps to completion. I can narrow the band saw blade stock down to match the 1/2 or 3/4 banding if that won't be too narrow to start with.

 

Thanks again,

 

Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bob,

yes you are correct .. you can move the metal in any direction you need to..You can weld up even narrower pieces if you had to.. It's mostly about how much time you put into to it for what you get out.. If you start out with small pieces you will get a small billet. For the same amount of time ( more or less) if you start out with a bigger billet you wind up with a bigger amount of damascus . For practice your bandsaw width will be fine.. You didn't mention if these old blades had been painted.. It they had been you need to clean off all the paint.. you can also use a couple of pieces of 1/4" stock on either side of the stack of thin blades.. It will help keep them from warping as bad while you heat them up.. Heat them sloooooooow and when you see them warping you can squeeze them back together quickly in a vise. sprinkle some flux over them so that the flux can coat the billet as soon as the flux will start to flow.. that way you can keep oxidation between the layers at bay. and if you don't want the 1/4" pieces to be part of the billet leave the fire scale on them .. it will help to keep them from welding to the thin pieces..I've not tried it but I've read that coating with white out (stuff for typing errors)

will keep it from welding as well.. some people use the white out in their can welds to keep the can from welding to the contents...

 

If you use the method Alan talks about tacking them with mig/stick welding don't forget to grind off those weld spots after you have done the forge weld before you draw it out , otherwise you may get those spots showing up in your damascus..

 

Dick

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Richard, Thanks to both you and Alan for answering so many questions within hours (if not sooner) of my asking them! I think I have picked up more info in the past few days than I have reading for weeks!

 

The band saw blades are bare metal with very little if any foreign material on them. They are blades from my band saw mill that are beyond use from wear, or ones that have broken. The banding material I have is 3/4" wide stuff, so I will just narrow the band blades to 3/4" to match (they are 1 1/4" blades, a little better than 1" with the teeth ground off). The banding does have paint on it, so I will remove it first.

 

I may try adding the 1/4" pieces on top and bottom as you mentioned. I like the white out idea. I read somewhere (I have no idea where!) where they mentioned stainless foil used like the white out. I have white out, but not stainless foil. I do have some 24ga. or so stainless scrap strips if that would work. I will probably try running a couple beads of weld on each end so I wont have to worry about the sides having weld metal mingling in with the billet metal, then just cut the ends back to remove any weld material after welding, if in fact I actually get a weld :unsure: .

 

Would it be best to start off with short stacks (fewer layers) to learn the process, or would it be better to start with say a stack about the same height as the width? I learn best by doing, and I have lots of metal for "doing" so I'm not concerned about wasting metal if it helps me learn this craft.

 

I really need to get going on the forge blower and find some coal. Can I use charcoal to start out with, or is that not really too good for forge fuel? I know I've read about a few that use charcoal, but I have also read somewhere that your common, every day "kingsford like" BBQ charcoal won't swing it. What are your thoughts on that?

 

Thanks again!

Bob

Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally speaking, bigger is better for welding up a stack of stuff because it'll hold the heat longer. A short, tall stack is what you want. That is, maybe 4 inches long and 2 to 3 inches (or more) thick. It will stretch out as you work it down, and will also give you more material to spread sideways. For example, a 6" long by 5" thick stack of 1" wide 1084/15n20 translates roughly into a 36" x 1.5" x .25" thick sword blade. Think of what size you want the finished billet to be, figure out the volume, add about 25% for scale loss, and that's the volume you want the starting stack to be. Of course, if you've got a chunk of steel that big you'll also want a press or power hammer to work it down into a hand-hammer sized billet. ;)

 

Real lump charcoal works fine, just break it into walnut-size lumps. You'll need a deeper fire with charcoal than with coal, and you'll need the bricks with charcoal, as the fire spreads a LOT faster in charcoal than with coal. A watering can is a must as well. I make mine by taking a large soup can and punching a row or two of holes on one side up near the rim, with a long handle riveted on. That way you can sprinkle as little or as much as you need without making a huge mess.

 

Briquettes are not charcoal, they're sawdust mixed with coal dust and glue. They're messier and produce a lot of ash at half the heat of real lump charcoal. You can make your own charcoal (See Danocon's excellent thread on making charcoal) or buy a few bags of Cowboy brand from Lowe's. Pine is better for forge work, but you have to make that yourself. The hardwood stuff burns hot but also pops and throws sparks like a demon possessed. I use it for doing the heat-treat on swords (in a trench with a perforated pipe in the bottom) because I've always got some around for grilling. I also haven't gotten around to building a propane drum forge for long blades because I don't do that many of 'em and I don't have a place to keep it when not in use. One of these days... :rolleyes:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...