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Herman

Anvil in desperate Condition. Please Advise.

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Hi All.

My first Post..

I'm in the process of getting my workshop ready for some knife making and general bashing of hot iron/steel.

My uncle gave me this old anvil that he rescued from some blokes that welded a pipe to it and used it as a pile driver. :-(. :angry:

The edges are in a sad state and the face has a big round "worm hole" where the pipe was welded to.

I took a file to it and the darker brown areas are the High spots.(See TOP)

After getting over the heart attack after hearing the story of this poor anvil, I want to repair it if possible and use it as it should be used. That's where I need some advise as to how to fix it. And also some History and origin on it would be good. From what I could find on the web, is only a mine in Old hill county, Dudley.(wiki)

Please see pictures and any advise and history will be greatly appreciated.

Markings side 1:
OLD HILL Co
DUDLEY
1901
FR

Side 2:

1 0 5 (I believe this is the weight in Lb.)

Thank you in advance.

Side1.jpg

Side2.jpg

Top.jpg

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If it's just for bladework, I'd clean the top off with a flap wheel and just get on with it! Have you got any engineering works handy that could mill or surface grind the top flat and then weld a new top to it? I believe this process uses molten lead between the two surfaces.

 

the numbers 1 0 5 will be the weight in cwts qtrs and lbs, so that's 112 + 0 + 5 = 117 pounds.

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Fill it with hard surfacing rod and hammer away?

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3 hours ago, Bob Hewitt said:

If it's just for bladework, I'd clean the top off with a flap wheel and just get on with it! Have you got any engineering works handy that could mill or surface grind the top flat and then weld a new top to it? I believe this process uses molten lead between the two surfaces.

 

the numbers 1 0 5 will be the weight in cwts qtrs and lbs, so that's 112 + 0 + 5 = 117 pounds.

Thanks for weight explanation. That's new for me.

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If I am looking correctly, that is like a 3/4" steel plate on the top of the anvil! some anvils were made that way! I am not familiar with Dudley but, a quick search for Dudley Anvil produced some results. Either Geoff or Alan can maybe tell you more! 

The condition of top of the anvil won't leave you an edge to work on but you can still use the tope of the anvil! Despite the center problems of the face, you still have an area on either side. As for fixing it, if you are not a excellent welder and have a machine shop to mill out any refacing, well lets say,........... probably ain't gonna happen! Even if you re-face it then you have to deal with what the excessive heat done to the steel at top and lets face it most of can't re-heat treat an object that big!!! As stated you still can use the area on both sides of the hicky in the center of the face!!!

It is definitely not pristine but, can be used until you can do better. It is a shame the condition of some old anvils and they often that way because of misuse!!!

Edited by C Craft

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13 minutes ago, C Craft said:

If I am looking correctly, that is like a 3/4" steel plate on the top of the anvil! Not familiar with Dudley but, a quick search for Dudley Anvil produced some results. Either Geoff or Alan can maybe tell you more! 

The condition of top of the anvil won't leave you an edge to work on but you can still use the tope of the anvil! Despite the center problems of the face, you still have an area on either side. 

It is definitely not pristine but, can be used until you can do better. It is a shame the condition of some old anvils and they often that way because of misuse!!!

I will grind it open a bit this weekend with a flap disk to confirm the construction.

 

Edited by Herman
Misread comment

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Ouch!  Poor thing...

Bob is correct on the weight.  Dudley is a town (now a suburb of Sheffield) in the black country of the English midlands where a great many anvil makers were located, including Peter Wright, Mousehole, and Wilkinson among others.  It doesn't really look like any of those, though.  Anyway, all of these were made by forge-welding a steel plate to a wrought iron body.  That means it's really hard to build up the edges because arc welding and wrought iron don't mix well, and it also means that if you have the face milled you might be removing the only hardened surface on the anvil.  I'd just clean up the face with a flap wheel and use it as-is until something better comes along.

 

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You should not grind any more material away, you may not have all that much left.  I would flap sand it, very lightly, and do nothing else.  If you can't live with the issues in the middle of the face, there is a process that I have used to clean up errant marks on the face of an anvil.  Use a 2-3 lb ball pein hammer.  With the ball end, start tapping around the bad spots.  Let the hammer do the work.  You want to upset material from around the holes into them.  It's slow (and boring) but it does work.  Basically you are cold forging the surface back flat (ish, there is a limit to what you can fix).

I would use this poor guy and feel good about yourself for saving it.  There is still a lot that you can do on it and with it.  Keep looking for a better tool.  Anvils tend to attract other anvils.  Some day you may want to build a treadle hammer, or a power hammer.  This would make a fine anvil for that.  Look up "Oliver hammers"  Or "grasshopper hammers".  You may also have students someday, this would be good for that, how could a student hurt it?

 

Also read through the pinned topic on anvils in the "Tools and Tool Making" section.  It should give you some ideas on tools that you can build to make up for the issues with this one.

Geoff

Edited by Geoff Keyes

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Thank you Everyone for the replies.

In places there seems to be about 1/2" to 5/8 of pate left. I would like to at least have a straight edge for beveling work. So I'm thinking of grinding a shallow chamfer? I'll work around the "Hicky" for now. It is about 1/16 deep so cold forging it out will be alooot of time and still leave a low spot.

My smithing experience is roughly about 0. I tried making a blade from a leaf spring way back but I ended up with a banana that was harder than diamond and no knowledge of how to soften or straighten it out again so I gave up on that one. Now the bug has returned after watching a couple of episodes of Forged in Fire. :-) I booked myself on a knife making course for next year. I'm really excited to get started again.

Besides for the Anvil I'm currently working on a belt grinder and a forge. I love DIY and creating things so I'm enjoying myself and and I haven't even started yet!!

Once again, Thank you for the advice.

I might post my ongoings on the forge and grinder on the WIP pages but I have very limited time, 4 kids.

May your blades never get dull, and your anvils never chip!

Herman.

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5 minutes ago, Herman said:

I booked myself on a knife making course for next year.

You'll learn a lot there bru. I can't recommend going on a course highly enough. Where in SA are you?

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6 minutes ago, Charles du Preez said:

You'll learn a lot there bru. I can't recommend going on a course highly enough. Where in SA are you?

I am in Pretoria. 

I think a basic smithing course would also be fun.

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Tell Dennis Kriel his cousin says hi if that is where you are going :)

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15 hours ago, Herman said:

In places there seems to be about 1/2" to 5/8 of pate left. I would like to at least have a straight edge for beveling work. So I'm thinking of grinding a shallow chamfer? I'll work around the "Hicky" for now. It is about 1/16 deep so cold forging it out will be alooot of time and still leave a low spot.

My smithing experience is roughly about 0.

I would do nothing to it, for now.  I completely understand the urge to fix stuff (my first anvil, a #200 Fisher) has no sharp edges, and a huge divot from an arc welder in the heel.  The top was covered in welding spall and the table had been chopped to death.  My first teacher (Jerry Culberson, founding member of the NWBA) took a stone to the top and removed the weld splatter and them told me the same thing,  "Don't do anything else to it.  Work on it for a year, if there are things you can't live with, then we can talk about fixing those things."  That anvil is pretty much untouched, I upset the worst of the cut marks in the table and that is pretty much everything I've done to it.  It is much easier to take metal away than it is to put it back.

Just my .02

Geoff

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8 hours ago, Geoff Keyes said:

I would do nothing to it, for now.  I completely understand the urge to fix stuff (my first anvil, a #200 Fisher) has no sharp edges, and a huge divot from an arc welder in the heel.  The top was covered in welding spall and the table had been chopped to death.  My first teacher (Jerry Culberson, founding member of the NWBA) took a stone to the top and removed the weld splatter and them told me the same thing,  "Don't do anything else to it.  Work on it for a year, if there are things you can't live with, then we can talk about fixing those things."  That anvil is pretty much untouched, I upset the worst of the cut marks in the table and that is pretty much everything I've done to it.  It is much easier to take metal away than it is to put it back.

Just my .02

Geoff

 

Thank you Geoff. I will clean it off a bit with a fine flap disk and wire brush for now and live with it. Get some experience first. And take it from there. The urge for shiny new stuff sometimes gets the better of me. I will be content..

 

12 hours ago, Charles du Preez said:

Tell Dennis Kriel his cousin says hi if that is where you are going :)

I didn't know about Dennis (Drakon Forge??). It is right around the corner from me. I live 2Km's away from him. I Will definitely give him a visit. Thank you!

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Yeah, that him :). Have fun.

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If you are going to resell the anvil don't touch it - If you are going to use it I would fix it. I have restored seven anvils, many in much worse shape with great results. No expensive machine shop time just lots of personal time. The basic technique was written up by Robb Gunther and Karl Schuler The Forgery School of Blacksmithing published in ANVIL Magazine, April 1998. It is still out on there in several places. The grinding and then marking with a straight edge and grinding can take a huge amount of time but all have came back with great rebound, clean edges, etc..  I am attaching a before and after on an anvil I restored for my Dad. It has been in the family since before the Civil war and deemed worthless 75 years ago when the face plate delaminated. Working hard again now. I finished filling the pits on the face but did not get a final photo. The third photo is my anvil before restoring. Face plate broken off. I have been using it for 4 years and can get a photo if anyone wants it.

Just my thoughts but have had very good success with this process

Matt

IMG_0318.JPG

IMG_0358.JPG

IMG_0428.JPG

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That's a hell of a job you've done there, Matt, seriously impressed!

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Hi Matt.

I Agree With Bob! That is an amazing Job! Must've taken you ages?!

Don't think I'll ever sell it. 

If I understand correctly from the article, I would be able to weld the edges of the top plate and the Hicky with the Stoody 1105's? I don't think I'll be able to get the Stoody 1105's tho, what is a good equivalent? Maybe just fix the Hicky and still chamfer the edge to at least get a straight edge? I'm constantly finding myself looking for a straight piece of edge.

Thank you for the feedback!

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Herman,

Both the buildup rods and hard facing rods are still available from Stoody. Here in the states Airgas often have them in stock but I am sure you can find them on the net. If you have exposed cast iron you can face over it with a stainless welding rod if you preheat. Much more economical than pure nickel rods. I have used both and seem to work fine. For the corners I lay the anvil on its side and run a bead on and off the side building out toward the face. I peened the 2110 build up rod after each pass to relieve stress and work harden. Those rods respond well and you can feel a difference when hammering. Since you are limited on number of passes with the 1105 I found it helpful to keep the rod very perpendicular to the face and maintain a very large puddle to get the slag on top. I only have an old AC normal polarity cracker box welder but it worked fine.

Here is a photo of the 175lb trenton after restoring and 4 years of use. It is the same one shown in my previous post with a busted off face plate . I essentially rebuilt the face off the cast iron. It took about $100 in rods, 6 seven and a half inch grinding wheels, a 60 grit and 120 grit flap wheel. Total time was about 2.5 days. So a 50 dollar piece of yard art is now my main anvil. So far it is holding up well and has super clean sharp straight corners.

Hope this helps

Matt

175trentonrestored.jpg

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Thanks Bob for the complement and sorry for the phone photo of the Trenton. all I had in shop today and can't seem to resize down so looks good. But you get the idea NewFace plate all of welding rod

 

Matt

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