Jump to content

Recommended Posts

hey guys 


I have a 1908 hay budden that has seen its fair share of use over the years for a majority of its life it was used in a blacksmiths shop where it shows the use of proofing chisels and punches along the feet i appreciate the history there but the face has a moderate sway and has a fair amount of hammer dings. Being primarily a bladesmith im curious about sanding down to good steel i know the face is still hard because it has a good rebound and I used hardness test files. Now it seems that these anvils after 1907 were a top and bottom half welded together the bottom half mild or wrought. And the top half tool steel welded together.


My thought is I should be able to smooth the surface as long as I go slow and careful. I'll get a picture or two of it up tomorrow

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be interested to see the pictures.  In general I tell folks to work on an anvil like you are describing for a year.  Use that time to identify what things you can live with and those things which you simply can't stand.  You may find that you are surprised.  Just remember, it's much simpler to take metal away than it is to put it on.  Do as little as you can and still have a useful tool.  We don't own tools like this, at best, we are the caretakers of them for a while.


I have a 30's era Fisher that was abused at some point in it's life.  The table is chopped up and there is a huge divot out of the heel where some fool sparked a welder.  I really wanted to fix it, or change it.  One of my first teachers told me what I just told you.  It's fine, just as it is.



"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."


I said that.


If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton


So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.


Grant Sarver

Link to post
Share on other sites

Listen to Geoff.  Even if it is one with the all steel top half, the hardened part is still only the first 1/4 inch of face at most.  Pretty much anything you do to the face will take away some hardness.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Work with it first!


refacing an anvil I find is pointless.


people have looked at my hay budden and the first thing they say is to reface it, but I really don't find the need for it at all. The little divots, and chops, I learned to work around them. Or even use them to help add some texture. If I wanted to polish it up, I would only choose a section to do that to. Why do the whole thing when you can only work as much as the face of your hammer?


Swayed and saddled anvils, after a while you really don't notice that too much. At least I don't.


From the best I can tell, my hay budden is about the some time frame as yours. It is a forge welded Wrought body with a hardened top plate.


10 hours ago, Will Urban said:

 Now it seems that these anvils after 1907 were a top and bottom half welded together the bottom half mild or wrought. And the top half tool steel welded together.


I am not 100% positive about that, unless I'm mistaking bands of steel in the gang I've been seeing. (A friend of mine collects them)  There's no serial number left, but I place mine before WWI due to the wrought body. I chose not to do any repairs to mine it as anything I do may take away what hard steel is left in the plate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys its been a couple days and I got some pictures of the anvil. Just to clarify I have owned and used the anvil for about 6 years but have started to work more on longer blades and the pits and dings do add some to the time it takes finishing. Just figured it was worth a question. I have a 130 pound fisher that has an almost perfect face so I switch between the two currently depending in what I need to do.









Edited by Will Urban
Duplicate picture
Link to post
Share on other sites

The 1908 models were indeed made without a top plate, the entire upper half was forge steel with a wrought iron base. As such, refacing it won't tear through the steel, but you have to be sure that you're capable of heat-treating it if you go too deep. From the pictures, if you're wanting to take it all the way back to flat, you'll be removing around 1/8" of steel. I can see why you want to do it, there isn't a mark-free space anywhere in the working area. If you feel that you can re-harden it, I would take a angle grinder and flap discs and begin by fixing the radius on the edges and then work the face down to smooth.


Heat treating an anvil is no joking matter. The heating part itself is relatively easy, just place it face down on a coal forge and let rip. The cooling and more importantly the timing is where most smiths mess up. You'll need a constant supply of cold water running over the anvil face for quite some time. And while it'll look like its cooled down in just a few minutes, deep inside the anvil it will stay dang hot for quite some time. As such, you have to make sure you've gotten the face hard, but not cooled the anvil down so much that the residual heat wont help temper it.


This is dang complicated lol, and I'm far from an expert on the matter. If you have a local blacksmith you can talk to about it I'm sure they can help as well as our knowledgeable members here. Can't wait to see how this goes!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

That sure looks like a top plate to me.  Look at the weld line just behind the step.  If you have the serial number I can take a look in the Tome and get a rough date.


At any rate, milling it off flat will take the hard face off completely.  It's shallow-hardening steel and if it's a top plate is only hard for about 1/8" deep, if that.  If you feel you must, rather than milling or grinding, use the Sandia instructions. https://www.anvilmag.com/smith/anvilres.htm  Note it is important to use the exact rods mentioned.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan ill get the serial number for you according to anvils in America it does fall in a very grey area of the dates as far as what I have.i have long speculated myself which is why I haven't touched it besides forging on it. I'd love to touch it up to get maybe a four inch flat but not at the cost of ruining it. Its a great anvil regardless and it seems for the anvil size it may have been a special order due to the hardy being 1.25 inch

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...