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Anvil identification


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I was wondering if anyone has information on the manufacture date for an anvil.  I did order the Postman books, but they are going to take some time to get here.

 

The anvil is a Trenton 180 pounder with the serial number A108458.  

 

Any information would be helpful.  Thank you in advance.

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The serial number puts it around 1912.  

 

The bad news is you let a machinist get near it.  Cutting off the sides does no real harm, except leave you with a sharp edge.  This is not what you want, because it will result in cracks or cold shuts in your steel when you use the edge to forge a step, and makes the edges more likely to chip with a missed blow. You need to radius those edges. The amount depends on personal preference, but it should be a minimum of around 1/8."  For heavy work, an even larger radius is good.  The hardy hole also needs a good radius, or at least a rounded-off chamfer, to prevent the corners from propagating cracks.  

 

The big question is, how much did they take off the face?  Prior to about 1927, Trentons had a 3/8" thick tool steel face plate forge-welded to the body, like most anvils of the period.  The steel used is a very shallow-hardening steel similar to 1095, and the depth of the hardening is a maximum of around 0.0625".  It needs every bit of that to work properly. If the hard surface is milled or ground off, the face will dent easily and it will not be able to return the energy of the hammer.  This makes you work much harder to get the same results. 

 

As Jock over at Anvilfire.com says, anvils have never been a precision surface.  The face is rarely, if ever, parallel or square with the base, and is often tilted slightly away from the user if the horn is pointing to your left. Most of them were slightly crowned longways when new, which aids in drawing out and bending.  A slight sway is really handy for straightening blades or other things that need to be straight.  

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Thanks for the reply Alan.  That "machinist" was me.:D  The anvil was in pretty poor shape, I mean really poor shape.  It was missing a large portion on the rear so it was almost useless.  I had a welding shop with a mill and access to endless endmills at the time from a large shop's recycle bin.  

I spoke to an old welder in a machine shop and he said he only trusted Eutectic and had repaired many anvils before.  I spoke with Eutectic's technical support line and they recommended a certain allow of consumable for the anvil.  They had some pretty specific instructions, which I followed painstakingly, and completed all of the welding.  I used carbon plates for the side so the welds didn't droop over the edges too much.  The entire anvil face ended up welded since I had extra welding consumable left over and wanted it all to be the same material.  Milled the top with light cuts.

 

You are correct, the corners are definitely too sharp and I will address that for sure.  The hardy hole has a decent radius, but the pritchel hole is sharp still.  I did test the anvil hardness with a Rockwell gauge a long time ago, but I do not remember what the number was.  I have been using this anvil for several years off an on and it "seems" so far to hold up.  Thanks again for the information!

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Ah, I didn't know you had done a proper weld repair, that makes a big difference!  Yes, Eutectic and Stoody are the only two rods to use.  Good on you for following the directions.  Way too many people don't do that.  With that, you have basically a new anvil with a good hard face, and a core of good old American cast steel ( the base) and wrought iron (the top half exclusive of the face).  

 

Apologies for coming on so negative, I've just seen way too many good old anvils killed by well-meaning people who didn't bother to look it up.  Well done and welcome aboard. B)

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Alan, no worries here at all.  I have seem some folks online using 7018 or standard mig wire and I just have to shake my head at that.  It took a metric ton of time to follow the instructions and go through all of the steps.  The machining took forever as well.  Thankfully I had time to let the mill run and go work on other projects.  Thanks again for the input and information!

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