Anvil buying advice

john_in_maMarch 14, 2005

I'm not really into 'smithing, but I've been keeping an eye out for a decent anvil. Currently using about a 2' section of railroad track.

Anyway, I found an ad with some photos. Peter Wright anvil, said to be around 175 pounds but not verified, $100, looks like some of the edges of the face are chipped up. Haven't gotten any more detail yet. I know the regard that PWs are held in (and sometimes sell for), but I'm a little fuzzy on specifics. Would it be worth engaging a buddy to take a 45 minute trip to look at this thing?

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Hi John......sorry it's taking a few days to get a response.......this forum is fairly slow so I only check every so often.

First off, based on your description I'd surely say it's worth the asking price and the 45 minute drive.

That said, I think brandwise PW's are top notch, along with Hay Budden, Trenton, Lakeside (HB sold under a different name), Fisher Norris, MouseHole, etc. Personally my favorites are HB, PW, and Trentons because the MouseHoles I've seen tend to be shorter (stubbier) and the Fishers are cast iron body that I don't think looks as good. That's just personal preference for asthetics, funtionally speaking they are all good brands.

With regards to the chipping, that's going to be fairly common and shouldn't affect average BS use. It's getting difficult to find an old anvil with good edges, and when you do they cost a mint! People have varying opinions on filling in chips, etc. with hardfacing rod; my personal thought is it's better than an anvil being rendered completely useless and being left to rust away as a door stop. Just be sure to do it right; pre-heating, proper # of passes, prep rod, etc. Other than the chipping, look for cracks (obviously) and a sway back. The "old horse" look says to me that the anvil was severely used (or abused) and has seen a very rough life. Still, at $100......

I think you're right on track size wise.......I have a 172lb HB that is 28" long (for reference) and is perfect for the smithing I do. I would like to obtain a smaller one to mount higher for lighter work. IMO, you're lucky because you live in the NorthEast which seems to be where the majority of the old anvils are. Here in NC I looked for several months before going the eBay route and having this one shipped from PA. FWIW, shipping was only $85 through a trucking company.

Go look at it, it's most definitely worth $100 for that size, even in poor shape.

Good luck! David

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 6:38PM
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Boy, that's a nice-looking anvil. Looks almost new.

This one didn't work out. Finally heard back from the seller and he decided he'd start taking offers. Went outside my league pretty quickly. Oh well, still have more than enough projects around here.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 7:36PM
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Sorry to hear that.........on the bright side though (at least IMO) you're in the best part of the country to stumble across a good deal on an anvil. In shopping eBay extensively over the past several months I've noticed that the *majority* of anvils are in the OH, PA, NJ, on up to Maine area, sure makes me jealous down here in anvil sparse NC!


    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 8:24AM
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I am also sorry to hear about the anvil loss. Right now I am
working with a Peter Wright. Mine is a 254 pounder and has been perfect for the work that me and Kyle do. My personal favorite has to Trenton. The way the horn is shaped is great for making clean and even bends.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 8:26PM
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Who knows, I might get lucky. Talked to one guy who said he knew another guy with a backyard full of them. Sounds too much like one of those "cousin of an uncle of an ex-girlfriend" deals but you can never tell.

On the the bright side, I did get this (and a few boxes of parts) for $200 last fall:

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 12:02AM
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That's gorgeous! What's the size, length of bed? Has it been redone, or was it never used!?! That's in mint condition based on that picture.

A metal lathe is one machine I'm still lacking.......I can't afford full prices for much, so I'll be looking until I run across a deal like you got.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 9:59PM
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It's an Atlas 10x24" (42" overall bed) circa 1952. Totally original--took a lot of cleaning but 99.9% of the paint is in good shape.

The owner was a lifelong maintenance machinist for GE. He bought this for his person use, but seemed to have only used it occasionally. That guy died, his son kept the woodworking tools, and sold this to me. Never thought I'd find a deal like this. I had been looking for years.

Came with a few chucks, centers, faceplate, toolholders of all different types, boxes of bits, steady rest, motor, etc. Even had the original catalog, manuals for the lathe, and paperwork and boxes for the tooling itself. I had to replace the spindle bearings and belts (about $50) but everything else is original.

Also got a new $400 collet chuck kit in trade for an air dryer I bought on the cheap from a school auction. An extra faceplate and two chucks came from a junk lathe I bought for $90 and resold. Ended up with more dogs, tooling, and the drum swtich after getting another junk lathe for free. Topped it off with the bench I built from old 2x12s on some scrapped heavy iron legs.

Your day will come. Keep looking.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 10:16PM
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What's the history and worth of a 65 lb Vulcan (Arm and Hammer) brand anvil? It's in fairly rough condition. The step is mushroomed in and the edges are no longer squared off. It could be resurfaced. Do you think it is worth the effort? I've been told it was made around 1920 even though I don't know the truth behind that. Please help me.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 1:30PM
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