Looking at anvils next week- some advice greatly appreciated

First off, thanks for all the good information- it helped me have a better idea of what to look for when I went this evening.
I ended up getting the smaller anvil for $90- more of a budget issue than anything else. Turns out, it is not a harbor frieght anvil as expected, but a 60# Vulcan with an arm and hammer logo on the side.
I gave it a little test with a bit of file (I forgot to grab a hammer on the way out the door) and it has a nice *bounce* to it, and seems to be in reasonable condition with a few chips out of the sides on the top- but an almost perfect horn and nice holes.
Soon as my wife gets up, I'm going to clean it up a little and give it a trial run. But of course, as with any new purchase (especially something that is a little older,) I'm looking into it's history a little right now- anyone have any good links or information about the Vulcan anvils for me to look at?
Thanks again!
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Prometheus wrote:

I'll pass along what I have. Can you describe your anvil and its markings in detail?
dennis in nca
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As far as I can, sure- It's obviously an older piece of tooling, with one hardy hole that is square to the base and a pritchet hole near the corner of the heel. It has a flat top that is 9" x 3", with a step that is slightly under 2" long, and a 4" horn that tapers to a point. It stands 8" tall, and the logo is a raised oval with an arm and hammer in the center with the word "Vulcan" above it and "Forge" below it. On the front, there is a raised number "5". The top appears to have an approx. 3/8" plate forge welded on to it, but that's just a guess based on a small faint line I can see around the top edge.
While it was sold to me as a 60#, setting it on the bathroom scale returns a weight of 49.8#. It doesn't show any particular signs of repair or cracks, and is not sway backed at all when a straightedge is applied to the top.
As a side question, how are these normally mounted- or aren't they? While I certainly have the tooling and capability to drill holes in the base, I have no desire to risk wrecking the thing just to make mounting it easier.
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Prometheus wrote:

You have a No.5 anvil which may have cost as little as $4.80 in 1895 or as much as $35.00 (dealers price) in 1966. They were produced by the Illinois Iron & Bolt Company in Carpentersville, Illinois from about 1875 till about 1969.
Postman indicates 3 styles of trademark were used but none as you've described. He describes the trademark as you do with the exception that instead of the word "Forge" as you stated, they used the word "BRAND" (or later "Reg. US Pat. OFF"). All of the photos of old amvils picture the trademark in this manner. The style with the "BRAND" in the markings were built from about 1880 till around 1915.
The #5 anvils were intended to weigh between 50 & 60 pounds, a #6 therefore would be between 60 & 70 pounds. These anvils were a combination of a cast iron base and a tempered tool steel face plate; the table and horn were also faced with steel. Sounds like you've got an excellent anvil.
Mounting is somewhat controlled by your personal situation, The amount of noise you can create is awsome (although cast iron anvils do not ring as loud as some). For this reason many choose to dampen the sound of an anvil to make it more pleasing to the neighbors (and your own ears). Being made of cast iron I'd suggest mounting in an alternative fashion and not drilling the feet. The simplest would be to use a stump for mounting and just use spikes driven into the wood and bent over the anvil's feet to keep it from walking around. There are many many methods of mounting an anvil; I'd suggest googleing for some of them.
Good luck with your new anvil.
dennis in nca
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You are correct- when I double checked, it does say "brand" rather than "forge". I checked it in the garage, and while juggling that and the measurements in my head, I must have mixed it up between there and the computer.

I imagine the price was right as well, in that case. It does seem to be a nice little piece of equipment, though lack of experience probably makes me a somewhat poor judge.
Thanks for the info- I knew it was old, but I'm at least a little surprised that it is *that* old, and still in as good a condition as it is.
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That's one of the problems with being an anvil maker: There's not a lot of repeat business. :)
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John Husvar wrote:

There used to be, but as we've found different, cheaper, and more efficient ways to shape metal the need to replace a broken anvil has gone down a bit :-)
Charles
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Prometheus wrote:

Mounting... you can use straps or chains around the feet, build a pocket for the anvil to sit in , which is how I did mine, or fabricate corner caps to go over the feet and secure to the stump. All that matters is that the anvil won't walk off the stump in use. Pocketing is just a matter of cutting some 2x4 to length and nailing it to the stump with 20 penny nails or deck screws so that the feet have some sideways restraint. Mine has never danced out of its pocket, even under the extreme abuse of the 180# treadle hammer. Happy Whacking...
Charly
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Re: anvil mounting: I have used 4ea. 16 penny nails just inside the curve between the feet. Sometimes I don't even bend them over. But my favorite is to cut 2 pieces of 2 X 4 to fit the curves between the feet. Then screw them into place. Drop the anvil over them and it doesn't go anywhere. May not be totally effective on the moon, but works fine here on earth. I have also strapped them down, but that makes them harder to move around. This is the way my main anvil (185#) is tied down.
Use a stump that is at least 12 to 16 in diameter for that 60 pound anvil so it won't be liable to tip over.
Pete Stanaitis -----------------------------
Prometheus wrote:

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wrote:

I do have hard maple trunk that size, but it's been spalting in the backyard for six months, and is at the perfect stage for use on my lathe- what I was considering doing is using some old hophornbeam posts from an old barn that I have in my shop (they are simply *too* hard to work, and have nails in them that I did not see until I tried to turn a section), and tying them together with log cabin screws, and maybe a metal band or three. It should be a little easier to establish a flat base that way, and preserve that nice maple for bowls and vases.
If that doesn't work out, I've been building furniture for a number of years now, and I'm pretty confident I can make a bench that will hold up to an elephant jumping on it. (Note that this is using pegged through tenons and a bit of structural engineering- *not* just hapazardly whacking 2x4s together with a framing hammer, which would almost certainly be unsuitable.)
The raised curves are a great idea, though- That will probably look nicer than bending over spikes or using sheet metal straps. Maybe I'll combine that idea with a couple of semi-decorative metal corner pieces to connect them and give it some additional support. For now, moving heavy things isn't an issue for me- though I'm sure that will change later. (I keep getting older every year whether I want to or not, after all.)
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