Anvil questions

Where might I go for a primer on anvils?
I want one. Not sure yet I need one, but there's the occasional time I want to hammer something on a solid object. I used to have one that was just
about 12-18" of railroad rail that had a point cut on one end. It had been ground off to make it rounded, something I would anticipate took someone quite a few hours to do.
I have seen a couple of used anvils in my area at garage sales for around $200. I believe they were antiques. In the southern Utah area I live, I believe I will be able to locate one with a "wanted" ad.
I know there are lots of shapes for lots of purposes. What would be a "general purpose" anvil? Can you send me to a site where I can start answering my own questions about anvils?
How much is a "good" anvil worth? That is, something a total newbie would use, and not the finest or rarest.
Also, most anvils I have seen were mounted on big round pieces of trees. Is that common, or would a stand mounted in concrete be better. I would think the wood would take out some of the vibrations and shock. But I'm just guessing.
Thanks in advance.
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

Try to avoid cast iron anvils, they tend to mark easilly and be a bit dead under the hammer. The giveaway for cast anvils is usually raised lettering as opposed to stamped into the surface. Cast steel anvils are usually very good.
Names to watch for (good) are Hay Budden, and Peter Wright. They are not the only good old anvils out there, but they are very common.
The weight is usually marked on them. Hay Budden anvils are marked in pounds, PW anvils in hundredweight, quarter hundredweight, and pounds (if it is marked 1 1 1 , thats 112 pounds plus 28 pounds plus 1 pound).
Wood stands are pretty normal. Tree trunk is traditional.
Try to tap test the face of the anvil. A small hammer and light blows will help to tell if the face plate is delaminated. Tap tap tap along the surface at about half inch intervals and listen to the sound. iIt should sound solid and bounce cleanly, with a dead noise from delaminated areas. Dealmination is not good.
Try over on alt.crafts.blacksmithing
Get an anvil you can move easilly. 100 or so pounds is a nice sice for casual use, bigger is generally considered better, but consider your needs. In general terms, $2 a pound seems to be the price point below which guys start to gloat a bit.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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This may be traditional but it adds a lot to the weight. For occasional use, I'd go for a steel frame. Best not to put it on castors though :-)
John
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John wrote:

If your shop has a smooth floor and you need the mobility, some casters welded on hinges would work as long as the base was wide enough to safely lift one edge at a time to flip the wheels under.
I think a pallet jack would work better.
Run some sheet lead around the contact points and that'll cut down some on the intensity of the ring.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Try www.abana.com as a starting point for blacksmithing stuff. also www.magichammer.freeservers.com is a great resource. I'm in VT and would expect to pay $2-4 per pound for a working anvil used new ones start @ about $6/lb. A good anvil is more then "a big piece of steel" it will have some "action" it will hit the workpiece just as hard as you do. What you mount it on is more dependent on how often you will be using it and what is handy then anything else. If you plan to use it allot then a hardwood stump cut to put the face of the anvil @ knuckle height would be a good start otherwise make it easy to move around the shop. Railroad track makes great material for a do-it-yourself anvil for light use I have one that gets used for smaller stuff quite often.
Enjoy the hunt
AndrewV
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I have a railroad rail (for a light gauge R/R) and also some 4140 stock (cutoffs etc) can be seen here
http://yabe.algebra.com/~ichudov/misc/ebay/4140-tool-steel /
(someone bought it from me and disappeared, so I still have it)
Can I simply weld some pieces to the rail and hope to get a decent, for hobby purposes, anvil?
i
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Sounds good. The point of welding on a bar on about half of that rail, is to get two surfaces, one is slightly round (on the rail itself) and another that is flat.
i
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AndrewV wrote:

You'll have better luck with www.abana.org
Joe
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> sorry for that ......
Iggy for a light duty anvil out of RR track I would just cut it to shape and then just grind it smmoth/flat where needed. If you want to weld your tool steel to something there anvil plans out there for that.
AndrewV
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On Fri, 22 Sep 2006 11:22:29 -0400, AndrewV

OK, got it, thank you...
i
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Steve B wrote:

http://www.metalwebnews.com/howto/anvil/anvil.html http://www.blacksmithsdepot.com / http://www.anvilfire.com / Joe
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Steve B wrote:

When shopping for a used anvil another idea is to take along a 3/4 to 1" bearing ball. This is used to check the rebound on different points of the anvil face; I find this easier than using a hammer. If you hold the ball about 10" above the face you'll see a soft cast anvil face will cause no more than a 4 to 5" rebound and a really hard face will rebound 9" and sometimes higher. By moving to different points on the face you'll be able to detect things like repairs and loss of temper.
Just a small note here. If doing extensive work use a dipper to splash coolant on the face periodically to prevent loss of temper. I don't see this mentioned as often as I think it should be. A quality anvil should be cared for like any fine tool.
Size depends on use. If you want this for occasional light weight use a 100# anvil should work fine. If you're doing large structural work (large gates for example) you'll want all the weight you can get. An acceptable alternative for some, rather than buy a larger more expensive anvil, is to build a heavier base. Now, when you start to really hammer and twist on that puppy, you won't have to chase it around your shop.
Someone had a great idea a while back which consisted of a hollow wooden stand which could be filled to any level required using sand (which could be removed when not needed); damn clever. The addition of retractable wheels would make this a very versatile unit.
dennis in nca
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I think I aleady answered a post like this on alt.crafts.blacksmithing, but here's another input. Go to my website,
http://www.spaco.org/anvils.htm and take a couple of the relevant links. It's not a "priner", but might have an interesting thought or two.
Pete Stanaitis --------------------
Steve B wrote:

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A well stocked paint store.

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