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Thread: Peter Wright Anvil
03-10-2010, 05:57 PM #1
Peter Wright Anvil
Looking at Craigslist tonight and saw this.
I think the seller is to high on his price. I wonder if the plate welded on the base was a good idea?
I have a Peter Wright that was given to me. The numbers stamped on the side are 1 2 2. How much does my anvil weigh.
03-10-2010, 06:01 PM #2
plates probably tacked on anyways, so it shouldn't hurt anything. You can zip cut it off after.
2 bucks a pound isnt to outlandish for an iron and steel anvil, depending on location of course.
03-10-2010, 06:30 PM #3
The weight system of an anvil is only a google away:
anvilfire.com Blacksmithing FAQs Anvils
You do the math, 142 pounds? (check that please, its your question)
The price seems high, but you are always free to negotiate. I would say the base
welded does hurt the price. Looks like a $200 value as-is? I am neither a pricing
price expert or anvil expert. If you need a tool vs just collecting for fun makes
a big difference what you will pay and how long you shop around. Condition of
the surface and edge is important for a working anvil and good condition may
justify a premium for a fine working tool. But again, I am not enough of an anvil
guy to say what a pristine surface is worth vs. one with typical dings and sway.
Anything can be fixed, and after fixing the value is higher.
You mixed me up, you already have a 1-2-2 and asking about another larger maybe?
for an honest 200lb no-exaggeration anvil, I might offer $250 - A start
The seller claims to be a blacksmith, this is always been a big warning sign! I would not
even think of buying tools from a blacksmith. They value/appreciate the stuff too much.
03-10-2010, 06:37 PM #4
I agree with Peter, $200.00 - $250.00.
Not nearly as old as the seller would like to have you believe either.
03-10-2010, 06:42 PM #5
junk at the asking price. Dave
03-10-2010, 07:08 PM #6
Peter Wright anvils supposedly had a forged wrought iron body with a "chilled steel face" forge welded to it. They were a good anvil. The seller is full of BS as to the age of the anvil- late 19th century to the 1920's would be about right. The seller (or someone along the line) decidely reduced the value of the anvil by welding the baseplate to it. No "blacksmith" would do that. Some character in a fab shop or truck garage likely did that modification. I suppose the welds could be ground off to restore the anvil to it's original form and method of mounting.
Price is a good question. For many years, a buck a pound was the average price for a good used anvil. Current prices seem significantly higher. for this anvil, since it has been welded on, I'd be hesitant to buy it without a real good inspection. If someone welded to the feet of the anvil, they may well have repaired a worn or chipped face with welding as well. I'd take a real close look at the face of the anvil for differences in color of the metal (sign of hardfacing electrode), and for visual indications like cracks. An old anvil can often have a worn face with a "saddle" or "swayback" to it. Edges are often worn and chipped. An old anvil that has too flat a face and edges/corners that are too true may well have been repaired by welding. Around a fab shop or truck garage, with occasional use, a questionable weld repair on an anvil can last a long while since it is not seeing real hard use on a regular basis. On the other hand, get an anvil with an improperly repaired face and start doing some real forging and bending on it and the welded repairs may not hold up.
IMO, give it a real good visual if you are interested, try a hammer/rebound test, and if it looks otherwise OK, I'd throw a lowball offer since it has been welded on. At a buck a pound, a low ball offer might be 150 bucks. As was pointed out, the word "Blacksmith" is a buzzword. If you go to a blacksmith event and see what they get for anvils in the "tailgate sales" or fleamarket that often occurs as part of these events, you will be astounded. I've seen anvils with horrible swaybacked faces, hunks missing off the beak (horn), and looking like you'd maybe use it for a boat anchor going for $ 150 and up. I think if you found an anvil at a shop auction or estate sale you;d get a better deal.
I've got two Peter Wright anvils in my own shop. They are great anvils, and have a classic chape with a nice proportion. My first Peter Wright I got at age 14. I bought it from a quarry blacksmith's widow. I paid 25 bucks, but that was 1964, and she threw in a mess of her late husband's tools. My second Peter Wright I got when a friend retired. He had the contents of his late father's smith shop, closed in 1953 when his dad had died. I got about a 125 lb Peter Wright anvil, "Western Chief" forge blower and blast pipe/firepot (hearth rusted out), and a Champion wall drill and a mess of odd hand tools for 200 bucks. That was 1986. My last anvil is a 200 lb Kohlswa, made in Sweden, cast manganese steel. It came out of my buddy;s dad's John Deere shop when the dad finally got too old to work with his tools. That anvil they gave to me, and it has chunks off the corners of the face- something cast manganese steel anvils are prone to doing. I repaired that anvil with some special electrode, so the business of the differences in colors of orignal steel of the face vs. weld repair is apparent. It took a spcialized and pricey electrode to do a good repair on that anvil. That anvil does fine with the repair.
The Peter Wright in the ad has some questionable issues, and the price is ridiculously high, in line with the seller's pumped up claims and description.
03-10-2010, 08:02 PM #7
03-11-2010, 06:54 AM #8
That's about the same price the go around here also, $2-$4 a pound depending on condition. I did find an small old Fisher that I've been using. It has no real value, since the face is damaged and the corners are mostly shot, but it works for the little stuff. I contacted the museum in NJ about it and they told me it was worthless, so I may regrind the face and square up the corners some. It's not my main anvil, so it really doesn't matter what I do with it.. I also have a piece of track that someone converted and ground into an small anvil..
03-11-2010, 07:40 AM #9
Ad's gone already! Around here asking price is $6/lb. but those ads stay up forever. I think they actually sell for $2-$4 as others have noted. I got mine for substantially less but I think it was just luck. They are in good shape.
magicmaker liked this post
03-11-2010, 12:57 PM #10
Not sure where you guys are getting 1-2 dollars/pound usable anvils, but send the to the northeast.
Basic pricing around here is $1-$2 for a beater anvil (swayback, cracks, too abused for Blacksmithing, basically good enough for the farmer's barn and anvil shooting), $3 for heavily worn edges, upsetted horn, minor swayback [less then 1/4"], and other still usable but worn anvils. $4 for very good used anvil (edges less then 3/8 radius, & deck flat within 1/16"). Hay Budden, Trenton, Peter Wright and Colonial era anvils tend to be higher.
03-11-2010, 01:15 PM #11
So I have a question about mine. The man I got it from said it was solid wrought iron, with a chilled face. This appears to be true, as I cannot find an edge in the face, as a steel faces one would have. It is not dead hard, but not soft, has nice ring and hammer bounce. Are solid wrought anvils a common thing? Or am I missing something obvious? Greyson
03-11-2010, 01:46 PM #12
The man you got your anvil from was correct in his description. Peter Wright anvils were marketed as just that: wrought iron body/chilled steel face. I believe the face was forge welded to the wrought body. Hay-Budden, a competitor to Peter Wright, used a similar method to make their anvils. On one of the blacksmith websites, there was a reprint of Hay Budden's factory literature. Hay-Budden and Peter Wright apparently bundled short pieces of wrought iron and forge welded them together using steam hammers. Once this block was welded together, it was forged into the shape of the body of the anvil under the steam hammer. This was in an era without hand-held grinders, so the forging of the body was refined using hand hammering to get the overall body shape and dimensions quite close. Lastly, the face was welded on. Final grinding of the beak and face was done using lineshaft driven grindstones.
The face on this type anvil will never be really hardened as the forge welding process & the fact the face is forge welded to the body precludes giving the chilled steel face a full quenching. The other belief was too hard an anvil = problems with chipped edges.
There were probably two schools of thought in making anvils. One school of thought used some softer material for the body to absorb the energy of the blows transmitted through the work. Hay-Budden and Peter Wright did it using wrought iron. Fisher & Norris (Eagle) and possibly Columbian did this using a cast ductile iron body with a tool steel face cast into it. The other school of thought was to use a homogeneous body and make it a lot harder. This would be the varieties of anvils which were cast or forged alloy steel. European anvils (Kohlswa, Peddinghaus) followed this idea.
Peter Wright and Hay-Budden are two very sought after anvils. They have a nice ring and rebound, but the faces are not really hard. If you are using an anvil for more of it's intended purpose- forging steel heated into the plastic range- you do not need a real hard face. Despite the apparent softer faces on these types of anvils, they hold up quite well in service over the years. As I wrote in my earlier post, I have a Kohlswa cast manganese steel anvil. It had horribly chipped edges and some cracks propigating in from the chipped edges. The manganese steel is likely work-hardening. It starts out quite hard, and in service only work-hardens further. Chipping is entirely expectable with this type of anvil.
It took significant amounts of grinding to get to the bottom of the cracks and into sound metal before I began buildup welding with hardfacing electrode. My Peter Wright anvils are old and had seen use. Neither had the kind of damage the Kohlswa showed. My original Peter Wright was a tiny bit swaybacked or saddled in the area the quarry blacksmith worked the most- apparently dressing stone working tools kept his work in the approximate center of the face. I am guessing the saddling amounted to 1/8", which was easily dressed off with an angle grinder.
You are not missing anything obvious. Wrought iron anvils with chilled steel faces were a common design and saw widespread use. There was no real reason to make the entire anvil out of tool steel, and the wrought iron body probably was thought to be better in terms of shock resistance and energy absorbtion.
03-11-2010, 02:02 PM #13
Best source of info about North American anvils is `Anvils of America' by Richard Postman, but basically anvils come in 6 flavors:
Cast iron (i.e. harbor freight chinese anchors)
Cast or Forged Wrought Iron (Middle ages to Colonial and early Industrial Revolution)
Cast Wrought Iron with Steel plate (early industrial revolution) Arm and Hammer
Forged Steel (3-4 pieces forge welded with steam hammer) - Hay Budden, Peter Wright, Trenton
Cast Steel - most modern smithing anvils - JHM, Nimba
Drop Forged Steel - Peddinghouse
The cast with plate ones have a tendency, unless they were done just right, to delaminate over time, the best test for those is to bounce a hammer every inch of the face. If you hear a dull thump then that is a spot that has delaminated and eventually the whole chunk of steel with break free.
The cast iron and Cast wrought tend to have a dull thumpin sound when struck, where as the forged and cast steel will ring like a bell. I have found the forge welded ones tend to have the clearer ring to them. Best way I have found to tell if an anvil is a forge welded one is to look under the horn and tail close to the waist, most times you will see the hammer marks (bases [feet to waist] were cast and the horn, body and tail were all forged and forge welded to the base). Of course the cast ones you will find mold parting lines or signs of the grinding to smooth them out.
Some trivia most Anvil people don't know:
There used to be a waterfall in Central Park, NY, NY, and Hay Budden was located next to it. They had a belt or something that ran under the waterfall and that is how they quenched their anvils.
Trenton Anvils were made by the decendents of Peter Wright (Sy and Carl Wright) in Columbus Oh.
03-11-2010, 03:55 PM #14
WOW! Great information. I never knew there was so much background on anvils, they truly are the coolest single chunks of iron. Thanks, Greyson
03-11-2010, 04:34 PM #15Best source of info about North American anvils is `Anvils of America' by Richard Postman
03-12-2010, 04:33 PM #16
Not to dispute CRIJ: Hay Budden was in Brooklyn, NY and their anvils always had "Brooklyn, NY" stamped on them. The Hay Budden pant was either in Williamsburgh or Greenpoint, neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Quenching was done using pumps and tanks and city water. Central Park, to my knowledge, never had a waterfall, just a lake. As a public park, with groves of trees and a casino and people taking romantic carriage rides there for over 150 years, it is unlikely that private industry had an anvil forging shop and heat treating operation there.
I saw a detailed reprint of Hay Budden factory literature once in a blacksmith publication (possibly ABANA or NE Blacksmith, I forget which). Hay Budden had their entire factory operation written up and detailed with woodcuts or steel line engravings. I can honestly say that Central Park and any scheme of quenching anvils in a waterfall there was not in that information.
I do recall once having a Hay Budden anvil and a double beak Kohlswa anvil to deliver for one friend to another in Massachusetts. I had never seen either a Kohlswa or Hay Budden up close and personal. What I remember was that I could smack the face of the Hay Budden with my palm, and the anvil would ring faintly with a nice tone. I never had any other anvil do that. Considering the Hay Budden was wrought iron/chilled steel face, that particular anvil had what must have been a perfect forge weld job tying the face to the body. The Kohlswa was cast manganese alloy steel and should, by rights, have been the more likely one to ring when slapped. It didn't.
IMO, Hay Budden and Peter Wright have about the best shape or proportions to the eye. Not that aesthetics matters in anvils, its how they are made and ring. Peter Wright and Hay Budden are nice looking anvils. The double beak Kohlswa was not a particularly well proportioned or good looking anvil, if you wanted a classic anvil in your shop. The 200 lb Kohlswa "London Pattern" anvil I have in my shop is an OK anvil, pretty good proportions and decent ring to it.
03-12-2010, 05:27 PM #17
They have one on CL right now going for $950 thats about 300#
I thought that was just insane, until hearing about the $3-4 a lb. you guys are talking about.
I won't even get into the list of regrets I'm having now over missed oppurtunities.
03-12-2010, 08:38 PM #18
I should be headed to a farm auction tomorrow that has an anvil. All I know from the poor picture is that it looks to be in the 150# range and I can not tell the condition or brand.
I always take my "Anvils in History" book, a small wire brush and a ball bearing.
That's what I will need to tell the condition, weight. and about what age it might be.
I expect this one to sell in the 2.50 to 3.00$ range.
If I make the auction, I will post the results tomorrow night.
I have a lot of overtime coming up in a few weeks and I always like to buy a toy to get me through it.
Here's the auction, PM me if you are going to be there.
Wheeler Auctions & Real Estate, Paris, MO - Reams Auction, March 13, 2010
03-13-2010, 11:54 AM #19
The auction is about an hours drive from me and I bought it about 11am today.
WHAT A MUD BATH.
Heavy drissel rain with about a 20 MPH wind in the noth central Mo. flat land.
There are no rocks in these fields, just bottom les mud.
It's on the third wagon back in the barn yard.
Everybody are wearing gum boots or good water proof hunting boots.
There is water standing everywhere,and everyone has mud up to mid thigh.
A lot of local farm boys there waiting on the bigger stuff and the only place to park is along the highway. I got lucky and a truck pulled out from almost in front of the sale when I got there. Trucks were parked at least a 1/4 mile up and down the road.
Came back home to get lunch and get the truck with mud tires, (also to dry out a little), a piece of pipe 6' long, and some rope to sling it up and walk it out of there.
Also a little cash for who ever helps me carry it out. But I really don't think any body would take the cash.
2pm, time to head back and get the anvil.
03-13-2010, 04:52 PM #20
I was in the shop this afternoon moving stuff around and looked on the side off my anvil. The numbers are 1 1 22 which adds up to 152 I think. I had the numbers wrong in the other post.
When I pick it up it doesn't feel that heavy. I have only moved it a few times, just pick and set on a block or dolly.