Great find on Sawyers anvil for my Tansu Work

bigransom

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I passed up an English sawyers anvil about three years ago, and have been kicking myself ever since. It was $2200, plus shipping from the UK, but you don't find good ones often. Well...

Just so happens that I happen across a blacksmith talking about making some pieces for my firepots, and we start talking anvils... he knows a guy, who knows a guy...

It turns out I find an exceptional Fisher sawyers anvil in the perfect size, perfect condition, all markings, 82 lbs. and a 10L x 6.5W x 5.5H. Exactly what I had wanted...

And it was a steal of a price. It's an 1887 anvil with correct Fisher markings, 10.5L x 6.5W x 5.5H, and it weighs 82 lbs.

I can start to do my Tansu metal work now, and engrave it too!

A lucky day for sure... :)
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bigransom

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Well, it is a big cube of steel, however, it tempered and forge hammered until the top is a hard spring steel designed for anvil work - forming steel and metals, etc.

A good anvil can be hard to find. Many today are just cast pieces of crap from China. The old good ones, like this one, were made the old fashioned way and still perform as good as in 1887 when this one rolled out of the factory in New Jersey.

If you don't do any metal work, or metal art type work, then it's just steel to you. :)

If you do, I don't have to explain any further.
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Jared Eason

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#6
I have played with some new anvils some folks I know have, just don't feel right. I like my old railroad anvil I made out of some old railroad iron that was said to been pulled up from the original track that ran through my town. The towns been here along time....
 

bigransom

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I have played with some new anvils some folks I know have, just don't feel right. I like my old railroad anvil I made out of some old railroad iron that was said to been pulled up from the original track that ran through my town. The towns been here along time....
I've heard good things about RR rail from a few different people. It's a good alternative and a good price point, if you have access to it. It lacks the hammer forged tool steel top that a good, original anvil typically has, but it still is very workable. I've never been around one to test the ring or rebound of them, but if you can get a chunk - I'd do it. Then find a few good forge hammers in different sizes.
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bigransom

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Dude, what is a sawyers anvil? Looks like a big cube of steel.
I didn't have a chance to answer properly last night, sorry.

A Sawyer's anvil was designed to be used by a saw tuner, or a sawyer, to tension large circular saw blades by resting the blades on another support and spinning them around in increments so that a portion would rest on the sawyer's anvil, where he would strike it to tension each section in turn. The goal was to manually tension the blade to reduce or eliminate vibration while spinning. They also correctly tensioned and tuned hand saws of all sizes.

These smaller flat anvils were also used for forging work (general blacksmith), and fine blacksmith work like ornamental thin steels and fine metals, as well as lock work and similar fine metal work. The hammer forged top on these "little blocks of steel" was quite a process to see and is well explained and detailed in Richard A. Postman's excellent book "Anvils in America."

That's the short version, but at least you know what they are. Basically everything that you work on (metal objects) started on anvils and were originally hand worked. Anvils quite literally 'formed' the basis of our country and its mechanical structures, tools, and implements.

Now aren't you glad you asked? (likely not... lol) :)
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take-down

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#10
That is a great find
We found one years ago and still use it on the family sawmill. Ours is a little different in so much as it has different pitch faces so when you spin the blade over it you
Can hammer the tooth set onto each alliterative tooth then turn it over and repeat
On Railway Iron anvils I made one about 30 years ago & still use it
This is what I followed when I made it; I think it's all in how you temper it


Cheers Graham
 

bigransom

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Graham, that is really cool info. I have read about the multiple tuned tops, but never seen one. We don't see as many down here in Texas. By the time I find them, they are usually gone. The NE is anvil gold! So's the Pacific Northwest.

Sounds like you have a really nice one! I really hated to pass on the one several years ago, but it seemed pretty pricey... then I found out that it wasn't really a bad price. That was a 380 pounder. This smaller one is better suited to my work goals now.

I'm very happy to have my little chunk of steel... :)
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scott99

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#12
Smooth and flat

HI, I have been using anvils of one type or another most of my life. The one single thing you may need is to refinish the top of your cube.From the photos it looks pretty rough.:thinking:

Every bump and cut on that anvil will show on your work, I have 2 anvils at this time and my main concern is keeping a good top surface.

Even in the Blacksmith shop where I put in a few years the anvils were kept smooth, not necessarily flat, a bit of radius will make drawing out a piece easier.

One of my anvils is a 200 year old Trenton and although cupped is dead smooth. Great care must be taken so as not to cut away the hard surface but I believe trying to get the marks transferred to your work will prove to be in the least difficult.

Nice find, good luck with the clean up. :)

scott99 :tiphat:
 

scott99

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After another look at your photos I believe your anvil was cast and then a thick piece of steel was forge welded to the top. This is very common with old anvils. The good bit is the top looks nice and heavy so you should have plenty of stock to get a good surface.:thumbsup:

scott99 :tiphat:
 

bigransom

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Yes, you're right. Good eye. I was thinking of having it milled just a bit to resurface. It won't effect tempering and it'll clean up and flatten that top. Do you see an issue with that, Scott?
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Jared Eason

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#15
I don't claim to know a whole lot about anvils but if one ( feels ) right. That's hard to explain. I just had my RR iron milled on the top to make it flat. I never heat treated it. I have pounded the crap outta it and not a mark . Should I heat treat it though to make it stronger?
 

Marrinan

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#16
If the rail is used it has been surfaced work hardened form the wheels pounding. You can do the old file test to check the degree of hardness on the wheel contact surface. Fred
 

bigransom

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I don't claim to know a whole lot about anvils but if one ( feels ) right. That's hard to explain. I just had my RR iron milled on the top to make it flat. I never heat treated it. I have pounded the crap outta it and not a mark . Should I heat treat it though to make it stronger?
I'm no metalurgist, Jared, so I'll let someone who really knows take that. It sounds like it's fine though. If it's not appearing to be bothered by your work style - the old 'if it ain't broken...' usually works fine.
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