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View Full Version : One of several 18th.C, anvils I made the patterns for



gwilson
07-27-2011, 11:07 PM
http://i1111.photobucket.com/albums/h463/gwilson5/IMG_0516.jpg

This an anvil in the Anderson Blacksmith Shop in Colonial Williamsburg. I made the patterns for their 300# anvils back in the 70's. There are at least 6 of them. Recently I made a pattern for a 5 legged earlier model,if I can find it.

These had to be carved to look like they were forged. The sides undulate some,but the rust obscures it. Beneath the horn is carved a little glob of what would have been wrought iron,where the horn was welded on. Can't be made out well in the photo,especially now that the anvils have gotten rusty(except on their working surfaces).

It is not possible these days to get an anvil made by forging them out,welding on a steel top and horn,and made from wrought iron.

This pattern was carved as an enlargement of a smaller 18th.C. original anvil in the collection.

The pattern was sent off to Texas,and cast from 4140. They have stood up well to daily pounding for over 30 years. Unfortunately,the blacksmiths left the pattern there,in case they wanted more. The foundry closed down,was auctioned off,and the pattern lost.

Recently,I carved a second pattern,of an earlier model. It has 5 legs,and a curiously small horn for its size. To me,this anvil is more pleasing in design.

The new ones are just beginning to be cast in Norfolk now. They run $1500.00 each just for the casting. Grinding the tops will be extra.

Black_Moons
07-27-2011, 11:14 PM
Nice anvil, Too bad we don't have closer shots of it. Shame about the pattrens.

Might wanna leave some of your project photos for another week, People around here don't have the best of memorys. But by all means feel free to post as many as you want.

Evan
07-27-2011, 11:15 PM
Why is it chained? It's not like somebody is going to run off with it.

gwilson
07-27-2011, 11:20 PM
The tight chains keep it from ringing. Mine at home is a cast tool steel anvil. I chained it down,too. But,not all anvils respond to being chained down. There are different ways to stop different construction anvils from ringing. These,and mine just go CLACK! Keeps the men from going deaf.

My anvil is a rather different pattern anvil,with the hardie hole near the horn. It is a "Soho Engine Forger's Anvil."

Tony Ennis
07-27-2011, 11:25 PM
Evan, the chain prevents the anvil from floating away.

Black_Moons
07-27-2011, 11:35 PM
The tight chains keep it from ringing. Mine at home is a cast tool steel anvil. I chained it down,too. But,not all anvils respond to being chained down. There are different ways to stop different construction anvils from ringing. These,and mine just go CLACK! Keeps the men from going deaf.

My anvil is a rather different pattern anvil,with the hardie hole near the horn. It is a "Soho Engine Forger's Anvil."

Haha an engine anvil? *thinks of compairson to engine lathe*

Still blows me away that the 'Machinists' at the times favorate tool was an anvil. Bang bang bang. Bang bang bang. Heat heat heat. Bang bang bang. And an engine was created.

For John: If you own a bridgeport, the same is still true! :)

Now our cast iron tools have gotten even HEAVYER. What ever happened to minaturisation of the 20th century? :)

They also don't like to be smashed on by hammers as much, Infact I have to use this little 2lb rubber hammer to prevent damaging my huge ASO (Anvil shaped object!.. Maybe? Maybe not?) known as a mill. :P When realigning the head anyway.. Or removing a tool.. or...

Evan
07-28-2011, 02:11 AM
Strap a block of lead to the side. That will stop it ringing, guaranteed.

gwilson
07-28-2011, 08:42 AM
I think in Diderot's 18th.C. Encyclopedia of trades,they show anvils chained down. Old English blacksmiths sometimes used to hollow out the tops of their stumps and set their anvils in horse manure. They called it "horse mook"(sp?) I haven't seen that personally,but my sculpture teacher traveled to England in the 50's and went to many trade shops where he saw it.

Most usually,old timers could find something cheap and handy to make something work. For example,in Victorian times,maybe earlier,when rolling thick,white hot steel plates through heavy rollers to thin them,they didn't want the scale to be rolled into the metal. They constantly threw heather onto the steel as it went under the rollers. It would explode from the intense heat and crushing pressure,and blow the scale off of the plates. Very noisy,but it worked. Probably dangerous for the workers throwing the heather!! Bet they had plenty of scars and burns!! Today they use very high pressure water.

Some guys wrap rubber innertubes(or whatever) around the waists of their anvils to stop the ringing. Welded top anvils need to be damped differently. There are several ways of dealing with it. I think the chains look the neatest,and I'd rather not have hot sparks sending up horse mook smoke.

HWooldridge
07-28-2011, 09:24 AM
Looks like the chain and eyebolt are also hand forged. I also like the blocky anvil pattern because most of the mass is near the body. Horns and heels that project like outriggers act like moment arms and have less resistance to a blow.

Evan, you'd be surprised about somebody running off with it - I've known several to be stolen over the years. Most go to the scrap yard for beer money since two or three normal sized guys can often carry one up to about 300 lbs. In addition, hammering from the side can work an anvil right off a stump if it's not fastened down. The old rule of thumb was 100 lbs of anvil for every 1 lb of hammer weight and most hand hammers are 2-3 lbs.

My anvil is a 250 Peter Wright but I have it bolted to a truncated pyramid of cast concrete that adds 300 lbs to the whole mass. Even so, heavy sledge work will make dust puff out from underneath the block. Kinetic energy is a wonderful thing...

Rustybolt
07-28-2011, 09:35 AM
Strap a block of lead to the side. That will stop it ringing, guaranteed.



The stamping bench-to hand stamp numbers and letters on plate cams used on screw machines- was an inch of lead plate sandwiched between two pieces of 1/2 in steel plate about 18 x 18 inches. The guy that did the stamping took his hearing aids out and stuffed ear plugs in his ears. The rest of us went out to the parking lot closing the door behind us.

gwilson
07-28-2011, 11:13 AM
Yes,every thing was hand forged. Those guys would never buy a piece of hardware. They were really into being as authentic as possible. The only things they bought were their files. I am surprised that they didn't get into making them,too.

They were always over burdened with work. They made hardware for historic buildings being repaired,thousands on hand wrought nails,all kinds of things for use all over town,and products to sell in the stores.

Right now they are back in their original Deane Forge building. Their hand made building got too rotten,and was torn down,and is being rebuilt.

I hope the new one is better. The old building was all split oak "siding"(not sure what to call it) in about 3' lengths. The ends were tapered and nailed where the frames were. The split oak was not very straight,and the roof leaked a lot(the WHOLE building and roof were covered with the split oak.)

The wind blew right through the building. The dirt floor was very dusty,and always getting blown by the wind.

Not a very healthy place to work at all. OSHA would condemn many of the places in Williamsburg,but being a museum,they get away with it. I can't help wondering what kind of ailments some of the guys will get. They are often working in conditions that killed workers in the 18th.C..

ironmonger
07-28-2011, 11:49 AM
I saw Peter Ross a year ago or so and he is still forging and still has a web site up, so after 20 plus years as a historical smith at Williamsburg he survived long enough to retire from there.

I use chains to anchor one of my anvils to the stump. I used chains because they were easier to use than forged clips... there they were... asking to be put to use... and they required less work.

As to why the anvil is 'chained down'... not every blow is over the area that is directly above or between the feet... sometimes we use the horn, and the chains keep the anvil from heading to the floor.

Now the rumor part. A friend of mine supposedly took a tour of the back room at Colonial Williamsburg and he claimed they had a full blown machine shop hidden from public view... who knows...

paul

Peter.
07-28-2011, 12:00 PM
I think in Diderot's 18th.C. Encyclopedia of trades,they show anvils chained down. Old English blacksmiths sometimes used to hollow out the tops of their stumps and set their anvils in horse manure. They called it "hose mook"(sp?) I haven't seen that personally,but my sculpture teacher traveled to England in the 50's and went to many trade shops where he saw it.


That made me chuckle :D

'Hose mook' is how 'horse muck' would sound if said by a Yorkshireman :D

gwilson
07-28-2011, 12:34 PM
ironmonger,he may have seen my shop. I was no longer in public,and not constrained to use period tools. My job was to make tools as efficiently as possible. For example,there were about 80 craftsmen using wooden planes. A set of planes was 5. Somewhere I have a picture of a 16' bench full of planes.I'll look for it.

We also made saws for these same workers. Several in a set,again. Rip,crosscut,tenon,carcass,dovetail. I have a picture of 1 bunch of saws somewhere.

I worked out a way to cut the throats of the planes using my Bridgeport slotting attachment.There is a video of this on the Fine Woodworking site,but you have to pay to see their numerous videos. I even have to pay! And,they have plans for things I made for sale there! Making money off me,and I still have to pay!!!!

We made chisels out of D2 steel for the slotter. The slotter will go 4" stroke max. JUST long enough for all but the large cooper's jointers.

We drilled out the throats as much as possible with forstner bits. Routed up through the planes' soles with a special long,thin router bit. Then,we put the plane body in the milling machine at the needed angles,and sliced the wood out cleanly.

Peter, I meant "horse mook!" I went back and corrected that. The MOOK part was correct.

This worked out very well,because the planes did not have router marks,but chisel marks,which the old planes had.

We invented ways to make large(for the museum) numbers of tools. Some things,like saw handles could be bandsawed out,but as the contours changed in the rounded over parts of the handles,the work was largely hand made.

Peter I meant HORSE MOOK!!! Went back and corrected it.