View Full Version : Anvil Center Crack

09-27-2014, 10:33 PM
What would cause this crack in the center of this Anvil? Was it done when it was forged or cast? It has set in my nephew's father's yard for 50 yrs.
http://i750.photobucket.com/albums/xx142/Boot-010/IMG_07181.jpg (http://s750.photobucket.com/user/Boot-010/media/IMG_07181.jpg.html)
Thanks , Boot

Doc Nickel
09-27-2014, 11:14 PM
One of two things: If the anvil is cast iron, as it appears to be from the surface texture, it may have had a flaw when it was cast. Cooled too quickly, perhaps the wrong alloy (for want of a better term) or a gas bubble in the pour.

If it's wrought iron, the foundry may have made a poor weld when stacking and forge-welding the iron to form the base. Too much slag, not enough flux and a similar 'cold shut' sort of flaw is forged into the body.

In either case, mere hard use and years of being pounded upon could have opened the flaw into a full-blown crack.

If the body is indeed wrought iron, you can "vee" out the crack an inch or so and weld it up with any mild-steel MIG or stick. That won't completely root out the entire crack, but you probably don't want to have to grind or air-arc out a 2" or 3" deep 'vee'.

If it's cast iron, well, it was a poor excuse for an anvil in the first place, and is only suitable as a block of portable gravity. Or yard art, perhaps. It theoretically could be welded or brazed, but what's the point? That'd be a waste of time, brass, labor and electricity. :D


Old Hat
09-28-2014, 02:03 AM
It can't be a wrought iron anvil, because an anvil joined from several
parts is not constructed with parts that would have been joined
where that crack is.

That crack has every earmark of having been cast and cooled
far too quickly. It probably failed before it had a chance to be used....
but after it left the yard, or it would have gone back for re-melt.

Launching anvils goes back to the 1800's
if it's got a hollow under it, it may have been launched
and come str8 back down on the base anvil.

Top tier blacksmiths would never launch an anvil........
but they wouldn't own a cast iron anvil either.
Only once cast steel anvils were developed and even then
many rejected them.

09-28-2014, 11:41 AM
Nothing related to "sitting in the yard for 50 years" that could have contributed to this? I know I'd be pretty well cracked if I'd been out in the elements that long...

J Tiers
09-28-2014, 11:47 AM
Of course it's cast iron. one foot is broken off in a "cast iron like way", and more to the point, there is an apparent join mark where the steel face was put on it.

Snooty purists can sneer all they want at steel faced cast anvils, but that's how a lot of them were made in the US, and plenty are stiill around and being used.

09-28-2014, 12:45 PM
So the fix is obvious - melt it and recast it into a good anvil! :)

Old Hat
09-28-2014, 01:46 PM
Send it to me,
and I'll weld it for free.

And I'll hard-face the Top,
for that I need ca-ching.

It'll be a good tool,
but may not have a ring.

09-28-2014, 06:21 PM
It looks remarkably like a chink(no offence, it's the noise it makes)crack, usually when a high silicon cools there is a recrystallisation, the result is a crack similar to what I'm looking at, initially the iron looks sound but as the crystal structure grows the internal stress increases until the already cooled chill crystals on the surface rupture, thin sections don't seem so susceptible so the iron for a thin casting can be a high sil.

Old Hat
09-28-2014, 08:17 PM
Mark, I believe you nailed it!

09-29-2014, 11:23 AM
Is it from a known anvil maker, what's the weight? If no to question one and less than 125lbs, send it back to be yard art.

Old Hat
09-29-2014, 01:08 PM
I think it's a Lovely crack!
It has symetry, and ellagance.
And collored accents all along its boundrys.

We have a place here called the Saw Mill Inn.
I bet they'ed love it..... in the middle of their salad bar.

J Tiers
09-29-2014, 08:53 PM
that sort of crack just about has to be original stress, a bit like original sin, only different..... I don't know how to MAKE that sort of crack happen without it being a feature of the material and internal stresses. (well, I have some ideas, but...)

09-29-2014, 09:01 PM
I don't know how to MAKE that sort of crack happen without it being a feature of the material and internal stresses.



09-29-2014, 09:05 PM
"ACME - a tool you can trust!"

J Tiers
09-29-2014, 10:57 PM
Acme products notwithstanding......Cracking the anvil is no trick at all. Cracking it in THAT WAY, like the O.P.'s picture, is substantially more difficult....

perhaps just the right bounce off the tightwire......followed by a carom from one cliff to the other.....