My old friend Rob lives in Michigan and does some blacksmithing along with historic reenacting. I visited him in January and we did a little blacksmithing in his shop. He has an old carriage house behind his place that is becoming a nice little hobby blacksmith shop.
Somehow one anvil is never enough! In Rob’s shop there are both a 150lb Peter Wright from the mid 19th century and a much newer Hay Budden from the late 19th-early 20th century. Here is the English made Peter Wright.
It looks like it had a hard life in an industrial shop. On the near side the anvil has hundreds of pockmarks, and on the far side it has hundreds of chisel cuts. I wonder if it was used by a smith to sharpen quarry or Mason’s chisels. It looks like the smith tested the reforged edge on the side of the anvil. I found this anvil in an antique shop on the edge of the Adirondacks in a region that did stone cutting for making several canals. It makes you wonder what they did to wear this anvil so much!
Rob found this Hay Budden in Michigan. Ironically this brand was made in Brooklyn, NY. It is probably from around 1900, and has the prominent swelled horn and side clip developed for shoeing and Farrier’s work.
All made of steel this anvil sings like a church bell. It is the loudest anvil I have ever heard. It has a good rebound and the shoeing work hasn’t worn the face much. Since Rob isn’t shoeing any horses he will get good use from the smooth face on this anvil.
We tried out some different types of steel and experimented with making some small knifes for reenacting purposes. Forging heat was provided by a two burner N.C. Forge. This worked well for our purposes.
It was often only 10-15 degrees in the shop when we started work. We heated some round pieces of steel to preheat the anvil. The only other cold related problem was that the 20lb propane cylinders had to be swapped out about every 2 hours. They were too cold to keep providing 10psi and started to “freeze up” and drop in pressure. At home I use 40lb tanks to reduce problems with that in the winter.
We had a lot of fun. I’ll post more soon on our successes and failures making some knife blanks.