Resurface old anvil?

I have an old pre 1925 hay budden 108# anvil that I would like to
resurface. I had thought to just machine off the top @3/16" and
polish it up. What are the issues and problems to doing this? What
about putting a new hardened top over the exsisting dinged up one and
rivet/epoxying it down?

Find the local ABANA chapter to you, If you grind the
surdface you may need to have it rehardened, if you weld a plate on
it the weld is only around the edge of the anvil and plate, not
through to the center of the plate. When I had this sort of problem, I
bought a new anvil.


Hi agin’;

What about putting a new hardened top over the exsisting dinged up
one and rivet/epoxying it down?

Nope, epoxy won’t last an hour unless you’re just kidding with your
hammer. As for rivits, mmmm, how will that work? Weld the rivits to
the face, drop the plate on with the holes pre-drilled? Drill through
to the bottom of the anvil? You might drill holes in the plate, lay
it down, then plug weld, but you’d still have a bouncy, dead anvil.
If this were my problem, considering I know how to make money
efficiently doing what I do best, which is not re-facing anvils, I’d
job it out to the pros, do my own work to pay for it.


The consensus I seem to get from the blacksmiths is that welding the
damaged sections with what is known as a hard facing rod is the best
way to approach this. But anvil “repair” is a good way to ruin an
anvil if not done properly. Unless the problem areas are very shallow
you will likely remove too much of the hard face by machining and
neither riveting or epoxy are suitable methods. Welding a new face on
requires more equipment and skills than is available in anything but
the largest of forge shops. Your best bet is to go to the mailing
list for ABANA (the Artist Blacksmiths of North America)
TheForge Info Page and ask for further
advise and maybe even find someone who could help you with this
project.I to own a beautiful old Hay Budden anvil that is a fine old
tool so good luck in your endeavors to fix it.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


I have an old pre 1925 hay budden 108# anvil that I would like to

This is a question better put to the newsgroup
alt.crafts.blacksmithing but I have some suggestions. Call your local
welding supply and ask if they can get you an arc welding rod called
“frog alloy”. Frogs are the name for those places on railroad irons
that open and close to direct trains onto different tracks, hence,
frog-alloy is used to re-build them. Forget putting a new top on it,
it would have to be healed completely down to the metal below it, a
feat requiring a furnace that could bring the whole thing up to
welding heat and some sledge hammers with really long handles :slight_smile: If
the top isn’t completely welded to the anvil, the anvil will not
work very well because even minute gaps will absorb the force of the
blows, and eventually it will crack free anyway. But to do the frog
alloy build up, do it this way:

The anvil will have to have the low areas ground to fresh metal and
any dings or chips ground out. Then it will have to be heated to
around 350 degrees farenheit. This is best done with a big fire, a
chain fall, and some “temple sticks”. Again, ask the welding supplier
for temple sticks. Weld a little at a time, and keep a ball peen
hammer handy because you’ll have to forge the weld a bit before it
cools down to the temperature of the anvil. This compensates for the
shrinkage and keeps the weld from popping off. I’ve clamped blocks of
graphite to the edges to facilitate creating sharper corners. Most
anvils will have one edge sharp, the other having a 1/4 inch radius
along 1/2 the length of the face. You can then get a 9" horizontal
grinder and do a pretty good job of re-grinding it level, finishing
off with a sanding disk attachment going through a couple grits down
to maybe 240. It’s a day’s work and you’ll need to be a bit handy
with a stick welder. But get some further advice from some of the
folks on alt.crafts.blacksmithing, there may be easier ways to do
this these days. And there are, by now, companies that will do the
job for you, but I don’t know them off hand. Take a look around the site too as well as

David L. Huffman

On Google’s home page, choose ‘Groups’ and search for ‘resurface
anvil’, no quotes. You’ll find numerous references to topics on
rec.crafts.metaworkingthat discuss welding on new plates, hard
surfacing with electric arc deposited alloys, and the trials and
tribulations of “just machine off the top”. Some anvils have a very
hard to machine surface as many anvils were cast or welded together
as composite parts, with the top made of sturdier stuff than the
body. Add in the work hardening from thousands of hammer blows at
various temperatures, and you have a very ornery piece of metal to
work with.

I’m suspicious that epoxy would only last a few minutes if you were
hammering on the top, or placed a white hot steel bar on the anvil
to forge it. On the other hand, if you are only working light jewelry
on this, just grind the top reasonably flat and silver solder/brass
braze the new top in place. If it comes loose, re-solder/re-braze it.
Much easier than trying to clean off epoxy residue for the next

If t’wer mine, I’d polish a part of it for flat use, smooth the horn
as much as possible, and leave the rest, including hardy hole, alone.


Remember it is hardened, so it will be murder on your bits, but
machining would work, i would aim to take less than the 3/16th
though. I have heard that there is a welding rod that is made just
for this, you can fill in the nicks etc. then grind the welds down
and polish it up. Good luck.

Rhere was a guy who came to the SOFA (Southern Ohio Forge
Association, get togethers in Troy, Ohio,
who used to MIG weld a new top plate on worn out anvils and cleaned
up the horn.

I would noy use glue to hold a plate down that will be taking heat
and hammering. I am not really sold on welding a plate down because
the weld is only around the edge of the plate and anvil.


Where do you buy an anvil for jewelry work? I saw one 50 lb. anvil at
a Harbor Freight store, but it was made of cast iron, and painted
with a heavy coat of oil-based paint. I’ve been looking at smaller
and small ones, but they don’t have the lovely surface nor the "horn"
of a large anvil. Thanks for any suggestions.

Ayalla D.

Hello Ayalla;

Where do you buy an anvil for jewelry work? 

For jewelry work, an anvil might be more than you need. A good “T”
steak with mount on a heavy stump or bench would compliment a nice,
larger heavy jeweler’s bench block. And there are a lot of specific
forming tools that would come in handy too. Check Frei and Borel,
Contenti, and others. But if you like the idea of an anvil (I have a
little 10 pounder I bought decades ago at, of all places, Tandy
Leather), I’d recommend googling Centaur Forge and looking into on of
their smaller Farrier’s anvils. These have very nicely shaped horns,
but there are a few new anvil designs out now, including some with a
round horn on one end and a square tapered one on the other. I’ve
seen the Harbor Freight one you are talking about. They have two, one
cast iron (useless) and one cast steel. The cast steel one might work
if it’s tempered right, but a lot of Harbor Freight’s merchandise is
truly just junk.

David L. Huffman

Do not buy the Harbor Freight Anvil. The paint isn’t really a
problem but it is so soft that if you forge on it, even hardened
bronze leaves deep marks. The one I got cracked on the sides and
pieces fell off. Steel tools do a real number on it too. It is
especially bad for student use.

I bought a small anvil for finer work from Tandy leather (They sell
it to set leather rivets.) but haven’t used it enough to recommend
it. Also it doesn’t have a mirror surface finish but is better than
some I’ve seen. So far I like it.

I also have a steel bench block and an anvil that belonged to my
father so have only been using the small anvil for riveting. The
anvil I got from my Dad I resurfaced to a wonderful finish when I had
access to a surface grinder years ago. I didn’t re-harden it and it
has survived with relatively few mars but I don’t do a lot of

Linda M

Otto Frei has three sizes of nice anvils
(35-125 lbs) that are good for jewelry and small to medium scale
metalsmithing projects. I have used them and the are good quality
tools. They are in the $200-$500 price range.


James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


I highly recomend that you avoid any anvil or any hammer made in
China like the plague. Their prices may be good but they do not know
how to temper metal and the chips will fly. A close friend had to
under go emergency eye surgery due to a chip from a China made
anvil. Their metal is brittle at best.

Elrond (who’s coffee breaks over and must return to the grindstone)

See if this has what you want:

avoid the Chinese ones – There is also a cheap 110 pound steel anvil
from Russia at HF but it is rough and not well shaped.


In reference to your question, specifically for where to find a
jewelers anvil, depending upon where you are located, there are the
usual places to look for things, like under rocks, local community e
bulletin boards (like, word of mouth through
friends, and then there are jewelry tool supply stores like, in the San Francisco area (I know they have one,
and it is also @ $500), There are also ebay and online auctions. A
good Internet search will turn up some leads as well As always it is
a matter of how much money and or time you have to work with.

Good luck,
Sierra Salin @ Barkingcarpet

I use small anvils for forming things, I use my larger anvils for
cheesing or thinning metals. Plus I make pattern weld Damascus steel.


Take it to an auto shop that has a machine shop. They shave heads
for autos all the time. mike

Where do you buy an anvil for jewelry work? I saw one 50 lb. anvil
at a Harbor Freight store, but it was made of cast iron, and
painted with a heavy coat of oil-based paint. I've been looking at
smaller and small ones, but they don't have the lovely surface nor
the  "horn" of a large anvil." 

I bought a 120 lb anvil for forging large pieces of silver about 18
months ago, after doing a fair amount of research. I would not get
an anvil from Harbor Freight or similar places. Blacksmiths refer to
those as ASO (Anvil shaped objects). They are made of cast iron
which has no rebound. They are “dead” anvils. Here are a few links
that might help you:

  1. A general article about used anvils

  2. Pieh Tools - this is their “Peddinghaus anvil” page
    Blacksmith | Farrier | Coppersmith | Bladesmith | Equestrian

  3. Old World Anvils - this is where I bought mine. Seemed to have a
    good mix of product and good prices.

  4. If you are looking for a very small anvil - one weighting a pound
    or two - for small jewelry, then all or the jewelry supply shops
    such as “Rio” carry nice small ones.

Mitch Adams

Where do you buy an anvil for jewelry work?

I do a fair amount of decorative iron bending and some novice
Blacksmithing as well as work in silver… Please try the ABANA
(Blacksmithing’s version of this Orchid) website- just google it.
They have a for sale and wanted section and you will find many smiths
out there that can refer you or talk you into what you need… and
They can sometimes forge a good, custom anvil out of a piece of
railroad rail for small work- make a set of stakes for custom
hollow-work, or in some instances allow you to use their different
anvils to figure out which one you prefer! (Yes- there are MANY
different types of anvils… I would up buying a small Farriers’
anvil as the long horn allowed a variety of sizing options and the
narrow face was close and convenient for smaller detail work)

Kayne and Son in NC sells a variety of anvils- and they not only
sell, but use the anvils they work with…

Best of luck!

You know, I was at Cornell U. Large Animal Clinic yesterday to get my
Harry’s shoes reset, and my friend who is in the office gave me some
to try. Now I’m on a mission to find some. I loved it. It did soak in
really well, and her’s was in a large tube and called Hemp Chanvre. I
looked at their website but couldn’t find it in the tube. This is
awesome stuff.

While at the farrier section, I was asking Mike Wildenstein the
master farrier, about anvils, and he showed me some cast ones they
use as examples-very brittle and surface wears out too quickly-(they
are making hospital. draft, and custom shoes here, so lots of
hammering and forging). The four main ones that the students use, are
really heavy big anvils that are wonderful, totally different
surfacing. His suggestion was to try to find a used one that is old
but still has life in it, or buy a new one. Taking the time to
resurface by riveting or welding or epoxy just isn’t worth the
effort. I know they can be very pricey-I’ve been looking for an 80
lb. anvil for 3 years now. Prices at sales are through the roof
because they are pretty portable. New ones are pretty much out of my
budget. Eventually Mike will find me one, or I’ll be able to buy one
from the students.

The graduating students gave me a great Christmas gift. I had taken
some of my old horses handmade bar shoes over to Mike last March
after I lost Beanie, and asked him if he had a chance I’d love to get
them polished up to make some coat hangers out of them. Well, I’d
forgotten all about them, and the students presented me with four
beautiful coat hangers they had made using Beanies bar shoes. I made
them all hammered crosses with turquoise to hang in their trucks, and
a tin of horse shoe cookies. It was a great day.

Kind regards, Dinah