Anvil Face Grinding

Last Revised: October 20, 2023

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General Comments about getting an anvil face repaired
Several people have asked me questions about the Face Grinding of anvils that I do on my old 8" X 20" surface grinder. Here are some of the answers:
Yes, I do some anvil resurfacing. But I only do surface grinding of the anvil face. If that's all that is needed, I can do it. I charge $2.00 per thousandth of an inch removed. That gets me about $20 per hour for me and the surface grinder and includes setup and base truing, if necessary. I haven't ever worked on an anvil that took less than 30 thousandths to true up. I have worked on anvils up to about 150# and I think I could handle one up to about 190#.

In case you are interested in details of what it takes to do the job, here's an Excel spreadshheet history of my anvil grinding activities, up to the year 2020:
Pete's Anvil Grinding Data

Here's a short video showing my ancient Gallmeyer and Livingston Surface Grinder setup and how the grinding process works for me.
Anvil Face Grinding in my Shop, Video

In sizing up your anvil, lay a straight edge across it several different ways and, using a scale (machinists rule ) that measures 64ths of an inch, estimate the amount of "sway" in the anvil and the depth of the worst nick or dent. One 64th of an inch is 16 thousandths or $32.
Or, if you want to be more accurate, you can use a feeler gage to determine the exact depth of any dips.

Don't worry tooooooo much about nicks on the edges of the anvil as long as there are a few inches that will probably clean up to "square". I say this because most of us don't have ENOUGH radius on the edges of our anvil as it is. You need a radius of as much as a dime at the edges of the face closest to the horn and it should taper to nothing (square) 4 or 5 inches back from there. ---Both on the near and far sides of the face. That is, unless you are a farrier; they like sharp square edges.

Sometimes an anvil's owner tells me about how much removal they want to pay for and sometimes they just say "clean it up". I would prefer that the owner be there when I grind it so they can decide when I should stop if the anvil isn't cleaning up completely. This makes sense because sometimes there will be only one spot that has a deep gouge and it's really not worth it the grind away at the whole anvil for just one spot.
I can take the anvil down a agreed upon amount, (or less if it cleans up), stop grinding, then call the owner and report the condition.
The owner can then decide to stop or to take off more----As long as I don't have to wait several days to contact the owner.

A friend needed advice on getting an anvil FACE welded up recently.

here was my response: ---------------
Don H. welded one up and I face ground it in January (of 2018)
The plate wasn't completely gone, though. (The guy asking the question said the candidate anvil was missing the whole plate!)
Don said he spent many, many hours welding up the missing part of the plate with the "build up" rod that folks use for that.
Then, he had an acquaintance do the actual hard facing, which took several more hours.
There is also a LOT of weld-grind-weld-grind involved.

The guy who did the hard facing for Don told him NOT to give out his name! (There's a LOT of hot, dirty work to it)

After all that, I surface ground the face for him, which tok a few more hours (including setup) at the very least, depending on how well the welding was done.

From what I know about that whole welding event, I'd guess that there was at LEAST 20 hours of hard labor involved (Not including transportation of the anvil around the countryside to get the work done).
If you price that at $30 per hour (which is dirt cheap for a welding business), that's $600.
I could easily see spending $80 or much more on hard facing rod to add to that.

All that said, I have surface ground 33 anvils for people over last 21 years.
About 9 of them were new.
Of the rest, about 15 had been welded up.
I am pretty sure that EVERY one of those did develop minor cracks at some later date.
These cracks were cosmetic in almost all cases, but they did occur.

My advice to folks who want an anvil face ground:
In order to save yourself a lot of time, if the anvil is repaired by welding, take the time to true up the face to the best of your ability before you send it to me. It takes just about as long to make one full pass of 0.002 inches to catch a small bump as it does to work the whole face!!!

You can do a lot to flatten the surface yourself with a framing square and body grinder with a hard wheel.

I hope this discussion solves more problems than it raises. Please let me know if you need more information or if I have just confused you. I have been doing this anvil face grinding on and off since late 1999.
In February of 2020, I ground my 34th anvil face.