Purchasing an anvil

How to acquire your first forge and anvil. Where to get tools. Where to get steel. First steps. Next steps. Lessons.
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Vasiliyi
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Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:05 pm

Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by Vasiliyi » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:43 pm

Im currently looking for a decent beginners anvil (whatever that means). I found a 55lb anvil at harbour frieght tools, but im not sure that it is good quality? Anybody know if they sell good anvils? Or does anyone know where I can get a good anvil for a fair price?

skipnord
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:48 am

Re: Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by skipnord » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:07 am

I think the Harbor Fright anvil is cast iron, and therefore useless for blacksmithing. Keep looking.

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Darryl Ponder
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Location: Minnetonka, MN

Re: Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by Darryl Ponder » Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:22 am

David,

The Harbor Freight anvils are not very good, but I know people that use them as an entrance anvil.

If you have time, put an ad on Craigslist and see what you turn up. That's how I got my first anvil, a 75lb ACME (old Sears brand in the early 1900's). It was a very common anvil out on the farm.

If you have any relatives out in the country, let them know of your search.

My experience is that farm auctions are a waste of gasoline. Too many people turn up and bid the prices to crazy levels.

The tailgate area at smithing events is a good source, but will be market value and not cheap.

You don't need a true anvil to get started. See this youtube video of Brain Brazeal's students at work. Brian uses this chunk of steel with a square hardy hole and a round smaller pritchel hole and makes all of his hammers and much of his tooling using only this "anvil". Brian is a very accomplished smith, studied in Europe and makes excellent hammers and other works.

Also talk to Martin Pansch in our group. I'm sure Martin will chime in here soon. Martin has some designs for a DIY beginners anvil that he is working on.

[BBvideo 560,340]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNJVm7-M1TY[/BBvideo]



Darryl

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:06 pm

Am I that predicatable, Darryl? ;)

Finding a good anvil at a decent price now days can be tough. But a lot rides on what what you consider "good" and what you consider "a fair price." I am going to assume that you are rolling in enough dough that buying a new 275 lb Peddinghaus anvil for $2000 is not your idea of a fair price.

The good news is that, as Darryl points out, any sufficiently large and tough block of steel can be turned into an anvil as long as you are not hung up on having the classic anvil shape. Many bladesmiths in fact seem to prefer a 4"x4"x30" block of steel stood on it's end. Yeah, the working surface is only 4"x4" but how big is your hammer face? You can check with steel yards, scrap yards, shops that big fabrication to see what drops they have you might be able to purchase. If you strike out let me know, I have a few pieces of steel around we can get you going with.

If you stick with it you will probably eventually want to upgrade to a real anvil though. Darryl is correct that most auctions now days you are not going to get an anvil for cheap. Too many other folks looking for the same thing and many with deep pockets (though going to auctions that have anvils often means there are other things there you might find useful in your shop and that are going for a far more decent price). Occasionally a good one is posted on Craigslist for a decent price but are usually gone before you can refresh the screen. Most on there people are asking a lot for. eBay is ruining anvil prices across the country.

Talk to everyone you know about blacksmithing and your quest for an anvil. My first anvil came from talking with a hirsute woman named "Bunny" who knew this guy... that is another story though. There are probably more anvils out there then we would believe but most are tucked away in garages, barns, etc and you won't know until you ask.

If you want a real anvil right away though going to the Madness and checking out the tailgating area is a good bet. There are usually a number of them there ranging in condition from beat to hell to pristine. Prices are usually fair but no steals to be had. The people selling them are blacksmiths afterall and know the going prices of anvils as well.

Let us know how the hunt goes.

Jim Ericksen
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:18 pm
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Re: Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by Jim Ericksen » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:12 pm

the fall madness will be a great place to learn alot of things you need to / want to know including anvils

http://www.metalsmith.org/event/2013-fa ... -20-21-22/

jim

Vasiliyi
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:05 pm

Re: Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by Vasiliyi » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:42 pm

Thanks, Daren, Martin and Jim.

I posted a couple ads on Craigslist and made a few phone calls. I think for now I will stick to a steel I-beam that ill try to talk my father in law into cutting for me. Ive seen a few youtube videos about people using railroad tracks for anvils? How good are they?

As for the fall madness, ill try to make it down, but my wife is very pregnant, and is due at the end of September, so i don't want to miss that. (with our first) We'll just have to see.

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:33 pm

A chunk of I-beam is going to be pretty inefficient. There is a relative lack of mass under most of the surface area since the web is just down the middle. Even railroad track has this problem though it is mitigated a bit because the top is a lot thicker than the I-beam top. I believe the steel in the rail is a little higher carbon too than the I-beam. When I do railroad track anvils I usually weld some thick flat stock to the sides of the track to give it a little support. See below.
Greta's anvil.jpg
Greta's anvil.jpg (159.07 KiB) Viewed 6030 times
Unfortunately I didn't take a shot from the back to show it better but it would look like a Roman numeral 3.

Since I am posting pictures here are most of the other ones from the poor man's anvil class I hosted last year.
A herd of poor man's anvils.jpg
A herd of poor man's anvils.jpg (146.26 KiB) Viewed 6030 times

Vasiliyi
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:05 pm

Re: Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by Vasiliyi » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:50 pm

Image

Thanks to the advice of Darryl Ponder, I posted an ad on craigslist and purchased an anvil yesterday. I did have to drive a couple hours to get it though. Weighs 140 lbs, and I payed $125 for it. It will need to be refinished, but im not going to worry about that right now. Going to work on finishing my forge today.

Jim Ericksen
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:18 pm
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Re: Purchasing an anvil

Unread post by Jim Ericksen » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:46 pm

thats a good price and a good looking starter anvil , have fun

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