The avil search continues

davidwczerrNovember 5, 2004

I'm still looking for an anvil to start doing some blacksmithing.......the propane forges (yes two at this point) are slowly progressing and I'm sure having an anvil ready to begin working on would light a fire under me to finish the forges sooner. Good old anvils are hard to find. I'm located in NC and they aren't nearly as common as they seem to be in the OH, PA, and NorthEast regions.

Antique stores think they are made of gold.........auctions take too much time and the price can get ridiculous........so far eBay has the best selection and prices are fair, but shipping will kill you once you get over the 100lb range. I'm spreading the word with every one I know, and I'm starting to hear about anvils, but it's typically my sister's husband's dad's friend's type of thing.

I'll keep up the search for another month or so, but then I may have to bite the bullet and get one off of eBay and either pay for shipping or take a weekend trip to pick it up.

David

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gonefishin

Someone posted on one of the boards recently that one of the stores, Harbour Freight, or one of those had a good price on one weighing around 125 pounds, if I remember right. Might check those out, if you haven't already. Do you need something bigger than that ?
I am making do with a big piece of I beam which I can fasten down to a heavy metal roll around workbench if I need it more stationary. I have hammered it pretty heavy with a sledge hammer to straighten some quarter inch strap and it worked like a champ. It is handy to use to clamp things on to weld, and I set it up to bend some 5/8ths rod for pins. I have another piece that I have drilled some holes in so that I can fasten it down to something whenever I find what ever I want to fasten it to. Been thinking about burying one end of one of those big logs in the ground, like a stump, and fastening it to that. But I will have to make do with what I have for the time being.
Be sure and let us know how those forges work out.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2004 at 11:01PM
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Crashbob

Why dont ya go to the local rail yard, I got one about as big as the I beam shown and works great, only drawback is it takes my gas powered chop saw forever to make the point and the hammering width is a little on the narrow side. I'm not sure what it actually was used for but it is bigger than the ones you see normal trains run on I'm told it sings pretty when I hammer, I cant verify that as I am deaf.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 3:31AM
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gonefishin

That is just a small picture of the I beam. \":^)
Actually, it is 6" X 6" and a half inch thick and almost 5' long. That makes it pretty heavy, but probably not quite a hundred pounds, but like I say, I can bolt it down to the work bench or just clamp it on with C clamps. Railroad rails are undoubtedly strong, but like you said, a narrower flat surface. David is innovative, and that is a good thing, perhaps he could weld a piece of rail on a big chunk of I beam, they do make them bigger than that.
Speaking of innovations, see that piece of angle iron welded on the side of my work bench ? That is as perfect as I need to align a piece of square tube, rod, pipe etc if I want to weld two pieces together, end to end. Just clamp them in that. It also comes in real handy at times to hold a piece at an angle to be welded, and has a slot cut in it about half way if I want to cut thru something small with a torch, just aline it with the slot. It also has some holes drilled in it to hold something for bending.
No big deal, did not cost much at all, just a handy little accessory, or "accouterment" on my home made, roll around metal workbench that I made out of scrap for welding, cutting and many other uses.

David, that was Harbor Freight, I ran a cross the posting again which is now at the top on the Tool Shed forum. However, it mentioned one that was 110 pounds. An inquiry might tell you if they have, or can get, heavier ones.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 6:41AM
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kbeitz

A chunk of rail is good for beating on things... But....
If you ever used a real Anvil there is no comparison ...
Also the bigger the better... When you heat steel and beat it into shape you want alot of weight behind the hammer... What a difference it makes... My main anvil weights 345lbs with a 210 lbs anvil stand... I love it... I was in the right place at the right time ... I got it for $100.00 and its an English anvil...
Check out this old anvil... I have two like this one...

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 7:42AM
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davidwczerr

kbeitz, that looks like a multi-functional, very useful type of anvil........but I'm not sure I'd want to take to it with the 3# cross pein and a large chunk of hot steel!

Right now we've got a chunk of 6" diamter steel bolted to a stump and it works as well as can be expected. It's too soft to provide much, if any, rebound therefore it takes more effort to shape material. Plus it doesn't have a horn or upsetting table.

I figure eventuall I'll be in the right place at the right time too.........but if that doesn't happen soon we'll go ahead and get a 100-150 pounder off of eBay and I'll continue the search for the big one locally here in NC.

David

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 9:21AM
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jennysparkle

First let me explain I am posting from my wifes account, my name is Rob. Here is a link, check out Item 1500.

I also have an old anvil cast iron not steel (pretty sure), about 125 pounds, I am in Baltimore, Md. It's a little rough, can't make any statement as far as quality I want 250.00 if your interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: blacksmith exchange

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 10:42AM
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jennysparkle

Iron Age Antiques
Ocean View, Delaware 19970
302-539-5344 or 302-539-6274

N.C. Tool Company
6568 Hunt Road AR
Pleasant Garden, North Carolina 27313
919-674-5654 or 800-446-6498

Here is a link that might be useful: from this site

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 11:08AM
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davidwczerr

Rob,

Thanks for the links and the heads up on the for sale items at KeenJunk. I did send an e-mail about that Peter Wright (#1500); we'll see if it's still around. I appreciate the offer on the cast iron anvil you've got, but I'm looking for an older Peter Wright, Hay Budden, Trenton, etc. with a wrought steel body and hardened steel face. I plan on using it quite a bit and keeping it for a long time so I would like to get the best I can.

Thanks again, David

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 9:36PM
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isabelbc

go to www.abana.org and find the nearest chapter of the Artist blacksmiths of North America. there is certainly a North Carolina chapter. Go to a meeting or join and get the newsletter- those guys know where every bit of old iron in the state is!

Here is a link that might be useful: ABANA

    Bookmark   November 10, 2004 at 7:16PM
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modre

hey worcherwicz...I was browsing thru the 2004 Grizzly catalogue...drooling...and ran across anvils...they have a 100#-er for $110, a 200#-er for $195, and a 300#-er for $295. I don't know if that's in your budget, but it's a nice paint job...and of course a bunch of bite-size models as well.

net site is http://www.grizzly.com/index.cfm

at least get their catalogue. I ran up to the NE Pa. store (Williamsport/Muncy) 2 years ago to neb around and pick up a mini-mill (Seig) and was flabbergasted at the machines on the floor...from hobby line up thru mega-mondo-industrial stuff...clean showroom and nice folks...although some locals were giving me visual insubordination in a Mom & Pop pizza shop.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 9:19AM
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kbeitz

Hey modre... I only live about 15 miles from that store...
I got many of there tools... Not the best but they are the best for your money... I made a good living with grizzly tools...
My Grizzly lathe...

    Bookmark   November 15, 2004 at 7:22PM
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modre

It's probably a blessing I don't live closer...I drooled all over my shirt as it was on one visit...and mz. modre gets high blood pressure when I go shopping by myself...

I'm getting low on cutting oil...I may have to run up there again...they DO have some nice stuff on that floor.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 6:39AM
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davidwczerr

modre........I appreciate the heads up on the grizz anvils but they won't suffice. Like a lot of other newly made, cheaper anvils they are made of cast iron -- bad for smithin', so I understand. They offer no rebound, so all of your engergy is absorbed into the anvil, instead of into the work piece or as rebound for the hammer......also, they'll chip and/or crack. The only good new anvils are made from cast steel (Nimba, Peddinghaus, Kohlswa come to mind) but they can fetch $4 or $5 per pound.....ouch!

I'm looking for an older Peter Wright, Trenton, or Hay Budden..........they quit making these in the early 1900's. They are made of a solid wrought steel body with a hardened steel face plate that is forge welded to the body. Pretty much the best you can get from what I read. Problem is finding them. Well, finding one that is affordable ($2-$3/lb), nearby (no shipping$), right size (bigger IS better), and not beat to look like an elderly horse. I keep looking and sooner or later the right one will come along.

Sorry for the history lesson, but I didn't want to simply dismiss your suggestion without reason. BTW, any FEL progress?

Thanks,
wzxvuwxzuiqrrvd

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 6:23PM
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kbeitz

Peter Wright anvils is sometimes bring $9.00 per lb on E-bay...

    Bookmark   November 16, 2004 at 8:36PM
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modre

a 300#-er at $9/lb?
...to bludgon metal on?

...YIKES!!!...that's a decent lathe.

...how much is the hammer?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2004 at 8:07AM
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Crashbob

Like modre says 9 bucks a lb to slam a hammer on better use it in a hillbilly band to pay for it first then use it to pound metal and yes yikes nice lathe, was running one and didnt have my coveralls on my shirt tail wouldnt stay tucked in got it wound in the screw that runs in front slammed me into it I ducked and lost the shirt... and hurt my pride to beat heck other than that no pain .I'd weld a fat piece of metal to an I beam and use that before I pay 9 bucks a lb, but then if I use the real thing I may say why the heck I waited so long to get one the only commercial made anvil I got weigh 2 lbs and fits in my hand no prob so I am not an expert

    Bookmark   November 28, 2004 at 10:15PM
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spambdamn_rich

What about using an old engine block?

Cheaper by the lb :-)

Ouch, shirt-tail caught in lead/feed screw. I'll have to remember that one.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 12:11AM
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blacksmithman

Try Harbor Freight for a cast STEEL anvil better than cast iron. I do not know how good they are. I use a Trenton 225 Lb. I paid $5 and they did not want any more money for it even though I offered. It was in very good condition too. My lucky day.

Here is a link that might be useful: 55# steel anvil

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 12:41PM
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kbeitz

Check out this anvil table I bought... The top is solid cast-iron... Man you talk about heavy...

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 7:53PM
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davidwczerr

blacksmithman: I hope you left off a couple of zeroes..........if not, then color me green with envy!

kbeitz: that's one heck of a table. It's probably not going to move much when you are working on it! How much does it weigh? I'm guessing 1100 pounds.

Well I'm still looking for an anvil.......I had located a 200# Trenton in Ohio at a good price, but it had two large bolts run through the anvil from the bottom up into the top of the anvil, which I thought was suspicious. Then I found online that the Trentons were forged welded together from two pieces: a top and bottom, joined at the waist. So I suspect the forge weld had started to separate and somebody put the bolts in to hold it together. Anyhow I passed the deal up and am still looking..................

David

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 8:35PM
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wiz4867

Hi David: don't give up the ship. It took me about 5 years till I found a good Mouse Hole anvil old ,but good. Some where around 250 to 300 lbs. set on a 24 inch dia. oak base (log ). When you find the right anvil which you will remember that the correct height of the anvil is so that you can stand upright and lay the knuckles of a closed fist flat on the top face of the anvil.
Good Luck Bill

    Bookmark   November 30, 2004 at 6:09PM
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kbeitz

kbeitz: that's one heck of a table. It's probably not going to move much when you are working on it! How much does it weigh? I'm guessing 1100 pounds.

?????? Weight .... No idea... My homemade forklift truck wont lift it, but I did lift a 250gal fuel tank full and moved it... So its gotta be heavy heavy...

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 8:04PM
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davidwczerr

Thanks for the words of advice everyone. I'll keep looking; I've spread the word to everyone I know and I've gotten in touch with the local farm auction place. They say they get anvils from time to time, but none in the past three months.

Since I'm still working on the forges, I'm not to distraught about the lack of anvil.......yet. I'm close to finishing the small forge, I just lack fine tuning the burner, casting the refractory cement, and painting. I'll try to post some pics of the progress to date tomorrow evening under a "Propane Forge Construction" post.

David

    Bookmark   December 1, 2004 at 8:22PM
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spambdamn_rich

Anybody have a Harbor Freight 55 lb cast steel anvil?

For $59 the price seems right enough. I don't do much in the way of smithing - no forge - but it would be nice to have something other than a vice end to hammer stuff on from time to time.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 12:59AM
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gonefishin

Rich, that H.F. 55 pound anvil would probably serve many folks needs, those who are not at the advanced level where it makes that much difference. I picked up a couple of pieces of big heavy I beam at the scrap yard, drilled some holes so I could bolt them down on a solid workbench or where ever needed, some other holes so I could heat and bend 5/8 and smaller rod, and have used it to beat the dickens out of some pretty heavy strap with a sledge hammer to straighten it out. It has been well worth the price of 10 cents per pound, I would say a good investment for me, and something more in my price range than that 5 or 9 bucks per pound for the "good" anvils. I am not critiqueing or putting them down, am sure that they are the ultimate, but just out of my league pricewise and needwise. This one is 1/2 inch thick, about 4.5 feet long and pretty danged heavy. I can slide it around on this metal work bench to get the optimum position, clamp it down with C clamps of vice grips and have heated and bent metal up to 1/2 X 2". All I am saying is that such as this might be a workable solution for those not needing the upper end anvils.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2004 at 6:36AM
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spambdamn_rich

Well, that 55 lb steel anvil has apparently been discontinued by Harbor Freight. Or so the web site says.

I was in Harbor Freight over the weekend and picked up a 55 lb anvil for $30. The end label on the box says it's steel. The product label on the side of the box says it's "top quality cast iron". It's probably more than enough for my immediate and medium term needs.

It's got a very nice paint job, but the bottom isn't quite flat. So I'll probably be taking a hand-held grinding wheel in a power drill to it to bring it flatter.

Or I might just bring it into the shop at school to see what a good shell mill can do... :-)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2004 at 10:34PM
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spambdamn_rich

Well, I brought the el cheapo HF 55 lb anvil into the shop and machined the bottom flat. While I was at it, I learned how to trammel the head on the Bridgeport and then machined the top very smooth and flat as well.

Here's the finished "product". I think I turned a $30 anvil into a $300 anvil :-)...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 3:23AM
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kbeitz

I would gring that 5 letter word off the side If it was mine...

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 4:21PM
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Warren8

I bought one of my anvils at a scrap metal place here where I live. I think its 150# and it was $35.00. It did have a small chunk chipped off one end (bout the size of a penny) but that hasn't caused me a bit of trouble, I use it all the time. I've also bought them at some of the junky-er antique shops for a pretty good deal. Some of the older ones are great if you can find them with a relitivly smooth surface for a fair price.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 7:05PM
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wiz4867

spamb: A good anvil has a face ( top) that is perfectly straight lengthwise, but is slightly convex ( rounded )crosswise. This is so that when you pond iron crosswise that it is easier to move material in length.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 6:28PM
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spambdamn_rich

Wiz,

That makes sense. However it would be a bit more difficult to machine such a heavy object slightly convex in the Y direction but perfectly flat in the X direction. Would require some sort of rotary table or fixture.

Or it could be done more crudely by hand with a big file.

I'm probably going to leave mine as is. There are some things I do with small pieces that will benefit from having a perfectly flat surface.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2004 at 3:51PM
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wiz4867

Spamb
I would think that the old timers would have one of their apprentice hand scrape and file the top to make it convex. Would take a lot of time.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2004 at 8:04PM
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spambdamn_rich

A better idea: form a file in the desired curvature, and draw file the anvil top.

Now how to form the file... that may be the tricky part. Or it might be as simple at heating, bending, and tempering.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2004 at 1:58AM
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wiz4867

Never thought about that. The crown on my mouse hole anvil is less than 3/32" to 1/16" . It depends where you measure it. It has had some hard use during it's previous life.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2004 at 11:02PM
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ranchforever

I have a Peter Wright anvil 115 lb. It has "1 0 4" stamped below patent, what does this indicate and what is approx. value of anvil

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 6:50PM
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yellowfish25

Hi im going a samurai sword for my gcse prodject and i have been clueless on how to join and sword blade with its wooden handle!
plz help sam redfern

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 12:49PM
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