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Buying a new anvil


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#1 MikeDT

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 09:27 PM

I am a hobby knife maker for about 3 or 4 years now (this forum and the community are an awesome inspiration and help!). I make only a few knives a year and have used the 4"x 6" "anvil" on the back of a machinist's vise. I would love a better anvil and was looking at the Cliff Carol 35lb farriers anvil. I can spend $160 without raising the wife's eyebrows so this seemed to fit the bill. My question: would this light anvil be sufficient for the small (3-8") blades I make? While I would love a heavier anvil, I cannot afford, nor justify spending $300-$600 on a good anvil that gets used only a couple dozen times a year at most due to time constraints. The cast "anvil" I use is servicible but not ideal. With a good heavy base that I have, will such a light anvil make things easier/better for working hot steel or should I stick with the limitations of "old ugly" and save my cash for the next dream item? Any advice on the 35lb Carol would be appreciated. ... And thank you to all of the great individuals on this forum that share their time and talent, you guys are truly appreciated.

MD

#2 WillK.

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 10:26 PM

If your not opposed to used tools I think a smaller used anvil would give you better bang for your buck. More lb per dollar.

#3 Doug Lester

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 11:49 PM

A 35lb anvil would undoubtedly be better than what you have been using if it is made of good heat treated steel, not cast iron. Another thing that you could try is to look on Ebay for a block of steel. I got a piece of H13 from Shapiro Metal Supply who sells cut offs on Ebay and I think that it ran me about $230-240 by the time I payed shipping. It's approximately 8X7X4 and weighs 87lbs. Even though it's not hardened it will out work my 110lb economy model London pattern anvil and has really sped up my forging. You might check on Ebay for something similar or check with Shapiro Metal Supply to see if they have any cut offs that are usable as an anvil. Even something like a block of 1045 of comparable weight will be better than the anvil you're looking at an may cost only slightly more.

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#4 Al Massey

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 01:19 AM

I am a hobby knife maker for about 3 or 4 years now (this forum and the community are an awesome inspiration and help!). I make only a few knives a year and have used the 4"x 6" "anvil" on the back of a machinist's vise. I would love a better anvil and was looking at the Cliff Carol 35lb farriers anvil. I can spend $160 without raising the wife's eyebrows so this seemed to fit the bill. My question: would this light anvil be sufficient for the small (3-8") blades I make? While I would love a heavier anvil, I cannot afford, nor justify spending $300-$600 on a good anvil that gets used only a couple dozen times a year at most due to time constraints. The cast "anvil" I use is servicible but not ideal. With a good heavy base that I have, will such a light anvil make things easier/better for working hot steel or should I stick with the limitations of "old ugly" and save my cash for the next dream item? Any advice on the 35lb Carol would be appreciated. ... And thank you to all of the great individuals on this forum that share their time and talent, you guys are truly appreciated.

MD


It's a pity you don't live around Nova Scotia, you can usually find used anvils for 2 bucks a pound or so. There's three for sale in the Bargain Hunter alone this week.

#5 Gary Mulkey

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:32 AM

I am a hobby knife maker for about 3 or 4 years now (this forum and the community are an awesome inspiration and help!). I make only a few knives a year and have used the 4"x 6" "anvil" on the back of a machinist's vise. I would love a better anvil and was looking at the Cliff Carol 35lb farriers anvil. I can spend $160 without raising the wife's eyebrows so this seemed to fit the bill. My question: would this light anvil be sufficient for the small (3-8") blades I make? While I would love a heavier anvil, I cannot afford, nor justify spending $300-$600 on a good anvil that gets used only a couple dozen times a year at most due to time constraints. The cast "anvil" I use is servicible but not ideal. With a good heavy base that I have, will such a light anvil make things easier/better for working hot steel or should I stick with the limitations of "old ugly" and save my cash for the next dream item? Any advice on the 35lb Carol would be appreciated. ... And thank you to all of the great individuals on this forum that share their time and talent, you guys are truly appreciated.

MD


I'm not knowledgable about the anvil that you are concidering but here are a few thoughts that may help. There's an old adage that your anvil should weigh at least 40 times what your largest hammer does. [Most bladesmiths that I know use anvils 140 lbs. & up.] Also, it is usually a good thing when buying tools to get the best that you can afford. I certainly understand monitary restraints but if it were me, I would save my pennies until I could buy what will serve you the best.

One avenue for finding used tools that has worked for me is to contact the local auctioneers and let them know what you are looking for. They will be glad to notify you when they have something coming up for sale and you may find a good used one for the price that you are after.

Good luck & happy forging.

Gary
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#6 Alan Longmire

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 12:53 PM

Personally, I think you'd be better off finding the biggest hunk of steel you can find. As you have learned with your vise table, you don't need a traditional "anvil" shape for most bladesmithing. A big shaft off a piece of heavy equipment can be very effective. What you need is mass under the hammer. I don't think a 35 pound anvil-shaped object is the best use of mass, especially at that price.

I know, Cliff Carroll stuff is quality, but you're not doing what farriers do with anvils. Farriers usually only use an anvil to bend shoes to fit, thus the large horn at the expense of a usable face on larger ones, not to mention the turning cams on the side. I'd call the 70-pound one from Cliff Carroll as the minimum for effective blade forging.

#7 Howard Clark

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:25 PM

+1 vote for the big rectangular (or whatever shape you can find cheap) block of steel rather than a farrier's anvil. unless you want ot shoe horses.

#8 B. Norris

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 03:13 PM

Mike,

Take a look at this old topic from the forum here: New Homemade Anvil Design Something along these lines would give you a very nice anvil for not a lot of cash. This type anvil (a Post Anvil) has all of the mass under the face of the anvil and will perform like a much more massive anvil of traditional shape.

You can use an old sledgehammer head in place of the mild steel in Tim's design and have a hardened face. Also, the hole for the handle makes the hammer head much more secure in the concrete. Just take a bar of scrap metal and put it through the hole before pouring the concrete. Some old baling wire thrown in the bucket, or any old scrap metal you have around, will help keep the concrete together and add additional mass. The concrete re-inforced with fiberglass would not hurt if you can get it. Old sledgehammers are usually available fairly inexpensively from Ebay and even more inexpensively if you can find one at a local "antique" shop. If you cannot locate a sledehammer than you can always find a block of steel off Ebay. Something like this one. Good luck and have fun!

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#9 MikeDT

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:27 PM

Thanks guys for your responses.

I thought about a homemade anvil and thought a "real" anvil would be better. Thanks to your input, I will rethink the the idea of getting a block of steel and setting it in concrete. About a year ago I called the two local steel distributors and neither sold small pieces - I even asked about scrap cut offs....neither were very helpful - more phone time and ebay looks like my best shots. I'll have to hit my local scrap yard again, the heaviest pieces of steel they had were nowhere close to what I needed. Looks like I am going to have to practice being patient to find a good block at a good price....grrrrr, so much for quick gratification.....then again, this hobby doesn't lend itself to quick gratification, but the effort is definitally worth it!

Al Massey - thanks for teasing me....if only I lived closerPosted Image !

Thanks again guys.

#10 Doug Lester

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 12:39 AM

Don't give up, Mike. I had to prowl Ebay for a while before I ran across that piece that I got. I had seen some others but it didn't coincide with having money to get it. I'm very glad that I kept trying.

Doug
HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!




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