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Anvils, what kinds and where to get them


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So I am a 17 year old guy who just finished making a charcoal forge and have all the tools I need (to start at least) except a good anvil. I live in Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada so not a lot of market for that kind of thing here and the only place I could find that sold anvils was Princess Auto and those were only 24 pounds and really small. I got one figuring "eh it will work" and so far my friend and I are learning that we really could use something bigger so we have more surface and it doesn't bounce (the actual anvil bounces when we strike the metal). I am just wondering if there are any good places online that sell anvils or if I should just watch places like ebay hoping that someone will be selling a good anvil? Any suggestions for this or any other tips for a beginner would be appreciated :) I am also having troubles getting the charcoal hot enough but that may just be a case of not using enough charcoal. But yes assistance and suggestions about the anvil would be great. Thanks all!

 

-Justin Reynolds

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While you look around, a great subsitute is a sledgehammer head. I carved out a seat for it from a thick log, and boy does it work well. It's not the best, but it holds you off while you look around for a better one.

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While you look around, a great subsitute is a sledgehammer head. I carved out a seat for it from a thick log, and boy does it work well. It's not the best, but it holds you off while you look around for a better one.

Interesting, I may have to check that out, a friend of the family (he helped make the forge and has a fabrication shop) suggested taking a small chunk of I-beam and then welding a piece of thick like 1 inch plate steel onto it, do you think that would work?

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Will it work? Sure. Will it work as well as a "real" anvil? No, it won't. You'd probably be better off welding a couple of posts to the plate and mounting it on a tall block.

 

There is a lot of info here on anvils. Do a search for "home made anvil" and see what you find. Until you can find something bigger/heavier, look at a picture of an anvil and then think about what you are trying to do. A London pattern anvil is made for general smithing, but it made up of a flat surface with both sharp and rounded edges, a horn (extremely round surface) a hardy hole (for holding tools).

 

If you can find a big piece of shafting and stand that on end, that will be a better forging surface than your piece of plate. A second piece on it's side gives you a drawing and curving surface (like a horn). A block with a hole in it gives you a hardy (drill a big hole through a chunk of plate and weld a piece of square tube into the hole). Size your tools to the hole. Or, take several pieces of plate and build a block with a hole in the center.

 

There are lots of ways to make this work. You don't need a big flat surface for forging knives. My main anvil is a 5" x 6" post, and that is what I use for nearly everything.

 

Geoff

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Will it work? Sure. Will it work as well as a "real" anvil? No, it won't. You'd probably be better off welding a couple of posts to the plate and mounting it on a tall block.

 

There is a lot of info here on anvils. Do a search for "home made anvil" and see what you find. Until you can find something bigger/heavier, look at a picture of an anvil and then think about what you are trying to do. A London pattern anvil is made for general smithing, but it made up of a flat surface with both sharp and rounded edges, a horn (extremely round surface) a hardy hole (for holding tools).

 

If you can find a big piece of shafting and stand that on end, that will be a better forging surface than your piece of plate. A second piece on it's side gives you a drawing and curving surface (like a horn). A block with a hole in it gives you a hardy (drill a big hole through a chunk of plate and weld a piece of square tube into the hole). Size your tools to the hole. Or, take several pieces of plate and build a block with a hole in the center.

 

There are lots of ways to make this work. You don't need a big flat surface for forging knives. My main anvil is a 5" x 6" post, and that is what I use for nearly everything.

 

Geoff

Thanks I will look into it :) god I have so much to learn

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From what I've found out, the two best things to hold out while you look is a sledgehammer head or a rail road track section. As with most equipment as you go up the scale, the bigger and better tools don't necessarily make the knife "better" just "faster". You give any master smith here a simple coal forge, piece of RR track, utility hammer, and a couplea files, and he'll make a knife better than any you can find at walmart.

Edited by Caleb Harris
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Are you supplying air to the charcoal with a bellows,blower motor, shop vac or a hair dryer? If not you need to to get it really hot. As far as charcoal goes you should be using natural lump charcoal(Royal oak or Cowboy is what I can get at my local Lowes or Ace hardware) not briquettes. Any heavy block of steel will work as an anvil.

Edited by matt venier
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My regular anvil (I have three) is an 8X7X4" block of H13 that I got online. It was a cut-off from a steel dealer. Another thing that you can use is a piece of granite. It just has to have a large enough polished surface to serve as the face of the anvil. Check with a stone yard of see if a grave stone supplier has a ruined headstone that they might sell you.

 

An English pattern is nice but the more I work the less I need a horn, though I still find one handy from time to time. A hardy hole is nice for using hardy tools but they can be gotten around.

 

Doug

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Are you supplying air to the charcoal with a bellows,blower motor, shop vac or a hair dryer? If not you need to to get it really hot. As far as charcoal goes you should be using natural lump charcoal(Royal oak or Cowboy is what I can get at my local Lowes or Ace hardware) not briquettes. Any heavy block of steel will work as an anvil.

I am using a hair dryer for air and using briquettes, I have no idea where I could find could lump charcoal out of season and my dad hasn't made his charcoal burner yet. But thanks a ton for letting me know they don't work well :) I honestly had no idea :s

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  • 3 months later...

Hey Justin, I also live in Saskatoon so if you ever need a hand figuring something out send me a message. Sometimes having someone help you in person makes life a lot easier and speeds up the learning curve. Do you have a price in mind that you could spend on an anvil? I come across them once in a while so I might be able to help you out.

 

Here is my latest forged knife.

 

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Edited by Julius Saccucci
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my favorite is a bit of 2.5 inch diameter round stock that was 4 foot long i just made a hole in the floor and set it in the dirt and hammered away all that mass directly under the hammer works wonders i have a bit 10 inches now and sits on the floor it runs about 490lbs and i can rock it when hammering and its not quite as good as the smaller lighter stock as i dont have as much mass under the hammer if that makes sense

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Go here.

 

$85 US. You can go buy some 4"x4"s and build a stand for it. Additionally, if you email the guy that runs the site, and ask about it, he will fabricate one that 4" x 4" x 11" to give it more mass, and make it easier to mount. I think he charges $225 for it. Jesus Hernandez uses (or used) one that is almost identical. You can see in the background here.

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