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I am seriously thinking about buying a new Anvil, opinions please!!


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I know that you only need a block of somewhat hard steel. Been there done that. I started with a 30 LB chunk of rail, then went to a 50 LB cold rolled cylinder, amazing difference on what I was able to work. I went from barely moving 1/2 inch stock to being able to forge 1 1/2 inch steel. 

Now I am starting from scratch again (have not forged anything for over two years) and I am thinking I want to just buy a new anvil unless I can find a good deal on an old one. Price does not matter so much, it is after all a lifetime tool. I want to ask opinions from people who have had experience forging on real anvils, how heavy should I go? I will want to forge larger tools like axes, adzes, hammers, spears, etc. Probably will try hand pattern welding if I can get that advanced. I am feeling like a 100lbs anvil will not be any better than my 50 lbs cylinder, just because the mass will be halfway out on the horn and heel. I am feeling at least 160lbs, maybe 200+.

Also any opinions on brands, because right now I would be going off what aesthetically looks good, due to lack of experience. Right now I am considering:

Old world anvil bulgar 205 LBS (or two horn classic 260 lbs)

Peddinhaus  #12 275 LBS

Nimba Centurion 260 lbs

Kanca 165 Lbs

Fontanini 250 Lbs

Papa Rhino anvil 242 LBS

Euroanvil, or German style 260 lbs if they are still making them

Reffinghaus no 58  210 lbs or 275 lbs

 

I know what you are thinking, why worry about brand, steel is steel. I am asking because if anyone has any firsthand experience with any of these makes it would be more to go off for me, I know nothing. I really do want a classic horned anvil because at some point I do find use for the other tools beside the whack-here face (like making my own spring fuller for forging a bolstered knife from larger stock)

I also welcome opinions on weight, because I will be forging larger material at some point bigger is better. But my entire extended family probably could not move that 1035Lbs Reffinghaus...

Right now I am leaning towards the Old world anvils Bulgar because of how centralized the weight looks. Would prefer avoiding Chinese steel. Not looking for most bang for my buck, just most bang period.

Sorry if this is the 1000 topic talking about this, I am having a hard time finding opinions on the anvils.

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I would go with the papa rhino from those options. It is the only one that is through hardened. Not all steel is created equal. A couple other options to throw out there that are through hardened is holland anvils and hoffman anvils. Hoffman has a website and holland anvils you can find on Facebook.

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I have a Refflinghaus #58 without the side shelf, 100 Kg / 220 lb.  It's a little on the soft side for my taste, but the price was right.  Working in a single-handed shop there is not much need for anything more than the size range you listed.  

That's the only one I have personal experience with, but Nimba and Rhino have good reputations.  Is Peddinghaus still forging, or have they moved to casting like everyone else? And is the quality what it was before Ridgid bought them?  I have used a 150 lb old-style Peddinghaus and it was nice.  Still not as hard as I like, though.  

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12 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

I have used a 150 lb old-style Peddinghaus and it was nice.  Still not as hard as I like, though

Are you sure it was one of the older ones?  I used an older Peddinghaus that size at the New England Blacksmith school and it had the hardest face of any anvil I've ever experienced.  The teachers there said that even with students whacking on it for years it hardly showed any surface damage from miss-hits (unlike other anvils in the shop).  I've heard that post Ridgid takeover they aren't nearly as good.

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Asking for opinions about anvils is pretty much spitting in the wind.  We all have preferences, which are going to run the gauntlet of what is available.  Here's mine: As a blacksmith, note I didn't say bladesmith, and for the type of work I do, I prefer a Swedish 100 lb anvil.  I also find favor with my 400 lb Fisher.  Except for the heavy narrow Swedish anvil,  I don't care for any of the European styles. 

Edited by Gerald Boggs
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Gerald is right, really;  the right anvil for you is the one that does what you want it to do, and that is different for everyone.  I used a 100 lb Columbian for years and it did everything I wanted except have intact edges.  Then I used a 143 lb Peter Wright until the Refflinghaus came along, and in a fit of pity I sold the PW to a new smith before I'd used the Refflinghaus long enough to decide if I liked it.  Bad mistake.  That PW was the best anvil I've ever used.  

Dan: it was bought new in 2000, and I was told it was old stock.  It met a terrible end in a shop fire.  

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I heard somewhere that Peddinghaus was moved to china, take that with a grain of salt because I read it on another forum and am not sure where. I guess I will go with the gut and get the old world anvils bulgar. I have at least a couple weeks or months before I have to decide or try to find an oldie. I will also keep thinking about a rhino but I heard they are also made in china.

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2 hours ago, Stephen Asay said:

I heard somewhere that Peddinghaus was moved to china, take that with a grain of salt because I read it on another forum and am not sure where. I guess I will go with the gut and get the old world anvils bulgar. I have at least a couple weeks or months before I have to decide or try to find an oldie. I will also keep thinking about a rhino but I heard they are also made in china.

The first run of Rhinos may have been, but they are presently being made in Washington State.  Forum member Jerrod Miller is their foundry metallurgist.

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A while back I was in the same spot you are. I chose the Nimba anvil because it's American made and has a good reputation. They were great to work with. I think they have limited runs so you might have to wait to get one. I waited three or four months. I am very pleased with the anvil. 

 

 

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Thanks for the info everyone! Knowing Rhinos are made in Washington makes them more tempting! Also the nimbas look about as solid as a... well anvil should be. And thanks for that link, some real cool anvils for sale, shipping would also have to be a consideration.

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Is there a website for the Rhino anvils? I live a few hours from Washington and if they let people buy and pick up the anvils that would make it waaay cheaper to get one.

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6 minutes ago, Conner Michaux said:

Is there a website for the Rhino anvils? I live a few hours from Washington and if they let people buy and pick up the anvils that would make it waaay cheaper to get one.

This is what I found...

http://www.incandescent-iron.com/rhan.html

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I bought some steel from the old seller of the rhino anvils (Steve McGrew) which was supposedly the same alloy as the anvils and it worked very well for the tooling I made from it. If they are the same alloy it is good, tough stuff. Very chip resistant. I believe it is similar to either 4340 of 8640. 

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52 minutes ago, Gregory Lirot said:

I believe it is similar to either 4340 of 8640.

That is not the case currently.  It is an air-hardening tool steel.  Starts with a fan cool on anvil sized parts at HRC 58 or better, and we temper back to spec.  

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Thanks for the info, I will reach out to Incandescent Ironworks to figure out prices. He also sells coke it looks like so if I go with the rhino I might ask if he can fit some bags with the anvil. 

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On 1/22/2019 at 11:05 AM, Conner Michaux said:

Is there a website for the Rhino anvils? I live a few hours from Washington and if they let people buy and pick up the anvils that would make it waaay cheaper to get one.

On their website they said they do pickup by appointment only for coke, so I assume that he would let you pick up an anvil. He emailed me back and said shipping to Seattle would be about $120. Also the price for the Papa anvil was 1425, which I think is a surprisingly good deal considering American made and all. I decided to go with a different brand, he said he had one more in stock so if you want one right now hop on it. http://www.morganjadeironworks.com/project/60/rhino-blacksmith-anvils-140lb-240lb

Edited by Stephen Asay
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So you bought a Rhino or no? I’m confused, as MorganJade IS the distributor for Rhino anvils, Incandescent is the maker. If not, which mfg did you go with?

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To be honest I am still a little undecided, I like the look of the Rhino, and it would probably be my first choice if I have the money. I am also considering the Old World Anvil Bulgar. I am probably going to be flying into Greenville SC sometime in the next few weeks to go home, I am going to stop by the steel distributors to get stock, and there is a blacksmith type shop there as well that looked like it had some potential old anvils in the $300-800 range. If I can't find the right anvil there I will order one online from whichever my gut is telling me. 

I have not ordered one yet for two reasons, first I have not got my pay for the last month's work yet, second I don't have a date for when I will be back in SC. I am working with my uncle and he might want me to go to AZ with him to finish up a welding project I started two years ago for him. The time it takes to ship worries me, because I don't want to be sitting around waiting before I can forge, but I also know that if a 240LB anvil shows up at home when I am not there my family will not know what to do with it.

Edited by Stephen Asay
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just and update I decided to buy a "Old world anvil Bulgar 50" 110 LBS. Thinking about it this was the right choice for me right now, for one I am a skinny weakling that probably could not move a 200 lbs anvil, especially if mounted to a stand. It will probably work at least a little better than the 50LBS chunk I am used to. Also forging hardy tools with a 3/4 shank instead of 1" will be much easier. Also overall it is a lot cheaper, total is probably going to be under $1,000 shipped to my door.

I am still eyeing a Nimba Centurion or Papa Rhino. If blacksmithing turns profitable for me I might make the investment of a bigger anvil.  I will be posting pictures when I get a hold of it.

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Pictures as promised:

jZpkeVBQBsvGm8I9OrKM6SN9Ya7Fg_NccLKJR9JV

bMO99gSF0tKnUXEhbg_bS7KYz0ldY_7mzzxhGhal

bMO99gSF0tKnUXEhbg_bS7KYz0ldY_7mzzxhGhal

zvpzUyCFDjeUw1DxV27-F0sX5O8of-MiZFmhyGQn

o4t1hQl-sTY_sPU_9EBIwMRq4BmuLqaF8TFpAWBf

yabrz-BBojcdq_sSKvsUas5vS0IWJ4Ys4qzbhCrQ

fhfKFflozQ8VI9mSuqmmfo394An86L3w7ccdKOgd

There doesn't seem to be a lot of documentation on these anvils, at least what I could find. It has good rebound, works great. It is not so hard that hammers will not dent it if you really try, though some of my missed blows today almost sent the hammer back into my face :). Shipped through UPS, weight listed was 114lbs, or 50kg. All it was packaged in was some shrink wrap arund the horns and face. So here it is the "Old World Anvils Bulgar #50"

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