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What is your opinion on this anvil?


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Putting together a home forge and am on the lookout for an anvil. Was referred to Atlas Knife & Tool. They have a 117 lb anvil for sale for $469.99 which is among the best prices for a new anvil that I've seen so far while researching online. Does anyone know about this anvil or have any actual experience with it? Would love to hear whether it would be good to pick up or not, definitely don't want to waste my money. Thanks in advance!

 

http://www.atlasknife.com/product/graham-anvil-117-lbs-4150-steel-not-cast-iron/

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Integral swage block.  That is a very neat idea.  It is a shame they did raised lettering, it would be better to be recessed so that it could lay nice and flat when on its side for swaging.  I think they chose a good weight, considering you're meant to flip it over to use all the features.  I think with the right stand that could probably be a great addition to a shop.  Not sure how I would clamp it down and still have ready access to flipping it over or on its side, but I'm sure it can be done.  I think I would prefer a separate swage block, but when money is tight (i.e. always), this could be a great design.  

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I think I'm going to get one. From what I've heard anything over 70 lbs is a good size for an anvil, but for some reason I've had my heart set on something north of 100 lbs. I really like how compact it is specifically that the horn isn't huge neither is the heel. In the comments about it they state the 88% of the mass is under the face which just sounds good to me. Plus, at almost right at $4 a pound this is one of the least expensive anvils that I have come across that isn't a cheap looking one.

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The big bonus on this is the mass under the face.  I've worked on anvils ranging from 75lb to 450lb, in London pattern, English "colonial," American Farrier, Sawmakers, Continental hornless, North German, South German, and French patterns, and that's just the actual anvils, not including railroad rail, I-beams, forklift times, etc.  Of these, by far the worst is the American Farrier pattern, as there is almost no mass under the face.  It's all in the horn.  On the other end of the spectrum are the hornless anvils, which have all the mass under the face.  Since I do things that make a horn and hardy hole useful, something like this is a great compromise.  

My main anvil is a 220lb Refflinghaus south German pattern, and it's great.  BUT:  I once demo'd at a hammer-in on a 120lb English Colonial pattern from around 1820.  Very short heel and horn, almost all the mass under the face.  It was the equal if not the better of my Refflinghaus that weighs almost twice as much, but has the mass spread into a very long horn and heel.  

So yes, if the HT is good, this will be a great little anvil.  Hopefully more of these get out into the world.  They are not pretty, but they look practical. Sounds like me, actually... :lol:

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3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

The big bonus on this is the mass under the face.  I've worked on anvils ranging from 75lb to 450lb, in London pattern, English "colonial," American Farrier, Sawmakers, Continental hornless, North German, South German, and French patterns, and that's just the actual anvils, not including railroad rail, I-beams, forklift times, etc.  Of these, by far the worst is the American Farrier pattern, as there is almost no mass under the face.  It's all in the horn.  On the other end of the spectrum are the hornless anvils, which have all the mass under the face.  Since I do things that make a horn and hardy hole useful, something like this is a great compromise.  

My main anvil is a 220lb Refflinghaus south German pattern, and it's great.  BUT:  I once demo'd at a hammer-in on a 120lb English Colonial pattern from around 1820.  Very short heel and horn, almost all the mass under the face.  It was the equal if not the better of my Refflinghaus that weighs almost twice as much, but has the mass spread into a very long horn and heel.  

So yes, if the HT is good, this will be a great little anvil.  Hopefully more of these get out into the world.  They are not pretty, but they look practical. Sounds like me, actually... :lol:

 

This is exactly how I was feeling but I didn't have the words to put it into seeing as I have very little experience myself. It just makes sense to have the majority of the mass under the face for bladesmithing instead of in the horn like you said. The fact that it still has a horn is awesome too because I can see that having a horn would be a good thing for certain situations. 

 

As far as not being pretty, beauty is in the eye of the beholder..... I think they're beautiful but to each their own ;)

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14 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Sounds like me, actually


Also nowadays most of my mass seems to be directly under my face. I really need to get exercising again :wacko:

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  • 7 months later...
Posted (edited)

Really funny you should ask, I purchased one and it was just delivered yesterday. There are a few issues. There was a small ding on the edge near the heel, which isn't too big of an issue. But more importantly there were stress fractures on the face near the horn. And another thing, there are no dishes on the bottom of the anvil as described on the website. There are swages on the side of the foot, but no dishes on the bottom of the foot. 

 

I'm not too broken up about the ding or the missing dishes, but the stress fractures were a huge issue. I took these pics and emailed the seller, they got back to me immediately. They said the dishes ended up being an issue with production so they stopped making them on the anvil and just forgot to update the graphic on the website that shows them. They just dismissed the ding saying "dings on the edges are normal on a new anvil" which doesn't make sense to me, but the ding wasn't too big and it was near the heel so it is what it is. They did acknowledge the stress fractures as being a huge issue so they said they were going to send me a return label for me to send it back in and get a new one. 

 

Overall I'm happy that they got back to me as quick as they did and are ok with sending me a new anvil but it's kind of frustrating to have to deal with sending the damaged one back and having to wait to get a new one. I'm also a little miffed about them just dismissing the ding saying that it was normal for a new anvil. I thought perfect edges would be normal for a new anvil.

 

I'm really new to bladesmithing, so I don't know how qualified I am to give an opinion about the anvil by just having looked at one in person. The face (outside of the stress fractures) seems really good. Flat and finished nicely. I don't have a ball bearing but I plan on getting one and testing the rebound of this anvil out before I send it back. My advice would be go ahead and get one from them, the anvil seems like it will do nicely for bladesmithing, but when you get it be sure to examine it carefully for any problems. 

ding.jpg

ding2.jpg

no_dishes.jpg

stressCracks1.jpg

stressCracks1CloseUp.png

stressCracks2.jpg

stressCracks2CloseUp.png

stressCracks3.jpg

stressCracks3CloseUp.png

stressCracks4.jpg

stressCracks4CloseUp.png

Edited by brendon.davies
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If you want an unsolicited opinion about the ding, read on...

I wouldn't be bothered by the little (from what it looks like) ding because a lot (most?) blacksmiths will take an angle grinder or flap disc and radius the edges.  Depending on who you talk to, sharp corners on an anvil are worthless (IMO).  I was taught that you can always forge in a sharper inside corner from a radiused one but it's almost impossible to forge out a sharp corner.  Sharp corners lead to cold shuts which lead to metal failure.  

On my new anvils the edges get rounded starting at about 1/8" radius on one end progressing to 1/4"+ radius on the other end.

 

Edited by billyO
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Yeah, I was planning on dressing the anvil anyway, which is one of the reasons why I wasn't too concerned about the ding. I was more put off by the fact that the edge was damaged on a brand new anvil rather than the amount of damage that was done. If the ding would have been bigger where it would have made a difference even after I had dressed the anvil I would have been more upset about it. 

 

But again, the biggest issue was the stress cracks and they handled that issue without missing a beat, so I'm still happy to have an anvil from them and look forward to getting one that is up to snuff.

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Those don't appear to me to be stress fractures at all.  They look like heat checks from the surface grinding.  Basically they took a little too aggressive of a pass.  They will likely clean up just fine with a flap wheel.  

 

52 minutes ago, brendon.davies said:

I was more put off by the fact that the edge was damaged on a brand new anvil rather than the amount of damage that was done.

That mentality (you are not even remotely close to being alone in having it) is something that adds a couple hundred dollars to the price of new anvils.  Yes, it can be done, but it comes at the price of either extreme re-work or scrapping of parts.  If more people expected and accepted that completely unimportant defects would be present then production costs could go way down.  It is a difficult problem the industry faces (not just blacksmith anvils).  Too many people expect absolute perfection, because they know it can be done.  Sadly there is a big disconnect between the consumer and the manufacturing process so the real costs to achieve that difference are lost.  

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Nice, I ordered mine. I've never used an anvil other than my harbor freight cast iron one, and before that, a sledgehammer head set into a stump. Looking forward to it. 

 

I had a similar issue, I ordered a cello recently, it took forever to arrive, and I got home from a long week of work on the road and was excited to open it. The box looked like it was dragged behind a car down the highway, and the neck was cracked in half. They sent a return label, but still a bummer. Especially since it was the only used one of that model they have, so now if I want that model cello, I'll have to fork over another 800$ for a new one.

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