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Hey all, hopefully this type of post hasn't been made a thousand times already. I looked, but couldn't find what I needed.

 

I currently have the old harbor freight cast iron 55#.

I'm looking to upgrade to something decent, can anyone point me towards a good source/brand of anvil?

 

Nothing too elaborate, I'd just like something that doesn't take a dent so easily, maybe 150-200lbs?

I'd like to keep it under 500$ or so.

I make mostly small to medium size hunting knives and the like, and I'm in southwest Florida. 

 

Thanks! 

Edited by R. Alex Dorris
Mistakr
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12 minutes ago, R. Alex Dorris said:

maybe 150-200lbs?

I'd like to keep it under 500$ or so.

Good luck.  They're out there, but not all over the place.  Keep looking on craigslist, e-bay, any local online auction sites, as well as your local blacksmithing group.  If you're really serious about your budget, then be patient and prepared to look for a year or so before finding what you want, and be ready to jump when you find one, they won't last.  As an example, I recently found a 165# brand new Peddinghaus for sale on craigslist.  I responded to the ad, exchanged 2 e-mails over the course of an afternoon expressing interest and letting him know I had the cash on hand.  I also let my housemate know about it because it wasn't exactly what I wanted and she contacted him too.  The next morning while on my run, he apparently called me to set up an appt, and when I didn't answer, he didn't leave a message but called my housemate immediately after, and she went to buy it.  So if it's a decent deal, it won't last.

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18 minutes ago, billyO said:

Good luck.  They're out there, but not all over the place.  Keep looking on craigslist, e-bay, any local online auction sites, as well as your local blacksmithing group.  If you're really serious about your budget, then be patient and prepared to look for a year or so before finding what you want, and be ready to jump when you find one, they won't last.  As an example, I recently found a 165# brand new Peddinghaus for sale on craigslist.  I responded to the ad, exchanged 2 e-mails over the course of an afternoon expressing interest and letting him know I had the cash on hand.  I also let my housemate know about it because it wasn't exactly what I wanted and she contacted him too.  The next morning while on my run, he apparently called me to set up an appt, and when I didn't answer, he didn't leave a message but called my housemate immediately after, and she went to buy it.  So if it's a decent deal, it won't last.

Ah ok. I'm not dead set on that price, or that size anvil. I just want something serviceable.

 

For some reason I thought the rule of thumb was a dollar a pound? But that doesn't seem to be accurate haha, I must've had faulty intel 

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5 minutes ago, R. Alex Dorris said:

dollar a pound

 

More like $5/per pound.  If you're lucky.  Cheaper ones can be found, depends on how badly you want one and if you're willing to wait.  See Geoff Keyes' pinned thread on anvils in this subforum for alternatives.

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15 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

See Geoff Keyes' pinned thread on anvils in this subforum for alternatives.

It is actually in the Tools and Tool Making subforum.  

 

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I agree with BillyO, bide your time and watch Craigslist closely!
I was in the exact same position you are a while ago(~$500 budget, current HF ASO).  I watched and trolled for 1-2 years before I found a couple older anvils that matched my budget.  finding ones that were not already taken was a whole other adventure....

If I might throw out a small bit of "advice": make sure you know how you plan to move this hunking piece of steel/iron, and consider how/where you plan to move it in the future.  my current set-up is a semi-temporary spot on my parent's land until I can afford to buy my own, so with the knowledge that I would have to move my anvil in the future, likely by hand and without the use of a forklift or truck, I had to let go of the 236lb sawyers anvil I was eyeballing on CL, and I got a 100lb TFS(Texas Farrier Supply) anvil from a local farrier supply shop. It works a treat for my purposes currently, I saved a little money, and being able to move it myself was a HUGE PLUS

Edited by Jaron Martindale
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 You could take a look at Atlas Tools knifemakers anvil it doesn't have a horn, which I almost never used as time went on, but it does have a hardy hole which could hold a bick tool to replace the horn if you needed one.  The lack of a horn also reduces the weight and places the mass of the anvil under the work so it will be more efficient than a European pattern anvil of the same weight.

 

Doug

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3 hours ago, R. Alex Dorris said:

For some reason I thought the rule of thumb was a dollar a pound? But that doesn't seem to be accurate haha, I must've had faulty intel 

That and other prices by pound were nothing more then a fiction created by armchair smiths.  Prices are what someone will pay.  I have four anvils that I paid $600 each, a 35 lb, 100lb, 400lb and 600+ lb.  The 35 was in great shape and just so cute :-)

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15 to 20 years ago, anvil hunting was a fun part of the whole process. There were still deals to be found and still old timers that would give a guy a break if he found out you were serious about forging. (I scored a pre-pritchel Mouse Hole for $35 because I promised I'd use it)

 

Considering the popularity of smithing, the Cash-for-Clunkers era scrap frenzy, Ebay, and American Pickers, the fun is about gone. We have ads on our local Craigslist begging for anvils and equipment. An antique in decent shape is going for near new prices per pound. Not saying there's not a few sleeper barn finds out there, but they are few and far between.

 

I think that if I was in the market now, I'd consider an anvil as a premium investment like a grinder or other equipment. I'd decide what size I need, shop those available (preferably American made), and start saving to buy what I want. That's the way I got my primary anvil... made some stuff, sold some stuff, saved enough and bought it. Folks are different, but my 178lb anvil will probably be the last I'll ever need.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/19/2021 at 3:01 PM, Doug Lester said:

 You could take a look at Atlas Tools knifemakers anvil it doesn't have a horn, which I almost never used as time went on, but it does have a hardy hole which could hold a bick tool to replace the horn if you needed one.  The lack of a horn also reduces the weight and places the mass of the anvil under the work so it will be more efficient than a European pattern anvil of the same weight.

 

Doug

I have an atlas forge, which I'm happy with, and I was going to ask you all what you thought of their anvils!

 

That brand actually has another anvil thats 117 lbs with a small conical horn. It also appears to have swages along the bottom, and it has a similar square, blocky shape like the one you mentioned. 500$ new. Seems to be about as good a deal as I'm likely to find.

I'm gonna be making jewelry and miscellaneous other stuff in addition to knives, so I think I'm gonna go for something with a horn to keep my options open.

 

Edited by R. Alex Dorris
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Visited Atlas Tools web site, we talked about them before, still the made in China products and apparently, you have to do the finishing "New anvils will require dressing. This is the process of grinding your anvil smooth to your liking. An angle grinder with a 40/80/120 flap wheel will only take a few minutes to dress the horn, corners, step, etc."

 

If all you want is a block of steel, sans horn, why not get a piece of 4140 from your local steel distributor?  Mine has round up to 12" diameter, or they did last I checked and a lot cheaper then $500

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