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Before I retire and can't afford it, I've decided to upgrade my anvil. I've been using a 105 pounder for the last several years and for the most part it has been a good work horse. But recently some of the things I've been doing, it seems lacking (and under sized width wise). I have decided on a Holland anvil; either the 200 double horn or the 260 double horn. My main question to the hive mind is, is the 60 "extra" pounds worth the extra $400.00? Shipping is not an issue as I'm only 3.5 hours away from them and I'm going to make a road trip to get it. The second question is, is a shelf worth it / how useful is a shelf?

 

Comments /  observations wanted!

 

Thanks!

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The answer kinda depends on what you plan on doing with it.  If I were getting one strictly for knife making, no, I wouldn't miss the extra 60# or the shelf.  But as a smith who does anything, I often am drawing out stock with a 4# hammer over the horn, so the extra 60# would be nice.  Also, I do a bit of upsetting, so I use the shelf as a corner to help stabilize the bar I'm upsetting, so I'd miss that as well.  
If the weight is a concern, you could do what I did.  I have a 150KG Kohlswa and the stand I built for it is a tripod made of 2"x4" rectangular tube filled with gravel and sand and the base is a 12" x 13" x 2" thick plate.  I'm guessing the whole thing is 400#+ and it's great.

6.jpg

RIP Bear....be free!

 

as always

peace and love

billyO

 

 

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Billy you raised some good points. Use is going to be lots of knife making, axe making, spear making and some general blacksmithing. The axe and spear making are where I found my 105 lacking. I’ve also been doing a lot of forge welding and the last several times my anvil has heated up so much I couldn’t put a bare hand on it. 
 

Thanks for your comments.

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Anvil shape also makes a difference.  A 100lb farrier's anvil with the long horn, long heel, and tiny waist feels very different from a 100lb English colonial-era anvil with short horn, almost no heel, and all the mass under the face.  The blocky anvil feels more solid and gets more work done.  

 

As for shelf, it's handy if you don't have a swage block.  My main anvil is a 220lb Refflinghaus south German pattern with no shelf/step, just like Holland's 240lb double horn.  If I need the step, I have a block that sits in the hardy hole. No big deal, easy to make. 

 

That said, just looking at the distribution of mass, the 260lb has it more centered under the face. A friend has the 125lb double horn, and I can vouch for the heat treatment. They're very lively anvils.

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7 hours ago, Gerald Boggs said:

Is your anvil securely mounted to the stand and the stand to the ground?  I ask as I use a 100 lb and find it does all I want to do.

It is securely mounted to a large stand made of 2x12. Stand is not mounted to the floor as I have to be semi-mobile (and yes getting a 260 will make that a bit more difficult but it will still be doable). The 105 does most things I want. I've just noticed during some of the heavier operations (punching eyes for axes for example), it feels like it's "struggling". Don't know if a bigger anvil will help there, but the CFO has said I can get one, so who am I to argue.

 

6 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Anvil shape also makes a difference.  A 100lb farrier's anvil with the long horn, long heel, and tiny waist feels very different from a 100lb English colonial-era anvil with short horn, almost no heel, and all the mass under the face.  The blocky anvil feels more solid and gets more work done.  

 

As for shelf, it's handy if you don't have a swage block.  My main anvil is a 220lb Refflinghaus south German pattern with no shelf/step, just like Holland's 240lb double horn.  If I need the step, I have a block that sits in the hardy hole. No big deal, easy to make. 

 

That said, just looking at the distribution of mass, the 260lb has it more centered under the face. A friend has the 125lb double horn, and I can vouch for the heat treatment. They're very lively anvils.

My anvil is of unknown age and make ( bought for $50 many years ago in a New Jersey antique store), but it looks like the Holland 84 / 140 / 190 so not a farrier anvil. The "shelf" I was referring to is the one that sticks out from the face of the anvil giving you that section that is "twice as wide " as the face, not the space between the horn and the face. Sorry for the confusion. And I barely have room for an anvil, let alone a swage block :D.

 

Thanks for the review on the 125.

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Hey, if the CFO says do it, by all means do it! :lol:

 

I was wondering that about the shelf.  I have used one once upon a time, on a 125lb Peddinghaus, and it's a neat thing for certain bends, especially hinge eyes. Anything you want to bend more than 90 degrees without hitting the side of the anvil, really. Plus it gives you a 90 degree inside corner to use as a swedge...  I'd get one if it was an option, it can't hurt.  

 

Can you add a set of wheels to one side of the stand such that they're almost touching the floor, and will engage if the stand is tipped about 10 degrees? If so you can fill the stand with sand, steel, gold, or what have you to make a heavier base. I'd say lead but we all know the dangers of that. :rolleyes: Plus gold is a bit heavier!

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I was wondering that about the shelf.  I have used one once upon a time, on a 125lb Peddinghaus, and it's a neat thing for certain bends, especially hinge eyes. Anything you want to bend more than 90 degrees without hitting the side of the anvil, really. Plus it gives you a 90 degree inside corner to use as a swedge...  I'd get one if it was an option, it can't hurt. 

This is what I was looking for. I wondered what was the utility of shelf and now I know. Makes sense once you have someone explain it to you :blink:

 

4 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Can you add a set of wheels to one side of the stand such that they're almost touching the floor, and will engage if the stand is tipped about 10 degrees? If so you can fill the stand with sand, steel, gold, or what have you to make a heavier base. I'd say lead but we all know the dangers of that. :rolleyes: Plus gold is a bit heavier!

Originally thought about this but as I just have to muscle it about 12 inches away from the wall, not really worth the effort. The base is solid 2x12 in about a 15 inches x 15 inches x 20 inch cube.No space to fill it with gold. With all the tools hanging on it, it weighs more than the anvil...

 

Speaking of which I went out and actually LOOKED at my anvil. It kind of looks like a cross between a farrier anvil and the ones from Holland mentioned before. It has a fairly narrow neck. Still probably some pf the best $50 spent in my life ( and yes, I literally paid just $50 for this).  Has a 1/4-3/8 inch plate welded to the top of the body.

IMG_2474.jpg

 

 

Took a picture of the only markings on it.

IMG_2475.jpg

Any ideas on maker and age?

 

Thanks again for comments.

Edited by Bill Schmalhofer
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No idea on that anvil, but I like that base. Reminds me of something.....

Anyway, I worked on a 200 pound Peter Wright for a long time and recently switched to a 160 pound fisher.

The PW was refaced and not very lively and the Fisher is a dream to use. I'm not sure the extra 60 pounds will make that much difference, but the truth is they list the 200 pounder as out of stock. So depending on how much time you have......the choice may already be made.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

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12 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

Any ideas on maker and age?

 

Looks like a Trenton with that long skinny heel, but that's not their mark...  might be an Arm and Hammer.  Both made by the Columbus Forge and Iron Company of Columbus, Ohio.  With the steel face and iron body that dates it to ca. 1898 - 1914.  There should be a serial number on the front foot, when you get the new anvil see if it's there.  If it's an A&H the underside of the heel should be kind of rough, they left them unfinished right off the steam hammer.  Whatever it is, it was indeed the best $50 you ever spent!  

 

You will definitely notice a big difference in how much steel you can move with the Holland.  That old anvil probably has excellent rebound, but there's no substitute for mass under the face.  Get ready to grind the edges, though. They come sharp enough to cut yourself on.  

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16 hours ago, Joshua States said:

200 pounder as out of stock

Just got an email from them saying 8 - 200's are at the grinder. Available in 2 weeks :mellow:. And they have 2 - 200's without the side shelf no listed on the website...

 

5 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

might be an Arm and Hammer.

Picture doesn't show it well but that is what the symbol in the middle looks like - an arm swinging a hammer.

 

6 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

There should be a serial number on the front foot, when you get the new anvil see if it's there.

Will look for it.

 

6 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Whatever it is, it was indeed the best $50 you ever spent! 

Yep :D. Someone didn't know the value. And a year later I picked up a 4 inch leg vise in perfect working order for $35 from the same place...

 

6 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

You will definitely notice a big difference in how much steel you can move with the Holland.  That old anvil probably has excellent rebound, but there's no substitute for mass under the face.  Get ready to grind the edges, though. They come sharp enough to cut yourself on.  

It is quite lively but doesn't ring much (thankfully!). Figured more mass would be better ( now I just have to decide on 200# or 260# - such a hard life)- and thanks for the warning!

 

 

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Dang, I might have to make a trip over to Indiana if you can get prices like that.

 

Doug

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

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2 hours ago, Doug Lester said:

Dang, I might have to make a trip over to Indiana if you can get prices like that.

 

Doug

LOL!!

I bought those in New Jersey 30 years ago. Don't think I'd find prices like that every again.

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On 4/15/2024 at 5:41 PM, Bill Schmalhofer said:

 

IMG_2474.jpg

My stand looks exactly like this right down to the straps used to secure it to the base.  and I do have 2 wheels in the side so I can move it out of the way.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, it arrived a few days ago and I got it home. Got the 260 with side shelf. Sitting on the floor in the garage until tomorrow when my friend can come over to help lift it into place. It is a BEAST (compared to my last anvil). I am so excited about trying it out.IMG_2540.jpg

 

Extremely lively (you weren't kidding @Alan Longmire!) although they must have changed the grinding process because the edges are crisp but not at all sharp. Can't wait to see if nice edges makes hammering plunge cuts easier. Hard to get a decent plunge when ALL the edges on your anvil are super rounded.

 

Speaking of which, the old anvil is indeed an Arm and Hammer and here's the serial number.IMG_2539.jpg

 

As far as the weight is concerned, I am assuming this "99" is the weight, but I can't figure out what it means. When I weighed the anvil it came out at 105 pounds.IMG_2538.jpg

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Hmmm...  Well, the one I have played with was a 120lber, maybe the big ones don't get the full sharp edge treatment.  Looks great!

 

On the Arm and Hammer, the 99 is probably the weight (someone's scales are off?) and the serial number is around 1924-ish.  And I wrong, they're not by the same company that made Trentons. They were founded by a former employee of that company under a very similar name (Columbus Forge and Iron versus Columbus Forge and Anvil) around 1914.  They're kind of rare, only around 50,000 made.  Compare that to 300,000 Trentons and 450,000 Hay-Buddens...

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