Bob McRee

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About Bob McRee

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    Guangdong Province CHINA

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  1. I have gotten a good smile from this exchange! Someone once said, "If we always do what we've always done, we'll always have what we've always had?" Living in China has taught me some valuable lessons. Americans, in the past, have been movers and shakers and constantly searching for innovation. It is very true that Chinese excel in "borrowing" ideas and concepts. The old grandmother in a village here still goes to the well every day and carries water home in two buckets hanging from a bamboo pole across her shoulders as her grandmother and great grandmother had done before her. Long ago in the USA some pioneer on the frontier would have figured out a way to make some pipe and brought the water to the house! (No doubt he was spurred into action by his wife who was fed up with carrying water on her shoulders.) Your modifications made your work easier and faster and put more money in your pocket. I see your modified anvil is a testament to your hard work. At this point, 32 people have voted with their money! Good luck with your auction.
  2. Is there an anvil or company in Italy named Acciaio? I know these are made for the European market by the Chinese company. There is a common practice of Chinese unfinished goods being imported into some countries and then resold as "made in ______." For some countries this is 100% lawful. China is the world's largest producer of violins. Many are sold "in the white" or unfinished to European nations and labeled and sold as products of that country. China can produce high quality products but two factors come into play. One, buyers often order poor quality. Second, finding a manufacturer who will respect the specs of the buyer and work hard to build and keep long term customers. Quality control is very important to assure you get what you pay for. I pity the person who orders a container of goods from China and never has any kind of QC in place to protect themselves. I doubt HF would pay the price for this product. See number one above. As to the cost, when I met with the factory manager around Christmas, he offered this as a sample for evaluation. If I choose to keep it the price in China will be less than $500. I think this anvil is being sold in Europe for about 750 euros or about $1000. Actually, the manager is quite interested in getting feedback from blacksmiths on his products. He seems to want to improve what he is making. And one really big surprise, after sitting on my butt for several years, I was actually able to pick it up and set it on the dolly you see in the photo. For an old fat man, I was happier with that than the anvil itself!
  3. Thanks for all the good info and help from people in the know on FIshers! Here is the my new thread on my Chinese cast steel anvil that arrived today.
  4. In another post I had mentioned that I had ordered a new Chinese cast steel anvil from the foundry in northern China. I have been living in south China, Guangdong Province, for over five years. Feeling the urge to get back into knife making and blacksmithing I began to search for a real anvil in China. My contact with the factory resulted in this 100KG/220LB hunk-o-steel that showed up today. It is cast from C45 steel and is an Italian pattern. In fact the "Acciaio" cast into the side means "steel" in Italian, according to google translate. I did not have much time to spend with it today but here is my first impression. The overall casting is ok. There are only a few deep pits in the sides. The face is hardened to HRC50 plus or minus. There is considerable rebound and ringing from light hammer blows. The face is flat and well-polished with no obvious pits. The edges are sharp with some slight irregularities from casting which can be addressed easily in dressing the edges. The horn is unpolished and needs a little attention with a grinder. In addition, the horn is not flat on top like the cast iron Chinese anvils but it does have an oval shape with the top having less radius than the sides. I did not measure it today but during the up-coming Chinese New Year holiday I will get some measurements. The hardie hole seems to be slightly off square and the edges are quite well finished. The pritchel hole is not as smooth as the hardie hole but I think when the horn is dressed the hole edges will be much better. Both are 1 inch holes. If my photos show up, you can see my daughter posing on the anvil. She has lived here since she was 5 months old and can switch from English to Chinese with ease. And, yes, she thinks she is the boss!
  5. I think i will start a new topic on the new anvil. Have been in communication with the factory and it is being shipped to me tomorrow. Edit: I received some photos today after heat treating and they will keep it three days to watch for any problems. So, arrive in a week or so.
  6. I am in Dongguan City, about half way between Guangzhou and Hong Kong. I am the director of International Studies in a private high school. We have a college prep program and send most of our program's graduates to US universities. I grew up on a Mississippi Delta cotton farm in Sunflower county and lived 12 years in the Arkansas and Missouri Ozarks then in the Hill Country of Texas. This ain't Kansas for sure!
  7. Thanks Pulse, I just typed a long response but decided not to post. I 100% agree with both points of your post. The economic situation is what it is and lets talk anvils. I think rediscovering the proper methods of accomplishing what Fisher did would take a large amount of time and money in experimenting and playing around to get it right. Even if you get the weld to hold, I think the questions is, for how long? Once again we are back to the issue of quality and consumer confidence. If an American company were to attempt this, I think anvil buyers would take a wait and see approach. However, a quiet anvil has its advantages.
  8. My advice to the factory owner was to forget the cast iron/steel face anvil. There is too much prejudice toward Chinese cast iron anvils to enter the market with that item. My question was more curiosity than anything. I look forward to giving my opinion on the anvil!!! I live in a private school here and my shop is about 25 minutes away. I have not yet built my stand. Waiting for the anvil to do that. I have lived here long enough to know that whatever dimensions they give on a website or literature will probably be wrong. As to the steel vs iron issue. Cast iron is much cheaper than the C45(1045) steel they are currently using. But I totally agree that a high quality cast steel anvil will generate much more interest and have a bigger market than a steel faced cast iron one.
  9. Nowhere in my posts or in my mind did i consider making anvils allude to using the Fisher name. I think some of you jumped a little too quick on that. I was asking about the process Fisher used. Someone pointed out earlier that the patents on the process have expired long ago. The process now can be copied. Smith and Wesson held the patent on the bored through chambers in a revolving cylinder. Colt had to wait until the patent expired to produce a cartridge revolver.
  10. Yes, I am in China and here is the story. (I was told that I can be verbose...Yeah, cracked the dictionary on that one.) I have been working here for a few years and getting bored with the unavailability of my hobbies from the USA. An old, locally know blacksmith in Berryville, Arkansas, Ike Doss, gave me my start in blacksmithing. Work and family required more time and I eventually sold all my big tools and equipment. Recently, I got the knife making bug again and started my search here for the best anvil I could find in China. There is a tremendous variety of steel available locally and steel to make a good post anvil is very easy find. However, since I started searching for anvils I kept it up and found a very few making cast steel anvils. I contacted them in hopes of buying one. The manager/owner of one factory called me back and wanted to meet. He came to my area and we met over lunch talking anvils, steel, history etc. He has been in the foundry business for many years. In fact, was in a business relationship with one of the famous USA vise companies. His factory sells mostly vises to some of the large retailers in the USA. They do make cast iron ASO's and started making cast steel anvils which mostly go to Europe. He was talking about wanting to add a steel face to cast iron anvils and he was discussing using mechanical fasteners.which I don't think will be successful. I mentioned Fisher had done this many years ago and since he had the facilities he could afford to play with the process which is something most of us just can't do. Having lived here and worked with some factories here was my advice to him about anvils: #1 is quality. If the product is of marginal quality the American buyer will not spend his/her money on it. #2 is price. Since it is coming from China, the quality will be suspect. (see #1) The price must be enticing to the consumer. China can make very good products. For you who live in the USA, you get what the buyers order. They order cheap trashy goods from factories and that is what you are buying in the stores. Don't always blame the Chinese factory for the poor quality. Talk to the people placing the orders. Some BMW motorcycle engines are made here now. They can do good work. I don't have deep enough pockets to invest in a project this size to produce and market anvils in the USA. However, if I were to do it I would not use the Fisher-Norris name. Never thought about that, never would think of it. And finally, I am not so sure they will be able to duplicate the process. This week or next I will be getting a 100KG(220lb) cast steel anvil from the factory. I will give a review of it here.
  11. Thanks for the information and help. I also just found this earlier patent from 1847. Does anyone know the grade of cast iron Fisher used?
  12. I know that Fisher-Norris had patented the process by which the steel plate was welded to the cast iron body during the casting process. Does anyone have any details on the techniques they used?
  13. Well, I figure that $8 gas in one fellows station and $4 at most of the others is a sure sign that the USA still has some freedoms where the seller can set his price and the buyer can choose whether he wants to do business at $4 or $8. But I don't think anyone is making us do business with the $8 fellow. I really thought that among the blacksmith types there would be more independent spirit and live and let live attitude. Are we going to legislate that he can't own more anvils than members of his household? Anvil police? Are you goin' to tell someone they can't have more than one baby? I figure that his own business and none of mine. I have resurrected sawmills from sweet gum thickets, old tractors from the blackbetty patch and pulled anvils from the dust and cobwebs of several old barns. All of these have been sold over the yeas and I hope I made a profit on my gas, searching time and restoration efforts. I want to see the old tools used and the old ways preserved. I want to see our teenagers have the opportunity to learn some of the old skills that made our country great. Our kids need to know what axes, hoes,shovels and post hole diggers are for and how to use them. After you buy $4 gas and spend days driving all over the country looking at anvils one at a time that are not what you want or need, the New Mexcio anvil man may not be so high after all.
  14. I'll bet that all the folks selling new anvils and making new anvils are happy to see this collection. Just depends on which side of the fence you happen to be standing on. Also, it was stated that he has many for sale. Why not go out there with a trailer and buy the ones for sale and have a traveling anvil shop back to the east or west coast? Let all these guys here who want to see them in circulation know about your big sale and see if they will shake the dust out of their wallets to back their principles. Its his money. He is not hoarding food in a famine or vaccine during an epidemic. New and old anvils are easily obtained. From what was stated, he went several times to the quad state show to purchase anvils. He bought them on the open market from people wanting to sell. He wanted to buy. That's what makes the world go 'round. As an old scrounger from way back, I have always been able to find an anvil, post vise, etc... when I wanted or needed one. Shake the bushes! For someone interested in researching and writing a book on anvils that would be a great place to go with so many anvils in one place. If published, most of us would be very happy to have the book and information in our hands. This is my first post. I am living and working in China and I have resurrected my interest in blacksmithing. I am putting a shop together over here. Try finding a good anvil here! And yes..... I am shaking the bushes!