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advice on first anvil purchase

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hey guys ,
I`m looking to get into blacksmithing and have read a good amt on here and anvilfire.
I have seen a mousehole 125#,anvil with the pritchell and hardy holes,shows lots of wear but appears to be in good shape.No visible welds,cracks etc...
Its listed at 325.00...which seems a little steep to me...but I am new to this ??
I also have seen a 150# Peter Wright ,again no visible repairs,but this one shows alot of wear,appears to have enough sway back that its obvious to the eye,also the table is worn alot more on one side than the other and the edge is rolled over a bit on that side.Asking 350.00 for that one.???
Again seems a little high to me but...thats why I`m asking ??
Any help and advice is greatly appreciated.

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Buy the anvil with the flattest face and the cleanest edges that you can find/afford; minor pitting in the face is not so important and can be a good bargaining point. Badly worn anvils can be useful for some job, especially those that involve extreme violence but will limit your ability and draw you into bad habits.
Blacksmithing is hard enough to learn, without having tofight against your tools.

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There is a thread titled real prices of anvils that gives the range of prices people are paying for anvils now. You may want to search that out.

Personally I have been able to pay around $1 a pound for my anvils. One purchase I just made was a JHM Journeyman farriers anvil with cams, folding stand with spring vise, single burner propane forge, and 3 tool boxes of horseshoe blanks, rasp, files, hammer, tongs, hardies, fluxes, etc for $250. I would think in KY (horse country) you could scrounge up a farrier's anvil. Although the demand will also be greater there too. The gentleman I got mine from had gotten out of horseshoeing, and just listed it all on Craigslist.org. I also bought a lot of blacksmithing stuff from an estate recently, another Craigslist find. In that purchase I got a very nice Hay-Budden made in 1920 for $175, we guessed it to be 175#. My big 306# Sodefors came from a machine shop auction for $200, or $250 a few years ago. Dad's 260# Fisher was $260 IIRC, and he found a 150# anvil at a school sale for $50.

Shop around,and do not get an anvil just to get one. A lot of smiths here do excellent work with no more than a chunk of railroad rail, or piece of scrap metal for an "anvil". Although with some education you will know when to jump on a deal when it comes up, and not get stung. You will also be able to know what not to buy, and why. There is a bit of info here also dealing with repairs to broken, beat, and scarred anvils. Yea, I know it looks better to have an anvil when you call yourself a blacksmith, because that is the first thing everyone thinks of, but work with the best that you can afford. I have been lucky in my anvil purchases, as others have been searching for years and haven't found one that they can afford.

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i think any thing more than $1-1.50 pound is to much but then i'm a little cheap :) the ones i have bought for me or my friends never cost more than 1 buck a pound if you were in jersey i could put you on to a guy that has a few anvils inthe 100 - 170 pound range most were under the 200 range
the best advice is to tell every one you meet that your looking for anvil and such you never know whats kicking around in ones shed, barn, garage,and yards

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It all depends on where you live and the condition of the anvil. Here is the anvil pricing discussion: http://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/f83/true-prices-anvils-5622/

I almost forgot to mention that someone placed a Chinese Harbor Freight anvil-shaped-object in today's Iron-in-the-hat at the blacksmithing meeting, so one of the 10 or 15 people that bought a ticket got that "anvil" for $1.00 :D

Edited by UnicornForge
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  • 1 month later...

I started with the Harbor Freight 110 lb Russian cast steel anvil. It took a lot of grinding and belt sanding to get the paint and machining marks off and the horn isn't true round but it didn't cost a lot either. I didn't want to sink a lot of $ in the hobby until I was sure I liked it. It has a fair ring and rebound but it is not as hardened as it should be. It will dent if you hit it with the edge of hammer that isn't well dressed as I surely did (and still do some). I don't think HF imports them anymore but they show up on Craigslist. The hardy hole is like 1 1/8 so you have to shim 1" hardy tools (darn if 2 wraps of duck tape didn't work for starters)

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