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I Forge Iron

whats so special about anvils anyway?


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It actually has very little real value to me its 70 lbs making it too small for me to use. I really just think its cool I found it. Ideally I would like to sell it a hardcore collector. I have not met that person yet. it may go up on eBay or I might auction it off at sofa one year. The money will go towards some piece of equipment that will make me some money.


Then selling it has more value to you, right?
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Some people like to collect things. The blacksmiths that used these anvils contributed in no small way to help to build this country. So basically if you trash an antique anvil you have destroyed

Hey, this is turning into a love in, pretty much with you there, especially about repecting the old time served guys. And on a good bit of debate/ controversy. Being too scared to tread on toes or cha

What else is a dead horse good for? We're having fun, right? Now this has merit: If ya can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with. I just got rid of my 50lb Little Giant in favor of an


"trashing' an anvil"
.
.

Repeatedly striking hardened steel on the face of the anvil
leaving it outside for half century or more

.
.
testing 50,000 cold chisels and center punches on the base of the anvil.

.


Hey South, what's your view on the way this anvil is treated, been outside for way more than half a century, and it's in a museum, and it's a rare anvil :D

I suspect when these guys came up with this anvil they weren't to bothered about preserving the past 2 century's designs. I guess their prime motivation was to make an anvil most efficiently suited to their task at hand. I kinda suspect they arrived at this shape by first experimenting and modifying whatever type of anvils they had around.

The anvils are at Abbeydal industrial Hamlet near Sheffield that was a water powered scythye making complex in use until the 1930s. They even made their own steel there. Wonderful place

http://blacksmith.or...p=1961#post1961

post-11205-038205700 1281914434_thumb.jp

post-11205-026533200 1281914440_thumb.jp

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As a museum it is their obligation to preserve the artifacts in their collection. That anvil also known as a stiddy is made form wrought iron and blister steel as far as I understand. Fortunately those materials stand up to the weather quite well. If I were running that museum I would bring that anvil inside. I think they would want to preserve their collection so someone 200 years form now could have an understanding of what working conditions were like during this time period. Like I have said before these things are no longer made and are irreplaceable. When people see rusty worn out tools they don't really understand that these were useful productive things. They just think they are old junk.

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by your logic should old mechanical power hammer not be modified in any way and be hooked up to a line shaft powered by steam engines?

I don't really think a professional smith has any business messing around with mechanical hammers. Having owned three and now the proud owner of an air hammer. If you have nothing else they are better than working by hand but once you get your hands on an air hammer they look like quaint old machines. It is the owners progrative what they do with it.. But unless you are very knowledgeable about hammers any modification is likely to reduce its functionality not enhance it. If the hammer is particularly rare I would hope they would painstakingly restore it and when they were done with it whey would find a good home for it. I really don't think it matters how you power it. Back in the day they used Steam power, water power, gas diesel and electric motors. Unless your goal is to reproduce a historically correct shop.
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There are some words that need to be used with care here, use: to put into action, abuse: to put to a wrong use, or service and finally, neglect: to leave unattended through carelessness. These three words are closely associated with what we can do with or to tools. I like tools, my dad taught me how to use my tools and here is the first of the words, use. He was very strict about it. Every tool had it's purpose, most of your father's taught you that or at least I hope that's true and if not your father maybe your mother or some other family member or a shop teacher or who knows, but there was some one who taught you how to put ACTION behind the use of that tool. The next thing you learned about was abuse. Some folk never, ever have learned about this word, their tools are used and abused. I learned about this word the hard way, I abused my fathers Eastwing leather grip claw hammer. I was five years old and hitting large quartz rocks to see the sparks, I just about ruined the face on it, my rear end was abused for that trick. You see it took a lot of depression ear dollars for my dad to buy that hammer so he didn't ABUSE his tools. He had generational tools, tools from his great-grandfather, still usable. They were well used, but not abused, I still have them, I used them in my smithing. This brings us to the next word, neglect. Now I'm guilty of this word, I neglect my tools, my health is not good, my sons don't care about tools and I haven't the strength or energy to care for them so they are unattended and sit there rusting. One can use their tools, abuse their tools or just neglect them. Now there are two other categories of tool folk, the collector and the professional smith. The collector saves tools for future generations and the professional smith uses and sometimes abuses them for the here and now. Neither is all right and neither is wrong, most of us that do smithing are somewhere in the middle between these two extremes, I have the training of my father to take care of your tools, money and tools don't grow on trees and the younger smiths I have met who know that there is always another tool around the corner. Go ahead and use it, you aren't going to get anything done by looking at, only collectors are happy looking at, smiths are happiest working it to death. :blink:

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I don't really think a professional smith has any business messing around with mechanical hammers.


I quite enjoy using a good mechanical hammer, and I'll go mano-a-mano with anyone on a like size air hammer. The hammer only needs to supply the power. I'll supply the rest.
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As a museum it is their obligation to preserve the artifacts in their collection. That anvil also known as a stiddy is made form wrought iron and blister steel as far as I understand. Fortunately those materials stand up to the weather quite well. If I were running that museum I would bring that anvil inside. I think they would want to preserve their collection so someone 200 years form now could have an understanding of what working conditions were like during this time period. Like I have said before these things are no longer made and are irreplaceable. When people see rusty worn out tools they don't really understand that these were useful productive things. They just think they are old junk.



Not so much "preserve the artifacts" as preserve the past. They keep that place, as much as they can, as it was when it was running. As opposed to being a collection of tools. Having that anvil and other tools outside is part of that past.
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I rest my case:


Their intentions at museums and other historic locations are good but details are not always accurate, eg the "Pot man" was actually overseer of the process, the trampling was done by youngsters.

Many years ago when the hamlet was first opened, the guides made no mention of this in the talks they gave about the process, my father informed them of why it was done, and who did it (he was a manager in a crucible steelmakers prior to WW2), at least they got the process in,
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I rest my case:


Except for the bare feet it sounds like a regular day at some of the jobs I held in the past.
Anybody who thinks welding in a coal tar sealed fish hold is even remotely OK is obviously someone who works in the office.
Anyone who thinks a cash bonus covers pulling pipe filled with gelled acid because someone in a suit screwed up the displacement calculations is probably watching the festivities from the comfort of an air conditioned car parked up on a hill.

You know it`s going to be a tough day when they inventory and pay you in advance for your tools and you write down your sizes so they can bring you new clothes at the end of the day.
I used to think about that person running around trying to find size 8-1/2 EEEE work boots and smile.More than once I had to wear shower shoes home,didn`t go to the car without an argument and a blank voucher though <_<
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Their intentions at museums and other historic locations are good but details are not always accurate, eg the "Pot man" was actually overseer of the process, the trampling was done by youngsters.

Many years ago when the hamlet was first opened, the guides made no mention of this in the talks they gave about the process, my father informed them of why it was done, and who did it (he was a manager in a crucible steelmakers prior to WW2), at least they got the process in,



Guess who ever did the trampling, it was agood job to get into the "zen" of doing it :D
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Not so much "preserve the artifacts" as preserve the past. They keep that place, as much as they can, as it was when it was running. As opposed to being a collection of tools. Having that anvil and other tools outside is part of that past.


The past is gone all that is left are the artifacts. That's why they should be preserved in as close as original as possible. So people can understand it as it was.they cant really get the idea by looking at a bunch of weathered junk and wondering how these people could have used this stuff. I have worked at two museums I also studdied anthropology in school for a wile. I have some understanding of preservation practices. I have also done a bit of work on historical buildings.
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I quite enjoy using a good mechanical hammer, and I'll go mano-a-mano with anyone on a like size air hammer. The hammer only needs to supply the power. I'll supply the rest.


You are a master of power forging. Most of us are not. I worked on mechanical hammers for years. I am tired of making parts, buying springs, messing around with flat belts that stretch wen the weather changes remembering to oil 15 different places adjusting brakes and clutches and so on. Not a good way to make money I say. Buy a new air hammer plug it in and get to work. If a 200 Lb Bradly compact or other like industrial grade hammer in super condition were to come my way I might put it in the shop but that's about it. Still It would be my second hammer.
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Guess who ever did the trampling, it was agood job to get into the "zen" of doing it :D


They wasn't into doing it for the zen, but for the threepenny bit at the end of the week, or it could have been a token from the owners so the could trade it for stuff from the owners shops, that was the reality, not the romantic version. It was bl***y hard graft.

You could tell how long someone had worked in some of these places by the amount of digits left on their hands.
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You are a master of power forging. Most of us are not. I worked on mechanical hammers for years. I am tired of making parts, buying springs, messing around with flat belts that stretch wen the weather changes remembering to oil 15 different places adjusting brakes and clutches and so on. Not a good way to make money I say. Buy a new air hammer plug it in and get to work. If a 200 Lb Bradly compact or other like industrial grade hammer in super condition were to come my way I might put it in the shop but that's about it. Still It would be my second hammer.


Silly rabbit, its not the tool that makes the man, its the man that makes the tool. My Murray has run through at least 25 ton of architectural metal work. Had a spring break once, had a extra, other than that just powered it up. I also had one of your so called money machines (air hammer) used it a hand full of times, sold it and I'll never buy one again. I also ride a 1947 Harley, drive a beat up diesel ford truck and live in a 50 year old house, not much in favor of the latest and greatest.
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Silly rabbit, its not the tool that makes the man, its the man that makes the tool. My Murray has run through at least 25 ton of architectural metal work. Had a spring break once, had a extra, other than that just powered it up. I also had one of your so called money machines (air hammer) used it a hand full of times, sold it and I'll never buy one again. I also ride a 1947 Harley, drive a beat up diesel ford truck and live in a 50 year old house, not much in favor of the latest and greatest.


If mechanical hammers are so great how come for the exception of one company in India no one makes them any more? I love old tools old houses and old trucks I just don't have the time to fix stuff all the time. Its hard enough making a living as a blacksmith why put the extra burden of all of the additional maintenance on your back. I buy the best stuff I can afford new or used. Just so you know I grew up in a house that was built in 1790 my first car was a 68 dodge van in 1992 I have owned a #75 Fairbanks a #50 star and a #40 Bradly helve and many other old machines. I see it as sort of like the difference between arc welding and mig welding. Arc welding works well and is the best way for some jobs but if you said it was better than a MIG for general fab work I would question your intelligence.
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I don't find your reasoning convincing:

If post vises are such great tools how come there is only 1 company making new ones? I guess this means we will get rid of all our postvises now since they must not be that great!

Manufacturing is not a sole indicator of worth. Probably the most common anvil sold in the USA is the HF 55# cast iron ASO. Is it the best? Would anyone switch out any of their old anvils for one of them since none of them are being made but the HF is?


The most common brand of mechanical hammer here in the USA was not the *best* brand. However it was *cheap* and the manufacturer would sell them on time payments.

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I believe that there is a company in Italy that still makes mech hammers though they may be importing them from elsewhere. I use a mechanical hammer because I'm not prepared to wait for an air hammer to warm up, I also prefer arc over mig due to versatility, simplicity and improved quality of weld.

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I think the take-home message for the original question is: if it's YOUR anvil, do what you want with it.

Some people will be disappointed if you decide to modify it, but why should you care what anyone else thinks? Some people care about the history, others don't. For those that do (I'm included in this group) we are helping support Mr. Postman in his retirement years. For those that don't, they will be supporting the anvil manufacturers of the world.

This thread has become the proverbial beating of the dead horse. I doubt we will see any arguments that will sway points of view from one side to the other.

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I don't find your reasoning convincing:

If post vises are such great tools how come there is only 1 company making new ones? I guess this means we will get rid of all our postvises now since they must not be that great!

Manufacturing is not a sole indicator of worth. Probably the most common anvil sold in the USA is the HF 55# cast iron ASO. Is it the best? Would anyone switch out any of their old anvils for one of them since none of them are being made but the HF is?


The most common brand of mechanical hammer here in the USA was not the *best* brand. However it was *cheap* and the manufacturer would sell them on time payments.

There is a big difference between a post vise and a power hammer. I feel that a an older post vise if it has all of its parts and the jaws line up is a better tool than a new one any day of the week. But it is a hand tool not a piece of machinery. In general the quality of non-powered hand tools has declined not improved. Machinery on the other hand has evolved leaps and bounds in the last 100 years. A self contained air hammer has so much more control than a most if not all mechanical hammers. I would would agree that Clifton Ralph has done some modifications that made his hammers equal to the versatility of an air hammer. But Clifton Ralph is an exceedingly talented and experienced blacksmith with few equals. I understand we as blacksmiths have a lot of romantic notions about old machines but when you have got to pay the mortgage as a blacksmith you need every advantage you can get.
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I believe that there is a company in Italy that still makes mech hammers though they may be importing them from elsewhere. I use a mechanical hammer because I'm not prepared to wait for an air hammer to warm up, I also prefer arc over mig due to versatility, simplicity and improved quality of weld.

A trained MIG welder will produce excellent quality welds. I have MIG welded steel, copper, silicon bronze, stainless steel and cupro-nickle. You will find that in industry almost no one uses arc welders anymore. Arc welders advantages are they work well, they are cheap you can weld outside and if you know what you are doing the welds are as strong as a weld can be. I am sure they hold there own in certain specalized niches. But they are slower to use than mig ,require more skill to use and require the flux to be removed after each pass.
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I think the take-home message for the original question is: if it's YOUR anvil, do what you want with it.

Some people will be disappointed if you decide to modify it, but why should you care what anyone else thinks? Some people care about the history, others don't. For those that do (I'm included in this group) we are helping support Mr. Postman in his retirement years. For those that don't, they will be supporting the anvil manufacturers of the world.

This thread has become the proverbial beating of the dead horse. I doubt we will see any arguments that will sway points of view from one side to the other.

As long as I don't upset anybody I would prefer to go on. I love to have my ideas challenged this is how I learn things it helps to expand my understanding of blacksmithing/metalwork.
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Far be it from me to tell you guys to stop. I'm actually enjoying some of the posts, and learning some new things at the same time. If I get tired enough of the banter, I will just ignore the thread altogether.

I just think the arguments are starting to go in circles and aren't even addressing the original intent of the thread. We are now talking about mechanical vs. air power hammers, leg vices, and welders. I haven't seen anvils mentioned for quite some time now.

Now where's that 'shrug' icon when you need it...?

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