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I've seen quite a few "one book wonders" tell me that the anvil *must* be set level with the knuckles and as I tend to do blades and not stuff using large hammers or top tools I tell them that the higher anvils help my back as I'm not crouching over to work.


Yeah, I've been told that this "rule" originated with industrial smiths who were using strikers and lots of struck tools. Dunno if that's true, but for most of the stuff I do, I like my anvil around wrist height.

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My preference is right side up. That would be for the anvil AND me!

If approaching your anvil from the bic end do it slowly or you might get poked in an unfortunate place!:o

Frosty the Lucky.

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I have found that the working with the pointy end towards me does not work very well. I flicked my bic and wound up on the floor! :lol: Oh sure after I make the comment I see Frosty the very Lucky beat me to it! No wonder I can't get the dang thing to work rigth I am still working a day late and a dollar short. B)

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Monty Habermann was the only person that I have met that gave the reasons for standing on a certain side of the anvil. Most people talk about prefrences or do what they were told, but there are definate reasons. Frank Turley pointed out two of them. A farrier stands on the side where the horn would be on the opposite side from his or her hammer hand for turning horseshoes. I started out as a farrier and stood on the side where my horn was on the left since I am right handed, but when Monty Habermann told me the reasons I switched from that day on. The hardy is only one reason. The amount of traveling that you will have to do when you change from forging on the horn, face, and or heel is another reason. The step allows for your knuckles and hammer handle to clear the anvil when forging on the face or the edges when you address your anvil from the side. Your hammer blows are directed more towards the body of the anvil when you're forging on the horn instead of away from it when you're on the other side. Those are the reasons that I was told and they make perfect sence, so I changed from that day on. Opinions, preferences, or doing something because someone else said so don't mean squat to me. I demand reasons.

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Well, neither magnetic nor true north, but the north star which is a little off true north. That will keep your smithy in alignment with the astrological signs and all that "lunacy".

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Your hammer blows are directed more towards the body of the anvil when you're forging on the horn instead of away from it when you're on the other side.


That's a good point. It should make it easier to form curves, instead of spirals, by aligning your body with the taper on the far side of the horn. Gonna have to try it with the horn to the right.

I had already been considering switching so that I can safely straight and adjust things while leaving tooling in the hardy-hole. I am still hesitant to do much forging with something sticking up there, but lots of times I need to adjust or straighten a part while working with a bottom tool and I have to remove and replace it mid heat.

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You need to be able to walk around the anvil, work from all sides ,you must " know your way around the anvil" or you are limited. Did you ever know any good smith who doesn't know his way around it?

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The Bick must point to magnetic north under a stained glass window of Hefesto. Each solstice it must be struck three times at exactly midnight..... There shall be only one, Highlander.....


:mellow::unsure::blink::huh:<_<:lol: Now I no why I have problems with forge welds.

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Monty Habermann was the only person that I have met that gave the reasons for standing on a certain side of the anvil. Most people talk about prefrences or do what they were told, but there are definate reasons. Frank Turley pointed out two of them. A farrier stands on the side where the horn would be on the opposite side from his or her hammer hand for turning horseshoes. I started out as a farrier and stood on the side where my horn was on the left since I am right handed, but when Monty Habermann told me the reasons I switched from that day on. The hardy is only one reason. The amount of traveling that you will have to do when you change from forging on the horn, face, and or heel is another reason. The step allows for your knuckles and hammer handle to clear the anvil when forging on the face or the edges when you address your anvil from the side. Your hammer blows are directed more towards the body of the anvil when you're forging on the horn instead of away from it when you're on the other side. Those are the reasons that I was told and they make perfect sence, so I changed from that day on. Opinions, preferences, or doing something because someone else said so don't mean squat to me. I demand reasons.


Brian,would it be safe to say you are best served by directing the force of the hammer blow to the heart/center of mass of the anvil as much as possible?
It seems like common sense but then I see people working "away" from center for no apparent reason other than there is a convenient edge or shape there.

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Brian,would it be safe to say you are best served by directing the force of the hammer blow to the heart/center of mass of the anvil as much as possible?
It seems like common sense but then I see people working "away" from center for no apparent reason other than there is a convenient edge or shape there.


Yes, Mainely Bob, definately. The better the backing or support, the less work you lose to vibration.

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Yes, Mainely Bob, definately. The better the backing or support, the less work you lose to vibration.



Would it also be safe to say that support needs to reach all the way from the point of impact,thru the anvil which is firmly attached to a solid,non-flexing base and continues to at least a firm 3 point connection to the floor?

You have posted some very sound reasoning regarding the orientation of the anvil.Could you post some of your views on what constitutes a well thought out and constructed base and the reasoning behind it?
Anvil bases and the connection between anvil and base seem to be something which comes up a lot and I feel someone of your experience as well as other experienced instructors could shed some valuable light on how to minimize vibration in both design of the base and at the anvil to base connection.
Could you also talk a little about what you feel would be an optimal footprint for a base and why?

Thanks in advance.

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Would it also be safe to say that support needs to reach all the way from the point of impact,thru the anvil which is firmly attached to a solid,non-flexing base and continues to at least a firm 3 point connection to the floor?

You have posted some very sound reasoning regarding the orientation of the anvil.Could you post some of your views on what constitutes a well thought out and constructed base and the reasoning behind it?
Anvil bases and the connection between anvil and base seem to be something which comes up a lot and I feel someone of your experience as well as other experienced instructors could shed some valuable light on how to minimize vibration in both design of the base and at the anvil to base connection.
Could you also talk a little about what you feel would be an optimal footprint for a base and why?

Thanks in advance.


Yes, Mainley,Bob, the mount is very important. Just like with power hammers, if everything is not mounted securely to the Earth, you will be losing the full potential of your hammer blow to where ever vibrations occur. First, if your anvil is not secured to the stand, you will lose work to the movement that will occur at that point. Then if your stand isn't secured to the floor or ground, you will lose work due to any movement there. If your ground or floor is not solid or truly supportive, you will lose work also. My shop has only a 4 or 5 inch slab of concrete to mount our anvils and vice to, and that is not adequate. It is the best I have at this moment, but I can knock things off the walls when hammering, so I know that the whole slab is moving. An anvil should have the same consideration given as a power hammer when it comes to the mount and backing. If you don't give them what they need, you won't get all you could from them. When I travel with my anvil, if I cannot anchor into concrete, I would rather spike into the ground than to just sit it on top of concrete. The reason I travel with my own anvils is because most shops do not secure their anvils to the Earth. I would rather use my 25 pound striking anvil that is securred to it's stand than a 1000 pound anvil just sitting on something, because I know I can get more work out of it.

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Brian,if you could talk a bit about the mechanics and reasoning behind isolating and anchoring the anvil and stand I would greatly appreciate it.I found your reasoning behind why an anvil faces as it does very direct and understandable.
The reason I ask about this is because there seems to be two camps forming in most previous posts.There`s the anvil/stand needs to be solid and very well grounded,of which you are an advocate.
On the other hand there is the place the anvil on a softer base to absorb the vibration/ring and impact.Some in this camp have even talked about placing the anvil on a bed of sand.

I have very limited time per day where I have good grip in my hammer hand before the nerve damage takes over.I`ve been rethinking how to place and mount my anvil to make the best use of this limited time and accomplish the most work while having the least vibration travel back to my hammer hand is why I ask these questions.
I have tried the glove/no glove experiment and find no glove is best for me.I have played with hammer handles and different shapes and wraps,even loaded a few with lead shot before I found what works best for me.I found that a lanyard thru the handle and looped around my wrist helps a little to keep the hammer in my hand.
I`m looking for good reasons to change from my hardwood stump or the more solid boxed,heavy I beam base I have to anything that has proven itself to give more bang for the buck when moving metal.
Like yourself,I prefer sound reasoning to tradition,conjecture or simply "BECAUSE I SAID SO !!!" .

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So, since we are moving on to mounting the anvil in the chosen position:

Would fastening securely to a wooden stump be a good choice over merely fastening to keep in position?

Is the stump being loose vs buried partially loosing large amounts of energy?

Any other related wisdom?

Phil

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A hand-hammer only has so much kinetic energy that I can put into it.

I want as little as possible of that kinetic energy converted to sound or "absorbed" by sand or wood or such. I want as much as possible into that glowing hunk o' metal!

The more the anvil or stand move, the more of my hammer's kinetic energy goes to waste. And that energy comes 100% from MY muscles, doggonnit!

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Yes, the less needless Movement between joins means the less energy loss, be it physical shifting or vibration resulting in sound or even sound damping. However there are few greater energy wasters than dog on muscle practices! Seriously, just think how much energy you're wasting swinging a hammer with a dog on your arm!:rolleyes:

Frosty the Lucky.

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Since I travel with most of my smaller anvils they are set up for easy taking off and putting on their stumps.

The "shop" anvils are just kept in position of course at 500+ and 400+ pounds they don't move a whole lot.

If you will have a stable set up fastening them securely will produce more work and less sound in use and be more secure against them going walkabout when you are not there.

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horn to the left!


For the left handed that is. . . Yes?

Frosty the Lucky.

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Yes, the less needless Movement between joins means the less energy loss, be it physical shifting or vibration resulting in sound or even sound damping. However there are few greater energy wasters than dog on muscle practices! Seriously, just think how much energy you're wasting swinging a hammer with a dog on your arm!:rolleyes:

Frosty the Lucky.


Better a dog on my arm than a monkey on my back.
I did once try to hammer out a project with my parrot on my shoulder.The ring caused him to get upset and bite my ear.Needless to say the distraction shot my hammer control out the window.
The cat seems to be the only one unfazed by hot steel.She can sleep thru anything,much like her highly trained companion and feed/toy fetcher(me).

BTW-I have found that the hammer can be a valuable training aid when dealing with large agressive dogs of unknown origin.
A single well timed hammer command and the dog will do 3 tricks;Lay down,Roll over,play dead.
This works with all dogs regardless of whether they have been trained for silent commands or not.
Handy thing to know when pressed for time.
I have applied this technique when I find I don`t have time for dog on muscle exercises.

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Seriously, just think how much energy you're wasting swinging a hammer with a dog on your arm!:rolleyes:
My 88 pound Scottish Deerhound really doesn't take all that much KE out of my hammering, does she? :blink: If only I could train her up as a striker...

By the way... Thank you, Brian! (& others!) The anvil does work better the right way. :)

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Ok, forgive me for this:
If your anvil is made in China and you keep spinning it around trying to see which way is best for you, can it become dis-oriented?
Again, sorry.
Mark<><

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Mine is on the left, but I have plenty of room around it so I am constantly using both sides. I will use the far side (bic on the right) especially if I am working larger pieces of metal that I have to move with the crane.


When I first got my big anvil (350 pound Fisher, southern model, 1890) I set it loose on its post. I had to watch out for its tendency to migrate sideways, but I liked being able to turn it end for end when I was doing a lot with the horn or with fullers. I tried to come up with some kind of bracket that would hold the beast in place but could be released so I could turn the anvil when I wanted to. All to complicated or prone to jam up.

After way too many years, I realized that you don't actually have to hold a 350 pound anvil _down_ at all! The Earth does a great job of that. A husky friend and I turned the anvil upside down, and I drilled a 3/4 inch hole four inches deep into the center of the base. Then I drilled a matching hole a little over 8 inches into the anvil post, which is a 16-inch diameter section of mega-telephone pole that goes three feet into the ground. A foot of steel pin in the hole, and no more problem! I find I turn the anvil several times a day if the work I'm doing is diverse.

It works so well I've done the same with my 100-pound Vulcan that I use at demos, and several of my students have copied my mount. Smaller anvils may turn on the pivot pin when you make bends or otherwise use the side of the anvil, but if this is a problem a hole either side of the anvil, in the hollow between the feet, can take a drop-in pin that stops it. With the big anvil it hasn't been an issue.

Conrad Hodson

Eugene, Oregon

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So, since we are moving on to mounting the anvil in the chosen position:

Would fastening securely to a wooden stump be a good choice over merely fastening to keep in position?

Is the stump being loose vs buried partially loosing large amounts of energy?

Any other related wisdom?

Phil


It actually seems to make quite a difference. When I first got my 350 pound Fisher, I just had it on a section of log that sat at ground level. After I replaced the log section with a deeply buried heavy post (16 inches diameter by four feet long) I was startled by the difference. Three blows quite literally did the work four had done before. You would think so heavy an anvil would have so much inertia that the mount wouldn't matter, but it didn't turn out that way. The effect is even more important with lighter anvils.

Now I teach my students, who often end up working with small or improvised anvils in their own first shops, that they can make up for a lot of anvil mass by putting a lot of effort into a really good post, deeply buried. And digging a hole costs time but not money, which is usually important to them.

Conrad Hodson

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