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Hey all,

I have an old Trenton made ACME anvil, around 190 lbs. I like it, but having used a couple of German double horn anvils, I like those a lot better. I really like the flat horn for doing isolated work, and the hardy/ pritchel placement is handy IMO.

The only advantage to a London pattern I can think of is the step, and that can be easily remedied by a hardy block (which most people have) or a swage block (which not everyone has).

So, what style do you prefer and why?

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The Germans just did things right. For one, they have a hardened plate over the horn, and not just the face like the English did. Also, the square horn as mentioned is wonderful for fine work. The upsetting block no only adds stability, but is obviously quite useful for well...upsetting. They are far more robust that the English and American patterns too. Where an English or American pattern have maybe 1-2" of mass under the hard hole, Germans usually have at least double that, and that's a good thing to make hardies on.

I will also note that Austrian anvils will fall into a similar category. I also like various other added features some of the German or Austrian anvils have.


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Steve Fontanini has designed an anvil which contains some German features, but has an American "rhinoceros horn" style. He moved the upsetting block to the near side assuming a right-hander works with the horn to the left. I don't find the horn shape much matters, as it is used primarily for leverage blows and the bend comes in mid-air beyond the horn contact. I sometimes use the horn as a 'bottom fuller' but the horn shape doesn't bother me. I like the pyramidal horn for tight U bends. It also helps with short bends, because it gives tong clearance on the near anvil side. If a horseshoer draws two side clips, the taper of the horn helps him or her to level the shoe with the clips hanging either side of the pyramidal horn. The hardy hole has lots of mass under it on the Continental anvil, which is good. I don't use the side shelf all that much, but I sharpened mine by grinding/sanding the bottom of it till it was 'sharp' and I use it for forging fork tines and similar shapes.

I would say that overall, the Continental two horned anvil has more desirable features than the London pattern anvil. I started forging in the early 1960's when there was no internet and no supplier of anvils except Kennedy-Foster in New Jersey. Little by little, I picked up used anvils, and they were all London pattern. They get the job done and as Drewed stated, you use what's in front of you.

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An anvil is after all a bottom die or fuller. Different styles or brands may have different surfaces that you may prefer
for wot you need when you are forging. The other thing to consider is that you may for no explainable reason just prefer one kind over another. Then yoiu should get that kind. There may be an increase in sasfaction in knowing you have wot you feel is the best.

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