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Anvil Shopping and forge quetion

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First, ill introduce myself. Hey, my name is ben, and i live in a town called forked river, which is a resident of new jersey. 14 years old, i have always been amazed by metals, miningm, or smithing. I felt it was time to take action to one of these obsessions, and here i am. I was in maine when i first found a shop..it was in a barn, a very large barn at it. Here i found a couple of tools and a vise to start off. Then i spent the better part of the day cleaning off the workbench in my garage.(game with the house) Now, i need help looking for anvils. Ive checked ebay, the barn i went to, and either they are incredebly ixspensive, or unbelivably cheap. And both of these dont really fit right with me. I aint a rich, so i cant really afford a 200-300 dollar anvil, and a cheap one seems of it would have something wrong with it. I know blacksmithing will not come cheap, but if there is a anvil along the lines of budget, but will take a few beatings, id gladely buy it. Also, how to make a forge. Ive looked around a bit and found some ideas on using a metal barrel or something along the lines, but where the xxxx do i will find a huge barrel, i have no clue. I also purchased the book "The complete Modern Blacksmith" since people left many good reveiws for beginner and experinced blacksmiths. I feel this book has alot of ways to start, what you should have, but not where to get the items. Any help with these subjects would be much appreciated, and you seem like a fine community. Hope i fit in :)

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I reallly think that if you go this route you'll end up with better tools for less money. On top of that, you'll build relationships with folks that have been doing this for long enough to save you some steps.

My monthly guild meetings are among the most cherished of my weekends.

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I had a student once who put an ad in the local penny-saver that he was looking for an anvil. He had his pick of 4... and he and his dad decided to buy them all. Usually those ads are free, or pretty cheap. Make sure you word it so that it is obvious you want it to use and aren't just a collector. Sometimes that helps.

I think I mentioned before that I worked for a week with a guy up on MN on an anvil he got for $4. It had a horn but the back end was all broken off. Only about 1/2 the plate was still there, so we had a working surface of about 4" x 4". We had fun and never really needed more than that.

I'd say an anvil like that is actually better (and a better deal) than some of the cheesy imports. Avoid the junky new ones at all cost, such as those offered in Harbor Freight and Grizzly, and even in some hardware stores. They are cast iron, which makes a miserable anvil.

Did you have any luck finding a blacksmith group near you yet?

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Hey Ben!

yah, im new to this too...welcome to the club! i have a pretty nice anvil i got for free...its a length of railroad rail, seriously it actually works nice and you can find one at a RR HQ type place or just find a piece somewhere along the tracks (make sure its abandoned :) ) but really any ol' hunk of steel pretty much works.

i made my forge out of a old propane tank, cut the ends off and put some gas burners in through the top and there ya go!

Forging Ahead

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Ben, follow the advice given and find a blacksmithing group. The friendship is worth the trip to the meetings. The tools and knowledge gained at the meetings are a bonus.

No, that is not me that forges while wearing sandles. :shock:
Till you can secure an anvil, most anything with 75-100 pounds will do. This is the "hole" from cutting a circle in a piece of plate steel, and was being used at a demo to show folks that anvils do not have to "look" like the thing that falls on the head of a cartoon character.

If you go with the rail road steel, try to get a 3 or 4 foot section and stand it on end. All the mass is then under the working area.

This is an example of an anvil that is not a "standard" shape, but worked for the blacksmith that used it, and the anvil stand is rather unique I must admit. Not the usual tree stump you expect to see. Notice the vise on the right side of the anvil ?

. .
Pictured is a 4" x 18" section of round bar that weighs 75# on top of a 100# Peter Wright. It is as long as the anvil, has a wider face, a 4" round horn and is easier to move.

There are some more anvils and anvil stands pictured at IForgeIron>Tools>Anvils

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LOL. Wow, I feel awful big for my britches, having Glenn post a pic of my anvil on this thread! :) Mine's the one with the vise clamped to it.

Ben, I would suggest that if you have trouble finding a "real" anvil (after the newspaper ad route, the ask-all-your-friends route, and the guild route), that you go to the local scrapyard and find a hunk of solid steel (Note: don't let 'em sell you a transformer core!) weighing as much as possible. You may have to make a rather interesting stand, as I did, but my anvil (weighing in at 143#) has almost as good of rebound as the 200# Arm & Hammer that I learned on! This piece cost me $40, I think, and it is stainless, so I don't have to worry about it rusting (side benefit). The large cutout is great for bending flat stock on edge, among other uses.

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I spent the weekend learning to forge dragon heads at a Dan Boone workshop that my guild did. After screwing around trying to draw out horns without burning myself on the rest of the piece, I can definately see the advantages to an anvil of that shape, T-Gold!

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