Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Recommended Posts

I am looking to get started in blacksmithing (as a hobby), and I've been having a pretty difficult time tracking down a good, decently priced anvil. I'm thinking that something in the 70-100 lb. range would be perfect for me, as my projects would not be anything too demanding. Since I'm not using this on a professional level, I don't need a top-of-the-line anvil; but at the same time I would like something that can deliver at a reasonable price. Should I be looking for a used anvil, or a new one? Any recomended brands/types? I'm in Southern California (Los Angeles region), and so far I haven't had any luck on Craigslist or Ebay. Any help/suggesions are greatly appreciated, thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

What exactly is your budget? It takes time... took me 8 months to find my 110 Fisher, and it's well worth the weight... Just a promising, notion, check ebays completed listings nearest your area... That's proof that they are there... You'll find that just talking about smithing with co-workers will bring you leads... Just this week, anvils came up in conversation with a co-worker of mine, apparently his father that recently passed, used to make historically accurate replicas... His smithy has 5 anvils, with apparently 2 of them being larger 250+ anvils. He said if he can get up there in the next few months, that he'll lug them back here to FL, and just let me have them... Fingers CrossedXX.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep your eyes open on craigslist, i have seen several come up as i am just 60 miles north of you and doing the same thing.  trouble is 'reasonably priced' is somewhat of a myth when searching online.  i have seen a few nice anvils pop up that i think would fall under the 'fair price' category of 3-4$/lb but still far too expensive to warrant pursuit.  i also wouldnt really even consider buying new unless there is something very specific you want out of it, used and even lightly damaged anvils seem to go for lower prices yet are still fully functional (damage dependent of course)

 

happy hunting, and if you come across a 2 for 1 drop me a line :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses thus far! Sorry I was so vague with "reasonable price." I was hoping to get something for under $400 or $500, if that's possible. I'll certainly be on the lookout with craigslist and ebay to see if something comes up.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You know everyone always point to ebay and craigslist.

I guess it is time to tell the story of my latest anvil purchase.

Sorry, its kind-of a long story.

 

I was not even looking, and my wife hands me the local weekly paper pointing to an ad – Heavy Duty Anvil - $150. So I tell her "I don't really need an anvil (I love my 100 lb Peter Wright).  But it kinda gnaws at me - so after dinner I figure I got nothing to lose by calling.

 

So I call - It goes like this:

 

Seller: “Hello”

Me: “Hi I'm calling about the anvil in the paper.”

“Yep”

“Um - What can you tell me about it?”

“It’s pointy on one end and has two holes in it - and it’s heavy.  What else do you want to know?”

 

Not only does he not know squat about the anvil, but he sounds like he might be drunk.

Turns out that he is just down the road about 1/2 mile from me so I tell him I will swing by.

But before I go, I tell my wife that I am afraid the anvil might be stolen and I won't buy it no matter what if I think it is stolen. (Why doesn't he know what he has?)  I almost don’t go.

 

So I get there and an old gentleman in a golf cart waves me to follow. To my relief, he wasn't drunk, just very old. We go down around his large - used to be a chicken coop - shop and he opens a garage door and there in the corner near the door is a smallish anvil. He slides it out and I start to look at it.  It says Armitage on the side - so I'm thinking mousehole. The table is just OK, and there is only one hole - a hardy hole - so I'm thinking it’s real old.  I brought a small ball-pein with me and the ring is good.

 

Then he tells me that he had three anvils and gave one to his son, one to his daughter and kept this one.

“You want to see my daughter’s?”

“Sure”

So we jump into the golf cart – his daughter lives next door and out by the shed is a stump with a Peter Wright sitting on it.  It looks to be about twice the size of mine – and it’s GARDEN ART. 

 

So, after checking out the ring (like a bell!). I tell him “I’ll give you $200 for this one.”

“OK, I’ll just swap them out.”  “No Charlie”, by now I know his name, “It’s not yours!” So He goes to the door and knocks “This guy wants the anvil.” “How Much?“$200.” “OK”.

“I gotta swing by the bank. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

 

When I get back from the bank, he has it out in the driveway.  He had moved it there alone!  It turned out to be 167 lbs!  (I later found out that he’s 90 years old - and he moved this anvil alone!)  I don’t let him help me put it into my truck – he is 38 years my senior and about 150 lbs lighter than me.

 

Bottom line – my advice is to read the local classifieds – in the newspaper.  That is where most older peopled will place an add – and mostly older people will see it there – craigslist and ebay are seen by too many to get a very good deal – most of the time.

 

PS.  Although I saved the Peter Wright from its ‘lawn ornament’ status, unfortunately they did swap out the Armatige which is now an ornament and not for sale.  If I could have I would have bought them both.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely check CL regularly.  I check it at least 2-3 times a day, and I see anvils in LA/Santa Barbara pretty regularly (I check just about everywhere within a 'reasonable' driving distance from me).  I got one from a guy in Apple Valley that I found on CL last year - an hour away.  His initial price was on the high side (for me, $3+/lb).  I watched it for a week and then called him with an offer at just over $2/lb if I could come get it right then.  I was there in 90 minutes, cash in hand, and took it home.

 

A bit of diligence and a bit of luck, along with some patience, and you'll find one, even in what seems to be a pretty anvil poor (to me, anyway) area.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Definitely check CL regularly.  I check it at least 2-3 times a day, and I see anvils in LA/Santa Barbara pretty regularly (I check just about everywhere within a 'reasonable' driving distance from me).  I got one from a guy in Apple Valley that I found on CL last year - an hour away.  His initial price was on the high side (for me, $3+/lb).  I watched it for a week and then called him with an offer at just over $2/lb if I could come get it right then.  I was there in 90 minutes, cash in hand, and took it home.

 

A bit of diligence and a bit of luck, along with some patience, and you'll find one, even in what seems to be a pretty anvil poor (to me, anyway) area.

 

you remember any specifics on the hits in Santa Barbara? (thats where i work, i havnt seen anything in SB on CL in a few months of skimming)  there was (is?) a guy in santa rosa with minimum 1 hay budden 150 or 167#'r  but hes asking 800$ for it if memory serves, he had a photo up of a forklift pallete with 5-6 various sizes of anvil on it and his add said 'parsing out shop', just too far.

 

i was very tempted to jump on a 250# fisher eagle that was also about 800$, which does fall closer to the 'good deal' price range, but it would be like godzilla at my place :(

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am looking to get started in blacksmithing (as a hobby), and I've been having a pretty difficult time tracking down a good, decently priced anvil. I'm thinking that something in the 70-100 lb. range would be perfect for me, as my projects would not be anything too demanding. Since I'm not using this on a professional level, I don't need a top-of-the-line anvil; but at the same time I would like something that can deliver at a reasonable price. Should I be looking for a used anvil, or a new one? Any recomended brands/types? I'm in Southern California (Los Angeles region), and so far I haven't had any luck on Craigslist or Ebay. Any help/suggesions are greatly appreciated, thanks!

You might also join the California Blacksmith's Association, and ask the members if any of them have one for sale.

 

WRT size, I'd shoot for something in the 120-150 range.  Under 100 the face is a bit small.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Once upon a time, it seemed that LA had moderate prices for anvils. But not any more. Be careful about grabbing that one for $800. You might find out that although it is impossible to find one under $800, it may be equally impossible to sell the same anvil for $400. Especially in a bad economy, there may be a large spread between bid and ask. I see that these days on Craigslist. Hard to get a good deal, either buying or selling. My dad, who lived through the depression, told me of when the Mississippi River ran red. Farmers couldn't take their pigs to market since they could'nt get a decent price. So,they would slit the pigs' throats and dump them in the river. Meanwhile a few miles away, people starved. In a good economy, you can count on getting your money back for good tools, but not now.

There are a couple of choices. That $400 difference will amortize to very little after a few years of good use. Or, do what a lot of folks here do and make a fabricated anvil to get by until that deal comes along. You may need to wait a while.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately you seem to be right about that. It has proven difficult to find much of anything around here; it will probably take a good amount of time for me to finally track something down. I'll keep you all posted on the progress!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

I picked up a 145lb anvil in great shape at a local estate sale for $75. I have a log to mount it on, but haven't gotten to that yet. Was thinking of using railroad spikes, but might go with smaller diameter ardox.

 

Also need to make some hardies. As I was "reserving" the anvil at the sale, waiting for a staffperson to label it with my name, and "sold", other folks were scooping armloads of tongs, hardies, etc. After I took the anvil to the car, I went back for a smaller one that had many chips/chunks out of it. A friend had suggested his son could weld/fill those in shop class. Of course, it was gone when I got back.

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the biggest problems I've run into on CL is your word choice.  Type in "blacksmith" and you'll get stuff that's not listed under "blacksmithing".  I use searchtempest.com to search all of CL in my area, as well as Ebay, and small changes in what you're looking for will make a difference.

 

And it definitely pays to ask everybody you run into.  I got my Wilkinson anvil by asking a guy I know.  We'd been drinking buddies for years, but I would never have guessed that he'd have an anvil that he wanted to get rid of.  Sure enough, I mention my search in passing and he says, "Oh, really?  I've got my grandad's at the house and you'd be welcome to it."

 

Two odd years of looking and waiting.... and he and I had been drinking beer and watching football together the whole time!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...