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What to Look For In Tools and Anvil

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Just resently I have been getting into hobby blacksmithing, was refered to a guy through a friend that has his fathers lifetime blacksmithing tools, anvils etc.  Being newer to this whole thing, I was wondering if there was anything I should look for and what things seem to go for.  The items I would really like to get ahold of are, anvil (says its like 150lbs?), post vice, tongs, hammars.  Anything else I should really look for?  And what are good prices I should pay for these items?

Thank you in advance


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Look out for scrap metal as you cannot have too much of it


I've also only just started and am finding that prices are as long as a piece of string and depends on the condition of the item, the greed of the seller and where you live, especially for heavy stuff like anvils.  

Look around on-line will give you a ballpark although sometimes inflated idea of prices 


BTW a hammar in Australian is a side loading freight container crane.

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Pricing depends 90% on availability and 10% on usability. What's available in your area will determine the value of it to those that are actually using the items. In some places anvils are scarce as hen's teeth and that makes the value climb. Same as anything else.

Will you use the tool any time in the near future? If so, it might be a good purchase if the price is right. Again, what are you seeing available in your area and what are the prices like?

Personally, after getting a decent anvil (and that can be a simple chunk of steel, not a "london pattern anvil") I would focus on MAKING the various tools I need. Chisels, punches and drifts are the life blood of blacksmithing, and making them is very simple but teaches bunches about hammer control, fire maintenance and sundry other critical topics that you'll use on more complex projects.

Hammers are easy as most any ball-peen hammer will do, and a variety of weights will allow you to work efficiently depending on how you want to move the metal. A cross-peen or straight-peen is very nice, too, and I wouldn't pass one up. You can buy older ones at the flea markets for pennies, so grab whatever feels comfortable for you. 1# to 4#, they all come in handy for one thing or another.

Study your local market to see what prices are like. At $200, that post vise might not be that great of a bargain - but if it's the first one seen in six months, you might want to grab it up. Using some place like uship.com to get an anvil delivered from far off is certainly worth considering, too. My 350# anvil traveled halfway across this great nation for only $200, and the total price was still less than $3/lb, so I count that as a very good deal. You can do the same if you're not interested in waiting on that $10 mint condition anvil to pop up out of the blue.

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Welcome aboard Taylor, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in your header you might be surprised at how many IFI folk live within visiting distance.


You aren't including near enough info to expect any sort of good answer. For instance what should I pay for a car? See what I mean Where do you live, how many blacksmiths live near you, is it old industrial country? For instance, you'll find a lot more smithing gear in the upper midwest than here in Alaska.


Then of course how badly you want the gear has a great deal to do with what it's worth. How many other guys want the same things do as well. On and on the variables are many and diverse.


So, fill us in, what's available to you. Where are you. What's the asking price. etc. etc. the more you can tell us the better we can guess. Yes, guess the best we can do is offer educated estimates.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Taylor, there is a shortage of information here. Search this site to find several photos of the items you mentioned. Determined from the post what makes the item good or not so good. You will see prices paid on a lot of the threads to help you from over paying.
A lot of times "family heirlooms" become very valuable to the family members. Be careful here, they are worth a certain amount to the family but to you they are only worth as much as it would take to purchase them elsewhere. There is something to be said for finding all the tools in one place, I would be willing to pay a little more as a set but very little. None of the items you mentioned are hard to find.
If these tools are in good working order this is about what I would have to pay.
Anvil $150-$300 (more for some name brands), Post-vise $40-$125 depending on size, Tongs $10-$20 more for wrought iron just for the iron, Hammers $5-$25 even for big sledge hammers. That is fair prices in south Mississippi for useable tools to me.
The best thing you could do is join a blacksmith group near you and gather info and/or tools there.

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Get good dead weight chunk of steel, be it a true anvil or just a chunk of scrap, get as heavy as you can..... Make a simple forge maybe a "break drum" one or a stack of  fire brick.... Anything can be adapted as you go like hammers and maybe use pliers till you can make/buy tongs... Decent starter tongs are about $30 a pair new online, and you can get kits (blanks) to make your own tongs for about $10 a set....


As you drive around the pieces of scrap met you see along side of road will take on a whole new meaning....My lovely wife bought me a #100 anvil for my birthday ($200)... I made a brake drum forge for about $50 in parts and bought a couple sets of basic tongs and two inexpensive ($35) rounding hammers and a #50 bag of coal ($35)...


For about $450 you can be setup VERY well or if you are a real scrounger you can do it for less....


In some less developed countries a blacksmith may be lucky to have a decent hammer and he uses a rock for anvil and and local wood for fire....


Be inventive and adaptive..... Yard or garage sales and flea markets can supply you with many "workable" tools  some times almost for next to nothing....



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