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Harbor Freight Anvil

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Hello All, 

 

I am a beginner blacksmith, just got my forge yesterday. I was wondering what to use as a anvil, Since I am a jobless High School student i dont have enough money for a nice anvil. I saw this anvil at harbor freight, Opinions?  Any ideas on what else i could consider for an anvil?

 

http://www.harborfreight.com/55-lb-rugged-cast-iron-anvil-69161.html

 

Thanks!

 

 

 

-Skylar 

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I believe you will be very disappointed in that anvil.  Cast iron is not good for rebounding the force of your hammer back up into what you are working on.  It will require a lot more effort to do the same amount of work on what you are forging.  Also, cast iron is relatively soft and will probably get marked up quickly.

 

Pretty much any type of steel should work to get you started.  If you have access to a small ball bearing, you can test pieces of metal to see how much rebound you get.  The more rebound, the better.

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Cast iron's bad news. That's a genuine ASO, or anvil shaped object.

 

Other item's? A real anvil for preference. Going cheaper, A large block of decent steel from the scrapyard, at scrap prices. A piece of railroad track, less great, but works. A big rock if nothing else. Look around the forums, lots of good ideas. Something to use as a flat table's good. Horn is useful, but not required.

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Save your money. There are plenty other better options out there for your consideration.

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There are plenty of posts concerning "improvised" anvils, knife makes anvils ant "y1k" anvils. But let me see what I can do to guid you to a usable piece of steel.
A 20# slege hammer head will work, mount it with one face up, any peice of 2+ inch peice of solid stock, 4x4 being my preference set on end. Heavy gage rail works, again set it on end. Large forklift tines. There is a member with rock crusher parts I think you get the idea. Things I'd avoid, I beam, steel plate (unless its 2+ inch thick then set it on end) cast iron anything.
If you do resort to stone I recommend a hard if jus stone (granite or basalt) and of large size (the cast ASO might look good at that point)
As Thomas Powers will no doubly point out a 4" square block of iron was an anvil for most of the history of iron. And that little block has a few advantages as well, if you radius each edge differently you have built in fullers, each face can also be modified to be swage.
As for needing a horn, any piece of large round can be used as a bick, and as you get the skills you can forge it out to form a traditional bick.
So, with the above examples in mind, look for a large piece of steel, Be it a large shaft, block, or even a large drop from cutting a large round plate out of a square piece of stock. So, for lift repair shops, tractor repaoir shops, earthmoving equipment shops, tractor/trailer (over the road trucks) shops, train repair shops, train track repair yards, industrial fabrication shops (welding shops making big stuff) or the scrap yards the sell to are all places to ask for help. If your very polite and explains what your trying to do most Peaple will help, if not be polite and walk away. As was pointed out by another member, old farts like us like to see a young guy with a hobbie that keeps him of the street.
Keep reading and keep asking. As Glenn said to me "I have learned enough to work my way up to ignorant" some of the old guard have answers the same questions a thousand times, and might be a bit testy if you catch them on a bad day. But one of us that are moving up in skill will step up and help.

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look at the selection in the "show me you homemade anvil" thread. There are lots of options out there, and if you're nice and polite and gracious you might even be able to get something for free. offering labor for a couple hours cleaning up stuff at the metal supply, or where ever would be helpful. and it doesn't hurt to offer your services. the worst they can do is say no. but ask around. If there is any place around you that repairs heavy equipment or uses heavy equipment you may be able to get hooked up with some good steel to use as an anvil. Think outside of the box. It doesn't have to look like an "ANVIL" to be one.

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the only positive thing i can say about my hf "anvil" is that it has a hardy hole. it now resides behind the shop in the weeds.
i may put it in the front yard for decoration, but i would have to grind off the "china" first.




mark

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We turned one into a propane stove for blacksmithing conferences.  Drilled a longitidinal hole in it from the heel end to by pass the hardy and then drilled cross holes to meet that longitudinal hole and tapped and plugged them.  Then drilled a gridwork of small holes from the top of the face into the holes.  Put a mixer into the open end of the longitudinal hole and presto an anvil stove.  I forged a hook to fit in the hardy hole and hang a coffee pot over the face.

 

Drilled like butter!

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not me but a lot of folks at Quad-State took photos;  I still remember Clifton Ralph's expression when his wife told him to go look at it

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I can think of a lot of other ways to blow $55.00.  Almost any chunk of steel would be better than that.  Find a scrap to use until you can afford a good anvil.  For a 100# anvil expect to spend about $300.00.  If you find one cheaper so much the better.  Join your local blacksmith group and learn more about anvils and blacksmithing before you start spending your money.  Members in the group will help you and may be a good source for a good anvil and other tools.  I know that when you first get the bug you really want to get started but take it slow.  I wanted to get everything when I started and soon found out that I did not need all the things that I thought that I needed at first.  Actually after a couple of years I started selling off a lot of those things that I thought that I needed.

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New to Smithing myself and my mentor talked about the above alternatives. was given a harbor freight anvil and a chunk of railroad iron. one point he did make though is if you have no horn but have a vise then put a piece of rebar in the vise then you can do a small bit of scrolling.

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