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I Forge Iron

New to blacksmith...need advice on anvil and forge

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First off let me introduce myself and say hello.  I am new to blacksmithing and am just now getting started.  I have never done it before but have recently became interested since learning more about it and talking to a few people that have been doing it for a very long time. 


I have found a guy that wants to trade me his 175 pound Hay Budden anvil that is in great shape with no repairs, cracks, or damage anywhere (made between 1894-1915) and his champion forge for my H&K AR-15 .22.  The gun is worth around $500.  I know it comes down to which is more important to me, but I need advice just in terms of value. 


Here are the pictures of the anvil and forge. 







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Well location can change the price by as much as 50%; we don't even know what country you are in!  In general that anvil would be US$2-3/# here in the United States.  Higher on the coasts, cheaper in Ohio, and way more expensive in Hawaii or Alaska.


Where is the champion forge?  All I see is a champion blower.  The blower, If it is in good shape, is around $75-$150 where I generally see them.  If in bad or unknown shape the price plummets---there are basically *no* repair parts for those things and the cost of getting something made will generally exceed the cost of buying another one in good working condition.


So depending on where you live that deal is pretty even---if he can throw in any tongs, hammers, hardy tools, it can be a good to great deal.  (and don't get hung up on finding a "real" forge.  The blower is the important part the forge can be trivially built---even a hole in the ground will work!


And pleaes note that the weight will be stamped in pounds and not CWT, the other number should be a serial number that can be tied back to year of manufacture thanks to Postman's "Anvils in America".

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Good Morning,


And if you really had to, you could shoot the anvil!!! :) :)


With the gun, you can't make an anvil, with the anvil you can make a gun.


How about finishing loading your page and listing where you camp on this rock.

I'm sure there is somebody near where you call home that you can learn from.

The knowledge that is available in the Blacksmith world is astounding, Don't be afraid to ask.



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Thanks for the information everyone.  I am located in Chattanooga, TN.  Blacksmithing is somewhat popular in a few of the areas around here. 

I was misleading in my original post.  There is no forge, only the blower pictured. 

The deal is my gun for the anvil and blower.  I tried to get some other tools and things added on his side but he said he did not have any.  Like said above, the anvil and blower are the main things needed, so I could pick some tools up here and there. 


I know that if I really want to get into this, I need the anvil and blower first.  I'm only having a hard time pulling the trigger letting go of the gun, but again, like said above, it would be easier to replace the gun than the anvil and blower.

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He may think it's marked in CWT but HB's are marked in *pounds* and it will be stamped on the side completely as I recall no first two digits and assumed factor of 10 like Vulcan anvils use. 


From that picture I *STRONGLY* doubt that is a 300# anvil  wrong scale!


Have him put it on a bathroom scale if he can't read the weight on it!

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 I'm only having a hard time pulling the trigger letting go of the gun, but again, like said above, it would be easier to replace the gun than the anvil and blower.


You already answered your own question.  Look over on GunBroker to see used H&K .22's available.

If you get good with your anvil/forge/blower, you can make things to sell that will buy you another of the same rifle.

Then you'll have it all.


If it is a 175# anvil, and the blower is in good working order, it is a fair trade if the used gun is worth $500.


You ain't gonna make any money with your .22 that allows you to buy an anvil!  :)


Or, you could offer up the option of the used gun for the anvil and blower, plus $50. ;)

...never hurts to ask.

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Here is some more pictures he just sent me.  With having no knowledge or how to calculate or look at the numbers, I need help identifying everything on it. 

He actually just now told me he weighed it on a house scale and it said 175 lb.  Is there anything else I can find out from these numbers?






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The anvil looks to be in perfectly serviceable condition, and definitely worth $250.  Anything over that would, in my opinion, be dependent upon the market in your specific area.  Are you seeing a lot of anvils for sale in your area on CL or the local papers?


As for the blower, I wouldn't give it a value of more than $125.  It appears to have all the necessary parts, but does it spin freely?  Are the impeller blades all there and in good shape?  Any problems with it and the value drops like a rock.


More importantly, though, is that you don't need a blower like that.  You need something that puts air to the fire, but it doesn't need to be an old "blacksmiths" blower.  A hair dryer can do the same thing, generally, or a bathroom exhaust fan, or....


You get the picture.


However, an H&K AR15 .22lr is a rifle that you can buy all day every day.  The one thing I would note, though, is that it's hard to use a rifle for anything other than burning money - targets, ammo, time, accessories, it's all an expenditure without a measurable return on the investment.  A blacksmithing set up in your back yard can make you money even if it's just making cool little trinkets as Christmas gifts.  You might never get to the point where your smithing pays for itself, but at least there's a realistic chance of that happening.

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Down towards Atlanta, anvils seem to be running around 2-3 bucks a lb. Sounds like a fair deal to me, but maybe like the guy said you can get him to throw in a couple of extras? If he's already got hardy tools for that one, that would be nice.


(of course, as a long running member of da army, not the biggest fan of the AR-15, so I may be biased......)


You should definitely consider joining a blacksmithing group. The one up at the Choo-choo forge is cool, and near to ya. If you decide to go South instead of North though, come see us in the Alex Bealer group. 

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you.


I'm thinking you're getting our general take on this deal, at $2/lb it's $375 and at $3/lb it's $525. Used AR-15 in 22lr are pretty inexpensive. Even without any extra goodies it's a fair to GOOD trade.


Living in Alaska I'd have to drive FAST and take a club to keep someone else from snapping it up. Even in your neighborhood it'll be gone if you waffle much longer.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for the advice everyone!

VaughnT, I do agree that a gun, especially this one, burns through money quick and does not have a return besides satisfaction of the matter.
The blower is in good shape according to the guy's description of it. He says it works good.
He does not have the anvil or blower listed on CL yet.
Long story short, I put an ad on CL that I would trade this AR for a complete blacksmith setup, and he replied with this offer.
I agree that I think it's a good deal since I would pay a considerable amount if I wanted these items in the near future (probably more than the gun's worth).
I'm going to go ahead with the deal I believe. Thanks for everyone's advice and help, especially since I'm new with this.

My next question is, what do most used blacksmith tools (hammers, vices, tongs, etc) usually go for?

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Hammers I get at garage/yard/etc. sales for as little as I can. I really prefer them to not have handles, they don't cost near as much and I like my own style handle for smithing.


Tongs are wonderful learning projects. You don't need tongs to make tongs, just a fire, anvil, hammer chisel and punch. Making your chisels and punches are excellent learning projects as well. There are a number of excellent how tos for tong making here, take a gander. As a general rule try avoiding using tongs as much as possible, use a longer piece of stock so you can hold it in hand. It'll give you MUCH better feel for what's going on and no tong has the grip your hand has. Steel is a poor conductor of heat so a long piece won't get hot enough to burn very quickly. when it starts getting hot just quench the end you're holding in the water and carry on.


A good post vise is, like anvils, not something a person can make for themselves as a beginner and most of us don't want to work that hard. There's a special technique for finding tools, equipment, etc. that works marvelously well called the TPAAAT (Thomas Powers Applied Anvil Acquisition Technique) It works for stuff other than anvils so give it a lash. Basically you tell everybody and I mean EVERYBODY you  know, meet, run across, whatever what you're looking for. Your friends and relatives of course but don't forget the folk you work with, check your groceries, the folk in line at the market with you the person you bump into on the sidewalk, the paperboy, EVERYBODY at church . . .  You get the idea, tell everybody. You'll be amazed at how well it works.


I'm thinking your part of the country has a LOT more smithing tools available so keep your eyes open, hit garage, yard, etc. sales and by all means hook up with the regional smithing organization nearest you.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Bought 170# HB a couple of years ago off CL for $175, same guy sold me a bucket of tongs for $3 a pair, hammers, and handled tools were $4 ea. The forges with blowers were $75 & $125. Location, location, location. Be patient and you will find deals like I have, get in a hurry and you will pay a premium.

I am not a huge fan of HK, and they are not rare. I have watched gun prices steadily climb, and recently shoot up quite a bit. So, if you got it before the jump, and can make a "profit" trading it-go for it.

Although with my past purchases (the above was only one) I wouldn't value the anvil, and blower at $500. I average $1 +/- a pound for anvils, and blowers ran me $20-$30 without stands. I just bought a really sweet Lancaster blower with a stand for a friend for $50 up in Utah where I work. See if he will toss anything else in, tools, metal, etc..

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BIGGUNDOCTOR, I agree along with everyone else that it's all about location.  Around here in Chattanooga and North Georgia it is pretty popular in areas and bring (from what I see with local prices) around $2-3 per pound. 


Here is a good example of a local one just posted on CL.  It is a Vulcan and weighs 100 pounds.  The edges are a little rough, but the face and horn are good.  He is asking $150 but I talked him down to $100, making it $1 a pound. 


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I need help ASAP to see if the Vulcan anvil posted above is worth it with the rough edges!  It will be my first anvil if I decide to pass on trading the gun on the HB.  $100 for the Vulcan.....good or bad deal?


I would take the Hay Budden, personally.  A bit more mass and better edges, and if the blower doesn't work and you can't fix it you can move it on to someone for parts or repair and make a little back.

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This is a tough one. I too am a firearm enthusiast as well as a user of anvils. Yes a Hay Budden is a great thing. However, in this case I think I may have to be contrary to popular opinion.


As I see it, the days of private firearm ownership (especially of politically incorrect looking makes and models) are numbered in this country. Guns you sell or get rid of don't ever come back. Anvils last for thousands of years will never be illegal and will always be around.


Keep the rifle save your money and buy an anvil. They're all over e-bay all the time. If you're not already a member you need to join the NRA too ;)


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Vulcans are on the bottom rung of working anvils. The top plates are thin, and every one I have seen including mine-has some form of damage. My 150# Vulcan has dings all over the top, as it came out of a high school shop. A friend's has a good chunk of the tip of the horn missing.

The HB is a far better anvil, but which one will get you working the fastest with the best financial benefit? I agree with George, and have only sold one firearm over the years-I'm kinda like a Roach Motel for guns. They check in, but they don't check out.

If you have a smooth spot on top of that Vulcan that is a little bigger than your hammer, you can work on it. The busted edges will create some issues with some projects, but they can be worked around, as well as radiused to be workable. The HB would be easier to work with out of the chute.

Personally I would probably go with the Vulcan, as I think the other is over priced, BUT I realize prices vary. As such, you can start with the Vulcan, and keep your eyes open for a deal on a better one down the line, or do the trade and get a heavier better anvil now.

The only one who can make this decision will be you. Just remember that both of these anvils were not that far apart time wise-when will the next one pop up?

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