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Thomas Powers Applied Anvil Acquisition Technique

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Hi steveomiller. I have not heard about Jack Ladd. He predates me by quite some time. The farm is in the South Bay. It is called Hidden Villa. We stand for values like environment, education, sustainability and social justice. There is a great group of people there who manage several different areas: community relations, education, farming, grounds, volunteerism, development, etc. There is a CSA (community supported agriculture) program in which people buy shares for a season of regular vegetable shipments.

Thanks for the support, Mark and easilyconfused. I feel better about this. One huge benefit for the students and I is that our hammer control improved quite a bit after making so many leaves.

In order to try to get back to the original topic of the post, getting the position there came from a pointer from another organization. So, a word leading to another word....this is TPAAAT in action. I guess it worked for me after all :D

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If their budget is borderline anyway they would not be outsourcing such items; they would just do without or with a commercial, cheap replacement.

What you are doing is grooming them so that they expect *real* items to be used and if the budget grows they will be much more likely to keep on asking for real ones even if they have to pay

Or to put it a different way: you are taking a field that has been fallow and are bringing it back into production.

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  • 2 months later...

That method really does work. I was looking for an anvil about 2 years ago. Where I live we have a sale paper called the "IWANNA". I placed an ad for anvil for a beginning blacksmith. I received 1 call. He lived 2 miles away! He had an anvil in the barn that was his great grandfathers. I looked at it and tried to hide the excitement, it was a Mouse hole from the 1850's and about 90 lbs. I ask him how much and he said "Is $50 too much?" I pretended to be in pain from his price but said "OK I guess thats not too much." It is a very nice anvil that has been properly used and not abused. I use it all the time and it rings beautiful. A neighbor down the street told my wife he loved to hear the rhytham of the anvil when I make stuff. I had a teacher who taught me to keep time by tapping the anvil as I roll the metal to a different positions.
After the first anvil I have found about 4 more in various places by "asking around."

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The Thomas Powers Applied Anvil Acquisition Technique is NOT a fantasy folks!

When I purchased my anvil, I didn't even know about the technique, but in retrospect that was what I did to acquire it.

I put the word out to a few friends. One friend, an antique dealer, tells me a guy was trying to sell him an anvil. Turns out the fella was a cousin to another friend of mine. I tell my friend to have his cousin get in touch with me. Two weeks later, I run into the anvil owner at a swap meet. I explain my need to him, and the next week he shows up at my workplace with the anvil to let me see it. He seemed pained when he told me he had to have $XX bucks for it. I was even more pained to hesitate and say "Well, I hope it's worth it, but I'll take it." Yeah right.

The anvil was a "painted lady" as they are called, had a coat of black paint with primer underneath with white highlighting on the raised lettering on the side. He was gonna use it as a decoration on the hearth of his fireplace! Thus the paint scheme.

When I got it home, I immediately set out to remove the paint and check it out for cracks, filler, etc. THERE WAS NONE TO BE FOUND. With the exception of some dings in the face here and there, I think I made a great purchase.

Here it is:

The technique works, folks. It just takes time. The beauty of my application of the TPAAAT is that the anvil came to me, I didn't have to waste fuel searching, and the fella even drove it over to my workplace parking lot so I could unload it into my truck. It's a beautiful thing.....sniff. Gotta go, I get tears in my eyes just thinking of that day.

aaron c.

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Irnsrgn, I thought I remembered reading a whole post written by Thomas Powers at some point describing his method... I can't seem to find the original post though. Glenn's post, seems to describe a previous description of Thomas' method, leading me to believe my memory is correct... I cannot for the life of me though remember the thread. Grrrr. Frustrating getting old.


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Don't know about 3 sins. The way I always heard this was that there were only 2 blacksmiths in hell. One was there for not charging enough for his work and the other for striking cold metal.

I think the first one was there cuz he worked for credit. .. ( it came up in the " what sign should I hang above my shop door " thread. .)
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I searched the archive, using the search function and cannot find the original post or blueprint with the information for the TPAAAT. Could someone point me in the right direction? I am in the market for an anvil for Christmas...

So basicaly TPAAAT is just going around asking for anvils and leavin your phone nr with people?
Sounds similar to what I did. . .got a 350 german one for 150$ cast steel .. virtually unused. . rings like a bell. .. altho it had a huge anchor chain welded on the upsetting block ..and a piece the size of thumbtip was missing from an edge.
( that's a 2 kilo ( 4.4 pounds )hammer on the big one and a 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) hammer on the small one.

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  • 1 year later...

Thomas has put forth anvil finding information for many years, I just gave a name to the process at the start of this thread so it would serve as a reference for finding anvils.

Ask everyone you know, and those you do not know, where to find an anvil.
Use an advertisement in the paper, nickle trader, free ad bulletin etc.
Post fliers everywhere.
Chase down each and every lead so you can look at the anvil.

Most important
Carry CASH and enough cash to buy any anvil you may find on the spot. It will not be there when you return. Put the anvil in the trunk, the back seat, or put the wife in the back seat and put the anvil in the front seat if needed. Get it on it's way to YOUR home ASAP.

Always thank the kind seller for your new treasure.

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Thank you Glenn, Richard, and Thomas!!

I am going to give his formula a try!!
I live out in the middle of no-where out here in eastern Utah.
I am looking for a used anvil that weighs between 150 lbs. up to 250 lbs.
So now with this post I have officially started the

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There is a 100# anvil, and I found a piece of plate 3-3/4 x 12 x 48 inches long that weighs a tad bit over 600#, both about 300 miles from your location. If you do not need a horn or hardie hole $0.33 per pound is not a bad price.

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You ask *everyone* because anvils were everywhere! Car repair places had complete forge shops back in the 1900's, Sugar refineries had smithies, *hospitals* had smithies (I once got to talk with a WWII orthopedic blacksmith, great stories!) Those anvils could be anywhere including in an unmarried great aunts flowerbed! Seek and ye shall find!

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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 year later...
  • 1 year later...

Just to further validate the legitimacy of this method... I"ll tell you my story... 4 months of searching FL for that elusive anvil... nothing...Joined IFI, within the first week, I made my first RR track anvil, still searching but not finding, started working on my DIY forklift tine anvil... Then I came across this thread... Yeah... Then it all changed... I was so hungry for a real anvil it hurt... I told everyone and the sister I never had about me wanting an anvil, even cold called guys that were selling non-anvil items... I went into two local machine shops, asked them... relentlessly pursuing...


Then I found one 110 pounds and bought a tiny one to caress a deal for both... it wasn't as large as I had wanted it to be, but it sufficed for a month until, I found another 2 weeks later that weighed 155 pounds... I told myself that if the right deal came along for the 250+ pound anvil I was seeking for a real shop anvil, I'd have two anvils to sell or trade to cover the cost of the monster... Whatever, I'll beat the hot stuff till it comes along... days later I found an ad for a 150 pound anvil @ $1 a pound, not to include the wiggle room... It was a fisher, so I gladly jumped in on that, ended up being a really neat 100 lb. civil war era fisher... Then this morning I got a lead on a peddinghaus #12 #275 Rigid anvil, priced at $650... 


So granted I have taken TPAAAT head on with a pretty sizable budget (thats what 6 months of searching and not finding anything will do to you), and acquired more smaller anvils to trade/flip up to a larger one... I reached my ultimate goal in attaining one large shop anvil and one demo anvil... and having three extra anvils to flip, making up for the investment... I present to you what you can accomplish in a little over a month (12/18/12 to 1/30/13) using the TPAAAT method in a rather anvil-dry state. 




From left to right


#110 FISHER and #20 semi-steel bench anvil- $200  ($1.53/ lb)

#275 Peddinghaus- $650                                             ($2.36/ lb)

#100 FISHER- $125                                                      ($1.25/ lb)

#155 Early English- $250                                              ($1.61/ lb)


Now I have to thin the heard to recoup costs... which shouldn't be too difficult... 



Was I lucky???... for the first time in ages I'd like to think so...... More importantly I used this methodology, and came out on top. 




Thanks Glenn for this thread, and thank you Thomas Powers for being an enigmatic, persistent, and consistent genius!!!




- P3

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I Always ask around and at the scrap yards when I go. The answer was always no, then a couple of months ago I took some scrap in and asked the owner if he ever got anvils in (for about the fifth time) he said I have one over right over there, $100. The wife went and looked at it while I was unloading came back and said give him the money. When I looked at it I say a 135# mousehole with the heel broke off, the rest of it was in pretty good shape. When I got it home it weighed 127# on the bathroom scale.,Less than $1/lb.   

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I think the biggest problem with the TPAAAT is "breaking the seal", so to speak.


Once you get that first anvil, even if it's not your 'ideal' anvil, it seems like the rest of the anvils come out of the woodwork.  My job is mobile and I'm out in the country  for most of my day.  Tried the TPAAAT at every opportunity with no hits.  Even when I saw the worn out anvil just sitting there turning to rust, the owner didn't want to part with it.


Then I busted the seal and got a smaller-than-I-wanted anvil from the one buddy of mine that I would never have guessed would have an anvil.  Just goes to show that asking everybody is important.


After that, I picked up a gigantic Fisher and a tiny Paragon in no time at all.


Ya just got to get that first anvil under your belt and make sure you have enough money in the bank account to snatch up the other anvils that will soon follow!

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Doesn't seem to work here in the PNW.  Perhaps a different technique is required for those of us here on the "left coast"?

definitely on the endangered species list out here (south, but still pacific) and frequently the ones that do come up are far too pricey =/


or maybe im just picky :)

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