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I Forge Iron

Thomas Powers Applied Anvil Acquisition Technique


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That’s a good point about anvils in cities I hadn’t thought of that Thomas!

Anvils tend to have a natural migration pattern that coincides with humans, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever located an anvil anywhere there wasn’t humans nearby, so it would make since that there would be more anvils were there is more humans lol, 

that being said I did read a story in AInA about an anvil found on a mountain,

I believe my area still has a lot of blacksmith stuff because we didn’t get electric power here till sometime in the 50s so there was still alot of people working without power tools for a long time after that, I know pretty much every farm had a small smithy setup as well as there was alot a fully operational blacksmith shops up till the 1970s, after that it died down and all this stuff got stuffed in old barns.
 
Well Until I came along and started dragging them all out of their hibernation  lol


 

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A lot got abandoned during the Dust Bowl when "Okies" loaded up the truck and headed to California.

Anvils do seem to be tied to humans; but they also can be found where humans *were* as well as *are*.

My Mother comes from down near Altus, OK, USA and she grew up with coal oil lamps.  They had a wind generator to charge glass batteries so they could listen to the radio, only electricity they used.  The oil field pumps would work from hit&miss engines in a pumphouse and transfer power through rods running to the various donkey pumps.

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There's an old electric motor repair shop in downtown San Francisco, they fixed up a blower motor for me once. 160 # Hay Budden in the back on the floor. Used for driving armatures into bearings, or something like that. Been offering waist high blocks of steel to replace it for a couple of years now. I'd stop in every couple of months to see if he wants to trade or sell it.

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I bought my first 6" postvise from a car repair business shutting down auction---the ad said they had been in the same building since 1918; so I knew they had a complete smithing set up at one time---also wood working from repairing the old bodies.

I met a fellow who had been an orthopedic smith at a hospital in Columbus OH during WWII.  Had a great time talking with him about his experiences 50 years later! (I later checked with a maintenance person who told me that that anvil was still in one of the hospital's sub basements; but I never managed to track it down any further.)

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When the dust bowl and Great Depression hit,     
      my family stayed here in Oklahoma,      My great great grandpa built a dugout shack in the side of a hill and they lived in there for years until they could get back on their feet again financially. I think my dad may have pictures somewhere of it and the old homestead.
     Eventually they recovered and he was able to build up a ranch where they trained ox teams for plowing and raised horses. 

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Yard sales, I always stop at them and look around and talk with the folks running it. Mostly nothing I want is out on display. I always say I was hoping they had some old tools like an anvil or other stuff used by blacksmith's. I always explain that I do some hobby blacksmithing.

One fellow said follow me and just inside the garage door was a 106 pound Hay Budden. It followed me home for $1.88 a pound.

At another place I asked basically the same question and the lady said there is a bunch of old rusty tools in the shed out back, go have a look. Inside I found a lot of large open end wrenches, hammers, anvil hardy tools, hoof nippers and tongs which I loaded into a box and carried them back to her. I asked how much she wanted. She said her grandfather was a horseshoer and would take $5.00 for the lot and was happy someone would put her grandads stuff back to work.

Another time I was in the local hardware store/lumber yard that has been the family business since the mid 1850s. The owner is also a world class knife maker and we were talking about making knives. He makes his knives using stock removal and I asked him if he ever forged any of his blades. He said the north lumber yard had a blacksmith shop but he never tried forging any blades. He said stop out there to see if any stuff was still in the old shop which has pretty much fallen down. Unfortunately the scrap thieves had beat me to it but I found a Champion Lancaster blower buried under some stuff. He knew I was in the process of building a coal forge and he donated the blower to the cause. I cleaned it up, oiled it and turned a new wood handle for it and it's still in use 30+ years later on the forge I built.

So the moral to this story is you have to talk to people. I still do only not as much as before and occasionally come up with a gem or two.

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Talk to *everyone*; if you only talk to people trying to make as much money as possible selling anvils then you are unlikely to find a good one cheap! OTOH there are a lot of "family anvils" out there that the current owner would just be tickled pink to have it go back into service with a *real* smith!

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