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What anvil size should I be looking for?

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I am looking at getting a anvil but not sure which size to get. I have been using RR track and want to upgrade. I want to make anything from knifes and tools to furniture decorations and legs. I was looking at the Ridgid Peddinghaus 165# or the 275#. My current hammers are 2lb ball peen and 3lb cross peen. I will get heavier or lighter hammers when I need them for projects. I can get either one free shipping and no tax so it would be just the cost of the anvil. The 275# is $600 more than the 165#. I know there are used anvils and some people will suggest getting a used one but I have been looking for a good used one for the past 1-2 years and have not found anything worth getting. I have the ability to get a new one and wish to. I see TFS anvils also but not sure if I want to get cast ductile iron if I can get a forged steel.

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I live in Texas, about 25 miles east of Texas A&M, hour and half north of Houston. Found 1 anvil at scrap hard but was beat up and horn broken off of it. My grandfather was looking for one from the farm his family had but it was gone not sure if someone else in the family tree got it or what. My dad is a mail man and asked people on his mail route. One man said he thinks he knows of one he maybe can get, then that gentleman was killed in a car accident. My cousin inherited some land from his father in law that had a bunch of old farm equipment and old forge but didn't come across a anvil anywhere. Look on craigslist and ebay, can't find much. If I see one it is overly beat up and asking too much. Nothing in classified adds. So in the mean time of looking, I now have the ability to buy a new one.

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For a stable shop 150# is a good size; heavy enough to do larger work but not excessive. It expects that you won't be moving it around a lot. For a travelling set up 90-125# is better, sized by what you can lift without strain, cost and what you can find. Unless you are going to be using strikers I don't think you will profit from a 275# over 150# that much. (One of the most famous american blacksmiths used a 165# anvil for his entire career as I recall---Francis Whitaker)

When you say you have been looking for the last 1.5 years---that's around 500 people minimum you have personally asked? (At least 1 a day---even random strangers! That fellow selling car parts at the fleamarket ended up having a uncle with a MINT 515# Fisher for US$350! A retiree in his 80's I was talking to at church gave me a soderfors anvil he had sitting in his storage shed---and a bunch of Elk and Mule deer racks his wife wouldn't allow in the house...)
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I found this on a another thread on these forums, this was said by Sam Falzone in the thread " At About What Weight is a Anvil Considered Shop Size?"


He said:

"I think this is very much a case of "the shop/smith dictates the anvil".

It comes down to what is the shop or smith going to be producing?
-If all you ever plan on making is nails, s-hooks, j-hooks, steak turners and working with steel in the 1/4" to 3/8" range, then you don't really need a particularly heavy anvil ... 75lbs to 120lbs should do just fine.
-If you are going to do more sculptural ironwork in heavier stock sizes - 1/2" up to 1.5", then a heavier anvil will be more of an asset (not necessarily REQUIRED, just more of an asset), probably around 150lbs to 200lbs
-If you plan on doing really heavy smithing in stock sizes 2" or greater, then anvils greater than 250lbs are an asset.
-If all you plan on doing is jewellery work, then anvils smaller than 50lbs are all you need.

BUT ... none of this is written-in-stone-scripture because once you throw in talent and skill, then it's pretty much anything goes. Brian Brazeal makes great hammers and other tools which involve reasonably heavy stock sizes, but works on an anvil less than 80lbs. Other smiths have anvils the size of small aircraft carriers (1200lbs +). If you're looking for an all-purpose anvil size... I would suggest 150-175lbs. Someone else would probably suggest another size, and someone else - another size again.

Other variables include portability - if you want to move your setup regularly, you'll probably want an anvil size you can move without seriously hurting yourself.
If all you can find is an old 100lb anvil, then start with that. You may never buy another anvil again, or you may trade-up to something heavier later on.

Having been a part of this community for a few years now, one of the things I've learned is that there are no hard and fast rules to things like shop size and anvil weights. You work with what you have and learn to persevere. But while there are no hard and fast rules, there can be guidelines. What I've written is what I've picked up so far from 15 years of casual hobby experience and a lot of listening. Hope it helps. Welcome to I Forge Iron.

Is this pretty accurate on anvil size vs work size?
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James at Texas farrier supply helped me out a bit. He got me a 150# tfs blacksmith anvil and 150# of coal for around $800. The anvil has 85%ish rebound, which is pretty good, and it has a nice hard face, 52 rc I beleive. I love it.

Also read the anvilfire review of the 100# tfs blacksmith anvil.

I live in Waco Texas btw.

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