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Frosty

Alternate to Anvil stand. Grrrr.

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On 1/7/2016 at 5:58 AM, MrDarkNebulah said:

I have a friend who is a retired ferrier. I was talking to him about mounting anvils and he said always make sure you have your anvil on a stump. He says that doing so will absorb some of the force of your blows better than concrete or other things, and save your joints in the long run. Have any of you guys heard about this? I dont have much experience in smithing, so i was wondering if you guys could confirm that for me. What are some other good ways to mount anvils?

I haven't heard that one before but folk have all kinds of reasons to explain why their preferred method is best. I know a number of farriers and the ones with the worst joints are the ones with the worst hammering techniques regardless of the stands. Farriers tend to work fast you don't want the horse standing there waiting while you fool around, an impatient horse can retire you with one jerk of a leg. You want to get in and out without rushing.

Holding the hammer in a hard grip will cause joint damage with time, more certainly than laying your thumb on the handle. A loose grip that lets the hammer rebound off the anvil without jolting you takes care of most joint damage issues. Setting the anvil's height right for you is almost as important as good technique, too low and your back pays, too high and you lose power so work harder for the same effect.

Once you have your technique down you want as much impact to rebound into the work as possible. Having the anvil moosh out of the way is just wasted energy. I work hard for my energy I want it to do as much as possible while it's there.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Anvil Stands like most everything else are correct for those who use them, not everyone agrees on anything.  Stumps are they tradition or were used because they were readily available and replaced when needed?  I vote on them being at hand and cheap to obtain.  Do they absorb the blows as stated above and protect the blacksmith from joint damage, who knows for sure?  For a few million $$ we might be able to get a research grant from the government to study this and in the end know or agree on nothing more than now.

  If you are in the desert areas of the world stumps will  be less available than in my area where a chainsaw, a tractor and an hour or so will get me a new stump of the size desired.  Why wouldn't the sand filled stands absorb as much or more of any blows as a stump?  Certainly easier to change the height of the anvil. 

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True, while I think I notice the difference in work a steel stand delivers over a wooden one I may just be seeing or I thinking I want. Regardless I doubt it's a significant difference. My concerns are for two things, the steel stand under my anvils quietens them considerably, they're much more solid and easier to move than the wood blocks.

I developed my hammer style in part based on what my Father taught me about using tools that returned a lot of energy into the body. Scissor tool metal spinning will cripple a person who brute strengths the tool. Dad taught me to always look for leverage and even more always sidestep the recoil.

A few days ago Mr. Helm posted a Youtube video, "Hammering Helm style" Well, I think that's the title. Anyway, our grips are very similar and for the same basic reasons. We describe the hows and whys a little differently but were on the same page. I've been using what I call the "fencer's" grip on hammers for at least 30 years and it's what I teach. I can hammer all day without joint or unreasonable muscle pain. I still get achy if I'm out of shape of course.

Anyway, how as where the anvil is mounted isn't nearly so important as how you use it. A good technique and the anvil has to be a long way out of ideal to cause physical problems and if you don't recognize the conditions and call it quits you deserve a little pain.

Pain's a good educator.

Frosty The Lucky.

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