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So my friend and I want to start blacksmithing. We have already quite a bit of experience with heated metals and we already have a forge. The question remains: what anvil do we choose? We have a budget of around 50$. We found a piece of railroad track for 30$ which is around 30-75 lbs. The only issue with this one is it doesn't have a horn or hardy hole. We also found a 20lb anvil on Ebay for 50$ it has a hardy hole and a horn. The only problem with this one is it weighs 20lbs! We don't know what to do! Does anyone have any suggestions? Our goal is to make a forged rebar bracelet and or a few knives. We also found a few Harbor Freight ones, but they are of awful quality. (A.S.Os Ya know?) 

Thanks!

             Jacob

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I'd definitely chose more mass over the one with a horn and hardy hole. The railroad track will have good mass standed on end. It you use it sideways like most people, you have a bigger face but not very much mass. Even it it weighs 100 lbs, you will only get the 100lbs out of it if you stand it on end. Have you looked around for a local scrap yard? I saw about a 200 lb rock hammer bit that was broken but would make a great anvil not long ago. They have large chunks of steel quite often!

 

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Welcome aboard Jacob, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many of the Iforge gang live within visiting distance.

As suggested, hit the scrap yard and forget about that little thing. A hardy hole is easy to make as a stand alone tool. Search "Portable hole" on Iforge for examples.

$30 for that much RR rail is WAY too much, that's only what 2' +/-? Try a truck repair shop for a broken axle, mounted flange up they make outstanding anvils. Most any shafting will as well. Keep your eye open for rail though, on end it makes an excellent anvil and if you do a little creative grinding you can forget needing a hardy hole and bottom tools. Check out Charles Stevens' thread about rail anvils.

Check out Brian Brazeals multi purpose anvil. It's made from steel plate mounted on edge with useful shapes ground in. It's like having 4 anvils as you can roll it from edge to edge meaning you can have all kinds of nifty stuff on hand.

Don't get hung up thinking you need a horn, hardy hole or other London pattern anvil shapes, human beings have been forging things a lot longer that pattern's been around or iron. A big smooth boulder makes a good anvil.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The scrapyard down yonder was selling 80 pound chunks of *steel* for US$16---they look an awful lot like the anvil being used by the swordsmith in National Geographic's "Living Treasures of Japan"  (you can find it on Youtube, look for the part with the swordsmith)

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