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Is this anvil worth purchasing?

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Any idea what kind of anvil this is (cast iron or steel or steel plate), how old it is, and/or the manufacturer?  I haven't seen it in person, and I'm wondering if I should bid on it prior to the auction ending tomorrow evening. This would be used by my husband who is a newbie and is making kukhri-sized knives/machetes. I could ask him, but I want to surprise him.  Is this too small (width-wise) for his use?  Thanks!

Jennifer in Central Minnesota

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It's cut out a piece of railroad rail and overpriced by a factor of 4 in my opinion. For bladesmithing you want as much solid steel under the hammer as possible so the long horn and overhanging edges make it better for jewelry making and not forging.

My wife and I have non-intersecting crafts; we're a steel wool couple: I forge, she spins.  When we first got married and were in restricted financial straits we made a pact that I would not buy anything dealing with her craft without checking with her *first* and she would not buy anything in my craft without checking with me *first*.  It's worked for over 32 years so far.

Note that a kukri maker in Nepal is shown in a youtube video using a sledgehammer head as his anvil.

Note that a copy of "The $50  Knife Shop" or "The Complete Bladesmith" or "Introduction to Knifemaking" is a good choice if you must have it a surprise as you can tell if he already has a copy...

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Yeah, buy the biggest chunk a steel you can find that is cheap, and start hammering. That thing will only weight about 20 lbs, and that thing sticking out is NOT a horn I don't know why people even bother to taper "horns" without rounding them. Try the local scrap yard. That bid is up to 60 bucks....60 bucks at the scrap yard would would blow the tires!:)

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Bluemoon ... I sympathise with your intention of surprising your husband with an anvil. What you don't say is what your budget is nor what date do you need this for.

 If you read this forum, you will find that buying a good quality second hand anvil at a decent price is an adventure that takes month if not years of searching. A typical anvil weighs in around 120-150 lb and folks pay  from $ 200 to $600 and this just as an indication. Your location and the condition of the anvil play a role, if cast or forged, manufacturer etc. 

If you want to undertake this search, look for the "Thomas Powers anvil purchase method". may be someone can post a link to it ...

You have a further alternative to the above, and that is to buy a new anvil.

New anvils can be divided in two sorts. Forged and cast. Forged anvils are typically of high quality and of course dearer. Cast anvils are made in China, sold in hardware stores and e-bay, cost a fraction of the forged ones, are frown upon and called ASO (anvil shaped object) 

Having said all this, I venture that a chinese cast anvil may actually be more useful than a railroad anvil, even if shaped in fancy ways. 



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TPAAAT and when searching this site it's better to use an outside search engine and use iforgeiron.com as one of the search terms as the internal search function is not elegant at all!

And a cast iron anvil will not be a good one as the face can dent *under* hot high carbon steel!

Here is the link to kukri forging I referenced above:



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A Chinese cast iron anvil is a piece of junk.

Marc1, your restraint is appreciated and admirable. But this lady is fixing to buy an anvil soon. And she may have not got the point. I, today, am a little more blunt

Sorry about that.

Madam, save your money, buy a real anvil (used or new) in the interim try what C-1 ... suggests.

Regards to all

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34 minutes ago, C-1ToolSteel said:

Maybe you should consider buying him a nice blacksmithing hammer if he doesn't already have one. Or even a kit that comes with a hammer and some tongs or something like that. I would be happy to help you look and send you some ideas if you're interested.

That's likely a good idea.  Many of the larger "farm" stores have pretty good hammers in their shoeing section to choose from and they are not "break the bank" level cost.  Even if you go a little wrong in choosing, it's still a useful hammer because there is no such thing as having too many different smithing hammers to choose from :) 

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Thank you all SO MUCH!  I hadn't gotten any email replies and was thinking no one had seen this thread.  Imagine my surprise to log in and find so many thoughtful responses!  Much appreciated.  I see the Central Minnesota Blacksmiths page is listed as inactive -- with any luck my hubby can get the group going again.  He has made four knives and just loves this hobby (though he immediately developed massive carpal tunnel, literally within the first month of the three months he's spent doing smithing, and is lined up for evaluation for surgery next month. He's wearing braces on both arms as much as possible now; we also got him two different pairs of shock-reducing gloves, a better smithing hammer that reduces shock/vibration, and padding for his tool handles.)  He had gotten a basic 55-lb. anvil from Northern Tool or Harbor Freight, and managed to mount the sucker on a big stump that he dollies in and out of the garage as needed.  It's large enough, but he was hoping for something even bigger.  (Though if he's sticking to 15" and less items, I'm thinking this anvil might be large enough anyway).  He has been using a homemade coal forge that he created out of a Weber kettle grill that he lined with fire brick and refractory cement, but after several burns, some dirt fires, and a melted-through railroad spike (LOL!) we decided to shell out the money for a Devil Forge three-burner propane forge from Lithuania.  It should arrive any day!

We're not well-off by any means (my hubby is disabled due to PTSD/major anxiety disorder and therefore my income carries the four of us in our family) but we try to live inexpensively.  He is so entranced by this work that I didn't mind spending way more than I'd initially anticipated to get him set up and going!  We estimated that with the supplies, the belt and angle grinders, the forge, the materials, coal, etc. we've already put in about $1500 in the past few months, which was SO much beyond our budget, but we eked it out.  He's delighted with the pieces he's made already.  I'll post pictures...the first photo was a purchased blade that he made a knife from for me; he crafted a handle out of some cedar closet wood, with a resin insert in which he put a raven earring (I have a raven tattoo).  The second photo was a metal rasp file that he turned into a knife with Brazilian rosewood handle material for our daughter; the third one was a pre-crafted blade that he added a brass guard to and crafted a handle out of bone for our son; and the fourth one is a machete style chopper that he designed from scratch for himself with custom pins and a buffalo horn handle.  He forged that blade from a bar of A2 steel, which apparently was exceptionally difficult for him to work with, being so hard.  Lastly, there's a cute little hatchet that he made from a branch we had on our property (I think elm or maple) and an old rusty ax head that he ground down to be small and light.  Not bad for being brand-new to the hobby, I think!  Three months of work and we have quite a few great things, with many more to come.  I'm happy for, and proud of, him!




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That's a nice batch there. 

For his benefit he should join IFI since there is a lot of info, not only on making things but great discussions on technique. There was a great discussion on Hammer technique and how to hold the hammer and posture to the anvil to reduce impact, shock and fatigue. There is so much to learn reading here. 


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