David Kailey

Anvil Stands. Make'em nice and clean

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Why do so many guys anvil stands look like welded scrap metal, they have no skills, they adopted a red headed step child, or just flat don't about the most used tool in the smithy.

No matter what your stand is made of make it nice. I have seen all sorts of ugly terrible way guys fasten their anvils. Seen guys working on a stand that wobbles all over the place. It's were we spend most of our time. It should be the best managed, looked after, efficient, and usable piece of equipment in our smithy.

Here are some tips and pics of my stand.

So wood, metal, stone, or Kryptonite get a good fastening system in place. Chains with nails, screws, rubber bands, duct tape....come on. There is a better cleaner way. Some nice forged to fit straps, stakes, brackets. I use a set of hold downs forged to fit my anvil. It's clean efficient and compact. Drill and tap your plate, lag bolt, tapcon....ect.

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Tool racks. It should not look like there is a junk yard around your anvil. I designed and cut my top plate from 1/2" or thicker plate steel. I have holes for hammers, tongs, ect and slots for hardy tools and more. I did this because I have seem many stands with loops and flat bar welded on to flat plate..... it looks sloppy and over time they get bent or broke off because people naturally drop tools into them and the weight crashing down just wares it out over time. 5 years my top plate is still sturdy and solid with no broken or bent tool racks.

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Now I am not a fan of the stump or wood. I prefer steel. It allows me to get in closet to my anvil so I am not bent over as much, there is storage underneath and having only 3 legs it never wobbles. I work big steel and use my anvil with a bending hardy a lot so Ilike my anvil bolted to the floor. I also like to have space to set tongs, hand tools wire brush on. So I use a swiveling removable tool tray. I just found a pipe and piece of steel that fit inside one another and welded the pipe to my stand, opposite side I stand on. I welded 2 points of contact one at the horn and one at the heel. I can move it to the part I am working at. I like to use expanded metal for these tool trays or shelves because the scale falls thru. I have rubber on my tray because it keeps the tools from making noise because of the vibrations from hammering.

 

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Let me know your thoughts, let me see your stands, ask questions, let make these thing better and more functional.

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Your tool rack with the holes looks great, but for the holes where you place your hammers, I would chamfer the top edges to prevent chewing up your hammer handles from the sharp edges.

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That's a nice stand, very nice. Mine is a mesquite stump, it too is very nice. Some people only have a stump, chain, some screws and have no access to a welder or cutting torch? I agree it's not the best but it's better than hot glueing their anvil to the garage floor. Work with what you've got until you can upgrade unless, like me, you like your wood stump with screwed on tool rack. 

 

Here's a picture I took a couple months ago of Robb Gunter's anvil stand that's wood, chains and screws. He's getting by alright. 

 

 

image.jpeg

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I'm sure you've seen my anvil stand but I'll post a pic and description again. 

The first pic is my Soderfors mortised into a spruce block, a missed blow would make the anvil ring so loud it hurt your ears through muffs and plugs. I used this stand for probably 10-15 years.

Pic 2 is the steel tripod stand which is now my favored anvil stand. A missed blow isn't a bad thing anymore, it's only loud, not injurious. There is no plate, the anvil fits into a 1/4" x 2" x 2" angle iron frame and is held in place by wedging the hammer and tong racks into the space between the rim and anvil's foot as you can see in  pic 3. This holds the anvil tightly enough I can lift both with the engine hoist with the chain attached as in pic 2. A couple taps with a hammer and the racks come right off and the anvil lifts out easily.

They're quiet, stable, solid and reasonably light. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Really my post is just trying to get smith to not settle, but to instead improve what they can, make their smithy better, more efficient, user friendly. Several smiths I know struggle to get their projects done and its not because they don't have the right stuff...... its just so inefficient in design or set up that it take them more time and effort to the point of frustrating them to inactivity.  

2 hours ago, arkie said:

Your tool rack with the holes looks great, but for the holes where you place your hammers, I would chamfer the top edges to prevent chewing up your hammer handles from the sharp edges.

 But you are right when I sell them I clean up those hole for just the reason. I never put my hammers on my anvil stand. lol. I don't like having to grab them by the head to use them. I just added them to the design so that I could sell the stands commercially. So far I have sold 17 complete stands and 6 top plates. Crazy but people are willing to pay for the shipping. 

 

2 hours ago, Ranchmanben said:

a nice stand, very nice. Mine is a mesquite stump, it too is very nice

No offence I hope. I like your stand. Its got good tool racks a swinging tool tray, with a solid mount. lol so long as she doesn't wobble your good in my book. 

1 hour ago, Frosty said:

sure you've seen my anvil stand but I'll post a pic and description again

Frosty, good looking stand

 

 

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But my anvil IS in the middle of a :wacko:junkyard!

Seriously though, the smithy is being retooled and is a wreck. At least the creek ditch has stopped running.

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My anvil was mounted on a series of wooden stumps over the years before I took the plunge (and came into possession of a big chunk of I-beam) a little while back and went over to the metal side. Put a lot of thought into it, and ended up with what you see in my profile pic, which works great. The welds may look pretty crappy (I'm still learning), but it's solid and stable.

Next step: hammer rack.

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Nice stands guys. Heres mine. Anvil is 250pounds and the stump is just as heavy. Took a little work to make it sit flat.  Pretty much made 3 high spots on the bottom and screwed/glued 3 pieces of rubber conveyor belt to them. It doesn't move. In fact, it takes 2 of us to move it out of the way so we can work on cars in the shop. Ive thought of steel but for now the stump was easier to build. Ive had no problem getting close enough either. 

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One thing I could add is to borrow an idea from a vise stand and move it to an anvil stand. Outrigger wheels, leveling screws (if needed), and a long pole or pipe for leverage. Wheels should clear the ground by just a little bit when not in use.

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Wheels should clear the ground by just a little bit when not in use.

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Those expanded plate shelves and tool trays are great. You always need a place to put something. When you can position them as close to the work as you want, and then have them swing away or be mobile when needed, is wonderful.

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On May 24, 2017 at 9:23 PM, David Kailey said:

Why do so many guys anvil stands look like welded scrap metal, they have no skills, they adopted a red headed step child, or just flat don't about the most used tool in the smithy.

 

Quote

... Chains with nails, screws, rubber bands, duct tape....come on

David,

Look at the smiths in Africa.  I'm wagering that most of them work on the ground which is also their tool stand and anvil stand.  Are their setups inferior to the person who uses chains with nails and screws?  Is the smith's rock in the video not as good as the other guys on iforgeiron?  Are their goat skin bellows not as efficient as a ribbon burner? 

At the end of the day, everyone has different setups, different means, and different objectives.  Keyword is different, not necessarily better.   Many blacksmiths are blessed to have the choices that others do not. 

And note: tool wars do exist.  They just tend to be xxxxxxx contests though. 

 

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David, I agree with your points 100%. You see so many videos of Smith who seem to have talent yet working on wobbling anvils and vices that are kept in place by a few nails. 

It's the case of the mechanic driving a wreck or a dentist with missing crumbling teeth.

What you are proposing is to lift the game, to have some pride in your set up. Couldn't agree with you more.

As far as the video from Ethiopia. What is your point ede? Are you saying that crouching down on a rock is just as good as standing in front of a modern day anvil using goggles and hearing protection and a leather apron?? Why? It isn't! not for a minute. it's bad for the back and knees, the eyes, and is certainly extremely limited in what can be achieved. 

The social implications are a completely different subject and the long bow of "different" is equally distasteful. Surely the skill and endurance of people working in subhuman condition must be admired. i wouldn't last long, that's for sure, but from there to say it's just as good as what we do?

Please.

 

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I use such videos as a counterpoint to people who say they can't get started smithing because they can't afford a fancy anvil, forges and tools.  You can get started with almost nothing and improve your setup over time---shoot you can make and sell items on a crude setup and use it to fund your tool acquisitions and all the time spent hammering steel on a crude set up counts toward improving your smithing.  Time spent doing nothing or just online whining doesn't! 

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While i get the gist of why this thread was started.. I think personal preference comes home..     From like day 2 of starting forging I realized a steady, solid work base was a needed thing..  

I also figured out in short order once professionally smithing that  depending on what one is making can make up the difference for how things are mounted or connected.. 

Same has rang true for smiths forever..    I've seen all sorts of mountings over the years.. 

Personally I like my anvils mounted not only solid but solid enough where you can not get them separated without some major work involved..   I found I dislike short stumps or stands that are short wood unless fully dug 4ft into the ground or bolted down solid enough where you can hit the side of the anvil with a 16lbs sledge and it worn't move..  This same setup I mention is the same setup I used for 15yrs.. LOL..  It was all that I could do at the time and it was better than 90% of what was out there.. 

With all that being said most the time it's unreasonable to expect others to want or even consider such mounting ideals.    Personally I would never use a tripod stand as they are 2 flimsy for my liking but see the advantages the design offers for most.. I like you can stand right next to it without smashing your toes.. 

But again.. I am also willing to spend my time creating the items I want to work on..   What I like is usually a little over the top..   

I have nothing against what others do or use or create for their own shops.. It's actually nice seeing all the different setups.  

A lot of it comes with experience and the OK factor..       It works OK, why change it..  I drive old worn out looking cars and trucks.. Do I have to "NO"..  It's just not that important to me to drive in fresh looking cars or trucks..  Nor do I even want to spend money on them..   

Do I need to have a really nice anvil to do really nice work.. "NO" but it helps with clean up so it makes it a little faster,  Do I need to polish my hammers faces.. "NO" but it certainly helps with clean up..    

I do get it but everybody has their own space and time frames.. Not everybody wants to be a professional smith  or  work to excellence..  Good enough is well, good enough.. 

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Different use cases, different stands.   I usually haul around a steel tripod stand, a solid wooden block stand and a built up stand of vertically oriented dimensional lumber. Sometimes even the proverbial stump!  Among other things it shows my students that there is more than one way to depeltify a felinoid! I do have a large baulk of treated wood I hope to sink into the floor of my smithy when I finally get to retire and set it up in permanent fashion.  Currently my 515# Fisher anvil is just sitting on it's side and at the correct height to use. (I believe the timber came from the mines or the RR's in the mountains. It was a gift from another smith living above Santa Fe NM.) 

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Wow JLP ... that is a massive stand.Can you elaborate on it?

Is the anvil sitting in a sand box? Can't really see.

And what is the purpose of the SHS sticking out with a locking bolt? What do you fit in there? 

Nice work, will take a forklift to move around.

5 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

I use such videos as a counterpoint to people who say they can't get started smithing because they can't afford a fancy anvil, forges and tools.  You can get started with almost nothing and improve your setup over time---shoot you can make and sell items on a crude setup and use it to fund your tool acquisitions and all the time spent hammering steel on a crude set up counts toward improving your smithing.  Time spent doing nothing or just online whining doesn't! 

Sure Thomas I agree ...  but from there to implying that poverty and misery is somehow a choice and that we are different is going too far. There is nothing good in poverty or malnutrition or working without any protection.

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2 hours ago, Marc1 said:

Wow JLP ... that is a massive stand.Can you elaborate on it?

Is the anvil sitting in a sand box? Can't really see.

And what is the purpose of the SHS sticking out with a locking bolt? What do you fit in there? 

Nice work, will take a forklift to move around.

Sure Thomas I agree ...  but from there to implying that poverty and misery is somehow a choice and that we are different is going too far. There is nothing good in poverty or malnutrition or working without any protection.

Hi Marc1,   Here is the thread I started on it..        No sand box at least not yet, that's the work area infront of the garage. The stand is designed for maximum stability and resistant to twisting forces if using the hardie hole with a fork or the like.. 

It can be put up on one side and walked around if careful enough and quick to move out of the way if it does fall over..  It's nearly 700lbs combined and can be filled with scrap or lead for extra weight..  A fork lift would be a great way to move it around right now..  

once the shop is up i am undecided as to what floor I want in the forge shop..  It takes this into consideration with flotation or a large surface area of the bottom.. but also will work just fine on a wood or cement floor.  Really designed to be built once and good for eternity.. 

 

Here's the one in the trailer..     

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1 hour ago, Tubalcain2 said:

here is my stand. not fancy, but i am happy with it.

 

That is the only thing that is important..   

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3 hours ago, Marc1 said:

but from there to implying that poverty and misery is somehow a choice and that we are different is going too far. There is nothing good in poverty or malnutrition or working without any protection.

If you look at my post Marc1, I wrote:    "Many blacksmiths are blessed to have the choices that others do not" which I will stand by.   My questions is are all the smiths that sit down while working--I bet it's the majority of African or Indian smiths--are they wrong in their method?  Or smiths that choose to do period/ historical forging.   

I agree with you that malnutrition, or being ignorant or too poor to afford basic PPE is something that should not continue in the modern world.     I am also saying is that there is sometimes  an elitist attitude exists with tools or methodologies that my way is better than yours or this piece of equipment is better than that piece of equipment, all in the name of efficiency. 

There are people who use bellows, they are not as efficient as  gas forges, and maybe inductive forges trump ribbon burners in efficiency so why should anyone use ribbon burners?  But if you consider that propane needs to be refined and that it is an industrial age process, maybe it's not as efficient if you have charcoal readily available.

Sometimes there is more grey  than meets the eye when it comes to what's better.  An anvil stand that has waterjet cut slots for hammers or a swiveling removable tool tray isn't necessarily better than one without.  The world would be a boring place if we had all of the same looking anvil stands 

 

14 hours ago, Marc1 said:

As far as the video from Ethiopia. What is your point ede? Are you saying that crouching down on a rock is just as good as standing in front of a modern day anvil using goggles and hearing protection and a leather apron?? Why? It isn't! not for a minute. it's bad for the back and knees, the eyes, and is certainly extremely limited in what can be achieved. 

 

 

 

 

A tool that is less efficient is still relevant and can be purposeful.  Heck, look at artist blacksmiths in modern society, we are living dinosaurs and modern society would function just fine without us, however the world would be boring.  Sure, their are limiting factors compared to a modern anvil with stand, but there are also great achievements for ones that are versed in using different anvil setups. 

 

There is a non profit organization called the toolbox initiative that was formed after a book called "Legacy, Jewelry Techniques of West Africa" was written.   The video above is an excerpt from the iPad version of the book. The mission is to dispense tools and silver to jewelers in West Africa.  I don't know of any organizations for something similar related to blacksmithing.  

http://www.toolboxinitiative.org/what-we-do/

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On 5/25/2017 at 9:57 PM, ede said:

Look at the smiths in Africa.

 

22 hours ago, Marc1 said:

David, I agree

When I started Smithing I had a hole in the ground with a pipe and my wife's hair dryer, my anvil was a hung of RR track with bent nails holding it down. The reason I have the luxury of choices is because of where i live and the fact that I worked my butt off selling forged item at $3-7 each until I made enough to but my anvil........I now have 50k in equipment all paid for in cash from the work I did smithing. you can get all bent out of shape and show all the videos you want but did you notice that mans smithy......? maybe not much to look at but it is clean, everything has a place, its efficient and its the best he has for what luxuries he has available to him. I hate it when a guy has 10k, 20k,50k, 100k in equipment and has a crappy looking stand held together with duct tape, bailing wire, and 5 min epoxy.  my point is use what you have and make your smithy the best it can be, keep upgrading it, keep making it better, more efficient, safer,,,,,,,ect. Dont settle, dont just be ok with you wobbly stand, your stump that is split apart and you keep wrapping bailing twine and tape around it. I made over $2500.00 with that ground forge and rr anvil. I have seen so many smiths complain about how long it takes, how they don't have as good of stuff as i have, my work is higher quality/better/easier..... because of the equipment i have. That's not the case at all, i was the african smith forging on my knees but i kept reinvesting my money into better stuff. People just need to commit. I sacrificed a ton to become a blacksmith, sold my boat, guns, dirt bike, other toys, I simplified my life down, lowered my cost of living my wife and daught supported these things.....  last year I suffered a theft of over 35k in work, tools, materials...... insurance jerked me around and finally denied my claim...... but I took what i had made it the best it could be and went back to work. Remove the stumbling blocks, remove the time wasting in-efficient stuff, cut out the things that kill your production and or hinder you psychologically. And get to work, commit and met that commitment half way.   

9 hours ago, Tubalcain2 said:

here is my stand

nice job! it clean, well built your anvil is good and secure

15 hours ago, jlpservicesinc said:

But again

thats a beast of a stand, pretty killer.

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1 hour ago, David Kailey said:

nice job! it clean, well built your anvil is good and secure

thanks. 

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We're getting off (what I THINK) is the original point of the thread. It's NOT about anvil stands specifically it's about your work station. If you've watched many videos of 3rd. world smiths and paid attention to everything going on you'll see every tool laid where it's supposed to go. If the smith has to use his feet for tongs or hold down then the work area is exactly where it needs to be to make his feet efficient tools. Have you EVER seen the smoke from the fire, be it camel dung, grass straw, charcoal, whatever, blowing in the smith's face? It's almost ALWAYS blowing from the side across and away. Think THAT'S an accident?

In a culture of hand made, (that's US) doing production work is a bad term. Unfortunately good production techniques makes a world of difference. If you have to walk any distance to do the next step you're doing it wrong. If you have to hunt for tools, WRONG again. Even if you're a hobbyist there's no good reason to have your tools and equipment just tossed out there. 

It's part of the knowledge of any craft, if you want to ply it well you need to learn how to do it in a well laid out order and the more you do the more important it is.

David's shop is laid out beautifully, I would probably rearrange a few things but I could walk in today and in less than a day's work adapt and be efficient. Here's another thought about his shop, I'll bet you donuts to rusty rivets it gets reorganized for different job. The major equipment is good where it sits but there are details that change per project, largely the order of operations, call it sequencing. 

David started with his anvil stand and reasoning but unless I'm mistaken anvil stands themselves are NOT the point of the thread.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I took it a little different. I think it's about anvil stands and appearance, looking professional. Basically, there's no reason any smith should have a janky anvil stand that wobbles and looks like my two year assembled it. While I don't 100% agree I do think a smiths anvil stand should be a priority and you should build the best one you have the means to produce even if that's wood.

 

David, The picture I posted above isn't my anvil, it's Robb Gunter's. I was just showing that a fella, who many would consider a master smith, has a wooden stump with screws and chains. 

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7 hours ago, Ranchmanben said:

I took it a little different.

 

9 hours ago, Frosty said:

We're getting off (what I THINK) is the original point of the thread

 

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Frosty Is a bit more on track. I may have picked the wrong item, soap box, tool....ect. I have been told that my work is better because........tools, equipment, bla bla. Or I can't because I don't have...... One of the things I notice is no matter what means the smith has the "doers" smithy , stands differ from the "I can'ters". I was taught that if your not there for your tools, your tools won't be there for you. Looking professional..... my view on that is different I have seen smithy's, with 250K and couldn't look more unprofessional, and the opposite is true. Expensive or low value equipment does not define a blacksmith, but yes his smithy dose. I can look at a smiths smithy and have a good idea if they are a doer or an I can'ter, It causes, me to think man.... I'd be an I can'ter also if I tried to do even simple forgings I this smithy. I so badly want people to embrace and love smithing as much as I do. I hate seeing people struggling, give up, make more of the work then it really is. But so many times it is because they literally set themselves up for failure, because their smithy is so woefully inefficient they will never feel like they are getting a good return on the effort they put forth, the return is not enough to continue. And they settle for it, they are willing to keep trudging alone as if with only one leg wnae they have 2. I am a professional blacksmith, not a master smith, but I get that return on my time and energy, I can give the customer a piece of myself, one like no other and for a price that is comparable to one made by a heartless machine. Yah I get customers that pay more and I get rewarded for what I do. But I have to be a doer, I have to provide a product, met perceived expectation for a price point that works. Had a customer wanted 5 corbels, willing to pay $20 each, efficiency and forming and emotional connection between the customer and what I can provide enabled me to get $25 each and create a hand forge item that is all their own it took me no more then $16 in material and 1.5 hours. Because my hammer, my anvil, my stand, my smithy is nice and clean.   Complex yes..... a bit of rambling absolutely, possibly lost in my words...... well maybe. But give yourself every opportunity to succeed, give yourself the chance to feel the return on that investment of time and energy, give yourself the ability to compete on an open market until you are able to find those customers that are willing to show their appreciation and pay you an honest wage for your work. We have traveled a long way, just like my smithy from 5 years ago to now. Every step I improved, I gained and I kept it nice and clean. Thank you all for your thoughts and engaging in this conversation. Keep it going.

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1 hour ago, Scrambler82 said:

We always do, someone picks a tangent and bam...

I really like your Stands, if I ever decide to get another stands I will let ou know.

One question, Do make them to individual's Smithy's requirements, i.e. Height ?

Yah I ask for the height they want the anvil top to be at and how tall their anvils is,

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