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I Forge Iron

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Hi all, I'm new to smithing and looking to get myself an anvil but with little experience in these matters I'm not sure if I should go for the older anvils off Ebay, like this ones-l225.jpg.2776b7ca07c30876418c94aba71a8b84.jpg

These seem to vary from 50kg to 150kg (110lbs-330lbs) but often the edges seem dull and its difficult to tell if it's a cast iron ASO.

Or I could go with a new one, for a similar price 50kg (110lbs) which is as heavy I can get on my budget.

I intend to use this to recreate historical weapons, starting small at 1st but eventually I would like to move on to swords etc.  and I would like to try my hand at Damascus one day.


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If you can afford the new anvil then buy it. Unless its a cheap cast iron piece of junk. But you just spent all your money on an anvil. You still need a forge and tools etc.  Do as Jasent and JHCC have recomended. You can get into this cheaper that way. Ebay is a risky option for getting an anvil. You have to see it in person and test it. I bought a 16lb sledge hammer from ebay for 35usd shipped, and bored a hole in a stump to hold it and it is surprising how well it works. You have to learn basic blacksmithing skills before doing historical weapons etc.  Such as drawing out, square tapers, spreading, 90 degree square corners, punching, drifting etc. All this can be done on on a simple piece of mild steel, etc. Look for a blacksmithing group in your area. They will have more knowledge and resources then you can get on your own. And I think there might be a smith or 50 in the UK that can help.  Welcome to the addiction!

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7 hours ago, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

Do not buy an anvil through eBay... unless it is local to you and can be inspected and tested for ring & rebound. There are a lot of junk anvils listed and shipping is outrageous.

Buying through EBAY is OK, despite what some people thiink.  EBAY/UK has lots of anvils, cheap compared to the states.  And if you can retrieve the anvil yourself, you will save on the shipping costs.   I have bought many here in the states, and the shipping cost is added into the cost of the anvil.  I have never had a problem with any anvil bought that way. 

A nice old style anvil would fit the "look" too, if you plan on ever doing demos. 

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You can sort by distance on eBay UK (if you're viewing the desktop version: it doesn't work on mobile)

(Search options on left)

(Sort options on top)

It might be worth finding a few within a reasonable distance from yourself, and consider sending them a message to see if you can possibly view it before bidding?


The only new ones i've seen that aren't cast ASO's on eBay are the BECMA ones (ok for starting out, but not the hardest face).
For that sort of money, you'd definitely get something much better if collection is an option... or even getting a quote for 'a man with a van'... delivery wouldn't be that much.


Probably worthwhile setting up a search alert on gumtree too... there are a few up for grabs there, and while it may be an hour or two travel to view them, at least you know what you're getting.


I'm currently weighing up the cost of taking a ferry to go view in person vs taking a risk on ebay and using palette shipping to go shopping on the mainland.

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14 hours ago, Kevin Olson said:

You still need a forge and tools etc

Thankfully I have already got a small forge, few hammers and a decent set of tongs so buying an anvil wont stop my progress

15 hours ago, Kevin Olson said:

You have to learn basic blacksmithing skills before doing historical weapons etc.

I have been practicing things like drawing out, tapering etc. but I know I wont be able to jump straight into things like katana's instead historical weapons are my long term goal, I just didn't want to invest in a anvil that I know I will need to replace once I have a stronger skill base.

I will be contacting some blacksmithing groups because as you said their skill/knowledge will be far more than just me plowing through the internet/youtube. 


Thanks for the advice

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Sharp edges are a bad thing, they creat stress risers (places for cracks to start) so even a vet anvil needs its edges rounded, just as we recomend dressing a hammer. Mine has a 1/4" radius at the front and a 1/2" at the heal 

historical weapons were typicaly forged on hornless anvils, and for most of history an anvils of 10# or less. The main problem you will face (as we all do) is that historackly a smith was acualy a team sport. Thrawls, aprentaces and such being a thing of the past (DHS rather frownes on slaving out ines children at the forge as well). This leads us to the hardy hole and tool holders like the smithing magician to hold tools for us wile we strike for our selves. So the most important consideration is that you have an anvil with a hardy hole as close to the main mass (waist) of the anvil. Farrier patterns tent to put them out on the heal insted of close to the feet. Now a portable hole can be easily built to serve this perpose, and may acualy serve beter for some tasks (a 1" plate with a 1" square hardy hole welded to a heavy wall pipe, typicaly square and at anvil hight) a good 100-150# anvil will serve well for most forging, unless your idea of historical weapons tend tord barel stave cannons...



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