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I Forge Iron

Hello fellow curmudgeons,


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I just found this site a couple of nights ago. Looks like there is a bunch of useful info here. I hope I am able to share some in the future as well. 

I grew up in the 50’s in the hills of East Tennessee. We had mules, horses, and cattle. I grew up on a farm. I had an uncle that was the real deal blacksmith in my early years. I used to love to go stay with him and my aunt and “help” him in his shop. He full time shod horses and mules and repaired wagons and farm equipment. It was a long time ago but it seemed he had a pretty lively business. Still a lot of people in that area hadnt bought in the tractor fad. My job was to crank on the blower at his forge. Probably the best job I ever had. I ate good!  I sometimes got to beat on a piece of scrap iron on his anvil. Well, that ruined me. 

Fast forward almost 60 years and here I am. Im retired and live out here in the woods with my two dogs and I couldnt help but get started doing what I always wanted to do, beat a piece of hot iron into submission. 

I built a couple of forges, version 2.0 is pretty sweet. Version 3.0 is bouncing around in my little mind right now. I also use a piece of I beam, an 18” x 21”x1” table plus an 18” section of the heaviest guage RR track Ive ever seen. I remembered that I have about a 5’ section of a tiny coal cart track laying out behind the equipment yard that I might go dig out tomorrow. I am lucky enough to have an old hand dug coal mine under the creek bluffs that border my property. 

You all probably know where this is going. I am looking for an anvil like everyone else in this world. I am not looking to make a medeival sword or anything that somebody saw in a movie. I have just outgrown my piece of track. I need something + or - 100lbs or so as I aint gonna swing over 2 1/2 lbs for long and Im ok with that.

I mostly make gifts for family and friends, generally simple things like pokers, dutch oven lid lifters, bottle openers and tools for myself. I can make pretty much anything I need but I cant make anything anybody else wants. 

We have an Amish community here, and I have the word out that I am looking for an anvil, but these good do their own work and shoe their own horses and dont have a lot of excess of anything they dont need laying around. I will not pay collector prices so I am considering buying something like a NC. Are yall throwing rocks at me yet?  

I am welcome to any and all advise and suggestions. Rocks even. 

I am gonna need some advice in the finer points as in tool hardening, etc in the future. I hope yall will help a brother out and allow me to camp right about here. Thanks!

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Welcome it Glenn’s international block party

Take that heavy rail and cut a notch in a stump and mount it vertical so all that lovely mass is under the hammer. 

perhaps this will inspire you.

dont feel like you need a 6# hand sledge,vikings used 1-1/2 to 2# hammers 4# for sledges.infact the largest Viking era anvil found was about 30# 3” wide and about a foot long. It is rather unusual as it had a heal, horn and pritchel hole

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Rail spikes set to a slip fit. A track plate and spikes is even better. A 1/2” or so plate with a square hole or a piece of heavy wall square tubing with a 1” inside measure set in the top makes a hardy hole, you may want to make a bit of a washer. To support it.

As to the long edge, just use it vertical to straiten, you can always cut a piece of the light gauge if you need a horizontal piece for straitening,  

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Have you seen this anvil making link yet: http://www.marco-borromei.com/fork.html   I've posted it here a number of times as it's a great anvil and a great price and forklifts are fairly common.

n.b.  I am the Thomas they mention in the story and I hauled out the first tine by myself; glad I didn't know how much it weighed!

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Welcome Timberbull.  The people on here are for the most part the finest you will run across.  Your quest for an Anvil can be a short trip or a long haul.  Considering there were many 100,000s of them imported from England and 100,000s more made in the US they seem to have decided they got sick of being hit with a hammer so much they hide now in dark corners of barns, shops, basements and only move in the dark of night. 

As stated many times in IFI you have to ask everyone you see, or know, every relative, friend, neighbor, fellow workers, your Doc. Dentist, anyone and everyone if they know where there is an anvil.  If there is anyone within 100 sq. miles of you that doesn't know you are looking you are not working hard enough on it. 

Good luck, I also started my Blacksmith experiences cranking the blower for my first "Boss" at 10 yrs old, in the 50s.  Good time to have started. 

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Thanks Notownkid and all the rest for the welcome and advice. I have the word out in this small community. Got a lead or two today, gonna make another call tonight. I’m pretty much a hermit so I dont talk to lots of folks. 

I did go down to the coal mine today and filled up another bucket. It is getting harder to pack out coal tho. I think I will cut a better trail in so I can just back the side by side up to the entrance. I dont know if its bituminous or anthracite but it sure burns clean and hot. 

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