Steven511

Why does size matter?

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Men......always debating whether or not size matters!     (sorry, lol, as one of the few females here I couldn't resist!) :lol:

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50 minutes ago, SpankySmith said:

Men......always debating whether or not size matters!     (sorry, lol, as one of the few females here I couldn't resist!) :lol:

Honestly, the inner child in me may have had some say in how I phrased this question :lol:

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There is much more in the article and in my post than 'rebound does not matter'. That is the funny and controversial part and the quote is from Brian Brazeal and not me.

The efficiency of the hammer anvil system is explained using both alternatives of elastic (high rebound) and inelastic (low rebound), where the losses are and what does the bearing test shows. There are many factors at play when trying to explain our own experience, like you do when comparing a smaller ASO with a larger better quality anvil.  

My original question however, was if the anvil can be made bigger with a big stand, or can the mass of the stand be incorporated to the mass of the anvil making it bigger.   

The answer is in most cases no. The shape of an anvil with a large body a waste and a smaller footprint precludes most of the force of the hammer blow from traveling into the stand and so precludes the stand from returning the favour. There are also other factors, like gaps and change in material and therefore resonance. The idea that the hammer blow travels vertically into the stand is incorrect. 

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The simple answer to the rebound remark is that a hardened anvil face lasts longer than a soft wrought iron face would. That is why they were hardened. 

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What I had tried to point out before is that the hammer (or force) to anvil mass ratio is important.   With enough anvil mass and/or a small enough hammer there isn't much discernible energy spent moving an unsecured anvil/stand combination around.  As the hammer force increases relative to the anvil mass there is a point at which an unsecured system will start to move around.  The threshold of force needed to overcome the static inertia and friction of the anvil/stand combination has been breached.   It's not so much that the stand becomes part of the anvil in concentrating the energy in the work piece.  It's that a secured stand doesn't allow as much of the energy to go into moving the system around.  A greater anvil mass also requires greater force to overcome the static inertia of the anvil even if it's not well secured. Similar results for different reasons. How that translates into efficiency of hammer blows on your work piece on a well secured lighter anvil compared to a more massive anvil I do not know.  There is a reason that there are suggested hammer to anvil weight ratios for power hammers in order to get the most out of them though. 

A ball bearing dropped from 10 inches does not have enough force to come close to overcoming the static inertia of even a relatively small anvil.  So what's the point? If something as relatively light as a ball bearing has 40% of its energy absorbed by the anvil and stand will that mean it requires more hammer blows of the same force on the same alloy at the same temperature than one that only absorbs 10% of the energy?  I guess I don't know for sure, but I'd bet in that direction.

 As I've mentioned in another thread regarding this issue, when an anvil surface is deformed that must mean some energy was used.  A hardened face will not deform nearly as much per hammer blow.  In my mind that almost has to mean that a softer anvil face absorbs at least a little more of the energy at the anvil's surface than one with a hardened face. That should therefore translate into more hammer blows or harder hammer blows required to get the same results.

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because a hardened face wont distort, it maintains its shape. it has nothing to do with rebound. simply said, we dont need no steeking ding marks on yer anvil face.  ;)  this is also why we harden our hand tools less hard than the anvil face,,, so when you miss yer tool, you ding yer tool, not the anvil face.  lol, its far easier to dress a slit chisel than the face of your anvil.  

and, no doubt, a 2# hammer leveling a horse shoe on a 125 # anvil sitting in an angle iron frame with 4 legs sitting on concrete, or dirt, will walk all over the lot. the same hammer with the anvil mounted snugly IN a stump buried firmly 3' in the ground will go nowhere and   you will notice the difference in every blow.

Marc1 has about the best answer. anvil size should be chosen by the size of your average work. a larger anvil gives you a larger table needed for larger steel.

the most important thing you can do for efficiency is to eliminate as much of the vibration between anvil and stand and between stand and the earth. 

the bounce test should give you a pretty good idea of the bond between the anvil face and the anvil body.

 

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Many good points guys. Sure, hardened anvil face makes the anvil last a long time. Ball bearing test gives you an idea of the integrity of the anvil, etc. All good points.

Big anvil absorbs more energy than small one and therefore allows for big hammer. Makes sense. Big anvil has a larger face so you can work larger pieces. 

I was more interested in another facet of the anvil debate and one that Buzz touched on. Let's call it "the purpose of the stand"

So besides the obvious function of holding the anvil at the right hight for your arm length and all that ... what happens when a poorly secured anvil bounces and walks around? The accepted answer is that there is energy loss so securing it will make the hammer more efficient. 

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Sure a solid steel tripod with big 5/8 bolts holding an anvil down is 'better' than a wooden stump with a couple of big nails, but why? It either adds to the mass of the anvil and returns some of the lost energy or it does not. 

Well the bad news is that very little of the energy can be returned by the stand, tripod or stump and their function is one of convenience. Who wants a bouncing anvil? Or safety, who wants an anvil falling on his toe? Who want's an anvil ringing like a bell? Yet all those unwanted effects that are neutralised by the stand are still a loss. Energy wasted. They are just not as bothersome. 

So like I mentioned before, the hammer blow when vertical down, will produce a wave that travels in all directions in the mass of the anvil and not just vertical down into the ground. Place a finger on the tip of the horn and give the anvil a tap with the hammer. if the action only goes vertical down you shouldn't feel a thing. 

However a bouncing anvil is telling us something very important. The anvil is too small for the hammer you are using. And if you bolt the anvil down or set it in concrete it will still be too small. So is building a super tripod a waste of time? No, as blacksmiths we tend to over engineer what we do. It looks better and tends to last a lot longer. What I am saying is that the stand can not make up for the lack of mass in the anvil you are using. If it bounces around it means you need a bigger anvil. By securing it to a tripod on steroids you may think you have overcome the problem but all you have done is cancel the symptom. 

In my opinion anyway :)

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13 hours ago, Buzzkill said:

As I've mentioned in another thread regarding this issue, when an anvil surface is deformed that must mean some energy was used.  A hardened face will not deform nearly as much per hammer blow.  In my mind that almost has to mean that a softer anvil face absorbs at least a little more of the energy at the anvil's surface than one with a hardened face. That should therefore translate into more hammer blows or harder hammer blows required to get the same results.

Buzz - that makes perfect sense and answers the question I posed

5 hours ago, Marc1 said:

So like I mentioned before, the hammer blow when vertical down, will produce a wave that travels in all directions in the mass of the anvil and not just vertical down into the ground. Place a finger on the tip of the horn and give the anvil a tap with the hammer. if the action only goes vertical down you shouldn't feel a thing. 

Buzz - now that makes sense on the rebound / hard face issue.  I think you answered my question well.  I think this is the difference that is notices when one switches from ASO to a hard faced anvil.

 

5 hours ago, Marc1 said:

So like I mentioned before, the hammer blow when vertical down, will produce a wave that travels in all directions in the mass of the anvil and not just vertical down into the ground. Place a finger on the tip of the horn and give the anvil a tap with the hammer. if the action only goes vertical down you shouldn't feel a thing. 

 Marc1 - I understand what you are stating above, but I have some observations that must be explained.  I roll my 179 # Trenton anvil out onto my dirt driveway on it's 300# stump every time I forge.  When I'm done forging I can see where the stump has made its impression into the dirt.  Now mind you this is not the effect of 479# sitting there for several hours but you can see that the pounding all afternoon has set the stump into the dirt.  That tells me that yes there is some energy being transferred into the ground.  Having had a smaller stump at one time, My wife can testify that she heard "thump-thump-thump" inside the house, but when I switched to the larger stump she does not hear it anymore.  That says to me that the larger the anvil base stump the more energy it absorbs which makes sense, but also testifies that energy is in fact being transferred through the wood stump.  I think I read somewhere that energy transferred down the wood grain more readily (hence why the old-time mechanics would take a piece of wood and hold it to an engine block to isolate sounds inside.)  Obviously the energy doesn't just go vertical so you are correct there, but I think the lion's share does because that's the direction of the most force being applied.  When a meteor hit the earth the impact goes in all directions forming a round crater but notice that the deepest part of the crater is in the center where the direction of force was the greatest.  BTW, I did read the article and new that Brian made that quote not you B)

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Sure there is kinetic energy transferred down into the ground through the stump. And the bigger and heavier the stump or stand, the more that energy that is lost is absorbed by the mass of the stand and not transferred to the ground and to the surroundings. The stand is acting like a secondary anvil, however the amount of energy returned to the anvil from the stand is minimal and the amount of this lets call it secondary energy, returned to the hot steel is even less. Why? Because the anvil/hammer collision is mostly an elastic collision and the anvil stump is mostly an inelastic collision. 

However that is not the point. If you want an efficient system you want to minimise losses. You want as much as the energy from your arm as possible to go into the hot steel.

When two objects collide in an elastic manner, if they are of equal mass they will move away from each other an equal distance at the same speed. If you want to minimise the movement of the anvil you must increase the ratio of hammer anvil mass. An infinite anvil will be unmovable but not practical so a ratio of anvil hammer must be found to make losses acceptable. The indication that there are losses, is the anvil shaking and bouncing, and the stump digging a hole in the ground. A big enough anvil or rather a high enough hammer/anvil ratio, will not require massive stands and bolts and should return most of the kinetic energy of the hammer into the hot work. Not thanks to the stand but thanks to the anvil mass. If you used a 1/2 pound hammer there would be no hole in the ground and your wife wouldn't hear a thing. Actually she may hear some ringing, but that would be an acceptable and unavoidable loss.

As explained much better in the article I linked, when you work on your anvil, there shouldn't be any purely elastic collision of hammer and anvil unless you miss your work and strike the anvil directly. So that means an in-between situation and complicates matters somehow. However the end result and the behaviour of the anvil mass is the same and the ratio is still a valid concept. What I mainly wanted to point out is that the way the anvil absorbs the energy and returns it is not in the direction of the force applied but rather in all directions inside the mass, and so only the base of the anvil that is a small area in relation to the rest of the anvil surface will be able to impart some energy down to the stand and an even smaller proportion of that energy may be able to bounce back into the anvil that in turn will absorb it and divide the reaction in two, one down and the other up. How much of the original hammer energy can be returned by the stand to the hot work is beyond my mathematics but I can guess it to be very depending on materials, mass of the stand, and to be rather low. 

One further observation is that the shape of an anvil, when practical for the purpose it is designed, its not the best shape for the purpose of conservation of energy. A truncated pyramid shape is likely to return more energy back than one that is shaped like a tuning fork and loses a good amount of energy destroying our hearing :)

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Interesting points Marc1.  Only on the internet can a blacksmith from NY chat it up with a blacksmith from down under.  :D Can we see a picture of the anvil you forge with?  

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This is a PW 280 lb I made a metal stand for recently. Had the process posted but somehow all the photos are gone.

Plate is 1" and legs are RHS 5" x 2.5" x 1/4" filled with sand and oil. 

 

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Forging the hinge pin for a gate. 50mm x 10mm down to 20mm round. Used a 4 lb hammer the anvil did not move or shake but I should have used the 480 lb that is still stand-less. 

 

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The nut is just to size the pin

 

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My twisted idea for a gate :)

Flatbar is 2"x1/4"

36803929_10155683564948424_2877895664782

 

New York ... must be a busy place ... I once bought a vintage chainsaw off ebay from NY ... It's a 100 cc Homelite from the sixties. Ha a tag on teh side stating ... this is the property of the NY City Fire department ... :)

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All the points mentioned here are pretty good.. 

my own experience ranges from 15lbs cast iron anvils to 400lbs with another 300lbs for the stand.. 

Rebound in an anvil for the most part is a moot point..  The metal when at deep forging temps is plastic enough that there is very little rebound put back into the work piece as the anvil and stand are very rigid..  Where rebound starts to play in is as the bar cools and you start to planish it.. 

There is the equation for speed and weight and you can see this with simple experiments that a very fast object striking another even with little mass can move a lot of material before the hammer can deform the object just struck.. Thus for an instant the anvil will be completely still while force it applied..  Where you see the anvils walking is usually the after effect when speed has been slowed enough to then effect the anvil vs metal between hammer and anvil.. 

A heavier anvil will offer a greater return on the investment of each hammer swing and this doesn't matter what sized hammer is used..  As then it is mass of the anvil that will resist vs kinetic energy... 

Where you see this matter is when people don't really have a concept of how much metal the hammer of a given size should really move..   

In other words.. As smiths gain in experience they will typically move up or down in hammer size to more easily work the size metal they are on..  (New smiths usually stick with 1 hammer as it's the one they can swing)

When I am working a piece of metal by hand..  I will try to choose a hammer that will effect the metal to the core and it will literally push the sides of the bar outwards..  As you get better and better with a hammer you will find you start to have the ability to effect larger cross sections with a lighter hammer.. 

This means for a given hammer strike this will create the desired penetration and will work the bar the most effectively.. 

one will ask what this has to do with Anvil size...     As you move up in hammer size the speed with which you swing a hammer will go down...  This means the initial hit will be less effective on a smaller anvil as the energy is disrupted and the anvil and mount will get wonky.. 

In simple terms..  The larger the anvil the longer it can resist any object colliding into it to the point of movement..   Even a 0.000001 is a loss of effective  applied force..  

Yes, a heavy stand with proper mounting will enhance the use of a smaller anvil..  the mounting/stump will also need to be stable or more stable with a larger foot print to again resist the initial blow..   The hammer blow translates into vibration and this vibration does not stay at the same wave length passing through different densities of matter.. 

A 3" X 10" X 31" set on it's short side would make a wonderful striking anvil as this would project a resonance that would again resist the amount of initial force  very well.. 

When we start talking about vibration and frequencies of a hammer blow on a given size anvil this vibrations are parasitic in nature and are energy that is wasted..   Ringing is a loss of energy.. That is why it fades over time.. 

There is a ratio of anvil to hammer size and I think it's a pretty good one if you are using London pattern anvils and worried about busting off the heel/tail or horn.. 

On german type anvils that have the hardie hold closer to the center mass even with a lighter model you can use a larger hammer as you won't snap off anything..  Is it ideal from that ratio.. No the anvil will want to move around more as it resists the full weight of the hammer after the effected metal has been.. 



 

Nice stand Marc1 but for my taste and work methods it would still be to light... 

Check out the stand in the trailer build or the Hay Budden 368lbs stand..  

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2 hours ago, jlpservicesinc said:

Rebound in an anvil for the most part is a moot point..  The metal when at deep forging temps is plastic enough that there is very little rebound put back into the work piece as the anvil and stand are very rigid..  Where rebound starts to play in is as the bar cools and you start to planish it.. 

I think that the idea of testing an anvil with a ball bearing for rebound sort of muddles up the concept of what the anvil does. 

You are right in mentioning that rebound will be felt when you strike the steel cold. My first job at age 15 was to texture flat bar and round bar for bed heads cold, using a texturing mallet. I learned about rebound there!

However ... if you strike cold steel or hot steel, the anvil does not really care. What matters is how much of the kinetic energy of the hammer is converted into deformation of the steel ( the actual purpose of the exercise) and how much of this energy goes into the anvil ... and then again, how much of this is returned back by the anvil, how much is lost in movement be it vibration, shaking, deformation of the anvil and the stand. 

In a perfectly elastic collision the coefficient of restitution is one or close to one, in an inelastic collision the coefficient of restitution is zero or close to zero.

In the collision between hammer and hot iron, the collision can be called more or less inelastic according to the temperature of the iron. Heat the iron white hot and strike. A lot of the kinetic energy will be used to flatten the iron. very little will go in the anvil ... ( and some will go into burning your apron :) ) Conversely a dark red iron will deform little and the coefficient of restitution from the steel and the anvil will be higher. 

So if we qualify an anvil as good, by the amount of rebound, we are using the wrong parameter, since the smith will use hot iron 99% of the time ...  and all that time the rebound will not really matter. Hardness of the anvil is required to retain integrity sure, but If we have a 1' cube of tool steel hardened at 54 HRC and 1' cube of mild steel and forge on it the same hot iron bar, providing the temperature is the right one and the hammer is not over the ratio that is ideal, you will probably be hard pressed to notice any difference at all whilst forging. Sure, miss a blow or keep on going on too colder steel and you will mark the anvil. Plenty of mild steel striking anvils testify to this.

The other part of your post is also right. if you have an elastic or inelastic collision there is in both cases conservation of momentum and the ratio between hammer and anvil plays it's role here. 

Why does size matter is the title of this thread ... it matters because the collision on hot iron is not perfectly inelastic and so some of the momentum and some of the kinetic energy still goes into the anvil. What happens next is what makes the blow more or less efficient. 

I feel that I will start repeating myself if I keep on going. The best is to try to go through both this links if at all possible. I remember another little article that explained the collision on an anvil at molecular level but can not find it anymore.

https://www.calsmith.org/Resources/Documents/technical_documents/techdocs_thephysicsofanvils.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collision

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There is a very simple way to explain it..  IT being why a larger anvil vs a smaller anvil..       

Take a light hammer say 6oz -10oz..    Take a small rock (about 1lb or little more) and hit it lightly just holding it in the palm or your hand..   Then put a 4lbs or larger rock in the palm of your hand and hit it the same as you did with the smaller rock using the same size hammer with the same speed and force as the first hit.. 

Guess what happens..        

in theory you will get to a point with the weight of the  rock that the hammer strike/hit will feel the same vs the size/mass, weight of the rock as the rock gets bigger.

. In other words at some point for that given hammer size and the hit.. The amount of hit you will feel will even out for a given weight.. Say 15lbs and up.. Mind you a person can't hold a 200lbs rock in there hand.. But in theory  there will for any given size hammer a ratio where that rock/anvil will minimize the felt effect of the hammer strike..  As the kinetic energy of the hammer upon impact can't effect the mass of the rock as greatly to induce motion..  

This method becomes self explanatory... Vs any equations which for a purely investigation into hand operated hammers has such a large list of varibles it would cost 1000000000.00 of dollars to pin down a scientific /engineering study.. 

I move away from equations and overly complicated thinking practices  as I have found the math involved with such large variables as human output, that its overly complicated for such a simple and easy to show example.. 

 

This doesn't account for how the anvil is mounted but it does simply account for the hammer and the effect it has on anvil size..  It also will show that speed plays into how the strike effects both the rock, and hand/arm..     A very fast strike can break the rock with a very small hammer with little effect to the hand, vs a larger hammer which because of the size can never be swung fast enough to break the rock (it will (crush)) vs splitting it off or in chunks.. 

As to mounts..       As pointed out in both the trailer build and the HB build...   in some of the Video "How to's"  with the 175lbs Hay Budden and lighter stand you can actually see the horn move downward as it is hit.. In the trailer the anvil is mounted through the floor, resting on the ground and is pinched through a thimble and locked into the trailer.. 

in later videos with the newest stand and 275lbs Peddinghaus, over head view of the horn you can see the camera moving up and down.. this camera is mounted to the side wall via an arm..  this means the anvil is being hit hard enough that it is effecting the whole trailer structure though the anvil is mounted on the ground and is again pinched into a thimble which is part of the trailer frame..  The trailer is also stationary with it mounted on jacks so there is no springing of the floor or axle springs..  This new stand doesn't have as much flex as the earlier stand.. 
 

Anyhow, things can be simply explained or made as complicated as can be...  For each and every person there is a way (video, reading, hands on) that makes the most sense in a learning way..     For most they won't waste their time with the experiment with the rocks/hammer weights but will or won't agree..  

Thats ok to..   But once you try it and you use different sized hammers with different sized rocks it becomes self explanatory for anvils sizes as does the way mass/speed effects what you are hitting..  

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As a note..     The problem with anvils and weight is..  As the weight goes up so does the face width.. For most doing general forgings a wider face becomes a hindrance as then you need a set tool for the hardie hole to work on narrower sections or a bridge or have a double horn anvil.. 

The 275lbs Peddinghaus Double horn for myself bought mainly for making colonial hardware is to wide at 5.25"   Yet the Refflinghaus 460lbs is only 5" wide.. 

While a double horn anvil makes for a more diverse working surface without adding in hardie tooling it also means working smaller sections over the least supported part of the anvil thus making each hit less effective at moving metal.. But it makes the anvil more useful without needing extra tooling.. 

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Nice anvil Marc1  Here I was thinking you had specially shaped anvil, so I'm glad to see you have a regular anvil like the rest of us.B)  Thanks for sharing.  

I think more along the lines of JLP.  For me, equations are intangibles much like the terrible directions you get to assemble that new entertainment center:D  They make sense to the one who wrote them, but with no thought to the end user trying to figure it out.  Many times I've just had to set the directions aside, look at the parts and how everything works/goes together (hands on) and then put the thing together using the directions as a reference and not a step by step guide.  Being a flintknapper, I've spent a few decades mastering the speed at which tool hits stone, shifting from different sized striking tools with some being swung at different speeds.  Often a larger percussion tool swung at a slower speed accomplishes more than a smaller one struck violently fast.  So much of what JLP states makes sense to me.  

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When I was a kid our local circus had an act where one guy laid down between two chairs, the assistant placed a large rock on his belly, easy 40 kilos, and then proceeded to crack it in half with a mighty blow of a sledgehammer. The audience went O! Ah! yet I always failed to be amazed and could intuitively understand that the larger the rock the easier it was to avoid injury from the hammer. 

Yes, formulas are not for everyone.

If we can take something home from this, let it be that a shaking and wandering anvil is telling us it is too small for the job, and that a heavy stand is no substitute for a heavier anvil. 

 

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The other thing about the rock-breaking trick is that an unbroken rock transmits energy, while a breaking rock absorbs energy. In other words, if your assistant doesn't hit the rock hard enough to break it, you gonna be hurtin'!

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Anybody else switch to a smaller hammer when teaching so as to not leave the class in the dust?   I teach by making the item as the class makes theirs: demonstrate the next step---coach them in doing it; demo the next step, coach; USW.

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On 7/6/2018 at 11:13 PM, Steven511 said:

This question has been bugging me all day, and I've yet to find any post on here that can adequately explain the answer to me of why heavier anvils are better - and before you type out that they are better because they give more rebound, I know. What I want to know is why heavier things give more rebound. I've mostly just heard they are better because they have more inertia and therefore don't waste the blow's energy by bouncing around, but that just doesn't make sense to me, because as far as I know the energy is still going into the anvil, it's just not moving it as much. However, I know that heavier anvils do work better, hence my conundrum. Have I got something wrong? Can anyone tell me what I'm missing?

In the sizes of metal most blacksmiths forge, the size of anvil is mote point.  As I have wrote before, I started my blacksmith career on a 350 lb. Fisher, when I went off on my own, I got a 600 plus lb. Fisher, I then downsized to a 400 lb. Fisher, then to a 218 lb. Swedish, and now I'm using and have been for 8 years, a 100 lb. Swedish.  I find the 100 to be able to perform as well as any of the others and it's size is better suited for the work I do.  If I did big enough work to warrant the use of 16 lb. sledges I would use the 400 for the heavy work and the finish work on the 100.  Mostly I see the whole "big is better" as just a "feel good" myth for those that have a big anvil.   

I still own the 600, 400 and 2 100's.  I occasionally use the 400, but the 600 is just collecting dust.

 

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I have anvils from 100#-306# and my 260# Fisher gets used the most. It just sits on a stump, and with the projects I make it rarely moves around. If I had a striker I would probably secure it better than it is.

Gerald, the Fisher I have was the first anvil my Dad and I started with. I love using it and it reminds me of when Dad was around. My ears also appreciate his choice in anvils. Some day I would like to try out a large anvil like the 600# one you have, just to say I did.

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4 hours ago, Gerald Boggs said:

Mostly I see the whole "big is better" as just a "feel good" myth for those that have a big anvil.

correct.  and simple is as simple does.

and if your connection between anvil to stand and stand to earth isnt secure, you lose, no matter if you see it, feel it, or not. the worse these connections, the more work you must apply to overcome these losses. i believe the area where these come together is called resistance\friction. vibration is energy spent to overcome this resistance. you can overcome this resistance by having better connections, get a bigger hammer, or hit it harder.

more simple, even with a poor connection, the bigger your anvil and heavier your stand AND the lighter your hammer and smaller your work, the less these poor connections will effect you.  

this is about as simple of physics as it gets. anyother more complex physics just takes more time ad theoretical knowledge  to get to this same place,,,

but its fun to debate.  ;)

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6 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Anybody else switch to a smaller hammer when teaching so as to not leave the class in the dust?   I teach by making the item as the class makes theirs: demonstrate the next step---coach them in doing it; demo the next step, coach; USW.

I do every thing slower when teaching or even in the How to videos..    If you do something to quickly the "Awe" factor comes in and most will get discouraged when they learn it's not so easy.. 

The title is " Why does size matter"..   Not  my ego is bigger than your ego and I have a big anvil because its so..    Or smaller anvil because it's better than a larger one.. :) 

Again. Anvil size can simply be a preference to what someone likes.. Style, type, material, forging skill, level of training. Etc, etc. etc.. 

A skilled smith can produce quality work on any thing, with anything..  Is it ideal not likely.. But it can be done.. It can take a little longer than having everything just so, But it can still be done..   And then the guy or gal can go..  Oh, see I told ya so.. 

Again,  The reason that size comes into play is because of what one typically works and material size...  I had read somewhere that an anvil of 150lbs size is perfect for most general blacksmith work..     Sure it is..        So is a 200lbs or a 100lbs...  It's what ever is there to use as well as what someone is used to.. Horn left or right.. 

We all have a preference but that preference doesn't help others to understand  "Why"...         Why is it a person likes a particular anvil size..   Or what makes that particular anvil the right size..  

These kinds of questions and answers might be more helpful to someone looking for the information.. 

I personally like a heavier anvil with as rigid a stand as I can put under it and bolted down so they are locked together.   It doesn't make my work any better than someone with a 100lbs anvil or an ASO..    This isn't the point..  Qualtiy work is quality work.. Or its not.. 

At what point would you want to move up in anvil size.. Or move back down.. 

My explanation  only talks about what happens with the hammer and mass to resist movement and thus you can get more work per swing from the hammer..  This doesn't take into consideration, mounting, anvil shape (horn/tail use).    And for most swinging a faster lighter hammer most anvils from 100-200lbs will offer plenty of immovable spirit... 

If you like a smaller anvil or a larger anvil  that is good on you..  But this still doesn't address the reason why you feel this way or what advantage you see this anvil or that anvil offering.. 


 

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a few things about this thread, and it comes from high school physics. first semester, or whatever, is particle physics. i hope i remember the correct name. this has to do with force or any movement thru particles, be they human, wood, molecules, steel, rocks.  second semester is wave theory. this is like a rock dropped in a pond and seeing the wave emanate out or sound.  they are not interchangeable, nor can you use parts of both. could be at the theoretical level this isnt right, but most likely it still is in high school... lol,,,if they still teach this in high school.  we are dealing with particle theory, not wave theory.

second, there is no time delay with force. it moves instantaneously. so, you dont have  a time delay where more force is used here and not there. when you strike your anvil;, instantly this total force minus the friction at each molecule is present at all points of your anvil. think of electricity,, its actually similar.  flip the switch and at the end of the run instantly is,, power.  minus the resistance of the wire. it dont slow it down. it does subtract the wire resistance from the total force you start with.

third, the word i was looking for is coefficient of friction.  every material has its own. this is the culprit that steals your force. it changes your work into such things as heat and vibration. if you could strike your anvil at the sweet spot and measure the force, then measure the force at every other point of your anvil that is sent into the air and add these togethert, their total would be less than your initial blow. and by the amount determined by the coefficient of friction that your anvil was made of. 

think of those half dozen steel balls on a string that you can buy. pull up one end and let it go. the end ball instantly moves.  the distance it moves is greater if there are fewer balls and less with more balls. and yet the only balls that move are the first and the last. the reason the " short" stack goes higher is less loss due to friction with fewer balls.

and the above is why size doesnt matter. and its also why your connection between anvil and stand and stand to the ground is the key to maximizing the efficiency of your anvil.

this has nothing to do with "better and worse" anvils. what makes one anvil better(different is a  better word here) than another is that danged coefficient of friction. a modern cast steel anvil at a particular hardness will be different than say a peter wright that has at least two materials involved,,, wrought and hc steel plate plus the quality of the bond between the two( the reason for the bounce test). no bond equals air with its own coefficient of friction.

so what makes a better anvil? its use, preference and the experience of the nut between hammer and anvil,,, and the  nothing more.

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