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Hello to anyone reading this. I'm a beginner blacksmith. As in, I have almost no materials yet. I'm almost done building my forge, so I think it would be a good idea to acquire an anvil. I've read a decent amount of articles and other forum discussions on anvils for starters. I know some people recommend a piece of railroad track, or a small, square piece of steel, but I want to get an anvil. I think an anvil is the better choice, because it will last me farther on down the road ( feel free to give any persuasive advice on this). I've scoured the web, trying to find an anvil at a price I can afford, but I haven't seen any. My maximum price is only about $100. The reason I came here is to see if anybody had an old anvil that needed restoration work done to it ( Or possibly could point me to someone who does?). I'm located in the Dayton, Ohio area and I can't travel very far outside of there. Thanks for your time, God bless.

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At $100 max you would be incredibly lucky to find any real anvil. From the population, Dayton seems like a relatively big place, so I doubt you have any old farmers with anvils from their grandfathers, which is the only way to get an anvil for under $200. Also, you haven't really started forging yet, so I would recommend not spending so much money on a London Pattern anvil (the kind you normally see) and just get something that you can work on. My first (and current) anvil is just a railroad tie plate (much easier to find than track, but also lighter) glued and railroad-spiked into a stump of 4x4s with a heavy chain around the bottom. Something similiar would definitely suit you until you can find more money and until you know the basics of blacksmithing and know that you are really interested (watching videos is much different from the real thing).

That being said, if you can find a 50+ pound anvil that you can buy for $100; jump on it! Anvils go for at least around 3-4 dollars per pound, and usually far more. Just make sure that it is a decent anvil. No cast iron. Find something that is steel, ductile iron, or steel plated, ideally brand named. Separating the crappy from the good, especially at your price, is going to be hard, so you should look at the "Buyer's Guide to Anvils" thread on here. 

Overall, I think you should probably start with the cheapest anvil you can find, then eventually upgrade to something better when you have more money and are sure you like blacksmithing. However, I know that itch for a cool new tool, so if you absolutely must buy an anvil first, please be VERY careful with what you get. At your price, 8 times of 10 it's gonna be crap, so inspect everything.

 

PS: I phrased this a lot nicer than some of the curmudgeons on here might, as you commited 2 first-timer sins: You immediately want the expensive tool before you've even forged anything, and you asked a question on here that has been answered hundreds of times before, and could have been answered if you researched it in past posts. If you did research, then you commited the other sin of asking a question you already heard about because you didn't like the answer. Everybody did it when they started out, but please next time do your research, and accept that the answers to questions a month ago will likely be the same answer now.

Hope I helped.

 

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Don't get stuck in the shape of the anvil. Read through the Improvised anvils thread, it's an eye-opener. Especially considering your budget you'd ve better off starting with a hunk of steel.

I'm a total noob, and I made an anvil out of an old roller I found from a paper mill trash bin. Cost me about 1/8 of a 115mm cutoff disc... 

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There are anvils everywhere, in the most unlikely places. Forget on line. Go low tech. Word of mouth, tell everyone you cross path you are after an anvil and if they know someone who has one. You will find people have them under the garage bench for decades, as garden decoration, door stop or stand for a flower pot. 

The hunt for an anvil is an interesting one, and there is even a method designed for this hunt you can find on this forum. 

Start today asking everyone you know plus whoever you don't know you have dealings with. 

And don't forget the junk yard. 

Best of luck.

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Ohio is in the "Happy Hunting Grounds" for blacksmithing equipment.  I lived there for 15 years and averaged 1 name brand anvil in great shape a year for under US$1 a pound by using the TPAAAT.  The net is a horrible way to try to find an inexpensive anvil.  (Ohio had a great mix of old industry and small farms during the heyday of smithing.)

I don't recall anybody here suggesting a small square piece of steel; now a large cube of steel works quite well and is an ANVIL!  I think you are confusing a "London Pattern Anvil" with an "anvil". The London Pattern anvil is pretty new on the scene, only a couple of hundred years in use, the "cube of metal" anvil has about 3000 years of use.  So you keep telling us is that the style of anvils that were good enough for viking swords, Japanese Katanas, Gothic Cathedral grill work and all the tools and architectural ironwork for thousands of years will not work for you just getting started???

Note: there generally are more anvils in cities than in the country as they were used in many many businesses.  Early car repair, sugar refineries, glass factories, hospitals, Middle & High schools, Colleges, train repair depots,...  ALL had anvils in them that I personally know of! Dayton is old enough that it should have a lot of such anvils around---though being so close to SOFA may have attenuated the supply...

Lastly the largest annual blacksmithing conference in the USA, if not the world, will be held Sept 21-23 just north of Dayton OH at Troy Ohio at the Miami County Fairgrounds with HUNDREDS of anvils for sale at it. (Our local anvil collector went one year and bought 30 anvil and a trailer to haul them back to New Mexico and did make a dent in the supply.)   If you are interested in smithing you really really ought to attend Quad-State Blacksmith's Round-Up put on by Southern Ohio Forge & Anvil.  And attend the Monthly meetings and go to open forge sessions and attend classes and workshops!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Note you won't find an under market price anvil there; but you should find a lot of "not at gouging rates" ones

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I'll try to respond to everyone on here in one post. This is going first to last, in order of time posted. In response to the first, I did commit the beginner sins. I have read a few of the threads, and I did ask a question that's been answered, however, I only started a new one that was more location dependant. In response to the second, thanks for the advice, I'll have to look through that. In response to the third, I have had that idea previously, and I'm thinking that's the best way. It is however, hard for me to go and do things like that, since I can't drive. In response to the fourth, I apologize for the mistake of confusing the London pattern with the cube pattern. The only reason I disregarded the cube, is because in all the searches I've done, I haven't seen a single one of those. I wasn't questioning their ability to be used. I was hoping to check barns, but old warehouses and factories in the city as well. Thank you for the information about the blacksmithing conference, I hope I can go. I will have to read more about that and the quad-state round-up. Thanks to anyone who gave time to comment, I will try to use this advice.

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Check *people* not locations!  I've found 2 anvils just by mentioning at coffee after church service that I was looking for an anvil.  One was given for me for free! Don't ask just who you think might have one ask everyone!   The other one I found talking at church belonged to a lady in her 90's; If I just asked folks who "looked like they would have an anvil" I would have missed a lot. My big anvil was found by talking to a guy in his 20's selling greasy car parts at a fleamarket---turned out his uncle had a large anvil for sale, *cheap*. (469# $350---mint condition Fisher)

Can you try to build up some cash for quad-state?   Mow lawns, clean garages, (an excellent way to find stuff and in general they are trying to get rid of it!) If you could put away an extra $20 a week between now and quad-state you would have probably have enough with your original $100 to buy a london pattern anvil there.

 

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Thanks for the advice. I will be able to build up money. I have a $10 an hour job. My struggle isn't that I couldn't get money, it's that I have other things to buy. I think that if I can't find an anvil before quad-state, I'll buy one there. Thanks for your time and helpfulness. 

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TGLW&TCDR I'll see you at Quad State.  I hope to arrive Thursday and be wearing my lederhosen and aloha shirt on Friday and my disreputable red hat with horns the entire time. My wife says we may camp out onsite---we'll see.

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Just as an example of what happens to anvils ... when I moved to Sydney, I left a nice 88 lb anvil with my brother because he asked for it. Wasn't going to check it in with luggage ... so ... he is an architect and thought my anvil would make a nice decoration sitting on his studio book shelf holding up a row of books. Still there.

 

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Hmmm "board and anvil bookcases".... for sturdy floors!

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A collection of improvised anvils is a good place to look at alternative anvils that others have used. It is too much fun to forge to be hung up on a particular shape, size, or brand. 

 Get something and get started.

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I am glad your shirt in your avatar is not true.  At any rate, anvils can be found for under $100 but it's not the norm.  Don't brush off the advice of others that are telling you to ask everyone because it does work.  My first nice anvil was bought from a friend's friend's nephew and this guy had 10 anvils to pick from.  I just bought one for $50 in June, but the first one cost me $300.  

In your price range I'd look for anvils with broken horns or a broken tail (end with holes in it) but that have good solid faces (top surface).  You can always upgrade.  Check out that thread on improvised anvils.

What I did is came up with a budget first.  Save your $10 an hour for a few months coming up with a monthly savings plan so you have at least $300 and then your in business.  Forget Ebay on your budget, but Craig's List isn't too bad in your area.  I saw several possibilities for anvils in your area on Craig's List.  Don't rush into this hobby, take time to get the right basic tools.  Don't forget you need tongs.  You don't need a big expensive anvil to start forging.

The best bit of advice is going to the scrap yard.  You can find a solid cube of metal to start forging on and buy a pile of scrap to practice on for your $100.  My last trip to the scrap yard I got 40 lbs of scrap for $5.  Be respectful and ask politely and you might be surprised at how successful you can be at a scrap yard.  They might just have an anvil tucked away in the corner that they would sell to you for scrap prices if you look sincere enough.  Don't monkey around at the scrap yard either.  You look like a young guy, so the yard will be expecting you to act a certain way so prove them wrong.  There's heavy equipment moving around and those that run it don't want you getting hurt.  Stay out of areas that look busy with equipment, bring gloves, and watch where you are walking.  Thank them when you leave and leave a good impression.    

 

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4 minutes ago, MC Hammer said:

The best bit of advice is going to the scrap yard. 

Not in Ohio, alas. State law prohibits any non-employees from being on the premises of a scrapyard for any reason other than dropping off scrap. 

However, one principle we recommend here is GTTS: Go To The Source. Get to know your local scrappies, and (perhaps with an advance donation of doughnuts or something similar) see if they can give you a heads-up on any likely bits of metal before they take them to the yard.

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A dozen doughnuts to the office with your card and what you want might result in getting something you can use without ever entering the scrapyard too...

BTW the "make an anvil from a forklift" site I've posted often happened in Ohio and I am the Thomas mentioned---I still have the other tine in my possibles pile.

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Wow, didn't know that about Ohio :o  That's terrible.  I'd try farms instead of scrap yards.  Farms have plenty of old scrap piles, but you have to respect them and always ask permission.  If it were me and I lived in Ohio, I'd be doing strategic trips to another state for scrap I guess.

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7 hours ago, JHCC said:

State law prohibits any non-employees from being on the premises of a scrapyard for any reason other than dropping off scrap. 

I live in PA, but right on the border of NY. A couple big scrap yards close to me in NY, but they told me the same thing. State law won't allow them to let me in or to even sell anything.

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I wonder if it's more of an insurance thing and they are using the mantle of a law to give it more punch.

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I wouldn’t be surprised either way. 

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Could very well be, but not something worth arguing with them over ya know. There is a car parts yard  really close to my house that is on the lookout for a few things like springs and axles for me, so that makes up for it I guess. Costs a little more than scrap price, but still reasonable.

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We have the same problem in CT.  Apparently years ago a person was crushed in a scrapyard and a law was passed that people couldn’t walk through scrapyards.  I love how politicians pass laws to save people from one in a million freak accidents but can’t look at the obvious stuff.... 

Anyway, scrapyards went nuts at first.  Years later the law was revoked but insurance companies jumped in and made it too expensive for scrapyards to allow us in.

take the others’ advice and go to the source for big chunks of steel.  But don’t stop hunting for that anvil by asking every person you talk to.  If you are willing to wait until you get the better equipment before you start smithing then there is nothing wrong with being patient and saving your money.

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I go to a small mom & pop scrap yard.  I know the lady who runs the scales and they never mind me picking around.  I think it's most likely an insurance thing.  Not everyone has common sense enough to stay out of the area where the magnet crane is loading piles into the trucks.  My scrap yard is even willing to use the cut-off torch to separate leaf springs or cut the odd piece that's too long.  I've often looked at the bigger scrap yards wondering about the excellent scrap that's there, but I think the little operations are less busy and easier to deal with.  I guess I'm really lucky!

Sfeile - when I get my blacksmithing shop finished I'll have to have you over and we'll take a ride up to this scrap yard:)

 

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My favorite one is a small family owned one too.  I make sure to always check in with the boss and ask if I can look around.  Wear a bright red hat for visibility and stay away from where any powered equipment is in use----if a manipulator is carrying a crushed car for example; I will back off the path and stand still in a safe place so the driver can concentrate on his job!  If they have "saved" something for me I try to buy it even when I don't need it as keeping them hunting for me is worth a LOT!

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10 hours ago, MC Hammer said:

I'll have to have you over and we'll take a ride up to this scrap yard:)

That sounds like a plan!

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They usually weigh my scrap and then say "How does $5 sound?" or sometimes it's $10.  They've been good to me and even will show me any anvils they get in.  So far that's only 1 anvil and it was a cheap ASO.  On my next trip I plan on giving them a picture of a swage block and put my phone number on the picture so they can call me if one comes in.  The only problem with my scrap yard is that they move scrap fast.  You gotta just be lucky.  I've arrived to find all the piles gone and just the slim pickings to look through.  I always find something there though.                             

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