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Complete blacksmithing setups for sale


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Anvil prices around KC seem to be down slightly from last year.  I have also seen several complete sets and a couple of "Beginner" sets locally. There are a couple of anvils on an Internet auction site that would have sold last year pretty quick at the listed price that have been there several weeks. Me get be due to loss of interest or the economy.  Hard to tell. 

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I think it’s the reality of any fad. I believe when these young folks see something on a show. They generally, are not aware of the amount of actual work it takes to become a blacksmith. I use to teach and my method was pretty simple from the people who really wanted to learn and those who just thought it was cool. I would give them a dull hacksaw and car spring. I would tell them to cut a piece off. It normally took an hour or so. I then had them anneal the metal. That was the first class if you showed up too the next class 90% didn’t. I would teach them basic skills. I think when they realize what they see on tv and what blacksmithing actually is they lose interest fast. Thus the harbor freight brake drumb blacksmith starter kits you see for sale a lot. 

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Anvil,

I don't know about the anvil "bubble" bursting, but there are some signs that the real-estate bubbles in major cities are bursting.  The knock-on effect will likely involve a whole lot of people selling off cumbersome equipment so they can move.  I read today that pending home sales have been in a slump for six months straight.  

Over the last six months, I know at least three families who sold everything they could part with to fund a much less expensive life elsewhere.  

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It stands to reason that an increase in demand will produce an increase in numbers of workshops created and therefore a larger number of people in the market of used tools. A market is never one way only. Folks change their mind, neighbours or family members complain about noise, people burn their fingers or drop a hammer on their toes and lose interest. A natural process. 

i wouldn't read too much into it. it is simply the result of a larger pool of tools from where a percentage is sold, and a larger number of new smith brings inevitably a number of people giving up and selling the lot. 

Considering that a large number of new blacksmith ... perhaps a very large number, take it up as a hobby and not as a living not even part time job, blacksmithing as a hobby is a luxury and as any luxury it depends heavily from the fluctuations in the economy. People lose a job, move away and a metalwork shop is heavy to move.  

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Another thought that comes to mind is that blacksmithing can quickly lead to tool collecting.  Once you're onto the channels where such things are for sale, it's easier to come across deals on upgrade equipment.  I know several smiths who have collected multiples of everything.  Few of them actually use their starter equipment because they've got nicer stuff.  I would imagine that a complete rookie setup is a much easier sell because most of the potential buyers a given blacksmith knows, already have their beginner equipment.  

I suspect few rookies would buy an affordable leg vice if they didn't already have something to use as an anvil.  Same story with a blower.  That equipment can seem like a luxury to someone who needs a hammer.  Buying a complete kit means the rookie can get to beating hot steel right away with equipment that demonstrably worked for someone else.

 

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Though I loath the price hike on blacksmithing tools, the other day I was thinking differently about this situation.  Many tools are getting rescued from the scrap yard and where ever else because people have an interest in them and they have value.  Sure, how nice it is when you can pick this stuff up for cheap but I think there will be many tools that are now preserved for future generations that would have been scrapped if this recent fad upsurge hadn't happened.  That may just be a blessing in disguise for those of us who will stay in this craft for a long time.  Like investing, if you are in it for the long haul you reap the benefits of sticking with it.  I think there will be good deals to be had in the coming decade or two.  

I used to participate in a rather serious group of paintball players that bordered on military operation like days in the woods.  I hadn't used my equipment in about 14 years so I sold it all on Craigs List for $50.  What a deal for that young man, but I just wanted to get rid of it.  I think you'll see that happen with blacksmithing equipment as the bubble bursts and those that got into it big and fizzled out will be wanting to just get rid of their stuff.  

On the topic of the OP, we can't discount those that get an injury that makes them stop forging.  A bad rotator cuff injury would be all it would take or severely broken hand crushed in machinery and you'd be faced with selling everything or learning all over again with the other hand.  I personally would become a lefty rather than sell my equipment.

For grins one night I tried flintknapping with my left hand.  I was surprised at how far the knowledge carried me.  The muscle memory wasn't there, the experience still allowed me to be much better than a beginner using their dominant hand.  Of course I was a lefty until age 4 when my parents said I just switched to be a righty overnight.

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MC, you mentioned that it was good that these tools are getting saved and I agree.  As I read your comment, it dawned on me that in many cases, the sale of this specialty equipment typically involves networking.  People who are too old or infirm to continue blacksmithing are meeting younger people with similar interests who are likely to appreciate their insights.  I have a few older friends that started out this way.

There's a local antique store that is organized by consignment booths.  One of which is owned by the widow of gent I purchased a forge from.  He spent his retirement going to estate sales looking for tools to resell at the antique store.  Sadly I didn't have much time with him before he passed, but he was a wonderful person.  I still encourage folks who are starting out to patronize his widows booth.  

In my experience, the smiths looking to "hang up their spurs" tend to be less concerned with competition, status, or money.  Before I met him, I was running into a lot of insufferable curmudgeons who were very discouraging.  He just enjoyed connecting people with tools.  The prices were always very reasonable, and his garage was full of old equipment that he was restoring.  He was the sort of guy who would wire brush a good but rusty old cross pein hammer head, re handle it, then charge a rookie $1.00 for it.  

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