Ary

Opportunity of a lifetime

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So I received an offer that I would be crazy to refuse. An acquaintance of mine has offered up a trade, His 1904 Hay-Budden #622 anvil, for a set of smithed knives (no specifics were included on type/quantity etc) He is also going to bring the anvil to me (15 hour trip one way) for free. 

My question is.... As a beginner blacksmith, would it be more useful to try and sell said anvil to upgrade/purchase more tools for my shop or would I be crazy to get rid of that anvil? Smithing knives and cabinet door pulls etc I don't really know if i would need that behemoth of an anvil, but I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

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Speaking politely... how patient is he for his knives?  I’ve been blackmsithing for nearly a year and I’m a long way off being capable of doing a set of knives that I could give anyone...  Learn to walk before you commit to making knives....   if it were me I’d be up front, take the anvil, but be clear it’ll take you some time to learn the skills. Offer him some hooks and bottle openers to start with. 

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 That is a breathtakingly generous offer Ary. Be honest, you're a long way from being able to forge a safe blade but put him first on the list for sure. 

No, you can't sell that anvil until you've made his knives, that is the contract. It's also more than a little insulting to sell gifts. How would it make you feel? A part of learning to make blades that doesn't interfere with learning blacksmithing is grinding and dressing them. You can buy blanks and make stock removal knives while learning to forge. Sell those for the tool fund. Blanks aren't very expensive so screwing them up are nowhere near the investment as the time you put into forging one. Yes?

Sell the projects you make learning to blacksmith to a level of proficiency suitable to forge blades and put it in the tool fund. 

That anvil is a kingly gift! You should love on it with HOT steel as long as you can and pass it to your children so their children can learn and hear the tales of granddad and his good friend great uncle ? This is the stuff of legend.

Frosty The Lucky.

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What Frosty said x 10.

You can tell the difference between a beginner blacksmith and one of experience. A beautiful anvil like that, generously given, would be highly valued and any thought of selling it on would not be contemplated for a moment. I think the previous owner would be less than impressed, and rightly so, if that were to happen.

You are indeed fortunate to have a superb anvil like that. It's an heirloom piece. Use it, respect it, become experienced by its use, and as Frosty said, pass it on to your children and theirs.

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Accept the gift in the fashion it was given. Make sure you know the time line for making the knives and stick to it. As soon as the anvil is home and set up, start learning to make knives. Consider any cost for any classes, etc an investment to get you further ahead in your journey. You may want to start with the book Introduction to Knifemaking which takes you from the beginning, to a finished knife and sheath.

Keep the fellow informed as to your progress on a regular basis.

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A 622# Hay Budden is up near the upper end of size, as few HB's were made that big making it a rare item. Your friend is very generous, as it could sell for several thousand dollars in today's market. I don't mean $2K-$3K, but well north of that. Possibly even 5 figures, especially if it is in pristine condition.  That is a gift that you would never think of selling, especially if you want to keep him as a friend.

You need to lay everything on the table before this deal is started. You both need to know what is expected from each other, have the knife set design completed, expected timeline, and what happens if you are not able to complete the deal to satisfaction.  This is an opportunity for you to obtain a once in a lifetime anvil , but if done wrong can ruin a good relationship. Be very careful as to how you proceed, and have everything in writing. 

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It's the trade that puts it in limbo.  As previously mentioned you don't "own" it till they say "enough with the blades already!!!!!"

It's way more anvil than most smiths need too and will be a pain to haul around if you are still in the wandering years---I traded a 125# PW | a postvise screw and screwbox + US$100 for  400+ pound Trenton because it's owner was tired of hauling it from place to place as he changed jobs and moved...I've only moved it once in the 20 years since then. 1500 miles.

If I was getting started I would want to trade it for a working powerhammer. *but* knowing that I would probably never see another one that I could get.  Anvil Envy is a terrible thing; but some of the greats in American smithing have done well for an entire career with around a 165# anvil!

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I 'm a pessimist when it comes to trades or deals.  Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.  You might not like what you see.  I would want to see, at least,  pictures of the anvil.  It would be best to see it in person, to see what you are getting.  It might be terribly chipped,  uneven surfaces,  horn tip broken, etc.  As mentioned above, that is an unusually big anvil that might have been used hard and put away wet.  However, if it is in good shape, you are a fortunate person to find a once in a life time anvil that you will enjoy your entire life.  Good luck.  

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15 hours ago, Ary said:

His 1904 Hay-Budden #622 anvil, for a set of smithed knives for free. 

I don't really know if i would need that behemoth of an anvil, but I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Are you assuming its a 622lb anvil? or is that a serial number on it (I'm not familiar with the hay budden serial numbers)

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My 2 cents comes from experience.  If someone gives you an anvil, turning around and selling it is not good etiquette.  He's being generous.  Yes it will be yours when you fulfill your end of the bargain but when he asks you about it in 6 months and you tell him you sold it, it will leave a bad taste in his mouth.  Keep it for many years before thinking about selling it.  My cousin gave me an anvil for $50 because it went through a garage fire.  Turns out after I cleaned it up, the face still seems plenty hard.  I don't need another 160 # anvil and thought about selling it for a brief moment but then realized it would be the wrong thing to do.  I'm glad I kept it.  I love having 2 anvils. I generally set that anvil up with the hardy tool I'm using and use my main anvil to hammer on.

I agree with others.  I've been forging for a few years now and just made my first knife this year.  It wasn't that I couldn't make a knife, but I wanted to learn the skills I needed to be successful at it.  I think just about anyone can forge a knife shaped object, but you have to know how to quench it and temper it correctly.  You want to give this guy some quality knives so he feels he got a good deal.  Remember, if you take the anvil first, those knives will be hanging over your head every time you forge.  I'd shake hands on the deal and work like mad to get my skills up to the level they need to be to make some simple but effective knives.  The real work is in the grinding, finishing and putting a correct handle on it.  You could make a great blade that looks terrible in the end because of a botched handle job.     

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There is a difference in Knife Making and making a Shiv and I've seen a pile of shivs from prison exhibits that had better fit and finish than many a beginner who jumped into knife making first pieces.

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Just FYI if he is your friend you would be doing him a disservice making that deal. I know for a fact that a 606lbs hb sold for 16k last year. If you are just starting out a set of knives from you wouldn’t be worth a couple hundred dollars. Not trying to be mean just honest. 

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Well, as no specifics were mentioned on the knives, and the friend is willing to deliver the anvil, I feel like the friend wants him to have the anvil and only wants a trade. Perhaps it's not always about the money. 

 

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If the person is aware of the value of the anvil I agree. There is always those folks that don’t care about the value and in that case go for it. If it’s a situation of lack of knowledge then the friend should be informed of it and then let the deal take its course. 

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Just remember: people are more important than things, and friendships are more important than money.

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As a collector of Indian artifacts I've been confronted with similar situations.  I had a guy show me a rare point that his grandmother found and he had kicking around in a sock in his dresser.  I'm sure a nice crisp $100 bill would have taken it and he would have thought he just fleeced me, but I leveled with him and told him the value of it and also told him that if he ever wanted to give it away I would be honored to add it to my collection.  I think the honest thing to do is let someone know about the value and let them decide.  Often their eyes turn green with dollar signs and they sell it and are ever so happy that you informed them.  I guess at the end of the day I've always wanted to sleep at night knowing I did the right thing.  Mind you that's friends and family.  If I find something valuable at a junk shop or antique store, mum's the word because they should know the value of the things they are selling.  I figure if I overpay for something out of the same shop they won't be telling me :D

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