Jump to content
I Forge Iron


Recommended Posts

I got a phone call this morning. "Just saw your note on the bulletin board at the Country Corner Store this morning about wanting an anvil.  I've got one!"  I started asking a bunch of questions and he couldn't answer them.  He said he'd just bought the place and there was an old shed in the back that he'd just gotten to to clean up and found this rusty ol' anvil.  He was only about a mile and a half from my place, so I drove over there.  Half of the horn was missing, as was an entire corner off the heel.  There wasn't an unchipped edge on the entire anvil.  The top had a sway in it like an old worn out plow horse.  As far as I was concerned, it would have made a good tractor weight and nothing else.  Talk about depressing.  I came home and got on page one of the "Show me your Anvil" thread ( I needed "blacksmith xxxx" something fierce.) and just now finished looking at every single picture in the entire thread.  Some of you folks on this forum have some seriously beautiful anvils.................and some of you have multiples!   At the end of the 110 pages all I felt was more depression. :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 100
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic


Have you tried taking to the road some weekend and whilst doing so meeting  with various 'homesteads' or farms, and chatting up the folks. And inquiring about anvils?

A hundred years ago, most farmsteads had a light duty blacksmith set-up for small repairs. Sears catalogue was far off and sometimes too slow or expensive to contemplate.  Sooo",    home repair was an attractive option.

Especially so during the depression.

Think of those sojourns as an extended picnic and an opportunity to explore the country side, and meet some interesting folks. (a bottle opener gift might make for happy folks who just might know where there re anvil nearby).

Regards,  and good luck,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yup, Slag, I've done many variations of that.

pnut, take my word for it, this thing hardly even resembled an anvil.

I know a lot of the folks here on the forum put them down, but I've got a 50# Vulcan that's in usable condition.  So I'm not without an anvil.  As soon as I get my forge finished, it'll hold me until I can find something better.  It's just depressing to want one so badly and not be able to find something..................................and then see all these posts from folks on the forum saying "Look what I picked up today"..............and they post pics of beautiful anvils.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buy it if the price is right..   

Anvils today are pricey..   I have 5 I think I will be selling in the next few months.. My dream anvil has arrived in the USA so will be off loading anything not going into the teaching center. 

There are still some great finds in OK.  You have a great Farrier down your way,  you might want to hit Charles up and see what he knows..  I'm sure he's passed on a few.. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hadn't thought about checking with Charles.  Good idea.

Oh, and the guy said he wouldn't take a penny less than $400 for it.   He could tell from my expression that wasn't going to happen.  When I asked on what that price was based, he said he'd been talking with people and "Forged in Fire had really driven the prices up on anvils."  I just laughed and left.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That figures..   There are so many good anvils out there at a reasonable price still..   Seems hand crank blowers are maxing out between 250 and 375.00.. I just had a buddy of mine sold me a beat-up Buffalo 200 that is noisy but useable for 35.00..  I was happy to pay him the 35.00 though jokingly asked if 30.00 was ok as I handed him the 35.00... 

He's a curmudgeon so he rebutted immediately..  We both had a good chuckle over it. 

if I were getting into blacksmithing today and i was short on funds..   I would find the largest rectangular block of steel I could (Jasents anvil is brilliant:

)  about 4" accross by what ever length 10 or 12" and as tall as I could find and use that for an anvil..  Hikerjohnson did a great job on his portable anvil.. Fantastic really.. 

there are a few times that a modern anvil has the advantage..  People argue about rebound..  LOL..  the Peddinghaus 275lbs has like 95% rebound and it's not my favorite..  I prefer my old Hay Budden.. which to me is far more responsive..  Anyhow, just another can of worms.. 

Really, the only advantage a modern anvil has unless you are a pro is the hardie hole..  a horn can be easily duplicated with some fab work.  

Hopefully Hikerjohnson will show with some photo's and you will check out Jasent's thread..  Of which I noticed he hasn't been around for a while.. Hope he's doing well. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Jennifer.  Guess I'm just a newbie snob............I don't really want an anvil "shaped" object.  I've got a chunk of railroad rail that's been surface ground flat.  I've used it the "normal" way for years as an anvil for odd little flattening jobs.  Since being on the site, I've learned it can be used turned on end.  Haven't tried it because I don't have a forge yet. As mentioned, I've got my50# Vulcan.  It'll do until I can find something to my liking.  I'm picky..........probably too picky, but my picky-ness will be limited by my moth-filled pocket book.  Who knows, I may be destined to forever use my Vulcan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do know how you feel though. I looked for two years. It was depressing when I'd see some one post their great new find. Often, it didn't even cost them anything even. I was super excited when I found that beat up little Vulcan at the scrapyard. We had taken a load of scrap and was watching the crane picking up the load, and my husband pointed at something. There was an anvil just sitting in the back of the chassis of an old truck. Someone must have put it aside there. The guy in the yard told them to charge me US$30.00. Which tells me he knew what anvils are going for. But they charged me scrap price. But I probably would have paid the 30 for it. It paid for itself,  but it didn't stop me wanting something better

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr. Powers,

Yes indeed,  I was hoping to see your input on this topic.

Thank you for chiming in.

Given that Sears sold these complete smith kits for decades, you would think that Mr. Chris T. C.  would be,  somewhat, luckier.

Hang in there Sir.

Persistence,  does pay off.



p. s.  It would be nice to see people get tired with Forged In Fire,  and it would go off the air,  and the price of blacksmith tools come back to sanity. 

But, I guess, all those sparks have the folks mesmerized. There will be a reality hang over coming.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Chris The Curious said:

Guess I'm just a newbie snob............I don't really want an anvil "shaped" object... ...Haven't tried it because I don't have a forge yet...  ...I'm picky..........probably too picky, but my picky-ness will be limited by my moth-filled pocket book. 

I am not trying to be harsh, but I get frustrated -- admittedly mostly with my own past mistakes -- when I see people making the same exact mistakes that I made when there is so much good advice and examples of how to get started without breaking the bank or dealing with non-functional or marginal equipment. 

Nothing fixes anvil envy. Not one anvil, and not ten anvils. There will always be a bigger one, or "better" brand, or better condition, or better rebound, or two hardy holes, or double horn, or a dovetail, or... whatever. Nothing works except for just getting over it.  Make a forge and work your Vulcan. 

I speak from experience. It isn't about the tools you have, but about your skills that you have spent time and trial and effort and mistakes to build.  Working through issues that you don't have the ideal tools to solve teaches you how to... ...work through issues that you don't have the ideal tools to solve!  Have you spent time looking through tool ID threads? How many creative solutions have you seen to problems you've never even heard of? How about non-standard uses for the tools you use all the time? 

I started forging on a 90 pound clevis, and I heated stock with a brake drum forge (the recommended starter forge back then) that I spent too much money building (by being cheap but impatient, I should add) and that had limitations that I didn't know how to work around. Rather than spending time building my abilities and understanding, I spent time looking for better stuff. I was too picky or cheap and passed on some great deals, because I "could do better." I got impatient then saved up and bought a new Rigid Model 12.  That's the Peddinghaus 275 lb. anvil that Jennifer mentioned. I don't regret it, as I will never outgrow it and it will outlast me several times over.  But I wasn't any better of a smith for it, and I still didn't have the skills to use it well. Fast forward a bit, and I think I would rather be using a 4"*4" steel post or forklift tine for many of my projects. The clevis is still a useful anvil, and I cannot replace some of its features with any "real" anvil. 

I've tried a number of forge designs. Some were workable, like the brake drum. Some have been abysmal. I did finally make a bottom blast coal forge (mostly to use the pipe and other useful bits from the brake drum forge) that I really like. I was able to get it right because I had struggled with the problems in other designs.  Want to know what I wish I had started with? A JABOD. They work well. They're simple. They can be made basically for free, minus the air source. That will set you back a couple bucks at a yard sale or thrift store. I use mine when I burn charcoal.  

I guess what I am trying to say is -- don't get too caught up in the stuff.  It won't help you, and it very well can harm your progress.  Just get forging. Identify the limits of your stuff, and the limits of your skills. Keep working and realize that the stuff wasn't what limited you the most while you were just starting, and many of the things that you that were wrong with your stuff were just skills or knowledge that you hadn't developed yet. Look up Rune Malte Bertram-Nielsen on YouTube, and watch the outdoor shop set-up video.  Then watch some of the videos of what he makes there.

You'll probably find a good something-or-another pattern anvil (or 2, or 3...) by the time you have the skill set to make good use of it.  Until then, well, you already have a hardy and pritchel hole, and two anvils! 

Edited by Chris Williams
Added brand as one more thing not worth getting wrapped around the axel over.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Chris................good advice.

I'll stop by the scrap yard tomorrow and pick up a big chunk of mystery steel and bring it to you in trade for your 275# Rigid/Peddinghaus.   :lol:  

All kidding aside, I fully understand what you are saying.  However, I've spent my life making and or creating things and have always found that while buying the "best" tools won't make you a better craftsman, they sure do make the learning and doing "whatever" a whole lot easier and more satisfying...............at least that's been my take on things.  The bow I used to use when playing my violin cost $10,000.  It not only made playing easier and more precise, but it complimented the sound of my almost 300 year old violin fabulously.  I also had a bow that was made of aluminum and painted to look like wood.  Hard to handle, impossible to perform with and made my old violin sound like a square dance fiddlers squawk box. 

So I'll be glad to trade you that chunk of mystery steel any time you like.  .:D

(But thanks for the advice.........I do understand what you are saying.  Just can't completely agree)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A German or London pattern anvil won't make you a better Craftsman or woman. I have a vertical rail I use and last weekend was trying to punch some flat bar that was about twenty inches long by myself. I did it but it would have been much easier if I would have had a nice big anvil face to lay it on. I put a log next to my rail that I put a motorcycle chain hold down on to secure the stock from moving.

I however am glad I built a jabod and found a chunk of RR track and got to work instead of waiting for a "real" anvil and forge. Now when I do find the anvil for me I won't be starting at zero I'll actually be able to use it with a little skill and I don't need anything more than a jabod at the present time.

Truth be told I would still be waiting on a real anvil instead of knowing I'll be lighting my jabod in the morning after I go pick up some new stock.  

I hope you have better luck with your search for an anvil. I'm sure you'll eventually find one in the meantime you could be building your skill set with a jabod and an improvised anvil. 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're not incorrect that there is a qualitative difference between the two, whether it is the bow or the anvil. Give me the two bows and a violin, and I probably won't be able to make it sound like a real instrument either way. Give me some practice so that I can play scales or similar, and maybe I could  hear the difference, but I still could not do the instrument and nice bow justice. Give me years of instruction, and there is no longer any consideration for using a low quality bow. 

It's kind of the same way right now for you and your anvil. Get to work. You won't be see much real difference, because you won't have the skill YET to take advantage. 

You didn't post your offer in the tailgating section, so I must therefore assume that you are not serious! Too bad! If it were big enough to make transportation non-cost-effective, I would probably consider it!  :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Chris Williams said:

You didn't post your offer in the tailgating section, so I must therefore assume that you are not serious! Too bad! If it were big enough to make transportation non-cost-effective, I would probably consider it!


pnut, I don't disagree entirely..........in fact, everyone who has commented on this thread is totally right.  However, a JBOD isn't in my near future unless I can find a mask that will keep me away from the fumes of coal...........I'm allergic to it.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay, got it.  But I'm working on my propane forge and don't have time to mess with much of anything else.  Most any spare time I have (which is very little) is directed toward the propane forge build.  I'm not too far from the finish line.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...