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Dear All,

I bring this up because Jennifer, not to pick on her but she started the thought process in my head, admitted to having 16 anvils and counting.  Almost all of us, by nature, are folk who acquire things that we may not have an immediate use for but see a potential use in the future, steel, tools, anvils, blowers, etc..  I do it and I think many folks on IFI do it.  If we didn't we wouldn't have an "It followed me home" thread.  However, when does acquisition for the future turn into hoarding, particularly when it is the sort of object, such as anvils, for which many people are searching?  I have seen photos on the internet of people who have what must be hundreds of anvils in a barn.  My thought is, "How many of those could be put into active use and promote the spread of the craft?" 

At some point the collecting of anything can become an unhealthy obsession which deprives other people of the use/enjoyment of the things being collected.  It is one thing to collect things that do not have a useful value, like stamps, and another to collect useful objects that can be put to a productive use.  Thoughts?  Confessions? Philosophical musings?

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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It may only deprive certain individuals in certain areas of an old London pattern anvil.

We are surrounded by non London pattern anvils (improvised), as well as having brand new anvils still available. The internet allows us to shop around the world now. My beef is that the prices have gone up 500%+ over what I was paying for anvils which was $1 a pound or less from the 70's up until 2015. It seems the trend now is snagging them up, and flipping the for a big profit which I don't like. I think greed is a bigger hindrance to those starting out than lack of supply. I have seen a few hobbies ruined by the "collectible" market.. We are a capitalist society after all.

You could also relate this to firearms collections. Again what was a utilitarian item that became "collectible" and prices show it. Certain models were only made for a short time and in limited numbers. Does a collector of pre-64 Winchester Model 70's deny others the privilege of owning one? Only if they do not have the money to buy one-everyone has a price.

I would love to own a 41 Willys coupe, and guys have more than one just sitting around, but I also don't have the $45,000 to buy a rough project car.

I have 7 good anvils and one old 50# cast iron one.  I didn't buy them because they were a certain brand, or that I thought I could make money on them. I got them because they were in my price range, good condition, I had thoughts of putting packages together of anvil / forge/ vise with my extras, and they were sizes I did not have - I would still like to find a nice small anvil in the 50# - under 100# range to go with a tiny vintage forge I have. I have also loaned them out to others just starting out, but for the most part, they just sit around right now as I have not been doing any forging at the moment.

I think the ones who bemoan not being able to find an anvil are limiting themselves to a fairytale idea that to be a blacksmith your anvil has to have a horn, heel, and look like it could smash a roadrunner if dropped in time.

 

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As someone at the opposite end of the spectrum, that is, a novice who's still looking for a forge and anvil of my own; I can attest it's sometimes dispiriting to see people with large collections. I recall watching a video of someone "blowing/shooting/firing" an anvil into the air and feeling a bit put out. I'm not operating under any delusions about my "entitlement" to any of these things, but I confess to being irritated that someone would treat an anvil so casually and callously when I so badly want one of my own.

Were I better-positioned (i.e. wealthier), the shoe might be on the other foot. As it stands now, I'm hungry but no longer young and blessed with neither an over-abundance of free time nor disposable income. Put like that, it makes me wonder why I'm trying this at all! :D

It's late for me and I'm tired after work, so I'm certain that I'm rambling. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

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Funny thing; I haven't added an anvil for over 6 years---even when I've run across them as I had enough to teach with and wanted to leave some for other folks.  I also try to use every anvil I own every year---including most of the "wall of shame" broken anvils.

However as I get older I would like to add a couple more anvils in the 90-135# range as I would like all 8 of my grandkids to get one when I'm gone---or sooner for that matter and I know how much trouble the couple of large ones I own are to move around with.  

I do know a fellow with over 500 anvils; who doesn't smith! He bought 30 anvils the first year he went to Quad-State.  Someday they will be back in play and meanwhile they are being stored warm and dry

I think I will do more demos with improvised anvils as I seem to run into the belief that the london pattern anvil is necessary to start smithing.

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On 9/6/2019 at 10:30 PM, ThomasPowers said:

I do know a fellow with over 500 anvils; Someday they will be back in play and meanwhile they are being stored warm and dry

This is the answer right here. Collected anvil are in safe storage.

Considering the number of anvils which have been sold to junkyard, shipped to China and come back as can openers,  collector's are doing us a service.

 

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It is funny that for years I was active on the anvil hunt.  I spent the first 8 or 9 years looking for that just right anvil.  I had bought a few, traded a few always with a hope for that perfect anvil. 

I personally didn't really think an anvil over 150lbs existed.  I had only seen 2 owned by a guy. One was a 500lbs Fisher and the other was a 200lbs no name.  I felt lucky to get the 175HB for what I did. 

I am not a collector.  I am a user for sure. but when I decided I wanted to start a school, when I came across a great anvil I would purchase it.  then when I stopped blacksmithing and left it all behind I simply stacked the anvils up and left them.   it never came down to selling them but moving them from place to place and never was asked to sell them. 

Maybe in the back of my mind I somehow knew that this new teaching facility would indeed take place as I would get dragged back into smithing for this event or that event. 

when I came out of being retired I did actively search out for larger Anvils and found the 368lbs HB in Pennsylvania but also was willing to drive the 10hrs one way and pay the price they were asking. 

Since then I don't have an interest in large anvils and don't actively search for them.   what I always actively search for is anvils in Mint shape and if the price is decent enough for a given brand.  Now I look for strange or unique items that I have always wanted.  the cutlers anvil was a huge find,  Still looking for a Buffalo forge Down draft forge. 

The last few anvils I was asked by the owners if I was interested in the anvils.  And that was how I purchased them.  a few I was intrigued about the metal or anvil maker especially the vanadium anvil.  And if I ever came across a 150lbs I would buy it for sure as it is the hardest anvil I have ever seen.  Anyhow, Now it's more of being asked if I want to buy them vs activily seeking. 

With this said,  I was pretty poor in the funds department for many years.  I still don't make much money per year.  So, the savings thing is crucial and if something is outside the budget I pass on it quickly. 

The Peddinghaus and most recently the Refflinghaus has been part of the journey each one offering those desires over a period of a long time..   I don't look at any of these things as immediate.  I plant a seed in my mind and that seed may take 1 year or may take 40 years to sprout but that seed once planted always remains. 

when the opportune time happens each facet of that seed planted will sprout not because of something I do or don't do, but because it is the time. 

Oh, usually when I purchase an anvil or another item. The question I ask myself is " what can I do without because I buy this".   

I'm with you Thomas on the anvil like object.  I just spoke with a metal supplier about getting some 3" X 18X18"  for the task. 

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On 9/7/2019 at 11:08 AM, jlpservicesinc said:

Oh, usually when I purchase an anvil or another item. The question I ask myself is " what can I do without because I buy this"..   

I'm the same way. I start figuring things I can cut out or where I can cut corners. If I can't figure that out, then I don't get whatever it is I'm looking at. My husband had to do a lot of talking and convincing for me to buy my Emerson. He came up with extra funds to help so I would. I'm not actively looking for another anvil. We are in a very anvil poor area. I know that TPAAAT works because I've seen too many testimonials to the fact. But, it still hasn't worked in over 2 years in trying for me. We had literally one hit in all that time and it didn't come through. I wouldn't pass up a good deal on one or more if it came up for sure. Or pass on the information to someone else that is looking. And I know there are improvised anvils everywhere. I have one myself. But I don't blame anyone for wanting what they want if they can find and afford it. As far as collecting them just to have them, that is just something I'm not going for personally. I'm happy to have what I have and that is all I can ask for:D

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22 hours ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

I think greed is a bigger hindrance...

...to the whole of society, not just the availability of anvils.

"There was a time when man took no more than he needed. That time is gone...
There was at time when he gave something back. That time is gone...
There was a time when he worshiped the Creator and honored creation. That time too is gone...
And now the waters are polluted, our natural resources are all but gone, and creation is dying.
It is time. . . to find our way back to the Earth"
-Kevin Thunderhorse Wright

(My signature line on the other blacksmithing/bladesmithing forums I frequent)

 

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I don't care if someone likes collecting anvils, cars, cupie dolls, or beanie babies. If they find whatever object interesting, and have the means so be it, and good on them.

I like anvils and have 2, a 150 lb Hudson for the shop and a 100 lb Mousehole that is portable, they are all I "need".  I still enjoy finding anvils, and really enjoy digging thru AIA and learning about a particular anvil.

I have "met" a few anvils that I would really like to have but I couldn't justify(afford) another anvil or they weren't for sale, so I get enjoyment from just meeting a new and different anvil and doing a little research.

Last week I went to a truck repair shop and there was an Old English pattern Mousehole sitting on a stump. I dug in AIA and found out what I could and gave the owner a little history of his anvil and it's maker. 

A couple of years ago I found a 126 pound German made Trenton at a hardware store, owner wanted 375 for it. It was a very nice anvil, but I left it for someone who needed it more than I did. It sat there for well over a year before someone finally took my temptation away.

I guess what I am trying to say is the anvils are out there, a few are in collections, a bunch are in use, some are in junk/antique/ebay shops with a hefty price tag, but there are enough still in the wild to make the hunt worthwhile and satisfying when you find one.  Just have to keep looking for one of the wild ones, or bite the bullet and pay the antique price.

 

Mr Hudson when I finished the hunt for my first anvil.                                                                                                                                                              Found at a feed store in NC while I was looking at a fertilizer spreader for a neighbor. I wasn't looking for an anvil at the feed store, but it was sitting in front of the spreader my neighbor wanted to rent.

 

Mr Hudson....JPG

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I'm firmly of the opinion that to each their own. If you want to drop $100k and have a collection of 1000's of anvils, go right ahead. This isn't communist Russia, one anvil for each peasant. I loathe that type of entitlement thought process (and feel very hypocritical and rebuke myself every time I am jealous about others fortune or possessions)

As a beginner I started with a 40 lb Vulcan. Nothing to write home about. Then I did reading, research and a few trainings and determined I didn't really care for the traditional London pattern. Glad I didn't blow $500+ on one, which I would have done had they been lined up at every garage sale. Instead I went out and spent way more money than necessary on the anvil I wanted, south German pattern, with shelf and upsetting block and am 100% happy about it. And were I not able to find an old one, I woulda bought one of the new cast anvils, and been very happy about it as well. And if not that, lots of scrap yards have lots of chunks laying around.

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On 9/7/2019 at 7:03 PM, billyO said:

"There was a time when man took no more than he needed. That time is gone...

At the risk of getting too philosophical and/or political, that time NEVER existed.  It is an instinct to take more than needed today due to the uncertainty of tomorrow.  It's a nice romantic utopian notion, but as far as I can tell from a historical context there was never a group of people, whether a tribe or a nation, where all the individuals in that group behaved in that manner.

As to the next part if a man takes ONLY what he needs then it is impossible to give something back without himself becoming needy.

Sorry about the side trail, but it is a peeve of mine when people refer wistfully with nostalgia on some supposed era that never truly existed in reality.   From the beginning of recorded history to present day there has never been a better time to be alive as a human than today if quality of life, length of life, creature comforts, and time available to pursue activities not related to survival are any indication.  Perfect it is not, but it's better than anything else our species has experienced on this planet to date.  For those of us who reside in the Western world it appears to be better than anywhere else on the planet.

Ok, mini rant over.

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I agree with Buzzkill.  There has never been a Golden Age when man did not suffer from the desire for more for himself or his family/tribe/nation.  This is an 18th century philosophical (Rousseau) idea that man once lived in a state of nature (Arcadia) when everything was wonderful and we are now in some degenerate state.  ALL innovation was to get more or to get the same with less work or risk.  Part of the problem is that technology has made it possible to take bigger bites.  You couldn't over fish the oceans using sails and muscle power.  It takes diesel engines and giant trawlers to do that.

As to acquiring or collecting black smith tools and items I usually look at it and ask myself, "Self, will this object help me do something better, easier, or allow me to use a new technique?  If so, is that advantage worth the cost?  If yes to both previous questions, can I transport it?  If yes to the previous 3 questions, can I fit it into my shop?"  There are exceptions to this analysis such as if I know someone who could use it and I can pass it on to him or her as a gift or at cost or am I rescuing the object from oblivion in a land fill or a  scrap pile to be sent to a steel mill.

There is a philosophical difference between saying that someone should be able to acquire as much as they desire and can afford and the opposite side of that coin that no one should have more than they can put to use.  Somewhere there is a Golden Mean between having a barn with 500 anvils quietly rusting and saying that one black smith equals one anvil.  I don't know where that line lies but as a militant moderate I think there is a comfortable spot in the middle somewhere.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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There is also the "80:20" rule.  I find that I do 80% of my work with just 20% of my tools  and could do at least another 10% if I really wanted to. However there are times when having a swage block or a special hammer or a reverse twist left handed framblewurtzer can make a difficult job simple and easy---like peening the fivets in the inside top of a spangenhelm!  As such I am willing to have such tools to hand even if they do not get used very often---I had one hammer that I owned for a decade before using it for 1 job.  I paid US$1 for it and it saved me several hours in time and did a much more elegant job of it too. Of course it doesn't go in the bucket for demos. It sits quietly on the hammer rack till the next time...

I have the space and I find stuff cheap and someday my wife will have to deal with getting rid of it all...

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We keep things around like wood, fencing, chicken wire etc. unless it's way beyond use. With ongoing projects and repairs around a farm, these things always come in handy. Usually if someone else has a need for building materials, we have them. I think some collecting comes from knowing what it's like not to have things. Like people who have large toy or comic book collections because they couldn't afford them growing up. Or something that reminds them of good times. My mother gave me a glass chicken that she'd  had when I was little. The top piece got cracked and I just hated that. I found one just like it at a junky store. But then one chicken turned into two and so on. I finally stopped because I was running out of room for what- nots and you only need so many glass chickens. I grew up poor and I remember the lack there too. I still have a hard time throwing out a tube of toothpaste until I've gotten out every bit that I can, although I can buy more. I was a single mom for several years as well and struggling will make you tend to hoard or whatever you want to call it. I'm more financially stable than I have ever been, but those habits stick with you. 

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I blame my pile of anvils on the time I only had *1* and it got stolen 3 days before a demo at a museum.  Still traumatized about that and paying way to much for an ASO to use at that demo.

I like to build stuff from things I already have on hand.  My wife's Refrigerator Stew was a big hit at church; so many people came up and asked for the recipe..."You take some leftovers and add some leftovers and see what's hiding in the pantry; heat till boiling in the crockpot and add a handful or two of rice, simmer overnight; season to taste and serve it up!"  I collect good nuts and bolts at the scrap yard too; much cheaper and about the same distance as a trip to town...

About time to raid the crockpot for another bowl of *my* clean out the pantry we're moving stew!

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Being a fellow who finds value in broken water heaters, I must boast to Mrs. Taylor of my commendable self-control as I pass up those treasures along the roadsides (makes all of those propane cylinders who follow me home, less imposing). I was just informed by the Mrs. that she does not know where I am hiding them. Should I point them out........:rolleyes:

Collecting versus hoarding:  "Collecting" runs in my family. The distinction between pathology and utility is tough to qualify. I call myself a Waste Stream Diversion Specialist. 

As for anvils, I paid top dollar for my two Swedish anvils - I like a nice, tough horn, attached to adequate rigidity, for the cold work that I do. I have no percieved need for additional "classic" pattern anvils. Improvised anvils, on the other hand, infest the property.........

Robert Taylor

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Robert; you have a problem with auto-correct there; I'm sure you really meant "enhance" rather than "infest"!

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Thomas! Thanks for catching that for me. Pesky autocorrect! Seems every few steps that I take, in the smithy or on the property, I am having to tonk something a-right - it is like a one-third acre drum kit!

Robert Taylor

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I, like you Thomas have tons of tools I've seldom used but couldn't have done without when I did put them to task.  My little wife screams at me almost daily about the fact I'm no longer a spring chicken and she's going to be the one to have to get rid of all this "stuff" as she calls it, if I die before she.  Honestly, if I were to go out to my shop right now with firm instructions to "get rid of", I'd not know where to start.  I NEED all the "stuff" I have.................if not today, then tomorrow, or next month sometime.  I'm forever pulling something off a shelf to repair or build something that I put on that shelf years ago.  She just doesn't get it.  Calls me a "hoarder"...........I don't see it that way.  I'm a collector of important pieces.  Now, I can honestly say I'm nowhere near that point in blacksmithing equipment, but I understand the urge to collect for today or tomorrow. 

Talked with an old guy at the gas pump about an hour ago who admitted to owning a 200# anvil.  Does he ever use it?  "Nope.......well, seldom."  Would he be interested in letting it go?  "Heck no, I've had it for over 50 years."  :lol: I get it, I truly do.

 


Chris

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My wife knows she can clean out the shop down to the dirty floor in a couple of hours by just letting the local ABANA affiliate know...

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:lol::D

When my wife and I first met, I gave her instructions that when I walked across that blurry chasm to the other side, she was to contact my best friend and tell him to come and take my entire wood working shop.............he was to inherit it all.  Then, 3 years ago, despite the fact he was 18 years younger than I, he died of Pancreatic Cancer.  After all that settled down, she asked................."So now what?"  Not going to be easy to get rid of 40+ years of all my gatherings of wood working tools and equipment.  She's a painter and has no earthly idea how to dispose of any of this.  That's why she gets so upset with me about all my "stuff".  As I bring home more blacksmithing "stuff", she just continues to wail! :lol:

 

Chris

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On 9/10/2019 at 8:18 AM, Jon Kerr said:

I'm almost ashamed to say, I had to google framblewurtzer JUST to make sure it wasn't a real thing! :D

Just wait till you find out what a spangenhelm Fivet is, John.

I disable Autocorrect every time my comp updates the software, some IT living in Mom's attic just KNOWS the defaults are things I really need. I have it set to underline questionable spelling in red.

My folks were depression age kids and lived darn hardscrabble till after WWII. Both learned valuable skills during the war and earned good livings afterwards. I grew up close to upper middle class but in a family that seemed convinced do the bone they didn't have enough stuff. So, there I am a born and bred packrat and who do I marry? My darlin Bride Deb is as bad or worse packrat.

Every time she starts talking about clearing things out she starts listing MY STUFF!:o She ran out of room for her stuff a long time ago. Her youngest Dan has told us he does NOT want to have to move here long enough to dispose of our stuff when we die. I'm betting he's hoping we both don't go together.

I can keep her from complaining about new acquisitions IF I keep it out of sight. Heck, out of her sight is the main reason I haven't kept the brush cleared from around the old Connex tarp tent shop. Heck I don't remember how much good stuff is out there but I'm sure I can use it all, might need it badly one of these days.

I'm not a hoarder, I can stop any time I want to. 

Frosty The Lucky. 

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