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Buy this old champion or new Farriers anvil?

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So I just ran across this anvil in an antique shop for $150 (Veterans Day Sale) and it is actual 35 pounds, but it looks like the top is welded on. I was planning on purchasing a farriers anvil next year but I figured this might be worth it? I unfortunately have not looked into anvils much because I didn’t plan on buying one soon and the sale ends in 2 hours. So is this worth it, or let it pass? (200 is normal price that they are asking) sorry if this is the wrong place to ask.




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The suggested blacksmithing anvil weight is 100 to 150 pounds for most blacksmith shops.  Farriers go a bit lighter as their stuff is mobile by necessity. Some blacksmithing work wants to go a bit heavier due to the nature of the work. 

There is always going to be what looks to be a good deal during the waiting period. That is why you  need to figure out WHAT you plan on making and then purchase the anvil weight to fit the work. 

Prices for used anvils have risen as more people hear about the craft, watch Forged in Fire, and watch all the videos on the net.  That lump of steel is now an antique, and a whole bunch of buzzwords to get you excited and separated from you money. 

An anvil is a life time investment, as it will most likely out last several owners if they treat it well. 100 years old is just a youngin' in anvil years.   Go to the blacksmiths meetings and look at the different anvils and the purpose they were designed for. Try out block anvils, single horn, double horn, London pattern, farriers pattern, etc. Look at the brand new anvils and styles that are available.  Break it down to what style anvil you want. 

Calculate the price per pound on each anvil, both used and new.  You should start to see a pattern where the used and in good condition anvils start to approach the price of the new anvils. 

Do not panic as we will use small numbers, so let us do a little math. You plan on using an anvil for the next say 20 years. Times 12 months in a year and 4 weeks in a month, you get 20 x 12 x 4 which equals 960 (weeks) which can be called $960 dollars or $1.00 per week. 

If you use the anvil just on the weekends, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and toss $1.00 into the kitty each day, you now have $2880.

Sounds good on paper, which means you CAN afford putting $1.00 into a kitty for each DAY you use the anvil.  If you make something for sale, then put a percent of that sale into the kitty and watch the pay back time quickly shrink back.

But you say you have to put the money for the anvil on the table at the time of the sale. You just walked away from $4.28 a pound.  That is $150 into a kitty toward the purchase of your ideal anvil.  


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Be patient.  It took me over a year to find my first anvil and it was a lot of work to finally meet up with the guy and get it.  Since then 160# Fisher fell into my shop for $50.  

I agree with Glenn, always calculate the price per pound when looking at an anvil.  Anything above $3 per pound should be approaching pristine condition.  When people pay these ridiculous prices it just keeps fueling the craziness that has driven even common blacksmithing tools up to prices that just don't make sense to those of us who use the tools.  The #1 thing I hear from people now when I tell them I'm a blacksmith is "Man, those anvils are worth some money now."  That's just the common guy, so anything from an antique store will be even more.  When I talk to junk store and antique store owners they say this a lot:  "Anvils, well yeah I've had a few and sold them.  I made good money on them to.  Know where I can find anymore?"  So if the common guy thinks they are worth big money and the antique stores want to make good money on them, the end purchaser will see crazy prices.  Keep looking at barn sales, garage sales, and of course use the TPAAAT method because it works.  Somewhere a guy has stubbed his toe for the last time on grandad's old anvil he has sitting under the workshop table and you need to be the guy there first to "help" his toe feel better.  This guy will mention at morning coffee at the diner and the waitress there will remember that you told her you were looking for an anvil and the rest is history.  TPAAAT works just like that.  

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Glenn, thankfully I am in a position that I could buy a $3000.00 anvil but having had just one short day of hitting metal, I want to make certain the investment will be used by me before I make it! I was just thinking of picking up a farriers anvil because I can get it locally for pretty cheap. (Or so I think. I could be wrong) I really do love the way you put it out there though. It is an investment and cost per use goes down every time you use it and since I will hopefully use it a lot I will quickly "work off" the anvil. But now to go research anvils and all that that entails, I am not even certain what I plan to make yet! Thank you so much for your wisdom!

MC Hammer, I definitely need to start the TPAAAT method. I don't know why but for some reason I have this image in my head that anvils are rare in Oklahoma. I know I am wrong and I need to start talking to people! I need to get my Dad on it for me as well. He is a talking and knows everyone. 

Charles, I would be interested in a Block of Steel to start. I have a couple Railroad pieces but when I stood them up on end I realized how small the face would be and i am not certain my hammer control is that good haha. Anywhere here in the city I should check out for the block of steel?

Thank you all for the replies!

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Hey Thomas, 

My ultimate goal is to make tools for other blacksmiths. I know that I am a ways off from that so currently I am just looking to try my hands at leafs, S hooks, and other beginner things. After I am comfortable with the suggested beginner stuff, I would like to try to make a full set of tongs for myself, and then what ever tools i would need to make a hammer, and then make my first hammer and give it to my Dad. From there I just want to make tools for myself and others. 

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I would not like to work hammer making sized stock on an anvil that small.  Some hammer makers can chime in but I'd suggest an anvil or improvised anvil several times that weight. Around 150 pounds was a typical size for a general work blacksmith shop.

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A really quick search turned up 3 anvils. 

70lb. Farrier's Anvil A $2.84 a pound used. A bit light for blacksmithing but can work.

260 lb double horn for $6.92 per pound new.

125 lb double horn for $6.76 per pound new. Cast entirely of H-13 tool steel


3 hours ago, Bubbadreier said:

I have a couple Railroad pieces but when I stood them up on end I realized how small the face would be and i am not certain my hammer control is that good.

A photo of a piece of RR track,  a 2 pound hammer head, and a piece of 1/2 inch round stock. Only the metal under the hammer moves on impact with the hammer. So please tell me again why you need an anvil face the size of the flight deck on an aircraft carrier to forge on. 


You may want too review A collection of improvised anvils

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Nothing like a nice spot of construction to get your hammer/eye coordination polished up.  Got any projects needing a lot of nailing?

"an anvil face the size of the flight deck on an aircraft carrier"; pardon me while I remove the drool from my keyboard...ISTR that the British, Japanese and later the US used armoured decks to one extent or another, a nice chunk of the Shokaku or Shinano class armoured deck would make a great anvil! (My thanks to Armoured Flight Deck on Wikipedia for having details...)

I've always wanted an anvil I could serve dinner on; but now I'll be dreaming of a self propelled anvil you can land fighter planes on...

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Thomas,  USS George W. Bush has a displacement of approximately 97,000 tons (87,996.9 metric tons), or a good size for an anvil for a power hammer. The 332.8m-long supercarrier features a 4.5-acre flight deck so there is plenty of room for a couple of strikers. 

Bubbadreier point taken. If you can drive a nail with a hammer you should be able to hit hot metal with blacksmithing hammer, and a little practice.  

Look at the hammer faces and notice that your hammer face could benefit from some contouring at the edge of the face. This blends the hammer fact to the hammer head and there is less of a chance of leaving hammer marks.

Start looking for a piece of metal 50 to 100 pounds in weight that you can use as an anvil. The improvised anvils topic provide some great ideas.   There is not going to be one item that does everything you need. You may need flat surfaces, cone shapes, round shapes (both outside round and inside round curves) and the list goes on and on. Pipe for example had the recognized outside round shape. If you cut it open it now has a curved inside shape.  Collect several sizes of the pipe for use.  

Just keep your eyes open and do not look, but see the possibilities.

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Bubbadreir, I believe what you have is light rail maybe from a spur line, mine, or possibly a crane  as it indeed  looks smaller. I'll try to take a pic of the cap on my rail anvil with a tape measure on it. The rail I have is main line rail weighing 139lbs/yd. If I remember what the guy from the maintenance crew told me correctly. The cap is the part the wheel rides on. It's in the teens outside so I may not go to the forge for a couple days but I'll try to remember to snap a pic when I do go.


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If you want a cheap anvil that is better than a railroad track or a cheap Harbor Freight anvil, check this review of a cheaper 66 pound anvil by an experienced blacksmith:


I was kinda surprised that it performed well enough for someone to use it to get started.  I hate to see people go the railroad track route.  I've heard so many guys talk with great regret all the years they spent using them and struggling to move metal.  Again, not a great anvil but better than many other alternatives and it's affordable.  


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Glad to help you get started.  If it were me, I'd strip the blue paint off it like the one in the video and secure it really well to a wood stump.  For the price, it should beat a piece of railroad track any day.  The guy in the video would have told you if he thought it was a piece of junk.  Let us know how it goes using it.  

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Well wouldn't you know it, the little craigslist ad I put out a few days ago turned up a little gold for me. At least I am going to call it gold, you all might tell me different. 

I got a call from a gentleman this morning, and he tells me that he saw my ad and he might be able to help me. He has an anvil in his shop that has been there for 20+ years and he has maybe used it twice in that time. He works on machinery for people and some old man had traded a bit of work for it but he just never used it once he got it. He couldn't tell me the weight but he could give me the dimensions. Based on what he told me and comparing it to the below chart, I figured it would be right around 100 pounds. I ask him for pictures but this man said his phone doesn't take pictures. Well I ask what he would take for it and he tells me that the price of these things are pretty high but if I could come up with $250 then it was mine. 

Well for $250 I thought a 45 minute drive would be worth it, I could still walk away if it was trash. So when I get there he had it pulled out for me and it was covered in cob webs and dirt but it looked pretty darn good. I don't know much about anvils (I still haven't put in the time to learn, shame on me), but I figured it was worth the risk, if anything I can throw it in the flower garden in front of the house. We shook on it and I loaded it up to take it home.

Once home I put it on the scale and it comes out to 96 pounds, and for $2.61ish a pound I hope I did pretty good. I will let you guys tell me if I made a mistake. I have included some pictures I took when I got home. I can't read the markings because it looks like there are several different markings and I don't have a clue what I am looking at, but I included a few of those as well. Any help would be appreciated. Now to research how to clean it up!











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