BubbaBeef

Anvils, New vs Used

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I'm looking for my first anvil and I'm shocked on the prices of used anvils.  I can understand a new Peddinghaus being north of $1000, but some used smaller anvils aren't that far off.  Am I missing something about a used (old) anvil?  Is it the nostalgia of having an old anvil?  Do they posses mystical powers?  Can someone help me out here. 

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Good Morning Bubba,

Welcome to this world. Like anything else, asking price and selling price are 2 entirely different things. Some people think a beat up Anvil shows it's age and must be worth lots as it is 'Antique'. Don't believe people like that!! Quite often, when you are not expecting it, someone will ask you "Would you like an Anvil, I am not using it and it is in the way". This is the ultimate moment, using the TPAAAT way. Ask anyone you know "if you see an Anvil, PLEASE let me know". Yes, it does work, but not by measuring Time or being in a hurry. I believe in, 1-Asking the question. 2-Keep your mouth in motion but not too loud and KEEP YOUR EARS OPEN!! It seems that when you are flappin' your lips, you can't hear someone say "Yes". It happens when you are least expecting it!! In the mean time, use anything for an Anvil, there is no such thing as "It HAS TO LOOK LIKE..........."

If you can't wait, there are Good New Anvils that aren't much more than what the dreamers think an Anvil is worth.

Put your location in your avatar. There probably is someone close to you who will help you get started.

Neil

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Patience is defiantly key. In the current market, at least in north central Florida, used anvils are right up in the same price as new anvils of similar weight. That is of course if you can find one that is even useable. The craft is having a wonderful resurgence with shows like “Forged in Fire” and “Milwaukee Blacksmith”. Unfortunately that means a high demand and not nearly as good of a supply. Don’t limit yourself to a used anvil. If you really feel you need an anvil shaped anvil do some research on new anvils as well. Also check out the improvised anvil thread. Don’t get locked into your anvil having to look like it’s about to squash a coyote. 

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 Any relatively heavy piece of steel with a flat spot a little bigger than the face of your hammer will do. Think about it, the only part of the metal that you can work is directly under the hammer. A large flat face and a horn can make some things easier but the largest benefit of a "real" anvil is the hardy hole but you can make your own hardy hole in a plate or even a log with a hole In it lined up with square tubing will work. 

Getting back to your question though, no an old anvil, a new anvil I don't think there's much difference. Some say older anvils are a little harder but new anvils have warranties. If you come across a decent used anvil go for it. If not get a new one. When I decide to start saving up for an anvil I'm going to pick out a new one and if I haven't found a used one by the time I have enough for the new one I'll get the new one. If I run across a used one and it's in good enough shape and a fair price before I have enough for the one I picked out I'll gladly buy the used one. I'm a patient person who is good at saving money and I'm not in a hurry to get a "real" anvil as the piece of RR track I have works for me so far.  That's my anvil strategy. Make sense?

Pnut

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The price of anvils was pretty constant for *decades* at around US$1 a pound.  It gradually crept up a little but $1.50 was common.  Then rather suddenly it tripled and went higher. All I can attribute this is to such shows as FinF and [email protected], etc AND a very inefficient market.  Many people don't realize that you can just go out and buy a good NEW anvil from various Blacksmith tool places.  They also don't realize that the London Pattern anvil is relatively new and localized design. I've been told over and over that something that looks exactly like a style of anvil used for 3000 years all over the ferrous forging world "isn't an anvil" while the London Pattern that is less than 1/10th as old and used in a smaller area is.

People also get confused by thinking that having an expensive anvil will make them a better smith; unfortunately its *PRACTICE* that makes a person a better smith.  People are always more eager to throw money at something rather than time.   A skilled smith can do great work using rocks for a hammer and anvil; I once demo'd billet welding using a short piece of light rail, a claw hammer and vice grips using charcoal left from a bonfire as fuel.

I expect that anvils will become a rather common garage sale find after this bubble pops; but then I've lived through a couple of other examples---remember US$50 a troy oz silver?  (That went back down to $5!) I knew a number of folks that got burned on that as an "investment"!   Of course the great thing about an anvil is that you get to USE it and if you take up the craft for real the incremental cost becomes trivial over the years.

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My eyes and ears are always on the hunt for anvils  "real" or improvised. It will eventually pay off.

Pnut

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I just looked at Craigslist posts for my area and there's a 200 pound Vulcan for $1000 dollars and don't try to low-ball him because he knows what these things are selling for.  Lol

Pnut

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May it sit in his garage till he stumbles over it and breaks a leg in a very expensive manner.-----Selling a ford escort at a shelby mustang price....

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A good line I use on folks who want "antique" prices for old and rusty is, "I don't pay extra for rust." Vintage and Antique are buzz words you see in ads all the time and usually mean rusty and probably older than the seller's kids.

My power hammer turned 100 in 2013 but I can't find a single dollar sign on it. It still just beats hot steel to whatever shape I'm good enough to get from it.  

Be patient they're out there and the bubble is starting to deflate. Patience will be rewarded.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I remember posting a personal reflection on one of the blacksmithing groups in facebook on the topic of old vs new anvils some 10 years ago.

My point was that old does not mean better. And that anvils do not improve with time, they rather deteriorate as we work on them. Manufacturers of new anvils on the other hand, are improving their product all the time, (generally speaking of course) and today you can buy new anvils that can beat in quality many of the older anvils.

The string of abuse and vitriol that I generated with my comment was amazing. From the owner of the group to many of the members, they all took turns to ridicule my comments with "examples" and photos of their most prized 'old' anvils. Clearly it is a touchy subject but based on myths and legends rather than reality. 

Quality is the only factor to take into account, not age. Give me a german or french anvil over most if not all english anvils, and give me a new Reffy over an older one anytime. 

And yes, surely there are many examples of old that are better than new. But the reason is not their age but their original quality. An easy life helps too. 

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QUALITY!  Many folks don't seem to realize that there used to be ASOs sold 100 years ago too.  You can read about them in the Sears Roebuck catalogs where they sold everything from ASOs to top of the line anvils---for different use cases and at different prices.  They expected buyers to know what they needed and were willing to pay for.

Nowadays I see folks trying to sell Vulcans at Hay Budden prices---either they do not know the quality difference OR they expect the buyers to not know the difference!

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The thousand dollar Vulcan was in the antique section on Craigslist. I don't know most of the fine points of anvil manufacturers, and different names that companies sold products under, but it was marked Vulcan and had the arm and Hammer motif. It was advertised as a 100 year old arm and Hammer 200 pound anvil. 

Pnut

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Vulcan anvils were on the lower quality range of steel topped wrought iron anvils.

(they are functional and many smiths use them).

I.e. $1,000 Cadillac price for 'Woolco' goods.

SLAG.

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Thanks for the incite guys.  I've been saving up for a while and can afford a new anvil, but would prefer to spend less and find a good used one.  I'll poke around for a while and see what else is on the used market before making a decision.

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If an old anvil in good shape and good price were to be offered me, I wouldn't turn it down. But an advantage of having a new anvil is being able to make it the way I want it. I've left all the edges sharp except with some hand sanding to knock off the severity.  And one edge about 3 or 4" long starting at the step towards the tail I radiused a bit more for a rounded edge. Other than that, that's all I've done and will do until I think I may need something else altered. And I may not ever. But at least it's my choice, not just what I'm stuck with if that makes sense.

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Just the past couple of weeks we have had several people on IFI report getting anvils cheap or even free.  They all seemed to be gotten OFF the internet and in face to face discussions.  I stand by TPAAAT!

Vulcans are one of my bugaboos; I don't like them. They are sure better than an ASO; like a ford escort is better than walking across west Texas...I have one that was given me as a gift after I got a replacement for it when a student broke off the horn and exposed massive casting flaws. It should never have been sold with even the visible flaws!  But I will say that they are much more suburbia friendly than many of the LOUD anvils that folks don't silence. I do greatly prefer Fishers for that use though.  I have a Fisher as one of my using anvils. I passed the Vulcans I've had on to others at what I thought were reasonable prices for them.

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SLAG, Vulcan anvils are cast iron with steel top plates like a Fisher, but lower quality.

BubbaBeef, seriously look at the improvised anvil thread. You can get a 200# chunk of steel from free to around $50. Make sure you get a chunk of steel plate, steel forging, or a steel casting, not cast iron.

There is a collector's market that is also driving the very small and very large way up in price. $3-$5 a pound here in the States is common now for a user anvil. I paid $1 a pound from the 70's up until about 4 years ago.  I have 7 good quality anvils, one being a new JHM. Anvil brand  sells them along with several other makes.

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Mr. B.G. Doctor,

I stand corrected.

Thanks.

But that Vulcan is still not worth $1,000.

SLAG.

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In the 1990's I was averaging at least 1 name brand good condition anvil per year at less than the US$1 a pound which was considered the "going price"  Of course things like my 469# Fisher in mint condition for US$350 helped to drag the avg price down. The most expensive anvil I bought was a 134# HB for $150.

Since 2000 I have bought a 112# PW for $150 and been given a 66# almost mint swedish cast steel anvil---still has sharp edges! I also bought an American Civil War Pack anvil with original stand for $75.   And I'm not even working at finding them!

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Whatever happened to that cast steel anvil made by one of the members here?  It surely looked the part! 

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"Holland Anvils." The maker is around but probably busy and he casts a lot more smithing tools than anvils.

Frosty The Lucky.

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There are a lot of opinions and explanations about the late anvil price hike, and the associated marketing gimmicks and fraud attempts by unscrupulous sellers, it is a recurrent topic here and elsewhere. i stumbled upon this little video on anvil prices, and found it could be educational for that one looking for his first anvil. 

Hope it is ok 

https://youtu.be/YFv5fOR3xs8

 

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