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Need a good Brand Anvil to buy my husband as a gift

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I am surprising my husband with an anvil.  We live in Houston, Texas and he has been making railroad spike knifes along with small to medium size knifes, for the past year and I sell them online. 

Right now he uses a 70 pound piece of crap type of anvil. He has done so much research (too much research) that I figured I would just surprised him by buying a good quality top rated anvil. I want to do this before he ends up waiting too long and we end up spending the money on something else. I am looking to spend around $500 (maybe a little more say $650) on a 125 pound Anvil. 

I do not want to get him a used one though.

So basically what I am asking everyone is this; if you had $600 to spend on only a new anvil that is around 125lbs, what would be the brand you would purchase? Or even better what would be the brand and link you purchase it from? 

If someone can PLEASE point me in the right direction, that would be extremely helpful! 


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Welcome aboard, we won't remember your location once leaving this post hence the suggestion to put it in your profile.

If I were to buy a new anvil, I would look into the Holland or Hoffman anvils. The manufactures are members here and both anvils have received excellent reviews.

Here is a link to information on them. You could send either one a PM for more information.


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Anvil preference is like Ford vs Chevy. It's personal preference. I'll give a little general advice.

Stay away from cheap Chinese anvils. They are worse than what your husband has now.

Weights. 70#-100# is good for knife making. 125#-255# is good for today's general blacksmithing. Your choice of 125# is good because you never know what he might get into in the future.

The ball bearing rebound test will tell you if there are bad places on the anvil face. Soft spots(poor tempering) on modern cast steel  delaminations between hard face and wrought iron body. My opinion is it doesn't affect actual forging much to be an issue.

My preference is the older anvils with a wrought body and a tool steel face. Peter Wright, Trenton, Hay Budden are all good. I have nothing against modern cast steel anvils and have used them in other shops. They are usually more expensive.

If it's an old anvil, which for your price range it will most likely be, the flatter the face, the better and check the edges for chipping. 

Finding an old one can be tough. They are there and available. Check your thrifty nickel, farm auctions, and locate your local blacksmith group. You can find then thru our national organization ABANA(Artist Blacksmith Association North America)

I'm sure others will have more good suggestions.

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If you want brand new American made I'd say Emerson is probably one of the best contemporary anvils out there. They can be gotten through Emerson Horseshoe Supply of Bossier City LA.

Not taking anything away from Swedish or any of the classic anvil makers but I'd say Emerson is probably best choice for new made high quality and closest to your price range.


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There is a pinned topic on current anvil manufactures, you may want to read through it and check out their anvils to see if any fits your (his) needs.


Anvils can be a very personal preference. He may love your thoughtfulness, but may have been wishing for a different style, brand, etc. I’m not trying to discourage you, but be wary.


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My wife and I made a pact 36 years ago that I wouldn't buy anything for her for her hobby, spinning, that cost over US$20 without consulting her and she would do likewise  with respect to my craft, blacksmithing.  We agreed that the "surprise" was the fond knowledge that our spouse was actively looking for stuff that we might want/need.

Whatever you do DON'T look at the online anvil buying guides associated with large online stores!  (I saw one that touted a 9# cast iron anvil as perfect for smithing!)

You may want to look through the various  blacksmith supply companies' catalogs, Pieh Tools, centaur forge, Blacksmiths Depot, etc to see what is available and then perhaps doing a browser search here at ifi, ( exp: google   anvil brand site:iforgeiron.com ) The built in site search tool is not very good; a browser search is much better. 

Actually an improvised steel anvil can be quite good; but a proper belt grinder is what separates the folks playing around with knives and those  wanting to go pro!

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Thomas brings up a good point. Maybe give him a "gift certificate" for whatever amount, and let him pick out which anvil he wants.

A 125# JHM will run around $750, and they are out of Texas, so shipping should be lower, or pick up if you are near them if they have a retail outlet. 

Some guys also really like the SCOTT brand anvils.


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Thank you so much for all of y’all’s responses! These are the two I narrowed it down to (at the bottom of this post.)

I know for a fact that my husband has saved these two as two of his most liked anvil preferences because they are saved on his cell phones home screen.


BIGGUNDOCTOR; After reading your response about the Anvils made out of Texas I remembered that is EXACTLY what my husband was going on and on about the type of anvil he would really want!  So thank you for that!


THOMASPOWERS; I know I shouldn’t invest HIS money in an anvil because he will know exactly what he wants but I know for sure he has saved these 2 anvil options as his top favorites. And about the belt grinder,  he has a 2x42 bucktool belt grinder and he ordered some sort of special abrasive belts to go with it?  We can’t afford to get the big boy grinder (2x72) 


IRONDRAGON & GEORGE GEIST; I was decided for sure between two anvils (listed below) until I brought up Emerson to my husband!!! He said those are really good! So now it’s between the 2 below and an Emerson  


PNUT; thank you on behalf of all women for recognizing a nice gesture and for saying thank you!

JHM Anvil (Made in Texas)

TFS (from centaur Forge)


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Kat:  You are a good spouse.  So many wives and husbands only tolerate their spouses' crafts. You know that if your spouse is happy doing something he loves means you will have a happier marriage and you both will be confirmed in your choice of life partner.  Good on you.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I have to ditto pnut, your husband scored big time when you picked him. 

Any of these three are comparable so for me it'd come down to bang for the buck and saving in shipping with a Texican anvil would be tipping my scales.  

I HOPE you're going to join him at the anvil at least to get a taste of beating HOT steel into submission. It's a lot of fun, honest it IS. Would I lie to you? :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Given the choice between the two anvils you have linked I would go for the TFS anvil for primary bladesmithing.  I personally don't care for a farrier pattern anvil, as they are optimized for other types of smithing (as Thomas has alluded to).  If I was to look at a JHM anvil for blades, I would likely go for the AB Legend, as that is a more "flexible" pattern anvil, in my opinion (but they are currently out of stock).  

Of course both the JHM and TFS anvils are made of Cast Ductile Iron, which is an acceptable material alternative, but not as high quality as the true cast steel anvils from either Hoffman or Holland.  I'm sure the latter cost more per pound, but over the lifespan of that anvil that is pretty immaterial.  I'm not as familiar with the Emerson anvils, but they do use them on Forged in Fire, so I expect they stand up to some abuse.

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Looking at the Emerson site it appears that their anvils are cast from 4140 steel.  This is a good choice for anvils, but I believe that the H-13 used for Holland and Hoffman to be superior.  In close to your price range I would personally choose either a Hoffman 105# Colonial Pattern or Holland 100# double horn.  Of course shipping is an issue to consider as well. 

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