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Holland 190lb Anvil Review Pros and Cons Style


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After doing alot of research, a week ago, I finally got my New Holland 190lb anvil.  I'm a newbie, but I have wanted to start blacksmithing for over a decade.  My previous job included a lot of travel, and I was also probably foolishly) adamant about starting with a good anvil before I did anything else.

Overall, I absolutely love it and think it will last me practically forever. Here are the Pros and Cons as I see them:

PROS

1.  Made of cast H13 steel, hardened to 52-55 rockwell.

2.  Face plate machine ground perfectly flat.

3.  Base machine ground perfectly flat (making mounting and use much easier compared to a cast, unfinsihed type.

4.  Price -  190 lbs cost me $1300 + $167 shipping. I could not find another anvil made entirely of cast steel, let alone a steel made for blacksmithing use, anywhere near that price. Other places just say "steel" and don't identify the type, let alone tell you what steel, or let you identify the metallurgy of the anvil.

5.  It REALLY "rings like a bell" and for about 10-15 seconds depending on where I hit it. Interpreted meaning from what I have learned so far: Its a solidly cast piece of steel without voids or defects throughout the anvil.  Have no fear, lol, I will mount it and deaden the ring once I get the base built.

6.  Rebound!  While some care and some don't, the rebound on this anvil is about 90% from what I can tell.

7. Overall, I believe this anvil is an outstanding product especially for the price, and I can't wait to really get at it.

8.  Shipping is quick, once the process is completed.

There are some cons though:

CONS:

1.  At both the face plate, and the step down block at the front right edges, the edges were tapered inward, like the casting hadn't gone perfectly. (Please refer to pics) Maybe someone here can tell me if this is a common thing, and I shouldn't worry about it, or that it is a problem.  The step down block actually had a small porosity hole as well, and is why it was hit a little harder with the flap disc. To me, the rest of the anvil is perfect, so I'm going to let it .  I can't afford 2x shipping even if this is a problem that could be fixed, so it's not worth the hassle.  I'm new enough to it all that I might be nitpicking and not know. If so, I'm truly sorry.

2.  Their shipping process needs to be smoothed out.  When you first visit their site, they tell you to call in advance of ordering to talk about shipping methods.  There is no contact number on the site and no internet searching turned up a workable number for them.  I took a chance and placed the order, as they had an active inventory count on the site, and figured it was an oversight.  Once I did, we communicated via email, and they did call me at one point. I called them back to verify something as well. The shipping process is entirely on the customer though, except for them dropping it at whichever service the customer chooses.  There are no clear instruction on how to complete it.  Also, there are at least two, if not more people, who answer the emails you send them. At least twice, I got two very different answers to questions I asked. The tones of the emails were also different, so.... two people, one hand not talking to the other.  You see, I'm an old fashioned Marine.  If there is one thing we do well, like the human Doberman-pinschers we are called, it is follow instructions.  Had they clarified the process, I would have followed the instructions, and they would have dropped it off for shipping on that Monday they received the order.  It wasn't Friday that it was shipped, due to all of the miscommunication.  Nuff said. I still love my anvil. The job got done. I'm sure it can be much more complicated out there.

Sincerely, please let me know what you think.  I am a firm believer that the student (me in this case) should "open ears and shut mouth" when seeking to learn.  Failing anything else, I'm gonna consider the tapered edges character and get to actually doing something with this beautiful anvil.  Some say I should name it.  What do you think of Frank?  That way I can say things like "Dang it Frank!" J/k

 

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Artureus

 

 

Holland Anvil 1.jpg

holland 190lb anvil 2.jpg

Edited by Mod30
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Welcome to IFI, and thanks for the review! The way prices are going on second-rate used anvils these days, it really is making more and more sense to buy new, even right from the start.

7 hours ago, Arteus said:

Other places just say "steel" and don't identify the type, let alone tell you what steel, or let you identify the metallurgy of the anvil.

We have an ongoing group project to document this information as much as possible; the results are here: 

 

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H13 is a hot work steel but it wasn't designed for blacksmithing.  It's used a lot for tooling that gets embedded in hot steel--chisels, punches, etc. Hopefully *that* will never happen in your smithing!

Round off the edges to suit the type of work you will be doing and see if those slanting issues still apply. My anvil with a perfectly flat face doesn't see as much work as the others. Ringing like a bell is not a pro---just read the old Fisher ads!

That's a great anvil and should be a great anvil for generations to come; but with little to no experience I think you are focusing on stuff that you should ignore and get on with smithing.  Remember 100 hours on a $1000 anvil won't make you as good a smith as 1000 hours using a $100 anvil!

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1 hour ago, JHCC said:

We have an ongoing group project to document this information as much as possible; the results are here:

JHCC, thank you for the link! I  have alot to learn, and every bit of info is another tool/hammer/set of tongs in the rack.

32 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Remember 100 hours on a $1000 anvil won't make you as good a smith as 1000 hours using a $100 anvil!

ThomasPowers, you are absolutely right.  I have a ton of thrown away rebar, and my first goal is to take it and make something simple a thousand times.

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you'll have a much better chance of hooking up with members living within visiting distance. You'll learn more in a couple hours working with an experienced smith than maybe days trying to figure it out yourself. 

I'm not dissing you but you don't know enough to know what's important for an anvil. Nothing you asked about would concern me at all, making "perfect" castings is expensive enough nobody could afford the anvils. 

Rebound is the important issue, ring is an easier way to locate delaminations of the face from the body, Not an issue with a monosteel casting. It's not quite like checking the gas mileage of an electric car but close. Ring can be dangerous to your hearing as well as annoying. Ear protection as a standard part of your PPE is highly recommended.

There are a number of ways to lessen the ring to safer and more tolerable levels. Wrapping the waste with chain is old timey traditional. Sticking magnets under horn and heel helps a lot as well. Lots of guys are bedding their anvils in silicone calking with good results. I have a steel tripod anvil stand which deadened my Soderfors from dangerously loud to tolerably attention getting. Still loud but your ears don't ring for the rest of the day even though I wear muffs.

What makes many of the ring deadening methods work is damping resonance in the anvil. Like a bell if vibrations can't be sustained it clanks rather than rings. Clink / clank is good for a number of reasons. Ring can cause long term damage to your ears. . . B A D.

A wooden box filled with sand allows you to adjust the anvil's height and does an outstanding job of deadening the ring. They're also pretty darned easy to move by dumping the sand in a couple buckets and refilling it when it's where you want.

What do you have for a forge? 

What do you want to make? 

I'm not a fan of rebar but if it's what you have, there are a number of things it's pretty darned good for making.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I generally don't use rebar; but when I fenced in a section of my yard I needed to make a lot of stakes to hold the bottom of the wire down to the ground and rebar from the scrapyard at 20 UScents a pound was perfect for that use.

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I've made a bunch of rebar bottle openers to give away to construction people who let me take their scrap structural steel. Good to keep a couple in the car for when the need arises unexpectedly.

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Hey Arteus, We appreciate your review and with all of our customers, if you are not happy with your purchase we will pay the freight to and from along with a 100% refund.  

I am really sorry that you found us hard to work with. I run two businesses, a pattern shop and foundry and sell these tools as a side project. It is under 6% of our monthly sales and takes up 50% of my time on emails, messages, calls and visits. I dare say I am the easiest manufacturer to contact, I have been told that 100s of times. We start all communication on our website or facebook page and occasionally a message here. I can not post my cell # and you do not want to talk to my front office staff, they have nothing to do with anvils, busy working on commercial accounts. 

On shipping. Its a xxxxx! Our commercial accounts tell us what truck line and where to ship it. We call the truck and off it goes. Each anvil sale needs communication, those over 150 lbs need to go freight, the lighter ones can go Fedex to a home. People that do not have a company with a forklift present an even bigger challenge, we will probably be bouncing 5 or 6 messages to figure things out. Fastenal works great in the midwest but not to western states at this time. 

Spending my Sunday morning working anvil and block messages, it is a 24/7 365 business.

Cheers! 

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Frosty,

Thank you for the advice.  With over 36,000 posts, you've obviously been here a while.  I'll no xxxx appreciate any advice you can give me.  I am new, as I stated in my original post, and when I asked for input about what I said in the last paragraph.  I look forward to gathering all I can in this forum, and hopefully one day, helping others.

  Please forgive me, but the "Master of the obvious" condescension was unnecessary.  "I'm not dissing you (Yes you were) but you don't know enough to know what's important for an anvil."  I literally said I was new and didn't know anything, and asked for advice.  And I quote: "I'm a newbie, but I have wanted to start blacksmithing for over a decade."  Also, "Sincerely, please let me know what you think.  I am a firm believer that the student (me in this case) should "open ears and shut mouth" when seeking to learn."   C'mon man, really?

Then again, after having 3 tanks I was in destroyed, I'm also a little touchy, and no xxxx, I confess I might be over-reacting.  If I am, I am truly sorry, and offer my hand to shake in both apology, and hopes that we call peace and learn together.  I am a confessed xxxxxxx trying to learn how to be "human" again.  I just want to do something where people can appreciate and judge me by my work...

May God bless you and keep you.

Sincerely,

Artureus

(USMC, US Army, 23 yrs. Retired) (OIF1, OIF3, OIF 5-7)

M1A2 SEPv2 Abrams Armor Platoon Sergeant

Aircraft Rescue Firefighter

CDL Class A Professional Driver (all endorsements)

Apprentice Welder

Aspiring Blacksmith

 

 

On 3/18/2021 at 11:01 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Find something that you need or there is a market for; so all that practice results in $$ or saving $$!

Thomas Powers, 

Yessir, will do!  First I have to hammer well enough to not leave round indentations in everything I do! (chagrined embarrasment)  Thank you again!

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On 3/21/2021 at 10:23 AM, foundryguy said:

Hey Arteus, We appreciate your review and with all of our customers, if you are not happy with your purchase we will pay the freight to and from along with a 100% refund. 

FoundryGuy,

Hey, first thing Boss, please know I absolutely love my (your) anvil!  I could tell by the way things went, that both you and your business must be extremely busy.  My post wasn't a hit piece, or intended to bring you down.  I AM a new guy, and as "FROSTY" pointed out, don't know enough yet to know what is worth worrying about.  That is why I asked at the end of my post, for people to tell me where I stood, as I saw things. 

To ALL who read this, my Holland Anvil is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!  That being said, I wrote what my review as an honest appraisal of things as I saw them.  As I have been told in some of the other replies/posts, the tapering is a non-issue.  Lesson learned for me. I'm sorry now, that I brought it up.  The shipping though, is honestly, something that needs to be smoothed out.  If it's online brother, people want it to be simple.  My frustration about shipping the anvil was more of a problem of "what if I tell them something they cant deal with?" type question.  I have NO idea of what you are dealing with, and seriously worried that I would screw something up.  That's all.  You guys are awesome.  This is me, the customer saying. "limit my options", making it simple for me, and easy for you.  Then again, I do not stand in your shoes, so what I'm saying may seem infantile and stupid, not knowing what you deal with. If so, I am truly and sincerely sorry.  I am embarrassed to say that after being blown up a few times, I do not deal with complication well. I need clear and precise instructions to follow.  That is on me, but maybe in dealing with my stupid xxx, it might make things easier in some way across the board.

You should have seen the look on my face when I hit your (my) anvil with a hammer for the first time.  It rang better than any church bell I have ever heard. I was like a kid hearing holy music for the first time.  It wasn't even unwrapped from the pallet, and I couldn't resist hitting it with a hammer.  Not only are your anvils beautiful, but the rebound was almost equal to the hammer drop! (around 90%)  That is AWESOME!  I'm not trying to blow smoke at you.  Once people see the quality you provide, I will be glad to have bought your anvil so early.....

Thank you for all of your hard work.  I kid you not, it allowed me to achieve a dream I have had for over a decade.

On 3/18/2021 at 1:09 PM, JHCC said:

I've made a bunch of rebar bottle openers to give away to construction people who let me take their scrap structural steel. Good to keep a couple in the car for when the need arises unexpectedly.

I'll keep that in mind!  I didn't think of it that way.  Thank you!

On 3/18/2021 at 11:50 AM, ThomasPowers said:

I generally don't use rebar; but when I fenced in a section of my yard I needed to make a lot of stakes to hold the bottom of the wire down to the ground and rebar from the scrapyard at 20 UScents a pound was perfect for that use.

Ehh, in my case, it was free steel (the best kind lol)  I was working as a welding intern at a construction company, and they told me I could take anything thrown in the recycling bin.  I visited that place almost every day, until layoffs due to COVID.  I have almost a ton of steel in my garage lol.  When I learned there are different grades of rebar, I was happy to find out the stuff I picked up was of medium carbon content, and usable for almost anything except blades.  That being said, Between leaf keychains, hooks and tent stakes, I figure I'll learn a lot one way or the other.

 

Artureus

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Out here I usually go with sucker rod, (picked up 3' of 7/8: sucker rod Saturday), and car axle for medium carbon steel; saves effort getting rid of the rebar texture;  next step up is car/truck/? springs for use for blades.  (Picked up some bearings too, hopefully 52100!)

The scrapyard gets some HEAVY rebar from time to time and it's tempted me as I know it's better quality than the cheap hardware store stuff from across the border; but again I don't have a real need and till I get a hammer online I don't need to spend my time hammering it down to a useful size...

Hmm now that I think of it I have 2 400# pressure tank ends to make bells from that will need strong supports...

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

Out here I usually go with sucker rod, (picked up 3' of 7/8: sucker rod Saturday), and car axle for medium carbon steel; saves effort getting rid of the rebar texture;  next step up is car/truck/? springs for use for blades.

Okay, I'm still learning the quote feature, I only meant to quote your fist paragraph, but anyway,

Yes sir, I was worried about pounding out the texture on the rebar, but now just kind of look at it like hammer practice for the time being. I'm sure I'll get tired of it eventually, but for now free steel is free steel, ya know?  I hadn't thought of bells.... Interesting

  I did have someone give me two leaf springs from a Chevy the other day. I spent last night cleaning some up. It definitely sparks like 5160.  There are also some local shops that will gladly give the old scrap springs to you, as otherwise, all it does is go to a recycler, that pays next to nothing.  I'm going to wait though to try to make use of it.  I don't want to waste it practicing with a hammer.  I might heat it up and flatten it with a vice though, and then do a material removal basic knife just to see how it goes.

 

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Arteus, since you are experimenting with rebar, you might want to check out some YT videos by Joey van der Steeg, otherwise known as "Technicus Joe", also a member here.  He did a series of videos using rebar for various projects.  I believe he might have mentioned it possibly was a higher quality rebar than some.

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I will 2nd the recommendation for Technicus Joes videos.  I don't know if I will ever want to make small anvils but it definitely takes some skills.

Enjoy the forum and take things with a grain of salt.  There is vast experience here. With vast experience comes Crust or crustiness 

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5 hours ago, arkie said:

I believe he might have mentioned it possibly was a higher quality rebar than some.

Arkie,

 I think I saw one of the videos where he said it was a hardenable rebar. I looked up the code on mine that was imprinted on the bar, and it comes up as a mid-level carbon content construction rebar, used for concrete and tension.  As the one thing I need most is practice, I'll probably use it just for that or maybe tongs after I've knocked out the ridges.  It's extra work, but I can use that too.

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3 hours ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

That usually indicates the anvil is at the wrong height for you. This thread is good for finding the right height.

Thank you! I have to confess though, the dang thing isn't on a real stand yet.  I couldn't resist having a go before I built the stand.  

I'm still working on the design, and originally set it at knuckle height.  After looking at the thread you recommended though, I'm going to leave some room for adjustment in the feet. I'm building a tripod stand out of steel since I'm a welder, and the feet right now are going to be 3/8 in thick plate.  My thinking is that I will start at knuckle height, and if if I need to, I can add more plate to the bottom.  If the distance is significant, ( like more than an inch) I should be able to add wood to the bottom to make up the difference.  What do you think?

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Arteus,

I agree with Glenn and if I had read this advise first I would have built a temporary stand for my anvil, used it and made adjustments to get the proper height then built the permanent one.  I built my first stand knuckle high, started using it and couldn't hardly walk the next day because my bad back was hurting so much. After adding a 3 inch spacer to the legs I have no back problem now, but my nice looking stand now looks like I pieced junk together to make it.  I'll go back later and splice in the proper material to clean it up, but it would have been much easier to just trim a little at a time. My next stand will be for a smaller anvil I will be using for lighter, more detailed work so it will be made taller, then after using it I can cut it down to the height I want.

 

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Arteus: Thank you for serving, we owe the life we enjoy to men and women who put their lives on the line to make it so.

I sincerely apologize if I came across wrong, I was NOT dissing you, you were making common beginner mistakes.  Pointing out the obvious is what an instructor does after describing and demonstrating that lesson. I should've found another way to point them out. My bad. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who served and suffer PTSD. Many came to me to see if time at the anvil would help with their issues. Face to face we can read each other and avoid most personal issues. No?

I myself am a TBI survivor and my wife suffers classic PTSD symptoms as a direct result of my accident. I'm not looking for nor interested in sympathy, don't need them, I'm doing all right. I mention that solely as explanation for why I'll probably be ghosting your posts unless necessary. My emotions are right under the surface, barely under control unless I'm constantly working at it. I've waited this long to respond to cool down. I could NOT type anything without undeserved anger being the author. 

All the above crap said, I'd be proud to shake your hand and be friends. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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14 hours ago, Arteus said:

Arkie,

.......  As the one thing I need most is practice, I'll probably use it just for that or maybe tongs after I've knocked out the ridges.  It's extra work, but I can use that too.

Nothing wrong with using rebar for practice, although sometimes it forges a bit differently from most known steels.  I often use rebar for making dry runs of items with odd shapes, curves, corners, scrolls, etc. so I don't waste the "good" steels I intend to use for the final product.

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