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Is an N.C. Tool anvil good for a beginner?


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Hello all just join and and I am brand new to blacksmithing. I am buying my first anvil and wondered if the NC knifemakers would be of good quality for the money I can spend or should I go with another brand? Any info would be excellent thanks

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We need more information.  Are you going to make horse shoes, do ornamental ironwork, industrial blacksmithing, farm blacksmithing, general blacksmithing, make knives, etc.

What is your budget?  

If you are just starting A collection of improvised anvils,  Anvils: A beginner buyers guideThe new price standard for anvilsList of makers currently producing anvils, and other topics should give you some answers.

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Improvised anvils are being used all over this world by people making a living from smithing; so thinking you need a new london pattern anvil to learn smithing is rather like asking what racecar you should buy to learn how to drive on.

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That's not to imply that you need to learn on something else before you forge on a London pattern anvil, though. Think of it more like you can learn to drive with a compact car, a pickup truck, a sedan, or even (as in my case) an old farm tractor (man, that thing had a finnicky clutch). Once you know how to drive, you can then choose the vehicle that best suits your needs and budget. 

The NC Tool knifemaker anvil is made of ductile cast iron and is actually more like a farrier's anvil (very thick horn, very thin heel). It's certainly inexpensive, but I would recommend putting that same amount of money into an improvised anvil, hand tools, fuel, and steel. Once you've developed some skill, you can then think about your anvil with a much more realistic idea of what you'll need and what the best bang for your buck would be.

If you really want to start with a new anvil, one of the cast steel Chinese "Acciaio" anvils is probably a better bet, as it's cheaper, arguably better material, and a better shape for general blacksmithing. One of our members did an unboxing and review post, which you can read HERE.

All that said, welcome to IFI, Gandalfgreen! If you put your location in your profile settings, that will help us provide answers that are more appropriate to your circumstances.

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Welcome aboard Gandalfgreen, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you'll have a better chance of hooking up with members living within visiting distance. You'll learn more in a few hours with an experienced smith than many times as long figuring it out on your own. A LOT of information is location specific. 

There are a number of good anvils being produced in the USA. NC anvils are a good anvil for the money as are the others. 

Asking good questions is an acquired skill, you aren't getting many responses because you didn't ask a "good" question. Most of us want to provide meaningful answers but to do so we need to have some basic information. You provided "I'm brand new to blacksmithing" and that's about it. However you asked the specific question, is it good quality for what I can afford. 

How do we know what you can afford? 

What you intend to make makes a difference in what anvil is a better choice. 

How much room do you have and how close are the neighbors. Some anvils are VERY LOUD and you do NOT want the neighbors angry or calling the police.

It goes on. How about talking to us, tell us what you want to make, what you can afford, show us some pics, etc. We LOVE helping folk but we have to know enough to make meaningful suggestions.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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I purchased an NC Tool "Round Horn" anvil in February. My prior experience was a 1-day blacksmithing class two years ago, so I don't know enough to know if it's a "good" anvil. But it hasn't been a bad anvil for this beginner. You can see a photo of the anvil and my setup in this thread.

Oh, and I don't have to worry about the neighbors calling the cops. They are the cops. 

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Usually there are a couple of hundred anvils for sale at Quad-State in Ohio in late September.  (Won't say they are cheap though.)  Would an improvised anvil hold you till then?

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Well my wife is amazing or was sick of listening to me and she bought me the NC knifemaker. I going with both amazing and sick of hearing me but thankyou all for the help and info I havent stopped reading from this site when ever have free time.  Hopefully no issues.

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Sounds like you married a keeper. What are you going to get her to support her interests? I blacksmith, Deb spins. When doesn't object too strongly when I pick up something so I don't go overboard. I keep my eyes open for spinning or dog sport related things.

A few years ago we were at a yard sale and while she was talking to the gal at the table about some yarn rovings and accessories I was scanning a huge bunch of stuff. I spotted a Lundgren spinning wheel half buried under garbage bags full of who knew what. I walked, more waded to it eyeballed it, gave the wheel a shake to see if it wobbled on the axle. Grinning I waved at the gal at the table and yelled how much? She yelled back "$50" I nodded and started digging it out. I wasn't sure of the price for a new Lundgren but they're not cheap, this one was used a lot but in great condition. New they're between $400-$500.

So, there I am lifting and shifting all these big white garbage bags to clear a path out and the gal says, "You have to talk all of it." I started to say something but she said, "all or nothing". DANG that wheel was going to cost more than $50, I had a couple three dump runs to get rid of a pile of garbage bags the width of a 2 car garage about 4' deep and maybe extending 10' into the driveway. Oh well at $15 a dump run that wheel was still under $100 and a screaming great deal so I was still smiling.

I didn't say anything to Deb and I carried it out to the Saturn and loaded it in the passenger side back seat. Walking back up the driveway Deb says, "what did you get?" The gal at the table winks at me so I say, "It's a surprise, try not to be mad." Seeing as she was having a good time talking to the lady at the table, another spinner with many shared acquaintances and friends she couldn't say much and went back to talking. But BOY did she have THAT look. 

As I walked by the gal says "don't forget the rest of it, it's in the milk crates under the bags on the left." When I looked I felt giddy, there had to be: 8 spools, a niddy noddy, a skein winder, a ball winder and all sorts of tools parts and loot. I hid the first crate of loot from Deb behind a garbage bag as I carried it to the Saturn and looked in the bag as I loaded it. It was full of processed wool. YIKES! By time Deb was finished talking to the lady I had the Saturn stuffed and Deb had chosen some nice goodies I could pay for. Smiling I gave the lady a $50 bill and asked how much for the rest and she said $50 covers it all so long as I get it all out by tomorrow. I told her I'd even sweep the driveway. We both grinned at each other while Deb was happily gathering up her loot, the lady had thrown in a nice wicker basket to carry it all. 

As we walked to the SUV Deb was bubbling over happy and I told her I didn't think there'd be room in the Saturn unless she carried it in her lap. She started to call BS but looked at the Saturn. I'd folded the driver side rear seat down and stuffed it literally FULL of white plastic garbage bags. Wool will compress a LOT and I'd leaned on it as hard as I could and it was stuffed like a cheap pillow. Her expression was getting stormy as she rounded the passenger side and saw the windows packed solid with smooshed plastic bags and as she started to question my sanity coming to a rolling boil. I said, "look behind your seat."

There sticking up out of a pile of smooshed white garbage bags was  wheel, the top of a spinning wheel and she started sputtering. "No Darlin you CAN'T look at it now, we'd have to unload the car and I have at least two more loads to haul."

It was hilarious when we got home, I put her to work carrying bags of wool in the house and wouldn't let her see the new spinning wheel. She didn't insist after looking in a bag of clean white wool. Surprisingly I got all the wool in one more run, it compresses amazingly, just don't pound it or it'll start to felt. The lady used to have a farm, raised fiber sheep and sold wool commercially. When she retired she kept her wheels and enough wool to last the rest of her life. She said she'd overestimated and was happy to see it go, nobody had wanted that much and selling a bag or two at a time was not happening. 

She still had all the spinning gear she was using and plenty of wool but the band on her drum carder was getting old and slipping she was going to order a new one when she remembered. I rolled it off and told her I had it covered, if I leave now, tonight. I rushed to make it before closing and had Alaska Rubber and Hose in Wasilla make up an O-ring that size. Just like I had for Deb's drum carder and spinning wheel. 

Sorry that turned into a long darned ramble but it's one of those perfect memories and once you get going it's hard to stop. It's the kind of payback one looks forward to. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Another Buckeye. Welcome. 

Avon Lake, that is up near Akron right? Need to get to quad state. Smiths from all over the country, and world, come to sell their wares and demonstrate. Good times, good folks. If you want, look up Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil (SOFA) you can see pics from previous gathering and get an idea of what all goes on. 

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Just ordered "Craft of the Dyer: Colour from Plants and Lichens" should be in by my wife's birthday.  As per our agreement; she looked it over before I bought it for her. 

Hope to see Frosty & Deb at Woolgathering and Quad-State 2022.

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I believe we're tentatively booked for Wollgathering and Quad-State in 22. Deb's making up for pandemic void in Dog trials this summer. We'll maybe do a little RVing but next year I think we're off and cruising. Fingers crossed in the far north. 

There are so many people I know online I'd love to meet face to face so I can take down the sketch of what I think they look like. Chris Ray used to make cardboard cut outs but he was more talented than I ever was. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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He made cardboard cutouts with drawn features, of what talking with people online made him think they looked like.

Chris was unlikely to have a cutout with concentric circles as I am to become a ballerina. An incredibly talented artist and one of the nicest people I ever knew. Do a search for "Mansects." It'll link to more of his work.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Avon Lake is a bit west of Cleveland, on Lake Erie. 

The NC will definitely serve you well. Now, what are you using for a forge?

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6 hours ago, Frosty said:

I believe we're tentatively booked for Wollgathering and Quad-State in 22.

Look forward to seeing you there. I’m hoping to go this year, but since I haven’t has any work travel, I don’t have the reward points I’d usually have saved up for a free hotel room. Camping is a possibility, but I need electricity for the CPAP. 

 

Hell’s Forge is a start, but you’ll need to rigidize the ceramic wool to make it safe. I’ve got a ton of colloidal silica, and I’ll be happy to give you some.

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If there are hookups for the RV it has an outside outlet. Maybe we can find some cute minions to give you artificial respiration all night. :)  

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Doing a quick search i found 13 camp grounds/RV parks with in 25 miles. 

I was trying to think of a couple and came up with 3 i knew of. There is a KOA just north of Dayton, Enon beach in Enon and i think John Bryon has electricity now but not quite sure. Of the 3 John Bryon would be my choice, a little further away from quad state but is in Yellow Springs where the wool gathering is. And it is a state park so it is more wooded and not just a big parking lot. But with the wool gathering the spots may go quick. Nice place. When i lived in Yellow Springs we used to go there to camp on weekends. Local, so if i forgot something the house was a 5 minute drive.

If i had the space i'd tell ya'll to park them here, but i may be able to fit 1 small RV so first to come gets it. I do have a big barn if you dont mind the cats. 

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Thanks Billy, Deb likes to hunt things up herself but I'll FWD your post and the link to her. We don't have a towed so we have to park on site or within easy walking distance. We'll check how far in advance can you reserve a site. I'd LOVE to be close enough to join Thomas at his camp for some drinking songs and tall tales around the camp fire.

Have to check car rentals in the area as well but we're old hands at filling in the details.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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