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Hank Rearden

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Reply with quote  #1 
Is bigger always better? It might seem that way when you read what's on the internet. People seem to brag about how big their anvil is. I can't recall a boast about a smaller anvil or why. So I'm asking. If you use a small anvil over a large anvil why? What benefits do you receive from the smaller anvil?
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Arrow Head

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As I teach blacksmithing I am confronted with this question a lot. My response is always the same. For most people look for an anvil 100 lbs. to 200 lbs. You can do small work on a large anvil but it is very hard to do large work on a small anvil. Over 200 lbs. is difficult to move and most smiths seem to have to move their anvils from time to time.
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Reply with quote  #3 
To add another thought to this subject there is a dirrect relationship between the weight of a hammer, the velocity it is traveling and the weight of the anvil. An anvil weighing 250 lbs. will produce more work than an anvil weighing 70 lbs. when the same weight hammer traveling at the same velocity is used. An anvil should be sized for the majority of the work done on it. A small anvil will last for generations if light work is all that is done on it but may only hold up a couple of years if heavy work passes its face as a daily routine. That said any anvil is better than no anvil. A smith can always upgrade when the need arises, a good opportunity comes their way or they make so much money at forging that they need a tax write off.
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Hank Rearden

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Your post interest me. I remember a teacher asking the question: If two cars are identical and are traveling the same 60 mph speed and hit head on: What speed do they actually experience? Most class mates  said 120 mph. It seemed like an obvious answer. But the correct answer was 60 mph with all things being equal.

Your post seems to touch on these same principles of physics. What wasn't obvious to me was that there are more variables that apply that aren't so obvious. That was the density of the working anvil. I think that was because it doesn't actually move during the forging process. Although during the moment of the strike there is a point where all things cease to move until the reaction of the strike begins into the rebound. I hope I'm making sense. I'm only beginning to wrap my head around the variables and how they apply in practice. Thank you for the insight. I need to think about this in more depth.

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