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RaymondRife

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Reply with quote  #1 
So I've got this fantasy where I buy a really big anvil and then live happily ever after, that's the fantasy anyway but I think anvils are a lot like women - once you get one, even a good one you're always looking at other anvils and imagining the things you could do with them. I dare say if I do get a really sexy anvil my Mrs would get jealous if she caught me with it & I'd probably have to move out and live in the shed with it.

So...
I've been looking at a few smaller not so sexy anvils that are less likely to get me kicked out of the house, I could probably BS her about the cost to downplay how much they are worth and I've come up with three candidates that I'm tossing up between.

This one is what seems like a good quality 80kg (176#)  steel anvil, it's 890 Australian pesos. The ad states it's hardened to HRC 58

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/80kg-Professional-Cast-Steel-Anvil-Quality-Blacksmith-Farrier-Workshop-New/253657136924?hash=item3b0f24bf1c:g:wIQAAOSwxQJbDjhx:rk:5😋f:0
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Then there's this one, it's 100kg (220#) and supposedly 1050 steel which should be a reasonable steel and said to have a hardness of 58 HRC. It seems to have somewhat poor cast quality and a closeup of the working face shows a lot of air bubbles. It's $750 and he is open to offers so I'd probably get it a bit cheaper. He seems to have stack of them, maybe he just wants them gone.

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/100kg-Blacksmith-Anvil-Professional-Grade-Quality-1050-Cast-Steel/183562617582?hash=item2abd2f42ee:g:uIMAAOSwm4NbDcaK:rk:4😋f:0
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And finally there's these from another bloke, he wants $580 for the 75 kg (165#) anvil. This seems like the best value buy and I'm almost sold on that design but I'm not sure about the metallurgy of them. In the listing he states that they are made rebar, train track, and cast iron (for hardness) . I've never heard of a mixed cast of a composition like that and I don't even know if would be considerred a cast iron or a steel.

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/molendinar/other-tools-diy/anvils-australian-made-new-25-kg-50-kg-and-70-kg/1188653398

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None of these anvils are close to my location, so I can't check them out in person. I'd really like to give them a ring test and maybe even a sneaky rub with a file but that's not possible so I'm just going on the propaganda in the respective ads.  I have to add shipping costs to all of them so I'll be looking at least another 100 bucks there as a rough guess.

I saw a vid the other day from Essential Caftsman on youtube and he stated that a 40:1 ratio (anvil to hammer size) is a good size for an anvil. I intend to use a 4Lb hammer so 40 times 4 is 160#, all these anvils meet that standard but I've never heard about that working ratio before so if anyone knows better feel free to chime in.

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jmccustomknives

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Reply with quote  #2 
40 to 1 is optimum, however 20 to 1 is minimum.  I can make my 200lb Fisher jump under a 4lb hammer, and I'm not a big guy.  But I do regularly use 10lb hammers on it also.  When I say jump, it's not really leaving the base but you can tell it's been struck.  
As far as the anvils you are choosing from, I'm not familiar with them.  If you do get one be sure to review it for us.  

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Mike Westbrook

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Reply with quote  #3 
I'll just say God bless you if you can swing a four pounder all day. I would consider getting a four pound hammer and hit a stump 100 times and see how you feel that in mind I have a 180 lb anvil with a four inch wide face the weight is basically equal to what size face and Hardy you think you will need and my go to hammer is about three pounds with the handle and after a few hours it wears on me. my other thought is the anvils your looking at are priced close to a new entry level anvil if you can look for one with a tool steel top forge welded on. the all cast anvils will work they will just wear faster as far as the ring or rebound test I've spent alot of time making a base full of sand to quite mine and I don't see the point in rebound when your smacking a peice of soft steel on it besides your hammer really shouldn't hit the anvil if you can help it I was once told that someone has to die for an anvil to come up for sale makes sense since most people keep them for life keep looking and the right one will find you best of luck in your search Mike
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RaymondRife

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Reply with quote  #4 
Cheers Mike!

I can swing a 4 pounder for a while, I wouldn't say all day but for a good few hours at least. It used to be my go to hammer when I was a fitter. People used to ask me why do carry that big thing around in your tool bag & I always used to say "you can hit little with a big hammer but you can't hit big with a little hammer". There were many times when I could use one measured blow with that thing to achieve what I wanted to do where others would bust their butt and damage the job through many blows with a smaller hammer.

I've found a few antique anvils around but they are around 3 times the price of those in my first post. I'd really love an anvil with a history but I can't really afford it right now.  I've thought about making an anvil from a forklift tyne for the hard face and then adding some mass with whatever scrap steel I can find welded together as a base,I still might go that way if I can find the steel in a scrap yard at the right price.
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anvil

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Reply with quote  #5 
There is no "hammer to anvil" ratio. That is a modern day "I heard it on the internet" legand.

If your anvil moves when you strike it with your hammer then your anvil is not secured properly to your stump.

Even using a striker, no matter the weight of his double jack(two handed hammer), the only difference between an 80# anvil and a 300# anvil would be the width of the anvil face as long as they are properly secured to the stump, and the stump is properly secured to the earth.

As far as more help, well, that's really not possible. What's the make? Where were they made? Is the company reliable?

And you are in Oz. My advice would be to contact Smith's from Australia and seek their advice.
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RaymondRife

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Reply with quote  #6 
Cheers @anvil
I don't really believe their are any definite guidelines anywhere about such a ratio, an essential craftsman youtube vid about anvils was the first time I'd ever heard such a concept. In the vid he said "we know because of physics"(paraphrasing) but he didn't back it up with any studies or links for further reading ect. It could well be a bit of "Internet wisdom" not backed by any real world findings.

I tend to think there must be something like a baseline ratio where the mass of the anvil has enough inertia to give it a good feel under the hammer though. For instance I can get a 10kg anvil from my local hardware store (the only one they sell) and I fully believe I'd drive it through any hardwood stump I mounted it on within a few weeks. If I capped the stump with 2" or 3" steel plate and then sat the anvil on top, I still think I'd mash the tiny 10kg anvil within a few months if I was swinging a 4 pounder on it.

Given the funds most of us would like the biggest anvil we could get but I'm somewhat limited on funds so I'm just looking to get something that will give an efficient bang for my buck. I suppose you could call it laziness or efficiency, I'd rather not waste time energy swinging a 4 pounder if possible.
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RaymondRife

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Reply with quote  #7 
I picked up an anvil today for $450, it's a bit of a toy but it's something to work on while I find something a bit more substantial. I have no idea what make it is as there doesn't seem to be anything stamped on it except for some numbers that look to have been stamped upside down.

anvil.jpg  I'm assuming that it's forged steel from the square holes on either end & it looks to have been repaired or refaced at some stage.  Just going from the line where the face joins the body of the anvil it seems like it once had a hell of a sway or a severely rounded edge before it was repaired. That wasn't obvious in the online pics they posted when they were selling it.

It's weighs just under 60kg (132#), has hardie & pritchel holes and has a nice ring to it. It's not really what I was after but it's something to start working on. I made a 2 burner forge the other day so I can start making a few tools while I wait for the steel I ordered to arrive.
markings.jpg  top.jpg  I'll put it through an acid/electrolysis bath in the next few days and oil it up & it should clean up OK.

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jmccustomknives

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Reply with quote  #8 
Looks like an English anvil from the mid 1800's.  Nice find.  The bottom anvils are my English made ones.  The one in the middle does have stamping, it's an Eveson but the bottom is one I picked up as a project as it needs some work.  Both of those are 1840's I think.  Through the years the English anvils became less squatty.  The top one is Swedish.
  anvils.jpg 


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Rule #10;  "I can make that" translates to; "I'm to cheap to buy it new."

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RaymondRife

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Reply with quote  #9 
Thanks for the info!

It does look a lot like the style of the middle anvil in your picture.

I cleaned with degreaser this morning and I got a better look at the stamp markings. They were much easier to see when they were full of foam. The markings are
0    3    26 , which would have made it 3*28 + 26 lbs, so it would have been 110# before it was repaired.  I weighed it and it is 56kg which is about 123# .

While I was cleaning it I noticed the horn seems to have been forge welded onto the body of the anvil, I thought it was a crack at first but it seems to have been made like that. I'm just guessing there though. It's sitting in a plastic tub going through an electrolysis treatment right now. So I'll get a better look at it when I pull it out and scrub it up.
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RaymondRife

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Reply with quote  #10 
It came out of the electrolysis tub 98% rust free and all it needed was a few minor touch ups and a coat of BLO after being warmed up with a propane torch.

It's a bit rough around the edges but it beats hammering on a rock.  It should serve me well for forging knives and other smaller things until something better presents itself.

finished.jpg 

Cheers guys!






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Hank Rearden

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Reply with quote  #11 
The anvil is the slave of the hammer! Good usable anvil. Looks like a lot of life in it yet.
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Skarzs the Cave Troll

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Reply with quote  #12 
The sharpness of the heel of that anvil makes me think it might be a Mouse Hole anvil. Let us know how it serves you!
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anvil

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Reply with quote  #13 
Nice. And a 132# anvil is a perfect size for an anvil.
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