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  #1  
Old 03-25-2017, 11:37 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is online now
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Some interesting Farrier supply companies with knife forging in mind.

I was looking at some anvils and came across two companies that sell many things a forge knifemaker could use. One is NC Tool Company in Pleasant Garden, NC near Greensboro. They manufacture their own anvils from cast steel and on Amazon their anvils had 5 star ratings. Their prices for an American made anvil are very good, and I do mean good, starting at $268 for a 70 Lb anvil. They sell forges if you don't want to make your own and parts for them. There website address is:
http://www.nctoolco.com/index.php

The other company is a farrier supplier too, named Anvil Brand in Lexington, Il. They sell the NC Tool Big Face 70 pound anvil cheaper than NC Tool does. They have a larger array of anvils and many other useful things for a knife maker forging. Check out their Hardies. Their web site is:
https://www.anvilbrand.com/

Thought I'd bring them to the community's attention. For forging a knife a medium weight anvil is really all you need. NC Tool pours their own and machines and heat treats them. I worked in a blacksmithing shop for a while and am no expert, but a 70 to 110 lb. anvil properly mounted is pretty much all you need for small parts like knives. Unless you're making swords, knives are small compared to some smithing jobs.

First knife I ever forged from some medium carbon rebar, 1060 approx. It held an edge. I made it on his 100 lb. anvil. Not the beat up one in the pic, he has four up to 250 lbs, I believe he sold the beat up one (got it for next to nothing). But all mounted solid, some on metal stands and some on cut tree trunks (the big ones). BTW, If mounting it on a metal stand, it is best if the feet of the stand sit on some indoor-outdoor carpet if sitting on concrete, trust me, it wants to bounce and on smaller anvils like 50lbs hurts your elbow/wrist after a while from vibration like hitting a cement floor with a baseball bat, but not as acute, sneaks up on you and you wake up with a sore elbow. Just thought I'd add that as my brother now in his 60s can't hammer much anymore.

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Old 03-26-2017, 08:24 AM
mr.HC mr.HC is offline
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Great info Jim, another site to check out.

Carl
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:13 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is online now
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The reason I listed two companies is maybe some folks here may live close to them as the shipping charges are pretty steep for a 70 lb anvil. Depending on your zip code as high as $40 or more. NC Tool doesn't give you the shipping price up front, you have to call and ask before ordering online. Another option is to Google Farrier supplies in your state or Province if in Canada.
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Old 03-26-2017, 03:50 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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I've used a 66 lb anvil and even though they're better than a railroad track anvil they are pretty underweight for forging knives. The reason for this is that that most of the mass of the anvil is not underneath the work. The common advice for a London or like style of anvil is to get one at least 200 lbs. Another option is to get a block of steel or a post anvil which, even though they are lighter, put most of the mass under the work and therefore are more efficient.

As far as the forges go those that are advertised are built with horse shoeing or general blacksmithing in mind. With the flame coming right down on the floor of the forge one runs the risk of burning the carbon out of high carbon steel and it's not good conditions for heat treating. For knife making you need a forge that has the flame coming into the forge at a tangent above the work and swirling around the forge . You can also build a forge for much less than those listed. I don't have half the money tied up in both the forges that I built than some of those listed.

Doug


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Old 03-26-2017, 10:32 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is online now
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My mistake on forges.

Thanks Doug, like I said I'm not an expert, but I had no problems forging a knife on a 100 lb anvil. I do believe the trick is mounting it. Notice I didn't give links to 50 pounders. I think a properly mounted 70 lb anvil will be good for most forging of knives. I must admit that I made sure to hammer towards the center or lengthwise and my mistake on omitting that particular was just that, a mistake. From what I read, these are high quality and affordable anvils which I guess was my point. I do not have a thousand bucks for a 200 lb + Wright anvil. A middle ground anvil that is affordable.

I wasn't aware of farriers forges not being suitable for knives. Thanks. I think there are a couple of small ones that may work, but haven't seen them actually work. All depends as you pointed out on gas flow.

Of course it is cheaper to build your own. That is why I put the caveat of "those who don't want to." Jantz supply sells gas forges for knife making as do other knife supply companies. Was just adding an extra place to look for some knife related supplies. Prob shouldn't have put in Newbies thread.
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Old 03-26-2017, 11:24 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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You can make most anything chunk of steel work for an anvil. Even a block of granite. My main anvil is an 84 lb block of H13 that I got from a distributor in St. for $140 shipped to central Illinois. It put a cheap Mexican made steel anvil to shame when it came to forging knives. The problem with a horse shoeing anvil is the so much of the mass is in the horn where it's needed to shape the shoe and in the heal. As I said, they do beat a railroad track anvil. If you want a good light anvil to to Old World Anvils and look at their post anvil. What they have is 4X4X4 inches but they will make you one to any length and it may will end up cheaper than those light anvils.

Doug


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Old 03-27-2017, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Lester View Post
You can make most anything chunk of steel work for an anvil. Even a block of granite. My main anvil is an 84 lb block of H13 that I got from a distributor in St. for $140 shipped to central Illinois. It put a cheap Mexican made steel anvil to shame when it came to forging knives. The problem with a horse shoeing anvil is the so much of the mass is in the horn where it's needed to shape the shoe and in the heal. As I said, they do beat a railroad track anvil. If you want a good light anvil to to Old World Anvils and look at their post anvil. What they have is 4X4X4 inches but they will make you one to any length and it may will end up cheaper than those light anvils.

Doug
Agree with you Doug, having tried just about any and everything over the many years. Biggest thing is having a flat spot with most of the mass directly below your hammer blows and working steel while it is hot. Seen way too many get frustrated because they try to keep forging after they lose their "heat". Not only that but depending on the steel they can really wreck the anvil face hitting cold. Get a lot of argument on this from time to time from "experts" when I do a demo. I just pull out my little 50# forklift tine anvil and forge a 12" Bowie blade in front of them to kill that discussion. Almost every bit of the 50# of steel mass is directly below the hammer blows. Lots of the farrier's anvils are shaped/designed such that you are lucky to have 15 to 20 under your hammer, but still get the benefit of all the extra vibration = noise with one. They have their place and job of course, just not the best for knifemaking. Look at the old school mechanic's anvil, cutler's anvil, shipwight's anvil, etc. you will see they are thick waisted and most barely have a horn if one at all. All the mass is right under the work area. Just what works best.

Jim, big diff in what works best for knifemaking and what works best for farrier work and/or ornamental iron work when it comes to forges. High carbon steels for cutlery do not do well with direct flame contact. They need the heat but direct flame torch setups lend to hotspots and unfriendly over oxidation. They are also much harder to control heat wise. A well designed cutler's forge will allow better heat control and more even heat which is much better for thermal cycling steel correctly and safely (for the steel). Ornamental iron work and horseshoes are not all that much affected by the direct flame or oxidation and actually are easier to work with when heated much hotter than carbon steels. Just the way it is.


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Old 03-27-2017, 07:44 AM
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Just a ps on the above- I do like my bigger anvils they just don't travel well. But, when I get my 430# Peter Wright warmed up I can move a lot of blade steel very fast (I normally get 20 to 30 blade blanks forged out in a 4 hour morning session if not interrupted). My 268# Haye-Budden does just as well, but has been relegated to hardie work - still making hardies for the PW (bigger hole).


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  #9  
Old 03-27-2017, 03:35 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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I've looked at the NC Tool anvils. Looked at a number of anvils in fact. NC Tool DOES make a 112 lb anvil, but again, it IS a farriers anvil.


Carl, I was all set for the hammer in. Chocks out out from under the truck tires, GPS ready, directions written down, your # in my phone, few snacks in the truck...planned to leave at 6:30 AM. Then I got a call late Friday evening. A friend advising me of an estate auction the next day and there was an ANVIL up in all this stuff. Picture on line was just okay, one angle, the anvil was very rusty, couldn't tell much.

So auction preview started at 8:30. I figure I can go by and see it and if it is junk and if so, go on to the hammer in.

Well it was there, felt to be about a 100 pounder, though at my age it could have been a 70 pounder and just felt like 100! No markings visible under all the rust, no hammer to bounce on it...just sitting there. Now I don't know much about anvils but I do know some may look good but not be fit for a boat anchor. Anyway, I figure I'd risk a couple hundred and so waited for it to come up.

Finally at 12:30 the anvil came up (item #310, this guy had a lot of junk) In literally, wham-bam, about 15 seconds the thing was over $350 and sold for $375. Maybe someone knew something I didn't but I couldn't see risking 4 bills on an unknown.
I know where there is a 100 pound Fisher for $400 and one of those 112lb. NC Tools sells for just a little over that. So I stood there for a second with my bid number in my hand and my mouth hanging open with the realization I had just wasted 1/2 a day.

Anyway, by then it was too late to head to Blairsville, GA so I didn't. REALLY hate I wasted half a day. Let me know if they have one in the Fall.


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Old 03-27-2017, 08:24 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is online now
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Well, I will say if all I had was $300 I would consider one of the Farrier anvils, Or go to a machine shop and get a 2x6x10 block of cold roll and have them weld a piece of 1/8" 17-4 PH stainless on the top. Then mount it to 4ea 3x3x 3/16 wall tubing posts at the height that was most comfortable to me. Mounting even a 70 lb anvil is crucial. I forged a knife on a 100 lb anvil and had no problems. His small anvils were literally clamped down on very heavy steel tubing like I just mentioned. I didn't forge knives until my brother built his gas forge as I didn't like his coal/coke forge. Go home all black with sweat drips all down my face and takes longer to heat back up to bright orange hot. I didn't care much for blacksmithing that way.
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Old 03-28-2017, 03:05 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is online now
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If you have access to a torch this anvil is cheap at HF. Save on shipping if one near

http://www.harborfreight.com/55-Lb-R...vil-69161.html

The Harbor Freight anvil is soft, but I doubt it is pure cast iron, but most likely cast steel in the 2% carbon range. It's $64 btw and stumpy enough to do knives if hardened. The way to test it is to try and weld a piece of steel to a small part of the bottom, if high carbon like most castings are the weld will crack. If it doesn't crack but welds, then grind it off and take it back to HF or get a piece of 1/8" 17-4 PH stainless and weld it to the top, 1/4 would be better, but it's expensive. The PH stands for prehard. I do not know how hard it is (200,000 psi), but it had to be annealed for me to punch large holes in it, it's hard, but not knife hard, more like spring hard and very very very tough. Just stitch weld it and when it eventually gets dinged up, you can cut it off and turn it over, Heck if the anvil's soft you can even drill and tap 6 holes on the perimeter in the anvil and screw the 17-4 PH down or even a piece of 1/4 5160 HT to 40-50 hard. Lots of ideas after the guys above told me what they did. (use hardened screws)

I had a 4 ft. by 5 ft. cast iron ground flat (.006 OA) surface plate for my welding table at my last job. It was soft, but I made some threaded 3/4-16NF holes in it for clamping parts down and torched the holes and they got hard really fast. You can take an oxy/acetylene torch and harden the surface of this cast anvil one spot at a time with a rosebud tip. Just bring it up to a dull red and let it cool. Don't try to do more than a few spots at a time and jump around, letting it cool between HTs. Stay about 1/2 inch from the edges. Be sure and finish the surface with a file/sandpaper before HT. Just an idea for the monetarily challenged. $350 for a light rusty old anvil with no markings? Gadzooks!

The way to mount these is to get a piece of 1/2 inch round rod and thread the ends 1/2-13NC or even better, 1/2-20NF. And bend it into a squared U-bolt to match the holes in the foot. This is what I meant above by clamped down. The base can be wood, but really thick wood, 3/8" plate is preferable with heavy walled tubing for the legs. You can do a one sided hook or double sided, for a small anvil double is better.

Here is a partial look at a mounting, these pics are like 2002-3. This old anvil needed to be resurfaced, but it was soft and got work hardened brittle on the cutting table step by a lying idiot my brother hired, we actually used it for cold forging mostly. Note the heavy tubing it's sitting on, the 100 pounder was bolted to the floor as well with carpet as a cushion on the tube legs which had plates welded to the feet for the floor bolts. Not too thick and not too thin. A cheap MIG welder is all you need and you chamfer all the weld joints. A cheap DC TIG is better, but needs more skill. Something I'm willing to teach to anyone within driving distance with gas money, dinner's OK too.


My brothers web site is, Themetalguy.com, if you want a look at what we did there, like him standing next to a metal gazebo at the lake was a picture I took, Bill gates' winter place. (Palm Springs, CA) My brother billed himself as "Blacksmith Artist". A lot of the metal art was just shapes that rich people paid $1000's for and we just made up. LOL! The hard stuff was when they wanted something specific even though weird. I'm more of a technician than an artist, brother was opposite. Handle btw is drop offs Mesquite from a mansion with 4,000 square feet of mesquite flooring to please his wife cuz she liked it. LOL
I added another mounting solution. As I stated above, for lighter anvils mounting makes a big difference, tree trunks are fine for the 200+ pounders, but they have to be done right too. That knife looks like a rookie forged it, must be my brother's knife.LOL



Here is a different mount, but shows what I mean. Though I wouldn't mount an anvil like that on such a post. But for $75 I would snap it up. Notice the Hardie chisels on both. That is how I cut my last billet of Damascus. A nice convex edge is best like an axe. This must be an old pic judging by the prices. You can try and wait for a deal like this, but should make do with the best you can do. Never go to an auction Goater without a small pocket hammer. Note the bottom anvil would probably be better for forging knives from what the guys said above. Remember there is a catch to old anvils, parts of them may be work hardened brittle like the top anvil on the edge of the cut step. You want at least 6"x4 hammering surface btw, smaller and you will spend a lot of time looking down the blade to make sure it isn't curling. I like a 4' by 12" anvil top to lay the blade down and see where I am, no line of sight guessing and I'm good at it.


Anything to add fellas?
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Old 03-28-2017, 07:17 AM
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Goater, We waited for you like hawgs at the trough. Very busy weekend with a lot of participants as well as visitors. Rough count was 30-35 youngun's got to try out forging and we had 15 to 18 forges running off and on all weekend.
Sorry the auction didn't work out for you. Tip - Always carry a small clean face ball peen hammer with you, never know when an anvil might peek out of the pile. Only takes a second to tell if an anvil has any promise.

I have worked on a few of the HF anvils, the larger cast steel ones (115# from Russia). They are serviceable but a bit on the soft side with low rebound. The 55# is cast iron and will not begin to hold up to any reasonable forging. Putting a plate on top will be a waste of time and energy, as the transfered impact energy will compress the CI and you will get a void that will eat your striking energy as you forge and greatly reduce your efficiency. Save your money a good one will show up when you least expect it.
If you send me your email address I will send you a short tutorial on how to check out old anvils - not near as hard as one might expect (may have already sent you one but don't remember).

Not speaking for any other smith, but if I catch someone cold forging on any of my anvils they will be asked to leave. I make a living with my tools, abuse is not an option. The horn and cutting deck are designed to be used for that kind of work, but I have a big block of milder steel for that kind of thing. When it comes to forging high carbon blade worthy steels, most are getting pretty close to a "cold forging" range as soon as their color leaves. Good anvils are too valuable to scar and mar up that way. Every nick and dent you put in the surface will show in the blade surface.

The ones Jim has pictured are both old school and older school anvils. The top one appears to be a Haye-Budden, judging by the surrounding items probably in the 100#-120# range. The one in the foreground looks to be an European Mouse Hole, based on the thicker waste and foot pattern, probably in the 60#-80# range. Both are excellent anvils if they have not been abused - wrought iron bodies with hardened steel decks. Just from the pic I'd venture to say "75" is a lot number, otherwise someone has no idea what they have. The H-B, if it has a sound deck would be every bit worth $300+, the MH between $130-$200 depending on how bad you want it. Either would serve well for most blade work unless you plan to do a lot of big stock reduction.
Jim is correct on the mounting of an anvil. Not a big fan of the steel stands as they are noisy but if designed well give great service. I prefer wood, but that's just me. One of the coolest adjustables I've seen was a wood box style filled with river sand and a solid plank on top of the sand for the anvil to sit on. Easily adjustable for height and very quiet as anvils go. It had a 270# Peddinghouse on it and a delight on which to forge.

Dates for my Fall Trackrock Hammer-in are Sept. 29/30. If you plan to stay at the Campground it would be best to book a site now as about half have already been booked. All onsite cabins are booked.

I am working toward conducting a smaller version hammer-in at Crawford's Campground in Beaver Dam/Hanging Dog, NC maybe mid-summer. Like I said, still in the works and will have to be after the Blade Show and the Highland Games (in Blairsville). I will be sure to post here and on the Georgia forum below.

Keep looking your "Precious" is out there.


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Old 03-28-2017, 01:03 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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I've found a 100lb. Fisher for $400 and a 110lb. Haye Budden for $500 obo on Craiglist, both within 3 hours.
Not sure I want to pay quite that.
These two are the more reasonably priced ones I find on CL. Most people seem to think they have a real treasure and I've seen some outrageously "proud" pricing.
I live in a fairly rural area & I know somewhere around here there is one sitting in a barn or apple shed slowly rusting...that someone would like to grab $100 to get rid of it. I have feelers out all over this county.

There is an 1890's era Peter Wright, 162 lbs. @ $850 listed on CL in the Hickory area.

I've checked CL from here to Raleigh and down to Columbia, SC. Even Atlanta area.

The way I would have to be set up would require moving the anvil so I'm pretty limited to 100-120 lbs. I don't need a Peter Wright but don't want to waste money on HF junk either. Nor interested in doing an extensive refurbish or modification. I'm just messing around, not earning a living.

Currently I'm banging on an old 30lb. Fisher I bought from a guy years ago for $10. He had two but I was buying a nice old Craftsman table saw from him also and I was young and broke. Now I'm older... and still broke.

I pm my email & thanks in advance Carl.


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