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Ed Caffrey's Workshop Talk to Ed Caffrey ... The Montana Bladesmith! Tips, tricks and more from an ABS Mastersmith.

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  #1  
Old 06-23-2005, 06:43 PM
SamLS SamLS is offline
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Anvil

For the purpose of blacksmithing and knife making what are the advantages of a dual horn vs the single horn and the pad on the side of the Euroanvils looks similar to a piece of angle iron attached to the side of the anvil ( I suspect its for cutting ). When I'm talking blacksmithing its more small to medium size wrought iron shapes and furniture& lamps, How about quality Nimba forge, Pendinghaus, TFS, Euroanvil. Whats the best bang for the buck as far as new anvils. Thanks
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2005, 07:29 PM
SteveA SteveA is offline
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I have an older 167-lb Euroanvil. Absolutely happy with it. Only complaint I've ever had is wishing I'd shelled out for the next size up. No, that doesn't mean I've found anything I can't do with this one, I just have the usual urge for a bigger anvil. I've used the 260-lb and liked it. I had already decided I liked the double horn pattern when I bought mine. Now that I have one and have used it all the time for three years or so, it's the pattern that feels "right", and I'm a little confused on a London pattern. People I know who use a London pattern feel a little off when working on the double horn.

As for the appendages on the sides of Euroanvils - mine has none of them, but I have worked on anvils that do - the thin shelf on the side that's like an outgrowth of the top is to serve as kind of a thin, sharp heel. Not for cutting. It's useful with certain pieces that close up small and tight, like real small hooks. The shelf down to the bottom, like an extra foot, is for upsetting. Instead of a cutting shelf like on the London pattern, I just have a piece of mild steel that I put over the face of the anvil for cutting.

For general blacksmithing, like I said, I like the double horn. Couldn't do without a horn or two and a hardie hole for general blacksmithing. For knifemaking, my ideal anvil would be more like just a plain square block of steel, like about 6x6 or so, set on end. The longer the better, for more weight. Someone sells such an anvil, I know, I've seen them at the Batson Symposium. The one great reason I can think of for a regular anvil in knifemaking is the long flat top to use like a surface plate to see if the blade is straight.

All opinion - except for the facts of what I own and like - but plenty of room for other ideas.

Steve


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  #3  
Old 06-24-2005, 05:49 PM
SamLS SamLS is offline
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Is the consensus the heaviest anvil one can afford is generally the best approach. I have a piece of 4x4 steel stock for an anvil but leaves alot to be desired, it doesn't have alot of rebound and its not as hard as I would like. Can you bed a chunk of steel to a piece of concrete or similar and get something satisfactory or comparable to a quality anvil. In my mind you just cannot substitute for shear mass. I looked at a used anvil but they are collectibles so I pay 50-60% of the new price then you have to re surface it. I can just imagine mounting a used anvil to my milling machine to resurface it ( Not !!!!!! ). It seems the more beat up anvils are the higher the value seems to be. I saw a lady pay $300 for one that looked like it had a jack hammer taken to it I mean everything was rounded over. I'm after the most bang for the buck like everyone else and If I shell out that much cash for new I only want to do it once. Whats the advantage of a 500lb anvil vs the 300 lb anvil other than a longer work area. Thanks
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  #4  
Old 06-24-2005, 07:06 PM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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Here's my take on anvils.....
If your going to purchase any anvil, I would make darn sure that I saw it in person, and if possilbe work a little on it to see how you like it. The "rebound" that a good anvil exhibits comes from the surface (or in some cases the whole anvil) being heat treated properly. Some anvils will be softer, and some will be harder. But generally speaking most "good" anvils will have a face that is in the low to mid 50s on the Rc scale. When you go to look at an anvil, take along a 1/2" or so hardened ball bearing. Hold the bearing approx 1' above the anvil face a drop it. The bearing should rebound to, or past your hand. An anvil that won't do this will work you to death using it. The rebound equates to energy transferred from your hammer into the work piece.

As for size.... match the anvil to the largest size of work you ever expect to do. I started out with an 85lb anvil.....it quickly worked me to death because there just wasn't enough mass there for what I was doing. Over the years I have had varous anvils, all have been "old time", English style anvils, mostly Kolishwa and Trenton brand. I personally like the Trenton anvils. My current main anvil is a 300lb Trenton. There just no way to say what advantages there would be FOR YOU concerning one anvil size over the other. Think about things like ever having to move your anvil. Your not going to be moving a 500lb anvil much. There are also times when a larger anvil has too much face area for specific tasks....so sometimes less really is more.
Sometimes weight and size is not as important as how you set up your anvil. Standing stright up, relaxed, with your hammer hand in a loose fist hanging at your side.......your knuckles should rest lightly on the anvil face. Set up in this manner, you won't be streching or scrunching when your working, and thus will be more comfortable.

Just a personal opinion on my part, but I've worked on a few of the modern made anvils, and compared to my Trenton, they are dogs. There's a good reason why you see those old anvils going for so much money.....they're a good tool. I would rather find an old anvil that needs a little work than I would plunk down the money on a newer one and be disappointed.

It really all boils down to personal tastes, and your pocketbook. To speak of advantages of size, configuration, and style are really moot points because each individual is going to favor different things based upon what they do, and how they do it.


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  #5  
Old 06-27-2005, 05:52 PM
SamLS SamLS is offline
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Thanks for your comments Ed. Which of of the newer ones do you prefer or which did not suit your taste. Please private email if you prefer. Which of the newer anvils have developed a good following. Any contacts for an old Trenton anvil. About all I've found is dissapointment looking for good old anvils and I'm getting frustrated. Anyones comments are welcome. Thanks
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Old 06-27-2005, 07:05 PM
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Raymond Richard Raymond Richard is offline
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Hey Sam, I just sent you an email......


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  #7  
Old 06-27-2005, 09:09 PM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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With all the older tools (which I'm sure you've already found out), finding ones in good shape is sometimes a matter of luck.
Here are some links to places that might be helpful....

http://www.anvilfire.com/wallace/index.htm

http://www.kohlswa.com/

http://www.appaltree.net/aba/supp.htm

All of these are not actual "anvil" sites, but they will certainly help you get closer to getting a good anvil.

Nosing around every where you go might turn up some interesting finds too.

Af for the new ones, the Nimba anvils aren't too bad. Remember that I'm comparing the newer ones to my 100+ year old Trenton, and there aren't many out there that I feel can match it.


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  #8  
Old 06-28-2005, 12:47 PM
SamLS SamLS is offline
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Thanks for the response Ed. How are the Peter Wrights viewed? I know they are 2 piece with the steel face forge welded on and the horn and body forged from scrap steel. Are the horns on the Trenton anvils hardened? Do any anvils have a hard horn?

This guy was selling these anvils on Ebay a year ago he must have alot in his garage. It looks exactly like the Harbor Freight Russian anvils.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...189896233&rd=1

I went to the store near me they have them onsale for $69.95 so I got a rain check. I hit it with a file and would guess the hardness around high 40 low 50. It rings but not like the older anvils.

This is the shape I normally find a anvil in would it be considered serviceable?
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...189232049&rd=1
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  #9  
Old 06-28-2005, 03:59 PM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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The Hay Budden anvil would be a nice one...but the corner damage a bit more than I'd want to try to repair. I wouldn't even think about that second one. Notice the difference between the shape of the horns on each anvil. Those like that second one that have a blunt, flat faced horn are usually junk.......no matter how much they talk them up in the descriptions.


The 2 piece anvils, (with the exception of the Kolishwa anvils) are the best ones in my opinion. The bodies of the 2 piece anvils are actually made from wrought iron, with the face plates forged welded to the bodies. Many people have asked me about simply arc welding a hardened face onto a mild steel block/body....not the same thing. With an arrangement like that all you wind up with is a big "Dead" block of steel.

Just keep looking and your going to find a good anvil. It's likely going to be a few hundred dollars, but it will be worth the wait and the money.


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