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Thread: Looking for suggestions on first anvil

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Blog Entries

    Looking for suggestions on first anvil

    I've started working with copper sheets...making bowls and such, but I'd like to find a decent anvil to use just for sheet metal.
    Any suggestions as to what to buy?
    I don't want to spend a lot on one til I see if I want to take metal working serious. Some new anvils are quite expensive. Then there are old ones that bring more than new price.
    I just want something simple and inexpensive for now.
    Any suggestions?
    Is a 9 lb anvil sufficient? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    I do not know good from bad anvil wise but I bought a 55 lb. anvil from harbor freight 20 years ago and have beat on it quite a bit , it has not broke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I'm not the expert you are looking for, but from a short "Organic Metalworking" class several years ago I'd expect soft metals, like copper, to be worked on heavy sandbags or wooden forms (maybe hard maple) instead of a true anvil. I guess it depends on what you are doing.

    Also, I remember reviews of the HF anvils. Apparently they long ago offered an anvil which was an exceptional value (from Russia?) that is remember fondly. (That is decent for cheap, it was never called great.) *However* the current HF offerings are derided as "ASO", i.e. Anvil Shaped Objects. All reviews indicate they pretty much got everything wrong with these models, but this is blacksmiths who are working hot steel & iron and may be more demanding than you need.

  4. #4
    An anvil needs to have a hard top. Your hammer should bounce back up. Look up "ASO"
    shenhui 900x1200 dual tubes 150 & 60

  5. #5
    I haven't done a lot of metal fabrication but have made a couple floor pans and such for automotive projects. I sourced a lot of the hardware and tools from Eastwood. For bowl work I don't think you will need a large anvil. You will more likely need something you can get around. How about using some schedule 40 welded pipe caps. They have good contours and if you take a piece of sq bar stock and weld it up inside you could hold it in a simple machinist vice or in the hole of a larger anvil. You could also form one out of a piece of RR track. I would only go at that with a 7' grinder. The small angle grinders would have you there for a long time.
    On my automotive metal I got to thinking I was a hand. I hand made a fender that had me thinking I was pretty slick. Life being a humbling experience, I tried to make one that would match for the other side, so it was looking the other way...imposserous

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    if you are working sheet metal, you don't need a good anvil as you will just be bending and forming. look for stake anvils that are used for metal shaping. Come in all kinds of various shapes. If you want an anvil shape, then the cheap harbor freight 55 pound one is fine. Anvil size is related to work size. If you are using smaller pieces of sheet metal, the 9 pounder is fine for something to beat against.

    If you really want a good anvil, remember they are used for working hot metal, not shaping cold. that's how many old anvils get beaten up - they were used for cold work. A blacksmith's anvil was used for hot work. There are many types of anvils - striking anvils, stake anvils, stump anvils, all different kinds for working hot or cold. Do some research on what you want to use it for and what should be used.

    If you really want a nice blacksmith anvil be prepared to pay at least $5 a pound (100 pound anvil = $500) for a good deal. 5 years ago it was $1-2 per pound, but thanks to forged in fire, the prices have gone up astronomically. You can buy some nice new anvils (google Jym Hoffman anvils - he's helped Colonial Williamsburg blacksmith's get new anvils made). There are many new anvil makers - reflinghaus, Holland Foundry, and others. If you are set on older anvils, names like Hay-Budden or Peter Wright or Fisher can command premium dollars. I sold a 350 pound Peter Wright in less than a week for $1500 two years ago. The lowest price I've seen lately is a 110 Mousehole Forge anvil (an English Maker) for $550. Hope that helps.

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