Russian anvils, any good?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by woodsrunner, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. woodsrunner

    woodsrunner Well-Known Member

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    I've been shopping for an decent anvil for a while. I've been eyeing these russian made anvils on ebay for the past few months. It looks like I could get one of these delivered to my door for half what a comparable vintage one would cost.

    Anybody have any experience with these imports?

    My main use is going to be making knives and equipment for historical reinactors.

    I don't want to waste my money on something that may crack the first time I try to do anything a little heavy on it.
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I have some experience with Russian castings in farm machinery. While I would charactorize it as serviceable I would stop short of calling it equal to American made. Personally I wouldn't take a hammer to any Russian casting but if it is a forged anvil it's probably fine. As the ones on Ebay are cheap they're probably cast. Got a link?
     

  3. farminghandyman

    farminghandyman Well-Known Member Supporter

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    will a section of rail road rail work for you, some times you can pick then up for free,

    that is what I started put with,
     
  4. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Possesion of railroad rail can be a federal offence, its an old law conserning scraping out rails - an illegal practice from days past. If you have more than a small bit, you need documentation of where it came from. Don't ever take rail to a scrap yard without the paperwork to back you up.
     
  5. woodsrunner

    woodsrunner Well-Known Member

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  6. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Check northern tool for anvils they have 3 sizes and decent prices too.
     
  7. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    they offer no insurance... do you suppose that an anvil aint gonna be damaged in transit? ok had to make somebddy spew coffee at the screen today.... that isnt a bad price for a forged anvil and a new one at that. $258 delivered.

    William
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I can see why you're tempted! Hopefully Ken will see this post and offer his thoughts as he has some experience with smithing etc. Mine is a used Canadian Pacific Rail company anvil and there are times I wish I had a new one without the dings and gouges, i didn't put in. Interesting about rail road iron beign such a big deal, I've got a chunk my grandfather got when they tore up the old rail line in his home town. They put out a notice that anyone who wanted a chunk for an anvil could show up and get a peice cut to their length desired, for a few pennies.
     
  9. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Asian imported anvils come in two types:

    1. Cast iron, such as carried by Grizzly, usually from China. When you see one very slowly form a cross with your fingers and back away. However, they do make nice buoy anchors and gluing weights.

    2. Cast steel. The claim of these being hardened, high-quality, cast steel is, well, more than a bit of exaggeration. I have been informed by a reliable source they are little more than a high grade of cast iron. Shape is horrible, particularly the horn. They don't look anything out of the box like the ones shown in the eBay photos as they require extensive finishing - mold seams will shown except on the top. If you dress up the sides expect to find body putty. Hardy hole is usually 1 1/8" or 1 1/4" when most U.S. hardy tools are 1". In some the hardy hole is turned with the one point towards the horn. Believe me, an engineer was not involved in that decision as the points to the side greatly weakened the anvil structure there. However, if you absolutely have to have one, they can be obtained at Harbor Freight retail outlets for $89.99 - THE EXACT SAME ANVIL. They are usually not out on the floor, but in the back room or have to be shipped in from a regional warehouse. If you have to buy off eBay I wouldn't pay more than $1.00 pound delivered (subtract shipping out of your bid price). Keep bidding, eventually you may be lucky.

    If you want to buy one off eBay ask the seller if they will back up their hardened tool steel claims with a refund guarantee. Tell them you will test the top by hitting it hard with a heavy ballpeen hammer. If it dimples (which it will), you can send it back for a full refund, including two-way shipping. You either will be told no, in no uncertain terms, or will not get a reply.

    If you buy one off eBay, don't leave feedback until you have used it for several weeks.

    They are OK out of desperation, but....

    At the moment there are about 4-5 really nice 100 pound or less anvils on eBay. Many of those have already lasted for a number of years and will outlast your great, great grandchildren if not abused.

    New cast iron anvils (properly heat treated) from Europe run $4.00 a pound or more. Were the same anvils made in the U.S. today likely cost would be $6-8 a pound. Producing a good quality cast steel anvil is a process requiring high quality casting techniques and quality control - particular the heat treating.

    Moopups: I have been around blacksmithing now for more than 25 years. Your railroad track statements are news to me. Many a smith today started on a short length of RR track - and at one time they were even sold in some hardware stores. Junkyards don't ask questions like that.
     
  10. woodsrunner

    woodsrunner Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ken,
    That's the info I was looking for. I guess I'll keep saving for the real thing.
     
  11. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    While you may have to pay more for an old American or English (or Swedish) anvil, keep in mind few high quality anvils (mostly from the Checz (sp?) Republic) are coming into the U.S. These are double-horned, rather than the traditional 'London' pattern. The cast steel ones made in the U.S. today are predominately farrier anvils. Thus, unless you pay something outrageous, one in good condition will only continue to appreciate due to supply and demand.

    As a general rule, anvils weighing less than 100 pounds and those weighing more than 250 pounds sell for more per pound than those between (which were the most common sizes in the past).

    My personal anvil is a 160-pound Fisher. Cast iron body with a steel plate. Does everything I want it to and you can't hear it ringing a block away. I wouldn't trade it for my choice of a similar size of another brand.

    Ken Scharabok