Let me introduce you to my new baby...a Hay Budden 173 pound anvil from 1913.
You know, I've been looking for one of these for quite a long time.
Nope. I'm not going to use it for inappropriate activities like smooshing heads.
I remember, long long ago, Susan talking about the advantages of using an anvil for forging metal. The large, heavy face of an anvil allows you to use a lighter weight hammer making hammering easier on your arm and shoulder. I'm all about that. After having such severe problems with my shoulders, I'm down with lessening the strain!
So, I was watching Susan's new dvd in which she uses an anvil and I know she's got one in her studio, as well. On a whim, I thought I'd check Craigslist and, low and behold, there she was.
So, off we go to check it out. It was owned by a guy who told me he had hundreds of hours of blacksmithing on the thing. It's 101 years old. I can't even imagine the things that were created on it's surface!
Also, it's 173 pounds. Believe me when I say that Wile E Coyote did not do this:
Oh, no...you don't just pick this thing up and heft it about. It was quite a little adventure getting it from there to here.
But, here it is, indeed. And, it's a beauty.
Now, I'd run across a set of anvils, years ago at Round Top, and passing them up because they were so expensive. Turns out, they ARE expensive! This was definitely an investment. But, it will never lose it's value. I've discovered these are a little hard to find, especially in good shape. Anvils actually have a following of folks who are kinda fascinated by them. I guess I'm in that crowd, now. And, there's actually stuff to know about anvils:
So, my jewelry maker's heart is happy...and my shoulders, hopefully, will be more happy. Just looking at this gives me the warm fuzzies; thinking of the history behind it. I tell you, it's gone to my head. The first day I spent an embarrassing amount of time just touching it and looking at it like a giddy schoolgirl. I wish you could run your hand over the surface and feel it, too.
But wait...there's a little bit more! I wanted to add that I'm no anvil expert, for sure, but I did do a little research into the subject. Someone on Facebook asked me what to look for when anvil shopping:
I googled it and came upon several forums that talked about anvils and one of them was about what to look for in an anvil. I think the most important thing for me was the condition of the face. I wanted it to be fairly smooth, which this one is. Also, it's very important that it doesn't have any cracks. This one is cast iron on the bottom, but from the waist up it's tempered steel, so there is a seam around the middle of it, but no crack. Ask to take a ball peen hammer to it and let the hammer fall onto the face several times. It should bounce back nicely and have a nice ring to it...no buzzing sound. A buzz would indicate a crack. I was glad mine came on a stump so I didn't have to deal with how to mount it. It's very important that it's solidly mounted, otherwise it can be very dangerous. The horn should be in good shape and not dinged up severely, although I probably won't use it as much as the face. Cheap anvils from china are no good. There are a handful of well known anvil makers that make/made a quality product and that's what you want if you're going to invest in a tool that's on the costly side, like this.
At what height should your anvil be mounted? Traditionally, the tops of your knuckles should touch the top of the anvil, when you're standing. That's about how high mine is mounted. But, I can see that if I will be bending over it and if I'm at it for any length of time, it could cause some lower back issues. I think you could do whatever is comfortable for you.
There you have it...about all I know!