December 15, 2010
Anvil
Remember, an anvil doesn’t have to be pretty to get the job done.

If you have limited needs for an anvil, a foot-long piece of railroad rail might be enough. For those who are intrigued by the idea of having their own working anvil, there are multiple other options, including online sources and stores such as Northern Tool + Equipment. While many anvils are European made, some like JHM Manufacturing in Peaster, Texas, are still made in the U.S.

While most anvils share many common features, they often have unique design variations that fit one purpose more than another. Before you make the investment in an anvil, consider possible uses. Are you interested in learning blacksmithing, or do you simply want a farm tool for straightening twisted shafts or flattening steel? If you want a new, high-quality anvil, you can expect to spend $600 or more. The lower end can cost $100 or less.

Once you’ve evaluated your needs, talk to local blacksmiths and metal workers. Let them guide you to sources they trust. If you are looking to create farm tools, they may even be able to meet your needs themselves. If it’s the craftsman tool you seek, visit the wide variety of companies online. Many of them offer in-depth information on the products they carry. Remember, an anvil likely is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.

Of course, one of the joys of looking for a tool when you live in the country is to use it as an excuse to attend farm auctions. Personally, this is how I intend to find my anvil. I’ll bring my steel ball bearing with me and do the drop and bounce test that my blacksmith friend suggested. It is a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

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