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Product opinions please

Hello friends,

In my Rio email ad I saw a little gadget called the Swanstrom multi purpose forming anvil. I thought “wow what a speedy little item”. Then I watched the video and holy cow what a wonderful little deal. Problem is- almost all of the attachments look useful. The anvil itself is about 300 and each set of attachments is another couple hundred. Do any of you own this tool and if so is it useful?

Jean Menden

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I don’t have it yet, but I have heard rave reviews from several people who do. I’m absolutely saving up for it.

It is one of those very special purpose tools - I mostly avoid. If you look at the bonny doon horizontal vise, you can attach pretty much anything you already own horizontally. For my money - I’d pick the one that doesn’t require you to use, and buy, only their expensive special tools.

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hi,

i made a few mandrel holding devices out of wood and long bolts and butterfly nuts, that i can clamp onto my bench…

i got two pieces of wood…top piece shorter than bottom piece…which create horizontal vise jaw.

then i notched them in the middle to accept mandrels,
then drilled holes down on each side, countersunk the bottom of the holes, pushed long 5/8” bolts up, and screwed on butterfly nuts to tighten the vise jaws…

i knotched one with shallow V’s to accept rounded mandrels, one with a square notch for my sinusoidal stake, and one with a large rect notch for my oval bracelet mandrel.

(i actually made the square and rect by gluing on additional wood to create the space for the mandrels…wood slightly shorter than the mandrel so that i could tighten vise jaws down without contacting the additionsl wood.

they feel very stable.

i clamp to the bench with C-clamps.

julie

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Thank you so much for your detailed response. I do have a couple questions. Could you post a picture of your creation? Also, can you use it as an anvil or is it mainly meant to hold stakes and other items?
Jean

hi
here is holder for round mandrels



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here are holders for square and rectangle ended mandrels

i contemplated designing it so i could slide adjust the middle blocks, to accept various sized square sided mandrels…but…i opted for simply going with wood glue

pre-cut oak at the hardware store is relatively inexpensive, and it is pretty strong.

my oak is 2.5”x3/4” actual
bolts are 5/8” by 4”
and rubber washers are 7/8” dia
i used wood glue

use appropriate safety precautions.



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as for anvils:

i use various steel blocks or Fretz anvils…

i also found a large beautiful cast anvil with a forged (?) top…?…on ebay 70lbs (i “think” that is max USPS shipping weight(?)…

i then found a local metal machine shop that dressed the top surface and horn…made one long edge sharper corner, and one edge radiused/ softer corner.

as an aside…recyled wine racks from thrift stores make great mandrel holders…this one was $2…i lugged it home from Nashville

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Hi Jean,
I have this forming anvil and in my opinion, it is an awesome piece of kit! I use it on a nearly daily basis, both for the various mandrels and as a handy anvil. I agree that it and the attachments are a bit spendy, but worth it (at least to me). I originally tried to use one of the mandrels in my bench vise, which did work but made my hands ache if I had to form more than one or two items. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the anvil and a set of mandrels - heaven! The little anvil is incredibly sturdy, and I haven’t even attached it to anything - this allows me to move it around to where I need it and pound away. Bottom line: if you form lots of geometric items (as I do), then it’s definitely worth it.

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