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Article: Anvil


Structure and Placement of Anvils

  • An anvil consists of a large block of metal with a flattened top surface.
  • The face of the anvil is the primary work surface, made of hardened steel.
  • The face should be flat, smooth, and rounded at the edges to avoid marks and cracks on the workpiece.
  • The horn of the anvil is a conical projection used for bending and drawing down stock.
  • Some anvils have a step between the horn and the face, used for cutting.
  • Anvils should be placed near the forge to prevent heat loss in the workpiece.
  • They need to be placed on a sturdy base made of impact and fire-resistant material.
  • Common methods of attaching an anvil include spikes, chains, straps, clips, bolts, and cables.
  • Traditional bases were made of hard wood logs or large timbers, while cast iron bases became popular in the industrial era.
  • Modern bases can be made of steel, dimensional lumber, or steel drums filled with oil-saturated sand.

Types and Materials of Anvils

  • Anvils are designed for specific purposes and tailored to meet the needs of different metalworkers.
  • Examples include farrier anvils, general smith anvils, saw maker anvils, and bladesmith anvils.
  • Different types of anvils may have variations in shape, such as rectangular blocks or those with a sloped brow.
  • Anvils can be made of forged or cast steel, forged wrought iron with a hard steel face, or cast iron with a hard steel face.
  • Some anvils have a smooth top working face of hardened steel welded to a cast iron or wrought iron body.
  • The majority of modern anvils are made of cast steel that has been heat treated.
  • Inexpensive anvils made of cast iron and low-quality steel are considered unsuitable for serious use.
  • The largest single piece tool steel anvil that is heat treated weighs 1600 pounds.
  • There are larger anvils made from multiple pieces, such as the mile long anvil weighing 6500 pounds.
  • Anvils made from multiple pieces may not be heat treated or made from tool steel.

Additional Features of Anvils

  • Some anvils have an upsetting block used for upsetting steel.
  • Anvils may have a hardy hole for specialized forming and cutting tools.
  • The pritchel hole is a small round hole used mostly for punching.
  • Anvils can have multiple hardy and pritchel holes to accommodate various tools.
  • Power hammer anvils are supported on massive anvil blocks, resting on a strong foundation.

History and Cultural References of Anvils

  • Anvils were first made of stone, then bronze, and later wrought iron.
  • Steel-faced anvils became popular to prevent deformation from impact.
  • Regional styles of anvils evolved over time.
  • Majority of anvils in the US are based on the London pattern.
  • Anvils are often used as props in cartoons and referenced in TV shows, movies, and books.
  • Anvil firing is a popular tradition in California, the eastern US, and the southern US.
  • Anvils are featured in books like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit.
  • Anvils are used as percussion instruments in various musical compositions.

Further Reading and External Links

  • 'New Edge of the Anvil' by Jack Andrews
  • 'The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection' by Jim Hrisoulas
  • 'Anvils In America' by Richard Postman
  • Wikimedia Commons has media related to anvils.
  • 'Anvil' in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
  • 'Anvil' in Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.).

Anvil Data Sources

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