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