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I Forge Iron

Show me your anvil

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Here's a pic of my main working anvil and workbench. Yes, I did drag it outside to get the picture - too dark inside for my junker digital camera. Plus it gave me the chance to ... re-level ... the dirt floor after the spring "squishy mud" season!


I do a lot of small work, so my main anvil is my great uncle's old 72# Haybudden that I picked up at his farm sale.

I built the workbench initially as a traveling set-up for doing demonstrations. But most of the time it sets in the middle of my shop right next to the forge. I like that bench top for laying out the hammers/tongs/tools right there where I can get them. Although, I finally did put a wood "lip" across the back and up to the anvil - to help keep tools from falling off! And extra tools are in the couple trays slid on the bottom shelf. I also mounted that post vice right off of the end of the bench. Very handy in the shop. Plus I have a small hand-cranked grinder I can clamp onto that top shelf where the post vice is bolted. And a small hand-cranked drill press as well. I thought about the design for a while before I started making it. And simple pine 2x4's gave me the strength without too much extra weight.

The bench is 20" x 40" long and 26" high. This puts the anvil face up at 35". Since I do a lot of small work, this higher anvil face saves me a lot of bending over - and the back ache associated with it. I have a Henry Armitage 120# anvil mounted on a stump nearby for heavier work at a lower forging level. But I seldom use it. Most of my work is historical reproductions of fur trade era iron trade goods - flint strikers, muskrat spears, ice chisels, harpoon points, grease lamps, etc. So this setup works well for me.

I posted more pics in my photo gallery under my Anvils and tools album - along with pics of OLD anvils.

Mikey - that grumpy ol' German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands

Edited by Mike Ameling
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So you people like looking at pics of large or OLD anvils?

Well, here's a couple pics of several OLD anvils I ended up with over the years.

Weighs 65 pounds. It has a large 3 and a small 1 stamped on all the flats above the anvil base - just above the decorative fullered ring - so 8 flats and 8 markings. This stands for the really old English Stone weights - 3 stone and 1 pound = 61 pounds. 17 inches point to point, the top is 4x6 with the horns flush with the top. One 5/8 hardly hole at the base of the tapered square horn. 18 inches high overall, 9 1/2 inches from face down to start of tang. It is 4 inches square where the tang starts.

45 pounds - no markings. 13 1/2 inches horn tip to horn tip. 3 1/2 x 5 1/4 face and bottom of the anvil - with the tapered horns flush. And a 1/2 inch square hardy hole at the base of both horns. 7 1/2 inches high to the tang, 8 1/2 inch tang. The tang is punched through 6 1/2 inches down from the anvil base - so that it can be wedged/pegged into a beam. Two decorative fullered grooves around the base.


125 pounds. 24 inches high by 36 inches wide point to point. Tapered round and square horns - no hardy hole. No markings other that three deep "gripping" slashes on each side of the anvil main face. 3 inch wide top face. The base is tapered down to 2 3/4 inches square just above that swelling above the tang. The tang is 5 1/4 inches long. It is very similar to the one at Colonial Williamsburg, and in their Hammerman at Williamsburg video.

There are additional pics in my gallery under my Anvils and tools album.

The ... old ... toys we pick up over the years. The big question is how did they end up here in Iowa? I bought the 125# and 65# at the big engine club swap meet near Des Moines on Memorial Day Weekend a bunch of years ago. But both came from guys from Iowa. That 45#'er I bought at a farm sale near me.

Several years ago, a friend was going to forge up several replicas of that middle 65#'er - from wrought iron. But he couldn't work out the deal. And several of us have also talked about making a mold for some lost-wax castings of it - in a medium good steel. But we all ran out of available funds before we got too far. We'll have to kick the idea around some more.

Mikey - that grumpy ol' German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands

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I use a set of three Wilkinson anvils: 250#, 112#, 57#. I was quite happy to find three different size anvils in the same make and shape. These anvils are lovely to use especially the hundred-weight. I believe these anvils were made in Dudley England where others like Peter Wright and Armitage mouse hole anvils were made.

I have a number of other anvils around the place, weighing down drill presses and big umbrellas etc. Another I'm waiting to place properly in my smithy is a Earnshaw Ovens 345# dated 1861. Originally this anvil came from the Sunshine Mackay Factory where they built the Sunshine Harvester one of the world's first combines. Other things at this sale (old power hammer and big anvil) went for top dollar but the people there just kicked this one and said "It's broke", I just kept my mouth shut and got a bargain.







Edited by Glug
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229dog: Richard Postman, who wrote "Anvils in America" says he has found over 200 british anvil makers so far and is still counting. Any of them would have used the CWT weight system.

The most common ones to show up in the USA were Peter Wright and Mousehole but there are a whole lot of others over here as well! (I picked up an 1828 William Foster for US$5 once at a fleamarket in Columbus OH)

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I glued a piece of magnetic tape to the back of a steel rule so I can stick it to my anvil any time I need it. It doesn't stop me from marking the anvil when that's handier of course.

Being a frail old coot I use an engine hoist to move heavy stuff. Got a really good deal on it at a moving sale.


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  • 5 months later...
  • 2 months later...

200kg anvil. Stand is made of 3/8" plate and 1/4"-wall 12" pipe.

Nice anvil. I like your stand for the support directly under the anvil and the half pipes on each side that provide clearance for long workpieces and space to plant your forward foot close to the anvil and avoid bending your back while you work. I think I will build a similar one. Thanks. Steeler.
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