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I Forge Iron

Magic Anvil

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Just before Christmas I made several anvils for myself and other friends who practise the art of hammer. The anvil was developed upon researching ancient European patterns and applying my own 20 + years experience of hand forging. This is extremely precise instrument especially for blade smiting and forge welding/
. The main features are:

• Convex working surface (magic!)
• Low weight (27 kg) which means less resources spend and less pollution produced per unit, low cost and easy transportation
• High perfomance compared to much heavier anvils due to proper full size working surface (15 X 12 cm) and specific set inside the slotted stump
• Silent because of sitting inside the slot in the stump
• Special egg-like cross section of the horn which creates additional opportunities

They were cast by the burnt out models I made by hands . The material used is alloy steel. The anvil is then annealed to refine the grain. Then I hot hammered the working surface to form the proper texture and hand-filed to provide the real smooth convex surface. Finally I zone hardened it and tempered with the top surface only made hard and the bottom of the anvil left soft to prevent vibration and sound.

The anvil is set in an ancient way inside a slot made in a wooden stump which is then buried in a box filled with earth and wedged between walls. The anvil stump is made out of oak wood, slotted by hand-chisel and bound with hand forged iron bands and hand-forged nails to prevent cracking.

Physical parameters of the anvil:
Working surface –12 X 15 cm
Height – 24 cm
Weight – 27 kg
Horn length – 18 cm
Surface hardness – 58-60 HRC

Bogdan Popov (Kiev, Ukraine)




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Very nice work.

I love the look of your anvil. It should be a good one to work on.

It think that it comes out to about 59.5 lbs for those on this side of the pond.

Thanks for posting it,


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handy size for small projects like knifes and small house hold items.

It seems for me (maybe I am wrong) that it is good not only for the smallest projects. Yesterday I was forging a 3.5 kilo hammer and I was switching between this new one and my older standart "swedish type" which is about 60 kilogram. The deformation was happpening on the new one at least as effective as on the old one. But the new one felt so much more precise. I think the point is in the way it is set in the stump. In slotted stump the energy of blow is concentrated into the stump and then directly to the Earth which with all its huge mass turns into your anvil. While in the case of anvil standing on the surface of whatever the energy is dissipated into space.

I used to work on a 250 kilo anvil and I'll be honest -- I do not see any reason in it for "forging" in the real sense. Maybe straitening some long objects, maybe assembling gates, maybe just to look impressive for the female visitors... But you definetely do not need a big surface for forging. 15 X12 cm is more than enough but it has to be in proper condition and of proper profile (convex is magic!)
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Great anvil - would you please share your thoughts about why convex face is magic ... I am finishing a 4.25 x 27" round bar as an anvil and was considering a flat face ... thanks in advance.

Try working with a flat face hammer and you understand what I mean. When I started to work on convex face and then returned to flat one I felt sort of the same -- like working with a flat hammer.

But the radius of convexity shouldn't be too small. It has to be exactly like on the regular forging hammer otherwise it turns into tool for making spheres.

Round face will work for the beginning but corners are very imprtant -- on my anvil they are differently dressed and they all work. Rectangular shape is best

Actuallly there is nothing new here. I have a book by Kalashnikov "The talks of an old blacksmith" printed in Moscow in 1946. He clearly says that the best anvil is considered the one horned anvil which is driven into stump and with convex shape. That kind of anvils I made.
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Hi dancho. That really is a nice anvil. Thanks for posting about it. As for weight, there are other things besides weight that are important. The hammer:anvil ratio can be a lot higher if the anvil is blocky, backed up, free of thin protrusions, low moment of inertia, etc. One may be able to get by with ratios as low as 1:5.

The zone hardening sounds very interesting. Could you provide some details on how you did it?

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