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I Forge Iron

Anvil height

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This topic has probably been coverd before but being new to this site I am not sure where to look for the answer.
I found my new prize anvil at the local salvage guys house while dopping off some old galvanized bits and pieces. Now I need to know, high should I build the stand for it?

Thanks for any info.


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Stand up straight with your hands at your side and clench your fists loosely. Set the anvil face at the height of your knuckles, or the bottom of your fist.

If you are working on heavy stock you may want it lower. If you are working on light stock you may want it higher. If you have back problems you may want it higher. There are people who have the anvil all the way up to their chest for jewelry work and people who us an anvil on the floor for upsetting.


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For things like knifework I have my anvil about 4 inches higher than the old suggested height. For heavy work or with swages I have it lower---actually I have several anvils near the forge all at a different height and I use the one that's best for what I am doing---really saves the back for this weekend smith who tends to overdo it on the weekend and recover during the week.

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Good advice as always on here. I was in the same boat you were in last year and I really researched this for about a week or two before I went cutting up hundreds of dollars of steel for my stand. After measuring, reading, listening to others, and trail and error working on different heights I came up with 32-5/8". That just seemed to be the magick number for me. I'm about 5'9". The anvil's face is about 1.75-2" above my knuckles. I primarily want to do blades, armour, jewelry work, and relic-making so I wanted the anvil to be closer to me.

Of course there is an old adage here that if the anvil is to low you'll know it in your lower back and if the anvil is to high you'll feel it your neck and shoulders. You don't want to be to out of range. If the anvil is to low you can hyperextend/overextend your elbows wrist and shoulder as well as strain your back from the leaning over. If the anvil face is to high you feel like all crunched up in your shoulders and arms as if your in a constant flinch. Neither are fun. Seems though for the work I described doing many tend to be right below their wrist bones; right at that part where your hand narrows into your wrist, or just below your wrist bones. Or at least above the knuckles and lower than the wrist.

One good thing I found was to take a block of steel and put it on my workbench using 2x4's or whatever I needed to prop it up to the anvil height I wanted. Then I lightly hammered on it to test my normal striking stroke. You'll know after many swings if it feels to high or low.

I know anvils are expensive and hard to acquire but whatever you spent on the anvil you'll regret it if you don't put it on a very heavy steel stand. A good stand will at least have a 1-2" thick piece of plate it sits on and very solid 1/4" or thicker wall thickness legs. I mean if you can't make a heavy enough stand or do the welding a log is probably a better route. A log is much safer and less ring than an inadequate (or even dangerously constructed) metal stand.

Good luck, don't forget to show us your pics when your done. B)


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One last bit about anvil height. It may behoove most people to go higher than lower in height. This is because it's much easier to build a wooden 2x4 or 4x4 platform assembly to stand on in order to make the anvil face lower for striking than it is to raise an anvil up with a hoist to place on blocks, not to mention more shaky and less safe. :blink:

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Excellent advice on a seemingly simple subject.
It would appear to be common sense that it`s easier to adjust the height of the smith(with a platform) rather than the anvil.I wonder why I keep forgetting that when planning the height of my gear. :blink:
Thanks for reminding me.

From the pic you posted it appears your tools and stand are constructed with the same thought and attention to detail as your posts.Very nice work.
Is that shop your day job or a part time hobby?

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Avadon, That is a good point about raising where you stand. Seams so simply, but I didn't even think about it.

Your Gladiator looks so pretty compard to mine. It has nic and such, but I bought mine second hand.

I built a stand that is a trapazoid that is then filled with sand and a plate flots on it. This allows adjustment for the intial setup.

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