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Hi all,

Haven't been around for far too long, but it looks like I'll having a nice forging workshop set up in the next few weeks.

I want to do my anvil stand this weekend, and I've been looking at plans. The easiest material for me to get and use right now is angle iron, about 6x35mm, or around 1/4" thick and 1 3/8" wide on each side.

My plan was to make a tight fitting angle-iron base for the anvil, and then weld 4 feet at a slight angle. Of course, I would then use either the same (or slightly lighter) angle iron to make bars going between the feet for added stability.

Most builds I see here use tubing, that I reckon will ring a lot more unless you fill it with sand and/or oil, which I'd like to avoid. Time is limited, and I would prefer moving on to smithing instead of fabrication.

The question is whether this will hold together nicely. The anvil must be somewhere between 200 and 250 pounds, or between 90 and 120kg, I think.

I was also wondering whether I can reduce this to 3 feet instead of 4, since I am on uneven ground. I'm worried that I'll topple the structure over while pulling or pushing it around. The concrete floor isn't exactly level or smooth.

Thanks in advance! :)

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i would go with three feet, because of the stability issue.


Thanks!

I'm just worried the angle iron isn't thick enough and might collapse. Four feet would add extra stability. I'd like information from someone who's done more anvil stands than I have :)

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If braced, it shoudl be fine. The problem with angle iron is twisting, so try to limit that movement. If you are really worried about it, you could weld 2 sections of angle into a tube.

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I have built several stands to date. Even the anvil stand and the anvil that Brian Brazeal uses as a a heavy hitting unit. Later I built stands for two of the Youngsmiths. Although I may be not as experienced as some I will now give you some insite on what Brian has shown me: If you are going to use an anvil at maximum performance then the legs should be about 8 degrees off vertical with the back two at 45 degrees off centerline as the third leg under the horn. The pads on the floor section should be about 1/2 in thick and sufficient width and length...with a bolt hole...to be mounted on the concrete. Use at least 1/2 bolts into the concrete (not lead sinkers) called red-heads. If possible use thick walled tubing with three passes of good welding at all positions. The deck for the anvil should fit and a minimum of 3/4 thick. I have used 1/2 inch and now realise it to be way too thin. drill and tap 3/8 pipe threads so that fine sand and oil can be installed down each leg to near the top...tapping on the tubing as the sand is installed. It does not take very much oil to fill. Install 3/8 plugs into the holes...the kind that are hex drive and will be lower than flush to the top. We drill two holes larger than 1/2 diameter at the waist area ...the hollowed out area between the feet of the anvil ....and use heavy duty angle iron bolted into those waist holes.

This may sound like a lot of work but it is much easier than working with angle iron material. The whole build takes about 2 hours. The oil and sand really are a necessity and can be easily determined when it is installed. This fixture will ring like a bell until the sand mix is installed. Yep...learned it the hard way.

There will be others that will say the angle is too sharp on the legs...Okay by me. But if you really strike on the anvil the near vertical will help reduce the springiness. On some others I built with a wider stance...which are better for twisting and bending from the hardee hole...well give me the near vertical one now and use the vise for twisting.

Angle iron with a bolt holding down the edge of the anvil is okay too. It is the simpliest way and is quite speedy. Should you want to remove the anvil two bolts loosened and carry away.

A deck with less than 3/4 thickness is too springy too...but 1/2 might be used if you added some ribs under to keep it strong. By the time you do all that then the welding could warp ..so I use 3/4 now.

Three legs allow it to fit any floor and you certainly do not want your anvil rocking about...been there done that.

Heigth is an argument that makes the Ford vs Chev debate seem insignificant. Some want the anvil top to be at knuckle height. I did too when starting but now have lowered so that I can hold long pieces between my legs as a support while I have two hands to beat out leaves and texture...or forge welding.

Measurement...the length of the legs when they are about 8 degrees mean that they are basically the same as deired height. At this sharp angle the long side of a triangle is almost the same as the triangle height. Very little difference until you get past 10 degrees off vertical.

On the single leg under the horn...why? Well we tend to lean againgt the horn at times to get a good straight look down the edge of the anvil. With one leg mounted that way there is more foot room.

Now that I have rubbed salt into some wounds of others I am ready to hear their input. Maybe they can change my mind...most likely not. I have a junkyard full of learned info about anvil stands. But ...BUT...if I ever get a really large anvil that I may never move... I may re-design the wheel for a new stand.

Carry on!

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David,

Thank you! That was a wonderful, helpful and thoughtful response backed by practice. It is heartily appreciated!

I am afraid I forgot to mention a few things that only occurred to me after reading your post. I apologise for that!

I cannot bolt anything to the floor, since I do not quite own the premises, and will need to move these things around. I will also check what's available at my local steel supplier, but I don't think I can find thick plate to stand the anvil on, so I might use the angle-iron structure, put a beam down the middle in a diagonal, and make a base out of wood.

Do you mind if I ask what you mean by being springy? Is it that the structure not being totally solid will absorb the hammer impact? I can see how thick plate would help. I will see if my supplier has some thick spare plate.

Your build sounds perfect for someone with more experience than me at fabrication, more time, and workshop that will not have to move. I don't even have working table yet. It will take me more than two hours for sure! Do you think thicker angle iron and reinforcement at the bottom will not work for a more mobile set up? I will take your advice on the angles at which to put the angle iron and on the welds. I have 2.5mm rods and I can bevel the surfaces and do a triple pass or so.

Once again, thank you!

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Re height: The way my body's built if I put the anvil like David has I'd be having back surgery in a week! We're not built to the same plan or if so it was used "just as a suggestion". (eg: My uncle has an extremely long torso and very short legs---has to get B&T shirts but cannot buy pants that fit they all have to be chopped and hemmed.)

This is a basic problem getting started; you don't know what works best for *YOU*! Don't get hung up on a single design made to someone else's specs. Expect to need to tweak your first one and to perhaps build another *perfect* one.

Iteration is a very blacksmithy thing; being able to make changes to suit oneself is the core of *custom* work!

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Springy...well that probably is not a real word. But the way I see it: Imagine a diving board at the pool. One goes out for the dive and springs to make a greater rebound. If your legs are too wide of an angle and not substantial in diminsion then there is a springy rebound. The whole fixture moves about.

My personal stand has not been made yet but should be by next week. Having been around Brian a bunch this year I have learned a lot from him. An anvil that is moving around means that the energy is not being applied to the metal...completely...thus rebound and vibration. The stand I am using right now moves like a dancer! Soon the new one will be mounted to the floor like at Brians.

Since you may not be able to mount to the floor with bolts then something else may be required for you. There is the possibility of hitting onto a heavy sheet of plywood that may solve some of your problems. I think I would consider that...so that when you make a move to a permanent location the anvil height will be the same...since you would be striking from on top of the ply. A fire hazard may exist too but a spilled beer can stop a fire.

Good luck on your situation.

Carry on!

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Thanks Thomas and David,

I think from all the plans I've seen and what I've got to work with as a floor, the tripod design works better. I really like the almost vertical 8º suggested, and the back legs at 45 degrees off the front leg below the horn makes perfect sense, so I can go with that for now.

My big concern at this point is whether the structure made 3/8" angle iron (which I have available) will hold the anvil or whether it runs the risk of 1) toppling over when I pull on it, 2) toppling over if I get up on the bottom reinforcement to do some upsetting, or 3) simply collapsing from the weight.

I trained on angle-iron stands with four feet, but forget their thicknesses (it was over 7 years ago). I recall getting up on the bottom reinforcement for upsetting like I said on 2) above, I recall the lead sheet beneath the anvil to deaden sound, and I recall them being bolted. I don't recall whether they had a solid steel sheet base.

Thanks again! You guys are wonderful. I will try to remember to post pictures, and I hope you will too, David!

Best,
João

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Simply put solid is better! One thing for sure: do not build anything untill you own an anvil. They are different, taller, shorter longer etc. i built a nice anvil stand alot of years ago with four legs. It sits unused now. I have two anvils now one on a three legged anvil stump.comercially made. and the other one on a hard wood mesquite stump. i like them both. I use to forge every tuesday eve with a group and each of us had different stands. A couple of them were not solid. One of them, a co,mercial one for farriers was springy. While the smith would forge with a two pound hammer I could stand off to one side and see the anvil move. That to me just means that part of every sltrike he made was used to move the anvil and not move the hot metal.

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Thomas Powers you have an excellent position to bring up. That is why I use two different anvils. One is lower...and it is my favorite. Its height is very effecient for those items I use there. My other one , although lighter than I prefer, is a bit higher. It is better for me to use as my eyesite is lesser quality than it used to be. I can really see hammer marks as the energy is used...more accurate...yet not as strong of blows as on the lower one.

Another argueing point about height: If using "striker assisted" and top tools and bottom tools like in the hardee...then the top of tool height will get to be a bit in the air. Not soo much some will say, and that too is okay by me, but since building a shorter striking anvil made for striking top tools, the heavy hammer blows are at "my right height".

So to conceed to others, I say your height you choose is okay by me. In my shop I have two different heights to choose from.

Was that a Ford or a Chevy?

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Besides the structure of the stand itself being solid. I feel like the height is of great importance. I for instance don't like to really "bend" over the anvil. I'm fat. It makes my lower back hurt etc. the way I determined the height of my stand was I stood holding a tape measure and measured the distance from my hand to the ground. Then I measured my anvil height and subtracted that. That told me how tall my stand should be. That being said, I've been told my stand is too tall because you can't hold tongs between your legs and use it.

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I figure I spend over a 100 times more time *not* holding tongs in between my legs than doing so---though it is a good method to let you know when your piece has gotten to cold to forge...I would not tweak my set up for that process personally. (I built a couple of third hand systems including the traditional chain from the roof beams...)

Could you mock it up in wood and try it a slight bit to see if your hammer hits flat without any special positioning of your wrist? (coating the face of your hammer with paint and then striking a piece of wood about the thickness of stock you will generally be using should show if you are hitting flat or on the leading or training edge of the hammer. I'd even let the paint dry first so you can see the impact mark better)

Wood would be easier to add or remove a bit to see where the anvil "works" for you and then you could make your steel one to that measure.

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Not sure if this was mentioned but adding a step pad infront of the anvil could be a option for adjusting the relative height to your work. Not sure if this is even used ever but it could be anything from the rubber horse stall matting (prob have to watch it with embers) or a wooden plate a couple of inches tall that is placed in front of your anvil.

Just an idea to make a ridged stand less ridged after its been built.

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Hi all,


I'd like to thank you all again for the help. It took me the best part of a day to do the anvil stand, but it's done. My design is pretty much like Sweany's! I don't have photos as of yet, but will try to get some too. The next day I put in a couple of hours of forging and managed half of a set of tongs... it's not much but my arms aren't what they used to be. It's something though.

All I'm missing is the block of wood to deaden the ring. I've put chains around the anvil, which partially worked, but I think the wood will make it all better.

I will post pictures soon! :)

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Hi everyone!

As promised, here a couple of (unfortunately bad quality) pictures.

First there's me welding it:
mjGAr.jpg

Then forging on it!
6hrZT.jpg

I am so glad to be forging again after 7 years I cannot even begin to describe it!

Hope you guys enjoy it :)

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very nice anvil, I envy you! the "mediteranian" style double horned anvils - french, italian, etc., are my prefered anvils. what's your anvil?

Why not "box" it up (easy to make now) and fill it with sand? this will stabilize it and maybe will deaden the sound some more. also bolt somehow the anvil to the stand, that will still cut the noise. the chain trick i think is not as good as fixing the anvil to the base (at least on a wooden stump as I installed my anvils). also you can put something between the anvil and the base before "bolting", some little wood, for example.

I have two baseless anvils and I'm considering to install them on some oil drum filled with sand until I'll get some hardwood stumps (if i feel it would be necessary).

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Hi Matei!

Thanks for the tips. Fabrication takes a long time for me, and I get very limited working time, so I'm only doing some minor tweaks. Right now the ring is very acceptable, but I have two things I want to do!

First, as you suggested, I'm going to bolt the anvil to the stand. I'll put two holes front and back through which I will bolt some thick angle iron. Second, I'll put a layer of wood between the stand and the anvil, which should further help deaden the sound!

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OK, but what about the anvil question, what that anvil is? I could guess it has around 100kg, am I right?

the box trick, as I'll make it if I were you, on that very stand, could be simple and fast - I'd put some solid plywood or, cheaper, OSB faces on the inside of the frame, the faces would be supported by the angle iron. they could be fastened easily by some bolts, etc. and you don't need to make it at once, you could take your time, as you can already work on your anvil.

I even consider to make something similar if I don't find that oil drums I want, angle iron is an easy find.

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I prefer the 3 legs. It does enable you to stand closer to the anvil and stand upright, getting more power out of your hammer and better use of your body.
On the large anvil, the legs are permanently welded. I used silicone underneath. Welded corner braces (pockets,) nothing else bolting anvil down. It does not move. Base is 1 inch plate. I don't remember tubing size, it was given to me, but it is heavy wall.
The small one I use to travel with, the legs are bolted through smaller tubing. Legs are 2" heavy tubing. Base is 8 inch channel.
I have not experienced any increase in the ring from using tubing. I have a piece of old conveyor belting underneath the small anvil.
Both have holes in base so items can pass through to the floor. Comes in very handy when needed.
I set mine at knuckle height to an in higher.
I use both of these anvils and stands on a regular basis. Just depends on the work lined up.

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Mr Hoffman I think you have a very good design...the tray alon g the side allows you to temporary store items when necessary and you have bolt holes on the floor plates if you ever decide to attach to flooring. Enjoy
Carry on

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ANVILFOLK...I like the angle of the legs you put under your stand. When I built my first open stand I made the legs about 30 degrees off vertical...which in turn made them way too springy. Yes they were stronger for other operations but that really made them too wide in the stance. Strange how much closer you can place your feet to the anvil if need arises.
Good to see you using the thing afterso much decisions to be made.
Enjoy!

Carry on

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btw, is a well fabricated anvil stand as good as a good hard wood (oak, for example) stump in terms of efficiency? It seems easier to build one than finding a good stump (for me, at least)

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