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Hypothetical variation of London pattern anvil

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I wanted to share what I thought would be an interesting change to a London pattern anvil for general forging. :P

-The heel is asymmetric; this would allow it to be used like a normal tapered heel with the advantage of having one 90 degree corner of the square heel.
 It also features some obtuse angles and a hardy hole closer to the center of mass.

-The section between the face and the table is a fuller; it could be useful for bending and drawing.

When I made this picture, I had no specific measurements in mind. It is just there to give you an idea of what I what thinking.

Does this anvil basically exist?
Are the modifications actually bad? :ph34r: Or is it in fact a good idea?


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Aspects of your concept anvil exist though, I believe they were specialized anvils. Pics of one with the face and table forming similar angles as your asymmetrical heal was just posted recently in an ID the anvil request.

I think your fuller section is redundant I use the horn for a fuller more than anything else, compensating for the taper's effect on the work is easy, just reverse directions frequently.  I think lengthening and extending the taper of the horn would be more useful.  

The horn on my Soderfors is more conical than most and I find I like that aspect when using it like a mandrel cone. If anything I think I might like a true cone but have never had a chance to give one a try.

Frosty The Lucky. 

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Bad or good?  It depends on what YOU are making and how YOU make it!  The narrower thin end of the heel would not work well for me and what I make and how I make it. 

I do agree that the fuller section is redundant and should be applied to beefing up the horn.

Also many anvils have the hardy in that same position already, nothing new.  As I don't usually use the table---I do my cutting on a cutting plate. I would suggest making it into something else----like a concave swage.

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29 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Have you looked at the historical knife smithing anvils used in Sheffield UK that incorporated slots for  tooling into them?

That was my first though--if that "fuller" area could be for insertable tooling plates.  I know the same can be done with the hardy hole but it might be nice to have a more solidly mounted tooling plate for anything concave, and the hardy for all things convex.  Some of the older calking vices had interchangeable swage plates and I can see where that could be handy for repetitive work.  Might be too shallow, though, without weakening the anvil at that point.

For example, if you make a lot of tool sockets, the interchangeable plate could have the negative swage while the hardy holds the small horn needed to finish the socket.

Or you could just have a portable hole which is cheaper to make and doesn't weaken the anvil.  I suppose in the real world, trying to make a "do everything" anvil results in one which does everything...to a mediocre level.

KISS principal seems to be a wiser choice here.

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If you have a particular use for a feature then it may be a good idea to include it on an anvil, the typical London Pattern has remaind vitually the same all these years for the simple reason that it's features are those most usefull to most. Attempting to make something that has as many features as possible only results in less effective anvil overall. Look at the demonstrator swiss knife models, a plethera of tools but impossible to hold in the hand and use them.

However the exercise of thinking over an alternative design and debating it, even if to abandon it as a bad job is never a waste of effort, it's by such processes good workable, usefull design ideas come about. What about a three sided anvil with a heel, a horn and some other appendage of your choice? (I'd not be sirprised if it had already been done and dismissed as pointless or limited use)


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Thanks for the input!

The idea of a surface designed for tooling plates looks fun, but I certainly don't know how it could be done in a simple and effective way.
(The tooling plate would need to be quite secure and easy to make.)


I am not sure if I saw this kind of anvil but is it anvil with a |__| concavity in the face?

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The anvil Thomas is referring to uses bottom tools that dovetail into the anvil. They slide in from one side and lock solid with a tap of a hammer. Tap the other side and they slide out. Very fast, easy and secure.

Manufacture would be most economical as castings. Still S-P-E-N-D-Y! :o

Frosty The Lucky.

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7 minutes ago, Frosty said:

The anvil Thomas is referring to uses bottom tools that dovetail into the anvil.

Historic name for these is "Cutler's anvil"  

We had a great thread about a modern version of this style here on IFI many years ago.  Google the Grant Sarver Omnianvil.  

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Thomas referred to the "cutting plate"  I find the use of that area useful as a "step" between the face and the "cutting plate".  This provides a 90 degree area for being able to forge into a corner and compress stock, such as welding cable.

As to having a "solid" attachment I make all of my hardy tools with a stem slotted (forge 1" X 1/4" U shape) stem long enough to drive a wedge in.  Now that is solid.

Thomas commented about the "cutting table".  I use that area for the step as in when welding cable, the cable can be driven back into the 90 degree corner to contain it on 2 sides and driven from the 3rd.  I never use that area for a "cutting table".

I use a Habberman style European anvil and the hardy hole is on the horn end and over the mass of the anvil.  French anvils are also double horned and have the hardy hole at the rounded horn but even further back over the solid mass.  The hardy hole comes out the side of the anvil.  TFS (Texas Farrier's Supply) is a good example of where a farrier saw a market for a double horned anvil  so tried to modify a London style anvil to a European anvil by just tapering the heel but leaving the hardy hole in the heel, the weakest area of the anvil, then, if that was not enough tapered the sides in, further reducing the mass and the strength of that area.  There is normally a reason that the old time blacksmiths made their anvils the way they did.  I have been using my anvil for about 15 years and see all of the advantages of it and can not figure anyway to improve it.

Let me know if I can help you.


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