Kaleb

Viking Age Stump Anvil

56 posts in this topic

As of late I have been really interested in "Viking" age life and tools. As a part of this I have decided to convert all my traditional hand woodworking tools to viking age equivalents. I wanted to start to do this by forging these tools in a age appropriate way and since I am newer to smithin' I do not have many tools for that either so I thought I would make the tools for blacksmithing first. But the first thing I need to forge I don't have the proper tools make, and that is the stump anvil. 

I wonder if anyone here knows where I could buy one or anyone that has a power hammer that I could contact for a commission? 

Here are some pictures off the web to give you an idea:

 

IMG_2551.jpg

IMG_1782.jpg

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Either one could be fabricated from a piece of rail, the second one in particular. 

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Note that the second one has very little mass and would pretty soon make you want to forget the Viking jazz.

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few of the Viking anvils had great mass, the typical hammer was 1 1/2-2#. And one of the latest anvils was 30#. A 4x block is about as good as it got

 

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Rowan Taylor has a great series of YouTube videos about recreating Viking and Anglo Saxon tools and other metalwork. 

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2 minutes ago, JHCC said:

Rowan Taylor has a great series of YouTube videos about recreating Viking and Anglo Saxon tools and other metalwork. 

Yeah his video on Anglo Saxon stump anvil is what fostered this whole idea of starting with a stump vise.

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C-1: I won't really have to forge anything too big, mostly will be making small blades for planes and chisels as well as scorps and such.

Charles: Didn't look at that yet, it's way too late and I think I need to go to bed.

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Kaleb, I met a blacksmith in your town and went to their shop while I was visiting Omaha. Elmo Diaz, "The blacksmith shop-Omaha" just look that up. I think he had about 4-5 Power hammers, and a lot of tooling. He also gives classes.

                                                                                                                               Littleblacksmith

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I have tried contacting Elmo on a few occasions by email and by phone without any reply. I did look at his classes but as of now my first priority is to buy a truck and not spend us$350 on a class quite yet. But it would be interesting to get into his shop sometime most likely in a class eventually.  

So on the anvil, I was thinking, what if I found a piece of 4x4 square stock and just tapered the end down to a 1x1. the only thing then that I wouldn't be able to do is weld a face to the anvil. And as of now I am not too worried about having a bick on such a small anvil. I wouldn't have the experience to do that either.

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Look up your local artistic blacksmith association, there should be opportunities for a young man to get some hands on mentoring for little or no money. If not we will be here, but it's slower this way than in person

 

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Elmo also rents his shop for $20 an hour, my understanding is you have access to any tools he has. now, you have to first take the beginner class from him.... I will say Elmo is a really nice guy, though with a lot of opinions, and some of them against mine, which is perfectly fine, but some of the stuff that my shop is structured around he doesn't agree with, soooo....... next summer when I'm up there I'll probably rent some shop time though, like I said though, he is a really nice guy, will talk your ear of if he gets the chance.

                                                                                                                                        Littleblacksmith

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If you beat hot steel on the anvil and don't hit it with the hammer, mild or aneled steel will be much harder than the hot steel, besides not many iron/Viking age anvils had tool steel tops. 

As to forging your own, in the absence of a powerhammer I would not start with 4", start with 2" or 3" and upset the face with a fuller and a sledge. This will give you that clasic look tapering from the top to the stump. If you are using the skills of a smith with a power hammer one can forge weld on a tool steel top or use medium carbon steel and heat treat. But it's not realy nessisary. A start would be to take a splitting wedge and reforge the cuting edge into a square, blunt spike. It's only a 1 1/2" but it's a start. Do a google image search and then check povedence on the image. Is it a real Viking era anvil from a Norse site? Is it a reproduction based on such? Eithe one works for your needs. 

But to start even a 10# sledge hammer will make an anvil to learn on.

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Steve Parker was forging and selling stump Anvils; he did mine based on the Door carvings of theHylestad Stave Church I believe though it is also quite close to the one in the Roman Museum in Bath England...

Y1Kanvil1.thumb.jpg.8aa78d1cb3250544d95411f441c39a4b.jpgY1Kanvil2.thumb.jpg.13d9a269d86d0b2ae36862ab8f2a828b.jpg

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It was a gift and I have never tried to find out what the others were selling for...Note that it's made from 1 piece of steel---no welding was involved; but Steve is a highly talented user of large industrial equipment.

Now the stake anvils I have been working on use old sledgehammer heads for the tops, still need to finish them off to have a smooth face...

stakeanvil1.jpg.e1eac61ff1f3bfd234867264eaec86a4.jpg2012-12-27_12-50-47.thumb.jpg.24e8c82692fa5291df9bde3e7d530709.jpg

At the fleamarket today I saw 2 16 pound sledges and of course my local scrapyard has been selling "anvils" for 20 cents a pound...anvils1.jpg.8c5437da018df56c66e79b9f6765aadc.jpg

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I imagine the originals, being wrought iron, probably started out square, from faggot welded money bars. Welded up around the spike. Lastly the wider top was most likely just years of hammer and sledge work mushrooming the anvil face. Tho somewhere in your archive you probably have a paper on the subject.

 

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Charles: I did think about upsetting the stock before, I just didn't think about it when I posted. And your theory on the anvil mushrooming out over time is probably a fair assumption and something I failed to think about.

TP: I do like the design of your stump anvil, how much do you think it weighs?

LB: Maybe I will have to take the beginners class with Elmo over the winter. Then maybe we could work together when you come up next summer.

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25 pounds though I treat it like a much larger one...Remember in the Viking era they were forging real wrought iron at a much higher temperature than modern steels will stand and so it was MUCH softer under the hammer!

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4 minutes ago, Kaleb said:

LB: Maybe I will have to take the beginners class with Elmo over the winter. Then maybe we could work together when you come up next summer

That would be fun. So many things to do with the tools he got.

                                                                                                                            Littleblacksmith

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Now the hard part for me is finding someone who has scrap wrought iron up here. I haven't run into any real scrap yards in Omaha yet so I might have to order some mild steel off the internet. Also I have no experience working wrought iron either. 

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I betcha if you found the right person you could get ahold of some wrought iron wagon axles. Just go to some old family farms tell them what you do, and ask to look through there scrap. eventually someone will have something you can use. Now you would have to stack up some pieces of the wagon axle to get some mass of course. That's just the first thing that comes to mind. Or if you found a wrought iron sledge hammer head. Upset it and forge weld the eye shut. Wrought iron can be a real something to try and work sometimes. you don't only know how to work wrought iron in general, but how to work THAT EXACT piece, as each one is different, in how fine of wrought it is, is it cold short, is it hot short? each piece can be slightly different, but also it can be a joy to work with.

                                                                                                                 Littleblacksmith

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Don't bother, at least at your skill level. It's rare and valuable stuff these days. 1018 will do you if you can find it. Otherwise A36 or equivalent structural is affordable stock. Starting out spring and shaft stock make good tooling, either new drops or salvaged

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Also keep your eyes open for old wagon tyres as they are often wrought iron (and often low grade wrought iron) cutting one in a bunch of pieces and the welding a stack to make the mass would be very period.  You may want to weld a face on it too.

First thing would be to get used to forge wrought iron and so a "modern steel" stake anvil to start with the plans to replace it when you get good working wrought is HIGHLY SUGGESTED!

Are you a member of the SCA?

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No, I didn't even really know about them until you brought them up. I'll have to do some searchin' now.

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