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I'm drooling over the idea of making a powerhammer Little Giant-style.
I've come across a site where the author of that site offers plans.
Now, there has been 400+ being made from these plans according to him. so I assume he knows what he's talking about.
I have a question regarding the anvil post. The author warns about taking shortcuts regarding the anvil.
A tube filled with something won't do according to him, as it must be a solid block of steel.
Where do you find a three feet long 10 to 12 inch diameter piece of steel?
The closest I can get in finding something like that would be in a ship yard. A piece of a large discarded propeller-axle would do nicely,-if
the yard would even let you inside the gate that is.
What I do have access to are 10 inch diameter steel tubing (rollers from an old sawmill). What about filling one up with scrap iron and concrete?
It would get heavy but would it do half well as an anvil when you're in a pinch?
I'd like to add that I'm not planning to draw out very large billets on an industrial scale, but I must be able to make a powerhammer able to draw out
tool steel non the less.


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12 inch diameter and 3 feet long is about 1200 pounds. You then need to cut this length from a parent stock, bevel the end so you can weld it to the base with a full penetration weld. How are you going to get the ends cut square, or the parent stock even cut for that matter?

As an anvil it does not have to be round, but could be square or hex or octagon for that matter.

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I've been thinking the exact same. A piece of steel that big I would never attempt to try to make the ends square or cut it off from the parent stock.
I'm sure I could find a discarded axle in many of the shipyards here but asking these guys to cut off a 3 feet piece from it and face the ends on a lathe for me would probably make them laugh and kick my xxx
The easiest way would be the sawmill roller tubing I have lying behind the house and fill it with scrap iron and concrete. I would need to weld a good piece of toolsteel on top of it also. The only thing I do not know is if this solution would actually work half well.
The only reference I've got is youtube videos of highly doubtful wooden powerhammers. Some of them, surprisingly enough move steel under the hammer.
Well,-they probably demonstrated these hammers using mild steel. Tool steel and carbon steel are different beasts.
I am however sure of one thing though: -Anvils matter!
I started out making knives from leaf-spring using a chunk of an I-beam as an anvil. I couldn't for the life of me understand why the steel wouldn't move.
Then I got the chance to use a proper 150 pound anvil and the same steel moved almost like butter . . . so,-anvils do matter.

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Do not build a box and then try to think outside the box.

What you need is an anvil for the power hammer. You suggested something in the 1000 pound range. So look for a 1000 pound mass.

Deconstruction wrecking balls come to mind. The one I saw in a junk yard (scrapped) came at a reasonable price per pound but the fellow at the scrap yard said flat out that there was no way it would fit on the pick up truck. I needed something a whole lot bigger.

Go to a heavy construction location and look for heavy materials. Thomas knows where there is a heavy gun barrel available. Look for a large diameter hydraulic cylinder. What about the counter weights from cranes?  

If you add your location to your profile, we may be able to suggest something close to your location so shipping would not be so much of an issue.

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A large hydraulic cylinder would be perfect, as would counterweights. The weights used for tensioning railroad powerlines are perhaps not so bad, but they need to be stacked and welded. My location . . . well,-there's my problem. Northernmost region of Norway . . . think Alaska far as xxxx from Anchorage, same climate, equally sparsely populated.
The only thing abundant here are reindeer herds and fish. Not one single scrapyard or large machinery site and next to no industry and we're talking about an area larger than many European countries.
But there are options. The nearest decent town that have such sites is 6 hours away by car. Then there's Finland's northernmost decent town also 6 hours away.
Lastly Sweden, 6 hours before you enter areas resembling somewhere where people are likely to live.
Regarding Sweden,-the northernmost area is full or iron-ore and they have a huge iron-ore mine there and lots of steel plants everywhere.
Goes without saying that every town and city there have stores that sell steel products.
Sweden is my best bet since I'll be going there for the summer holidays anyways.

Edited by Mod34
Edited for inappropriate language
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A fellow could just order in a 1000 pound anvil and use that for the power hammer anvil. Been done before with smaller anvils. 

If you were to put it on a swing away mechanism, you could also use it as a blacksmithing anvil. Been done before with other tools to get double use.

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16 minutes ago, Glenn said:

If you were to put it on a swing away mechanism, you could also use it as a blacksmithing anvil.

For example, here’s my treadle hammer. When you disconnect the chain linkage, the hammer head swings up and out of the way of hand forging. 


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To address the idea of cement and scrap fill for a hollow tube. Cement will eventually turn to gravel being expososed to such a pounding. As to cutting a solid piece of stock square, the same machine shop has a metal cutting bandsaw. This will make a square cut, or at least a square enough one for our purposes. 

As to a 1000# anvil, as most comertial hammers used a 10, 15 or 20 to 1 ratio of anvil to tup we are talking about a 50-100# tup. That’s a lot of mass to have flying around. 25# little giants do a heck of a lot of work and would only require a 250-500# anvil. Realistically what are planning on forging? 

As to laminated anvils, vertically orientated steel plate makes a reasonably effecent anvil (solid is best and the investment in welding consumables sourcing a solid drop will be generaly less expensive). 


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Emtor: Do you do much steel fabrication? Do you have access to a welder capable of heavy section welding? Making a built up section for the anvil you describe drooling over is mostly an exercise in controlling warping. 2" x 4" or 50mm x 100mm square the length you wish. Lay 1/2" or 12mm. round lengthways down the center of a 2x4 bar and tack it in place. Tack another 2x4 to the round stock. Carefully stitch weld the 1/2" gap solid. Stitch both sides to control warpage. You'll need short pieces of the spacer stock to keep the sides being welded from pulling together. Once the bead gets close to the temporary spacers the fillet should be good enough to keep it from pulling more closed and you can knock the spacers out.

Make a couple doubled bars use a 1/2" spacer or one wide enough to get your welding stinger or gun close enough to weld properly And once again stitch weld it into a larger bar.

You use 1/2" round for the spacer because you can weld 100% penetration through 1/2" stock and weld the sections 100% solid. IF you can do this kind of welding.

Each fillet will require about 17 lbs or 7,6 kg. of welding rod, wire, etc. to weld solid. That's EACH one, remember to account for the expenses of consumables, welding rod or wire, gas and add it to the time necessary to make that much weld. 

Personally I think it'll be a lot more economical to buy one of those 12" dia. pieces of shafting, take it to a fab or machine shop and have it cut to length. A 6 hr. drive is pretty nice compared to spending longer than that fillet welding that much heavy section. There is NOTHING pleasant about being that close to that much HOT steel. Believe me I went to school to do exactly that kind of welding. I'd take the drive, pay to have someone else do the welding in a heart beat if I had to: weed gardens, mow lawns, sweep driveways, pick up dog poop, etc. to pay for it.

Frosty The Lucky.



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On 5/21/2018 at 9:23 AM, Charles R. Stevens said:

 25# little giants do a heck of a lot of work and would only require a 250-500# anvil. Realistically what are planning on forging? 

25 pound hammer and a 250-500 pound anvil sounds great. Those numbers aren't too scary. I think such a powerhammer would suffice for what I'm planning to forge.
So what am I going to use the hammer for? -Making pattern welded billets from 1095 and 15N20 steel.
The width of the billets will be a little wider than the width of the blades. The height will not be very much since I'll be drawing out to twice the length and then fold and forge weld etc. until I get the desired number of layers and a length that is a bit longer than the knifeblades.

On 5/21/2018 at 12:47 PM, Frosty said:

Each fillet will require about 17 lbs or 7,6 kg. of welding rod, wire, etc. to weld solid. That's EACH one, remember to account for the expenses of consumables, welding rod or wire, gas and add it to the time necessary to make that much weld. 

I'd rather spend the money and time trying to buy a length of solid round or square stock. After all that welding the electric wiring in my house would have melted and so would I.

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That was my point Emtor. Welding one up isn't practical even if it is possible.

You might call drilling companies that do testing and see if they have a 340lb. hammer they don't use anymore. I don't know the specs used for doing penetration tests in Norway but they must do them to get the necessary information to build good roads and bridges. The old style safety hammers have fallen out of use in the past decade or three. The safety hammers screwed to the top of the drill tooling be it casing or penetrometer rod. The number of blows it delivers for every inch or foot the casing or rod is driven gives "end bearing" data. 

More modern techniques use either down hole hammers or powered hammers that are mounted on the drill itself. Both these are safer, less physically demanding and give more accurate data. All that means the old safety hammers are probably in the way somewhere in their shop. They might be willing or even happy to get rid of them.

Frosty The Lucky.

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After forging about 1 year with the Kinyon style/Harry Zoeller copycat Air power hammer -I still think I could have better results with a massive anvil below the bear. I chose for a bear weight of 55lbs (capable to forge blanks till 1in) -and they teach me to have at least 5 times (even better 6X) the counter weight of the anvil at your disposal.

Started with an oil sand filled hollow anvil tube with a weight of 180lbs with an humble ball bearing rebound of 30%. Results in a low impact and a lot of frustration.

Filling the anvil with concrete will have the same effect as with oil sand and his density. That means only a ¼ of the density of the volume mass of steel.

In the mean time I fill the hollow anvil tube with stainless steel blasting grit with is at least ¾ of the density of massive steel (in combination with a mix of high viscosity oil and fine sand to fill the hollow spaces).

This results is an acceptable rebound of 65% on the lower dice (on 240lbs -but still to low).

Now I’m looking for a massive replacement of the anvil in de-mountable parts to keep my hammer portable because his separate parts still fit in the trunk of my station waggon.

So if possible give the choice to massive steel parts mounted close together.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here is a link to the hammer i built and i used 2 pieces of C-channel welded together filled with sand and capped with a section of rail. I have hardly used it because you can almost move steel as fast with hammers. I have now acquired 2sets of forklift tines a piece if steel 2x6x72 and a 7.25x7.25x30 block that weighs in at 469lbs that will be replacing the current anvil.



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  • 3 months later...

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