A comeuppance is headed your way if you are thinking Anvils are just big a big piece of metal on which I’ll hammer metals”. There’s more to it than you see and obviously a lot to know before you click the purchase button or head to the market with a wad of cash in pocket.
Did you ever imagine there are five different types of anvils? Well, there is. Which one were you gonna get?
Tag along to figure out which one you’ll need. To make things easier on another level I’ve sorted out the best anvils out there and also figured out there pros and cons.
|RIDGID 69622 model 5 Forged Anvil, Peddinghaus Anvil||4.5/5|
|NC Big Face Anvil||4.1/5|
|Olympia Tools 38-789 9 Lb. Hobby Anvil, Cast Iron||4.0/5|
|Beadsmith Solid Stainless Steel Mini Jewelry Anvil Wire Work Tool Silver||4.2/5|
Understanding Types of Anvil
Being an age-old tool, the anvil has constantly got new shapes and sizes thus different styles and types. Each facilitating a different purpose and comes with a specific weight range.
Each of these types weighs within the ranges shown below.
Forging Anvils or Blacksmith’s Anvils – 75 to 500 lbs
Farrier Anvils – 50 to 150 lbs
Stake Anvils – 5 to 100 lbs
Bench anvils – 5 to 50 lbs
Jeweler’s Anvils – 0.3 to 5 lbs
Each of these is variant in their shapes and size i.e. style but serves a lot of common goals. Now let’s dig a bit deeper on each type of anvil.
Forging Anvils OR Blacksmith’s Anvil
These anvils are in general much heavier than others. Might end up weighing up to 200 lbs.
Forging Anvils has some unique parts which make it identifiable and super useful for blacksmiths. They are-
Horns – The extended and horn-like part is the Horn. It’s used for curving your metals.
Cutting Face – A small flat portion that’s basically there for cutting your metals. But why? Cause if you do it on the face of the anvil you’ll be creating dents. Which in turn will damage your projects?
Face – Pretty obvious, it’s where you do your hammering.
Pritchel Hole – Small round hole. It’s about ½ inch in diameter.
Hardie Hole – This square hole is used for putting Hardie Tools and is about three-quarters of an inch. There are different types of Hardie Tools and all of them are super handy.
To a noob, this will seem like a forging anvil but they are the highly specialized anvil for farriers (smith who crafts horseshoes).
Most of these have most of its mass on the horn and just enough on the base to keep the thing in balance.
Nowadays farrier anvils come with a couple of things like the clip horn, turning cam and an extra big circular hole. Clips horns are for toe clips and turning cam is for adjusting a horseshoe.
This genre of the anvil is hardly available in 2018 but small ones are still manufactured by Peddinghaus and a handful of manufacturers.
These are designed to work with sheet metals and irons for your artistic projects. One’s for sheet metal ain’t too large. Weighs in around 20 lbs.
The blowhorn stake anvil being the most common there are a dozen other stake anvils.
These are just small anvils to be placed on your bench for hammering your workpieces.
As simple as it might sound the bench anvils got a couple of different types like the one somewhat similar to a London type. Then there’s European double horned and the classic double horned.
Jeweler’s anvil is still the same as it was a couple of centuries back. The body’s rectangular with long and slender bricks.
It might have a large base to be properly balanced and placed on plane surfaces. Might also have stakes to serve the purpose of fixing it on someplace.
Understanding Types of Work & Anvil Metal Type
I talked with a couple of my pals who are pros in this field about the metals for anvils. And here’s more or less how they ordered metals for anvil construction.
- Forged Steel
- Steel Plate on Wrought Body
- Cast Tool Steel
- Steel Plate on Cast Iron
- Hardened Ductile Iron
- Chilled Cast Iron
- Cast Iron
Forged steel anvils are forever considered the best for its rebound and durability. But when I say that these are expensive as hell, I am not joking around. Next in line considering availability is the cast iron.
Though cast irons are soft, still good heat-treated cast iron ones are indistinguishable from the top-notch forged steel anvils. Obviously cast iron’s cheaper and a bit under graded but if you buy from a well-named brand you’ll have nothing to worry about.
You need to have a proper understanding of your work environment and a good idea of what you’ll be doing before deciding on the weight of the anvil.
You’d want the heaviest anvil you can lay your hand’s on. But think twice before doing that. Why? That’s because mobility is an issue. Will be needing to move the anvil from one place to another? If so, then an anvil within 100 to about 150 lbs is the wisest choice.
The size of the project that you’ll be taking under is also an issue. If all you’ll be doing are small ones then I’d suggest that you get one in between 75 to 125 lbs. If you’re into architectural works or sculpting then your go to anvil will be 200 lbs.
Our Recommended Best Anvils
1. RIDGID 69622 model 5 Forged Anvil, Peddinghaus Anvil
Max strength and durability is assured by the high-grade steel and drop forging. Moreover, the working face has been induction hardened and ground hardened to provide a superb working surface.
About the dimensioning, face widths about 3 inches, length’s 8 inches. The horn on the side extends to about 5 ½ inches. Entire length would be about 18¾ inches.
You’ll find both Hardie and pritchel hole on the anvil. That’s a huge advantage.
Extremely portable. Weighing just about 77 lbs.’ in kilos that’d be 35 kgs. One people or two at max can move it from here to there. Or you can go old school and use a hand cart to move it around.
As a token of confidence RIDGID is providing its buyers with a lifetime of warranty.
It’s got no holes in the base to fixed at some place.
2. Olympia Tools 38-785 100 lbs Anvil
Not too small not the too big anvil, perfect for your too small to your too big projects.
Features and Benefits
It’s a London type anvil minus the Pritchel hole.
Upon arrival, Y’all will find that its face is perfectly smooth, no unevenness whatsoever.
Unlike anvil’s nowadays this one didn’t miss out on having a Hardie hole. It’s placed just perfectly just on the opposite side of the horn. Hence making them just perfect for using a series of Hardie tools.
Another eye-catching feature that you might miss out on is the holes on the base for attaching the anvil to the stand. There’s ain’t one or two but four of ‘em. It’s never ever going to move from its place if you fix it to a stand.
Speaking of moving, what if you need to move it around? Come on, it weighs just 100 lbs. You can move it around….. trust me you got this. Well, if you can’t, tagging along with another of your pals will get the job done eh!
Last but not the least you’ll be getting an extra surface of cutting your stuff. So, no worries about destroying your face or the horn.
No matter how convincing I might have sounded till now, it’s got a couple of cons hiding in its pocket.
CAST IRON……yeah cast iron it is. Pros put cast iron on the bottom of the hierarchy of anvils depending on the build material. You’re thinking it can’t be that bad, right? You’ll not be getting enough rebound and be hammering for hours to get the shape you want.
3. Olympia Tools 38-789 9 Lb.
The best for the price.
Features and Benefits
Just 9 lbs in weight. You’ll be carrying it around with one hand. And if you want it to be mounted or fixed at some place you’ve got four holes on the base to accomplish that.
Its compact size makes it the perfect anvil for hobbyists. You’ve got a face of 5½ x 2 inch and a horn extending up to 3½ inches.
Big and level surface makes it easier to work with all sorts of projects.
Hardie hole towards the heel makes the anvil a lot handier for using your Hardie tools.
Ruggedly constructed with cast iron. The durability is so-so but for the price, I’d have to say it’s just great.
Bumps on the sides just like the NC anvil I talked about last. So, no 90 degrees bending on this one eh?
And cast iron is cast iron, pieces of metal will keep falling from the sides soon enough.
Would have been better if it just had a Pritchel hole.
4. NC Big Face Anvil
It’s light, it’s handy, it’s STEEL.
Benefits and Features
It’s a 70 lbs farrier’s anvil. The best thing about it is that it’s made out of steel thus giving it a kick-ass rebound.
If you’ve looked at it you’ve seen all these holes. The smaller circular hole is the Pritchel hole. Next to that is the 1¼ inch big circular hole for curling heels. Then there’s the obvious Hardie hole, it’s 1 inch, in case you were wondering.
On two sides of the Hardie hole, you’ll find clip horns. One’s square clip horn and the other’s triangular clip horn. And the horn’s 3½ x 8 inches.
Game changer about this anvil is the widened 4” face. The face is 4 x 6 inches, superb for any project.
On the back, you’ll see turning heels for making horseshoes. But if you’re creative it’ll help you lot with any project at hand. The heel itself is 3¼ x 5 inches.
Hardie hole attaches the horn to the main body, this might not be much of an issue for light projects but for heavier blacksmithing, it’s a risk factor.
It might be good to have a “Big Face” but the bump destroys the sides of the anvil to be used as a second hammering surface in case you need to make 90 degrees.
5. SE 8753JA Jeweler’s Anvil
Features and Benefits
It’s forged steel. That alone says a lot about the quality and durability of the thing. If you’re geeky then here’s the number for you. The hardness id about 52-55 HRC on the Rockwell scale.
Being double horned makes the SE 8753JA even handier. One has a bit of a flat surface and the other’s completely round. Flat one even has a hole in it for threading wires to keep ‘em in place.
It’s the anvil if you’re into a bit too detail in your works.
Some buyers seem to be having an issue with the dimensioning of the thing. It’s 2 inches high, some can get over this but being just over 1 inch wide is a bummer. Even the round horn is smaller than size 6 ring!
A General Buying Guide to Buy Anvil
Anvils are the most important thing for forging. You’ll be saving a lot of sweat dropping hours by getting a quality anvil.
Here’s how you do it.
First and foremost is choosing what to get. If you’ve gone through the types of anvil’s that I have discussed previously and cross-referenced that with types of works then eh voila you’ve already made up your mind about what which one to get.
Anvil Metal Type
A lot of blacksmiths will put it straight on your face “Just don’t get CAST IRON”. Time has passed and so has the tech. Now heat treating can increase the durability of the cast iron a lot more than they can imagine. I’ve said this once and say it again make sure that you get one from a well-known brand if you’re getting a cast iron.
Needless to say, forged steel makes the anvils best. But they are EXPENSIVE.
If money is an issue then there’s always the good ol’ railroad track. About a foot length will get the job done.
It’s all in Newton’s third law. A nerd will get what um talking about.
Joke’s apart, rebound is how far up the anvil will send your hammer when you drop (NOT THROW) your hammer on the anvil.
What’s the big deal with rebound? The greater the rebound the greater the density, the durability of the anvil. For a blacksmith, life becomes hell lot easier with a good rebound.
Rebound is usually measured by using a bearing ball and a meter scale. Drop the ball, don’t bounce or throw it. The see how far up is has come back. Divide the distance it has come back by the one from which it was dropped and multiply it by hundred to get the rebound in percentage. Better anvil packs a rebound greater than 90%.
It’s a MUST check when you are buying an anvil. If the face has any dents or scratches on them then they will be imprinted on the workpiece you’ll be hammering on the anvil.
Put your fingertip and drag it around to see if there’s any unevenness.
Gaps Underneath Faceplate
A lot of anvils have their faceplate welded on to the body. It’s only natural that there’ll be gaps in between them at times due to defected welding. If there’s any then it’ll cause the face to come off eventually.
Some are forged from a single piece of metal.
Welded ones are fine too as long as you check if there are any gaps or repair marks on the sides. Also slightly hammer around all over the face check if you hear any echoes. The echoes confirm defected faceplate union with the body.
It’s a MUST check.
Pritchel and Hardie Holes
The thing to check about this is they are shaped as the should be. And obviously, check if there are any bumps in the hole. If there is then your Hardie or Pritchel tools won’t be getting there.
Having addressed the issues like which anvil to get in which weight range. Which type of metal will be the best and providing a step by step buying guide for buying THE best anvil for ya is what I’ve tried to do so far.
I’ve brought up ways and tests to quality check the anvil you’re about to buy. All of these together is bound to get you home with the best anvil for your sort of projects.