Anvils: A beginner buyers guide

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Birch Axe

Member
Apr 28, 2018
41
11
The Woods
I realise someone saying you don't need a real anvil whilst practically swimming in them is a bit hypocritical. Maybe I'll do a video using an anvil substitute at some point if I ever get time.

Andy

I think it proves that anyone can get started in the hobby, you don't need to go out and spend hundreds on a anvil when an old sledge will do.:)
 
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Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
3,106
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Scotland
Absolutely. An old sledge is more than adequate to get you up and running.

The anvils viking smiths used were even smaller than that and look what they could produce. ;)

All the best
Andy
 
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VaughnT

Forager
Oct 23, 2013
159
21
Lost in South Carolina
I realise someone saying you don't need a real anvil whilst practically swimming in them is a bit hypocritical.

Not at all. I get this all the time from newbies, but I remind them that I've been around and looking for anvils for years, while they just got the bug a week ago. Stands to reason that we'd have more or better tooling than some guy that watched the first season of Forged in Fire and decided to start making samurai swords. ;)

Even with all my fancy kit, I still can't reproduce the Sutton Hoo helm or a dozen other artifacts made in the most primitive conditions! Any hardware store in the land has a blacksmith shop that'd make the viking smiths drool with envy.
 

jpmorgan88

New Member
May 28, 2019
4
1
43
USA
Hello, I'm new to this page and wondering if someone might be able to help me identify an anvil I purchased this weekend. The guy said it was 175lbs. but he didn't know much about it. I hope I bought me a GOOD first anvil. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

UAFLJvt.jpg


FCBJFNb.jpg


TQcB0ex.jpg
Hopefully these pictures show up from Imgur?
 
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C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,356
1,330
Bedfordshire
Hello JPMorgan88,
The photos are showing now. Not sure how you went about posting them, but you had an extra "http://
at the end of all the picture links, so they didn't show. I cleaned up the links. If you can remember what it was you did to post the pictures, remember to try it a slightly different way if you need to post more ;) Maybe Imgur gives you a ready to paste link, and you used the Insert Image button here, which wraps IMG tags around a link, so doubling up?

Sorry, can't tell you anything about the anvil. Hope someone else can help.

All the best

Chris
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,866
1,785
McBride, BC
I'd buy an anvil, 150lbs plus, in a minute if I ever find one. I like the looks of that one.
a) the size and shape, it looks battle-tested and bash-worthy already on a nice base.
b) appears to be set up so it won't "walk around" with repeated hits.
All I have is some pieces of railroad track and they wiggle.
c) I'd like to make the effort to be certain that at least, some of the top is quite flat.

I hope that you can make many fine things on that anvil.
 
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jpmorgan88

New Member
May 28, 2019
4
1
43
USA
Hello JPMorgan88,
The photos are showing now. Not sure how you went about posting them, but you had an extra "http://
at the end of all the picture links, so they didn't show. I cleaned up the links. If you can remember what it was you did to post the pictures, remember to try it a slightly different way if you need to post more ;) Maybe Imgur gives you a ready to paste link, and you used the Insert Image button here, which wraps IMG tags around a link, so doubling up?

Sorry, can't tell you anything about the anvil. Hope someone else can help.

All the best

Chris
Thanks for cleaning up my posted images, I wasn't really sure how to add pictures. I'll try better next time.
 

jpmorgan88

New Member
May 28, 2019
4
1
43
USA
I'd buy an anvil, 150lbs plus, in a minute if I ever find one. I like the looks of that one.
a) the size and shape, it looks battle-tested and bash-worthy already on a nice base.
b) appears to be set up so it won't "walk around" with repeated hits.
All I have is some pieces of railroad track and they wiggle.
c) I'd like to make the effort to be certain that at least, some of the top is quite flat.

I hope that you can make many fine things on that anvil.
Thanks for your thoughts on this anvil.. I'm a little annoyed as tonight I removed the anvil from the base and weighed it, the 175# I bought turned out to be 110#...
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,866
1,785
McBride, BC
Just 110#, huh? Still looks stable enough to bash on for a long time.
Now, it's time to find/buy/build some tools.

I've tried a little copper forging to make a knife blade (pre-Bronze-age)
but there was no way I had the heat to try to forge an adze blade.

You got a nice big base. I'd be very happy with that.
 

Keith_Beef

Native
Sep 9, 2003
1,331
238
52
Yvelines, north-west of Paris, France.
Thanks for your thoughts on this anvil.. I'm a little annoyed as tonight I removed the anvil from the base and weighed it, the 175# I bought turned out to be 110#...

Well 110lbs is 50kg, so it would make a very nice little travelling anvil. A little charcoal forge, this anvil, and you could do smithing displays at the state fair or a Ren Fayre.

I think that farriers, who usually travel to the horse they need to shoe, work with anvils as light at 30kg or so. Some farrier's vans have a little gas forge and anvil on arms that swing out from the back.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,866
1,785
McBride, BC
Local farrier is set up like that = good anvil on the back of the truck and a propane forge that he can move from his shop.
12 sizes of shoes at my last count. I buy used hoof knives to be modded for wood carving.
 

Arran Q

New Member
Dec 6, 2019
1
0
31
Ireland
jpmorgan88, I'm almost certain what you have there is a Peter Wright. The stamped lettering would have said:

PETER
WRIGHT
PATENT
ENGLAND

110lbs is just shy of a hundredweight so see if you can find a trace of "1 0 0" stamped below that text somewhere. Peter Wrights are well respected and coveted from what little I know so you should be well happy with it.

Just signed up here to join this thread and see if anyone could tell me anything about my own first anvil, bought just this week. No maker's mark or logo at all, but I have found a stamped serial number (5236) on the left toe under the horn and a separate number 2 on the right toe. Weight is about 150kg/330lbs.

f2M5hVM.jpg

By4GaJx.jpg

V81AyxW.jpg

rPLjWPI.jpg

c7WhkNH.jpg


The strange depression in the bottom and the particular typeface on those stamps are the closest I have to distinguishing features, as well as a third handling hole in the middle of the foot under the heel. Lovely ring off it when struck, seems like a forged iron with a steel face but it's impossible to make out a weld line at the moment. Cheers in advance for any help!

P.S. I also don't know the proper name for the Hardie tool seen in the first picture. Seller threw it in for free. Anyone have a clue?
 

Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
3,106
80
33
Scotland
Looks like a good anvil to me Arran, you might find some more information on the sides of the anvil if you clean it up a bit. A wire wheel on an angle grinder does a good job of that.

The hole in the bottom has something in it. It's usually a square hole an inch or two deep.

As for the hardy / hardie tool my guess is a home made tool, for something that needed a little horn.

All the best
Andy
 

Dave Budd

Gold Trader
Staff member
Jan 8, 2006
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Dartmoor (Devon)
www.davebudd.com
nice looking lump of metal mate! :)

I'm not one of those people who get all exited and 'up' on anvil names, styles and stories. But from odd bits that I've absorbed through brushing past/glossing over the many threads on the subject on various blacksmithing groups and forum, the numbers (I think) are actually a means of describing the weight in ye olde systems of hundred weight and portions thereof.

Like Andy says, the hole in the bottom looks to have something stuck in there. The hardie tool is a bick/bickern for those of in the UK rather than the American name of a horn. They are always handy to have them in different sizes and shapes, something like that would be ideal for chain making or maybe something with small sockets like a chisel
 
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Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
3,106
80
33
Scotland
nice looking lump of metal mate! :)

I'm not one of those people who get all exited and 'up' on anvil names, styles and stories. But from odd bits that I've absorbed through brushing past/glossing over the many threads on the subject on various blacksmithing groups and forum, the numbers (I think) are actually a means of describing the weight in ye olde systems of hundred weight and portions thereof.

Like Andy says, the hole in the bottom looks to have something stuck in there. The hardie tool is a bick/bickern for those of in the UK rather than the American name of a horn. They are always handy to have them in different sizes and shapes, something like that would be ideal for chain making or maybe something with small sockets like a chisel

It's a handy looking tool that's for sure.


The weight markings are always on the side of the anvil around the middle. Three sets of numbers in the hundred weight system.
Numbers on the feet are almost always a serial number of some kind. / batch numbers.

The weight system is a bit complicated, the first number is the weight in full hundredweight eg 1, 2, 3 etc. (One hundredweight = 112lbs)
The second number is the number of quarter hundred weights (28lbs) - this number is never more than 3, as 4 quarters = one full hundredweight so it would be counted in the first number.

The last number is the number of individual pounds left, up to a max of 27. As above, 28lbs would equal one quarter hundredweight so would be counted in the second number.


So for example an anvil stamped with the numbers - 2 2 12


Would weigh:
2 x 112lbs
+
2x 28lbs
+
12lbs

= 292lbs


1. 3. 27 = 112+84+27 = 223lbs.



There are companies out there that didn't use this system, typically American companies, that stamped the actual measured weight in pounds. Conversely some European / Scandinavian companies stamped the measure weight in kilo's.

All the best
Andy
 

Schwaehn

New Member
Jun 21, 2020
2
0
29
Germany
Hey there, I'm new here. Very nice post by Everything Mac, thanks for that.
I too bought an anvil and need help identifying it. It may (or may not) have a little bit of history in it that could be interesting (or not). I am located in Germany and the anvil i bought is definitely British. The shape is a classic "london pattern", just like a peter wright.
I'm pretty sure it's cast steel since the only hole is from the bottom straight up and the ring is fairly high pitch and long lasting. The only markings i could find are stamped on the opposite site of where you would normally expect the makers mark. They read as follows:

RH
1 1/4 cwt
1945
<-

I get that the cwt is the weight (around 63.5kg) and 1945 is the manufacture date, but I have no clue what the little arrow or RH means. I could not find a manufacturer with those initials.

Would be interesting to find out where it was made, who made it and how it ended up here, especially because of the manufacturing date.

 

ferretracer

Member
Nov 16, 2012
40
8
basingstoke
Hey there, I'm new here. Very nice post by Everything Mac, thanks for that.
I too bought an anvil and need help identifying it. It may (or may not) have a little bit of history in it that could be interesting (or not). I am located in Germany and the anvil i bought is definitely British. The shape is a classic "london pattern", just like a peter wright.
I'm pretty sure it's cast steel since the only hole is from the bottom straight up and the ring is fairly high pitch and long lasting. The only markings i could find are stamped on the opposite site of where you would normally expect the makers mark. They read as follows:

RH
1 1/4 cwt
1945
<-

I get that the cwt is the weight (around 63.5kg) and 1945 is the manufacture date, but I have no clue what the little arrow or RH means. I could not find a manufacturer with those initials.

Would be interesting to find out where it was made, who made it and how it ended up here, especially because of the manufacturing date.

Looking at the Arrow i would say its the the arrow which adorns most military/forces owned stuff
 

Mesquite

Anyone for sailing?
Mar 5, 2008
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Looking at the Arrow i would say its the the arrow which adorns most military/forces owned stuff

As FR said the broad arrow denotes it was a military anvil at one point and likely taken to Germany whilst the British Army had a presence there.

As for identifying the maker check out this site and be prepared to get lost for a while... :)
 

Schwaehn

New Member
Jun 21, 2020
2
0
29
Germany
Thanks for the input!
I did not know about the broad arrow, that's valuable information. Based on that I looked up what RH could be in combination with military. Could Royal Hussars be a possibility? Where's your military historian when you need one :biggrin:
I could imagine some reputable anvil makers having a production run for the military without their own label on it.
Digging through the anvil site I think my particular anvil resembles the Brooks kind the most. The heel is thicker than on a Peter Wright and the feet don't have a step.
 

demographic

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 15, 2005
4,370
381
-------------
Its not so much an anvil question but its related so...
I managed to get a load of bick irons, a kettle stake, swage blocks and if I remember right a few doming blocks
My wife, amongst her many talents makes some jewellery and I have a load of oak to make a bench out of.
These all have rectangular tapered ends to fit into an anvil. She doesn't need an anvil, waaay to big for her needs so does anyone have any pictures of an adjustable bick/whatever socket I can knock up?
Ive seen one made from angle iron but would like to see a few designs before I make one up.
I used to be a coded welder/inspector and am now a carpenter so am fairly handy.
 
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