While it is always advised to use a proper anvil when forging knives, it isn’t a requirement. In fact, using an anvil alternative Like a Railroad Track, Stone, or a piece of scrap metal Is a great way to get started in the hobby for the lowest possible price.
On this page, we are going to discuss three of the best anvil alternatives with you. However, you can deviate from this list a little bit. These are just suggestions. As long as you have a flat surface that is capable of taking huge amounts of heat, then you can probably turn it into an anvil if you really wanted.
What makes a good anvil?
In our opinion, there are a few things that you will need to think about when choosing a decent anvil alternative.
We are assuming that you are forging knives. If you are, then you need to ensure that your anvil alternative is flat. Any curves or bumps in the anvil will make it a bit too difficult to forge a knife nice and flat.
Ideally, your anvil should be large enough to take the whole blade.
You are going to be hitting that anvil a lot and with a considerable amount of force. This means that any material that you do end up using needs to be able to put up with an almost constant amount of bashing. We are going to give one anvil alternative that may not be quite as hard. That option is more of a temporary solution. More on that in a short while, though.
Able to cope with the heat
You are going to be putting a really hot piece of metal on the anvil. This means that the anvil has to not buckle under that heat. This is a pretty simple one. Most metal and stone should be capable of dealing with the heat of the hot metal.
An anvil should not be bouncing about everywhere. If that happens, then it is going to be incredibly dangerous. This means that you will need to choose an anvil alternative that has a nice and stable base to it. The heavier the material, the better.
What are the best anvil alternatives?
Here, we want to take a look at some of the best anvil alternatives. This is not a comprehensive list. We just want to give you a few ideas for what is probably going to work best when you are just getting started with forging.
Stone is the temporary method that we were talking about. Eventually, the stone is going to start chipping away. You should be able to forge a good number of knives before it gets to that point, though.
Stone is how people would have forged their knives and other tools many, many centuries ago. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find a decent bit of stone that you can use for forging knives. It is going to be free too!
This isn’t the best option available. We do suggest that you use one of the other two methods below first. If you are looking for a cheap option that you don’t plan to be using for years and years, then the stone is going to be your best option, though.
If you find somebody using an anvil alternative, nine times out of ten, they are going to be using an old railroad track. It is probably the best anvil alternative of the lot.
Railroad tracks are hard. They are able to put up with a huge amount of heat. After all, they will have trains zipping across them all day. Many of the railroad tracks have lasted decades and decades with barely a scratch upon them too.
The best part is that railroad tracks will be completely flat. They are a solid piece of engineering. They have to be like that. If they weren’t completely flat, then they would cause some rather serious accidents.
If you live close to major railroad lines, then you will probably find old pieces of railroad track coming up for sale all the time. Our suggestion is that you head to your local scrap metal dealers. They will probably have something like it for sale.
Once you have the railroad track, you will have to cut it down to size. However, if you have been keeping up to date with your knifemaking equipment, then you can just use your angle grinder. It will slice through the railroad track like butter.
If you can’t get hold of a railroad track, then you can use a piece of scrap metal. Of course, the best place to pick up some scrap metal would be to head to a scrap metal dealer. However, you can also use any old piece of metal that you have sitting around your home too, assuming that it is large and flat enough.
Probably the best scrap metal that you can use for an anvil will be iron. It isn’t too difficult to find, and it is often rather affordable. Old truck axles is as a common item used for anvils too.
Try to steer clear of aluminum and copper products. People find that these methods are just too soft for those that want an anvil.
It is probably going to be a bit tougher to shape scrap metal in comparison to an old railroad track, so try and find an old bit of scrap metal that is close to what you need. The flatter and the heavier it is, the better.
What Are The Best Anvil in the Market
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Always buy an anvil if you can afford it. However, if you are just getting started with metalworking, there is nothing that says that you can’t make your own anvil. Find a decently sized material.
Make sure it is heat resistant and capable of putting up with a good bashing and you will have something that you can use as an anvil. Just try to upgrade it in the future. Once you get your hands on a proper anvil, you will find it easier to come up with some wonderful shapes for your metals.