Anvils are heavy, bulky blocks of solid metal. A blacksmith anvil can weigh somewhere in the range of 75 to 500 pounds (34-226 kg) and can exceed 1000 pounds (453 kg). But there are some versions weighing as little as eight ounces (220 g). It all depends on what the material is and purpose for using the anvil.
A blacksmith anvil should withstand constant and consistent hammer impacts, so toughness and durability is tantamount. If you repair or create jewelry, weapons, tools or other metal workings, a blacksmithing anvil is an absolute must-have.
What Materials Compose an Anvil?
The material is the main factor in determining the weight of an anvil. For example, cast iron will weigh less than steel. But steel anvils are smaller than cast iron ones. The material composing an anvil will be the main influencing factor in purchasing a new anvil.
There are some materials, like aluminum, that you’ll never see in a blacksmith anvil simply because they’re not solid enough. They’d burst after the first use. But, stronger materials can end up being an unnecessary expense for small workings or if use is rare. As always, there’s benefits and pitfalls to every material.
- Steel is the most durable material for an anvil and preferred for heavy-duty work.
- Cast Tool Steel is an amalgam alloy that incorporates steel but not as heavy. It can take hammer impact well, but there will be some scraping with every hit.
- Wrought Iron with a Steel Plate is a perfect material for hobbyists. It has great durability but it’s a little lower in quality and price than other steel types.
- Forged Tool Steel is the most prized type of anvil. It’s tough, heavy and expensive. But, if you can afford the expense, it’s well worth the purchase.
- Cast Iron is a very brittle yet lightweight material compared to that of steel. This is great for simple tools but if you’re looking to do weapons like swords and axes, don’t use cast iron.
- Chilled Cast Iron withstands abrasion and useful if you often scrape the anvil. This is regular cast iron but not as strong as steel.
- Cast Iron with a Steel Plate has the nice, light weight of iron but contains steel’s durability. It has a cast iron body with a steel-plated exterior.
- Hardened Ductile Iron gives a lighter weight than steel but maintains steel’s durability. It’s able to handle powerful impacts and easier to use.
What Contributes to an Anvil’s Total Weight?
Pegging an exact weight is difficult because of the huge range of anvils available. The anvil’s crafting purpose and materials will always be the determiners in its size and weight. Smaller anvils are far less heavy than larger ones. As a general rule, the heavier the anvil, the less likely it will become brittle or move around while working.
If you mean to create or repair jewelry, then a smaller anvil is appropriate. But if you’re going to make axes, swords or other large tools, the anvil should weigh 500 pounds or more. Evaluating the various factors combined with its intended purpose will help give a better understanding.
What to Consider Before Purchasing a Blacksmith Anvil?
Don’t cheap out on an anvil in lieu of trying to save money. If you want a portable one that’s light, it’s because you’re making something like jewelry. Any other purpose could result in needing a repair or purchasing another, which isn’t very practical.
What About Beginner Blacksmiths?
If you’re a beginner blacksmith, getting a new one can be a little tricky. The many factors and aspects involved can lead to selecting the wrong one. It’s unfortunate to find out you bought an incorrect size and/or material once you start using the anvil.
But, you may want to buy a cheaper one to start to see how it feels and to clarify, for yourself, what you’re going to need. You can examine your enjoyment of the anvil and how it works for your purposes. Try to purchase your anvil in-store, though, because the shipping costs may end up being more than the price of the anvil itself.
Before purchasing a blacksmith anvil, ask yourself the following questions:
What are you using the anvil for?
Knowing what you’re going to use the anvil for is the main deciding factor before selecting the size and material. Are you using it for tool repair or creating jewelry? Larger workings require more durability than smaller craftings.
Does the anvil require easy transportation?
Because most anvils are very heavy, finding a quality one to handle tougher jobs that’s also light enough for portability will be like finding a needle in a haystack. But there are some portable anvils for bringing it to and from a friend’s house, a class or work. You can also get a traveling case or use a dolly to move it between locations.
At what frequency will you use the anvil?
Determine how often you intend to use the anvil. Will you use it once a month, once every other month, twice a year or everyday?
How much money can you spend?
If you’re serious about buying and using an anvil, don’t cheap out on your purchase. You want to get the most expensive one that fits inside your budget. Of course, you don’t want to break the bank, but you may be able to set up a payment plan corresponding with the frequency of its usage.
Last update on 2021-10-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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Blacksmith anvils can be heavy or light, it all depends on what you’re going for. If you want a cheap anvil as a tester, go for it! But don’t try to pinch pennies on something you know you’re going to use often.
There aren’t too many things to consider before buying an anvil, but thet are important. Don’t over analyze it too much but understand the involved aspects to make a better and more sound decision.