The last time you probably saw an anvil was in your favorite cartoon, or in a period piece about the railroads. Anvils are an important tool for blacksmiths, rail workers, and weapons makers among other industries.
What you may not know is that some of the best anvils are made in America. USA made anvils feature a superior hardness, great rebound, and a perfectly milled shape to ensure a sound strike.
Anvil Application Overview
An anvil is mainly used to assist with smithing metal. It is the inertial mass or opposing force against which melted metal is shaped. A high-quality anvil has a high level of hardness and is very heavy.
The heaviness is needed to prevent it from moving when used as a tool for forging. Although modern welding technology allows for metal manipulation without an anvil, it is still the main tool used by metal workers even today.
Most anvils are made out of cast steel that has been tempered by eclectic induction or high levels of heat. There are many different sizes and shapes of anvils, but the most common is the London Pattern. This shape has a step, horn, a hardy hole, a face, and a pritchel hole.
Why Do You Need A Anvil?
There are many uses for anvils. Most are multi-purpose though there are also customized anvils used for different fields. Veterinary, or farrier smithing makes use of anvils to forge horseshoes out of metal.
An anvil will help make the curvature of each horseshoe perfect along with sharp radii. Blacksmiths may use a wide assortment of anvils to forge metal for a variety of purposes. A blacksmith is a general type of metal worker that is able to craft items as basic as a work tool to a piece of fine art.
Silversmithing uses an anvil though it does not need to be as hard as an anvil used for steel. Coppersmithing is another field that makes use of anvils. Copper is another form of metal that is easier to manipulate when hot or even melted.
Copper is softer than other metals so any anvil will work as long as the shape meets the smithy’s needs. Gold workers also use anvils, but they tend to be much denser and smaller than other types.
Weapon makers often will use anvils to help shape parts of their weapons, or in the case of arrows or blades, the whole unit. Most of these smiths are very specific in their practice and will generally specialize in one type of weaponsmithing.
Artists who manipulate tin, aluminum, or other types of metal may also make use of various types of anvil.
What To Look For In A Anvil
Buying a new anvil is always the best course of action regardless of what you plan to forge. Of course, if you happen to be gifted a used anvil there is no reason to decline, but a new one will ensure that you don’t have to spend time reshaping it.
A new anvil should have smooth, flat surfaces. There should be no defects at all such as pits, craters, warping, or an uneven base. A new, high-quality anvil will last several lifetimes with proper care and storage.
If you are in the market for a used anvil, you will need to take extra care before making a purchase. Make sure to check for heavy wear and cumulative defects. Ensure that the anvil is level with a flat deck. You should always check this with a ruler or a level.
If there are dips or gaps, you will end up spending time to regrind the surface to a useable state. The Pritchel hole and the Hardy hole should be clean and fit the tools you intend to use. Never buy an anvil made from low-quality steel or cast iron.
Most anvils have a horn, if the model you are viewing is missing its horn and one should be there, pass on the purchase. The anvil should have clean edges that are very crisp. Always check the hardness of an anvil with a bounce test.
Certain materials require a specific hardness, so if you buy a soft anvil, it will just be a waste of money. Dropping a ball bearing and calculating the bounce back will let you know how hard your anvil is. The higher the return bounce, the harder the anvil.
The Benefits of Buying A Anvil Made In The USA
There are a lot of reasons to purchase an anvil made in the USA, but the top reason is the assurance of quality. America has long been a top producer of high-quality anvils and continues to hold the top spot in the world today. US-based anvil makers forge their products with the purest metals to ensure exact hardness levels.
Anvils don’t come cheap. Although they may be low-tech tools, their casting, and their durability are very important. US-based companies that produce anvils use high quality, high impact proof materials to ensure longevity and superior function.
Top Anvil Brands In The USA
JHM Anvils is one of the top sellers of anvils in the US today. All of their products are made in the US and shipped worldwide. Holland Anvil is another US-based brand out of Holland, Michigan.
All anvils at JHM are forged in-house and the heat proofing and grinding are completed in local Michigan dealerships. They use mainly ductile iron and H13 iron for their castings.
Delta anvils are very popular among blacksmiths. The brand is well known for its durable castings and forged fabrication methods.
Cliff Carroll anvils are popular with both blacksmiths and farriers for their solid shape and their excellent form when crafting horseshoes.
Forging The Way Ahead With US-Made Anvils
When it comes to quality anvils, there is no comparison to those made in the USA. We hope our post will help you choose a brand that fits your needs and your budget.