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Anvil recommendation

I am considering the addition of an anvil and anvil stump for use in my shop. I use mostly silver and the forging is mostly ring and bangle sized objects. I dont really have access to an actual tree stump, so was considering this stump from Rio:
https://www.riogrande.com/product/anvil-stump/113834

and either the 30 or 75lb anvil from ottofrei

or this Rigid anvil from amazon:

Any advice on any of these or advice on 35 lb vs 70 lb?

Thanks!

I have used a piece of railroad rail and a stump made from 2X6 lumber for nearly 50 years to forge heavy bracelets. Go to my website www.robmeixner.com click on the “more” tab and then the “shop shots” tab to see them. The trick is to find the rail and a machinist to grind and polish the top of it. You can also stop by a local welding shop to see if they can provide a heavy enough piece of steel to serve as an anvil. It doesn’t have to be shaped like a traditional anvil to do the work that we do. This steel is typically mild steel and you will have to have it dressed from time to time depending on how you abuse it. Good luck…Rob

1 Like

Thanks Rob- I am certain that your setup would suit me just fine (awesome shop by the way!!), but at this point I would prefer a quick solution that doesn’t require much effort on my part (I fully acknowledge my laziness with respect to this).

Also thank you Rob for mentioning that the traditional anvil shape isn’t necessary for the work we do. I’m really curious how those with traditional anvils make use of the horn? At this point I just need a flat heavy surface supported by whatever makes pounding hammers against silver an efficient process.

Considering our ancestry it should be no surprise Rob and I have similar anvils. Depending on the purpose rail was made in different cross sections and heights. Trolley rail had a different shape from foundry rail and train rail. I have pieces of RR rail and what I believe is foundry rail from my Dad and Rob was the source for that. I use a stump mad of a tall plywood box filled with sand and I have a stump made from solid 6 x 6 clad in 2 x 8. The 6 x stock came from a local builder of pole barns. They frequently will have a cut off.

The rail has radiused surfaces on the inside of the rail and and slightly less radii on the outside of the rail. I am told some rail is made of two types of steel. Some have a more hardened surface on the top and a mild steel shoe and web. I would imagine rail would be work hardened on the top with use. Google railroad rail and you will learn how many variations on the theme there are.

You could use any chunk of steel you can find for an anvil. Round, square, flat. it needs to be able to be surfaced and not necessarily a traditional anvil shape. Probably how much you can lift is a major consideration.

Don

hi,

i think i would venture to suggest the 70lb

i got my 70lb anvil on ebay…vintage

70lbs is max usps shipping weight
i forget the price, but it was far less pricey than new…

the postal worker carried it to the front steps…maybe the weight shifted…and he dropped it(?)…the thin wood crate was busted open🤣

had the face and horn dressed at a great little local machine shop for under $100

i have read that forged is better than cast…?

per my machinist, my anvil has a forged top, on a cast body…

julie

hi again,

regarding a “stump”

i initially found, twice!…and attempted to prepare a large stump…did not succeed…yet…it just started me adding to my power tool wish list…

(i did see a neat trick on how to cut the stump ends level with a chain saw…tape paper together, wrap around, keep edged lined up, spray paint to mark line…)

anyway, then i started researching 4x4 bases…again with the power tools…

i decided i wanted to sit while using my anvil…

i first sat down, and bent my arm, to figure out what height i needed my anvil to be…

i ended up making something unorthodox, but it works for my small space…for now…

i got a rubbermade plastic step stool
put 2 pieces of 4x4 on top (home depot cut them for me!)

put the anvil on top that
and used ratchet straps to tie down the anvil, around the (angled!) anvil feet and under the stool

i didnt need much height the anvil top is only about 20” off the ground…

it makes it easy to kinda slide it around if i need to move it…

(until i get power tools…to construct a solid4x4 base or have the stamina to prepare my stump) haha!

p.s. i forgot to mention…the machinist radius’d one side of the anvil, and made a sharper edge on the other side.

the anvils in your links look nice!
i am coveting the Ridgid

julie

…i saw a video on how to test the “rebound” on an anvil, using a large ball bearing and watching the rebound height…and listening to the sound…

i will see if i can find it later…

(useful for in case i saw an anvil for sake, in person, like at the old tool sale…)

the description on the Otto Frei anvils made me recall this video

julie

While that Rio “stump” looks like a nice piece of kit, I would call some firewood providers in my area and see if they couldn’t deliver a real stump to my specifications. The anvils look nice, but, as les freres Miexner note, any piece of steel would work. I recently looked on ebay and found various pieces of steel plate for under $40 each. Personally, I got a piece of rail from a local scrap yard and spent a long time with a belt sander getting it polished up, but that’s just me. -royjohn

here is a video i found comparing rebounds of 4 anvil types…interesting…can fast forward thru the intro…

this one is interesting…testing all over the anvil

julie

Thank you Don, Rob, Julie and royjohn. All good info. I’ve been researching anvils for the last few days and while there is much info from blacksmiths, etc, there is very little from jewelry makers. I do plan on several silver projects which will require some degree of forging and I dont think the 8lb anvil I’ve been using is the best solution, although it has worked for me up until now.

Would a simple bench block work for you for now? They are fairly inexpensive, other than the shipping cost, and you might even be able to get a Durston model. What is important is that the surface be as smooth as possible, even polished. You should also polish your hammers. What ever surface hits your work will transfer its texture to your work. I polish my hammers and anvil on a regular basis and especially before I am forging a wide bracelet that will have a final high polish. You can do touch up with simichrome paste polish. It also works well to clean your rolling mill rollers.

   I have to admit that I am fascinated by information like rebound distances on anvils. And perhaps if I were a blacksmith or an iron worker I would be more concerned about the rebound on the anvils I use. But I am not. 

   Sterling compacts pretty good on my rails. And it absorbs the impact of my various hammers quite well. I am able to work copper and brass sheet pretty well. The amount of sinking and raising I do is accomplished well on my flat rail. That my work is done consistently is the important thing for me. I honestly see no benefit to a rebound from the anvil for the metal work I do. It may make a difference when I start making knives. The test itself was interesting. However, I stopped watching when he was talking about Dana(?) not being there for the finish. Did he mention that the mass of the rail was concentrated at the top and the web or rib of the rail was significantly less mass that the other anvils?  With the impact being dispersed out in direction as well as down I think that would need to be considered for his test. If it was mentioned, I missed it.

Don

I have to admit that I am fascinated by information like rebound distances on anvils. And perhaps if I were a blacksmith or an iron worker I would be more concerned about the rebound on the anvils I use. But I am not. Sterling compacts pretty good on my rails. And it absorbs the impact of my various hammers quite well. I am able to work copper and brass sheet pretty well. The amount of sinking and raising I do is accomplished well on my flat rail. That my work is done consistently is the important thing for me. I honestly see no benefit to a rebound from the anvil for the metal work I do. It may make a difference when I start making knives. The test itself was interesting. However, I stopped watching when he was talking about Dana(?) not being there for the finish. Did he mention that the mass of the rail was concentrated at the top and the web or rib of the rail was significantly less mass that the other anvils? I think that would need to be considered for his test. If it was mentioned, I missed it.

Don

Based on a how-to video I saw in class once, height of the anvil surface relative to one’s shoulder, how one holds and swings the hammer, and rebound make for ease of forging for hours on end.

There’s nothing wrong with having everything work in your favor, but if you forge for short periods only, all that probably matters less.

Neil A

Hi,

Yes, all so true!

I think I just went down this particular rabbit hole when I was researching anvils.

I had no personal experience using an anvil, and I was considering both new and used, and possibly finding one at an old tool sale…and so I wanted to know how to evaluate a potential find if I were
to come across one, in person.

i just remembered this video from Kevin Potter!

this is a follow up video to his previous “how to make and anvil” video

in this video, he shows and talks about different anvils and their makeup…very cool.

(he talks about the Peddinghaus that i think was linked above)

Julie

1 Like

Thanks Rob. I have two bench blocks, a 4" and a 6" and if I had nothing else I probably could use these but I usually use my 8lb anvil instead. I guess I won’t know how much more efficient a heavier anvil with a stump support will be until I try it :slight_smile:

I’ve been a jeweler and metalsmith for a long time. Over the years I’ve used steel surface blocks—hardened or mild steel-- the flat “anvil’ area on a vise and anvils.
For most jewelry, any of the solutions contributed in this thread work pretty well. But at some point I bought a beat up antique anvil—horn, heel, hardy, etc. What I noticed was that it actually opened doors for me in expanding the scope of my work. I probably would have moved in the direction of larger work in any case, but anvils and raising stakes helped make that easier.
I now have two larger anvils. One is a beat up old 150# brute which I forge steel belt buckles and sculptural elements on as well as bronze, silver and even gold. I hot forge on this anvil.
The other anvil its a Nimba Titan. Cast, hardened steel made by my friend Jim in Port Townsend WA. I use it more for jewelry work and finer forging. Crisp edges, etc.
The Nimba is a double-horned anvil like the Rigid that was posted. In fact, I had think hard about which one to go with. I’m happy with the Nimba.
The Nimba has a very round horn, which I use for all sorts of things, like forging and rounding up larger circular shapes and even rings.
My older anvil has a lot of rebound and ring. In fact The ringing was a problem which I dealt with by wrapping a chain around the waist and cushioning the bottom.
In the end, I really love anvils.
RE the Rio anvil stand: You could easily make a stand from 2x material. The Rio stand will have a fixed height and a larger footprint due to the splayed legs/feet.
Happy hunting!
One more thing—For years I used a smaller Cliff Carrol farriers anvil for jewelry. Worked great but the horn was kind of soft. Still, it was a good anvil at a low price.
Take care,
Andy

http://www.nimbaanvils.com/titan.php

i love the horns on this!

image

julie

While I have never felt the need for a real anvil, these are cool. One may go on my ever getting longer list…Rob