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The Anvil

Here is a picture of an anvil with explanations of the various parts. There are a surprising number of unique characteristics about anvils. At first glance you might see that it is a flat surface that is hammered on. And while this is true there are actually quite a few other characteristics of the anvil that are very useful to the blacksmith. I will go over these features.


The markings and weight of the anvil

Typically an anvil will have markings on it that will display the company that made it and the weight of the anvil. As far as the weight goes there are several different ways that this is done. American made anvils will often be marked in pounds, european anvils often marked in kilograms and older anvils, particularly from great britain could have a peculiar marking system called "Hundred Weight" . It will be shown as three digits with a dot between each digit. Something like this:

2 - 2 - 6

The HundredWeight Anvil marking: the first digit is multiplied by 112 pounds, the second digit is multiplied by 28 and the last digit is the remaining pounds. And all three of these results are added together. So an anvil marked with 2-2-6 would actually weigh 286 pounds. Darn big anvil!

An anvil
(A typical anvil)


The Parts of an Anvil


  • Horn - Used for forming curves in metal
  • Cutting table - used for cutting metal. You don't want to cut metal on the face of the anvil. It could cause damage. The cutting table usually is of a softer metal than the face of the anvil.
  • Face - Where you do most of your hammering
  • Pritchel hole a hole used to punch holes through metal
  • Hardy hole - Tools are placed in this so you can work use the tool. A good example would be a hot cut tool. it is placed in the hardy hole and it has a cutting edge on the top. So you place the metal to be cut on top of this tool then strike it. I will show more about this.

A Video showing you the parts and uses of the Anvil


Return to lesson 1 of the Blacksmithing Course



Northern Industrial Cast Iron Anvil - 60-Lb.

Note from Will: There is no Hardy Hole or Pritchel hole in this anvil and that is a consideration. It limits what you can do with it. But it is cheap and easy to get.



Ridgid 68622 Model 5 6-3/7 x 7-3/4-Inch Forged Anvil

The Ridgid 69622 is a model 5 horn anvil. With a face of 3" by 8" this anvil has a large top face, which is ground and drop-forged for a high quality and large work space. This model comes equipped with a Pritchel hole to support the use of various tools as well as an upsetting block.



A note from Will: I own this book and it is a terrific beginning point for learning blacksmithing. I also own other blacksmithing and sword making books.


A Blacksmithing Primer: A Course in Basic and Intermediate Blacksmithing

Virtually every task beginning and intermediate blacksmiths must master is presented in this excellent book. Over 400 detailed drawings help increase comprehension levels. This is a reference manual that will be found lying open on the workbench more often than found on the bookshelf and is highly recommended to anyone swinging a hammer to shape hot metal. This is an excellent introduction to this glorious craft and an excellent resource for advancing your knowledge, skills, and vision for blacksmithing.



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