The cost of a blacksmith anvil varies depending on the size, shape, weight, and the material from which it is made. For someone just starting in blacksmithing, it is important to research what you exactly need to ensure you don’t overspend for features or size that won’t be necessary with the projects you are planning.
For anvils, the price can be estimated by the weight. For a typical blacksmith anvil, the cost to buy one new is $7-$10 per pound. The average cost of a used anvil is $2-$5 per pound.
Anvils can be made of cast iron or steel, and the size and shape vary greatly. Because of the costliness of an anvil and the difference that the right (or wrong!) anvil will make in the quality of your workmanship, choosing the right anvil for your money requires a little research.
Read on to find out.
What Factors Determine The Anvil Price?
It is always amazing to find how many variations on a product there can be when you really get into the nitty-gritty of a new hobby.
A blacksmith’s anvil is no exception. Trying to figure out which anvil will give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak, can be mind-boggling.
There are a few basic questions you will need to ask yourself before you spend money on an anvil.
- For what types of projects will your anvil be used?
- How heavy does your anvil need to be?
- Do you want to have an anvil that is portable and can be moved around your shop, or will it remain in one place?
- From what material should the anvil be made?
- How do I know if an anvil is of good quality?
- How much money should I spend?
If you are still in the beginning stages of blacksmithing, your answer to some or all of these questions may be… “I have no idea”.
Well, luckily there are general rules of thumb for buying an anvil even if you aren’t positive where this hobby will take you.
1. Anvil Uses
Some anvils, like farrier and jeweler’s anvils, are designed mostly for a specific use and do not make a good choice for a blacksmith.
There are multi-use blacksmith anvils that offer excellent features no matter what type of project you are making.
Typically, general use anvils have rounder horns to allow for the shaping of rings and a flatter face with defined edges to allow for a wider surface to hammer.
2. Anvil Weight
A good size for a starter anvil is around 100 pounds. This size anvil will be able to handle most projects that the beginning blacksmith will undertake.
Blacksmith anvils vary from 75 pounds to over 500 pounds, and while an anvil can technically never be too heavy for a project, there are other considerations that need to be addressed regarding weight.
More about this topic here.
If you are looking to permanently place an anvil in your shop and have it stay there forever, then the heavier, the better.
However, if you are someone who rotates projects often and will need to move the anvil from time to time, you should choose a size that is heavy enough to be effective but still relatively light enough if you want to move it around in your shop.
The most important component of the anvil is the face where you will be hammering. Most anvil faces are either made from drop forged metal or made from cast-iron or cast steel.
A cast-iron or cast steel anvil typically costs less than a steel forged one, and it is good for smaller projects only because it will not stand up to sustained, heavy pounding.
Hardcore blacksmiths choose anvils with drop forged faces that cost more but have the best quality and longest life-span.
How Do I Know If An Anvil Is Of Good Quality?
Aside from doing your research into the pros and cons of anvil materials and different manufacturers, the easiest way to check an anvil’s quality is to do a “bounce test.”
Drop a ball bearing or gently tap a hammer to the face of the anvil. If you get a good bounce, that means the anvil will rebound the energy back into your project, keeping you from becoming fatigued with larger projects.
How Much Money Should I Spend?
Once you have determined the weight and quality you will need in your anvil, the anvil cost should become apparent.
There are endless blacksmithing blogs online that will offer suggestions and reviews of different anvils based on personal experience.
The general rule of thumb is to buy the best possible anvil you can. Going cheap on an anvil will only come back to bite you later.
It is one of the most crucial blacksmithing tools, and, other than the portability issue, it is impossible to have too much quality in your anvil.
That being said, the most expensive anvil is not necessarily the best one for your needs. Buying a brand new anvil is the most expensive route you can go to.
Perfectly good used anvils can be found online or even in estate sales or junkyards. However, make sure you do your research, so you know what to look for in a used anvil, and you don’t end up with a great bargain that is no use to you in your shop.
Also, make sure when you are calculating the cost of your new anvil, make sure you take into account the cost of any shipping if you order online. Don’t forget that you will also need a base for your anvil. You can buy one or make it yourself.
The cost to ship a 100-pound anvil is not cheap. Don’t forget to also calculate how much you will have to pay in beer and pizza to your buddies, who will need to help you haul your purchase from the driveway into your shop.
What Should You Look For In A Used Anvil?
If you have done your research and you are reasonably sure you won’t get bamboozled by a slick dealer, purchasing a used anvil is definitely a better option than buying new.
Most blacksmiths agree that the older anvils are better quality than newer ones as long as the anvil has been maintained.
Your best bet is to take a knowledgeable blacksmithing friend with you to shop, but if you don’t have that option, there are some basic criteria to keep in mind.
- The face of the anvil should be free of cracks, indentations or divots
- The edges should not be worn down or uneven
- The horn needs to be intact and free of any noticeable wear
- The anvil needs to pass the “ring” test – tapping a hammer on the face should produce a ringing sound. No ringing sound means there is probably a crack somewhere, or the anvil itself is not of very good quality.
To sum it up, the answer to how much an anvil will cost is, as with most purchases, a relative thing.
A standard guideline of cost is $7-$9 per pound for a new anvil or $2-$4 per pound for a used one, but quality and durability are just as important as weight.
Going cheap on an anvil will be something a blacksmith will regret later, and, in the end, you may end up spending even more money to make up for a poor, yet still pricey, purchase now.
Thanks for reading and have fun with your future projects!
Cheers, tools owners!