Blacksmithing anvils are used for a wide variety of tasks, including making or repairing tools, crafting jewelry, weapons, and more. Typically speaking, heavier anvils produce higher quality work because they won’t move around or become brittle.
Blacksmith anvils typically weigh between 75 to 500 pounds (34 – 226 kg), but extreme examples can be as light as 8 ounces (220 g) and as heavy as 1,000 pounds (453 kg) or more.
Throughout this article, you’ll learn all about blacksmithing anvils, including:
- What factors affect the overall weight of an anvil?
- What should you consider before you purchase one?
- What materials are anvils made out of?
What Determines the Weight of a Blacksmithing Anvil?
There’s such a wide range of weights for blacksmithing anvils that it’s hard to pinpoint an exact number. Fortunately, you can break down the various factors to figure out what the average anvil weighs for the purpose that it’s designed for.
Let’s review a few reasons that an anvil might weigh more or less.
- The material that the anvil is made out of can drastically increase or decrease the weight of it. For example, steel is usually much heavier than cast iron when used in the same quantity. However, most anvils made of cast iron are bigger in size than steel, which leads to the next factor.
- The size of your anvil will directly impact the weight as well. Large anvils are obviously heavier than small anvils, though this can be changed from the materials. Generally speaking, the size of the anvil is based on what it’s used for, which takes us to the final contributing factor.
- The purpose of the anvil will determine the material and size, thus adjusting the weight of it. When you’re using a tiny anvil to craft jewelry, it won’t weigh nearly as much as a heavy blacksmithing anvil. Heavy anvils for crafting swords, axes, and other big tools and weapons can weigh over 500 pounds.
Most people refer to forging anvils as blacksmithing anvils, but blacksmithing anvils can be used for a wide array of purposes.
When you’re considering the size of your anvil, always know what you’re going to be using it for.
Anvils are usually bulky and heavy, so that’s something to think about before you start the purchasing process.
Since you’ll be hitting them with a hammer over and over, it’s important to get a tough anvil. For this reason, it’s nearly impossible to find an aluminum blacksmithing anvil.
It’s also important that you don’t sell yourself short. Never try to get a lightweight, portable anvil just so you don’t have to spend too much money; Otherwise, you could end up breaking it or calling for repairs much sooner than you should.
What Should You Consider Before You Buy an Anvil?
If you’ve never bought one, getting a new blacksmithing anvil can be a bit daunting of a task. After all, you’ve read the numerous determining factors, which seems like there are a lot of areas to make mistakes.
Don’t worry, though; There’s a handful of suggestions provided below to assist you through the purchasing process.
Here are the four things to consider prior to spending money on a fine blacksmithing anvil:
- What’s your budget? Most people who use blacksmith anvils will tell you that you should always buy the most expensive anvil that you can afford (within reason). If you’re serious about it, you shouldn’t try to cut corners by choosing weak materials or smaller sizes than you actually need.
- Do you need it to be portable? Anvils are very heavy, as mentioned earlier, but you can still find portable anvils. If you’re bringing it to and from work, a class or course, or to and from a friend’s house, then you might want to get something that’s a bit lighter in weight. That, or you could purchase a dolly to wheel it around.
- How often will you use your anvil? This might seem like it contradicts the first suggestion, but you shouldn’t spend your life’s savings on a blacksmith anvil if you’re only using it once a year. If it’s possible, try to set up a monthly payment plan that corresponds with the frequency that you’ll be using it.
- What are you using it for? Some people have a blacksmithing anvil to repair tools when they start to wear away, while others prefer to craft new items. Before you pick a size, weight, or material, consider what you’ll be using the anvil for. This decision will make everything else much easier to answer!
As you can see, there aren’t too many considerations that you have to think about before you buy an anvil.
Don’t overthink it! If anything, you can buy a cheap anvil to see if you enjoy the craftsmanship before you go all-in.
What Are Blacksmith Anvils Made Out Of?
As I’ve covered several times throughout this article, the material of your new anvil is incredibly influential. If you have a material that’s too weak, it’ll break down quickly. On the other hand, strong materials might be an unnecessary expense.
There are seven materials that blacksmithing anvils are made out of:
- Forged tool steel
- A steel plate on a wrought body
- Cast iron
- Chilled cast iron
- Cast tool steel
- Hardened ductile iron
- Steel plate on cast iron
There are pros and cons of each material, both of which may lead you toward or away from them. Let’s do a quick run-through of each material below.
- Forged tool steel is one of the most common and highly-rated forging materials. It’s heavy, tough, and a bit pricey. You’ll definitely want to use it if you can afford it.
- A steel plate on a wrought body is a step down from forged steel, but it maintained similar durability. You’ll get a little bit of a lower quality, but the price is often worth the sacrifice for blacksmith hobbyists.
- Cast iron is lightweight, but it’s quite brittle compared to steel. If you’re working on simple tools, it’s great. For heavy-duty work, you should avoid cast iron.
- Chilled cast iron is a form of regular cast iron that’s designed to withstand abrasive materials. It can be useful if you’re scraping your anvil often, but it’s still not as strong as steel.
- Cast tool steel uses an alloy combination to make it tough without the added weight of steel. It’s known to be resistant to heavy hits, but you’ll definitely notice scraping.
- Hardened ductile iron is a perfect material for people who want the toughness of steel and the reduced weight of iron. It’s easy to work with, and it withstands direct impact.
- Steel plate on cast iron is usually a welded combination crafted by a blacksmith who prefers the durability of steel and the weight of iron. The only difference between it and hardened ductile iron is that it’s not a mixture, but rather a plated exterior shell.
Blacksmith anvils aren’t always as heavy as you might think. They can be very lightweight or very heavy.
It all depends on the materials, size, and purpose that it’s used. Remember that you shouldn’t sell yourself short by grabbing a cheap anvil!
If you have the opportunity, try to get an anvil by buying it in-person. Anvils are often incredibly expensive to ship due to the weight.
You’ll end up spending more money on shipping than the actual anvil, especially if you purchase a cheap, heavyweight product. Check also this article if you want to read about other essential tools used for blacksmithing.
I hope, this article has been of help to you. Thanks for reading, and have fun with your projects!
Cheers tools owners!