Friday, June 25, 2010

Fiery Friday - Let The Anvil Ring

Welcome back everyone,

   Today I'm going to show you another tool of the Blacksmith. This is the tool that everyone associates with the blacksmith, the anvil. When most people think of an anvil they picture the typical "English Pattern" anvil, which is what I have to show you today. But just because it doesn't look like an anvil, doesn't mean it can't be. Anvils aren't exactly cheap and if you open your mind you can find a suitable anvil just about anywhere. My first anvil I used was an old engine block. Granted it had it's limitations, but it worked well enough.

Here is my larger anvil. It is a Wilkinson that weights 252 pounds. Most anvils from England were measured in hundred weight. That means you will find three numbers on it, the first you multiply by 112, the second by 28 and the third is the actual number. This means that my anvil has the numbers 210 on it. That is 2 X 112 plus 1 X 28 plus 0. There are many different parts to an anvil. On the right is a rounded tapered section that is called the horn. Completely oposite that on the left is the heel. The top flat section is the face and on the face over the heel side is the hardy hole and a pritchel hole. This anvil actually has two pritchel holes.

But what is all of this stuff for? We'll start with the heel end. The heel itself is just a place to put the hardy and pritchel holes. These holes go all the way through The square hole is the hardy hole and it is used to hold tooling such as the bending forks I have in the picture. It can also be used to run drifts through a piece of steel. It got it's name because the tools that are put in it are used of "hard" steel rather than soft wrought iron. They need to be hard just like the anvil face as they take a lot of abuse. The round hole is the pritchel hole and is used to allow a relief under a piece of steel when using a punch and can also also be used for running a drift through a piece of steel. Here you can also see some of my silver pencil markings for some quick measuring without needing to find a scale while holding a red hot piece of steel.

Now the top of the anvil is called the face and it's used for general forging, flattening out pieces and is great for straightening out long pieces. In the picture you can see the horn. The horn works great for bending steel and since it's tapered it has many different diameters to work with. It can also be used as a bottom fuller (a fuller is a rounded tool for stretching steel) and the tip is great for opening up pipe when making candle cups. Notice a flat section on the largest part of the horn. This is called the table and it is used when chiseling through steel. It is sort of sacrificial and keeps you from putting a mark in the anvil face.
I know I didn't go into extreme detail on all of the uses of each part of the anvil (honestly I didn't want to bore you too much), but as least now you have the basics. Just about every edge on the anvil can be used to forge in one way or another. So next time you think of an anvil you'll realize they're not just used for dropping on road runners.

Thanks for stopping in,
Zach Sartell

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