Wednesday, November 11

Building Your Own Anvil Stand


There are four factors I consider before tackling a project:


  1. Time - How long will it take me to do it? Will it save me time in the long run?
  2. Money - How much will it cost me? Can I buy a less expensive version?
  3. Availability - Are the materials readily available in my area? 
  4. Quality - Can I make something better than what is being sold? 
For the DIY Anvil Stand in the photo above, here are the answers:

  1. I can accomplish it in a few hours (including gathering materials) and it will save me days of waiting for a metal stand to ship or days of searching for an appropriate stump. 
  2. I can get the lumber for a fraction of the cost of a metal stand.
  3. I can get the materials from a local sawmill, Lowe's, Home Depot, or Menards.
  4. Making it myself gives me control over the quality of the finished product. If it's a terrible stand, I only have my skills to blame.

Let's Get Started


Tools and supplies we'll need:

  • Standard 16 oz. hammer
  • Tape measure - Your boards will be pre-cut, but you will need to offset them for this design.
  • Wood glue
  • Nails - I used 2 1/4" (7D) decking nails to secure the 2 x 12's
  • Ear protection - I've had tinnitus for years so I wear protection even when hammering.
  • Eye protection - We've all heard horror stories about bad hammer hits launching nails back into eyes. Wear protection.
  • Shims - In case you need a little bit extra.
  • Two 10 foot long 2 x 12 pine boards - No need to get fancy here with premium hardwoods since you'll be applying downward pressure to the board ends while hammering. 
You may notice that I haven't included a circular saw for cutting the boards. I did this to accommodate folks who don't have this equipment. My method relies on the cutting services of your local big box store (Lowe's, etc.) and being able to load the cut lumber into your car's trunk. No truck necessary.

Step One: Lumber


To save some time I had an associate at Menards cut two 10 foot long 2 x 12 boards to length. Here's how I figured out what length that should be:

  1. I took a tape measure and found the distance from the knuckles of my clenched right hand to the floor. This is the optimal height of your anvil. Mine is 33 inches even.
  2. Then I subtracted the height of my anvil. It's a standard NC Tool Co. anvil and has a height of 8 1/2".
  3. That means I need my anvil stand to be 24.5" tall. 
*One other important consideration: How wide is the base of your anvil? This will determine how many boards you'll need to stack together. My anvil base is 9" by 10". This requires six 2 x 12's stacked together since the actual board thickness is 1 1/2". 

6 x 1.5 inches = 9 inches

I had him cut 4 pieces at 24 1/2" from one of the 10 foot boards. The second board was cut into 2 pieces at 24 1/2" and 2 pieces at 26". The 26" boards are the end pieces that will stabilize your anvil on two sides.


The cut boards all fit into the trunk of my little diesel Jetta. 

Step Two: Assembly

Now that you have the boards cut and ready, you can start assembling the anvil stand. This is a pretty straightforward process involving three steps repeated over and over. 

  1. Measure a 1.5 - 2 inch offset (see picture and explanation below).
  2. Apply generous amounts of wood glue.
  3. Nail the boards together taking care not to nail in the same place as you add boards. 

By offsetting the boards a couple inches, you're providing yourself with greater stability and distribution of force. You also make room for adding metal straps to accommodate hanging tools. They'll fit neatly into the slots you're creating. 


Don't be shy about how much glue you use. Wood glue is cheap. The time it will take you to put your stand back together won't be. Notice the evenly-spaced nails in the photo. Take note of where you nail so you don't end up trying to nail through a previous nail. 


Just keep stacking. Measure your 2" offset, make a mark at each end of the bottom boards, lay down some glue, line up the top board, and start nailing. 

Step Three: Attaching the End Pieces

Adding the taller end pieces is accomplished the same way you put the other boards together. Measuring, glueing, and nailing. If the stacked boards seem a little wobbly at this point, the end pieces can help fix this. 


And there it is! You're finished anvil stand. You can use a similar method we used in our Quick Mount Anvil to secure the anvil to it. 

Costs

We've taken care to keep this process inexpensive. Along with the hard expenses of materials we've also considered what your time is worth. This project, from start to finish, took three hours on a Sunday. That includes an hour of drive time to go pick up the lumber and have it cut. 

With that, here are the hard costs:

Lumber: $24.78 (They didn't charge me a cutting fee. This may not hold true for your local store.)
Wood glue: $1.79
Nails: $1.98
Shims: $1.00

I had eye and ear protection as well as a hammer and tape measure, but they can all be had for less than $50 total depending on the quality you get. Stanley tape measures and Estwing hammers are personal favorites, but cheaper ones will do the job, too. 


Ready to forge!

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For more information and the Anvilfire article that inspired this post go here.


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