Wednesday, April 13

11 Anvils from Around the World

Ever wondered what blacksmiths around the world use for their anvils? Here's a selection of anvils from countries across the globe. 

You'll notice that many of them have the standard anvil shape (single horn, hardie hole, pritchel) and others are simple pieces of iron. It's a great reminder that the most important features of the anvil are:

  • That it is harder than the hot metal being worked.
  • It has enough mass to distribute the force being applied to it. 
  • The workable face is at least wide enough to accommodate the piece you're working on.

This interesting anvil appears to have two pairs of legs forged into it and a hardie with a clean-out at 90 degrees. 

Clearly labeled, this is a Refflinghaus anvils. It's a substantial anvil weighing hundreds of pounds with a long, wide face. The dominant German manufacturer in the industry today is Ridgid/Peddinghaus. 

Perun is the largest provider of artist blacksmith anvils in Poland. They have an excellent website with a huge variety of tools, anvils, swage blocks, vises, and forges.

This blacksmith displays the kind of DIY ingenuity we prefer. In order to securely mount his anvil, it looks like he removed the base. You'll notice that his elbow is still slightly bent while his hammer is in contact with the face. Over time this saves him from unnecessary strain on his elbow.

This is an example of cast steel Russian anvil. Cast anvils are more brittle and less durable than fully-forged ones, but they will still do the job. 

The Bangladesh Anvil

In Bangladesh, a blacksmith is called a kamar and is part of the caste system. The anvil they use in this picture is a simple steel post with a face wide enough to work their metal. Notice the bellows just behind the firepot.

The Myanmar Anvil

Another post-style anvil, but this time it's secured using wood shims around its base. With a cylinder of D2 steel, some handmade wooden shims, and a hole cut in a plywood base, you could easily set this up at home.

The Czech Anvil

This anvil reminds us a little of the Russian cast steel anvil in shape. Mounted on a barrel with handles, it's large enough to need at least two people to move.

The Kenyan Anvil

This 1987 photograph was taken in Nairobi by Sidney Kasfir. Jua Kali is the blacksmith pictured. It looks like he has a standard, single horn closest to him while he works on a modified post-type anvil.

The Japanese Anvil

The blade makers of Japan are known the world over for their attention to the process and the tools they use. Their anvils and hammers are distinct. This anvil is a homemade Japanese-style post anvil.

The Indian Anvil

To round out our tour of the world's anvils, here's a photograph of an Indian blacksmith converting a pistol barrel into a plowshare. His anvil rests on the ground right next to his coal fire. He forges steel while squatting.

Thanks for checking out a few anvils from around the world. If you have any photos you'd like to share from your travels, share them in the comments. 

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