A blacksmith anvil weighs between 75 to 500 pounds or 34 to 226 kilograms. However, there are also anvils that are as light as 8 ounces or 220 grams and as heavy as 1,000 pounds or 453 kilograms and more.
Typically, the heavier an anvil the higher quality work it can produce, this is because they will not be able to move around or become brittle.
An anvil is a large block of metal that is used for a wide variety of tasks, including crafting jewelry, weapons, making or repairing tools, and more. They are made in many materials, styles, and sizes and have the ability to withstand consistent and constant impacts.
Let’s explore the types…
Types of Anvil
These are also called blacksmiths or general shop anvils because they can be utilized for many different applications. They weigh from about 75 to 500 pounds or more and have a greater mass in the body underneath the face rather than in the heel or horn.
Forging anvils are usually made of forged steel tool because it is durable and has the ability to absorb and reflect forces.
Forging or blacksmith anvils have relatively sharp edges on the face to allow workpieces to be shaped accurately and a more narrow and rounded horn to facilitate in-ring shaping.
Most blacksmith anvils only have a horn projecting away from the face and do not have a distinct “table” or “step” part. However, they can still be used for light and heavy forging and even for making horseshoes.
Cast Iron Anvils
These are also called Anvil-Shaped Object or “ASO” and are considered cheap junk because they are brittle, soft, and can chip or break easily under normal use, thus they are not really ideal for extended use.
They are made of cast iron, which is a brittle substance that breaks easier than steel, making them susceptible to being chipped away after repeated use, however, they can absorb higher amounts of shock due to their softer nature.
Cast iron anvils do not really fulfill the intended purpose of a real anvil, but they are less expensive than other anvils.
These are highly specialized anvils that are used by Farriers or tradesmen who make and modify horseshoes. They weigh between 70 and 150 pounds, which means they can be easily transported. Since farriers often travel to their clients.
Anvils that weigh more than 150 pounds are simply not practical.
Farrier anvils are usually made of cast steel or ductile iron that are hardened through forging. Modern farrier anvils have a high proportion of mass in its horn and just enough in its heel for balance, they also feature “clip horns” for adjusting a shoe easily and for forming toe clips.
Due to a farrier anvil’s narrow waist, most of them are too springy to use for general forging work, making them not suitable for non-farriers.
These are small types of anvils that weigh up to 50 pounds and are usually used and placed on a bench to support equipment while hammering or shaping a workpiece. Most bench anvils are made of steel and railroad reel and have a large face and horn.
Since these are small anvils, they are best used for small benchwork and light forging. Bench anvils can vary from European double horned, London pattern, or classic double horned jewelers anvils with long slender bicks/horns.
These have an anvil base that can either act as a stake when supported by a stake bench or they can simply be driven into a tree stump.
Stake anvils for heavy forging are rarely used nor available today, but there are smaller stake anvils available for light forging and jewelry applications that weigh no more than 20 pounds.
The most common type of stake anvil is the blowhorn stake anvil that features a half cone with a flat top where the face is located and a round cone where the horn is at.
The blowhorn stake anvil is usually used for making brass horn instruments and smaller stake anvils are mostly for specialized work.
These are generally the lightest and smallest anvils weighing only a few ounces, and although they seem delicate, they are still a great tool for crafting jewelry.
They feature different bases that can either have stakes to embed in a table or bench or a large base. These anvils also have a square body with a long, rounded horn and a half-coned back and are usually made with forged or cast tool steel.
Generally, the surface of a jeweler’s anvil is smoothly finished to provide a good surface to shape jewelry, which is a very precise and delicate task. This type of anvil may be very small and widely available, but it can still be expensive because of its specialized design and purpose.
Weight Comparison Of Forge Types
Factors that contributes to a blacksmith anvil’s weight
The material that an anvil is made of can increase or decrease its weight. Although they used to be made of bronze, stone and wrought iron, steel has mostly taken over the modern market because they have favorable properties and this material can be mass-produced.
Cast iron anvils are also available, but like what we’ve mentioned above, they are more brittle and have less face rebound. Harder metals or forged tool steel usually have a greater face rebound, making them a better choice.
The most durable material used for an anvil and preferred for heavy forging.
- Cast Tool Steel
Amalgam alloy that is blended with steel, but not as heavy. This material can take impacts well, but can be easily scraped.
- Wrought Iron with a Steel Plate
Suitable for hobbyists because it has great durability. However, it is lower in quality and price.
- Forged Tool Steel
Tough, heavy and expensive, but is the most prized type of anvil, thus it is worth the purchase.
- Cast Iron
Brittle yet lightweight, which makes them great for simple tools. This material is not suitable for making weapons like axes and swords.
- Chilled Cast Iron
This material can withstand abrasion and is useful if you scrape the anvil often.
- Cast Iron with a Steel Plate
Lightweight and has the durability of steel. It is composed of a cast iron body and a steel-plated exterior.
- Hardened Ductile Iron
This material is lighter than steel, but it holds the same durability which enables it to handle powerful impacts.
An anvil’s size also directly impacts its weight. Large anvils are clearly heavier than smaller anvils, however, this can change due to the materials used. The size of an anvil should be suitable for the size of the workpiece being forged and the tools you will use.
An anvil can weigh as light as a few ounces and as heavy as a few hundred pounds, so the range in size and weight is wide. In general, the heavier the anvil, the easier it is to use.
The applications for which you will use the anvil will determine the material and size, thus modifying the weight. When you are crafting jewelry, a tiny anvil won’t weigh nearly as much as a blacksmithing anvil. Anvils that are used for making swords, axes, and other big weapons and tools can weigh over 500 pounds.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is a blacksmith anvil worth?
The price of an anvil can be estimated by weight. A typical new blacksmith anvil costs $7 to $10 per pound and a used anvil costs $2 to $5 per pound.
The cost of a blacksmith anvil depends on its size, shape, weight, and the material it is made from. Thus, it is important to research and determine exactly what you need to avoid overspending.
Why is a heavier anvil better?
Heavier anvils are better because they will allow you to effectively shift more metal with each hammer strike. Heavier anvils also have higher inertia and can resist any sort of movement, and since the force of each hammer strike needs to go somewhere, most of this force goes into the workpiece you are trying to forge.
However, if you are working on something delicate or on small pieces, then a heavy anvil will just make you spend most of your time correcting dents and overstrikes.
To sum things up, a blacksmith anvil weighs between 75 to 500 pounds or 34 to 226 kilograms. However, anvils can weigh as light as 8 ounces or 220 grams and as heavy as 1000 pounds or 453 kilograms or more.
The material, size, and purpose can contribute directly to an anvil’s total weight, and as a general rule, the heavier the anvil, the less likely it will move around while you are working and the less likely it will become brittle. However, if you are creating or repairing jewelry or a smaller workpiece, then a smaller anvil is more appropriate.