How Anvils Are Made

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There Are Three Ways To Make an Anvil:

  • The first way is by superheating metal 
  • The second way is by taking two blocks of metal and molding them into the shape of an anvil 
  • The third way is by using a machine designed to make an anvil

In this article you’ll learn about the history of the anvil, what it is made of, and where and how it is commonly used. An anvil is a tool used for shaping and breaking pieces of raw metal. 

Specifically, hot metal that has been forged, and is usually made the best quality metals such as steel.

What Is an Anvil?

RIDGID 69622 model 5 Forged Anvil, Peddinghaus Anvil

The anvil is the most ancient of tools, made in large quantities and used in many cultures of the past. The anvil is mentioned many times in the Bible. It was a very important tool.

The word anvil comes from Latin, and means an enlargement. When applied to anvils, this means a metal object that expands by stretching. Anvils are typically made from steel.

What Are the Different Types of Anvils?

There are two major types of anvils, hard anvils and soft anvils: 

  • Hard anvils are used to hammer the hammers and anvils that are made of aluminum and other alloys are soft anvils. 
  • Aluminum and other soft anvils are used when a more hard anvil is needed but not practical. Hard anvils can be made of bronze, silver, iron, steel, and more. 

How Are Anvils Made?

Anvils are manufactured in a number of different ways depending on the required strength and product quality. Historically anvils have been made by drop-forging an iron billet over a small shaped steel or stone die. 

This forms the rough shape of the anvil. Such anvils were often called “power forged” anvils. Before iron was invented, they were made of bronze. 

There Were Two Basic Methods of Manufacturing Anvils:

  • The first is by heating a metal to a high temperature. 
  • The other is by molding two blocks of metal into the shape of an anvil. 

Before metal was invented, bronze was used for making the anvils. It requires a very specific recipe of steel. To start, a steel billet is necessary. 

These are often made from iron ore, though they can also be made from scrap metal. The steel is melted, which is a very hot process.

In order to make an anvil, you’ll need to melt the steel, shape it into a block, and then cool it in water for several hours. After it’s cooled, you’ll have to harden and temper it to make it strong enough to withstand the force of your hammer.

The Purpose of the Anvil

An anvil is commonly used in blacksmithing and metalworking. 

It is used to shape metal into objects such as tools, swords, or even buildings. The anvil is commonly used for cutting and shaping metal, as it has a very large surface area for cutting. 

Why Are Anvils Shaped As They Are?

The first anvils were shaped by hand in iron works and foundries. It is said that they first started to be shaped with the idea of making a better surface for hammering the hot metal. 

Some of the first anvils had chisel shapes at the bottom so that the tools could be placed in the chisel like a hand saw would be placed in a box. They were made of flat pieces of metal or wood. 

The anvils we use today were based on those made in the second half of the 17th century and were basically a flat piece of metal. These flat anvils were fairly common in the 18th century and were used in all sorts of industries like tanneries, shoe-making, and iron works. 

Anvils started to become popular for making metal tools and are mostly used by furniture makers today.


Why do blacksmiths hit the anvil?

Why do blacksmiths hit the anvil? To make it ring, of course! But why does it ring? 

An anvil is like a hammer, only much heavier. When you hit an anvil, its mass helps to store the energy you put into the strike and then it releases that energy when you stop hitting it. 

Why are chains wrapped around anvils? 

Why are chains wrapped around anvils? Normally the chains are wrapped around the anvil because it reduces the noise coming from it. Large anvils do not commonly have them, but the smaller ones do.


We really hope you enjoyed this article about how anvils are made. As you can now tell, the anvil is an important tool for blacksmiths. 

We’ve discussed what an anvil is, what metals are used to make one and what their purpose is. You’ve also learned about how long the anvil has been around and how it’s used around the world. 

When using an anvil, we want you to think about and reference this article on this fantastic tool. Happy Blacksmithing.


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