The Face size tells you how much space you have to work. Having a nice wide face makes it easier to hit (or not hit) your mark. More room to play.
The Height tells you how tall you will need to make your anvil stand. To figure out the overall height you:
Measure from your closed fist to the floor.
Subtract the height of your anvil.
That’s how tall your anvil stand should be. This keeps you from overextending as you swing your hammer. Too much over-extension and you’ll blow out your elbow.
The Base dimensions tell you how wide you need your anvil stand to be to fit it.
If you’re using a tree stump for an anvil stand, you want it to be larger in diameter than the base of the anvil.
Let’s keep making our way down the list. Next up…
2. NC Tool Company 70 lb. Knifemaker Anvil – $355.00
Of the NC Tool Company line of anvils, this is the closest in style to the pair in my shop.
The hardie and pritchel holes are in their standard locations in the heel of the anvil. I’m noting this because many of the newer NC anvils feature the hardie (the square hole) through the horn.
It should also be noted that NC Tool Company anvils are made with farriers in mind. That doesn’t mean other blacksmiths can’t use them, but you might have to navigate past anatomy like clip horns and turning cams.
Face: 3.25″ x 11.375″
Horn: 4″ x 8″
Base: 8.75″ x 9.125″
1″ Hardie hole (takes a 7/8″ hardie). 1/2″ Pritchel hole.
At 70 pounds they can do a lot of work while still being light enough for one person to lift.
If you’re working in your shop alone, being able to shift and move your anvil is important.
This is particularly true if you have a mobile stand for it. For example, I need to be able to shift both anvils depending on how many people are in a class and depending on what I’m making during the week.
I’ve used my oldest one since November 2015 when I bought it from a local farrier supply.
The second one has been in use since mid-2016.
With proper care, they’ll keep on ticking for generations to come.
Note: These will come with a painted face. You will want to remove this paint before doing any hot work on it.
It’s there to protect it in storage before its final owner starts using it.
How do you remove the paint from an anvil face?
Flap disks in an angle grinder do a great job. But be careful. It’s easy to start chewing away at the steel underneath the paint. Use an 80 grit flap disk and go lightly at first.
Wear a mask and eye protection to ensure you’ll be around to forge for as many years as possible.
3. Kanca 44 lb. Drop Forged Double Horn – $299.00
I’ve never used a Kanca, but some of my students have. From what I can tell they like them.
This one is on the lighter side, but the next size up (77 pounds) comes in at $475. It doesn’t fit the criteria for this post, but still worth a look.
Southern German designed double horn drop forged anvil. Surface hardness between 54 – 62 HRC (Rockwell Hardness).