Introduction: Custom Anvil Stand - No Welding Required
So you've just purchased your first anvil, and you're looking to to actually put it on something.
A long-standing tradition by blacksmiths is to use a tree stump, or build your own. While a tree stump is very cool looking, building your own can be much more versatile, and durable.
I decided to build a new anvil using mostly what I had around the shop, and you can too! Follow along as we make a proper mount for your epic anvil.
1. An anvil (duh)
2. Two 8' treated 4x4s. (Heavier, holds up longer)
3. Some scrap wood for bracing/tool holders.
4. Some strips of leather (strong enough to hold hammers).
5. Lots of lag screws (number depends on how wide you make the stand)
6. A torch (optional) to burn the wood for aesthetics.
7. Some polyurethane to protect the wood after assembly.
8. A drill & driver w/appropriate bits.
9. Lots of screws. I recommend GRK T25 screws, but you can use whatever you have really.
10. Some bars of allthread, nuts and washers.
11. A bench vise, or vise of some kind.
12. Wood glue (I like Titebond II), and wood filler (optional, for aesthetics).
13. A belt sander. (You can use any kind of sander really)
14. Some clamps.
Step 1: Measure & Cut
With your arms relaxed at your side, make a fist. Measure the distance between the floor where your anvil will go, and just below your knuckles. Now, measure the height of your anvil. Subtract the height of your anvil from the distance between the floor and your knuckle. This is the ideal length to cut your 4x4s.
Why? Because you don't want to break your back laboring all day on your anvil. This is an ergonomic way to ensure your posture is set up correctly to go to work while hammering away all day long!
Decide how many cuts you need. If you have a bigger anvil, you may need 5 or 6 columns, or more rows than 3 like mine. I ended up with 3 rows, 5 columns. You can see here that I tested it first on some upright cuts. Get a friend to help you with this, as it is dangerous.
Measure accordingly, and make your cuts.
Step 2: Glue Up
Spread a liberal amount of glue on all sides of your wood. Clamp them together on all sides. I recommend you use ratchet clamps around the base as well (pic for reference).
Let it sit for 24 hours. You want it to cure well. It can come apart since it's heavy treated lumber.
Step 3: Cut and Install All Thread (Threaded Rod)
Measure the total distance of length and width of your 4x4 construct. Cut your all thread (threaded rod) to size, allowing a couple inches extra to fasten it on both sides with washers/nuts. Make sure to get a clean edge on both sides of your cut, or you will have a bad time trying to screw on the nut.
Using a drill and very long drill bit, cut a straight hole through each wood column. Make sure to stagger your holes so they don't run into each other. I used a 5/16" all thread rod, and a 5/16" drill bit.
Very carefully insert the cut rods into the holes you've drilled on all sides. Fasten with a washer, nut, and then use a ratchet to get them very tight on both ends. This part can suck, so be patient.
Step 4: Brace Cuts, Wood Filler, Leather Strips
At this point, it's time to put some braces across the length of the stand. Measure and cut strips of 2" thick wood, and drill them in near the top and bottom of the stand using your screws. Use at least one screw in each 4x4 across the length of the brace.
You may decide to cut strips of leather, and affix them to the braces with screws like I did in the pic above. This will allow you to comfortably hang hammers, hardy tools, and more. I cannot recommend this enough, as having these tools readily available to you will save time - and increase your productivity.
You can also at this point fill in any gaps or unsightly holes that may be on the top of the stand with wood filler. You don't have to do this, but it does improve the aesthetic for most folks. If you do, let it dry overnight.
Sand the top of the stand, and make sure it is level.
Check pics for reference.
Step 5: Burn, Seal, and Mount
At this point, you may decide to burn the stand for aesthetic. Take a torch, and burn that sucker.
Make sure you take the leather strips off before-hand if you affixed them.
Once the wood has had a chance to cool, I highly recommend sealing the stand with polyurethane. I use a spray gun, but you can also do this by hand with a brush (just takes longer).
After the polyurethane has had a chance to dry (overnight), the it's time to mount the anvil! Lift it on the stand, and square it up to be even on all sides. You may want to chain it down to help deaden the ringing (save your ears!) and ensure it doesn't move. As an added bonus, the chain makes the whole setup a bit more handsome.
You're done! Congratulations!
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