Home-made Anvil




Introduction: Home-made Anvil

The blacksmiths' mantra, if you will, Is "need a tool, make a tool". Well, I needed an anvil. Cash availability was an issue, so I turned to instructibles. I didn't find quite what I was looking for so I did some further research and forged ahead(pun intended).

You will need;
-sanding/grinding /cutting discs
-1 inch plate
-2 inch round stock
-1 inch round stock
-1/2 inch round stock

Step 1: Acquiring the Parts and Pieces

A word of warning; I was able to keep costs down by doing a lot of "dumpster diving" at work. I had a chunk of 1 inch steel plate rusting under my carport, so I decided to use it for the body. I wanted clean square edges so I took it to a machine shop and had it plasma cut into 6 4 x 8 inch chunks and 2 4 inch chunks. Bevel grind all edges and 6010 weld, then cap and pad with 7018.

Step 2: Grind the Top of the Body Flat and Level.

Grind the body flat and level on top. One thing I would do differently is have a couple holes cut in the top plate and plug weld it to the body. Assemble all parts and begin tacking together. Bevel all corners, root weld 6010, then 7018 cap.
Be careful, don't drop this thing on your foot! Weld a little, flip and weld, flip and weld to avoid warpage.

Step 3: Assembling Main Components

Weld the body to the base. I had the machine shop cut me a top plate and doubler plate for the hardie and pritchel holes. 1/2" thick, 4 x 14, and a 4 x 4 by 1 inch block where the horn comes off, with another smaller piece of 1" plate under that for more support. The horn was 2 inch round stock, with 1 inch and 1/2 inch welded to that. Then it's a matter of welding and grinding and welding and grinding. I did weld railroad spikes to the sides of the horn to widen it out a little. I also made gussets out of 3/8 plate for the front and back. Bevel all corners, and weld everything out. Go for good penetration, because you will be grinding welds down. Shape it how you want it. I decided to leave the beads on the body intact-I figured why take weight off when heavier is better. I also really like the look of it sitting on the stump.

Step 4: Clean It and Seal It

You don't usually paint an anvil because hot metal will just burn it off. I decided to use bbq paint on the underside and beeswax mixed with boiled linseed oil and turpentine for everything else. Have a beer, your pretty much done.

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    105 Discussions

    Hey, My Grandpa made an Anvil from a piece of Track back in the 70's I guess, while he was working for a coal mine.. big workshop, Pieces of Track available.., as he passed away last year I inherited it... need to put it to some use..

    Very nice but to acquire a welder would be more than going to harbor freight and getting their $59 one. It's not American quality stuff but no moving parts. I never buy power tools from them with their American city naming of product lines. Lol.

    1 reply

    I actually bought a 90 amp flux core welder from them about 2 years ago. It works great, no major problems with it. I only just bought a new welder because the harbor freight one was underpowered for me

    I made one out of a old piece of Railway track years ago

    4 replies

    NICE BEEN Tossing this thought around never saw an anvil in it until NOW THANK You MUCH ......PEACE....

    this is more my speed but where to find track I'm not having any luck ! Great idea!

    take a walk around a switch on the tracks. should be a piece laying around in the grass . when they repair the switches they just leave the small pieces behind

    The best place to find rail is along the side of tracks at the foot of the ballast. Old sections are just rolled off the crossties and left forever. Don’t be an ass and get on the ballast (rocks). That’s how you die and it would make me sad. It’ll weigh about 35lbs/foot and two stout guys can carry a yard about 1/4 mile before wondering if it’s worth it. It’s also illegal (more below).

    Other places include a factory with its own siding that’s being demolished. Also municipal street projects that require old rail to be removed. If you just happen to have an abandoned mine or amusement park around you might find some there. There will be a maintenance shed somewhere (See weight notice above).

    The reason it’s hard to find is because there’s no easy secondary market for the scrap. It’s forbidden by Federal Law to sell, trade or purchase rail from any railway overseen by the FRA (Federal Railways Authority) without a bunch of special permissions so it’s simply not worth messing with, even for the railroads. They just roll it off the ties and that’s where it’ll be for several centuries. The old movie troupe with the steam engine runnng up on a section of missing track was a real thing and the many years in prison for trading in the rail was an effective solution.

    My dad made this 60 - 70 years ago when he was building the Portland, Oregon Zoo Train. . . I treasure it, and use it surprisingly often!


    I'm concerned with the lack of fastening to the base and the oblique cylinder of your base. I'm talking tipping over while you're wailing away at it.

    Beautiful thank you for sharing :)

    The blacksmith I worked with before I left
    school 49years ago told me that the anvil sits on a log that is 6feet
    below floor level. A log about about 7.5feet long gets the anvil to a
    nice working height.

    It's the springiness of the log down/along the grain that gives the anvil it's rebound ability.

    8 replies

    The log just works as adding additional mass to the anvil as well as getting it up to where you need it. So the heavier the better. as long as the connection to the log is secure so the anvil does not fall on your foot while hitting it.

    My best anvil is a 14 inch round piece of 8150 that is about 5 inches thick. I hardened it with a blower and a bonfire to get it hot enough so a magnet would no longer stick to it, then a friend and I hoisted it up into a half a barrel of used motor oil. Once the fire went out, (Quite a while) and it cooled down enough to handle I welded it to a 3 inch pipe that was welded to a plow disk on the bottom.

    Best knife making anvil I ever had.

    The butt end of a telephone pole works .

    I would be lying if I told you-the free kind? I would imagine dense and heavy would be best, something that termites don't view as candy.

    Actually, the rebound has to do with the hardness of the upper surface.The rest of the anvil just provides the inertia to hold this upper surface still.

    A great way to test the "Rebound" (or surface hardness) of an anvil is to take a clear plastic tube, 6 inches to a foot tall, and a ball bearing that fits freely in it., Drop the ball bearing and watch how high it bounces back. The harder the metal the better the rebound will be. The more mass you have under this surface that will not move and absorb your energy the better.

    Most cast anvils have a half inch or so of very hard tool or high alloy steel on the top, like 1095 or 8150, This is the material used to make car and truck leaf springs. And Yea, These same leaf springs are cheap and easy to get. They are also easy to both heat hot enough to flatten and shape if needed then to re-temper up to HARD before welding to the mass part of the anvil.

    You can make a pretty good one by taking a RR track piece, and welding plate to it all along the bottom to add weight and welding a leaf spring to the top after flattening it..

    "...re-temper up to HARD before welding..." so, get it the right hardness and then...heat it with welding? Why bother with the tempering if you are going to ruin the temper by welding? (I use the edges of the anvil constantly, and a soft edge when trying to shape anything but flat would be a nightmare.)