How to Make a Huge Fabulous Mega Anvil

Intro: How to Make a Huge Fabulous Mega Anvil

A Blacksmith's anvil is by far their most useful tool, arguably even more useful than Forge itself.Unfortunately, as anyone who has done any blacksmithing work knows, good anvils are just horrendously, obscenely expensive. And so, to kick off my series of blacksmithing projects, I'm going to show you how to make an anvil that would be the envy of Thor himself.

Step 1: A Note on Concrete Filled Anvils

I have naught be the utmost respect for professional blacksmiths. That said, some of them can be real snobs when it comes to anvils, looking down on concrete filled anvils and generally anyone not willing to dole out a thousand dollars or more on a super anvil forged from the heart of a nutron star. To be fair though, they do have some valid points. Anvilfire.com has some great points on why not to use a concrete filed anvil. Concrete is the worst sort of friend, it appears strong, but as soon as it really matters, it will fail you.
The trick then, is not to rely on it too much. You want to build an anvil that would work even without the concrete. It is there mainly to add weight and solidity, and deaden noise.

Step 2: Acquiring Materials/Skills

Now for this particular anvil, the hardest part to find will be the main plate for the top. On this design I need a plate of steel that is 1 inch thick, 8 inches wide, 18" long, Along with some assorted plate and pipe. For the shell, i'm going to use about 16 ft.² of 16 gauge sheet steel. I'm going to use a whole lot of rebar to reinforce the shell. for the filler, I'm going to use about 640 pounds of concrete.

As for tools, you're going to need,
Some sort of welder,
An angle grinder,
Something to cut the sheet steel with, such as an acetylene torch, plasma cutter, tin snips(not advisable), a bandsaw, or a crap-ton of cutting weels for the angle grinder.

The main other thing that you need, is to be a competent welder. I repeat, this is no beginners welding project, you need to be able to make a weld that can be hammered on for hours without breaking.

It should be noted that I got all the steel for this thing(accepting the top plate) for free as scrap, and you could probably do the same.

Scrapyards are a great place to get the main plate. I got one that is 1 1/2" x8"x 36" for $30. The ancient, mystical redneck junkyards one sometimes finds in the woods are a great source, or ask people if they have any old doodads you can salvage steel from.

Step 3: Designing Your Anvil

The nice thing about making your own anvil, is you can make it literally however you want. It can be as whimsical or as practical as you like

I would suggest drawing out your own, but feel free to use my schematics if you like(but no plagiarism please). They're not extensive or anything, but you're a clever fellow, you can figure it out.

PS, if you ask VERY politely, I can make some better blueprints.

Step 4: Make a Cardboard Model

Whenever you're making anything out of sheet metal, it is advisable to make a cardboard model. Always remember, cardboard is much cheaper than steel, and if it won't work with cardboard, it won't work with steel.

Step 5: Cut Out the Pieces

This one's pretty self explanatory, trace your patterns on the steel, and cut em out

Step 6: Weld'n Time

Weld, Weld, And Weld Some More, And One You've Finished, Ha Ha Just Kidding, Keep On Welding.
Basically, you just slap it together the way you did with the cardboard model, but with steel.
Now for one of the most important steps, the inside supports. You want at least five really heavy duty legs on the bottom of the main plate, with a few more on the horn. Then just go crazy and weld rebar onto every available surface, there really is no such thing as going overboard on this step.

Post script: When you're doing anything with the top plate, remember to turn the power as high as it will go, and set the wire feed fairly low.

Step 7: Fill'er Up!

This step should be fairly self-explanatory, just flip it upside down and fill that thing up with concrete.

The main other thing is to make sure that you have it positioned so that once it is full you can simply roll it into place, where it will be permanently.(you can't move this thing when it's full, just don't even try)

Step 8: Make It Perty

This step is grueling, but simple. just grind until you've burned out the motors in all your angle grinders,(that's how I knew I was done) and depleted some ozone with all that spray paint.

Step 9: BEHOLD!

And lo, amid a wash of fire and smoke, where bolts of lightning flash and steel flows like water, I labored. And finally, at dusk on the fifth day, my toils were ended.
That day, Vulcan threw his hammer to the ground in dismay, for he knew he was bested. That day, the ringing hammers of the forges of heaven lay still in respect.
I heeded them not, but instead gazed in awe at what I had wrought, and saw that it was good, nay, it was friggin fabulous!

Concrete and Casting Contest

Runner Up in the
Concrete and Casting Contest

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    37 Discussions

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    BenT173

    10 months ago

    For a top plate

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    BenT173

    10 months ago

    what about a forklift platten?

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    RandalR3

    11 months ago

    A lot of creative ideas here. But before going to all the work of implementing any of them I suggest an extensive search of the internet to see if anyone else has attempted your idea and been successful. Keep in mind that if there was a cheaper way to make a good anvil, someone else would probably be getting rich selling them already.

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    nat the maker

    1 year ago

    After Vulcan was defeated Aule said "that's easy"

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    MikeAlmogy

    1 year ago

    Hello.

    Very nice project.

    I was wondering how is it lasting, do you have hammer bumps and groves or did you harden the surface of the top steel to resist then?

    Thanks

    Mike

    1 reply

    It's held up quite nicely, especially on the front half, where i faced it with spring steel. The mild steel portion has gotten a bit beaten up, but that was to be expected. The bigger problem has been the rebound, which has deteriorated somewhat. I suspect the anchoring legs have started to work themselves loose from the surrounding concrete. I've actually restored a nice old 120 pounder since then, that I now use as my main anvil. nowadays, I use the big one more as a swage block, or when I'm working with strikers.

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    TimothyJ999

    2 years ago

    This should be called an In-de-structable.

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    JocelynnE

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, I want to make an anvil for my boyfriend and I so we can forge. Would it be possible to get sheet metal and shape it into an anvil welding it together except for the top? Then to have a lot more metal to melt down pouring it inside of the base/mold and allowing it to harden by dousing it with water?

    7 replies

    Well, what would perhaps work is to build your Anvil shell much as I describe in the instructible, only of a more traditional anvil size. Then, you would essentially use the anvil shell as a crucible to melt your first 15 pounds or so of zink. Then pour the rest of it in in layers maybe 15 pounds at a time or so.
    I would like to stress though, that if you're filling your anvil with metal, then it is imperative that your welding be of the highest order; as, due to shrinkage, it will create a severe strain on all the joints.

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    walter235JocelynnE

    Reply 3 years ago

    If you do melt and fill the anvil with lead or zinc PROTECT your self specifically your lungs. You might see if you can get zinc or lead ballast in shot or easy to trim pieces so you could avoid melting it altogether. I have been using an anvil shaped object made by a friend. he filled the stand with lead shot. it weighs at least 3 hundo... works like a charm.

    I get a little irritated by everyone going on about how "YOU MUST PROTECT YOUR SELF FROM ZINC FUMES!!", I mean sure, it'll give you metal fume fever if you breath it in all day, but it's not any more dangerous than any of the other fumes coming of your forge. just do it outside and you'll be fine. And frankly, if your forge is indoors then you got bigger problems. This zinc fume terror is an unintentional red herring that distracts people from worse problems. You know what worse problem comes to mind? Lead.

    Lead is basically Satan in metal form: It is a slow, insidious poison that builds up inside you, drives you insane, then kills you slowly. So it scares me a bit to hear people talking about how they're gonna melt down 60 lbs of old wheel weights to fill up their anvil wit. I would suggest not messing around with lead any more than you absolutly have to.

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    zackerJocelynnE

    Reply 3 years ago

    I had an idea of finding some steel plate maybe 1-1/2" thick and cutting out an anvil shape then doing it to maybe 6 more pieces exactly like the first, making maybe 4 or 5 holes in the middle of each piece so they all line up, bolting all 6 pieces together, and having a really good welder weld the edges all the way around with a good hard weld rod. then buy another slab of steel about 2" thick to make the top surface and just grind the horn round. it may cost some $$ for the steel plate, and for welding and cutting it out but it will be less than a real anvil and solid steel.

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    JocelynnEzacker

    Reply 3 years ago

    I am just trying to keep it from being hollow as well. I drink a lot of sodas, so maybe just filling it with aluminum and having the steel base as you were planning would work.

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    zackerJocelynnE

    Reply 3 years ago

    packing it with sand may work too. I think the only truly important thing is to make sure the striking surface is flat and is hardened so it stays that way. weight should make much of a difference because you don't use it for anything but a striking surface. yeah you don't want it to sound like a gong or bell when hit but just about any hard, flat surface that doesn't bounce or jump around when you hit it will work. I have ben using a short piece of Rail Road track and its works, its just way to small...lol

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    CelioS

    2 years ago

    An Inspirational piece of steelwork! Congratulations ! Nice photo!

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    pwagner6

    2 years ago

    The..best..post..ever!! Would you please send me blueprints?? Keep in mind I'm on a Jesus budget (I can only afford bread and water) lol

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    dc-labs

    2 years ago

    That's awesome! Love the lightning bolts.

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    zacker

    3 years ago

    this is a great Idea... and I agree on the insane cost of an anvil... also next on the insane cost list is a good Blacksmiths vice! lol

    1 reply
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    No kidding. I'm getting ready to make, and make an instructible on, making a goose-neck post vice. It's a tough protect, but I've seen it done.