We’re talking about a craft that is nearly as old as the human civilization itself. Whether it be a country war or housework, you need iron and steel-made tools every single day of your life.
And without blacksmithing, you cannot make those tools according to your needs.
An anvil is the central most important working tool for a blacksmith. Whether crafting a sword, a knife, or even a scissor, the blacksmith will need an anvil at some point in their production process.
The best anvils for blacksmithing has designs that are suited for almost every task that involves forging. But having a specialized one in the workshop will drastically improve the quality of the products.
That’s why every blacksmith must choose the perfect anvil necessary for his particular needs.
Top 3 Best Blacksmith Anvils Comparison:
Happybuy Single Horn Anvil
COLIBROX 55 Lb. Rugged Cast Iron Anvil
Ridgid 69642 Model 12 Forged Anvil
Top Grade Steel
Our 10 Best Anvils For Blacksmithing Review:
If you’re a beginner or a hobbyist, trying to pick the perfect smithy for your needs could be overwhelming. So, to help your quest, we’ve compiled a list of best blacksmithing anvils with their reviews, pros, and cons which are available for purchase.
1. Ridgid 69632 Forged Anvil Model 9
This is an anvil that you can use for making all kinds of tools. But its specialty includes blacksmithing and knife making. This Ridgid model has a sturdiness that cannot be matched.
The German-made blacksmith anvil is manufactured using high-grade steel that has been ground and hardened using induction. Its top face has also been tempered to provide a smooth and flat surface. This helps resist the blows of your hammer, again and again, keeping it from deforming.
Weighing at 165 lbs., this smithy has a working face of 10 ½ inches and a 235 x 275 mm base for added stability. This drop-forged anvil has rounded edges that ensure durability, unlike square-edged ones that are more likely to break or chip away.
There is no doubt that you might get a good hammer rebound with this item. This unit features a pritchel hole and a 1-inch hardy square hole that helps to accommodate many types of tools and punch holes in them. It also has two horns; one round and one triangle sized.
Ridgid 69632 is an all-purpose serving anvil that you can use to bring anything into your desired shape. If you have a medium-sized workshop, this anvil is an essential item to have since it is easier to move around.
2. NC Tool Calvary Anvil
The Cavalry anvil from NC Tool Co. is a type of tool that is forged from ductile steel. Weighing at 112 Pounds, this blacksmithing block has a face width of 4 5/8 inches with a smooth surface.
Suitable for specific types of metals, this product has a Rockwell hardness of 48, which is extremely durable and tough. Besides, its controlled ductility helps in the forging of smaller tools and has lesser chances of shattering even under heavy blows.
This ductile smithy might bend or dent only slightly, whereas other smaller anvils would break under heavy blows of a hammer. That is why professional blacksmiths prefer smaller anvils with better ductility.
Although not as durable as high-graded steel, this item will still hold for a long time. Its single horn can be used to bend metal bars and other tools into any shape. Besides, there is also a Hardie hole of 1 inch in size. On the other side, there is a pritchel hole of 3/8 inches in size.
A unique feature of the NC Tool block is the round turning hole on the side, which you can use to make regular or sharp turns in a metal bar or a small tool. Its dimension is perfect for forging knives too.
3. Happybuy Single Horn Anvil
We’re adding another product to the group of portable and small anvils on our list. The Happybuy is a single-horned and fully polished anvil that is mainly made from cast iron.
With a top face made of steel, this block is one of the most reliable blacksmith tools in our list. Since it is mainly made of cast iron, the anvil is sufficiently brittle not to break or shatter under too much pressure.
Featuring a single tapered and rounded horn of considerable thickness, it also has a hardy hole and a pritchel hole. With this horn, you can bend or level shape any tool you want. The holes help out for punching and bending too.
Small and reliable, this smithy is a perfect fit for forging all kinds of applications and durable enough to handle brittle materials too. Ideal for small tools like scissors and knives, Happybuy does everything with utmost efficiency.
The anvil’s body is dished in a protective enamel that allows it to endure hard impacts quite naturally. Since its primary material is cast iron, it is also safe from corrosion to a great degree.
With a sturdy and adjustable base that sits firmly on any surface, the item will not wobble no matter how hard you hit it with your hammer. You can rivet or flatten the metal as much as you want; this Happybuy anvil will hold on just fine.
If you are looking for the perfect anvil to forge any type of small scale metal, then your search might have come to an end. It is an ideal choice for beginners or even those who take blacksmithing as a hobby. The brittle body will allow it to handle all your novice impacts without deforming.
4. NC Big Face Anvil
This ductile steel anvil from NC Tools Co. is a solid, small, and portable block. It is perfect for smaller applications in your smithy.
But this one is not your general forge for heavier blacksmithing tasks. This NC Big Face is closer to a farrier's anvil that works best to make or modify horseshoes.
What makes a farrier different is its allocation of mass, unlike that of a blacksmithing anvil; because most of its mass is concentrated in the heel and the horn rather than the base.
Besides, the small anvil size makes it the perfect tool for applications that require detail. You can never reach the extreme level of detail with a big sized anvil either.
Milled with a ¼-inch punch slot, the Big Face has a smooth surface with a single horn, a 1-inch hardy hole, and a pritchel hole for cutting and punching. Since its plastic steel has a Rockwell hardness of 48, it can handle light works quite comfortably.
One important thing to note is that its hardy hole is located in the horn instead of the heel, which could be a big deal for blacksmithing. But for light works or horseshoe making, this isn’t a big deal at all since the main striking area is very tough to take a beating.
You can use the heel end of the anvil for scrolling works and the large hole for drifting things that are too big for a pritchel hole.
In addition to the small size, its 68 pounds weight also comes in handy if you need to rearrange your workshop or move around the smithy to a different location.
Lastly, because of the short stature of a farrier's anvil like this one, you can handcraft your high-end knives and horseshoes pretty easily.
5. Ridgid 69642 Model 12 Forged Anvil
We’ll be coming back to two horned anvils now. This German-made model can provide maximum durability due to its drop-forged high-grade steel. It means, unlike our previous farrier model, this one can accommodate big ironworks and take heavy beatings.
The two horns come in multiple applications. One of the horns is rounded, and the other is triangular shaped. If you need to bend any metal, the rounded horn is the option to take. The length is long enough to bend longer metals too. As for angular bends, the triangular horn works perfectly.
Its top face has an optimum surface area since it has been grounded, and induction hardened. Besides, the anvil’s rigidity allows it to take heavy blows as the solid base transfers the energy to the ground.
Ridgid 69642 has a 1-inch hardy hole near the base of the rounded horn. This can be used for housing various cutting tools. And the pritchel hole is near the triangular horn for punching. It has the perfect small size of 5/8 of an inch.
The good thing about both of them is that they are located on the anvil’s main body rather than on the sides. This is useful for heavy blacksmithing projects.
Weighing a solid 275 pounds, this is the heaviest item in our list so far. This weight is advantageous if there is a heavy work load for a prolonged period.
Overall, this Model 12 Forged Anvil is an ideal choice for massive workloads for professional blacksmiths.
6. JHM Certifier 100 Lb. Anvil
This is another variant of the farrier's anvils in our article of the blacksmithing anvil. JHM Certifier ductile steel smithy is constructed from high-grade iron, which has been heat-treated, resulting in high durability and strength.
The USA based JHM brand manufactures, keeping both Farrier and Blacksmith in mind. As a medium-sized farrier block, this one can take stronger hits than the previously mentioned NC Big Faced Farrier Anvil.
With a dimension of 30 x 24 x 15 inches and 125 pounds, this item is relatively easy to transport. This unit has a single 10.25 inches longhorn, which is rounded on one side. It allows for unique bending and turnings.
If you want to make your forging job more comfortable, there is no better alternative than this farrier anvil. Very suitable for beginners with little experience, the JHM will undoubtedly give you a long-lasting service.
Smiths all around the world use JHM products as it is reputed as one of the finest brands that make popular anvils in the USA. Its hardy and pritchel hole are both located on the heel of the smithy, making the product more stable.
The Hardie hole is 1 inch in size, and the pritchel hole is half of that. They are of the proper size for cutting and punching operations, respectively. There is also a 3” taper at the heel of this anvil that you can use for bending and tuning metal bars.
Because of its ductile iron nature, the JHM Certifier anvil is strong enough to make most tools and lasts longer even under heavy blows and loads. This ductility also prevents the farrier from shattering or breaking.
7. RIDGID 69622 model 5 Forged Anvil
The fact that RIDGID has already secured at least three picks in our list shows it is an excellent company for blacksmithing anvils. Much like most, this item is also made in Germany. The high-grade steel component has made it a robust smithy that can withstand high-impact blows and heat.
Although a bit smaller than our previous RIDGID models, the 69622 has the same induction hardened top face, which can handle hammer blows. If you’re working with brittle materials, then this one is a good choice.
Weighing around 77 pounds, this small version of RIDGID can be transported from place to place by a single person only. You can also conveniently move it around your workplace.
Moreover, you can even tinker with this small-sized anvil if you’re a novice in the blacksmithing business. Starting with small tools like knives and scissors, you can also forge other tools with excellent efficiency and accuracy.
This Model 5 anvil has a 5.5 inches long horn along with an 8 x 3 inches top face. Its round and long horn help in curving medium or small-sized metals into any shape you want.
RIDGID 69622 Forged Anvil will allow you to readily absorb the force that strikes it. The grounded and induction hardened top face will keep it from deformation for a long time to come.
8. NC Tool 70 Lb. Anvil with Turning Cams
As for the second NC Tool entry in our list, this Anvil with Turning Cams has got everything you might need as a novice blacksmith. Made from cast iron material, this block is 70 pounds, which is light enough for medium works.
Featuring a single horn with a flattened top, this anvil also includes cams so you can turn heels on horseshoes. It is also great for making knife blades. But as for forging swords or axe heads, you’ll need a bigger smithy.
Despite being made of cast iron, this forge is relatively dense. So, when you mount it to work, it won’t ring too much. Its top face is ductile steel with a Rockwell hardness of 48, which means it will easily handle medium poundings. But it won’t hold up much against heavy pounding.
There is a 1-inch hardy hole in the anvil and a pritchel close to the heel. They specialize in cutting and punching operations, respectively.
However, the base doesn’t have any mounting holes, which could sometimes be annoying for novice users.
9. Happybuy Single Horn Anvil 55Lbs
The Happybuy single-horned smithy comes in two varieties; 55lb and 66lb. Our pick for the best anvils for blacksmithing is the one with 55lbs.
Entirely made of cast iron, this 55lbs tool has its entire body covered with a layer of blue enamel paint. With a flat-surfaced well-polished working area, the Happybuy anvil is an ideal tool for someone with a blacksmithing hobby.
This item is particularly suitable for smaller projects like riveting, flattening, silversmithing, forging, and forming metal. Because of its smaller size and minimalist design, it is especially suited for use by casual hobbyists.
With a weight of only 55 lbs., it is the lightest tool in our list that can be easily moved from place to place. It is a single-horned anvil that has a considerable thickness. This horn will help you to bend and shape metal works very smoothly.
A great feature of this forge is the four anchor poles, making the base easy to adjust on any surface very firmly that prevents wobbling. There is a single hardy hole for specialized cutting too.
The brittle body of the anvil makes it able to handle profound impacts without deforming. Its small, robust, and light body can also be used to make knives and scissors with high efficiency.
But the small size and brittleness could also be considered a downside since it might break under heavy loads.
10. ToolsNMore 55 Lb. Rugged Cast Iron Anvil
Finishing off with another cast iron anvil. This model comes from the brand ToolsNMore. Weighing at 55 lbs, this medium-sized tool has a smooth and polished finish.
With an excellent mounting base and a single horn, the ToolsNMore anvil is constructed with cast iron with a layer of paint to prevent rusting. Even without mounts, it stays firm really well too.
It has a working surface area of 8.5 inches by 4 inches and a height of 6 and 5/8 inches. As for holes, there is only one that is the square hardy hole. It allows you to attach multiple types of cutting tools to this item, bend metal, and do the punching.
However, many blacksmiths do complain about one of its backdrops, which is the cast iron top surface. To solve this problem, you can mount and weld a durable steel plate on it so that it can handle a considerable beating.
Due to this ToolsNMore anvil being reasonably lightweight, even a single person can move it around relatively easily.
ToolsNMore 55 Lb. Rugged Cast Iron Anvil is an excellent choice for someone who only needs to work with small to medium-sized iron tools.
How to Choose the Best Blacksmith Anvil
Here is the detailed buying guide on the blacksmith anvils-
The Surface Texture of Anvil
This is where the ultimate commandment comes to play; the face of the anvil MUST be flat. Traditionally, the anvil's face is the working area, and it is usually flat and blemish-free. Avoid surfaces with scratches, warps, cuts, or uneven undulations. If the surface is not perfect, striking a hot metal on it will have imperfections imprinted on your workpiece, and that is far from the goal. Go for an Anvil that has the smoothest flat surface possible.
When you buy a used Anvil, there might be wear marks, and they may not be very obvious at the edges out of the center surface, watch out for them. Also, if there are a few wear marks, you must be conscious of where your workpiece is before working. The perfect and unaltered area must be large enough for your pounding requirements; that's a big hint when you are looking at getting a used anvil.
Style of Anvil
While all forging anvils are the same to the common man, they are actually in varieties to the experts. The advice here is nothing complex: Comfort is critical. Choosing the anvil style you want should be as simple as selecting the one you are comfortable with. Similar to cars, they come in different sizes and shapes, all depending on origin and purpose.
For instance, the anvil's T-shaped London style is the known traditional design, and one side of it has a horn while the other side has a squared table. The London patter anvil is quite popular, but there are various other styles. The Hardie Hole is the version with a square shape, while the version with a round shape is called Pritchel Hole. Both Holes should be intact and precise. Just go for what easily serves the purpose.
The Material of the Anvil
Typically, the anvil's material is one of the most crucial factors to consider, along with size. Practically, there are three common types, probably the most efficient ones. Cast iron Anvils, Wrought iron Anvils, and Steel faced Anvil. Cast iron is usually brittle, and it is common for them to have less rebound or even chip away due to stress.
Steel as an anvil material is very versatile in nature. Cast Steel Anvils are very great for smiting; they have proper combinations of hardness and toughness, and that goes a long way. On the other hand, wrought iron anvil doesn't chip off at work like cast iron anvil will, but they can also be too soft, definitely softer than the steel option.
While the anvil's cost may be the most significant factor for you, ensure you choose something that works properly and lasts well. Remember, it's always a product of hardness and toughness.
This has been considered by some ancient blacksmiths to be the most enjoyable quality of an anvil. Fun or not, the rebound is one of the most important things to watch out for. Rebound is the ability of the anvil to reflect the force exerted on it and create a bounce-back to the other direction in accordance with Newton's third law of motion.
The extent of rebound should not be excessively over or below, and it is usually measured through the percentage of mass returned when a ball bearing is dropped on the anvil. For instance, if a ball bearing is dropped from a height of 8 inches and was bounced up to 4 inches, the anvil has a fifty percent rebound. A great anvil usually has eighty-nine percent rebound or even greater.
While testing your anvil for a rebound, use a small diameter ball bearing, typically one with half to one-inch diameter. Measure heights of the ball with tape; this is usually a rough estimate, but, in reality, you don't even need precise figures. You can take the measurements multiple times and find the average. Easy, right? Gravity does the most!
Size and Weight
Size should not be a complex problem in light forging. You should know how big you want the anvil surface to be, usually standardized. You only have to pay extra attention if you need extreme space for jigs to hold your work or you have large hammers. For most of the anvil's general uses, 150lb anvil usually serves well, although the narrow edges can be quite challenging at times.
In forging, you only hit the material on one point at a time. This leaves room for positioning and repositioning opportunities; you don't need a surface more prominent than your workpiece's width; you need to hit and reposition material when necessary. Regardless, larger anvils are more convenient and requires less repositioning.
Weight is next to the size, and you guessed right, forging anvils are usually heavy, to some extent. While it is cool to have that massive 700lb Anvil in your workshop, it is quite an immense stress for you to move it or take it home in your truck. Heavier anvils also required more vital supports before use. The support must be able to handle the weight before and after hitting the workpiece against the surface. You don't want motion or wobble of anvil while work is going on, SAFETY COMES FIRST.
It is important to note that weight is directly proportional to cost. 1lb of weight will cost an average of three dollars; therefore, you don't want to go for those extra weights and size that you won't be needing.
To know more about anvil size, here is our guide on anvil size for knife making.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you pick a good anvil?
Starting with weight! For a beginner, an 80-pounder should be just right for you to handle comfortably as you learn how to operate and maintain it. The heavier the better - because if the head becomes damaged from hammering on metal or other unforgiving surfaces there's less chance of cracking when struck with force by the hammer.
Forging anvils should be free of rust and the face should be smooth, flat, and not pitted or cracked so that it'll last a long time. The steel "foot" should also match up well with the floor when leveling the anvil for use as you're forging metal to make items like horseshoes or gates.
The face should be free of deep pitting or cracks under the surface. A good anvil will also have a flat and smooth, but not polished, top that will allow you to hammer down as hard as necessary for your work without damaging the steel from excessive wear on its surfaces.
How much does a good anvil cost?
The cost of an anvil is determined by the quality and size. For a good beginner's anvil, you can expect to pay around $200-$300 dollars for one that will last about five years or so. If you are planning on doing heavy forging work like repairing farm equipment, preparing railroad ties for installation, or building your own gates, you may need an anvil with a bigger and heavier face. For these needs, expect to pay around $600 for one that will last the course of your lifetime or more.
What is the best steel for an anvil?
The best steel for an anvil is carbon steel or cast iron. Alloy steels such as stainless, cold-rolled, and hot-rolled are not recommended because they can be more brittle than other kinds of steel.
How heavy should an anvil be?
An anvil is a tool that blacksmiths use to shape and form metal. A lightweight anvil will not work well for maximum jobs because the hammer blows can't be delivered powerfully enough. They must have sufficient weight so they do not move when struck, but also heavy enough so they are stable even on uneven surfaces or while in use on an uneven surface.
Blacksmiths do not need to worry about the weight of their anvil too much as there are many different sizes and shapes available for purchase, but they should make sure it is at least 50 pounds for beginner works, and 225 lbs. or 100 kilograms for professionals in order to work properly.
Why are blacksmith anvils so expensive?
Modern anvils are expensive for many reasons. The most important reason is that they can last a lifetime, and their quality cannot be surpassed by any other type of tool. This means that the anvil will create items with higher quality than what another person could produce using inferior equipment. Due to the amount of metal that goes into making an anvil, the price has to go up.
What can be used in place of an anvil?
Most anvils have been used for centuries to shape metal into various items. While there are alternative methods of shaping metal, an anvil is by far the most common choice when it comes to forming and flattening raw metals. You can use a sturdy table as your work surface or even substitute it with a block of wood (though this will not produce the same quality as a metal anvil).
What metal is an anvil made of?
An anvil is made of steel. The material used depends on the individual smith, but most use either a low-carbon or high-carbon iron alloy that’s been heat-treated and hardened to withstand heavy blows without bending too much.
How many times can an anvil be used?
The durability of your anvil will depend on the type you buy. In general, some are built to last a lifetime and others need to be replaced every few years – just like any other tool.
However, for a regular professional around 5 to 10 years is a sweet spot until the anvil surface becomes unusable.
Why do you put a chain around an anvil?
Putting a chain around the anvil makes it quiet and stable. The chain is also a safety precaution, as the anvil can react unpredictably when being struck.
Why does anvil weight matter?
Anvil weights are measured in pounds. A heavier anvil will be able to withstand more hammer blows than a lighter one, which may cause it to deform or crack with fewer hits before breaking under the stress of a blow. If you have never used blacksmithing techniques before and want something that is as durable as possible for your first venture, heavy anvils are the way to go.
The weight of an anvil may also be tied to its purpose for use, as different types of metal require varying amounts of force when shaping them. A blacksmith's shop will usually have more than one size and type of anvil on hand at any given time in order to meet the needs of the blacksmith and their work.
Why does anvil shape matter?
Anvil shapes will vary depending on what metal is to be forged or shaped, as different metals require specific types of tools for shaping them at high heat levels. For example, a long-shanked horned anvil would not be used for forging silver, as its long length would only serve to flatten the silver instead of forming it into shape.
Without a good blacksmithing anvil, it is almost impossible to forge any metal tool. Whether you’re a professional, a newbie, or just a hobbyist, you’ll need a smithy that will suit your particular needs.
In this article, we’ve tried to provide you with the list of best anvils for blacksmithing available for purchase. It is now your duty to pick the one that works for you best in blacksmithing job.