Saturday, July 18, 2015

Forging Anvils in Germany

One of my recent students sent me a link to an article he had found about 'traditional' anvil forging :

The short article has been translated from the original German into English. It does suffer a wee bit in terms of clear style from the translation.

One main point I would elaborate a bit on:
A piece of 'old guy' wisdom is 'Don't buy a cast anvil'. This was most certainly true for older anvils - the metals and methods used in castings could *never* match the quality of a forged working surface.
*Modern* cast alloy steel anvils are a different matter. (As the article above explains.)
Still, the quality of individual producers can vary considerably. Be sure to sound check any anvil (either manufacture method!) before purchasing.

I have two small (50 kg) modern cast steel anvils at the Wareham Forge. One is from an unknown English foundry, the other from Czechoslovakia (I think from Branco):
• First thing is the horns, which I find too stubby and thus not as useful for producing graceful curves (a feature of my own work at least).
• The hardie holes are significantly smaller (in proportion) than other anvils in the workshop. This would not be a problem if you had only one anvil - and all your tools were designed to match.
 • The prichel holes are either too small to be useful (English) or placed so they are hard to use (Czech).
• Although the work surfaces are *very hard* - the anvils are also very 'dingy' - a loud and piercing ring.  I suspect over time there would be considerable extra vibrating effect to the hammer arm joints.

PS - Just for interest, there is this snip of advice on the Branco web site L

It is highly recommended to use the hammer weight of which does not exceed the weight proportion of 1:30 anvil to hammer.

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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