Everything you need to know about anvils

Anvils have become an item that most people associate with medieval times. They have been featured in the Game Of Thrones tv series and any one of the countless medieval movies out on the market today. We have all seen them be used by a blacksmith to make swords an and sometimes pieces of armor but today we are going to explain more information on the famous anvil.

What is an anvil?

In short, an anvil is used as a metalworking tool typically used for forging. Anvils consist of a large metal block with a flat top surface (known as the face) and large horn at the rear. Prior to welding, the anvil was the primary tool of metal workers (aka blacksmiths).

Types of anvils

There are many different types of anvils, these variations have been made depending on the specific purpose of its use. There were anvils created and used specifically for:

  • Farriers
  • General Smiths
  • Cutlers
  • Chain Maters
  • Armorers
  • Saw Turners
  • Coach Makers
  • Coopers
  • Jeweler’s
  • Many other type of metal workers

Quality anvils are made from forged or cast steel, more inferior anvils are made from forged wrought iron with a steel face of cast iron with a hard steel face.

Anvil placement

Due to anvils getting hit regularly they need to be properly mounted. Anvils are typically mounted to a sturdy base which is made from an impact and fire resistant material. This is so that the anvil will not move whilst being struck with a smith hammer.

How to mount

The majority of anvils have holes located in the feet or base of the anvil. These holes allow the anvil to be attached by bolts and cables. Other mounting methods may include:

  • Spikes
  • Chains
  • Steel Straps
  • Clips

Types of bases

A traditional base was made from hard wood which was buried several feet into the ground. During the industrial era, cast iron bases were made available. The benefit to these bases were that it added additional weight to the anvil. In modern day times anvils are typically mounted on fabricated steel bases, often a short thick section of I-Bean. Even more recently steel tripod bases have become popular amoung come smiths.

Brief history of anvils

Original anvils were made of stone, as time progressed they were then made from bronze and later from wrought iron. As steel was becoming more available, anvil faces were made with it.

These particular anvils were produced up until the early 20th century. Within this time, the method of construction evolved and became extremely high quality.

It was at the beginning of the 20th century the solid cast steel anvils began to be produced. These days anvils are made entirely from steel.


The shape of he anvil has evolved through time. They started as just a simple block that was used by smiths. The majority of anvils found today are based on mid 19th century pattern from London.

More Information

For more information please feel free to contact us. You can also see our large range of new, used and vintage anvil collection here.


This blog post was influenced by the information found on Wikipedia. All images used in this post are from our tool catergories store.

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