How to Make a Homemade Anvil

Peter Stec
March 4, 2021

Learning how to make a homemade anvil is fairly easy if all the necessary equipment are already on hand. An anvil is a common tool used by forgers and still commonly used today for home applications. Made from steel, the hard surface offers ample space for an object to be struck. Anvils are so useful because their inertia contribute to the transfer of energy from the striking tool to the item being worked on.

Shape and Structure

Anvils don't appear out of the sky.
Anvils don’t appear out of the sky.

Anvils typically look like rectangles with one edge sporting a horn. They are made from pure steel with a solidly heavy stand that keeps the face stable during work. Holes are strategically placed along the surface for work purposes. The topmost surface should be smooth and flawless. Marks on the face will only be transferred on the item being forged on the anvil.

Anvils typically have several parts that will require special attention when being created:

  • Horn – this is the conical shape found at one end of the anvil. It is actually unhardened iron and used for bending projects to a particular shape. Some anvils come with two horns, one of them rounded and the other representing a square reserved for special work needs.
  • Pritchel Hole – mostly found in modern anvils, the pritchel hole is small and rounded, found at the square end of the face. It is often used for punching but may be improvised as a holder, allowing the smith to be more flexible when handling several tools at once.
  • Step or Pad – this is the part of the anvil used for cutting purposes. Using the face for the job is often frowned upon as it can ruin the surface, hence the need for the step.
  • Hardy Hole – a square hole found near the pritchel hole, it is used as a slot for specialized forming tools or hardy tools. It can also work for punching and bending needs.

Anvil Creation – The Process

When learning how to make a homemade anvil, individuals first need to create a pattern for their materials. Anvils are typically one-horned and can be created using scrap or brand new steel. Scrap steel can cost up to 20 cents per pound while new ones can cost $1.50 for every pound. The amount of anvil to buy would depend on the pattern to be used. The typical, 1905 Trenton anvil pattern would necessitate at least 180 pounds of steel.

To start with creating an anvil, gather the entire materials necessary, specifically 2 to 240 cu. ft. oxygen tanks and an oxy acet. cutting torch that can slash the steel to the specified pattern. Use the internet to search for an anvil pattern and draw this on the steel to be used with the help of a white paint marker. Note that cutting the steel should not be done on concrete, but on the ground.

Cutting the blank profile by hand is often tough, but it can be done. A bevel torch is used to give shape to the horn while the hardy hole should be started by drilling a hole on the desired area. The pritchel hole is often drilled into place. Remove all the slag and start grinding the material into shape. Since a second grinding will be done, getting it perfectly smooth is not yet necessary.

The next step would be to hardface the topmost part of the anvil as well as the horn. The process will depend on the material used, varying from a stick welder (200 amps) or a mig welder (200 to 250 amps). The surface should be built slowly, preferably 2 layers each time, instead of doing it all at the same time. To cool down the anvil, it should be dipped in lime. The second and final grinding will follow, smoothing down the anvil for use.


That is how you make a homemade anvil folks. If you liked this article, check out our machete review, pink pocket knife review, and guide to the best throwing knives. If you have any questions, post them below.

About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

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