For my outdoor blacksmith shop, I selected a 77lb Kanca south German style anvil which was made in the forges of the city that was once called Byzantium.
It is very enjoyable researching anvils and anticipating which one you might get. I looked at many used anvils and many new ones. The prices for used anvils, that may have required repair work, were so high, that I just bought a new one. In many ways I would have preferred to find a good used one, and seeing as how I bought a small new one, I will still have a chance to buy an old big anvil if I need a larger anvil later. I bought my anvil and initial tools from Centaur Forge, which was a great place to visit; I am within driving distance so saved some money on freight.
Specs of my Kanca Anvil:
- 77lbs Drop Forged
- Double horned
- High Grade Steel with Surface Hardness of 54-62HRC
- 7/8" Hardie Hole, 3/4" Pritchel Hole
The 'Ole Anvil Stand
Old smithys sunk a big hardwood log vertically down into the earth and then mounted their anvil on top....so that's what I did. This is a white oak log from a nearby tree that had fallen down in a storm. The hole is about 4feet deep. I dragged the log to the hole and bedded and surrounded it with stone in the hole.
ANVIL HEIGHT: The top of your anvil should be at the height of the bottom of your fist when you arm is hanging at your side.
I have read that bedding your anvil in sand works well, so that is what I did. I nailed a steel pan, the same diameter as the log, to the top of the log, then I filled it with paver bedding sand.
Work Table and Vise
I set up a small work table to rest tools on, and I also mounted the my vise to this table. I selected a 5" Irwin vice. Keep in mind all this equipment needs to be portable, as I carry it outside, but store it inside. This kept me from getting too large with any of the tools. A proper blacksmith vise has long legs that mount to the floor to transfer hammering loads to the floor rather than to a bench. I compromised and got this little guy.
Not shown, but handy for working metal, is a chop-saw. My chop saw is fitted with an abrasive metal cutting wheel. Hand tools for blacksmithing are shown here.