In my previous post I put a link to a blacksmith that crafts items for Hollywood and mentioned that I was always fascinated by blacksmiths.
My sweet cousin (who always posts Anonymous) responded to me with:
wish I would have known about your interest in blacksmiths years ago, I would have taken you to my Grandma Hunt's place and showed you my grandfathers blacksmith shop, he had passed away many years before but the bellows still laid on the cold forge, hammers and tongs atop the well worn anvil and the horseshoes he fashioned were hanging on square headed nails along the beams. the shop has long since been torn down, but the tools of his trade are stored in my aunts shed..it was always a dream of mine to display them in a sort of mini museum to honor his memory....someday....wish you could have seen it.
This made me ponder my (supposed) love of blacksmithing as a craft. Part of it stems from all my reading, of course. Many fantasy novels have blacksmiths - they are part of the genre.
During my years in high school, wondering what I was to do, I fantasized about finding a blacksmith who could train me and relieve me of the modern version of slavery of the everyday commute (to which I have now been condemned for over thirty years). When my first wife left me I even did some research into what it would take to become a swordsmith, but by then it seemed too late in life and I had too many obligations.
In the years before the Internet, research into blacksmithing was much more difficult.
So let's look at some links about anvils!
This is a conversational thread about making an anvil out of D2. And I don't even know what D2 is, so I am really ignorant. The thread doesn't say much that's really helpful to make an anvil.
One guy writes about the properties of an anvil, though, and it's fascinating.
The horn, the ledge and the tail of the anvil is soft. The flat is forge welded tool steel. A fully hardened anvil might have its uses. The Hardy hol and the Pritchell hole all have uses. The edge of the flat runs from near a sharp corner for most of its lenght to 1/4" radius. The horn's shape is something like a bent paraboloid whose upper side runs parallel to the face . The tail is cut away for a good reason. There's good reason why some parts of an anvil are hard and some soft. There's probably lots of other wrinkles and features deliberately incorporated into a good anvil
Anvilfire - a new site I found when doing this search - has a good review of manufacturing an anvil. Then you can click on the link that says "Getting started in Blacksmithing." I think I am too old (therefore I am).
This one gives a lot of details on how to make an anvil. Very good stuff, except I have no idea how to weld or use a cutting torch. Again, my ignorance appalls me.
This guy has a step by step with pictures on how he made his anvil, and it looks pretty nice when he's finished, too.
This fellow goes the standard route and uses a railroad rail to make it. He doesn't say much, but the picture is good.
Every one of these instruction sets talks about how you need to harden your anvil, which makes sense. The anvil needs to be harder than the metal you work with and harder than the hammers you use. It also cannot be brittle, so the cooling process is critical.
Wow. What a lot of work. I think it might be easier to buy one. One of the sites talks about how the anvils that are 100-150 years old (that would be your Grandfather's anvil, Mary) were prized possessions because we just can't make anvils that good any more. Anvils that old are still working anvils, too. They aren't even considered antiques until they are over 200 years old.
Blacksmiths not only make their own anvils, they often make their own tools, including their hammers.