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A blacksmith anvil is a heavy, sturdy block or iron or steel used as a work surface for shaping and forging metal. It serves as a foundation for the blacksmith to hammer and shape heated metal into desired forms. Anvils have been essential tools in metalworking for centuries and play a crucial role in the blacksmithing process.
Key features of a blacksmith anvil include:
Material: Traditionally, anvils were made of wrought iron with a hardened steel top, but modern anvils are often made entirely of high-quality steel. The steel used for the working surface (the face) is hardened to withstand the repeated impact of hammer blows.
Shape: Anvils typically have a flat top surface (the face) for most work, a horn for bending and shaping, and a hardy hole and pritchel hole for holding tools and punching holes, respectively.
Weight: Anvils come in various weights, ranging from small benchtop anvils to massive floor-standing ones. The weight of the anvil contributes to its stability and helps absorb the energy from hammer blows.
Base: The base of the anvil is often shaped to allow for stability and sometimes includes a step or a foot to help secure the anvil in place.
Hardy Hole and Pritchel Hole: These are holes in the anvil that allow for the insertion of various tools. The hardy hole typically holds specialized tools like swages and cutters, while the pritchel hole is used for punching holes in metal.
Horn: The horn is a curved extension on one end of the anvil used for bending and shaping metal.
Using an anvil effectively requires skill and experience, as the blacksmith needs to judge the temperature of the metal and strike it accurately to achieve the desired shape. Anvils are a fundamental tool in blacksmithing and are integral to the craft's rich history.