A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a little anvil for a very reasonable price off Facebook Marketplace. Now while I had no immediate need for an anvil in the garage, if you love tools, you probably love anvils too
Naturally an anvil needs to sit on a sturdy base and I didn't just want to settle for the old tree stump solution. I wanted something epic, preferably medieval looking with a mix of charred wood and bare steel.
So I started off with a 100x100x2400 timber post that I cut in 4 and glued together to create the 200x200x600 blank to work from. I used a power planer to get the sides relatively flush without completely ruining it's rugged looks, and also threw a bevel on the edges while I was at it. I traced the anvil's footprint and used my router to drop it by about 10mm so that the anvil sat nice and snug and couldn't slide around. I also used the router to create 2x 25x3mm channels around the base, 150mm from the top and bottom ends.
Once I was happy with the shape and size, I used a blowtorch to char the exterior and really bring out the wood grain, followed by a quick Scotchbrite scuffing to blend it nicely. I sealed the charred base with two layers of boiled Linseed oil.
Finally, I created the 2x metal straps that fit snugly in the channels I had milled, welded the ends and drove 16x 45mm coach screws through it to bring it all together. Overall, I'm super happy with the outcome. The last step will be to add the tool holder to the top and secure the anvil with some brackets that I'm yet to make
PS: Below you will see the welds I did where the ends of the flatbar met. I welded this in place because the strap sits in a channel and could not be fitted over otherwise. I did these with a little Ozito gasless MIG I bought last week: The new one, where the feed and voltage are both adjustable rather than just the feed rate. It works like a charm
First, welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community! It is awesome to have you here, thank you for sharing your super cool anvil project with us. I think your medieval look really suits your anvil, was the charring hard to do?
Definitely looking forward to seeing how you make your tool holder.
Thanks for the feedback The charring was dead simple to do. I used a Bernzomatic TS8000 MAPP torch on full tilt and it made quick work of it. The challenge is to try and keep the burn even because as you can imagine, softer pieces of wood char quicker than the harder, denser or more saturated bits. The alternative to the light char that I applied is to do a full burn until everything is black, then hit it with a wire brush but I didn't want to take too much stock off by doing that so I opted to just go light instead.
Looks fantastic! 😁
"I traced the anvil's footprint and used my router to drop it by about 10mm so that the anvil sat nice and snug and couldn't slide around."
Clever solution as it would otherwise move around when you start smacking metal on it. No mounting holes?
You've given me inspiration. I don't own a true anvil as such but more a configured piece of railway line and wondered at times how to mount it - even if temporary. Cheers!
Thanks, yeah nah no mounting holes I'm afraid. The milled recess will only really limit horizontal movement, but I still need to strap it down so that using the front or back of it won't cause it to bounce out. Mounting also greatly reduces anvil ringing with each blow which can be SO loud. Typically people use chains to achieve this but I'm not a big fan of that look so I'm considering alternatives like angle iron with long coach screws or something along those lines.
The flat foot on that railway anvil of yours should allow you some solid mounting options without having to invest in any crazy mounting hardware outside a couple of coach screws and washers.
(PS: Kudos to whoever ground that anvil. Super neat.)
It all depends on the circumstances really. A wire brush with long, relatively straight strands allowed to do it's work over time on a light char would arguably not cause any significant scarring, but using those with the twisted ends and / or applying significant pressure on a moderate to heavy char would quickly remove the brittle charred wood and leave some gouges instead. This isn't always a bad thing, for example Japanese "Shou Sugi Ban" / "Yakisugi" depends on this technique to achieve that 3D look.
"secure the anvil with some brackets"
I was tempted to suggest welding large nuts to be used as mounting holes - but looking around on the net, welding on an anvil is a very involved process it seems.
But whilst looking I saw this guys mounting brackets...plate steel moulded around the legs?
"(PS: Kudos to whoever ground that anvil. Super neat.)"
My father made it, but sadly I don't know the full history - and never will.
I had to look up Shou Sugi Ban as this was a technique I have never heard of and I am blown away at how gorgeous it is! Have you done this type of wood burning before?
Only ever by accident I happened upon the term whilst researching wood burning for a previous project where I sought to build a medieval weapons rack for my archery equipment and also flagged it as "future project material". I'll be sure to post it here when I do
"plate steel moulded around the legs?"
It's certainly an option that I'm considering especially since my newfound love for making shallow cuts in flat bar and folding it like origami But yesterday I saw a picture where someone had a combination of a chain and some metal tabs secured with coach screws and it looked pretty fabulous. I'm picking up and old chain over lunch (which sadly costs more than a new chain but in the spirit of sticking with the theme...) and will brainstorm a little as to how I can use it creatively