If you’re training to become a blacksmith or enjoy blacksmithing as a hobby, you may have wondered why anvils are shaped the way that they are. This piece of smithing equipment has a distinct appearance and is very memorable. But what does its appearance have to do with blacksmithing? Keep reading to learn more about the various elements of the anvil and how blacksmiths use them.
Why Anvils Have Various Shapes
Anvils are shaped the way that they are to assist with the blacksmithing process. They feature various shapes, angles, and surfaces to help blacksmiths shape their materials. Beginner blacksmiths may look at the anvil and simply see a surface for hammering materials. But experienced blacksmiths understand that each curve and line of the anvil is useful for different shaping processes. For example, a smith will use the flat top of the steel block for flattening materials or the side to bend and shape a curved piece.
Different Elements of the Anvil
Each part of the anvil has a specific purpose. There are five main elements to this equipment: the horn, the step, the face, the hardy hole, and the pritchel hole. Here is a breakdown of these five elements and how blacksmiths utilize them:
- Horn: The horn is the frontmost part of the anvil, which forms a curve or a point. Blacksmiths use the more cylindrical part of the horn to shape curves into their pieces. Some anvils come with multiple horns in different shapes or sizes for more precise curves.
- Step: The step is a flat ledge that sits just past the horn at the front of the block. The step is an ideal space for performing cuts and trimming excess material off a piece of metal. Blacksmiths often use the step or the sides of the anvil for cutting.
- Face: the face of the anvil is the large, flat slab that covers most of the area on top. The face is where blacksmiths do the most hammering for flattening materials and other purposes.
- Hardy hole: This is a square hole in the anvil that allows blacksmiths to hold and secure tools in place while working. Smiths also use the hardy hole to create bends in smaller pieces or to assist in hole punching.
- Pritchel hole: The pritchel hole is a smaller, round hole that is ideal for hole punching. One can also use it to hold tools and materials, which makes it similar to the hardy hole.
Why Anvils Are Essential
The shape of the anvil and all its elements are crucial to any blacksmithing workshop. In fact, an anvil is one of the essential tools that any blacksmith needs to start working. Along with a forge and hammers, these steel blocks help complete any metalworking workshop.
Now that you know the various elements of the anvil and why they are shaped the way that they are, you can better understand the smithing process. If you’re interested in adding some other blacksmithing essentials to your workshop, browse our selection of propane forge burner kits and more at Cast Master Elite.