Forging a Small Block Anvil

One of my goals as a blacksmith is to forge my own version of a beautiful bickhorn that resides in the smithy in Bavaria where I did my apprenticeship. To accomplish this will take a lot of practice and planning. Last weekend I took a step in that direction by forging a 13 pound anvil made up of a block of mild steel and a forge welded face of W1. The goal was simply to step up the size of forge welding that I do to see what it feels like to handle a larger mass of hot metal. Another goal was to see how I might build furnaces to bring larger chunks of metal to welding heat. The furnace I used for the 13 pound anvil had been made by Jeff Pringle to do crucible smelts of magnetite sand and worked very well. The burner came from my small forge welding forge and proved quite adequate to the task. In fact the same-set up could probably be used to weld block anvils up to about 50 pounds. However, handling a 50 pound block of metal at forge welding heat would be a different matter altogether. Custom tongs would be required to manipulate it safely, and more safety gear would probably be necessary to protect from radiant heat and slag. This was a fun project and will definitely spur me on to larger attempts.

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