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An anvil is a metalworking tool consisting of a large block of metal (usually forged or cast steel), with a flattened top surface, upon which another object is struck (or "worked").
Metalworking is the process of working with metals to create individual parts, assemblies, or large-scale structures. The term covers a wide range of work from large ships and bridges to precise engine parts and delicate jewelry. It therefore includes a correspondingly wide range of skills, processes, and tools.
A tool is an object used to extend the ability of an individual to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools dates back hundreds of millennia, use tools to make other tools. The set of tools required to perform different tasks that are part of the same activity is called gear or equipment.
Anvils are as massive as is practical, because the higher their inertia, the more efficiently they cause the energy of striking tools to be transferred to the work piece. In most cases the anvil is used as a forging tool. Before the advent of modern welding technology, it was a primary tool of metal workers.
Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to any change in its velocity. This includes changes to the object's speed, or direction of motion. An aspect of this property is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at a constant speed, when no forces act upon them.
In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on, or to heat, the object. Energy is a conserved quantity; the law of conservation of energy states that energy can be converted in form, but not created or destroyed. The SI unit of energy is the joule, which is the energy transferred to an object by the work of moving it a distance of 1 metre against a force of 1 newton.
A forge is a type of hearth used for heating metals, or the workplace (smithy) where such a hearth is located. The forge is used by the smith to heat a piece of metal to a temperature where it becomes easier to shape by forging, or to the point where work hardening no longer occurs. The metal is transported to and from the forge using tongs, which are also used to hold the workpiece on the smithy's anvil while the smith works it with a hammer. Sometimes, such as when hardening steel or cooling the work so that it may be handled with bare hands, the workpiece is transported to the slack tub, which rapidly cools the workpiece in a large body of water. However, depending on the metal type, it may require an oil quench or a salt brine instead; many metals require more than plain water hardening. The slack tub also provides water to control the fire in the forge.
The great majority of modern anvils are made of cast Iron or forged steel (the latter is stronger) that has been heat treated. Inexpensive anvils have been made of cast iron and low quality steel, but are considered unsuitable for serious use as they deform and lack rebound when struck.
Iron is a chemical element with symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and group 8 of the periodic table. It is by mass the most common element on Earth, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust.
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, and sometimes other elements. Because of its high tensile strength and low cost, it is a major component used in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons.
Cast iron is a group of iron-carbon alloys with a carbon content greater than 2%. Its usefulness derives from its relatively low melting temperature. The alloy constituents affect its colour when fractured: white cast iron has carbide impurities which allow cracks to pass straight through, grey cast iron has graphite flakes which deflect a passing crack and initiate countless new cracks as the material breaks, and ductile cast iron has spherical graphite "nodules" which stop the crack from further progressing.
Because anvils are very ancient tools and were at one time very commonplace, they have acquired symbolic meaning beyond their use as utilitarian objects. They have even found their way into popular culture including episodes of Looney Tunes , the name of a heavy metal band, and usage by blacksmiths as well as jewelers and metal smiths.
Looney Tunes is an American series of animated comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. from 1930 to 1969 during the golden age of American animation alongside its sister series Merrie Melodies. It was known for introducing Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Tweety, Sylvester, Granny, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Tasmanian Devil, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and many other cartoon characters.
Anvil are a Canadian heavy metal band from Toronto, Ontario, formed in 1978. The band consists of Steve "Lips" Kudlow, Robb Reiner (drums), and Chris Robertson (bass). As of early 2019, the band has released seventeen studio albums, and has been cited as having influenced many notable heavy metal groups, including Megadeth, Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica.
A blacksmith is a metalsmith who creates objects from wrought iron or steel by forging the metal, using tools to hammer, bend, and cut. Blacksmiths produce objects such as gates, grilles, railings, light fixtures, furniture, sculpture, tools, agricultural implements, decorative and religious items, cooking utensils and weapons. The place where a blacksmith works is called variously a smithy, a forge or a blacksmith's shop.
The primary work surface of the anvil is known as the face. It is generally made of hardened steel and should be flat and smooth with rounded edges for most work. Any marks on the face will be transferred to the work. Also, sharp edges tend to cut into the metal being worked and may cause cracks to form in the workpiece. The face is hardened and tempered to resist the blows of the smith's hammer, so the anvil face does not deform under repeated use. A hard anvil face also reduces the amount of force lost in each hammer blow. Hammers, tools, and work pieces of hardened steel should never directly strike the anvil face with full force, as they may damage it; this can result in chipping or deforming of the anvil face.
The horn of the anvil is a conical projection used to form various round shapes and is generally unhardened steel or iron. The horn is used mostly in bending operations. It also is used by some smiths as an aid in "drawing down" stock (making it longer and thinner). Some anvils, mainly European, are made with two horns, one square and one round. Also, some anvils are made with side horns or clips for specialized work.
The step is that area of the anvil between the "horn" and the "face". It is soft and is used for cutting; its purpose is to prevent damaging the steel face of the anvil by conducting such operations there and so as not to damage the cutting edge of the chisel, though many smiths shun this practice as it will damage the anvil over time.
The hardy hole is a square hole into which specialized forming and cutting tools, called hardy tools, are placed. It is also used in punching and bending operations.
Hardy tools, also known as anvil tools or bottom tools, are metalworking tools used in anvils. A hardy has a square shank, which prevents it from rotating when placed in the anvil's hardy hole. The term "hardy", used alone, refers to a hot cutting chisel used in the square hole of the anvil. Other bottom tools are identified by function. Typical hardy tools include chisels and bending drifts. They are generally used with a matching top tool.
The pritchel hole is a small round hole that is present on most modern anvils. Some anvils have more than one. It is used mostly for punching. At times, smiths will fit a second tool to this hole to allow the smith more flexibility when using more than one anvil tool.
A pritchel is a type of punch used in forging, particularly in making nail holes in horseshoes. The horseshoe is heated and a hole is punched through 90 percent of the steel with a forepunch or drift punch. The pointed end of the tool should be kept sharp and so that the burr is cut out smoothly. The punched hole is lined up over the pritchel hole and the pritchel is driven into the hole, knocking out the remaining metal at the bottom of the punched hole. The temperature of the pritchel should be always below the red-hot stage as the tool itself will bend and lose the temper. When over-heated it is advised to cool it in water intermediately.
An anvil needs to be placed upon a sturdy base made from an impact and fire resistant material. It requires being fastened firmly to the base, so it will not move when struck with a hammer. A loose anvil is extremely unsafe, as it can fall off the base and is an ineffective forging tool. Common methods of attaching an anvil are spikes, chains, steel or iron straps, clips, bolts where there are holes provided, and cables. A smith would use whatever was at hand, as long as it held the anvil firmly in place. The anvil is placed as near to the forge as is convenient, generally no more than one step from the forge to prevent heat loss in the work piece.
The most common base traditionally was a hard wood log or large timber buried several feet into the floor of the forge shop floor. This was done to make the anvil immobile when heavy forging and bending were done upon the anvil. In the industrial era cast iron bases became available. They had the advantage of adding additional weight to the anvil, making it more stable while making the anvil movable. These bases are highly sought after by collectors today. When concrete became widely available, there was a trend to make steel reinforced anvil bases by some smiths, though this practice has largely been abandoned. In more modern times many anvils have been placed upon bases fabricated from steel, often a short thick section of a large I-Beam. In addition, bases have been made from dimensional lumber bolted together to form a large block or steel drums full of oil-saturated sand to provide a damping effect. In recent times tripod bases of fabricated steel have become popular with some smiths.
There are many designs for anvils, which are often tailored for a specific purpose or to meet the needs of a particular smith. For example, there were anvils specifically made for farriers, general smiths, cutlers, chain makers, armorers, saw tuners, coach makers, coopers, and many other types of metal workers. Such designs have originated in diverse geographic locations.
The common blacksmith's anvil is made of either forged or cast steel, forged wrought iron with a hard steel face or cast iron with a hard steel face. Cast iron anvils are not used for forging as they are incapable of standing up to the impact and will crack and dent. Also, cast iron anvils without a hard steel face do not have the rebound that a harder anvil would and will tire out the smith. Historically, some anvils have been made with a smooth top working face of hardened steel welded to a cast iron or wrought iron body, though this manufacturing method is no longer in use. At one end, the common smith's anvil has a projecting conical bick (beak, horn) used for hammering curved work pieces. The other end is typically called the heel. Occasionally, the other end is also provided with a bick, partly rectangular in section. Most anvils made since the late 18th century also have a hardy hole and a pritchel hole where various tools, such as the anvil-cutter or hot chisel, can be inserted and held by the anvil. Some anvils have several hardy and pritchel holes, to accommodate a wider variety of hardy tools and pritchels. An anvil may also have a softer pad for chisel work.
An anvil for a power hammer is usually supported on a massive anvil block, sometimes weighing over 800 tons for a 12-ton hammer; this again rests on a strong foundation of timber and masonry or concrete.
An anvil may have a marking indicating its weight, manufacturer, or place of origin. American-made anvils were often marked in pounds. European anvils are sometimes marked in kilograms. English anvils were often marked in hundredweight, the marking consisting of three numbers, indicating hundredweight, quarter hundredweight and pounds. For example, a 3-1-5, if such an anvil existed, would be 3×112 lb + 1×28 lb + 5 lb = 369 lb ≈ 168 kg.
Cheap anvils made from inferior steel or cast iron and often sold at retail hardware stores, are considered unsuitable for serious use, and are often derisively referred to as "ASOs", or "anvil shaped objects".Amateur smiths have used lengths of railroad rail, forklift tines, or even simple blocks of steel as makeshift anvils.
A metalworking vise may have a small anvil integrated into its design.
Anvils were first made of stone as a lithic stone tool, then bronze, and later wrought iron. As steel became more readily available, anvils were faced with it. This was done to give the anvil a hard face and to stop the anvil from deforming from impact. Many regional styles of anvils evolved through time from the simple block that was first used by smiths. The majority of anvils found today in the US are based on the London pattern anvil of the mid-19th century.
The wrought iron steel faced anvil was produced up until the early 20th century. Through the 19th and very early 20th centuries, this method of construction evolved to produce extremely high quality anvils. The basic process involved forge-welding billets of wrought iron together to produce the desired shape. The sequence and location of the forge-welds varied between different anvil makers and the kind of anvil being made. At the same time cast iron anvils with steel faces were being made in the United States. At the dawn of the 20th century solid cast steel anvils began to be produced, as well as two piece forged anvils made from closed die forgings. Modern anvils are generally made entirely from steel.
There are many references to anvils in ancient Greek and Egyptian writings, including Homer's works. They have been found at the Calico Early Man Site in North America.
Anvils have since lost their former commonness, along with the smiths who used them. Mechanized production has made cheap and abundant manufactured goods readily available. The one-off handmade products of the blacksmith are less economically viable in the modern world, while in the past they were an absolute necessity. However, anvils are still used by blacksmiths and metal workers of all kinds in producing custom work. They are also essential to the work done by farriers.
Application of the principles of the anvil predate historical human practice, there being a fair number of examples among various species of animals. Some of the most thoroughly documented ethological examples of tool use by animals in the wild were of chimpanzees observed using hammers of wood or stone to crack nuts, with logs or rocks serving as anvils.Less formally, birds such as some species of thrush have been known for centuries to crack the shells of the snails they feed on, by striking them on rocks. Other species of birds have similar habits, notably some of the tropical pittas, and individual birds of many such species have their own particular anvils where their discarded shell middens accumulate.
Anvils being by some definitions "‘proto’ or ‘borderline’ tools..., ... not directly manipulated and not detached from the substrate", some workers argue that their use is less demanding of brain power than more sophisticated tools, and they accordingly are likely to be used by organisms of a wider range of organisation of the central nervous system than say, probes, hammers, hooks and scoops. The latter would be limited to species with correspondingly advanced mental powers.Certainly anvil use occurs very widely in nature, ranging from fishes that break open the shells of molluscs much as thrushes do, to sea otters that bring stones to the surface and drift on their backs, holding the stones on their chests as anvils on which they break open clams and similar hard-shelled prey. Gulls of various species, some crows, and large birds of prey smash open hard food items, such as bones and tortoises, by dropping them onto rocks.
Anvil firing is the practice of firing an anvil into the air using gunpowder. It has been popular in California, the eastern United States and the southern United States, much like how fireworks are used today. There is a growing interest in re-enacting this "ancient tradition" in the US, which has now spread to England.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) has the anvil in its coat of arms. The AME's first services were held in a blacksmith's shop.
A typical metalworker's anvil, with horn at one end and flat face at the other, is a standard prop for cartoon gags, as the epitome of a heavy and clumsy object that is perfect for dropping onto a villain. This visual metaphor is common, for example, in Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts, such as those with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.Anvils in cartoons were also referenced in an episode of Gilmore Girls , where one of the main characters tries to have a conversation about "Where did all the anvils go?", a reference to their falling out of use on a general scale. Animaniacs made frequent gags on the topic throughout its run, even having a kingdom named Anvilania, whose sole national product is anvils.
Anvils have been used as percussion instruments in several famous musical compositions, including:
Wagner's Ring des Nibelungen is notable in using the anvil as pitched percussion. The vast majority of extant works use the anvil as unpitched. However tuned anvils are available as musical instruments, albeit unusual. These are not to be confused with the "sawyers' anvils" used to "tune" big circular saw blades. Steel anvils are used for tuning for use as musical instruments, because those based partly on cast iron and similar materials give a duller sound; this is actually valued in industry, as pure steel anvils are troublesomely noisy, though energetically more efficient. The hammer and anvil have enjoyed varying popularity in orchestral roles. Robert Donington pointed out that Sebastian Virdung notes them in his book of 1510, and Martin Agricola includes it in his list of instruments (Musica instrumentalis deudsch, 1529) largely as a compliment to Pythagoras. In pre-modern or modern times anvils occasionally appear in operatic works by Berlioz, Bizet, Gounod, Verdi, and Wagner for example. Commonly pairs of anvils tuned a third apart are used.
In practice modern orchestras commonly substitute a steel bar or other suitable steel structure that is easier to tune than an actual anvil, although a visibly convincing anvil-shaped prop may be shown as desired. In Das Rheingold Wagner scored for nine little, six mid-sized, and three large anvils, but orchestras seldom can afford instrumentation on such a scale.
In woodworking and construction, a nail is a small object made of metal which is used as a fastener, as a peg to hang something, or sometimes as a decoration. Generally, nails have a sharp point on one end and a flattened head on the other, but headless nails are available. Nails are made in a great variety of forms for specialized purposes. The most common is a wire nail. Other types of nails include pins, tacks, brads, spikes, and cleats.
Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content in contrast to cast iron. It is a semi-fused mass of iron with fibrous slag inclusions, which gives it a "grain" resembling wood that is visible when it is etched or bent to the point of failure. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile, corrosion-resistant and easily welded.
A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge of blade on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or metal by hand, struck with a mallet, or mechanical power. The handle and blade of some types of chisel are made of metal or of wood with a sharp edge in it.
Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. The blows are delivered with a hammer or a die. Forging is often classified according to the temperature at which it is performed: cold forging, warm forging, or hot forging. For the latter two, the metal is heated, usually in a forge. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to hundreds of metric tons. Forging has been done by smiths for millennia; the traditional products were kitchenware, hardware, hand tools, edged weapons, cymbals, and jewellery. Since the Industrial Revolution, forged parts are widely used in mechanisms and machines wherever a component requires high strength; such forgings usually require further processing to achieve a finished part. Today, forging is a major worldwide industry.
Forge welding (FOW) is a solid-state welding process that joins two pieces of metal by heating them to a high temperature and then hammering them together. It may also consist of heating and forcing the metals together with presses or other means, creating enough pressure to cause plastic deformation at the weld surfaces. The process is one of the simplest methods of joining metals and has been used since ancient times. Forge welding is versatile, being able to join a host of similar and dissimilar metals. With the invention of electrical and gas welding methods during the Industrial Revolution, manual forge-welding has been largely replaced, although automated forge-welding is a common manufacturing process.
A ball-peenhammer, also known as a machinist's hammer, is a type of peening hammer used in metalworking. It has two heads, one flat and the other, called the peen, rounded. It is distinguished from a cross-peen hammer, diagonal-peen hammer, point-peen hammer, or chisel-peen hammer by having a hemispherical peen. It is commonly used as a tool for metalworking.
A bloomery is a type of furnace once used widely for smelting iron from its oxides. The bloomery was the earliest form of smelter capable of smelting iron. A bloomery's product is a porous mass of iron and slag called a bloom. This mix of slag and iron in the bloom, termed sponge iron, is usually consolidated and further forged into wrought iron. The bloomery has now largely been superseded by the blast furnace, which produces pig iron.
Sword making, historically, has been the work of specialized smiths or metalworkers called bladesmiths or swordsmiths. Swords have been made of different materials over the centuries, with a variety of tools and techniques. While there are many criteria for evaluating a sword, generally the four key criteria are hardness, strength, flexibility and balance. Early swords were made of copper, which bends easily. Bronze swords were stronger; by varying the amount of tin in the alloy, a smith could make various parts of the sword harder or tougher to suit the demands of combat service. The Roman gladius was an early example of swords forged from blooms of steel.
Ironwork is any weapon, artwork, utensil or architectural feature made of iron especially used for decoration. There are two main types of ironwork: wrought iron and cast iron. While the use of iron dates as far back as 4000BC, it was the Hittites who first knew how to extract it and develop weapons. Use of iron was mainly utilitarian until the Middle Ages, it became widely used for decoration in the period between the 16th and 19th century.
In structural engineering and construction, an eyebar is a straight bar, usually of metal, with a hole ("eye") at each end for fixing to other components. Eyebars are used in structures such as bridges, in settings in which only tension, and never compression, is applied. Also referred to as "pin - and eyebar construction" in instances where pins are being used.
A swage block is a large, heavy block of cast iron or steel used in smithing, with variously-sized holes in its face and usually with forms on the sides.
Bladesmithing is the art of making knives, swords, daggers and other blades using a forge, hammer, anvil, and other smithing tools. Bladesmiths employ a variety of metalworking techniques similar to those used by blacksmiths, as well as woodworking for knife and sword handles, and often leatherworking for sheaths. Bladesmithing is an art that is thousands of years old and found in cultures as diverse as China, Japan, India, Germany, Korea, the Middle East, Spain and the British Isles. As with any art shrouded in history, there are myths and misconceptions about the process. While traditionally bladesmithing referred to the manufacture of any blade by any means, the majority of contemporary craftsmen referred to as bladesmiths are those who primarily manufacture blades by means of using a forge to shape the blade as opposed to knifemakers who form blades by use of the stock removal method, although there is some overlap between both crafts.
Japanese swordsmithing is the labour-intensive bladesmithing process developed in Japan for forging traditionally made bladed weapons (nihonto) including katana, wakizashi, tantō, yari, naginata, nagamaki, tachi, uchigatana, nodachi, ōdachi, kodachi, and ya (arrow).
Ferrous metallurgy is the metallurgy of iron and its alloys. It began far back in prehistory. The earliest surviving iron artifacts, from the 4th millennium BC in Egypt, were made from meteoritic iron-nickel. It is not known when or where the smelting of iron from ores began, but by the end of the 2nd millennium BC iron was being produced from iron ores from Sub-Saharan Africa to China. The use of wrought iron was known by the 1st millennium BC, and its spread marked the Iron Age. During the medieval period, means were found in Europe of producing wrought iron from cast iron using finery forges. For all these processes, charcoal was required as fuel.
The evolution of early exterior window shutter hardware, terms and terminology related to shutter hardware and blacksmithing, and American regional styles of installation.
Makera Assada is among the areas that form the town of Sokoto state of Nigeria. The area is part of Magajin Gari Ward in the southern part of Sokoto North local government area of Sokoto state, bordered Gidan Haki in the east, Digyar Agyare in the west, Mafara in the north and Helele in the south.
Rule based DFM analysis for forging. Forging is the controlled deformation of metal into a specific shape by compressive forces. The forging process goes back to 8000 B.C. and evolved from the manual art of simple blacksmithing. Then as now, a series of compressive hammer blows performs the shaping or forging of the part. Modern forging uses machine driven impact hammers or presses which deform the work-piece by controlled pressure.
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Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911).. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.