2018 November 21 Metal & Shop
Here I'm putting a collection of notes and observations on making an anvil stand.
It's entirely possible to overthink the design of an anvil stand, so we'll keep things simple. Hopefully you'll find some of this helpful.
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In This Article
1.) Wooden Posts
2.) Anvil Log
3.) Bin Full of Sand
4.) Metal Tripod
#1. Wooden Posts
Laminate a bundle of posts or planks, so the anvil sits on the end grain, and you can make a strong, sturdy anvil stand. 4x4's, 6x6's, or even two-by lumber. The favorite seems to be 2x12's, but there are even ways to build it out of 2x4's fastened together.
I would like to try a build like this, using douglas fir 2x6's run through a table saw so they have nice square edges. Glue-laminated, basically transformed into a solid block.
Another idea: there might be a way to make an anvil stand out of pallet stringers.
Many people like to fasten the planks or posts with threaded rod (1/2" or 5/8" diameter). Another method is to make steel ties out of 1/4" by 1" to 2" bar stock and lag-bolt them across two or more uprights at a time. (Best to do this after the timbers have dried out, so they don't form gaps due to shrinkage.)
Another alternative is to make a band that can be adjusted with a bolt.
Often what happens is that you won't have the right type or amount of lumber necessary to build one of these, so it ends up being a special trip to the lumber yard. This is why I didn't build an anvil stand this way. But if you have the materials, it's a great project.
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#2. Anvil Log
It's a log; how difficult could it be to make an anvil stand from it??
That's what I used to think, anyway.
A couple years ago I acquired a log section that was about 17" diameter and about 18" or 19" tall. It was still somewhat green when cut down, although if left standing it would have been destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer.
In an effort to slow the drying and cracking of the wood, I had set the log section on its end and put some cardboard over it. Then I set some 2x4 scraps on top of that. Who knew that a log had enough of its own water content to cause wood rot fungus? The cardboard and 2x4's slowed the evaporation so much that it molded up.
Ash logs split easily, which is not so great for an anvil log. The wood splits radially, meaning the cracks radiate out from the center of the log. But once these logs have some wood-rot, they'll also split concentrically, as well. However, I saved this log because it's still got about 3/4 of its original mass; the fungus hadn't completely ruined it yet.
So I attached three scraps of pressure-treated lumber as tripod feet, and the log seems like it may be OK to use. Especially when I make metal bands to reinforce it.
The paint is an attempt to keep further mold and mildew from getting into the wood grain. But you have to make sure it's dry first, otherwise you'll just seal in moisture and possibly cause more mold.
What it needs now is a pair of metal bands, say 1/8" thick by 1" wide, bent into hoops that can go around the outside. Bend the ends, drill for bolts, and tighten the bands with those. But that's a project for another day.
So that brings us to the next idea.
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#3. Bin Full Of Sand
A wooden or metal bin full of sand. You place the anvil on the sand.
Welding up a metal bin out of steel is a bit more involved than it seems. This is one reason why I didn't go this route. You have to cut the metal very straight, and accurately. (If you're going to cut sheet metal for projects like these, one of the best tools ever is a saw like this one.)
Actually, any large metal pail or similar container should work. Just find something that will put the anvil at the correct height when it's full of sand. Steel is the ideal material, but a bin made of wooden planks or plywood is another option.
Maybe I'll try this for another project.
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#4. Metal Tripod
This design has a lot going for it.
The legs are typically square or rectangular tubing, surmounted by either a thick steel plate (3/4" to 1"), or a tray made out of angle iron.
What's the best angle for the tripod legs? That will depend on a couple things, including the overall height, and the dimensions of the platform on which the anvil will sit. Small platform, and the tripod angle will have to be greater so the base is wide enough to be stable.
This is one of the more involved ways to build an anvil stand, but it has some advantages. A steel tripod can be heavy, but it's easier to move around than a log or anvil stump, which could be even heavier than the steel tripod.
One major advantage of the tripod: it's not going to wobble. Ideal when you don't have a nice, flat concrete shop floor. And because it's welded, you can weld accessories onto this stand, such as a hammer rack.
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This was a collection of notes, observations, and ideas on making an anvil stand.
In this article we looked at several main types. The choice is very much a result of what materials are available (and-- as we saw with the "anvil log" idea-- whether they're in good enough condition to use for the project.)
So, make the anvil stand that works for you!
The next article will detail the construction of a steel anvil stand made out of 2" square tubing, 2x2" angle iron, and 1/2" steel plate. And we're gonna weld!!
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