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Optimum (Bladesmithing) Anvil Height


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#1 John Frankl

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 05:54 AM

I'm pretty comfortable with an anvil for heavy pounding being at my knuckles, but when I'm finishing up bevels, edges, etc. it gets pretty hard on my back.

Using a dedicated bladesmithing anvil for the finish work, what do all of you feel is an ideal height, relative to your own bodies of course?

Thanks,

John Frankl

#2 CProkopp

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 08:48 AM

After messing up my elbow, I took Mssr. Fogg's advice and raised the anvil about 2". No difficulties, since.
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#3 DFogg

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 08:59 AM

I am of the opinion that the old "knuckle height" rule has damaged more elbows than anything. You are too close to full extension at that height. I prefer to work just a little below belt buckle height, no where near full extension. If you look at most oriental smiths, they sit on the ground and they don't have a problem moving metal. There are some old blacksmith's rules that are just plain wrong.

Don Fogg


#4 John Frankl

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for the quick replies.

Don, Does this mean you keep all anvils at that height? I was thinking about going even above belt buckle for those times when most of the metal has been moved and I am fine tuning. But I like simple, so I would love to hear I can leave all anvils at the same height. :)

John

#5 R.H.Graham

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 09:16 AM

...some rules are misunderstood too.
Low anvils were low for a reason, a smith using strikers with sledges are the primary reason for runing the anvil face low, it puts everybody and all the tools in a good plane for doing heavy pounding as well as driving sets and cuts n stuff. Also, in the context of turn-of-the-century blacksmithing, it's good to have a little lower face level when you are welding or dressing tyres, jumping axle ends to prep for a repair, or using a lot of top/bottom tooling, hardie tools, etc.

For knives and similar things a couple of extra inches are great, for the back and arm, unless ya need to weld some tyres of course....
Just a couple of inches though, a little past the wrist is good. If you go too high, then you'll be really working to forge bevels on the off side and putting a lot of strain on the tendons and muscles along the forearm, which can suck just as much as a blown elbow. About a 6 month recovery.
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#6 Brett Josef Schmidthuber

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 09:42 PM

I have My anvil a few inchesbelow My knuckles, when I'm standing fully upright -- Now, also understand that I'm 6'2, not exactly"short" -- the hight issue is VERY important for me and the anvil face being so low is a problem most of the time, especially, like you said, when finishing up bevels etc...kills My back, when I stand upright fully.... But....

If I stand with My legs in a wide, low stance with My knees bent. Kinda like a generic martial arts horse-stance.. I can adjust comfortably the relative hight of the anvil to My arm by simply changing how I stand when I work...when I wanna get higher, I move My legs in closer about shoulder width apart and start un-bending My knees... lower? exact opposite, fan out, bend knees...

Ive been doing it this way for the few years ive been smithing and havent had any real problems yet, so it works for Me. Besides, it helps build strong and supportive leg and lower back muscles. I thought about hammering planks of 2 X 4's on My tree stumps surface to give height but I realized I really like forging this way and might just keep at it...I'd say if you cant easily adjust your anvil(s), give adjusting your base stance and knees a try. :-)
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#7 Brett Josef Schmidthuber

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 09:42 PM

In other words, I have no optimum height - I tend to go all over the friggen place and like to re-adjust constantly I guess..Maybe its something in the water...
I have suffered for My arts... Now it's your turn.

#8 Romey

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 11:47 PM

i know alot of blacksmiths tell me im wrong but i go with wrist height. i first did it with a post anvil and have since changed all to wrist height. When i was playing around with the striking of a hammer i noticed at knuckle height, myself and everyone i would watch at our monthly hammer -in would over strike the blow and mostly be hitting it top side of the hammer, after going to wrist hieght i found i leave almost zero hammer tracks on blades now becuase the face of hammer is striking naturally centered. just my 2 cents if that makes sense




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