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My new Cliff Carroll’s 35Ib anvil.

Should an anvil be among the first tools to be recommended to new woodworkers? The answer is probably no. But as our shop grows and with the diversification of our work I can wholeheartedly advocate for every shop to have at least a small anvil on hand. After many years in the trade, both as a teacher and as a maker, I have learned to appreciate the anvil’s contribution to my work. In this entry, I will explain why we need an anvil and what products are on the market. 

Bellow: One of my students while cold forging aluminum on our Japanese steel railroad track anvil.

Woodworkers use anvils for various tasks, from straightening crooked nails and deformed hardware, to reforming tips of tools that accidentally fall to the ground and get bent, to occasionally reinforcing the depression in the backs of Japanese chisels and plane blades, and on and on.

In addition, anvils are paramount in the process of forging new hardware, new tools, riveting, and even as formidable weights during glue-ups. 

In my quest to find the perfect anvil for the woodshop, I learned a few things about these beasty helpers, but I also discovered some myths that need to be dispelled.

Size, shape, material, and hardness are the most important factors when looking for an anvil.


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