Inside: What is a stake anvil? Why would you use a stake anvil? How can I find a stake anvil? If you are interested in any of these answers then find out HERE!
What is a Stake Anvil?
You may have heard of a stake anvil before, or possible heard of its other names such as the stump anvil, the post anvil, the block anvil, the viking anvil or a bickern. Let’s take a look at some of these features of the post anvil to better understand why it may have been developed, or how is it still practical for today’s forging shop.
Now just from the meaning of the word “stake anvil”, would lend itself to believe that there should be a stake involved. Which is true, there is a stake involve. It will have a stake driven into the ground, firmly seated in a stump, and even fitting in a hardie hole or swage block.
The Stake Anvil: A closer look
Let’s first take a look at the features of a stump anvil. Some are fancy, and have a full anvil pattern (the bickern) mounted to a stake and rest. They are usually size appropriate for smaller work, but if secured properly, can be quite effective. Some are simple (the block anvil) but mainly a chunk of metal that is flat on top and has good clean edges on which to work on. It traditionally would have a hardie type wedge that would wedge into the stump to hold it securely. As for modern examples I have also see this style of blacksmith anvil just secured to the ground or a post. I have also seen pictures of an axle end that was driven into the ground. Having worked a while with a 25 lb. anvil, I definitely recommend secure the anvil as best as you can so that the energy of your hammer will translate into your work and not just move the anvil.
The Stake Anvil: Why use one?
Stake anvils were very popular around the world throughout history. With the development of larger anvils and shops, the stake anvil has taken on a more specialty role. Whether it is seaming sheet metal, riveting hard to reach areas, forming sculpture components, or hammering out a knife; the stake anvil has become just as useful in today’s shop as it was in the past.
The Stake Anvil: How to find one?
You may find it easier to find material to make a stump anvil, than it is to buy one. The square model would definitely be easier to put together, although once you mastered some basic skills, forging your own bickern may be a fun project to take on. Until then, I will continue looking through scrap piles to see what I can find.
You may have a piece of metal that you could use for a Post Anvil. Let me know if you have one set up, or better yet send me a picture of your Stake Anvil or Stump Anvil Idea!
For more information, check out this article on the Essential Blacksmith Tools for Beginners .