So you’re not a blacksmith, but do you find yourself beating on metal from time to time in the garage? Do yourself (and your vise, workbench, and everything else in the shop) a favor and buy the right tool for the job: an anvil. It’s shaped perfectly for re-shaping a bracket, making a 90-degree in a piece of bar, or banging a strip of metal into a compound curve.
Personally, I inherited my anvil from my father, or I’d have never thought about buying one. (He was a blacksmith-in-learning and picked up this really nice model from Laurel Machine and Foundry in Mississippi.) Hell, I actually spent a few months beating on my (sturdy) workbench from time to time before I dug his out of storage and brought it to the shop.
Yes, I realize they’re meant for working hot metal, and banging on cold metal can potentially damage ’em. (And I’m sure my father is rolling in his grave over my use of his.) So why not buy a cheap model? Northern Tool sells a little 15-pounder for just $20, and $60 will get you into the 50-pound range. If it breaks, just get another one.
Bonus: If you pick up one that has a hardy hole, you can weld up all sorts of brackets out of 1″ square tube to turn it into a slick mount for tools.
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