How To Bring an Old Anvil Back to Life in 6 Simple Steps

Check out this simple guide to restore that old anvil of yours.
Christopher McFadden

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Got an old anvil lying around in need of some TLC? Or have you found the perfect one at a scrapyard? 

Then why not restore it back to, nay better than, its original condition. Follow this simple guide to find out how to do it yourself. 

diy anvil restore complete
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Like any project of this nature, you'll need some tools and gear to get you started.

Tools and equipment needed

Step 1: Remove any rust/tarnish from the anvil

Unless already done, find and take your old, tired, anvil home. These things tend to weigh a lot so be careful when handling them on your own. 

diy anvil restoration get home
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

With that complete, the first phase of the restoration is to remove any dust or tarnish from the metal. The most efficient way to do this is to use an angle grinder with a polishing head. 

diy anvil restore remove rust
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Run over all exposed surfaces until as much rust has been removed as possible. 

Step 2: Clean up the edges

The next step is to take your angle grinder again, replace the head, and begin to work on the sharp edges of the anvil. You'll want to make them as clean as possible. 

diy anvil restore edges
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

For more badly damaged parts, you can also consider using a welding torch to reshape any edges of the anvil. 

diy anvil weld
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Trim down any excess welds using your angle grinder once again. 

diy anvil restore weld clean
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Step 3: Remove the more stubborn rust using chemicals

With that complete, the next stage is to take some methylated spirits, and an old rag, and work it into the more stubborn rusty areas. 

anvil restore spirits
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Once complete, use masking tape to cover the clean edges of the anvil prior to moving on to the next step. 

diy anvil restore masking tape
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Step 4: Spray paint the lower parts of the anvil

Next, take your spray paint of choice, and spray the non-taped sections of the anvil. In this case, the restorer has chosen blue, but you can paint however you wish. 

diy anvil restore spray paint
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Do this in a well-ventilated space, ideally outside. Otherwise, wear appropriate respiratory protective equipment. 

diy anvil restore paint
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

With that, the anvil restore is basically finished. You can stop here if you want, but if you want to also complete a wooden stand for it, please read on.

Step 5: Make the wooden base

Next, grab a piece of log and cut it down to the length required. This will be the height you want the anvil to stand at. 

If it has bark, remove it to reveal the plain wood underneath. Level off the base and the top as needed. 

diy anvil restore wood
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

With that complete, you can begin to make the metal ring for the top. Take a length of steel bar, and bend to the required circumference of the wooden log. 

Fit the top of the log, and secure it into place using a bolt, as shown. Tighten as far as it will allow. 

diy anvil restore metal bar
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Next, drill four holes into the top of the log to enable the anvil to be affixed to it using clamps. Once complete, fashion four clamps or using existing ones, to securely bolt the anvil into place.

If the anvil comes with bolt holes already, you can skip this step and directly bolt the anvil into place. 

diy anvil restore bolt anvil
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Step 6: Add a hammer holder

Next, using either readymade handles, or ones you have made yourself, weld or secure these to the wooden base too. These will be used to hold any tools, like hammers, you might want to add to the anvil base. 

diy anvil handles
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

Next, unless already completed, remove the masking tape from the top of the anvil. 

diy anvil restore remove tape
Source: Interesting Engineering/YouTube

With that, your DIY restored anvil, with a custom base, is now complete. Now you can start hammering things to your heart's content. 

Well done you!

Before you leave, if we've piqued your interest in restoration, why not have a go at restoring an old Zippo lighter too? 

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