This cast iron anvil is a small version that weights 22 pounds and is approximately 11”Lx2.75”Wx7”H.
I cast this anvil in the early 1970’s as a final project for a mechanical engineering course in casting technology at the University of Washington. I took the class just for fun and the course credits did not count toward my majors in physics and geophysical oceanography. We did most of our casting in aluminum, brass and silicon bronze to test and verify casting techniques but during the final weeks of the course we focused on iron casting technology. Casting in iron is far more difficult and dangerous than the other metals but well worth the effort when making these small anvils. The technique for casting iron anvils includes adding thick iron chills (chill plates) along the inner edge of the mold cavity that forms the flat top to the anvil. The purpose of using chills allows very fast cooling of the molten iron forming the top flat surface of the anvil (the plate also eliminates a mold release seam). Rapid cooling forms a much finer-grained cast iron structure that is considerably harder than the rest of the anvil. The resulting top surface of the casting requires surface grinding to produce a smooth and flat surface. Pouring molten iron by hand using a two person crucible requires special head-to-toe protective gear and doing it is like being at ground zero of a 4th of July fireworks. We were taught to always carry and pour molten metal over dry sand and never assume something is dry unless it is too hot to touch or you can risk an explosion of molten metal from surface moisture. This is very dangerous work and requires working with those already experienced in iron casting technologies.