Most anvils constructed in the United States today, as well as most Eastern European anvils, have a soft face that can be readily filed with a file at HRC44 to HRC52. A few recent anvils have face hardnesses ranging from RC 54 to RC 55. Only two anvil manufacturers that I am aware of still produce anvils with a face hardness of RC59 or above. The majority of modern anvils will not withstand a filing past HRC50.
The hardest faces on modern anvils are found on anvils made by Forster for use in Europe where they are subjected to heavy hammering during mining operations. These anvils have been known to reach a hardness of about RC 62.
An average-size human being can lift up to 100 pounds. This depends on how much muscle mass you have and how strong your muscles are. The strongest person I know can lift 200 pounds! The main muscle group used to lift a weight is the biceps. Using your arm as a lever, you can lift weights off the floor or off the edge of a bench. People usually lift weights using their shoulder girdle, but there are other muscles involved as well. Lifting a weight requires energy, so people need to eat plenty of food to fuel their workouts.
Weight training helps build strong bones, increase muscle mass, and reduce risk of injury and illness. As well, lifting weights is one of the best ways to lose weight if you diet poorly.
The majority of Japanese swordsmiths' anvils are just blocks of mild steel. If you look closely at the images, you can see the anvils' faces bursting out. Nowadays, because most forging is done using power hammers, anvil hardness isn't very necessary. However, because sword blades need to be hard enough for the cutting edge to hold its shape but not so hard that they're brittle.
Generally speaking, if you have access to iron and a hammer, you can forge most anything out of that material. Steel has some properties that make it harder to work with, like being more brittle and less ductile (more prone to breakage) than iron, but those problems can be overcome by doing your best to avoid breaking the piece while still achieving the desired result.
In conclusion, yes you can make an anvil out of mild steel!
The amount of force wasted in each hammer strike is likewise reduced by a firm anvil face. Hammers, tools, and work pieces made of hardened steel should never be used to strike the anvil face directly with full power, since this may cause damage. This can cause chipping or deformation of the anvil face. Instead, use moderate pressure while keeping the head of the hammer away from the anvil face.
When hammering out holes for fasteners, it is important to put some kind of material in them first. Otherwise, when you drive a nail through there, its path will be blocked by a solid piece of metal. The only way to get around this is to drill very small holes first and then drive the nail through them. This prevents your main hole from being completely filled up when you stop driving nails.
When you hit a hard object with a hammer, the impact causes energy to be stored in the body as elastic strain energy. This energy is released when the hammer hits the ground or another solid object. The only thing that prevents us from being injured by falling objects is friction between our skin and the surface we hit. If there was no resistance at all, we would be killed by the force of the impact.
People often ask me what kind of tool I use to break glass with. The truth is, I don't use a tool to break glass, I use a rock!
With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the most popular anvils on Amazon.
You want hardened and tempered steel, preferably 4130 or better. Dropping a ball bearing on an anvil is the best method I know to examine it, to see whether the hard steel plate has been polished off the top, or to make sure it's not a Russian or Chinese ASO (anvil-shaped object).
The best steel for an anvil is hardening steel that has been properly heat treated after fabrication. This will give you a surface that is very resistant to breaking when you use it to hammer out metal shapes. The hardness of the anvil should be at least 50 HB on the Rockwell C scale. The more hardness, the better.
As far as tempering goes, it's not necessary but it will increase the life of your anvil. Regular heating and cooling cycles will soften and harden the surface again though, so don't put up with low levels of tempering. Anecdotally, Korean anvils are usually harder than Japanese anvils which are usually harder than German anvils etc. But there are lots of factors involved here so this isn't really conclusive evidence!
An anvil is used to shape metal before hardening it by beating it with other metal objects. The harder the anvil, the better - it will last longer and be able to give a better finish. An anvil should not bend even under heavy hitting. If it does, it's time to replace it.