|This article is about an older version of DF.
Anvils are required to build forges, either conventional or magma powered. At least one is absolutely required if your fortress intends to do any metalworking whatsoever, including weaponsmithing, armorsmithing, metalsmithing and metal crafting.
Smithing an anvil uses the metalsmith skill.
Since the only way to make an anvil is with a metalsmith's forge, your first anvil must be sourced from outside of your colony. Anvils require three metal bars to be smithed at a forge - once you have one to begin with. As this is an infinite loop, the origins of the first anvil are hard to discern*.
Acquiring an Anvil
During your first summer, an immigrant metalsmith will arrive, carrying a standard (no quality) iron anvil. Additional anvils can be requested from the outpost liaison and will be brought with the next year's caravan (at a significant price).
Once you have an anvil and have built a forge, smithing an anvil requires three bars of metal.
Tearing down a forge retrieves the anvil used to build it, which can then be stored, traded, melted, or re-used to build another forge.
Anvils may be made of iron, steel or adamantine. The material used does not seem to affect the performance of the forge. Neither does the anvil's quality, although anvils have a high base cost, so quality greatly increases their value.
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- One theory of the anvils origin is that a dwarf struck by a strange mood made one of stone or bone (though this isn't actually possible in-game). Another more radical theory put forward by dwarven philosopher Urist McTaggart is that the first one was made of wood in a similar manner. This was deemed a heresy and he was later sentenced to be hammered for being a elf sympathizer by an angry mayor who had a strange fondness for glass.
- Another theory, and the usually-accepted myth, is that the first anvil was created by the first Dwarf, the Mountain King himself. This is documented in the research journal, "On the origins of dwarves."