Need help cutting/leveling a stump for hammering

Clearly this isn’t going to happen until the Makerspace is open again, but I thought I’d see if anyone could help me on this. I’m a silversmith, and when we had a tree cut down in our front yard I reserved a large chunk of one 1.5’ wide branch so that I could cut it down and turn it into a solid hammering base for a small anvil.

Problem is, I have neither the tools nor the experience to tackle a project like this. I’ve watched YouTube videos on how to cut the stump level and dish out the underside so that it doesn’t rock, but I can’t do it by myself. Are there any woodworkers who would be willing to help me with this?

Muchas gracias!

More than one way to skin this cat, including even needing to level bottom at all. Some questions:

1 - How mobile does it need to be? E.G. move a few inches this way or that way on occasion? Or moved from garage to middle of lawn every time you use it?

2 - Are you going to be using it somewhere that is actually level, like a level concrete slab?

3 - You mentioned bottom…does top need to be “level” as well?

4 - Where are you located in the DFW Metroplex? Like, major cross roads or land mark?

@HankCowdog is the resident expert on stump/anvil combinations. He might have some pointers.

  1. It’s going to live permanently in my garage, so it doesn’t need to be mobile. If I need to move it, I have a hand truck for that.
  2. It will sit on my garage slab – I don’t actually know if it’s level, need to measure that.
  3. Yes, the top has to be level as well.
  4. Plano, near Hedgcoxe and Independence.

here’s what I did to mine:

The top is recessed to hold the anvil feet:

The bottom has three feet and a finger groove:


  • chainsaw (a cross cut hand saw would work - slowly)
  • a 1/2” woodworking chisel
  • 1 handheld router with a flat bottom cutting bit
  • scrap plywood for a router sled
  • more scrap wood to mount level rails for the sled.

I used a chainsaw to cut to oversized length then screwed some scrap wood to the sides and used a router and a quick and dirty router sled to even out the cuts. The recesses used the router to rough out the recess and a woodworking chisel to clean up the edges.

I’d be glad to help you once the opportunity is available.


Thank you, that is very helpful and instructive!

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@HankCowdog: I don’t understand the relevant differences between duty/weight needs of silversmithing vs. heavy iron smithing set-up. Once stump surfaces are “close” to flat using a chainsaw, is it a reasonable approach to create a box from 2"x4"s with sand in it to nestle the stump into? Or even pour modest (2"?, 3"?) amount of concrete around it? It would remove the need to level bottom with router, and casters could always be mounted if future mobility was required.

@MelanieF: is a base like this at like something you would want? Top would still need to be leveled per standard router + flattening sled approach.

I like Hank’s method of routing into the top to create a recess for the anvil – that way, I can lift it off and move the stump as needed (it can’t be permanently cemented in place), but it’s still secure. I think I can do this if I rent a chainsaw and a router from Home Depot. Thanks, guys!


There are many other approaches. One of the easiest is to make a base by screwing together lengths of 4x4 all the same length. Small blocks of wood can act as cauls to block in the edges of the anvil.

This approach only uses the wood, a saw (preferably a power saw of some sort) and a drill.

Here’s a version from Pinterest which adds optional strapping.


Okay, that I can do with what I have in the house – already have a bunch of 4x4s, a circular saw, and a drill. I’ll save the stump for another time. Thanks, Hank!


All-thread, washers, and nuts Is one way to assemble the stand. Drilling oversized (washer sized) recesses in the outer layer allows for the all-tread to be cut short enough that the bolt heads don’t protrude.

If you’ve never cut all-thread, I recommend putting two nuts on with washers in between, then using a hacksaw for the cut, using the two washers to hold the blade perpendicular. Removing the nut will help clean up the threads allowing for easier installation later.

Option B is to get a bunch of 6” lag screws, and lag-screw each board to its neighbors as you assemble it. Drill pilot holes and oversized recesses for the bolt heads (and washers for more holding power).

Wood glue would also help if the 4X4’s are well drIed (PT wood is sold wet).