Blacksmithing is more than just a hobby or art form. It is a traditional trade that has been around for thousands of years, and it is still practiced today.
Blacksmithing books can help you get started, whether you are a beginner or an experienced pro looking to learn new techniques. There are many different books available on the topic, so how do you know which ones are worth your money?
That’s where this honest and unbiased review comes in. Our readers know we tell it like it is and we truly appreciate their trust in our reviews.
We will be reviewing several of the best blacksmithing books published in recent (and not so recent) years and giving you a brief overview of each one.
Table of Contents
The Home Blacksmith (Ryan Ridgway)
The Home Blacksmith offers something from laymen to expert. It is a book written for the beginner, or perhaps intermediate, blacksmith.
It is not a how to start blacksmithing book that will explain every detail of the process. Instead, this book focuses on tools and techniques and then goes on to provide 40 projects, including detailed directions and over 500 photos, to help the reader learn how to do blacksmithing work.
We think that the step-by-step approach that the book takes to blacksmithing from setting up a forge to making real creations is a great idea. Written by mastersmith Ryan Ridgway, the book has plenty of instructional images so you can follow along with each project.
The Everyday Blacksmith (Nicholas Wicks)
For those who are interested in starting blacksmithing or improving their blacksmithing skills, check out The Everyday Blacksmith.
This book includes step-by-step directions to forging 55 useful projects that you will use everyday, such as kitchen utensils, hand tools, and even a shopping cart. The book has very clear directions with multiple photos for each step.
The Everyday Blacksmith is a well-written, easy-to-understand guidebook for the beginner blacksmith looking for a way to get started on their first projects.
The first thing you notice is the attractive design, which is simple but professional. This is nice, because it’s not a distraction from the content. The text is clearly written and easy to understand, and is laden with helpful illustrations.
Forged: A Guide to Becoming a Blacksmith (Liam Hoffman)
Although the title might lead you to think Forged is just like every other blacksmithing book out there, it isn’t! Forged: A Guide to Becoming a Blacksmith is different in that it tells the story of Liam Hoffman and his journey to becoming a skilled blacksmith.
Also Read: How Do I Become A Blacksmith?
Along the way he shares the techniques he uses as well as the tools he uses in his shop.
Blacksmithing as an art form has been around for thousands of years, but it’s been undergoing a revival in the past decade. There are a number of reasons for this, including a greater emphasis on handmade, sustainable products and a renewed interest in history and hands-on experiences.
Forged: A Guide to Becoming a Blacksmith is one of the most recent books to hit the scene and it is a great choice for anyone looking to get started in this rewarding, yet challenging, field.
Practical Blacksmithing (M.T. Richardson)
One of the most important blacksmithing books ever written, this book by M.T. Richardson continues to be a standard guide for smiths at all levels, even today. It was written in the 1800s, which makes it one of the oldest books on the blacksmithing craft. But it is still very relevant to today’s metalworking industry. It starts off by covering the basics of blacksmithing, and then progresses to more advanced topics.
The goal of Practical Blacksmithing is to teach the elements of blacksmithing from a functional standpoint, which it achieves quite well.
However, many of the projects included are impractical for a modern blacksmith to attempt. We find the projects are too small or too finicky to be worth the effort. If you would like to learn the foundations of blacksmithing, Practical Blacksmithing is a great place to start. Ultimately, more advanced books are necessary to take your blacksmithing skills to the next level.
The Complete Bladesmith (Jim Hrisoulas )
The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way To Perfection by Jim Hrisoulas is one of those books that you feel like you should have known all about. Most blacksmithing books are centered on choosing the right steel for the job.
There are also books that tell you how to make blades from scratch. It may be a bit of a surprise, but there are people who want to create their own blades from scratch.
The Complete Bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas and David Boye draws heavily from the author’s experiences as a bladesmith, as well as knowledge gained from working in the industry for fifteen years.
The book starts out with a short introduction into blacksmithing that covers equipment, safety, and an overview of the processes that are used in forging a blade. The topics covered in this section are a good introduction for beginners into the process of bladesmithing.
Skills of a Blacksmith Vol. I (Mark Aspery)
Skills of a Blacksmith Vol. I : Mastering the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing is a great reference that provides insights to anyone who is looking to get started in the blacksmithing world.
Whether you’re a complete novice or a professional, this book will provide you with an in-depth look at everything there is to know about the craft.
The book is written by Mark Aspery (who also happens to be the founder of The Blacksmith Institute) and is co-authored by Peter Ross (an independent scholar and a PhD student in History).
The book covers everything you need to start blacksmithing, from the origin of blacksmithing to the current practice around the world. The book is packed with stories from blacksmiths as well as pictures showing the steps involved in creating blacksmithing projects.
A Blacksmithing Primer (Randy McDaniel)
A Blacksmithing Primer, written by Randy McDaniel, is an excellent guide to the world of blacksmithing. McDaniel is a master blacksmith with many years of experience and you can tell it is a book he is passionate about. He knows exactly how to break down things for the reader.
It teaches the reader both the basics and aesthetics of blacksmithing and is suitable for beginners as well as experienced blacksmiths looking to learn new techniques and tips and tricks.
Even if you are a seasoned smith, you should take a look at this book. It covers all the basics of the craft. It even offers brief lessons on the science behind the forging, soldering, and other techniques that go into blacksmithing.
Blacksmithing From Scrap Metal (Wes Sander)
It’s not everyday you’ll find a book about making something from nothing. But Wes Sander managed to pull it off. His book called Blacksmithing from Scrap Metal is a very good and useful read for blacksmiths of all skill levels.
Quite a lot is covered about knife making techniques, including stock removal, pattern welding, and forging with railroad spikes and leaf springs. The book is very well illustrated and demonstrates the different techniques very well.
Blacksmithing From Scrap Metal also touches on how to use files to sharpen your knives. If you are a knife making enthusiast, a blacksmith, knife maker or even just someone who wants to make knives, you will get a lot out of this book.
We have a lot of respect for Mr. Sander and his work.
The Complete Modern Blacksmith (Alexander Weygers)
The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander Weygers is fantastic for anyone interested in blacksmithing. It is packed with information on equipment, forging techniques, bladesmithing, ornamental ironwork, and more.
The book is a nice addition to your library of blacksmithing references, and if you’re only going to get one book on the subject, this is the one to get.
Alexander Weygers—for the uninitiated—is a renowned blacksmith and one of the most important people in the history of modern blacksmithing.
His book has been lauded by everyone from carpenters and artists to engineers and hobbyists. The Complete Modern Blacksmith is one of the most well written, in-depth, yet easy to follow blacksmithing books on the market.
We really hope you got a lot out of our review about the best blacksmithing books. No one is born a blacksmith, that’s just a fact. Everyone has to learn from the beginning. The books above apply to anyone, whether enthusiast, beginner, intermediate or expert.
All of the books above are excellent for reading as well as reference. None of them are so technical that a beginner couldn’t follow along. But even a novice will have access to creating real-world items. This is probably the best part about blacksmithing.
You get a real sense of inclusion by making the projects. You never have the feeling of being alone when tackling the lessons.
Those who are blacksmiths take on the occupation because they have a real passion for it. Making something from scratch is always a wonderful experience. So grab one or more of these great books and get to creating.
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