If you are interested in the ancient art of smithing, and want to try it yourself, or simply learn more about it, it can be difficult to know where to start. If you already have some experience in blacksmithing, you may want more insights into projects and techniques that might be new to you.
In any case, a blacksmith book is an excellent way to learn more about the art, science, and craft of blacksmithing. Here are 5 (plus a bonus 1) of the best blacksmithing books for beginners and even for more advanced smiths.
This exceptional book is divided into two sections. The first section is a basic overview of the principles, tools, and technologies of metalworking. It covers metallurgy and toolmaking, metals and corrosion, information, and supplies. It is an excellent overview of the basics of blacksmithing and metalworking.
The second section of the book features the work of six contemporary metal artists, with demonstration pieces and profiles. While this may seem more like an art showcase section, it is incredibly valuable to show how different artists are exploring techniques, processes, and materials that you may not have thought of. Even if you don’t like the art, it’s a source of inspiration and new ideas.
For readers with some experience, this initial section may seem too basic and too conceptual, lacking in hands-on exercises. But it is an excellent foundation for newcomers, with a wealth of data and reference material that will be useful for years. Click here to see more reviews and current pricing on Amazon.
This blacksmith book uses words and illustrations to show blacksmithing tools, equipment, and techniques that have been developed over the past 6,000 years. It’s a fascinating exploration of the history and background of blacksmithing, along with diagrams, methods, and anecdotes.
This book gives a rich historical context to modern blacksmithing, told visually as well as verbally. It’s helpful for those who are looking to set up their first blacksmithing shop, or backyard forge, and understanding not just what they need, but why. This is one of the best blacksmith books for beginners especially. Head to Amazon to read more reviews and see current pricing.
While the previous two books give principles, concepts, context, and background for blacksmithing, this book is a manual for instruction of tasks and skills the beginner blacksmith needs to master. It has over 400 detailed drawings and diagrams for clarity and understanding.
It’s a reference manual offering a practical introduction for beginner and intermediate blacksmiths to learn the skills and procedures of smithing and metallurgy and apply them to your own projects, and the spiral binding makes it great for keeping open on the workbench and referring to as you progress. See more reviews and the current price on Amazon.
This book has step-by-step instructions, with clear and detailed photographs, for the basic skills of blacksmithing, and applies them to simple projects suitable for beginners. By learning the basics of bending, curling, and flattening metals, beginners can start making beautiful, useful objects right away, including trivets and wall sconces.
When the techniques are combined, beginners can take on more advanced blacksmithing projects like door handles and metal railings. It’s a great way to get first-hand experience and start showing off your new blacksmithing skills. To read more reviews and grab a copy on Amazon click here.
José Antonio Ares also has another book “Blacksmithing Techniques: The Basics Explained Step by Step, Complete with 10 Projects”
As you can probably guess this one is focused on the beginner and gives a very clear path to progress your skills with over 500 color photos showing every step. Check it out on Amazon.
The Complete Modern Blacksmith book contains in a single volume three of Alexander Weygers’ classic, out-of-print blacksmithing books: The Modern Blacksmith; The Recycling, Use, and Repair of Tools; and The Making of Tools. While this volume is excellent reference for beginning blacksmiths to start learning the craft, it is especially valuable for intermediate blacksmiths who want to progress into creating, repairing, and customizing their own tools and implements.
The book contains step-by-step instructions and illustrations that will help you make your own custom tools and hardware, including pliers, shovels, and hinges. Learn how to repair and recycle old materials, following simple steps to restore and reuse old tools and implements. Or design your own custom tools with basic equipment and scrap steel, tools that are completely unique to your projects and your needs.
For blacksmiths who have struggled to find the right tools for their needs, or who have damaged their tools with use, or who want to restore old, classic tools, this volume is invaluable. The spiral binding allows it to lay flat for quick and easy reference on the tool bench, and learning these skills will save you money on tools and implements that you could be repairing yourself or making from scratch. You can read more reviews and pick up your copy of this essential reference on Amazon.
The Backyard Blacksmith is not a volume for absolute beginners. While it does cover the fundamentals with words and explanations, it assumes you already have a forge, basic tools, and some basic knowledge of metals and techniques.
It is focused on giving step-by-step, detailed instructions on how to make simple tools and useful items like nails, hinges, and handles, as well as more ornamental and creative projects like letter openers, racks, and door knockers. Author Lorelei Sims is famous for her organic and botanical themed metal work, and her own techniques are illustrated in this book. It bridges the gap between blacksmithing for practical needs and objects, and metal working as an art form and vehicle for creative expression.
The focus on projects and processes that are accessible for the beginner blacksmith in a home shop makes it a good place to for a new blacksmith to polish their basic skills, and then begin to branch out and explore their own creativity. Click here to check the current price on Amazon and read more reviews.
If I had to choose one to be the best blacksmithing book it would have to be The Backyard Blacksmith. Simple explanations and the projects go from easy to hard in a logical manner. I keep a copy within reach while I work at the forge (but not too close!) so i can reference techniques as I go.
Blacksmithing is an ancient skill that is enjoying a modern resurgence, as more and more people are interested in not simply purchasing poor-quality products that are destined for the landfill in a few years, but in making their own, high-quality, heirloom pieces that are built to last. It’s a fantastic way to grow creatively, make your own custom tools and objects, and share your skills with the world. These books are a great way to begin the journey, by explaining the basics of blacksmithing and metallurgy, and showing how these ancient crafts are practiced today.
I’ve written a few other guides if you are looking for more information before jumping into buying a book on it:
- Types of Blacksmithing Hammers and Their Uses
- A Guide to Blacksmith Tools For Beginners
- Buying Blacksmith Tools
- How to Forge Your First Knife
-THE STAY AT HOME DAD
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