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I Forge Iron

Swedish Blacksmithing (US Translation)

John B

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ISBN No 978-91-975634-8-2

Number of pages 209 with nearly 400 illustrations

I found this to be a most interesting book, suitable for the absolute beginner and the more advanced student. The translation from Swedish to ‘American English’ being well executed for the most part, aimed mainly at the US market, one or two terms may be unfamiliar, but can be understood.

It covers a broad range of skills, with many good illustrations to assist in understanding the text, most of all it is achievable for the reader to aspire to.

Written from the perspective of a newcomer to the craft being guided and taught by a master of the craft, at first it is a little strange, but once you get into it a few pages, it becomes easy to read and comprehend.

There are various sections that are laid out in a graduated way making them confidence building exercises for those that choose to follow them, starting with the basics and advancing to cover more specialist areas.

What sets it apart from some of the other books, is the toolmaking/blademaking sections, (axes, knives, scythe) and the basic Pattern welding or as we know it, Damascus techniques,

It explains in some simple detail the various processes involved in the forging, steeling and initial heat treating of these items

The finishing heat treating of the tools is also covered in some depth and detail.

Although I found a few minor errors, all in all I consider it to be a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in learning the craft and have no hesitation in recommending it be added to your collection of reference books,

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  • 11 months later...
  • 1 year later...

I picked this up from one of the wife's chicken friends that also buys storage containers at auction and sells the contents. Puts a lot of books on Amazon. A really cool read. Kind of a strange Swedish flavor with odd terminology or misspellings or sidebars about the history of Swedish steel production.


Great illustrations though. It had some of the simplest explanations of very complex concepts I've seen since I've started smithing. And a few odd variations, like a different way of making a clean 90 degree turn than the way I learned, or making handles unattached with the bark still on. Tried the 90 degree method though, and it worked as well as the other way I'd learned (after messing up one or two).


Overall a good read and great explanations. Some very fundamental ideas of smithing are introduced casually in the course of conversation. (the book is largely done as a series of interviews/conversation) I'd definitely recommend it.

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  • 2 months later...

I too will give a "Thumbs Up" on this book, given to me by my son and it's great. I have traveled a number of times to Sweden and was a SAAB Dealer for 35 yrs so know the Swedes well. Good book to read and keep on the shelf.

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  • 3 years later...

I bought the book a few years ago when I was visiting Stockholm. Found it from a little viking themed shop in the old town that had all kinds of interesting stuff for sale. Bought a few hand forged jew's harps from there as well.

The book is an excellent read, though there's a tinge of elitism seeping from some comments on how to build a forge. In page 16: "Any recommendations about forging on pieces of railroad tracks or steel girders can be left to tgose who prefer the more improvisational. Get an anvil..." I remember frowning to this so bad my glasses fell off. And next page the smith wants you to get an anvil that weighs at least 100kg or 220lbs. A blue-eyed smith wannabe taking everything at face value could be completely discouraged from even trying after reading stuff like that. Of course it could be something was just lost in translation, but I disliked some of the parts about building the forge due to those odd undertones. Maybe the advice is directed more to those who want to start a career in blacksmithing?

The different techniques, drawings, everything else is just awesome and informational. The forge building part should have said only: Visit this cool website I just found...

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