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How useful is the Machinery's Handbook?


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The Anvil Fire website recommends it as a must have, especially older editions which contain a blacksmith section.

Being from the french speaking part of Canada my chance of finding a vintage old edition copy of a book in english locally are pretty low compared to what you guys might find in the States, so I don't consider that much of an option for me.

The first edition reprint, which came out in 2008 seemed like a good way to get a good quality, decent price, old edition.

Regretfully it is starting to get harder to come by in Canada, with aftermarket sellers starting to ask inflated prices for it.

It can still be found for list price if you know where to look, so is it really that much of a must have? What are you guys opinion on it?

Many thanks in advance.

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The 12th edition copyright 1945 has 1800 pages that are 4-1/2 x 7 inches in size. You must remember that this information was written BEFORE 1945.

There are 6 pages under the title Forging Shop Equipment

There are only 2 charts on the size of Blacksmithing tongs. The chart on the size of goose necked tongs goes from a capacity of 1/4 inches to 5 inches. The  chart on the size of flat-jawed tongs goes from 1/2 inches to 2 inches. You must remember that this information was for the blacksmith shop of that day and they material they handled at that time.

There good information through out the entire book, Book marked is General Applications of SAE Steel which is good for the steel available in 1945. Axle shafts, front and rear are listed as 1040 and 4140. Great information to have if you have a pre 1945 axle laying around that you want to use.

If you are a machinist, I would suggest that this is a great addition to your library. If you like old manuals or books, it should provide many hours on interesting reading. If there are questions about the book, get one through the inter library loan and look it over.

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Note too that their "suggestions" for alloys are not necessarily followed in real life.  I have a more recent edition where is suggests that S7 would be a good alloy for jackhammer bits.  Yes it would be an excellent alloy for jackhammer bits; however due to cost 99% of them will be made from 1050 or similar cheap steel. (Titanium would make a great car body and frame---how many cars have you owned with either?)

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There are copycat versions which are similar also--sometimes at significantly lower prices than official "Machinery's Handbook" copies.  For instance there is a "Kent's Mechanical Engineers Handbook" and a "Mark's Mechanical Engineer's Handbook".  Although not exactly the same, they often have sections which supplement Machinery's version in addition to duplicating a lot.

Not much specifically on Smithing--so don't buy it for that.  Buy any of them for a general knowledge reference.  

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Just a note - my Gerstner & Sons box has a drawer specifically for the Machinery's Handbook, as well as the ('70's era?) Kennedy top box.


I am still trying to determine copyright restrictions - thank you Thomas, for the link - so far I have not nailed down the answer. Limited time and talent.

Robert Taylor

Edited by Anachronist58
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  • 1 year later...

Buy the latest 30th Edition of Machinery's Handbook, ebook version 

Price $105 - Lifetime Access

Buy at https://ebooks.industrialpress.com/product/machinerys-handbook-30th-edition

3 Books Collection including - Machinery's Handbook 30th Edition, The Guide, and The Pocket Companion

Price - $126.81 - Lifetime Access

Buy at https://ebooks.industrialpress.com/product/machinerys-handbook-30th-edition-all-three-ebooks-collection


Hope this helps.

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