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I Forge Iron

The blacksmith's bookshelf?


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What books do you have that are indispensable? Be it Instructional or inspirational, modern or traditional, for beginner or advanced.


I've seen a few mentioned in threads here or there, but looking to find new titles that may not come up without knowing what you are looking for.

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Blacksmithing books


Blacksmith’s Manual Illustrated by J.W. Lillico

The Art of Blacksmithing by Alex Bealer

Forge Craft 1913 by Charles Philip Crowe

American Blacksmith by Holstrom and Holford

A Blacksmiths & Hammerman’s Emporium by Douglas Freund

Practical Blacksmithing by M.T. Richardson

Blacksmithing by Selvidge and Allton

Practical Blacksmithing and Metalworking second edition by Percy W. Blandford

The Village Blacksmith by Aldren A. Watson

The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander G Weygers

New Edge of the Anvil by Jack Andrews

Art Metals by C. Vernon Siegner

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Most recently I got Practical Blacksmithing: The Four Classic Volumes in One by M. T. Richardson ISBN-13 978-0785835394, ISBN-10: 0785835393 and I'm a 150 pages in. So far it's interesting, but a lot of it would be useful opening a shop 100+ years ago.

I just ordered Samuel Yellin: Metalworker by Jack Andrews ISBN-13 978-1879535053, ISBN-10: 187953505X and looking forward to that one.

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There is an entire section here  on IFI devoted to books; why do you need it repeated? I have over 200 books that on my blacksmithing/metalworking/history of technology/historical items/ (Just picked up a reprint of the 1905 Sears and Roebuck catalogue yesterday---which won't help you much if all you want to do is make bottle openers...)

There are so many differing needs: Ideas, Methods, History, Simple, Intermediate, Complex, General, Specific---I'd say 98+%  of the folks here don't need a $300+ book on the metallurgy of Medieval Armour.  

If you have a specific question please ask.

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Sorry, didn't even know this section existed buried way down here. When I did a search all I got was other posts with the word book and not this sub-sub-sub topic. My hope was to have people start a discussion on some of the books they have found most useful and learn a bit more. Not everything need to be a question with a specific answer, so I don't have anything to ask.

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OK; I'm working seven days a week right now and don't really want to wander around posting stuff I've already  posted several times only to find out it's not helping

So indispensable books: (historical blademaking mainly Western Europe) I'd love to get more suggestions on this by JPH!

The Knight and the Blast Furnace

The Sword and the Crucible

The Celtic Sword

Crucible Steel in Central Asia, (Thesis)

Das Zweischneidige Schwert der Germanischen Voelkerwanderungszeit---but only for the pictures

Early Iron and Steel in Sri Lanka

The Cementation of Iron and Steel

Sources for the History of the Science of Steel

Steelmaking before Bessemer Vol 1 Blister Steel, Vol II Crucible Steel

De Re Metallica

De La Pirotechnnia

Divers Arts

Lost Gold of the Dark Ages

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  • 1 month later...

Don't sweat it Dan, we just tend to get grumpy when a question is asked for the umpteenth time. Especially if we're tired, blood sugar is low, dog just took a wizz on a table leg, etc. Nothing personal and no real sin.

A couple things about asking questions here goes something like these: If you do a little reading first, you'll have: 1. A handle on the craft's jargon so you can ask good questions and understand the answers. 2. A little background in the subject which really helps. 3. Be able to ask more refined questions. You can NOT get a meaningful specific response to a general question. 4. Last but not least discover your questions have probably been asked and answered a couple hundred times already.

It's not that we don't like, heck LOVE to talk about smithing, solve problems, get new guys started, etc. it's just that some questions are virtually impossible to answer.

We're not picking on you but your question is one of . . . Those! :o 

Before it was stolen I had probably 40-50 books on blacksmithing or closely enough related to serve and not one bladesmithing book. 

To refine your question you need to include things like: what kind of blacksmithing, what skill level, time period, scale, specialty, resources, equipment, etc. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 4 weeks later...


I just tore myself out of our local Half Price Books, (in St. Louis), and chanced to see a reprint of M.T. Richardson Practical Blacksmithing. There were several of them.

The hard cover book covers all 4 volumes of his series in one volume. (copyright dates 1888 through 1891). This particular compilation is copyright 2017.

Those books are still very valuable today. They often cover topics and instructions rarely found anywhere else.

For example Mr. Thomas Powers, (yes our Thomas Powers), directed one forum member to an article on how to smith swivel chains in one of the Richardson books

These volumes can be seen at http://www.bamsite.org/books/books.html

Their copyright ran out ages ago.

But it is much cheaper to purchase a book than to print off the whole file.

There may be other booksellers remaindering this book check it out.

They are most likely cheaper than that book chain.

In other words, Citizens, I do not have a financial interest in half price books.

Regards to all fellow iron bangers,


p.s.  Oh yeah;   it was priced at $12.99

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