Matthew Hargis

Best book for a beginner

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I plan on buying a book on blacksmithing. I am new and have never forged anything. What book would u guys say is the most informative for a “newbie “ like me?

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https://www.iforgeiron.com/forum/40-book-reviews/

Without knowing your particular area(s) of interest it will be impossible for us to recommend a "best" book for you.  The Backyard Blacksmith by Lorelei Sims would not be a bad place to start though.  Keep in mind you do not have to buy the books at first.  Assuming there is a library nearby you can have them ILL books and read as many as you want.  Then if there's one you must have on your shelf you can purchase it after assessing the content for yourself.

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I’m sorry, did you say “a book on blacksmithing”? Who buys only one book on blacksmithing?

Seriously, though, what Buzzkill said. I got started back in the day with Alexander Weygers’s The Modern Blacksmith and Jack Andrews’s The Edge of the Anvil, but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Backyard Blacksmith to anyone. 

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The site IForgeIron.com has a wealth of information on many blacksmithing subjects. Choose a section of the site of interest to you and read. Then move to another section of the site and read more. They have information for beginners and all skill levels.

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Howdy,  you would not mind conversing about books for the sake of it.

I tried a half dozen books before finding what ~.I.~ *NEED*.

I buy books, I collect them, and have no problem spending any amount on books; I have many, because I found my passion for reading and higher learning later in my youth.

-I attended HSAD 4 month 'intensive'  they recommended only one, New edge of the anvil.
 The reference material in the back of that book is concentrated and useful. This book is brutally slow for content to the size of the book and it won't advance you without  * application of the knowledge within * hold that thought.

Japanese Swords books, (the handle wrapping, the craft book) and there was no greater waste of effort than the money spent on sword making anything.

 Fellow student had been applying himself immensely within and without the forge and with a passion he purchased the two books "machine shop from scrap metal",  "Modern Blacksmith" I was drawn to the later, I purchased it after school had ended. 

Buy The Smithy's Craft & Tools (Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds) (German Edition)

What you need is the Mark Aspery books, Don't pussyfoot around this*. The only set of books that matter anything else should come after and or is peripheral to these quintessential guidance and work books. No books have value that they deserve without knowing and studying these texts. You are trying to re-invent the wheel or create a new form of physics by interpreting books of blacksmithing without first reading Mark's works. He is showing you the words that explain everything else. 

 As far as advice I'm entering 3 years deep, an employed blacksmith and now collecting commissions up to $1000 ea.  Skip over the BS, corner-cutting, take it seriously skip the anvil track and scrap metal. Buy the forge, get the coal. Buy the anvil, go to the metal supplier and buy one or half of everything hot rolled. Buy tool steel offcuts, get 1045, and 4140, 3/4" and 1" get anvil that has a 1" hardy because over 1-1/4" hardy tools are death for your body to hand forge. The rounding hammer, from one of the guys making them, will help you make cleaner forgings out the gate. Brian Brazeal is super relevant and avoiding the craft by not looking at the real tools it requires seems like a handicap. Don't injure yourself. This process is going to be worth it, everything you buy blacksmithing related is an asset that does not depreciate in value at the same rate of most capital.

The forge and the Crucible by Mircea Eliade, no one ever mentions but its a book that maps out mans discourse in metal before history began it will help incite love for the blacksmith-artist.

Im Demiurge Smithy on instagram. 

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On 5/6/2018 at 10:27 AM, JamesJimiyG said:

Howdy,  you would not mind conversing about books for the sake of it.

I tried a half dozen books before finding what ~.I.~ *NEED*.

I buy books, I collect them, and have no problem spending any amount on books; I have many, because I found my passion for reading and higher learning later in my youth.

Im Demiurge Smithy on instagram. 

James: Being a bibliophile myself I appreciate this post from you. However it reads like English isn't your first language. Will you please edit your header with your general location? I can't fault your advice nor suggestions as to good books or way to break into the craft.

Your opinion isn't from a hobbyist's perspective nor that of someone in a blacksmith tool and equipment poor region. Many folks can't afford to spend a couple few thousand $ or the equivalent on equipment or the training to make use of it for a weekend hobby. In the USA there isn't much demand for blacksmiths as a profession except in some specializations like: the ferrier or bladesmith's, trades.  Restoration and reproduction of historical objects enjoys a fairly low demand and while folks may want "traditional" gates, railings, sconces, lamps, chandeliers, etc. few if any customers are able to judge a product's quality nor the value and all seem to think the 18th cent price is current.

A fellow (that's not a gender based term FYI to the other folk reading) breaking into the craft has regional needs and restrictions so a book and reading list needs to reflect their needs. No?

Frosty The Lucky. Who shuns most social media media if at all possible.

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Matthew,

Most of the good books (some mentioned above) cover a similar sequence of progression. All are good for someone starting out. Some are written in simple to understand English, better than others. Go to your Public Library and ask them for the books pertaining to Blacksmith Education. Figure out which book answers the questions that you are asking. Your general question regarding which is the best Book, tells me you are lazy and you need to start getting away from the keyboard and find someone local to you to be a mentor.

Neil

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I don't think it's laziness; just not used to the concept that "best" is a meaningless term without a lot of qualification.

Example: What is the best vehicle for me to buy?  Does that answer change if I tell you "It needs to get me to the International Space Station" or "I need to cross an ocean in it" or "I need to carry 40 people in it" or "I need to haul 16 tons of coal with it." Without qualification the answer is meaningless or just a "random" guess.

As mentioned we need to know more about what YOU need/want out of the book.  If you are a DIY'r then "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" may fit your needs/personal style.  If you are in Africa the UN manuals on blacksmithing may be a good fit as they were written for "local" conditions.  Aspery's books may be what you need.

As you are in the USA check with your local library about trying to ILL books and use that to look before you buy.

As a biblioXXXX, (less choosy than a bibliophile),  I tend to visit used bookstores and half priced books and buy any smithing book they have that I don't already have. (Backyard Blacksmith last time I was in Austin as my first copy had gone walkabout)  However I also buy things specific to my interests like Pleiner's "The Celtic Sword" or Alan Williams' "The Sword and the Crucible" and "The Knight and the Blast Furnace" or copies of PhD Thesis exp "Crucible Steel in Central Asia" or "Early Iron and Steel in Sri Lanka"; but I know that 99 44/100ths of other smiths do not need such books for what *they* are interested in.)

TLDR: buy Weyger's the Complete Modern Blacksmith and Sim's Backyard Blacksmith to get started

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21 hours ago, Frosty said:

English is your first language.

Your opinion isn't from a hobbyist's perspective nor that of someone in a blacksmith tool and equipment poor region.

Who shuns most social media media if at all possible.

1) I squeaked by in English, and didn't learn grammar or anything in school, so its a constant effort as an adult to not be an idiot. Had you said nothing I would have carried on thinking its all good.

2) I quit janitor work last year because I could go it alone. Since all my savings and livelihood went into my forge last few years. The earth made a move in my favour. I get this opportunity to work a ideal job at a forge down the road, doing historical period reproductions.

3) You gotta get instagram! it can be used solely for blacksmiths, or deep sea diving doesn't matter you decide.

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No problem, we'll just add you to the list of members that are blacksmiths rather than English majors and sharpen our skill at interpreting the written word. 

You smith as a full time profession? That'd put you in a kind of elite category, it's a hard row to hoe. It'll be good for the forum to have another professional smith's perspectives.

Ain't going to see me on instagram, twitter, etc. I barely participate on Face Book and only because it's what the guys in our organization use. Social media too much like trying to hold an adult conversation in a jr. high cafeteria right after a "big" game.  Iforge can get noisy enough.

Frosty The Lucky.

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JamesJimiyG  Thank you for the book suggestions. 

Please post some photos of your work. Historical period reproductions are made by several on the site. They are of interest to many.

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Do you do much pre-1000 reproduction work?   Real Wrought Iron? Tell us the details!  (Pretty Please?) I really need to get back to my project on making some Roman Military folding chairs; need to do a couple in mild before doing the real wrought iron ones.

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It would help if you included a location. Jimmy

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