September 05, 2007

Books on Blacksmithing

For Christmas 2006, I received 2 Blacksmithing books, "The Backyard Blacksmith: Traditional Techniques for the Modern Smith" by Lorelei Sims, and "The Blacksmith's Craft: A Primer of Tools & Methods" by Charles McRaven.

"The Backyard Blacksmith" has the best pictures and layout of any how-to book I've seen. Lorelei does a wonderful job of discussing basic and intermediate blacksmithing skills. I also enjoyed the list of projects in the back, with still more step-by-step color photos. If you learn by seeing, rather than by reading, buy this book!

"The Blacksmith's Craft" is an updated version of a book written in the 1980's for the "Back To The Land" audience. As such, there are a number of references to barn building, etc. but I really enjoyed his discussion of steel, what I might call junk-yard steel, and forge welding. The author is refreshingly open and honest about the difficulties that some smiths have with forge welding, and mentions various helpful tips and alternatives.

In summary, I liked them both, but if I had to choose, I would always go with "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims.


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