Blacksmithing Book Reviews

As an avid reader I’ve collected a large library of blacksmithing books some great and some not so great.  It’s always a struggle to find good quality reviews so I thought I’d put together my impressions.

For each book you can click on the title and find my detailed review as well as affiliate links to buy the book, a link to a free PDF for public domain works, and more information.

With this resource you should be able to find the best book for you if you’re a beginner, an accomplished smith, looking for inspiration, or a historical resource.

  • Cost:   Free: $0 – $: $1-$25 – $$: $25-$50 – $$$: $75+

    My first punches
    My First Punches from The Skills of a Blacksmith Vol 1
  • Philip’s Ranking: My own personal impression of the book.
    • 1: Either just a bad book or with a niche so narrow it will be useful to very few smiths.
    • 2: Probably a pass.
    • 3: A good book but likely has a limited audience.
    • 4: Solid book to purchase.
    • 5: Should be a strong consideration for any blacksmithing library.
  • Beginner Blacksmith: How good is this book for someone who is just starting out in blacksmithing. A high ranking indicates it does a good job explaining how to get started blacksmithing and provides good starter projects.
  • Advanced Blacksmith: Does the book cover more advanced topics that are appropriate to a blacksmith that has already mastered the basic skills and is looking for more advanced techniques or projects.
  • Inspiration: Is the book good to inspire in your blacksmithing. Books that score high in this category will be focused on pretty pictures or drawings of ironwork.
  • Historical: The book has good historical information about blacksmiths, blacksmithing, old work, architecture, tools, or related areas of interest.


This is a work in progress. I’ve listed all my planned book reviews and am trying to add 1-2 reviews per day until they are all completed. 

Title Author Cost Philip’s Ranking Beginner Blacksmith Advanced Blacksmith Inspiration Historical Video Review Free Version User Ratings
The Skills Of A Blacksmith Volume 1: Mastering the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing Mark Aspery $$ 5 5 2 1 0 YouTube
The Skills Of A Blacksmith Volume 2: Mastering The Fundamentals of Leaf-Work Mark Aspery $$ 5 2 5 2 0 YouTube
The Skills Of A Blacksmith Volume 3: Mastering The Fundamentals of Traditional Joinery Mark Aspery $$ 5 2 5 2 0 YouTube
Controlled Hand Forging ABANA Free 5 5 1 0 0 YouTube Abana
The Art Of Traditional Blacksmithing: A Norwegian Perspective Havard Bergland $$ 5 5 3 3 2  
The Backyard Blacksmith: Traditional Techniques for the Modern Smith Lorelei Sims $ 5 5 0 0 0 YouTube
Techniques Of Medieval Armour Reproduction: The 14th Century Brian R. Price $$$ 5 2 2 5 5
The Mastermyr Find: A Viking Age Tool Chest from Gotland Greta Arwidsson and Gosta Berg $ 4 0 0 5 5 YouTube
A Museum of Early American Tools  Eric Sloane $ 4 3 1 3 4   No
Rated 3.2 out of 5
3.2 out of 5 stars (based on 9 reviews)
Very good11%
Chains And Chainmaking Charles Fogg $ 4 0 0 3 4  
Decorative Antique Ironwork: A Pictorial Treasury Henry-René D’Allemagne $$ 4 0 3 5 4 YouTube
Anvils… through the ages Don Plummer $$ 3 0 0 0 1  
The Blacksmith’s Cookbook: Recipes In Iron Francis Whitaker $$ 3 2 4 2 0  
Civil War Blacksmithing: Constructing Cannon Wheels, Traveling Forge, Knives, and Other Projects and Information David Einhorn $$ 3 2 2 1 5 YouTube
Organic Metalworking: Volume One – The Grapevine  Lorelei Sims $ 3 0 4 2 0  
The Contemporary Blacksmith Dona Z. Meilach $$ 3 0 0 4 0  
Wrought Iron: The End of an era at Atlas Forge Bolton Joseph Brough Out of Print 3 0 0 0 3  
Iron Menagerie Guild of Metalsmiths Out of Print 3 3 2 3 0  
Traditional Ironwork Designs Josef Feller $ 3 0 3 5 3  
Decorative Ironwork of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance


Jakob Heinrich von Hefner-Alteneck

$ 3 0 3 5 3  
Treasury Of Ironwork Designs: 469 Examples From Historical Sources Carol Belanger Grafton $ 3 0 3 5 3  
Manual of Blacksmithing John R. Smith $ 3 2 2 2 4  
The Complete Modern Blacksmith Alexander G. Weygers $ 3 2 3 3 0  
The Blacksmith: Ironworker And Farrier Aldren A. Watson $ 3 2 1 2 3  
Decorative Wrought Ironwork: Projects for Beginners Thomas F. Googerty $ 2 2 2 2 1  
Early American Wrought Iron Albert H. Sonn $ 2 0 2 3 3 YouTube
Scandinavian Blacksmithing in the Iron Age: On the Edge of the World Sveree Christoffer Guldberg $ 1 0 0 0 2 YouTube
Wrought Iron Richard Hayman $$ 1 0 0 0 1  
The Everyday Blacksmith Nicholas Wicks $ 5 2 0 5 0 YouTube
The Home Blacksmith Ryan Ridgway $$ 4 4 0 5 0 YouTube


Planned Book Reviews

Title Author Cost Philip’s Ranking Beginner Blacksmith Advanced Blacksmith Inspiration Historical Video Review
Forge & Anvil Alan Rogers              
Colonial Ironwork in old Philadelphia Philip B. Wallace              
A Pattern Book of Tools and Household Goods Early American Industries Association with Peabody Essex Museum              
Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork: Tools, Techniques, Inspiration for Modern Blacksmithing Dona Z. Meilach $            
The Blacksmith’s Craft: A Primer of Tools & Methods Charles McRaven              
Practical Blacksmithing M.T. Richardson              
Practical Blacksmithing and Metalwork: Second Edition Percy W. Blandford              
Decorative Ironwork: some aspects of design and technique Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas              
The Blacksmith’s Craft: Fundamentals & Techniques Cosira              
Wrought Ironwork: Forms, production, & Assembly Cosira              
The Art Of Blacksmithing Alex W. Bealer              
Tranditional Blacksmithing: The Fine Art of Horseshowing and Wagon Making J. G. Holmstrom              
Blacksmith’s Manual Illustrated J.W. Lillico              
Chain & Anchormaking In The Black Country Ron Moss              
Catalogue Of The Prehistoric Metalwork In Merseyside Country Museums Susan M. Nicholson              
Anvils In America Richard Postman              
Wrought Iron In Architecture: An Illustrated Survey Gerald K. Geerlings              
The Complete Guide to Sharpening Leonard Lee              
Metalwork & Enamelling Herbert Maryon              
The Blacksmith’s Guide J.F. Sallows             PDF
Steel Working And Tool Dressing Warren Casterlin             PDF
Spanish Ironwork Arthur Byne, Mildred Byne             PDF
Sheet Metal Workers Manual Broemel             PDF
The Blacksmith’s Craft Rural Development Commission             PDF 1
Practical Forging and Art Smithing Thomas Googerty             PDF
Making A Wheel – how to make a traditional light English pattern wheel John Wright, Robert Hurford             PDF 1
Plain and Ornamental Forging Ernst Scwazkopf             PDF
Notes for Forge Shop Practice James Littlefield             PDF
Modern Sheet Metal Workers Instructor Joseph Rose             PDF
Metals for Engineering Craftsmen CoSira             PDF
Mechanical Technology George Charnock             PDF
Hand Forging and Wrought Iron Ornamental Thomas Googerty             PDF
Practical Smithing and Forging Thomas Moore             PDF
Forging of Iron and Steel (Textbook) William Richards             PDF
Forging Jernberg             PDF
Forge Work William Ilgen and Charles Moore             PDF
Forge Practice and heat Treatment of Steel John Bacon             PDF
Forge Practice Elementary John Bacon             PDF
Forgecraft Charles Crowe             PDF
Farm Shop Work Brace & Mayne             PDF
Farm Blacksmithing J. M. Drew             PDF
The History of Fisher & Norris
(Need to buy)
Joshua A. Kavett              
The American Blacksmith (Magazine) American Blacksmith Company             Multiple Editions
The Blacksmith & Wheelwright (Magazine)  American Blacksmith Company             Multiple Editions
The Blacksmith and the Welder
 United States. War Department  · 1941              PDF


Ironwork: From the earliest times to the end of the mediæval period
John Starkie Gardner  · 1907              PDF


A Handbook of Art Smithing: For the Use of Practical Smiths, Designers of Ironwork Technical And Art Schools, Architects, Etc. 
Franz Sales Meyer – 1896