Civil War Blacksmithing: Constructing Cannon Wheels, Traveling Forge, Knives, and Other Projects and Information

By Mark Aspery – Published 2010

Civil War Blacksmithing

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Philip’s Ranking: 3
Beginner Blacksmith: 2
Advanced Blacksmith: 2
Inspiration: 1
Historical: 5

Video Review: N/A

I bought this book hoping for a historical resource on forged items from the civil war era.  That is not what I got.

Instead this book is a strange mix focused on:

  • Basic Blacksmithing
  • A handful of reenactment inspired blacksmithing projects
  • How to blacksmith at a Civil War reenactment
  • Lots of details on how to build a civil war era portable forge/wagon.

The basic blacksmithing instruction is fine. If you’re looking for a book to start blacksmithing this isn’t the one I’d recommend. 

The set of projects for items commonly used by reenactors is also okay but for the most part not hugly unique or inspiring. It covers projects such as a Flag Holder, Forks, Hooks, Tent Stakes, and Lantern Stands.  The two gems are the large portable grill that breaks apart and a flathead screwdriver.

Where the book really shines though is in building your own wagon mounted traveling forge. If that’s something you’re interested in then this is the book for you. It has detailed information, references to more information, and sources to buy the hardware you need.  A full 117 pages of the 187 page book are focused on this subject.  If it is a project you want to undertake expect to dive into a lot of woodworking as most of the wagons components are wood.  

In summary if you want to be a serious Civil War reenactment blacksmith with your own traveling wagon forge buy this book. Otherwise it’s probably safe to skip.