Decorative Wrought Ironwork: Projects for Beginners

By: Thomas F. Googerty – Published 1937

Decorative Wrought Ironwork

Price : $  – Amazon

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

Video Review: N/A

This book is interesting because it is by far the oldest project (published 83 years ago) book for new blacksmiths I’ve seen.

The projects are pretty dated, 5 of 19 are variations on ash trays, and the level of skill is well beyond what we’d consider a “beginner” smith today. The techniques, tools, and skills required are well beyond your average beginner hobbyist blacksmith working out of their garage.  If I were a high school blacksmithing teacher in 1937 this would be a great project book for student projects that would be completed over a few weeks in a blacksmithing course.

The skills needed for these projects are especially interesting because it seems to reflect a shift in what basic blacksmithing skills are.  The projects make heavy use of chisel work to add decorative cut outs.  There is also some use of lead as a backing material when doing repousse style work which I think most modern blacksmithing books would avoid out of concerns around lead poisoning.

List of projects and my impressions of each:

  • Votive Light #1 – Not to bad but lots of chisel & file work.  The forge welding of thin steel into a cup may prove challenging. 
  • Votive Light #2 – Similar to #1 but with even more chisel & file work on the base. 
  • Flowerpot Holders – Two versions. These are tempting to make.
Flower Pot Holders
  • Flower Stand – Pretty dated end product.
  • Table Ash Trays – A bunch of ash trays in an ashtray holder. If you smoked I guess it would be good. I don’t. 
  • Ash Tray Stand – 3 foot tall ash trays. Dated in both style and culture but looks like a reasonable project. You could do a table with the same plans. 
  • Andirons – I always like Andirons. Good plans here.
  • Pokers, Shovel, and Crane – Poker and shovel could get some modern use.  A fireplace crane is less likely to.
  • Candlesticks – A few variations. These are all pretty good and everyone likes basket twists.
  • Door Latch – Attractive door latch. 
  • Inside Door Latch – It goes well with the Door Latch.  
  • Inside Door Lock – Simple bar lock with a bar that swings in place from the door to the wall.
  • Hinges – Fine instructions to make a simple door hinge. 

    Decorative WI Table
    Smoking Table and Box
  • Lamp with Ash Tray – Kind of clunky looking and why does it have to have an ashtray? Seems like a pain to clean. 
  • Lamp, Ash Tray, and Match Holder – Same as above.
  • Lamp with Round Base – A much nicer lamp if you want to forge your own. You’ll need to buy some sort of socket and switch kit.
  • Outside Door Knockers – This is a pretty cool dragon headed door knocker. Lots of chisel work and some moderately complicated punchwork. 
  • Inside Door Knocker – People used to have knockers on their bedroom 
  • Smoking Stand and Tobacco Box – This is actually a small table with two levels and a small box and for me is the most tempting project to go make out of the book. 


Overall I think this book is probably a pass but at <$20 for the paperback version and <$10 for an electronic version it’s not a huge financial outlay.