By: Nicholas Wicks – website
Price : $
Philip’s Ranking: 5
Beginner Blacksmith: 2
Advanced Blacksmith: 0
Video Review: N/A
- Blacksmithing Today – pg 6
- Book Structure – pg 7
- Part 1 – Tools & Techniques
- Setting Up Shop – pg 11
- Finishing Pieces – pg 21
- 10 Projects to Start – pg 25
- Part 2: Projects
- Tools – pg 49
- Bending Forks
- Chain Hold Down
- Twisting Wrench
- Heat Treating
- Punches, Chisels, and Drifts
- Rivet header
- Wolf jaw Tongs – Finin Liam Christie, Traditional Blacksmith – YouTube
- Around the Home – pg 65
- Letter Opener
- Clover Leaf and Hook – Matt Jenkins, Cloverdale Forge – Website
- Double Hook Horseshoe – Dereck Glaser, DG Forge – Website
- Bowl – Chris Danby, Coach House Forge
- Shelf Brackets
- Moss Box – Caitlin Morris, Ms, Caitlin’s Schools of Blacksmithing – Website
- Display Easel – Bill Kirkley
- Candle Lanterns – Gunvor Anhoj, Calnan & Anhoj – Website
- Kitchen And Bath – pg 95
- Napkin Rings
- Pot Rack
- Toilet Paper Holder – William Pinder, W. A. Pinder Ironworks – Facebook
- Towel Rack
- Hand Towel Ring
- Paper Towel Holder
- Cooking – pg 99
- Outdoor – pg 113
- Cooking Tripod and Spit
- Cooking Trammel Hook
- Plant Hanger
- Garden Tools
- Scottish Thistle Fire Brazier – Jim Whitson, The Blazing Blacksmith – Instagram
- Jewelry – pg 125
- Hardware – pg 141
- Nail Header & Nails
- Strap Hinge
- Small Latch – David Court
- Handle and Latch – Jim Whitson, The Blazing Blacksmith – Instagram
- Tools – pg 49
- Blacksmithing Tomorrow – pg 153
- Appendix pg 154-159
Nicholas Wicks has put together a really great book for blacksmiths who are looking for a book full of beginner level blacksmithing projects.
Wicks devotes a few pages at the front of the book to the usual blacksmithing tools, basic techniques, and terminology. If you’re a new smith who has never swung a hammer and are still figuring out how to setup your forge you’ll be better off with something like The Backyard Blacksmith or Mastering the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing. The Everyday Blacksmith won’t provide enough details to take someone from having never swung a hammer to being a safe and competent smith but that’s not the goal of the book.
Once you’ve swung a hammer a few times you’ll inevitably start looking for projects to work on and this book will help with that need. Wicks has pulled together 55 projects working with various smiths from across the US & UK. I’ve listed the table of contents, the projects, and (where applicable) the smiths that Wicks worked with on the projects as well as a link to a video of them creating the item, their website, or social media.
The projects are presented with clear list of suggested materials, tools, and a list of techniques at the start of the project. This allows for a quick check to ensure you’ll have everything needed for the project.
The first time a technique is introduced in a project Wicks provides a brief explanation of the technique and how it’s used. These call outs are enough to provide a high level understanding or reminder of the technique but someone who is really new to the technique will probably want additional instruction. The callout will provide enough information though for you to go find additional information in another book or source.
The instructions for each project are a clear combination of step by step text instructions along with photos highlighting the project. The combined photographic and written instructions are in almost all cases detailed enough that completing the projects should be relatively easy.
As I look through the projects breaking them down into difficulty ranks (at least my impression of the difficulty) we can see that the vast majority of projects fall into the easy-moderate difficultly range with only a few more complex projects.
- Easy (24): Can Tab Opener, Bookmark, Spoon, BBQ Fork, Leaf, Skull, Hook, Bottle Opener, Russian Rose, Twisting Wrench, Letter Opener, Chain Hold Down, Clover Leaf & Hook, Double-Hook Horseshoe, Napkin Rings, Toilet Paper Holder, Towel Rack, Hand Towel Ring, Loggerhead, Cooking Tripod and Spit, Steel Bracelet, Copper Bracelets, Celtic Brooch, Spiral Pendant,
- Moderate (23): Calipers, Bending Forks, Rivet Header, Punches/Chisels/Drifts, Bowl, Bookends, Shelf Brackets, Candle Lanterns, Paper Towel Holder, Railroad Spike Bottle Openers, Herb Chopper, Egg Spoon and Ladle, Colonial Keyhole Spatula, Ram’s Head Meat Flipper, Cooking Trammel Hook, Plant Hanger, Garden Tools, Dragon Pendant, Earring Rack, Jewelry Tree, Nail Header and Nails, Strap Hinge, Small Latch
- Challenging (6): Wolf Jaw Tongs, Moss Box, Display Easel, Pot Rack, Scottish Thistle Fire Brazier, Handle and Latch
For a new blacksmith this is a great mix of projects that allows for a variety of options as the smiths skills grow.
In addition to the 55 unique projects a number of the projects offer variations on how the main project can be tweaked adding new or different decorative elements or to add/remove complexity from the project. That is pretty unique in blacksmithing books and it does a great job of providing the reader with some specific ideas as well as inspirations on how to make your own tweaks.
For each project provided by another smith Wicks provides a brief bio of the smith.
One aspect of the selected projects that I really liked in this book is that many of them are fast to make and good projects for a smith to sell. An area I don’t see often discussed is what to do with all the items you create as a smith. Projects that can be sold and go into funding additional tools or materials are always a win.
Overall this is an excellent book and is a great pickup for new and intermediate smiths who are looking for project ideas and clear instructions.
Any smith looking for a book with a number of fun and relatively simple projects would do well picking up this book.