By: Ryan Ridgway
Price : $$
Philip’s Ranking: 4
Beginner Blacksmith: 4
Advanced Blacksmith: 0
Video Review: N/A
- Introduction – pg 5
- Glossary – pg 6
- Understanding Blacksmithing Basics – pg 11
- Setting Up Shop – pg 23
- Steel Types and Heat -Treating – pg 43
- Basic Blacksmithing Techniques – pg 53
- Advanced Blacksmithing Techniques – pg 73
- Making Your Own Tools – pg 85
- S-Hook – pg 87
- Fire Poker – pg 88
- Fire Rake – pg 91
- Fire Shovel – pg 94
- Forge Ladle – pg 96
- Coal Scoop or Scuttle – pg 99
- Handheld Chisel – pg 103
- Handled Slot Punch – pg 104
- Eye Drift and Mandrel – pg 106
- Tongs – pg 108
- Claw Hammer – pg 110
- Crowbar – pg 112
- Flat-Bit Screwdriver – pg 115
- Nail and Rivet header – pg 118
- Hold-Down – pg 121
- Projects for the Farm – pg 125
- Nails – pg 127
- Staples – pg 128
- Rivets – pg 129
- Strap Hinges – pg 130
- Gate Hook – pg 134
- Drive Hook – pg 138
- Garden Hand Spade / Trowel – pg 140
- Utility Knife – pg 144
- Garden hand Rake – pg 145
- Hoof Pick – pg 148
- Chain and Hook – pg 151
- Gate Bolt Latch – pg 154
- Projects for the Home – pg 159
- Door Handle / Drawer Pull – pg 160
- Dinner Triangle – pg 163
- Coat Hook – pg 166
- BBQ Fork – pg 170
- Shears – pg 176
- Fireplace Set – pg 178
- Andiron – pg 181
- Campfire Tripod And Spit Set – pg 184
- Campfire Tripod S-Hook – pg 188
- Leaf-Shaped Incense Holder – pg 194
- Shelf Bracket With A Square Corner – pg 198
- Door Latch – pg 200
- Toilet Paper Holder And Towel Bar Set – pg 206
- Selling your Items – pg 209
- Acknowledgements – pg 214
- Resources – pg 215
- Index – pg 217
- Photo Credits – pg 223
- About the Author – pg
Ryan Ridgway, with his wife Lynn Ridgway providing photographs, have developed a good introductory blacksmithing book with a lot of positives and a couple items to watch out for.
Ryan starts out, as many blacksmithing books do, with an introduction on the basics of blacksmithing, setting up your shop, tools & safety. The material is informative, attractively laid out, and supported with excellent photos.
One item to note is that the section on carbon content is incorrect. For the most part the information in the book is accurate so this stands out.
Carbon content is measured in a % or point system as noted however cast iron has a carbon content of at least 1.8% to 4% by weight. A steel with 1% carbon would be considered a high-carbon steel and is used in things like springs, edged tools, and high-strength wires.
The information presented on blacksmithing techniques is excellent and presented with clear step by step instructions. An good example is the instructions on forging a penny end scroll.
As seen in the above image Ryan Ridgway provides a set of detailed instructions while Lynn Ridgway’s photographs provide a great visual guide to match the written instructions.
The projects in the book tend to be pretty standard beginning smith projects. There is a reason that a lot of beginning blacksmithing books have similar sorts of projects. For example fire tools are useful for anyone with a solid fuel forge, hooks are great learning projects, and everyone needs tongs. So having these basics is exactly what I’d be looking for. Ridgway provides some unique elements in those projects so even if you have the same project in another book The Home Blacksmith will at least provide you with another way of accomplishing the same project. There is value in seeing multiple ways of accomplishing the same task.
There are a number of less common projects as well which provides some nice variety. I especially like seeing the hoof pick, sheers, screwdriver, and crowbar which look like great projects.
Overall this is a solid blacksmithing book and a reasonable value for the cost. It’s has a higher price and a more comprehensive project list than The Backyard Blacksmith which is my best value recommendation and is cheaper than The Skills of the Blacksmith which I think is the best modern book for someone who is seriously getting into blacksmithing.
Overall I think any new smith who purchases this book will be happy they have done so.