Books Smith Beginner
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Here are some of the books I recommend smiths add to their library. No junk books, these are all worthwhile.

Updated: August 04, 2009. Links updated.

Free Online Book Downloads

http://www.hct.ac.uk/Downloads/craftpublications.html  (New Link August 2009) BEST LINK ON THE INTERNET! The CoSIRA book series are available for free download. Take advantage of this one while you can, this generous offer might not be available forever. Books include The Blacksmith's Craft, Ornamental Ironwork, Decorative Ironwork, The Thatcher's Craft, The Blacksmith's Manual Illustrated by Lillico, Catalogue of Drawings: Wrought Ironwork Gates, Catalogue of Drawings For Wrought Ironwork, Catalog of Drawings: Weathervanes, and others. These are some of the greatest books ever published- and they are available for free download!

US War Department Education Manual EM 862 Farm Shop Practice. There is only one chapter of the book printed here and it is a long dissertation on the tooling, setup, theory, and practice of blacksmithing on the farm. Download this one at: The http://www.ibiblio.org link to this book has been dead for some time now. Here it is again at a different source: http://www.metalwebnews.com/howto/blacksmith/farmshop.html

Cornell University Online Archive - http://chla.library.cornell.edu/ - A great collection of books. Too many to mention everything here, visit their website and use the search window to locate hundreds of excellent old books. Don't forget to change the search condition to Title and type in Blacksmithing! One problem with this site is that it appears to require each page of a book to be downloaded and saved separately, preventing the book from downloading as a single file. Type "blacksmithing" in the search window and a large list of blacksmithing related titles appear. Below are a short highlight of some of the titles preserved on the Cornell University website.

Blacksmithing; a manual for use in school and shop by Robert Washington Selvidge and James Miller Allton, 1925. 158 pages. The book is contained in a series of scans. Each photo represents one page of the book. This book is preserved on the web by the Cornell University library in an effort to prevent its loss as a result of deterioration.

Blacksmithing by James M. Drew, 1935. 122 pages. http://chla.mannlib.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=chla;idno=2734502 The book is contained in a series of scans. Each photo represents one page of the book. This book is preserved on the web by the Cornell University library in an effort to prevent its loss as a result of deterioration.

Farm Blacksmithing by James M. Drew, 1901. See the Cornell University website above.

Standard Blacksmithing by Holmstrom, John Gustaf, 1907. See the Cornell University website above.

US Army Training Circular TC 9-524 Fundamentals of Machine Tools. Loads of excellent info on use and care of machine tools for the machine shop. Long book. Go to https://atiam.train.army.mil/soldierPortal/atia/adlsc/view/public/6482-1/tc/9-524/toc.htm  .

 

Blacksmithing, Ornamental Iron, and Horseshoeing How-To books

*The Blacksmith's Craft by the Rural Development Corp. (RDC, formerly called Council for Small Industries In Rural Areas or CoSIRA in Great Britain). Original printing 1952. A how-to book for blacksmiths. Step by step photos and text. This book is available for free download at this time- see The Countryside Agency link in the Free Downloads section at top of this page.

The Blacksmith ~ Ironworker and Farrier by Aldron A Watson ISBN 0-393-30683-6. Printed by W. W. Norton. Some how-to stuff, mostly nostalgia, and excellent how-to sections on making the blacksmith's bellows and forge construction.

*Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds (Tools and work methods of the Art-Smith) by Otto Schmirler. ISBN 3-8030-5040-5 printed in Austria by Ernst Wasmuth Tübingen from 1981. A how-to book for ornamental ironworkers.

*Wrought Ironwork by the Rural Development Corp. (RDC, formerly called Council for Small Industries In Rural Areas or CoSIRA in Great Britain). Originally published in 1953. A how-to book for ornamental ironworkers. This book is available for free download at this time- see The Countryside Agency link in the Free Downloads section at top of this page.

Das Schlosser Book by Theador Krauth and Franz Sales Meyer. ISBN 3-88746-005-7. Printed in Germany by Schäfer. Original edition 1897. An instructional book in German text for ornamental ironworkers.

*Principles of Horseshoeing II, The by Dr. Doug Butler ISBN 0-916992-02-0. Butler Publishing. A large how-to book and professional classroom text for blacksmiths and horseshoers.

Woodwright's Shop, The by Roy Underhill. ISBN 0-8078-4082-3. Printed by University of Chapel Hill at North Carolina. A how-to book for woodworking and blacksmithing.

 

Picture Books

*Decorative Ironwork by Margarete Baur-Heinhold ISBN 0-7643-0036-9. Originally printed 1996. Schiffer Publishing. Great historical ironworks from the 12th century to the 19th century.

*Der Kunstschmied Otto Schmirler by Otto Schmirler ISBN 3-8030-5030-8 Originally printed 1986. Now printed by Ernst Wasmuth Tübingen. Wonderful ironwork  made in Vienna Austria during the 20th century.

Schmiedekunst am Haus by Otto Schmirler ISBN 3-8030-5036-7. Originally printed 1983. Now printed by Ernst Wasmuth Tübingen. Wonderful ironwork   made in Vienna Austria during the 20th century.

*Für Den Kunstschmied is the German Title, Larson Publishing prints this book in the US with the English title Wrought Iron Artistry by Otto Schmirler ISBN 3-8030-5044-8. Originally published 1983. Wonderful ironwork   made in Vienna Austria during the 20th century.

Das Eisenwerk by Otto Höver ISBN ?. Originally printed 1927. Now printed by Ernst Wasmuth Tübingen. A picture book of 12th - 18th century ironwork.

*Medieval Ironwork In Sweden by Lennart Karlsson. A two-volume set ISBNs 91-7402-192-3 and 91-7402-194-X. 1988 printed by Almqvist & Wiksell International. A history and picture book set. Excellent door hardware.

Decorative Antique Ironwork by Henry René D'Allemagne. Reprinted by Dover Books. ISBN 0-486-22082-6. Originally printed in 1924 in France as a museum catalog. A picture book of medieval and renaissance era ironwork and hardware.

 

Medieval Armour and the Medieval Armoursmith

*Arms & Armor of the Medieval Knight by David Edge and John Paddock 0-517-64468-1. Printed by Crescent Books a division of Crown Publishers. A history and picture book.

The Armourer and His Craft by Charles FFoulkes 0-486-25851-3. Printed by Dover. A history book.

Armourers by Matthias Pfaffenbichler 0-8020-7732-3. University of Toronto Press. A history and picture book.

 

Medieval Industry

Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry by Denis Diderot ISBN 0-486-27428-4 and 0-486-27429-2. Printed by Dover. A how-to book for the medieval and Napoleon era industrialists.

De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola translated by Our former president Herbert Hoover and his wife ISBN 0-486-60006-8. Printed by Dover. A how-to book if you are a 16th century industrialist.

 




Blacksmithing, Ornamental Iron, and Horseshoeing How-To books

The Blacksmith's Craft by the Rural Development Corp. (RDC, formerly called Council for Small Industries In Rural Areas or CoSIRA in Great Britain). Original printing 1952. A how-to book for blacksmiths.

A how-to book. A very small book that really packs a punch. There are several books which are printed by RDC which use their now famous format, of step by step photographs and text in short lesson formats. Each lesson takes the apprentice or advanced student through a group of tasks which teach basic skills important to that specific field. The Blacksmith's Craft lessons include such things as basic forging techniques, hooks, fire welding, chain making, hooks and staples, harness and trace hooks, shackles, harrow bars, cart staples, plain square corner bends, and most important to the smith with few tools- the making of heavy blacksmiths tongs. Most of my tongs were made using the methods in the back of this book. If for no other reason, buy this book if you would like to make all your own heavy weight blacksmith tongs. Anyone wanting a to build a horse drawn cart or repair hitch parts will find the lesson on trace hooks and cart staples useful. An expensive little book since it is imported from Britain. Be warned, it is tiny and pricey. But well worth the money. Available Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.


The Blacksmith ~ Ironworker and Farrier by Aldron A Watson ISBN 0-393-30683-6. Printed by W. W. Norton.

Some how-to stuff and lots of nostalgia. In the early days when I first started blacksmithing, this book was the most inspirational book I found at the library. Most of the things in this book are related to the history of the New England blacksmith in the 19th century. The roles of the blacksmith as hardware maker, farrier, and general village craftsman are portrayed in wonderful illustrations and text. Tools are shown and methods for fullering, upsetting, drawing, welding, punching and bending wrought iron are described. The blacksmith is depicted making latches, chains, iron hardware, and shoeing horses. But what is so important in this book for the new blacksmith to run out and buy it, is the sections on designing a blacksmiths forge and the most in-depth description of building a blacksmith's bellows that I have  seen in any book. Available Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.


Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds (Tools and work methods of the Art-Smith) by Otto Schmirler. ISBN 3-8030-5040-5 printed in Austria by Ernst Wasmuth Tübingen from 1981. A how-to book for ornamental ironworkers.

A how-to style book. By far the most sought after book for the artist-blacksmith (ornamental ironworker) today. Printed with 3 languages altogether, German-English-French. Loaded with hundreds of pictures and water color drawings depicting the tools and how to use them to forge a very large variety of work used in wrought iron gates, railings, hardware, lanterns, grills, and other items. This book contains a tremendous amount of ideas and methods that smiths of any skill level from beginner to master, will find useful. Printed in Europe so this book is very expensive. Available Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge. 3 more picture books by this author listed below in the Picture Books section.


Wrought Ironwork by the Rural Development Corp. (RDC, formerly called Council for Small Industries In Rural Areas or CoSIRA in Great Britain). Originally published in 1953. A how-to book for ornamental ironworkers.

A how-to book. A very small book which surprisingly for its tiny size will, take the student through the entire process of designing, forging and assembling the wrought iron gate. There are several books which are printed by RDC which use their now famous format, of step by step photographs and text in short lesson formats. Each lesson takes the apprentice or advanced student through a group of tasks which teach basic skills important to each aspect of gate work. 6 different scrolls are shown in the making, as well as forging gate frames, tenoning, riveting, advanced fire welding techniques, slitting, and collaring. These are the methods used by ornamental ironworkers to build traditional handmade gates and railings. Tiny little book printed in Europe and very expensive. Be careful when ordering so as not to confuse this book with another book by CoSIRA called Decorative Ironwork which is a book on modern methods of ornamental iron. Available Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.


Das Schlosser Book by Theador Krauth and Franz Sales Meyer. ISBN 3-88746-005-7. Printed in Germany by Schäfer. Original edition 1897. An instructional book in German text for ornamental ironworkers.

A how-to or old school text type book. German text only. This book shows a large number of drawings and engravings detailing work of the Locksmith (the old name for a group of trades including the art smith or ornamental ironworker). Many of the old world methods handed down from medieval times were still in use in 19th century German workshops. Enough details can be found here to unlock the secrets of medieval and renaissance era gate and railing construction. Even if the reader cannot understand German language, the pictures in this book make it worth the price. Depicted here are the tools and machinery of yesteryear, medieval gates and railings and grills and hardware, and constriction detail drawings showing assembly theory of various parts of large ornamental ironwork. A few simple lock mechanisms are depicted here also. Very expensive book printed in Europe, available Norm Larson Books.


Principles of Horseshoeing II, The by Dr. Doug Butler ISBN 0-916992-02-0. Printed by Butler Publishing. A how to book and classroom text for blacksmiths.

A how-to and class room text book. Exhaustive work on every aspect of horseshoeing from basic anatomy, mechanics of the horse, making hand-made shoes, blacksmith shop, corrective shoeing for faults or injuries, and shoeing the different types of horses from racing horses to gaited horses. This book replaces his earlier version and is much updated and expanded from the earlier edition. Very expensive large book. Dr. Butler is very highly respected as a master of equine science and his books are used as textbooks for horseshoeing schools in the U.S. Available Centaur Forge.


Woodwright's Shop, The by Roy Underhill. ISBN 0-8078-4082-3. Printed by University of Chapel Hill at North Carolina. A how-to book for woodworking and blacksmithing.

A how-to style book. Actually a book on traditional style woodworking this book is the companion book for Roy Underhill's public television series The Woodwright's Shop. A short section is offered in this book on basic blacksmithing. A nice home made forge is shown in several photos of simple enough design that the beginner forge builder should have no trouble duplicating.

 

Picture Books


Decorative Ironwork by Margarete Baur-Heinhold ISBN 0-7643-0036-9. Originally printed 1996. Schiffer Publishing.

Top pick for the medieval ironwork enthusiast. One of the first unbiased books since the 19th century which doesn't bad mouth work from the German speaking countries. Written in English. Over two-hundred large photos of historical gates and railings, fences, well grilles, grave and crypt grills, as well as a wonderful description of the styles and influences of the time periods that led to the making of those works. Photographs are mostly from Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland, and some from England and other countries. Very expensive book  available from Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.


Der Kunstschmied Otto Schmirler by Otto Schmirler ISBN 3-8030-5030-8 Originally printed 1986. Now printed by Ernst Wasmuth Tübingen

Photo archive of the works produced by the late Otto Schmirler in his workshop in Vienna Austria. Each book printed in German and French and English. Work comprised almost entirely of traditional style forging techniques. Some modern welding used but most work is forged. Gates, railings, grillwork, lanterns, candelabras, curtain rods, fireplace equipment etc. Pictures fill nearly every page. One of four books written by this author. Very expensive book printed in Europe and available from Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.

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Schmiedekunst am Haus by Otto Schmirler ISBN 3-8030-5036-7. Originally printed 1983. Now printed by Ernst Wasmuth Tübingen.

Largest book by Otto Schmirler with almost every page filled with works made in his shop in Vienna Austria. Each book printed in German and French and English. Gates, railings, grillwork, furniture, lanterns, chandeliers, curtain rods, well cranes, fireplace equipment etc. Mostly traditional work but some modern methods and materials used for a small amount of work. One of four books by this author. Very expensive book printed in Europe and available from Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.

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Für Den Kunstschmied is the German Title, Larson Publishing prints this book in the US with the English title Wrought Iron Artistry by Otto Schmirler ISBN 3-8030-5044-8. Originally published 1983.

Otto Schmirler's smallest book and my favorite. Each book printed in German and French and English. Almost every page filled with pictures of Otto Schmirler's work from his Vienna Workshop. Lots of smaller works fill this book such as candelabras, fireplace equipment, clocks, lamp holders, lanterns, candleholder, small grillwork and sign holders, hinges. Mostly traditional style work but some modern methods used for small amount of work. A very expensive book printed in Europe but Larson Publishing has an English language version for less. Available from Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.


Das Eisenwerk by Otto Höver ISBN ?. Originally printed 1927. Now printed by Ernst Wasmuth Tübingen. A picture book of 12th - 18th century ironwork.

A picture book. Wall to wall pictures of gates, door hardware, sign holders, well canopies, railings, and grillwork from the 12th - 18th century. For the libraries of ornamental ironworkers. Text is German only. Large and Expensive book printed in Europe. Available Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.


Medieval Ironwork In Sweden by Lennart Karlsson. A two-volume set ISBNs 91-7402-192-3 and 91-7402-194-X. 1988 printed by Almqvist & Wiksell International. A history and picture book set.

A set of picture and history books. A large work with exhaustive research into the history of medieval ironwork in Sweden and with a close look at how and where different distinct styles of work came from throughout Sweden during that time period. Hundreds of photos of medieval work mostly of door hardware and similar work. Lots of flowering motifs and animal or other whimsical characters fill these works from long ago and SCA smiths will find many of them simple enough to master once they learn the basic skills of the blacksmiths art. A very expensive 2-volume set. Norm Larson Books handles this set.


Decorative Antique Ironwork by Henry René D'Allemagne. Reprinted by Dover Books. ISBN 0-486-22082-6. Originally printed in 1924 in France as a museum catalog. A picture book of medieval and renaissance era ironwork and hardware.

A picture book. Originally a museum catalog for the Le Secq Tournelles Museum in Rouen. This book is and extensive picture catalog of ironwork and artifacts from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Contains architectural ironwork, gates, railings, door hardware, fire place accessories, lighting, jewelry, kitchen equipment, tools, and other small items of the era. Available Centaur and Norm Larson Books. Very large inexpensive book.



 

Medieval Armour and the Medieval Armoursmith

 

Arms & Armor of the Medieval Knight by David Edge and John Paddock 0-517-64468-1. Printed by Crescent Books a division of Crown Publishers. A history and picture book.

Large book with a very large number of very high quality pictures of medieval armour. Most of the woodcuts depict tournaments and war. The book is about armour and weapons so nothing in the way of shops and smiths at work. One of the nicest books on medieval armour I have seen. Moderately priced book.


The Armourer and His Craft by Charles FFoulkes 0-486-25851-3. Printed by Dover. A history book.

A reprint of a treatise on the makers of medieval armour and the tools and shop and products they made. This is considered by most smiths to be one of the most in-depth books written on the subject of the armoursmith. There are only a couple shops depicted in woodcuts in this book and on one that I noticed with a forge in the background (Maximillian visiting Seusenhofer). However the book gives valuable insights into the business of amour making. Lots of pictures of medieval armour and some construction details. Very inexpensive book. Available Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.


Armourers by Matthias Pfaffenbichler 0-8020-7732-3. University of Toronto Press. A history and picture book.

A small book on the medieval armoursmiths with lots of good quality pictures of medieval and renaissance armour. A small number of woodcuts depicting armoursmiths at work including a couple with forges and other large shop tools in the background (one is the Maximillian visiting Seusenhofer). Very inexpensive book.


 

Medieval Industry

 

Diderot Pictorial Encyclopedia of Trades and Industry by Denis Diderot ISBN 0-486-27428-4 and 0-486-27429-2. Printed by Dover. A how-to book for the medieval and Napoleon era industrialists.

A two volume set and very inexpensive. This is a nice black and white reprint of the 18th century book on medieval trades. Woodcuts on every page depict work of the all the known trades of the time and text to explain what was in each woodcut. Several smithing industries including the Ornamental ironworker, farrier (smith who specialized in only horse shoeing), spur maker, heavy blacksmith. Very inexpensive 2-volume book set. Available Norm Larson Books and Centaur Forge.


De Re Metallica by Georgius Agricola translated by Our former president Herbert Hoover and his wife ISBN 0-486-60006-8. Printed by Dover. A how-to book if you are a 16th century industrialist.

This is a treatise printed originally in1556 on the subject of mining and manufacturing industries of that era. Exhaustive research and loaded with woodcuts depicting anything to do with mining and smelting metallurgy. And lots of woodcuts showing the medieval forges in use at the time. If you are looking at ideas to build a medieval style forge, this book has the most engravings of forges in one place. Lots of shops depicted showing the craftsmen working and the tools of the trades. Too many trades to list here. Large inexpensive book.