The 5 Best Books for Learning to Blacksmith

Good books can shave years off of the learning curve for a blacksmith. This is a list of five (5) books that will do just that for you as they have for me. Blacksmithing is a craft someone may practice for their entire life and still not know it all. Luckily there are some really amazing books out there that take the great big world of blacksmithing and break it down into pieces of information that are easier to work with. This article is a list of some of my favorite blacksmithing books which I have linked to through my Amazon affiliate account.

The 5 Best Books for Blacksmithing:

1. New Edge of the Anvil – by Jack Andrews

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Official Description: The tenet of this book is provide a tool for artists/blacksmiths and metalworkers. It tells how to work metal:

  • heating it
  • cutting it
  • upsetting it
  • drawing it out
  • twisting it
  • forge welding it
  • shaping and assembling it

It tells about metallurgy and tool making, metal finishes and corrosion, sources of information and supplies, charts and guidelines for many tasks. It explains the process of design, how to use the computer in metal design, how to set up a business and how to manage it. Providing an inspiration for all blacksmiths are portfolios of the wrought iron work of Martin Rose and Samuel Yellin, two of America’s premier metalworkers of the past. To further inspire and to show the new focus of blacksmithing in the metal arts, six contemporary metalworkers show a series of demonstration pieces of their iron work. This 256 page book is bound with an improved binding system (Otabind) that allows the pages to lay flat.


2. The Art of Blacksmithing – by Alex Bealer

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Official Description: With more than 500 illustrations, this book is perfect for craftsmen who want to set up a blacksmith shop, and for lovers of history and craft alike. This book describes and illustrates the equipment and techniques developed in more than six thousand years of working iron by hand. Indeed, this unique book covers every aspect of a fascinating and little-known art, the fundamental craft on which the civilization of the Iron Age was built.

Article: Anvil height and how to get it right

This book is a really great read and is simple to follow. The illustrations are awesome and you can learn a lot in a very short period of time. It’s one of the least expensive blacksmithing books you’ll find anywhere and it’s one of the best.


3. A Blacksmithing Primer – by Randy McDaniel

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This was my very first blacksmithing book and it came highly recommended to me by a legitimate master blacksmith. This book helped me learn the things needed to produce my greatly successful video, Essentials of Blacksmithing.

Official Description: Virtually every task beginning and intermediate blacksmiths must master is presented in this excellent book. Over 400 detailed drawings help increase comprehension levels. This is a reference manual that will be found lying open on the workbench more often than found on the bookshelf and is highly recommended to anyone swinging a hammer to shape hot metal. This is an excellent introduction to this glorious craft and an excellent resource for advancing your knowledge, skills, and vision for blacksmithing.


4. Blacksmithing: Hot Techniques & Striking Projects – by Jose A. Ares

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This book is awesome! It has a really cool take on the craft of blacksmithing and I wish that I had purchased it sooner. Definitely worth having in your blacksmithing library.

Official Description: These amazing techniques and projects offer a modern twist on a traditional art—and they’ll transform your image of the “blacksmith” forever. More and more people are discovering the creative pleasure of going into an iron studio, applying high heat to steel, and hammering or pressing the metal into interesting shapes. While often admired, the process can intimidate novices…but this beautifully photographed book will change that. It provides a superb overview of the fundamentals, including various forms of steel, equipment, and safety precautions. Learn how to create a right-angle bend; form a point, flat end, spiral, and curl; and cut metal using hand tools and a plasma torch. Then follow along, step by step, to create beginner-friendly projects, including a simple trivet, ornamental door handle, wall sconce, and even a metal railing.

5. The Complete Modern Blacksmith – by Alexander Weygers

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The newest book in my collection is really cool and gives some really solid insight into the art of blacksmithing. I really enjoy the areas about crafting and recycling old tools.

Official Description: A truly unusual and unique resource, this extremely hands-on book brings together three popular but long-out-of-print classics (THE MODERN BLACKSMITH; THE RECYCLING, USE, AND REPAIR OF TOOLS; and THE MAKING OF TOOLS) essential for anyone interested in the making, repair, maintenance, or arcana of tools. An essential volume in any serious craft person’s library, this book covers setting up a smithy (anvil, forge, hammer, tongs, and all), and manufacturing everything from stone-carving chisels to decorative wall hooks.

There are about a dozen other books out there that I recommend to blacksmiths and those learning the craft, but these are all affordable, easy to understand and really sound instructionals on the basic and intermediate aspects of blacksmithing. Any one of these books will shave years of trial-and-error off of your blacksmith learning experience and I hope you’ll check them out!

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