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RockyH

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Hello,

I thought I'd post this as a reference point for new bladesmiths. I'm a bit of a book junkie and am always looking for good references. I'm sure I don't have them all (for example no metalurgy textbooks yet) but this should help people find a starting point. Please list your own favourites here and link them to Amazon if you can so we can aquire them easily. :-)

 

Shop and Forge General

Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces, and Kilns by Michael Porter

 

Bladesmithing General

The Wonder of Knifemaking by Wayne Goddard

The $50 Knife Shop by Wayne Goddard

Step By Step Knifemaking by David Boye

Blade's Guide to Making Knives by Joe Kertzman

The Complete Bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas

The Pattern Welded Blade by Jim Hrisoulas

 

Japanese Sword Specific

The Samurai Sword: A Handbook by John M. Yumoto

The Japanese Sword: A Comprehensive Guide by Kanzan Sato (translated by Joe Earle)

The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing by Setsuo Takaiwa, Yoshindo Yoshihara, Leon Kapp, and Hiroko Kapp

The Craft of the Japanese Sword by Leon and Hiroko Kapp, and Yoshindo Yoshihara

Lethal Elegance by Joe Earle

 

Keep adding to the list. :-)

 

RH

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Not a book, per se, but a text... and a 'must-read' for anyone interested in the realm of bladesmithing or knifemaking!!

 

 

WARNING!!! This is a direct link to a download of just over 8 megs!!! Dialup beware!!!!

 

 

"Metallurgy Of Steel For Bladesmiths & Others Who Heat Treat & Forge Steel" by John D. Verhoeven

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You might want to add a book on basic blacksmithing to the list. I like "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims. She know her stuff, she teaches it at a college in Illinois and she's cuter that some hairy faced, pot belly dude to boot. She has some good ideas on making some of your own tool as well as forging techniques.

 

Doug Lester

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You might want to add a book on basic blacksmithing to the list. I like "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims. She know her stuff, she teaches it at a college in Illinois and she's cuter that some hairy faced, pot belly dude to boot. She has some good ideas on making some of your own tool as well as forging techniques.

 

Doug Lester

 

I met her last year at Quad State and I believe that she will be running a couple of classes/demos this year. Neat lady.

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One of the things on my "to do" list when I move back to Illinois is to look her up. She lives close to the neck of the wood I grew up in. Half way wouldn't mind moving to the town she buy her steel in.

 

Doug Lester

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For pure inspiration I enjoy looking through my Custom Fixed-Blade knives book by David Darom.

Chris

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Hank Reinhardt's last book (on swords) was a really fun read. Also, according to Hank's wife, he held Jimmy Fikes in almost Godlike awe.

 

It is a fun read, and gives a lot of useful practical info from a guy who saw/held/used more swords than a lot of Dark Age armies.

 

Not academic, full of information, and easy to access.

 

Kevin

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It's always a good idea to hold Jimmy Fikes in godlike awe, especially if you ever find yourself lucky enough to be in his presence. ;)

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It's always a good idea to hold Jimmy Fikes in godlike awe, especially if you ever find yourself lucky enough to be in his presence. ;)

All I know of him I got from Don....from the stories..he was a unique person.

 

 

There area host of books in other than English as well......some great Norge,Swedish and German. If your lucky the pictures are in English.

 

Amazon.de site

http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?__mk_de_DE=%C5M%C5Z%D5%D1&url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=messer&x=17&y=13

 

Ric

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Guest stuartthesmith

Blacksmithing is the mother craft to bladesmithing. As a professional blacksmith, who forges tools for a living, may I forward the hypothesis that skills learned in blacksmithing can only improve your bladesmithing skills! Before I served my five-year apprenticeship, I used to like a book by an artist named alexander weygers, who wrote a trilogy entitled "the complete blacksmith" which has a plethora of information on blacksmithing skills. These skills can be aptly applied to bladesmithing. Because of my formal training, when I have spare time, I derive pleasure forging bowie knives out of high carbon steel. Blacksmithing skills enable efficient knife forging using a minimum of heats and mistakes.

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http://www.foxfire.org/foxfire5.aspx

This is a link to FOXFIRE 5.

I read this, perfect for beginners like me, tries to effectively teach the basics, from making nails, to flintlock guns.

I recommend this to anyone who is getting into the art like myself.

 

Almost forgot to add. They go over how to smelt iron ore, how to build a forge, how to make your basic forge tools, etc.

 

Heres a link to a 32mb PDF download

http://www.mediafire.com/?118qk25wvgr38w4

Edited by Eric Leonard

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Bladesmithing with Murray Carter is a good book I got it for Christmas, some interesting Japanese info in there. Spirit Of The Sword while not so much bladesmithing it is an interesting read, It does have a chapter on hamons by Mr Fogg.

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Besides many of the books already listed... here are three that I thoroughly enjoyed (and keep going back to):

 

The Bowie Knife: Unsheathing an American Legend - Norm Flayderman

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bowie-Knife-Unsheathing-American/dp/193146412X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331743782&sr=1-2

 

Swords of the Viking Age - Ian Peirce, Ewart Oakeshott

available here at Don's bookstore: http://www.dfoggknives.com/bookstore.htm

 

and yah - you'd think I'd had enough coaching from my elders (now mostly deceased), other makers, and other books - but I still go back occasionally and crack open:

The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening - John Juranitch

http://www.amazon.com/The-Razor-Edge-Book-Sharpening/dp/096660590X/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331743628&sr=1-5

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Here are the books I have on hand

Please note that not ALL of these books are required for Bladesmithing, just get the ones that interest you the most. They are in order by recommendation and availability, plus on the most up to date and useful information. I also went out of my way to search – some times for years- on old information and books not listed anywhere else. I’m very proud of my collection and I hope once I have the time to process it all that I will have a very successful product, plus not just knowledge, but a professional understanding of Bladesmithing from a scientific, engineering, and user point of view. These are my personal goals and please use this list to your own advantage plus my advice I have provided for these books so that you find what you are looking for in your own goals.

Please note that some books were purchased for historical value and as reference for comparing of knowledge and are listed here because no one else has.

Notes: more than 90% of ALL these books have been bought on either

Abe books

Amazon

Or

Ebay

And USED to save money, and I suggest the same methods for searching for your own copy

Any book before 1923 can either be found as a free PDF online, OR on Google books

So don’t pay someone on ebay for a disc of a book from the 1800s when its probably free to download online (unless they got a pretty neat collection that would take you hours to find on your own)

If there is a comment on the book, I probably recommend it for something.

If not, I haven’t opened up the book yet and cannot honestly recommend it.

Oh yeah, first of all go online and print yourself off a Tempil color chart

http://www.tempil.com/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=Basic_Guide_to_Ferrous_2010.pdf

You will need it should you plan on doing your own tempering. Don’t worry about understanding it the first time you see it, just know that those colors are important if you plan on heat treating Ferrous metal.

Also check out here: http://www.tempil.com/resources/library/

The complete Bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas - my first book after stumbling across it online one night.... lots, and lots of useful stuff, that’s why I got his second book the master bladesmith, this one is too general... like a touch up, missing steps between a and B... and im like... ok, you’re going to show How you made the sword? still a very nice book though, little discouraging once you see his set up though. The first few pages are of all his equipment, and I immediately became discouraged.

 

Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop, Revised – in my opinion a very neat book, probably if you ever needed just ONE, get this one. This guy goes over how to make knives in different ways, not something you’ll find in any other how to knife book, he also has a section on how to select suitable scrap metal to use for it. However he clearly states in his second book that buying stock steel supersedes scrap for since you will save twice as much time (dealing with random scrap over the same shapes and sizes every time, and searching time over orders) then again if you can find suitable scrap for free, not stealing and no one cares, why not? He also says that people spend most of their time on what interest them the most. And this is true about knife making, your true colors will shine. If you, Want to do this, I highly recommend this book, and please take my advice when I say, don’t do what I did when I got this book and go to home depot for materials, plus searching online for an anvil… instead do what a Japanese smith does, or make a file knife to decide if you like it and want to get into making it, trust me, much cheaper.

 

The Wonder Of Knife Making by Wayne Goddard - reads like a story just like his first book, because his books, both are just articles taken from blade magazine.... which also ed fowler is currently, or was writing for as well. flipping though, one thing with this book is a lot the pictures and things he covers are the Same as his other book Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop, Revised, but its worth while: there’s the salt water etching instead of using acid, material he recommends for pins! Welding rods, that won't rust: nickel-alloy and bronze brazing rod and stainless steel tig welding rod... and he uses a 30 degree 'recess' for riveting with pin stock, I got what’s called a carbide bit 'Christmas tree' tip at the local bar's lumber cuz i couldn't find anybody that knew what a 30 degree recess was... maybe its a machinist tool bit, and there’s a little picture here but mine looks just like it. he says 5160 steel for sword making, and while I’m at it, ed fowler says to use Quality 5160 or 52100E and to triple quench it to get 1,000 cuts... oh yeah, almost forgot about this, mustard... as a blade finish! 'when properly done a mustard finish gives a hard oxide layer of protection to a carbon or carbon alloy blade (not stainless). if u ever get this book:

pg 35 sword steel 'take a beating' 5160

pg 68 pins

pg 59 mustard finish

pg 73 salt water etching and Write that on the inside of the cover cuz

it’s not in the table of contents.

 

The Master Blade Smith - Jim Hrisoulas - excellent book – shows you how to make rings for your sheath rigs or you could use it for chain mail, and probably the fastest way to do it. Ingenious! Heat up round stock of what you want your rings to be and bend around a clamped round stock of what you want your inside diameter of the rings to be! Also shows you how to mount stones, nicely, and what kinds of stones would be suitable for sword or dagger mounting. I highly recommend this book!

 

Knife Talk I & Knife Talk II By Ed Fowler – Ed Fowler claims to get one Thousand cuts out of his blades! And I want to know why. In my opinion, this man has spent his LIFE experimenting with tempers, quenching, and steel types, and you don’t have to. Please note that I have not found how he does this yet, and if they just so happen to NOT tell how he did all of this- I’m sorry… they are, like wayne goddards and bill bagwells books only a collection of magazine articles… I’m not going to try and collect all those magazines. A Neat little tid bit, can’t remember which book it’s in but it has a Ripley’s believe it or not of an old smith cutting though a cars drive axel with his knife! The only other people and knives I know of that can do this is Japanese style kabana’s when made properly, and Bob Kramer.

The Pattern Welded Blade - Jim Hrisoulas - this book shows you how to make Damascus swords… I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the same goals

The Wire Damascus Hunting Knife (DVD) - Wayne Goddard

Forging Damascus, How to Create Pattern Welded Blades, Jim Hrisoulas, Video demonstration of making a pattern welded "Damascus" blade.

*If my research on Amazon serves me correctly these two should be the most comprehensive books on how to make Japanese type swords

The Craft of the Japanese Sword by Leon Kapp (Jun 15, 1987)

 

The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing by Setsuo Takaiwa, Yoshindo Yoshihara, Leon Kapp and Hiroko Kapp (Apr 21, 2006)

 

I also HIGHLY recommend

Bladesmithing with Murray Carter: Modern Application of Traditional Techniques by Murray Carter (Oct 20, 2011)

This book, I’d say other than Wayne Goddards, would be number 1.

The only reason the 50 dollar knife shop by wayne goddard gets number 1 is because he goes over how to make knives, ANY WAY YOU WANT TO. Murray Carter shows you what should be the proper way… how to make a Good, Strong knife, and he has some Neat knives too, I like them but don’t have 300 dollars for knives anymore. He goes over grain structure and why a knife should be forged too… his book is new, he’s out of Oregon and his book shows you how to make, Nice, Nice knives, well worth the 20 dollars, for a NEW copy. Go to his website and browse around a little and see if you want to make knives like him or like his style – www.cartercutlery.com

I also recommend anyone who wants to make knives watch this

http://www.wimp.com/incredibleknives/

Good guy, Bob Kramer… out of Olympia, Wa. If you want one of his knives and can afford it, order from him! I sent him an email a few days ago asking a Bunch of questions, hope he gets back to me! :@ Neat video, and a very lucky guy to get to do that and have all that equipment for his work, and be that famous and be on CBS… his Knives cut though Bolts! I Mean come ON! Awesome!

NOTE: if you, EVER put a knife in a vice to do a Flex test, WEAR A FACE SHIELD AND SAFETY GOGGLES!

Because more than likely the one time you don’t, it will snap and a piece of it will go in your eye! Think about it, it will happen, to someone! Practice good shop safety around other people so they when learning don’t pick up your bad habits, become carless and some day someone gets hurt.

L'Art Du Coutelier - Jean Jacques Perret of Paris 1771

http://www.knife-expert.com/perr-con.txt

The book is older than the united states, but all in all, has more information in it than any other knife making book to date, translations are available here:

http://www.knife-expert.com/links.htm#perret

other than that if anyone is interested in pdf copies in french, just ask, I have them.

 

Gene Chapman publishes a series of small books, and I highly recommend his books to anyone interested in very simple/primitive – But Neat – knives. I suggest getting one or two of what your most interested in doing from him and start with those.

http://www.oakandiron.com/

The Handcrafted Folding Knife - by Mark K. Malmros (Mar 1996) - 74$ currently rare and expensive. don't buy for 70$, I got mine for 35... Note: read the reviews on amazon, he will show you how to etch a blade with a 9V battery and a lemon... if anyone is interested ask and I will post how I did it. Not copy and pasting current copyright material here.

How to Make Folding Knives by Ron Lake - also rare and expensive at $84... this I paid 45 for by waiting for years... he shows you how to make folding knives with a mill though, and his went for 5K ea.

The Art of Black Smithing by Alex W. Bealer – awesome book, just recently starting diving into, note, its 10 dollars! And if you read the back index, ahem, swords, bullets, tongs… that’s more than a lot of books talk about, and I mean A LOT. Few knife making books tell you how to make your own tools for your craft- that’s more of a blacksmithing thing, now, I want to be completely honest, this book is worth 10 dollars, but there is not enough pictures in it for a beginner smith to be able to pick it up and craft his own Perfect tongs his first attempt… it takes time and practice, I also recommend you youtube how other people make tongs to see several different ways, you don’t HAVE to do it his way, as long as its done right, they’re just tongs, they just need to work and be comfortable.

Last but not least:

Bowies, Big Knives, And The Best Of Battle Blades [Paperback] by Bill Bagwell

To cut to the chase: 'in fact a skilled knife maker can vary the degree of hardness in different parts of a blade to achieve a hard, keen edge, a tough point, a back that is resilient, and a tang that possesses enough ductility to make it all but unbreakable. In general terms the harder a piece of steel is the more brittle it becomes. The softer the steel the more ductile it tends to be.' The reason I like his book is because I love his knives, their shape and their sheaths and he has a lot more pictures of them in his book. Google Bill Bagwell Hells belle bowie if you like a long slender blade profile – try logical different word combos for better results

http://cf.mp-cdn.net/75/08/a737f69ef34a652989aaeb6dd19e.jpg

Tuck it in ur belt and go... *NOTE: know your state laws before carrying any blade, anywhere!* not trying to get anyone arrested here.

He also gives knowledgeable advice about a fighting knife, a utility blade, and in between. In his opinion, there shouldn’t be an in between…

for a fighter: 9 to 10 inches

for a utility blade: 4 1/2" to 4 3/4"

'notice that no mention has been made of knives with blades between 6 and 8 1/2"... just don't get the job done... too small and light to be an effective combat or survival blade and too large and unwieldy to be a good handy size in camp' no need to elaborate, hes like... bill bagwell, ya know? He trained SF… wrote for SOF magazine, and has his own book published plus he is one of the 3 original founding members of the ABS. Talked to him once on the phone, nice guy. Love his knives, the reason I got the book is cuz I looked at his blade and said, that’s what I want my knives to look like… and until then I had not found whom I wanted to emulate as a maker… please note I’m not going to copy him.

Below is the REST of the books I got, and I kept it simple to knife and blacksmithing books, so if you want to know what 2 years of research has yielded, here it is; nowhere near done reading yet of course. oh, and if you have any trouble finding Any of these, just ask, I have all of them and can get you the author, pub date, isbn, ect. Obviously, not everything in this list is needed... remember Wayne Goddards way...

 

Atmospheric forge & heat treat oven by william t goodman & robert w holmes - forge plans for a really nice looking forge-but expensive and unnecessary

 

ABC's of Leatherwork - not essential... most knife books show you how to do most of this, what you need to know... in fact, I was like... oh... so that’s how you do it? – rhetoric

The Skills of a Blacksmith, Volume I: Mastering the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing by Mark Aspery (2006) - I paid 60 apiece... new, cuz i couldn't find them for less than 54 used.

 

The Skills of a Blacksmith: v.2: Mastering the Fundamentals of Leaf-work by Mark Aspery (May 30, 2009)

- I recommend only the first one unless you want to know how to make leaves.

ASM Engineered Materials Reference Book/ ASM Metals Reference Book

- you only need one, and should only need One book of alloys and steels to look up in, ever... I choose this one cuz it was used and cheaper, but outdated. all current ASM up to date publications seemed to be 80 to 120 dollars, and I don't care about the newest of materials out there.

The Metallography and Heat Treatment/ Principles of Heat Treatment/ Heat Treatment of Steel/ Heat Treaters Guide - you should only need one book on heat treatment since every knife making book I have picked up already shows you how to...

How to Make Your Own Knives

Hand Forged Knife: An Introduction to the Working of Modern Tool Steels by Karl Schroen (Jun 1985)

 

Making Knives and Tools : 2nd edition

Practical Blacksmithing, Part One (Volumes 1 and 2) by M. T. Richardson (Mar 1, 1998)

 

Practical Blacksmithing, Part Two (Volumes 3 and 4) by M. T. Richardson (Mar 1, 1998)

 

Make the Knife You Carry

How to Forge Weld on Black Smith Anvil - for those who have tried and failed

Metallographic Etching

100 Legendary Knives – I use this for its pictures  cheaper than buyin the knives

Knife Making of Old San Francisco – same thing, I like the pictures

New Edge of The Anvil – I like this book, haven’t gone though cover to cover, but it shows you how do all sorts of cool stuff, you can quite literally make ANYTHING from a forge and anvil. – recommended from anvilfire.com… somewhere… http://www.anvilfire.com/bookrev/

Machinary's Handbook 11th edition - should have section on forging. also recommended by anvilfire.com

How Knives are Made

Knife Craft

Modern Handmade Knives

Gun Digest: Book of Knife Making

European Swords – I’m using this to try and unlock the answers to personal questions – more of a personal aspiration to find out how exactly Viking and medieval swords are made

Backyard Blacksmith

Knife Craft: SID

A Guide to Handmade Knives

The Custom Knife II

Sharpening and Knife Making

Practical Blacksmithing

The Practical Book of Knives

Knife: Fact Opinion And Poetry

Note – Search Ebay for Metallurgy, and only buy the book if you can read the table of contents, for example I recommend:

Modern Metallurgy for Engineers by Frank T. Sisco Second Edition 1948

This was my first book on metallurgy, and I foolishly thought that all others would have more information than this one. I got lucky, this book is less than 5 dollars! And answers, EVERY question I have ever had, about metal. I have it, and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to approach this from a scientific point of view. Check this out:

I recommend this book for 3 reasons

Content: carburizing, annealing, normalizing and spheroidizing, the operations of quenching and tempering, quenching mediums, internal stresses, austempering, martempering, patenting, the nitriding process, advantages and disadvantages of nitriding, flame hardening and induction hardening * I could go on for hours but that information alone is worth more than its weight in gold.

Suggested Further Reading: at the end of this book is a list of other books, that if you wanted to be an expert in this field, you could obtain and read, these books brand new and updated go for hundreds of dollars each, but the old copies, outdate are discarded and often sold off cheaply, some of them, many of them contain tons of interesting information to our field of craft…

The third reason I recommend this book, it has single handedly answered every question I have had about metal and metallurgy.

LASTLY: almost all of my old knife books I have (from the 80’s and back) I just went to abe books and typed in Knife, or knives, or something like that, then when I found one that looked like it was what I was looking for I looked it up on amazon and half the time they had an image there that confirmed it was a how to book. Example, Knifecraft by sidney latham

http://www.amazon.com/Knifecraft-Comprehensive-Step-By-Step-Guide-Knifemaking/dp/0811709272/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333514737&sr=1-1

Be forewarned, knifecraft by SID latham is the same book… so don’t wind up with two copies like I did.

But that’s just my two cents for what its worth.

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I know this is an old thread, but Nick h.'s post about Ed Fowler's books is true. I have his second book, and although a collection of articles, was very helpful to me when I was just starting out. I purposely broke one of my knifes to test my heat treatment. When it didn't go 90 deg I called Ed and asked if he might know why. He talked to a kid who didn't stop asking questions for 30 min straight. I'll never forget it and always try to pass on the kindness and help he showed me that night. Not to mention I was in college and broke and when asked if I wanted a set of his dvd's (which are excellent also I think) I replied thanks but couldn't get them yet due to funds. He sent them for free to me anyways and I have never forgot that. Everybody has different things they look for when making a blade, but the blade community can sure make a Newbie feel like family.

Weapon, a visual history of arms and armor by covent garden books is a really helpful book also on the history of blades.

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I know this is an old thread, but Nick h.'s post about Ed Fowler's books is true. I have his second book, and although a collection of articles, was very helpful to me when I was just starting out. I purposely broke one of my knifes to test my heat treatment. When it didn't go 90 deg I called Ed and asked if he might know why. He talked to a kid who didn't stop asking questions for 30 min straight. I'll never forget it and always try to pass on the kindness and help he showed me that night. Not to mention I was in college and broke and when asked if I wanted a set of his dvd's (which are excellent also I think) I replied thanks but couldn't get them yet due to funds. He sent them for free to me anyways and I have never forgot that. Everybody has different things they look for when making a blade, but the blade community can sure make a Newbie feel like family.

Weapon, a visual history of arms and armor by covent garden books is a really helpful book also on the history of blades.

 

Man, that's a great story. Thanks for sharing it. Awesome. Just awesome.

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I'm glad you like it, I hope it can help somebody someday. This forum's generosity is much the same way. So much information that is freely given. Makes a humble smith feel blessed. :)

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