The Blacksmith's Craft

An Introduction to Smithing for Apprentices and Craftsmen

Fundamentals / Techniques

Hardcover; 104 pages, B&W photos and diagrams
Size 5-3/4 x 8-3/4 inches
REVIEW  by Jock Dempsey

This is the first of three in a series covering practical blacksmithing and decorative ironwork. The series includes The Blacksmith's Craft, Wrought Ironwork and Decorative Ironwork. These books were created by CoSira to provide texts for teaching and preserving basic rural arts and crafts.

This is one of the best basic introductory texts available. It is complete and concise. The book starts with a description of the basic tools, then goes on about how to build a forge fire and heat a piece of steel (using an English style side draft forge). The basics of of forging, welding and heat treating are covered.

An assortment of common projects are used to teach the basic techniques. Step by step photos clearly illustrate each project. The focus of this book is basic village or farm living so the projects include simple items such as blacksmiths tongs, fire tools, chain, hooks and shackle.

Drawing, steps to make a chain split link
Cut of 8" of 5/16 Rd. and mark off a 2" from each end.

At NEAR WELDING heat, draw the ends of the rod to blunt points.

Next using a bottom swage, forge each end to a half round section, as far as the punch mark.
At a BRIGHT RED heat, turn each end to exactly the same radius, so that they will pair up evenly when set together.

Re-heat if necessary, and bend the centre over the bick, leaving the ends matched up but 1/4" apart.

When the split ends are closed together they should be very little thicker than the rest of the link.


The page above is typical of the many project tutorials. Each has a drawing of the part, the blank and the layout. Then there is a series of photo illustrated steps.

Someone once asked us if there was a book that explained the basics one step at a time with clear language and nothing to guess about. This is that book. This would make an excellent companion to the BSA Metalworking Merit Badge book. I highly recommend this book for those teaching themselves or others.

See also: Metals for Engineering Craftsmen

Published by:
* CoSIRA (1952, 1997)
Macmillan Publishing Company, New York (1987)

Distributed in North America by:

Price $30.00 US
ISBN 1869964144
Copyright © 2003 by Jock Dempsey, DEMPSEY'S FORGE
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