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The Complete Bladesmith Forging Your Way To Perfection
on 17 February 2004
This book falls short of being "complete" and I would certainly contradict the author on a number of matters. It only has B&W photos and the line illustrations are pitiful, nowhere near as good as the Ladybird book "How to do it Metalwork" By Brian Larkman! I defy anyone to make a brake drum forge as illustrated. There are many errors in this book, but perhaps the most laughable to any blacksmith is the authors idea that an anvil can be mounted in a cutdown oil drum filled with sand! Never do this you will kill the anvils rebound. Most blacksmiths try to increase anvil rebound not loose it! A good rebound means less work for you!
If you are not a US resident the metal designations are unwieldy and time consuming to decipher.
The illustrations of belt grinding and grinding wheel use leave much to be desired if you wish to retain your fingers! There is much superfluous text, at least half the book has nothing to do with bladesmithing and there is very very little on sword making. There is little in regard to Tempering and why is there no index? The authors notion that you can pin the bolster of a knife by drilling a 3/32 inch hole transversely across the ricasso is ludicrous, even if you have the precision machine tools for such a delicate task you will ruin the strength of the blade at a crucial area. The part of this book which is really going to raise hackles is the mere 12 pages devoted to Japanese sword making, the author does not know what he is talking about. I recommend he study The Craft of the Japanese Sword" by Leon and Hiroko Kapp and Yoshindo Yoshihara, an excellent insight into the Japanese smithing tecnique and much better that Hrisoulas' book.
I dont think I read a page without contradicting something! If you can get a copy of the enthralling video "Gurka Steel The Making of Khukuri" released by "Gurka House" you will learn more in half an hour about forging a blade than a 100 books like this. For correct forge workshop practice I would recommend Peter Parkinson's The Artist Blacksmith Design and Tecniques, it wont tell you how to make blades but it will illustrate in mostly full colour everything you'll need to get started at the forge,and its cheaper than "The Complete Bladesmith". Failing that visit the fantastic [...] for free and learn from a real American blacksmith.
I have no connection or interest with anything I have recommended.
A reader in Scotland.