9 Best Bladesmithing Books For Beginners & Experts (Reviews)


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List of the Best Bladesmithing Books for Beginners & Experts (Top 9 Picks)

Although bladesmithing is something better improved through practice, books can still help provide both new skills and knowledge.

Bladesmithing is known to be a very hands-on trade. It is a craft that is best learned by personal experience and continual practice at a forge. Nevertheless, books can be great reference points for bladesmiths who are just starting out in the trade as well as bladesmiths who consider themselves in the intermediate to advanced bladesmith category.

Despite bladesmithing being a rare craft in the modern-day, there are many bladesmithing books available for bladesmiths of all skill levels that propose new and challenging projects to elevate their practice. Some books are geared towards bladesmith of a particular skill level, and others are aimed at those who have a deeper understanding of the trade and common techniques.

There are general books about bladesmithing and books specific to knifemaking and swordmaking, which are typically more specialized. Bladesmiths who are interested in finishing the whole part of knife of sword, not just the blade, could find the specialized books a little more appealing.

The following list provides detailed insights about popular bladesmithing books that could help you pick out the books that best suit you, your skill level, and your particular bladesmithing interests.


1) Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection

The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection
  • Hrisoulas, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 190 Pages - 12/20/2017 (Publication Date) - Redd Ink Press (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner-Advanced Bladesmiths

Complete Bladesmith is an excellent bladesmithing book that thoroughly describes the bladesmithing process. Whether you are a beginner or advanced bladesmith, you will be able to find something in this book that fits your needs. The author, Jim Hrisoulas, does a great job of explaining the tools and skills needed to perfect your bladesmithing practice.

This book also serves as a very useful reference book for advanced bladesmith who are interested in refining their skills or simply need a quick guide to complete future projects. I particularly like the in-depth descriptions of how to choose a metal for bladesmithing and how to properly forge a blade. The pictures included in the book are a wonderful supplement to the written descriptions of each step.

Although this book houses a wealth of bladesmithing information that is effective in the modern-day, it is important to note that it was released in 1987, so the context can seem a bit outdated in some sections. This book is widely available and can be easily purchased.

Pros Cons
  • Great for bladesmiths of all skill levels
  • Explains how to set up your own forge
  • Good reference book
  • Covers the process of bladesmithing in detail
  • Pictures provide good supplemental information
  • Some of the context is slightly outdated

 


2) Master Bladesmith: Advanced Studies in Steel

The Master Bladesmith: Advanced Studies in Steel
  • Hrisoulas, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 298 Pages - 12/20/2017 (Publication Date) - Redd Ink Press (Publisher)

Recommended for: Intermediate-Advanced Bladesmiths

Master Bladesmith is yet another great book by Jim Hrsoulas which dives into the intricacies and science of bladesmithing. This book was published in 1991 and covers more detailed aspects of bladesmithing than the book we previously discussed. Since there is a higher level of understanding required to follow along with this book, it is definitely more geared towards intermediate to advanced bladesmith or those who are seriously thinking of entering the trade.

Officially, this book focuses on the steels used in bladesmithing and how they are treated during the forging process. He describes bladesmithing techniques for different shapes and sizes of blades, which can come in handy as a reference point. The pictures and diagrams featured in the book further illustrate these techniques and the finish products. Someone who appreciates the technical aspects of the trade will probably like this book. This book can be easily purchased online.

Pros Cons
  • Great book for intermediate and advanced bladesmiths
  • Pictures and diagrams aid the text
  • Unique techniques for bladesmithing
  • Great reference book
  • Topics may be too in-depth for beginners or casual hobbyists

3) A Modern Guide to Knifemaking: Step-by-Step Instruction for Forging Your Own Knife

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A Modern Guide to Knifemaking: Step-by-step instruction for forging your own knife from expert...
  • Zerra, Laura (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 07/03/2018 (Publication Date) - Quarry Books (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner Bladesmiths & Knifemakers

A Modern Guide to Knifemaking by Laura Zerra is a fantastic read about the details of the knife-making process. The author herself is a popular survivalist who often uses knives in her line of work and provides a unique point of view about knives in her book. She covers a range of topics from designing to making a knife. Her technical discussion of metal types and heating techniques is very detailed and insightful.

This book is a wonderful manual for knifemaking and provides a good foundation for beginner bladesmiths. Intermediate to Advanced bladesmiths might find this book interesting for its perspective and the technical aspects of the author’s descriptions. The writing is effective and concise, perfect for those who would like to gain a quick understanding of how to fashion a knife.

Pros Cons
  • Great book and foundation for beginner bladesmiths
  • Unique perspective from a survivalist who uses specialty knives in her day-to-day life
  • Well-written and easy to understand
  • The pictures provide great supplemental information
  • Not necessarily meant for advanced bladesmiths

4) The Wonder of Knifemaking

The Wonder of Knifemaking
  • Goddard, Wayne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 07/10/2011 (Publication Date) - Krause Publications (Publisher)

Recommended for: Intermediate-Advanced Bladesmiths

Wonder of Knifemaking by Wayne Goddard is a great book for knifemaking. The technical background of the author really shines through his descriptions of the process. This book is considered a compilation of advice about knifemaking that he would give other bladesmiths or students. His knowledge of the craft is imperative to the informative and education style of the book.

The author discusses the process of knifemaking and the types of steel to use in specific bladesmithing projects. Since this book does not necessarily walk through each step of the knifemaking process, it is geared towards skilled bladesmiths who have a basic understanding of the craft.

The organizational style of the book and tidbits of information from the author’s columns in Blade magazine can cause some sections of the book to be a little repetitive. However, this does not detract from the usefulness of the information itself. Advanced bladesmiths who have more experience would be able to digest the author’s suggestions more effectively.

Pros Cons
  • Knowledgeable author
  • Good descriptions
  • Answers are technical and to the point
  • Good knifemaking book for advanced bladesmiths.
  • Some advice can be a little repetitive

5) Knifemaking: A Complete Guide to Crafting Knives, Handles, and Sheaths

Knifemaking: A Complete Guide to Crafting Knives, Handles & Sheaths
  • Bergman, Bo (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 152 Pages - 12/31/1999 (Publication Date) - Lark Books (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner Bladesmiths & Knifemakers

Knifemaking by Bo Bergman is a little different from the other books listed so far. He focuses on the knifemaking process of scandinavian-style knives. Although the blade is a very important part of the process, this author also elaborates on the handle and sheath of a knife, making it a very comprehensive book with a breadth of information for you to start making your own knives.

The author has a very easy to read writing style and he covers 10 different knife-making projects in detail. I find that this book would be very useful for bladesmiths who would like ideas and references about finishing a knife.

Pros Cons
  • Easy-to-read book about knife-making
  • Step-by-step description of 10 knife-making projects
  • Good for beginners
  • Discusses blade selection
  • The focus is not centered on the forging of blade

6) The Art of the Japanese Sword: The Craft of Swordmaking and Its Appreciation

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The Art of the Japanese Sword: The Craft of Swordmaking and its Appreciation
  • Tuttle Publishing
  • Hardcover Book
  • Yoshihara, Yoshindo (Author)

Recommended for: Beginnner-Advanced Bladesmiths

The Art of the Japanese Sword is a highly-rated book about the process of swordmaking and its Japanese roots. The author, Yoshindo Yoshihara, details this artistic process with a revering view of the Japanese sword. He discusses the technical and aesthetic properties that constitute a good Japanese sword. The intricate details about forging a sword at every point in the process are carefully described step-by-step

The master swordmaker who wrote this book does a fantastic job at relaying the information he has learned over the years, down to every small detail. The pictures of the process add another dimension to the wealth of useful information found within this book. I found that the writing is very easy to read and the topic is very interesting to read about, no matter what your technical bladesmithing background is like.

Readers who are samurai enthusiasts or bladesmiths who would like to learn more about the art of Japanese swordmaking would highly benefit from the information covered in this book. Since this book is so highly esteemed by the swordmaking community, it is widely available for purchase.

Pros Cons
  • Author is an extremely knowledgeable Japanese swordmaker
  • Detailed descriptions of every step in the Japanese swordmaking process from the beginning until finishing
  • Pictures are beautifully placed and add meaning to the writing
  • Great reference book for swordmaking enthusiasts
  • Contains a lot of information that a beginner bladesmith may not need

7) Simple Knifemaking: A Beginner’s Guide to Building Knives with Basic Tools

Simple Knifemaking: A Beginner’s Guide To Building Knives With Basic Tools
  • Tomihama, Nicholas (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 170 Pages - 07/05/2016 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Recommended for: Beginner-Intermediate Bladesmiths

Simple Knifemaking by Nicholas Tomihama is a great beginner’s book about knifemaking. The author’s writing style is simple and easy to understand by bladesmiths of all skill levels, providing a solid introduction to knifemaking.

His highly-rated book focuses on the whole process of knifemaking, from start to finish. He not only discusses the forging of the blade, but also the finishing of the handle and sheath. The tools and equipment he uses to complete his projects are not high-end or unattainable. He uses simple tools, as suggested by the title of his book, and simple methods to fashion a knife. The pictures included in the book are a great supplement to each step of the knifemaking process.

Beginner bladesmiths would find this book very helpful and advanced bladesmiths could easily use this a reference book because of the depth and breadth of information found inside.

Pros Cons
  • Great book for beginner bladesmiths
  • Well-written and organized
  • Exceptional content
  • Good reference book
  • Easy to read
  • Is not geared towards expert bladesmiths

8) Bladesmithing with Murray Carter: Modern Application of Traditional Techniques

Bladesmithing with Murray Carter: Modern Application of Traditional Techniques
  • Krause Publications
  • Carter, Murray (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Recommended for: Beginner-Intermediate Bladesmiths

Bladesmithing with Murray Carter is a great book about modern bladesmithing written by a professional bladesmith who specializes in Japanese cutlery. Murray discusses the forging process with laminated blades in this highly rated book that exhibits his own finished products with vibrant pictures.

I find it very interesting that Murry described the details of the artistic Japanese method of bladesmithing, despite the fact that it seems so mysterious and unattainable. He somehow makes the craft seem easier to attain with the right tools and skills while keeping his audience in mind. Even those who are not bladesmiths would find this book to be a great read.

Murry also explains the process of finishing and sharpening of the blade, making it a great asset to those who are trying to learn more about Japanese bladesmithing and knifemaking in general. This book is readily available for purchase online.

Pros Cons
  • Great book for beginner bladesmiths
  • Wonderful pictures
  • Japanese cutlery
  • Skilled author
  • Could use a little more descriptions of the forging process

9) Dedicated to the Study of Swordmaking: A Modern Bladesmith Fashions Swords like a Master

Recommended for: Beginner-Intermediate Bladesmiths

Dedicated to the Study of Swordmaking is a modern swordmaking book by Joe Kertzman & Don Fogg, as stated by its title. This book walks the reader through the step-by-step process of modern swordmaking. It is a very straightforward book and can be followed by bladesmiths of all skill levels.

The color pictures included in the pages clarify the steps of the process as well as elevate the beauty of the trade. Despite being published in recent years, the swords that are fashioned in this book still have the historical allure and rustic look of an older sword. I find it very useful that the author actually discusses the type of tooling and equipment that is needed in order to effectively fashion a sword.

Overall, this book is a great reference for those interested in swordmaking. If you need more insight to some of the topics covered in this book, the author lists some references that may be useful to you if you have any further questions. This book is not widely available, making it slightly harder to purchase it.

Pros Cons
  • Good color pictures included in the book
  • Good for bladesmiths interested in swordmaking
  • Author is very knowledgeable of his craft
  • The techniques could be more descriptive and easy to read
  • Difficult to find online

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