There are lots of books available on knifemaking, blacksmithing and related arts. It is hard to tell which ones are worth the money. Many repeat information found in others and are a read once and forget kind of book.
We have selected books we own in the Forge library that we come back to again and again because of the richness of the content. Worth a place in any knifemaker's shelves. We haven't sorted the list in any particular order. All are a good read that we are sure you will learn something from.
If you would like to buy any of the books, there are links below to Amazon. These are affiliate links, for which we get a small commission if you buy trough the link. No pressure to do so, you can find them elsewhere, but the prices are pretty good here.
$50 Knife Shop Revised - Wayne Goddard
This has a wealth of hacks and techniques designed for the budget conscious. From a one brick forge to the good news grinder Goddard shows you don't need a lot of money to start off making knives. He covers reusing/recycling steel, forging, stock removal, backyard heat treatments, DIY grinders and even Damascus steel in 160 pages with colour photos. The language is easy to read and he makes complex topics easy to understange. Lots of jigs and ideas covering a range of aspects of knifemaking, this is a great resource for those starting our, expecially younger makers with limited budgets.
I would have loved this book as a young teenager.
Knife Engineering Steel Heat Treating and Geometry - Dr Larrin Thomas
This is the book to get to understand steels, heat treatments and knife geometry and ithe effect on knife performance. Thomas has clear diagrams and good explanations of some tricky concepts that make it easier to understand. The book is divided into 4 main sections plus references - Steel and Knife Properties, Knife Steels and their Metallurgy, Processing and Heat Treating Steel and Knifemaking. He aslo covers heat treatment recipes for many of the modern steels used.
Great book for dispelling knifemaking myths on what is seen as the dark art of heat treatment. It is an important read for anyone wanting to improve the performance of their knives.
Bladesmithing wiith Murray Carter
Murray is an ABS Mastersmith that has spen 18 years living and knifemaking in Japan. This book looks at traditional Japanese knifemaking techniques through a modern lense. There are lots of details coloured photographs showing different ideas on forging blades, laminating steels and forge welding, straightening blades, texturing steel, heat treaing with clay and handling. The section on straightening was a game changer in fixing blade warpages after heat treatment.
Good for those interested in Japanese style blades both kitchen and outdoor.
Knifemaking with Bob Loveless - Durwood Hollis
Bob Loveless is one of the founding fathers of modern knifemaking. His instantly recognisable full tang style is timeless and has inspired generations of makers. This book covers the making of his knives with detailed photos of the stages as well as extensive photo's of Loveless' knives from the John Denton collection. It also covers sheath making, sharpening and blade care.
You always learn alot from studing the classics, it a reason they never go out of style.
Blade's Guide to Making Knives - Joe Kertzman
This is a bit different to the others because it has three different editions. It's a selection of how to articles from Blade Magazine contributers, all talented knifemakers at the top of their game. Topics like Mosaic Damascus, grinding, folding knives, thomahawks, using a pantograph, art knives step by steps, lost wax casting, using CAD software, making a using knife and more are covered with great step by step pictures. Sometimes just seeing a picture unlocks a whole new way of thinking in knifemaking.
Each edition is worth a good read for inspiration on how to take your knifemaking up a notch.
The Backyard Blacksmith - Lorelei Sims
Lorelei spent a lot of time researching what other blacksmithing books have done before writing her book. It really shows. It is one of the best starting out books for a blacksmith I have read. The book covers forge setup, tooling, prelimary skills, a range of forging techniques, making your own tools and assemblage techniques. Lots of clean diagrams and picture that explain the techniques. She finishes with a great series of 16 interesting projects with step by step pictures.
If there is one book to give a beginning blacksmith this is it. She was a great inspiration for my daughter.
Hydraulic Forging Press for the Blacksmith - Randy McDaniel
If you are thinking about buying or making a Hydraulic Forging press this is an essential text book. McDaniel covers Design and Construction, Safety, Maintenence and Tooling. His techniques were a real eye opener on decorative blacksmithing and how flexible a press can be in your shop. Stamping, texturing, inlays, forming, slumping, welding, tearing in such imaginative projects. I also enjoyed the gallery of different presses people have made, showing there are lots of different ways you can make a press.
The Skills of Blacksmith Vol 1 & 2 - Mark Aspery
This is an comprehensive step by step book in the fundamantal skills of blacksmithing. Part of a three part series each with over 120 hours of lessons with clear photographs showing teachniques. Mark is an excellent teacher who runs his own blacksmithing school. Volume 1 focus' on the basic skills and ttols needed in Bloacksmithing. Volume 2 looks at the basics of leafwork, covering the making of organic shapes and the how to make tools you will need.
Damascus Steel - Theory and Practice Gunther Lobach
This is an excellent comprehensive text demystifing the process of making Damascus steel. The diagrams on how different patterns are made are very helpful in showing what the process do. The practice side of the book shows the step by step processes, as well as trouble shooting, equipment needed and steel selection. As a bonus there is a reference poster covering an overview of practical tips.
This is one of only a few books comprehensively covering of the topic for those who want to make pretty patterns in steel.
Damascus Forging Techniques - Emilio Albericci, Flavio Galizzi and Luca Pizzi
This detailed book, in English and Italian, covers Damascus steel from a European perspective with many examples from historical pieces. It covers the history and making processes as well a very good section on Mosaic Damascus. There are some spectacular examples of Damascus Sculpture at the end of the book.
A more in depth look at the more artistic side of Damascus steel making and use.
Machine Shop Trade Secrets - James Harvey
With a focus on Manufacturing and repeatability, this is the book for those who hadn't had time for a fitter and turner's apprenticeship. Harvey shows how to work faster, better and learn heaps of tips from hos extensive experience. How to sharpen different cutters, hold down techniques, using a rotary table, making things square, introduction to CNC and so much more.
Essential for those using a Mill or a Lathe to get more out of your machine.
Metalworking Doing it Better - Tom Lipton
This book boasts ober 1000 full-colour photos in it's 340 pages covering topics on Shop setup, Mill, Lathe, CNC Mill, welding, sheet metal work, flame straightening, abrasives and miscellaneous tricks. Tom's got more than 47 years in the metalworking trade and it shows. This is a revided and expanded version of his earlier book Metwalworking Sink or Swim.
There is so much in this one it can't be read in one go, you just keep coming back to it again and again.