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Best knifemaking books?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by ARTIST, Feb 16, 2019.



    Feb 13, 2019
    What book or books would some of you reccomend to be read and used as a reference for making knives. From forging a billet to final finish? Is there a classic reference out there?
  2. Stang Bladeworks

    Stang Bladeworks KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 19, 2018
    I find don robinsons books very informative. It really depends what kind of knife your making. In general i find youtube to be the best reference material. Some guys put alot of effort into making great tutorials.
    DanF likes this.
  3. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    The stickies has a book and video listing.
    I find the best books are ones come from an author has the ability to teach. Just being good at something doesn't mean you can write a book on the subject that will teach a unskilled person the same craft.

    Bo Bergman's book - Knifemaking is the best book on Puuko and Nordic knifemaking. Not everyone needs this book, but everyone should read it sometimes.

    These three books are learning classics:
    David Boye's book Step-by-Step Knifemaking is very good, but it covers a lot of stuff not related to todays knifemaking.
    The $50 knife shop by Wayne Goddard was good when it came out as one of the few books on the subject, but it is dated. It is still a good book for the brand new knifemaker.
    Hrisoulas's books - The Complete Bladesmith and its sequels are great, but not super easy to learn from.

    Ed Fowler has written good info on forging and simple knifemaking in his Knife Talk books, but some folks disagree with his HT and metallurgical theories. Overall, they are good books, though.

    There are many more., and all have some good stuff.
    There are also very good videos available ( not You-Tube) that teach specific skills, as well as basic knifemaking.

    Walter Sorrells series on making swords and Japanese blades are worth every penny.

    I have been working on a series of books for years. Now that the new shop is finally getting started, I hope to finish them over the next couple years.
    Michael.Drinkwine likes this.


    Feb 13, 2019
    Thanks for the replies. I have found some really good YT videos but still want some book reference material as well. Something written down. I often times have a notebook and pen handy to take notes while watching.a vid. I'll google the book titles and see where they can be purchased. Jantz sells books I think? I'm just beginning to dabble with knife making and my background is as an artist therefore the embellishment of the blade and particularly the furniture and handle (by hand work)really interest me as much as making the blade. Thanks again
  5. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Amazon and Ebay are good book places, too. Many of the good knifemaking books are out of print, but good used copies come up all the time. Some regularly cost $75-$100, but if you watch often, you can snag one for $20-30.
  6. Tom Lewis

    Tom Lewis

    Feb 24, 2000
    "How to make knives" by Bob Loveless. In my opinion it is the very best. It has three sections. 1. stock removal 2. forging with Bill Moran 3. making a knife with basically a file.
    argel55 and Gilbert M like this.
  7. ashwinearl


    Nov 9, 2006
    I think the Barney Loveless book is still one of the best. I like it because they talk about both grinder and hand filing. If I knew about the Gough Jig back then, it would have made the hand part go so much better.

    Tim McCreight's book too gave me a lot of inspiration.

    This book looks very good from the few pages I see on the web site, but have not experienced it.

    I like Ekim Knives video series on making a fixed blade. It is a 14 part series "How to Make a Knife"
    Kali4nia likes this.
  8. Ocelot85


    Feb 1, 2012
    I just recently purchased "How to make knives" by Richard W. Barney, and Robert W. Loveless, "The Wonder of Knifemaking" by Wayne Goddard, and "Step by Step Knifemaking: You can do it!" by David Boye. I liked all of the books and think that all of them where worth the purchase, but I would say that "How to make knives" was the best book in my opinion. I really liked the stock removal section with Bob Loveless especially, I just wish it had color pictures.
  9. i4Marc

    i4Marc KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 19, 2011
    Ask a knifemaker within driving distance from you if you can come by for a visit. You will learn more spending a day or afternoon with a maker than by reading a pile of books.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  10. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    When I started maing knives, there were NO knifemaking books. Some blacksmithing books had a project to make a "Blacksmith Knife", but that was all there was.

    Today there are hundreds of knifemaking books, DVDs and other Videos, You-Tube ( not always good info), knifemaking TV shows, and things like seminars and hammer-ins. There are also places like Bladeforums and the many other internet sites for knifemaking.
  11. Augus7us


    Oct 9, 2014
    Jim Hrisoulas and Murray Carter's books were informative on forging, and both very different. Youtube is full of forging videos, some good and a lot bad.

    Best thing you can pay for that will do wonders for your forging is the two week ABS forging class. I have a small library of knifemaking books and that class was worth a 1000 of them.

  12. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 1, 2013
    This!^^^.. It will also help you with the countless questions about what equipment you want?
  13. Jason Fry

    Jason Fry KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 5, 2008
    I agree with i4Marc, a neighbor is better than a book.

    I've got a book in the works myself. Anthology centered around the theme of "Next Level Knifemaking" with chapters by many of the greats in the industry. Hoping to be in print before Christmas.
  14. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    Yes - but

    Read the books, watch the videos, try drawing sketching and making some

    Then when you get face to face time, you get the most out of it
    i4Marc likes this.
  15. Kentucky

    Kentucky KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Basic Member

    Dec 13, 2008
    There’s a few video channels that are good like Walter Sorrels and Nic Wheeler. Those two for instance are solid, great smiths who know what they are talking about..
    You have to be careful with most of them. It seems the majority still think jackhammer bits are S7 and saw blades are L6..
    12345678910 likes this.
  16. Kali4nia


    Aug 12, 2015
    Ive learned most of what I know from Ekim knives, gough customs, Walter Sorrells and Bladeforums. No shortage of youtube tutorials on specific tasks your tackling.
  17. ashwinearl


    Nov 9, 2006
    One thought from my perspective as beginner is to fight the trend of paralysis by analysis. Get all the books, bookmark the blogs, favorite the videos, copy paste the great threads into one note (i have hundreds from 10 years ago saved in my notes)....

    Then pick one approach and follow through from bar of steel to finished sharpened knife and sheath no matter how bad it is.
  18. ten-six


    Mar 11, 2017
    The best option I found is reading forums like this one. The hard part is knowing when a post is bullshit. The same problem exists with knifemaking books but since the author is the only person with a voice it's much harder to know when you're receiving bad information. coughGoopQuenchcough

    Watch these two first videos and apply the knowledge gained to the walkthrough.
    Gough's filing jig
    Wheeler's hand sanding 101
    Apelt's walkthrough for beginners

    I'd recommend you farm out heat treating for your first blade unless you've already invested in equipment beyond what's needed above. It was my biggest hurdle.

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