Blacksmith's Manual Illustrated

Here's a review for an excellent book that all blacksmiths should own. It's called, "The Blacksmiths Manual Illustrated" by J.W. Lillco.

This is a hardbound book that was first published in 1930 and has been re-printed 7 times, since then. This book is published in the UK by the Rural Development Commission (RDC).

This is such an important book, in my opinion, that anyone who uses a power hammer, fly press or treadle hammer should own it. In fact, even if you don't own anything more than a hammer and an anvil, you can profit from this book.

"Blacksmith's Manual Illustrated" does three things that all blacksmiths need to know. First is how to commence a new job and how to best proceed with it. Mr. Lillco provides many examples of forgings that are industrial in nature, but the techniques and processes carry over to more artistic forms and metal he moves is exactly like the metal you move for any complex forging.

Secondly, the book is illustrated with clear line drawings that show the steps taken to commence a forging process and follows up with the final operations to complete the forging. He shows many tools designed for a steam hammer and yet can be used by a fly press or treadle hammer, side set tools, fullers, calipers, swages of various types, cutters, bolster swages, radius tools, spring swages, tapered tools, as well as punch and die.

Lillico also demonstrates how to make a small anvil that will fit in your anvil's hardy hole. How to forge tongs, snappers and cutters, handles for holding large stock, forge welding & different scarfs.

He also gets into how to make specific forgings for things like:

  • Box Spanner Wrenches
  • A variety of hinges
  • Axes with bosses on one side
  • Large hooks
  • The use of leveling blocks (acorn tables)
  • Dies and stamps
  • Hardening and tempering methods

Some of the forgings are not for the everyday blacksmith shop. Especially when he gets into making locomotive parts, but the knowledge of how to move the metal and create thee forms can all be used to any shop's advantage.

Thirdly, Lillico shows you how to make rapid stock calculations to avoid wasted steel. He includes simple formulas that eliminate the worry of wondering if you cut too much stock for a particular job or not enough.

As Mr. Lillico says in the introduction his goals are: "I have endeavored to show by illustrations and text matter, how to obtain the length of material for a job, the tools required, and the operations necessary to complete the job in the most expeditious manner." He succeeds in his goal in this indispensable book.

This book is well worth the price and could pay for itself just by the stock savings achieved when using his calculations. You will enjoy and profit from this wonderful book.


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