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Book Reviews by Chris Holt


Expose’ of Repousse’ for the Beginning Blacksmith, Heath, Robert M., Valleyview Forge, Canton, MS, 1999, Softcover, 62pp.


If you took time to read this book, you would have an excellent understanding on what is repousse’ and how to go about putting it into practice for yourself. A “first project” is a simplified belt buckle, which makes sense.  It is something that can be understood, not too big but, has purpose.  The author seems to understand a beginner learning about this metal technique and helps them take the appropriate steps to improve with each suggested project by adding complexity and tooling.  He even gives a list of working vocabulary that will aid the beginner to understand the process.  For those of you that do not know exactly what pitch is, there is a complete description of pitch, how to use it, type to purchase, and why.  This publication is very complete on the subject.  If you are interested in learning about rep.ousse’, I would highly recommend it for the beginner as well as the somewhat experienced artist as a reference book.


Tools, Rare and Ingenious, Nagyszalanczy, Sandor, The Taunton Press, Newton, CT, 2004. Hardcover, 210 pp.


You just might be cleaning out those old tool boxes under your workbench after looking through Tools! These rare and beautiful tools are inspiring and many are one of a kind.  There are individuals that prefer to make tools rather than a decorative blacksmith items, and this is where the two can combine.  A “tool” can be a work of art and so special, it is in its own category of useful and beautiful. If you love to purchase tools, are on a hunt at flea markets and garage sales, this book may be a delightful read for you.  No guarantee you will find a tool quite as special that avail themselves on these many pages but, you never know!


Wrought Iron, Kuhn, Fritz, Blue Moon Press, Huntingdon, PA, 2010. Hardcover, 120 pp.


This publication was initiated and designed by our past good friend, Judy Berger of Blue Moon Press.  For those of you that knew Judy, you know her love of blacksmithing and this book represents fine examples of work that Fritz Kuhn believes to be important. Fritz says, “Good ironwork of the past can provide us with useful suggestions and food for thought.” This book will provide you with many ideas from the past to include in your present day work.  There are unique connections such as the leaf and tendril on page 39. Bars or pickets are treated in unique manners which change their appearance so that each become a special part of a railing.  It is a book you can enjoy through photographs.  There is no need for much description, the photos tell you all you need to know about creativity and excellent craftsmanship. 

Armor, from Ancient to Modern Times, Klucina, Petr, Solovart Publishing Ltd., 1997. Hardcover, 133 pp.

For those of you interested in armor and medieval times, this publication would be an excellent overview of wearable armor.  It is hard to believe this type of protection was popular for as long as it was.  There were many adaptations, changes, and additions through the centuries.  The skilled individuals that made the sets of armor were among the most well paid individuals and their work was coveted. The sheer weight of the protective gear makes the reader wonder, just how difficult it must have been to move efficiently. In order to understand the complete design of the articles, illustrations are shown to give the reader a more accurate view of the parts. Italy was a leader armorer center and many countries imported their war wear.  Could this be a the beginnings of the Italian fashion industry we know today?


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