The Blacksmith's Project Book: Intermediate & Advanced Projects from European Masters

Hardcover, 248 pages, over 900 color photos
The Blacksmith's Project Book: Intermediate & Advanced Projects from European Masters
Price: $ 49.95
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What they're saying about this book:

“This is an exceptional book with many projects that I plan to attempt myself.”  – Barry Myers, On the Anvil Newsletter (The Phillip Simmons Artist Blacksmith Guild).

“I intend to put my review copy of this book in the Indiana Blacksmithing Association library and purchase a copy for myself because there are many fascinating projects in this book that I would like to try. The wide variety of subjects means there is something of interest for everyone.” - Bill Kendrick, The Forge Fire.

“Fills a void in blacksmithing texts available today ... a serious treatment of a large collection of different skills ... priced slightly below what comparable advanced text books are selling for. With the wealth of information contained it is truly a bargain.” – Bob Menard, The New England Blacksmiths Newsletter.

“I’m well pleased with my purchase. The text is clear, and the pictures are excellent. This is a worthwhile book to add to your personal library.” – Rob Fertner, Editor, Newsletter of the Central States Metal Artisans.

"I found this book to be very well done and excitingly refreshing. It is full of ideas that I want to try, some of which I have not seen before. If you are interested in blacksmithing and metal work on just about any level, I highly recommend that you get a copy.”  The Editor, The Saltfork Craftsmen Artist-Blacksmith Association Newsletter

“The Blacksmith's Project Book is an exceptional publication.” -  Northern Rockies Blacksmiths Association Newsletter.

“This book would be helpful for any blacksmith trying to broaden their ideas and technique." - Monica Coyne, Artist Blacksmith

“… I really like this book and feel that it’s a bargain at just under $50. (It) is printed on quality paper and the photos are crisp, clear, plentiful, and do a very good job of portraying the work being done. The projects are beyond the scope of beginner work and comprise a variety of subjects from sculpture to hardware to tools and jewelry. The steps for each project are well written and provide sufficient information to duplicate these wonderful pieces.” - Paul Novorolsky, Editor, The UMBA Journal (Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association) 

“… a few of the projects shown will be made in my shop in the near future. I think that any (black)smith would find helpful information, either as a guide to the items made, or in the techniques used to make them.” - Ira Wiesenfeld, The Anvil’s Horn, a publication of the Arizona Artist Blacksmith Association

"Mr. Rizzo has assembled a very nice overview of 20 projects as done by skilled artists. These are not your run-of-the-mill blacksmithing projects, but are nearly all sculptural in nature. You get a chance to see how a professional gets to the end result they want, which is a real treat, and with 900 color photographs it has a lot to offer. Many of the smiths in the book may be familiar-the most notable being Zeevik Gottlieb,who shows you his main steps in creating a steel figure. The photos are close, clear and very informative, giving you a good look at a real master at work. Another particularly interesting project is the eye-opening design and construction of a Venetian door knocker. Seeing the layout will spur you to consider the proportions you use in your own work so you can reap the results as well. All in all, I think this is a worthy follow up to Mr. Rizzo’s previous book (Secrets of the Forge) and is definitely worth your time, especially if you are looking to expand your own work artistically and differentiate your projects from others." - I Forge Iron, Book Reviews (teenylittlemetalguy, Anchorage, Alaska)

“…. an excellent book. A variety of projects which provide a good learning curve for blacksmiths pushing toward a higher level in their craftsmanship”. – Mike Otis, Forge Facts (The Rocky Mountain Smiths)

"The Blacksmith’s Project Book sparks the imagination, informs and inspires. Written as a resource book for blacksmiths, there is much to be gleaned by makers and artists in any medium, and anyone who is an art or craft aficionado.  Flip through the pages or read front to back, each time you open this book you will find something new. You will meet master blacksmiths from around the world, delve into their individual process and style, and learn new blacksmithing techniques.  It may unlock secrets to a process that has been puzzling you, or knock loose a block in your design flow. 

Antonello Rizzo has chosen each chapter wisely, representing a great variety of design style, smithing techniques and skill level.  The 21 chapters include 11 dedicated to sculptural projects of varied complexity, 3 more on hardware, jewelry and blade projects, and 6 illustrating the techniques of damascening, metallic fusion, Swiss patina technique, mokume, chromatic finishing and restoration. The projects are intended for blacksmiths of intermediate and advanced skill levels, though an ambitious beginner could find a project to challenge and reward them.  Even the most advanced smith will find something new in this wide ranging collection of design and blacksmithing technique.

The book layout is superb for readability and clarity.  Each project begins with a concise introduction to the project and artist, followed by a photo essay with instructive text and captions. The direction given in the text and photos leaves room for your own personal style, and also requires some background blacksmithing knowledge as not every step is explained in detail, a relief from the redundant text of so many blacksmith how-to books which repeatedly describe even the most basic of details. The over 900 high quality photos are laid out in coherent sequence.  The images tell of much more than a step in the process, we also get to see a large array of shops, tools and forges.

Throughout the pages of this book there is the undercurrent of vitality, talent and creativity alive in the international blacksmith community. A search on each of the artist’s names led to amazing galleries of contemporary iron works, an explosion of artistic expression and amazing accomplishments in blacksmithing, the king of crafts. Be warned, you may be forced to plan a trip to Europe and beyond to satisfy your curiosity, which is sure to be piqued. 

If you are looking for a book with beginner to intermediate blacksmithing techniques try Secrets of the Forge, also by Antonello Rizzo.  The Blacksmith’s Project Book is a continuation in the same vein, for a higher skill level blacksmith.  Each book is a standalone standout, and they make great companions for your library.

I put The Blacksmith’s Project Book on my highly recommended list, it is a great addition to any library. Consider getting an additional copy for shop use, and get busy with some of these projects!" - Amy Mook, Hot Iron News, (Northwest Blacksmith Association)


Click here to see Black Bear Forge's YouTube review with John Switzer


"The Blacksmith's Project Book" presents 20 original intermediate and advanced projects for blacksmiths looking to further hone their skills and learn techniques from European master smiths. This hardcover 248 page book, with over 900 high-quality photos, clearly explains the necessary steps and techniques for completing projects which include metallic fusion, damascening, chromatic finishing techniques, foldforming, patination, sculpture forging, and other interesting topics.

Antonello Rizzo's first bestselling project book, "Secrets of the Forge", contained almost 50 original projects by Italian master smiths for beginning and intermediate level blacksmiths. This excellent new book brings the level up a notch and has the intention of also serving as creative fodder for the smiths' own project designs.

The bonus 21st chapter of this book is a fascinating essay presenting the essayist’s heartfelt thoughts on the restoration of old wrought iron.

You can be sure that there is plenty of material in The Blacksmith's Project Book that will be of great interest to any practicing blacksmith. 

A Complete Book Review

From "The Saltfork Craftsmen Artist-Blacksmith Association Newsletter"

“I was asked by the publisher to review The Blacksmith’s Project Book. I have to admit I was excited by the title words “intermediate & advanced” since it seems there is a void in blacksmith related project books if you want to go beyond the basics. This book did not disappoint.

What this book is not: You will not find the overly repeated descriptions of blacksmith tools like parts of the anvil, hammer types, how to hold a hammer, etc. You won’t find out how to make S-hooks or draw tapers. And there is no lengthy discussion about how to heat treat chisels. If you are a complete beginner, some parts of the projects in this book may be a challenge. But I believe even beginners will get a lot from this book in seeing progressive steps on complex projects, seeing unique ways to set up and move metal, and seeing how certain tools are applied.

What this book is: You will find twenty projects from various, mostly European, smiths presented with 900 quality color photographs showing key steps for each project with brief explanatory text. Many of the projects are contemporary art sculptures. Some have that certain contemporary “look” (think Zeevik Gottlieb from Israel who demonstrates the first project - a joined figure sculpture.) There is an interesting Venetian door knocker, a somewhat utilitarian billhook project and window shutter stop as well. Each project is documented with photos of key steps including which tools are used and how they are used. The brief text explains the processes very well without getting overly bogged down in explaining the basics. The feel is almost like traveling in person to watch demonstrations in the various smiths’ shops. Stock sizes are given for each project (in imperial units.)

Techniques: The techniques you will learn from the projects in this book are largely scalable (some projects documented in the book use fairly large stock and are best done with a power hammer and/or striker but they can be scaled down) and the techniques can be transferred in numerous ways to other projects. Some of the techniques for moving metal are probably a little different than you may have tried before. There are also projects specifically demonstrating a new application of damascening, metallic fusion, a Swiss Patina technique, polishing forged work, Mokume Gane, and Chromatic Finishing. The last chapter covers some general basics of restoring antique wrought ironwork.

Recommendation: I found this book to be very well done and excitingly refreshing. It is full of ideas that I want to try, some of which I have not seen before. If you are interested in blacksmithing and metal work on just about any level, I highly recommend that you get a copy.”  The Editor, The Saltfork Craftsmen Artist-Blacksmith Association Newsletter


Artisan Ideas
Year Published:
Hardcover, 248 pages, over 900 color photos
Antonello Rizzo
Technical Editor:
Gerald Franklin