Hi! I’m Karl-Gunnar Norén and I’d like to tell you about our new book, Swedish Blacksmithing.
It’s the translation of a book about basic blacksmithing, which has been available in Sweden, Denmark and Germany since 1998 and has become the standard book on the subject. It was born out of the need for an easily accessible, but still professionally structured, description of how to hand forge and is written in the form of a dialogue between a master blacksmith and his apprentice. By combining the dialogue with nearly 400 drawings of the process steps and techniques required in blacksmithing, we’ve created a unique learning tool. It’s practically impossible to misunderstand how the projects included in the book are to be performed. And at the same time, you’ll experience the joy of being able to forge on your own!
Steel is a forgiving material, that lets the smith develop as knowledge is gradually built up. But it’s also important to understand the mistakes one has made, in order to be able to go back and try it again.
The process as it is depicted in Swedish Blacksmithing will help you to do this!
Swedish Blacksmithing also gives examples of true peak technology, like axe making and the latest in damask, or pattern welding!
The book doesn’t hedge when it comes to the problems that must be solved in the forge: tools, the use of the hearth and anvil, the characteristics of different kinds of iron and steel, the temperature, hardening. It gives directions for all the conceivable situations.
Some say that the book is also entertaining, others don’t agree, for they maintain that Swedish Blacksmithing is the best objective description of how to forge. I can only say - judge for yourself and, before I turn to the book’s blacksmith, Lars Enander, I ask our translator, Jennifer Hawkins:
Hi, Jennifer! Now that the translation of our book is finished, would you like to tell us a little about how you did it?
“I spent a lot of time studying the tools, the process and the terminology, before getting down to the actual translation. I’m probably the most knowledgeable blacksmith who never laid a hand on an anvil (yet)!
I also sought out the help of a professional blacksmith in the US. Steve Howell, from Seattle, helped me to interpret the processes and to find the most fitting American terms.
I’ve learned a lot and had a great time visiting the forge and watching the work. Translating itself is fun, when you’ve got a flow going.”
It sounds like it’s been partially a different kind of project and that you found it fun to do. And, as you’ve noticed, both Lasse and I are satisfied with the results! I also know that you were in touch with an American blacksmith, what was his impression of our book?
“When I asked him over the phone, he said it was beautifully drawn, the layout was great and that, from our conversations about the actual translation, the method of using dialogue was interesting and informative. The step-by-step descriptions are easy to follow. “
Now I’d like to say hi to the blacksmith, Lars Enander. Can you give us a taste of what we can expect from the book?
“Yes, Karl-Gunnar, the best way is to open it and share a few of pages from the book, telling about the methods I’d like to teach to other smiths. As you know, each blacksmith creates a unique culture around the forge, with personal tools, experiences from mistakes and others’ tales that make up a craftsman’s knowledge. But I also know that lots of my knowledge has come from reading and the books in my library are both worn and torn! The texts of others can either be absorbed or discarded. But a blacksmith today can’t get along without some kind of manual, since the handing down from one generation to the next is missing nowadays.
I’ll show some simple but important techniques for forging a traditional Swedish candleholder, some of the secrets of my specialty, which is forging axes, new discoveries in the area of damask, pattern welding, and working with a power hammer.
Retailers outside of Sweden
Nielsen & Norén Förlag is the publisher behind Swedish Blacksmithing. Are you interested in distributing the book outside of Sweden? Perhaps you represent a blacksmithing society or already run the sales of books and materials for blacksmiths? Or you are an agent? Nielsen & Norén Förlag is looking for new paths to tread, and we seek both traditional and unconventional retailers and distributors.
Drop us a line if you’re interested: email@example.com
For many years we have cooperated with Gränsfors Bruks in Sweden, and in the US and Canada they store and distribute the book Swedish Blacksmithing. You can contact Gränsfors Bruks at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com