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BOOK REVIEW: Antler and Iron II

Reviewed by: Chuck Hamsa, Reviewers' Consortium, Lafayette, Louisiana

ANTLER AND IRON II: BUILDING A MOUNTAIN MAN FOLDING KNIFE, by Gene Chapman; The Author, Kingston, WA (Order from Krause Publications, 700 East State Street, Iola, WI 54990 - 0001. [715] 445-2214); 1995; 40 pages Paperbound; Krause catalog order number ANT02; price $12.00.

It takes an expert to present so much, invaluable information as well as excellent black and white photographs within the confines of so few pages! For those of you familiar with Jerry Fisk's outstanding, basic books on the subject; this book would be an excellent, companion volume. The author related that this is a revision of his first book with the same title, which is now unfortunately out of print. The successful production of the "mountain man folder" would definitely create a work of art which any modern mountain man would be proud to pull out of his possibles bag!

In adherence to modem day precautions, Chapman highly recommends safety precautions, such as use of safety glasses and hearing protection as well as taking the time to gather such things as dust masks and the immediate attention to cuts and abrasions. He repeats these precautions throughout the book. While this should be of importance to anyone being around metalworking activities, it takes only one time for something to happen to make one a fin-n believer in such suggestions! Chapman urges that anyone who would like to try their hand at either blacksmithing or bladesmithing should consider joining such worthy organizations as the local state association and national ABANA organization. I, too, have found such membership to be worth its weight in gold! One may never be able to attend a national meeting. But many have found some shining times in getting involved with ABANA's state group activities. Chapman also recommends membership in the American Bladesmith Society for those who are leaning toward becoming accomplished bladesmiths.

Divisions cover such things as criteria regarding the choice, layout and preparation of antler handles; the manufacture of period tools and equipment that would be in keeping with any rendezvous setting; production of blade springs and decorative blade accessories and blade production and fitting to the prepared antler handle. Other divisions cover the final fitting, pinning and riveting functions. Included are Chapman's suggestions regarding the finishing process. Such a book will not guarantee anyone that they will become an accomplished bladesmith. But this basic, excellent photojournalistic presentation would be most helpful in providing one with a good, authoritative guide to start on the journey toward that end.

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This page was last updated on March 27, 1997.