Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Rare Metalsmithing Books - Latest Releases for September 2012

Digital Antique Books - Jewelry History Brought Alive

Spend $5 to improve your craft - Exceptional eBooks at ridiculous

Update for September / 2012

Over the last three decades we have acquired over 40 rare historical
Metalsmithing books that we are making available to jewelers,
goldsmiths and the metalsmithing community.

These books cover special techniques in depth like chasing,
repousse, engraving, niello making, Japanese chiseling, soldering,
construction, patination and metal coloring, silversmithing and
more. There are many recipes for alloys and metal surface

For the first time in history, these ancient metal tricks and
recipes will be made available to the contemporary community of
curious artists and metalsmiths. This will allow the
reader to apply the simple and ingenious procedures used by the
jewelers of the past, long dead masters of the art of
metalsmithing.Many of the tricks and recipes described will save the
maker money, as older approaches can sometimes replace modern tools.

As with all the Ganoksin project books the text has been scanned
using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) which means it is
searchable and useable in ways not seen in a standard pdf. Similarly
the images are separately scanned and then stitched into the text,
allowing you to zoom in for very high magnification views of the
detail in the images.

Each pdf is a full digital book of searchable text and images, with
an easy access through an interactive table of contents.

We invite you to own the entire collection of manuscripts, and
benefit from the ancient wisdom that we are presenting, while
supporting the Ganoksin Project.

Learn more

New Releases for September 2012

On The Theory and Practice of Art Enamelling Upon Metals, By Henry
Cunynghame M.A, 1899

This 1899 book is one of the most important early books on
enameling. It is quoted and cited by all its contemporary books and
many later books. At 168 pages it is a remarkable book very
important for any person interested in enameling. The technical
and detail is absolutely amazing.

It begins with a damning of industrial manufacturing, of stamped
metal and the demise of skilled craftsmanship in the making of
jewelry. The book is intended for the remaining craftspeople, the
ones who have home workshops. Trade secrets are revealed, and the
author researched everything published from the middle ages on
concerning the art and science of enameling, including how to make
all the materials used in enameling.

A section on weights and measures begins the text, with a welcome
description of metric and English systems. The chemical oxides that
give enamels color are detailed and named. The earliest history of
Western enameling is outlined, with Greek, Goths and Celts
mentioned. There is an extensive section on the aesthetic history of
European art, with both celebration and critique of the effects of
Christianity on art, design and enameling. Byzantine enamels,
cloisson?, Venetian enamels, what oxides different cultures used,
Limoges and more are deeply investigated. Limoge techniques are
highly detailed. All this history is interspersed with great
technical detail about enameling techniques used.

There a number of excellent high grade scans of color and black and
white illustrations. He relies heavily on Theophilus (a tenth
century monk who wrote on goldsmithing, painting and bell making).

The history section is very deep, and long, and layered in editorial
comments that give an insight into the philosophical battles and
opinions of the time. The analysis of technical decisions by
enameling masters is unrivaled. This is one of those books that
actually creates history.

Then the author addresses contemporary (well, in 1899) enameling,
with his opinions of its quality and scope. As today, Japanese
cloisonn? is considered superb.

There is an interesting discussion of artistic opinion as a form of
practice, an art in itself.

Limoge (and the other enameling methods) is addressed in real depth,
including using burnishers into leather and wooden molds to shape
copper for enameling on, preparing metal surfaces, grinding enamels,
and all sorts of great detail. It would be interesting to examine
the observations and proposed chemistry for accuracy in today’s

There are remarkable lost bits, like making mucilage (Klyr-Fire
today) for attaching enamel powder to surfaces from cherry, apple,
and pear and plum pits. This book has tons of technical
and details lost today to enamellists.

The technical portion of the book is a tour-de-force, excellent
observational rich detail. Furnaces, muffles and firing is well
covered, as nowhere else. Lots of recipes for kiln washes, surfaces
and more. Take it with a grain of salt for some of the techniques,
but there is an enormous amount here, and many details lost to time.

There is a section on molding enamel, pate-de-verre, and glass into
all kinds of shapes, not found elsewhere. Recipes,
chemistry and manufacturing methods for enamels are dealt with in
great depth.

An excellent book, essential for any enamellist.

168 Pages, File Size: 13.50MB

Download the full eBook at the ridiculous price of $5.

Modern Letter Engraving in Theory and Practice,
by Fred Holmes Rees, 1898

Subtitled: “A manual for the use of Watchmakers, jewelers and Other
Metal Engravers”.

This 182 page book, published in 1898, covers letter engraving in
exhaustive and thorough detail. If you are learning engraving this
is another essential for your library. Every goldsmith, too, should
consider it for your collection.

The book is intended as a self study course in letter engraving. It
begins with graver preparation instructions and basic polishing and
finishing tools for it. The author makes a case for an unpolished
but sharpened graver leaving textured cuts that can be used in
design terms.

Information on design and layout is addressed, using dilute china
white to thin coat the surface for layout (or wiping your index
finger through your hair and then patting the resultant oil onto the
metal surface). Practice plates and designs for practicing and
learning are illustrated. The ‘line of beauty’ is described and its
core use in lettering explained: it is used in 20 out of 26 script
letters. Also addressed are the principles of the ‘capital stem and
body stroke’; The author describes a turntable of his own design to
allow finished silver vessels as well as flat plates to be engraved.
A precursor of the engravers ball used today. This tool reduces
scratches on the object during engraving.

Then the engraving of each letter in turn is dealt with in great
depth, with many small comments and tips about holding, planning and
carrying out the engraving. Each is given comprehensive step by step
sequences of which cut to make in what order, how to do it and why.
The making of an angle guide tool is described.

Monograms and their layout principles in varied spaces and their
special engraving tools are shown, as are engraving balls. Block,
Roman, Old English, German, Gothic, Ciphers, shaded letters, bright
cut, flourishes. Ribbon work, and other kinds of lettering are
covered. Patinas are described as well, darkening silver to obtain
contrast with the lettering.

This book is an essential for anyone interested in engraving metals,
whether for jewelry or printmaking…

182 pages. . File Size: 9.90MB

Download the full eBook at the ridiculous price of $5.

Enamels and Enamelling,
By Paul Randeau (translated from German by Charles Salter), 1912

Subitile: “An Introduction to the preparation and application of all
kinds of enamels for technical and artistic purposes. For enamel
makers, workers in gold and silver and manufacturers of objects of

This 1912 book, 206 pages jam-packed with serious about
manufacturing enamels. It is a second edition from one published in
1900. For a glass, ceramics or enameling person the book is
essential for the library and for understanding their field. A
goldsmith, or someone interested in how things are made will also
want it. If you were working with enamel this is an absolute
essential. I suspect it is the most informative on the subject ever

The is the deepest I have seen on the preparation of
enamel, what chemicals and oxides make what colors, and what
purposes. Understanding the chemistry of enamel is important in
diagnosing problems and successfully enameling work at a deep level.

Chapters include: The composition and properties of Glass The raw
materials for the manufacture of enamels Substances added to produce
opacity Fluxes Pigments Decolorizing agents Testing the raw materials
and enamel mass Subsidiary materials Preparing the materials for
enamel-making Mixing the materials The enamel mass Appliances for
smelting the enamel mass Smelting the charge Composition of enamel
masses Composition of masses for ground enamels Composition of cover
enamels Preparing the articles for enameling Applying the enamel.
Firing the ground enamel. Applying and firing the cover enamel or
glaze. Repairing defects in enameled ware Enameling articles of sheet
metal Decorating enameled ware Specialties in enameling Dial-Plate
enameling. Enamels for Artistic purposes. The book begins with a
history of enamel use by country. An interesting discussion of the
influence of alchemy on discovering new glasses (fluxes) and their

The discussion on glasses is excellent, interesting and thorough.
Lots of detailed about resistance and principles of
designing glasses. From scratch, all the earths, sources of clean
silica, cleaning, preparation and more. Great chemistry, clearly
written. An enormous ranges of sources for materials are described
including many odd ones, like kelp. Much of the book is about making
large quantities of material, but so much of it is useful for
understanding the material and how to work with it. There is the
occasional mis-match to today’s knowledge, such as no warnings on
radiation for working with uranium compounds - they did not know
about it at this time. This is however a minor note considering the
excellence of everything else.

The section testing materials and analyzing what is in a melt is
extensive and solid. Pickles, fluxes and salts are extensively dealt
with. There are dozens of recipes for all sorts of enamels and more.

There are interesting oddities like how to emulate granite using
enamel, the use of transfers, imitation cloisonne transfers, and

A superb book, possibly the best in its field, and a refreshing
insight into the chemical truth of enamels and enameling. Finally
there is a comprehensive set of descriptions of the kinds of
artistic enameling.

206 pages. . File Size: 15MB

Download the full eBook at the ridiculous price of $5.

Hall-Marking of Jewellery, Practically Considered,
By George E. Gee, 1882

"An account of all the different assay towns of the United Kingdom,
with the stamps at present employed and also the laws related to the
standards and hall marks at the various assay offices and a variety
of practical suggestions concerning the mixing of standard alloys
and other useful

This 1882 book thoroughly covers hallmarking, and the creation of
the hallmarking system in the UK, the issues that drove its
creation, and the hallmarks themselves. It’s 237 pages have the most
about hallmarking and its history of any book. Any
person interested in the history of jewelry, antiques, goldsmithing
should have this book.

There is a solid introduction to the field. Irish, British and
continental standards are fully described. All the legal histories
are investigated. This is truly everything about stamping your work
as well, what shapes the punches should be. All the hallmarking
halls and towns are individually discussed, as are the rules, of
which there are many, and changing ones. Many alloys for hallmarking
are described in detail. A large part of the book is the actual laws
that affect this (or at least the 1882 ones).

There is a section of forms, and an extensive index. An interesting
and full book from someone who clearly loved the history of
assaying, hallmarking, and practicing a profession with precious

237 pages. . File Size: 8.28MB

Download the full eBook at the ridiculous price of $5.

Designs for Silversmiths, South Kensington Museum, 1871

A series of Twenty-four autotype reproductions of original designs
for vases, ewers, salvers, etc. Selected from the collection in the
national art library, South Kensington Museum This significant 1871
book has wonderful drawn (etchings) images of major silversmithing
objects. It is primarily a book of images for teaching, learning and

Like all the Ganoksin project books the images are scanned
separately from the text, and can be zoomed in up to 700% before the
quality starts to break down. This is incredibly useful for
examining details of construction, and especially for chasing and
repoussee aficionados who want ideas for chasing designs and detail.
Even the scanned watermarks on the prints show up clearly in the
images! The book is intended as a resource for craftspeople and
historians, and its early date means that clues about public
attitudes to silver work are different than later books on the

This is one of the best reference books I have ever seen. for
chasing and repoussee in traditional ways. Remarkable for those in
serious study of the technique, and of its design motifs. Jewelry
historians would drool over the rich detail, the telling motifs, the
symbols and meanings of the decoration.

The objects shown are often baroque in design, with cherubs, nymphs,
satyrs, lions, sphinxes, angels, nudes, religious scenes, sea
horses, (lots and lots of amazing sea/women/creatures), gods,
mythical beings etc abounding. Lots of anatomically correct flesh in
these works. There are details of the ‘registers’ or bands of
decoration that chasers adore, as too the scrolls and decorations so
emblematic of traditional chased and repoussee masterworks.

An excellent book, rare, very rare, and an amazing visual legacy for
us, over an hundred and forty years after it was published.

32 pages. . File Size: 16MB

Download the full eBook at the ridiculous price of $5.

Manual of Instruction in Hard Soldering, By Harvey Rowell, 1884

This is a 62 page book written and published in 1884. Chapters

Utensils and Chemicals, Alloys for Hard Soldering, Structure of the
flame, Heat, the Process of soldering, and technical notes and

This is a marvelous overview of hard soldering at this time with
charcoal fires and early torches, including mouth torches. It is in
fact pre-torch techniques described, in the sense of the gas torches
we are used to today. Heating principles and soldering techniques
remain the same, and are truly well described.

It covers alloys and recipes for hard soldering in brass, silver and
gold in depth. Solder making is covered. Flame types and how heat
works is thoroughly addressed from an observational point of view.
It is interesting seeing the observations so accurate when the
science was not yet there.

There is a call for better training, organized education in metal
working and soldering. There is more and understanding
of using mouth torches than I have seen anywhere else. Platinum
tips, ivory or ebony mouthpieces and more. They understood oxygen
and its issues in soldering very well. Anyone interested in
historically accurate techniques, many used since antiquity, will
really enjoy this book.

There are recipes using borax and yellow ochre to prevent oxidation.
Soldering techniques are well described and hold good today. Fusing
is described as a method of joining, and 18k gold is used to hard
solder steel.

One interesting comment about using a fire to solder is that
contamination with lead or zinc is possible in a shared fire in a
shop, and this can ruin solderings.

There is a good section on repairs, on what stones can and can’t
take heat, and on hardening steel parts after soldering, such as pin

An excellent book worth adding to your collection.

62 pages. . File Size: 2.68MB

Download the full eBook at the ridiculous price of $5.

Mixed Metals or Metallic Alloys by Arthur H. Hiorns, 1912

This third edition, published in 1912, is 495 thorough, dense,
worthwhile pages of metallurgical and alloy almost all
of it completely accurate today. The first edition was published in
1890. It begins with an excellent history of metal usage through
time, the alloys, colors and characteristics used by different
cultures. Then there is a very good review of basic chemistry and
its concepts. A remarkable book!

As a jeweler or a metalsmith this book deserves to be in your
collection. It has literally everything about literally all metals
and alloys used by us, as well as lots and lots of technical methods
for casting and metal working. There is an enormous section on
brasses and related alloys with full recipes. The same for bronzes.
A chapter on casting for sand, investments and statues has many
intriguing details. Japanese alloys and solutions for metal coloring
are addressed. Mokume making is described in what must be one of the
first Western books to do so. Precious metals, silver and gold
alloys are well examined. Gold cost just one shilling an ounce back

Fluxes, crucible materials, pickles and polishing are addressed.
Essential for any serious metals person.

An excellent chapter on precious metals and alloys, the only chapter
on mercury amalgams I’ve ever seen in such detail, (note that you
should do it-just for historical understanding) and even recipes for
silvering/mirroring glass. There is the occasional surprise, like
the description of uranium and its uses - with no mention of
radiation because they had not discovered the down side of the metal

If you have any interest in alloying metals this book is an absolute

495 pages. . File Size: 22.20MB

Download the full eBook at the ridiculous price of $5.

Previous Releases

The Jewellers Guide and Handy Reference Book by: William Redman, 1883

Gilding, Silvering and Bronzing, edited by Bernard E. Jones, 1918

Silversmiths Handbook by George E. Gee, 1885

The Art of Enamelling Upon Metal by Alexander Fisher, 1905

The Jewelry Repairer’s Handbook by John Keplinger, 1902

Educational Metalcraft by P. Wylie Davidson, 1913

Metal-Work, Chasing and Repousse for Home Art Workers by Frank G
Jackson, 1903

Decoration of Metals - Chasing, Repousse and Saw Piercing by ohn
Harrison, 1894

Watchmakers’ and Jewelers’ Practical Receipt Book, 1892

The Private Book of Useful Alloys and Memoranda for Goldsmiths,
Jewellers by James Collins, 1871

Repousse Work for Amateurs by L. L. Haslope

Art Metal Work and Jewelry by Louis J. Haas, 1916

How to Enamel: Practical Enameling of Jewelry with Hard Enamels
by Howard M. Chapin, 1911

Electro-Plating (with numerous engravings and diagrams), Paul
Hasluck, Editor, 1905

Lost Wax Jewelry Making: The Build-up Technique - Complete
Edition by Minori Azama, 1999

General Letter Engraving for Watchmakers, Jewelers and Kindred
Trades, by G. F. Whelpley, 1892

Precious Stones: Considered in their Scientific and Artistic
Relations by A. H. Church, 1899

Soldering, Brazing and Welding edited by Bernard E. Jones, 1916