Longtime Boing Boing reader Charles Statman recently recommended I take a look at The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander Weygers. This fantastic HOWTO book is detailed and fun, even for someone who can never hope to actually use it.
Weygers explains techniques and methods for making tools, and the tools to make tools. His diagrams are clear and concise, and the text is simple. I can absolutely picture how I'd undertake many of the projects he documents, I just don't think I ever will. This book, however, provides incredible opportunities to learn about how things are made without ever having to get your hands dirty! Be it making your own anvil or designing a water pump system, from making new tools to fixing a broken one, this tome is ridiculously complete. It is actually 3 out-of-print books combined into one.
The Complete Modern Blacksmith got my brain working. Weygers likes to improvise and find cheap ways to do things without spending a lot of money to solve a problem, and that is fun.