View Full Version : First post from a newbie steel pounder

07-14-2004, 11:37 PM
Just wanted to say hello :101
Looks like a great forum and hope to hang around for a while.
I have been doing stock removal blade for the past six years and started forging last week.
Have a propane forge and building another one dedicated to Damascus.
Have had a few successes doing Sai Mai (My favorite so far) and need some of your expert advice.
Assume I know nothing :rolleyes:
What are good materials to use for Sai Mai?
Any books or tutorials on making it?
Where can I get a good hammer? Which type?
Should I clean off the scale before welding ?
What is a good book on just forging or making Damascus?
Thats a start!

07-15-2004, 02:35 AM
I would not be the one to ask as far as Sai Mai goes. But you Deffinatly want to clean off all scale before welding if any is left you will have inclusions and bad welds. The best books you can get that will really help a ton and I have gotten quite a few books on knife making is Jim Hirouslas books. He has three or more books out. the two I have are (THE PATTERN WELDED BLADE) and (THE MASTER BLADESMITH) advanced studies in steel. These will tell you just about everthing a guy needs for the building blocks of forging and forging damascus and composit billets and you name it. They are hands down the most helpful books I have read yet. Also wayne goddard has two books that are very helpful in forging and in making damscus. I would also recommend these.
As for the hammer someone else could help on that one. Good luck and don't be afraid to ask all the querstions you have. Everybody here is more than helpful! :101 :D

07-15-2004, 03:02 AM
I'll take a shot at the hammer question, assuming you mean a hand hammer and not a power hammer. When you say a "good" hammer, that leaves a pretty wide range. Do you mean good for smithing purposes as opposed to say a carpenters hammer? If so, you'll want one or more of four kinds of hammer. Different people use different ones, so which ones you choose are up to you.

There's cross and straight peens, which will usually have a round or octagonal face on one side and a blunt edge on the other. There's ball peens which have a round flat face on one side and a ball on the other. Last is a small sledge, round or octagonal flat faces on both sides.

Most smiths use 2-4 pound hammers though a few people use bigger ones, though they seem to be less common. More important then the quality of the hammer itself is how well you "dress the face" on it. Since you've been doing stock removal, I assume you have a belt grinder, just grind all the sharp edges off and make them nice and round. You can round the face a bit too which will help with drawing but leave deeper hammer marks.

Here's a picture of the ones I use, there's only one picture of my larger one since the pictures were originally taken to show off the hammer I made. The silver is the one I made, it's a slightly diagnal straight peen while the bigger one in the second picture is a cross pien.

If you're actually looking for top of the line quality, there are a few smiths who make high quality custom hammers, though they'll cost well over the price of a hardware store hammer. Not sure who offhand, though I've seen the discussions somewhere around this forum somewhere.

Good luck,

07-15-2004, 08:06 AM
Welcome aboard Robert, happy to have you here with us. A lot of questions for new guys are answered in the "Newbies" forum. There's a "sticky" thread at the top of that forum, which leads you through a wealth of information. We're here to try and help also. These forums have a "search" feature that I find very valuable, and I use it constantly, it's located towards the top of the page. Glad to have you here!