Mark Wargo New2bs

Cross Pein Vs. Straight Pein?

41 posts in this topic

As my screen name implies, I'm rather new to blacksmithing and I have a question regarding moving metal with the pein. I notice that the hofi hammers all have cross peins. I have a cross pein hammer, but I find it difficult to control the hammer with the metal held out straight in front of me with the tongs in front which places the hammer well out in front of me. Would a straight peen hammer be easier to use so that I could stand beside the anvil and hold the tongs perpindicular to the long axis of the face of the anvil? that seems like it would allow me to keep both my elbows close to the body and strike straight down more accurately. then, rather than pusing and pulling the hot metal with my arm, and trying to adjust my hammer arm, I could move the metal by rotating my hips and not have to adjust my hammer arm much at all.

Any experienced thoughts would be appreciated.

thanks,

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have 3..cross,straight.and diagnal..all have uses but for general drawing i use a diagnal peen,and they come in right and left models,hope this will give you some options,jimmy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might look t blueprints 1001 and 1002 Hofi hammer technique ...or order his DVD from the IFORGE IRON store

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you dress your hammer face with nicely radiused corners you can use it for most drawing/shaping operations and the more rarely used peen can be of most any type. I prefer a short-faced mass centered hammer of the Hofi type because you can hit with the sides as well as the top/bottom of the face without introducing much torque. Come to think of it a Hofi hammer is an excellent choice! I really need my peen mostly for areas where I have tight clearance and the full head might not reach easily. Otherwise rotate the hammer handle 45 degrees in my grip and I have a straight peen effect... raise my hand so that the hammer handle tilts downward and I have the cross peen effect. Come to think of it I do use my peen when texturing quite a bit too... such as when veining leaves... but I think any type would serve with slight adjustments of technique (mine is straight).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see the need for only a cross or straight pien. To me...the direction of the pien does not matter much because by moving my hammering arm and my tong arm I can achieve any needed angle.

Plus I have a prejudice against straight pien hammers. Mike can tell you...I hate the looks of them. To me they are the dumbest looking thing ever handled. I totally respect their use and value of a straight pien and those that use them...I just can't get over the look of one. HA!

I use a 2 pound Tom Clark cross pien. I have picked up a lot of hammers made by just about everyone...and this is the best hammer that I have ever picked up.

my .02
Peyton

PS: No offense to those with straight pien hammers...it is something I am trying to deal with. I need to have a better sense of equality for all piens! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suspect you will get many opinions on this question. Blacksmiths learn to position themselves to get the job done. For drawing, using the horn or a well radiused anvil edge works well.

After 18 years I am still learning how to use my cross pein for forging. I have decided accuracy is more important to me than hammer collecting. The collecting may be important to others though, and I admit to having more than a dozen.

In the mean time, welcome, and enjoy the ride!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth I don't like straight pein hammers because it's difficult to get the ridge to strike parallel with the face of the anvil, the heel of the hammer face feels like it's digging in. Of course, this can be an advantage in some situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The old catalogs would show a straight peen for use by coopers, maybe for driving the hoops on?? I've never used a straight peen or diagonal peen for anything. Presently, my most used hammer is a 2� pound cross peen made by Channellock. I mostly use the peen for getting more spread than draw, as on a fishtail end scroll. What's awkward? Hold the stock at an angle.

Turley Forge and Blacksmithing School

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I understand it the cross-pein on the Hofi hammer is designed for balance, not drawing. Hofi uses the edges of the 'flat' pein for drawing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have both a cross and straight peen but favor the cross for most tasks. They are nearly identical in weight and balance but I have never been that comfortable using the straight peen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As I understand it the cross-pein on the Hofi hammer is designed for balance, not drawing. Hofi uses the edges of the 'flat' pein for drawing.

The cross-pien of this hammer is used for spreading. I have 2 Tom Clark hammers, he learned from Hofi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt would not balance be associated with placement of the eye to the center of mass and NOT shape of one end?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're beginning to reach out without defining our terms. In the first place, a peen (various spellings) is smaller than a face. The hammer face is normally squarish or round. The French face is rectangular. I think Hofi would agree that he uses the face edge at an angle for drawing, 'drawing' meaning reducing section while increasing length. On a farriers' rounding hammer, there is a ball face which is the same diameter as the slightly "rockered" face. Therefore, it is not a ball peen; it is properly, a ball face.

A peen, cross, straight, or diagonal, tends to move more metal at right angles to the peen length than lengthwise of the peen length. Some peens are half round or fairly sharp edged, and maybe 1/8" to 3/16" thick when the hammer is purchased new. It is advisable to disc or belt sand the peen, removing metal in order to thicken it a little. At the same time, crown the peen length, and if it is flattened a bit on top, you must radius the corners. Peter Ross, formerly of the Williamsburg Smithy, does flatten the peen slightly. He says that you still get the job done, and there is "less clean up." By the latter, he means there are fewer peen marks to get rid of on the workpiece.

A beginner must learn to use the center of the peen for most work. For example, when forging the fishtail (flared) end on a flat bar, some beginners use a kind of edge to edge blow; not good. The center of the peen should be at the very end of the bar, not behind it. Start in the middle of the hot bar and work either way of the middle.

http://www.turleyforge.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BP 0193 by James Joyce (link below) shows pictorally the difference in the use of different peen hammers. There is also the double diagonal peen hammer which gives you both left and right diagonal peens on the same hammer. It comes down to whatever you are comfortable in using...the various styles are there to choose from for those who wish to have/use a variety for different applications.

I Forge Iron - BP0193 Diagonal Peen Hammer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually use the edge of the anvil for drawing rather than the pein.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made a diagonal peen hammer and find that while it is quicker to draw with it requires more care and hammer control than the cross peen I have. The diagonal was originally identical to the cross peen. I will make a straight peen at some point, but feel that these two hammers, plus a few lighter hammers, are adequate for my level of learning.

For drawing I have noticed that seemingly exaggerated fullering seems to move metal fastest, but I am learning basics still.

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you folks for the information. It would seem I might best be served by the purchase of a Hofi hammer and learning to use his technique for drawing with the edge of the face and relying on the pein for fish tails, etc. Do most people find the 3 pound cast hammer fairly easy to use? I have read that Mr. Hofi recommends that particular hammer. I've been using 2lb shop hammers for lack of blacksmith tailored equipment. Would the transition to the Hofi be relatively easy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Matt would not balance be associated with placement of the eye to the center of mass and NOT shape of one end?


Glenn; the dynamic balance of the hammer is affected by the shape of BOTH ends. When the hammer edge is used the hammer is tilted and a long bodied hammer will now have it's center of mass shifted to one side creating a twisting torque when the hammer strikes the metal. With a shorter bodied hammer this twisting torque is minimized as the center of mass is not misaligned (in relation to the striking point) nearly as much. This is a very important difference when using a hammer in the Hofi manner. Personally I find it very efficient to use my hammer in this way... only a slight shift in the way I hold or swing my hammer alters the effects of my strike and swiftly shapes the metal in the image I desire. Mr. Hofi has often stated that his students can use heavier hammers with his techniques but I have found that I prefer a lighter hammer for most purposes... I use one of about 1 1/2 pounds much more than any other (I do have a small power hammer which serves for most heavy drawing purposes). My favorite hammer BTW is not a Hofi hammer, I reforged it from an old scruffy hammer that I bought at a BAM conference... it does have a similar shape and balance to the Hofi hammers though (and also shares some of the traits of the Haberman hammers from which the Hofi hammers are descended). Since I have no hammers of my own for sale at this point I usually reccommend Mr Hofi's as they are about the best available (IMO) and His videos on their use are also invaluable. I am also impressed with Nathan's Jackpine hammers but I like Mr. Hofi's even better. Edited by bigfootnampa
typo correction

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My straight peen is one of my favorite hammers. It has a nice broad peen on it---looks like a piece of 1" round stock. I never have a problem with one end digging. Don't see how that happens if your anvil is at the correct height for you and you can hit flat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New2BS My 2 cents I have used a hofi hammer at a friends shop. When it comes down to it, it is what worked best for you. Philip simmons's favorite hammer was a ball peen I like a cross peen I am tall and want a longer handle. Stanley tool and die has just come out with a 2 pound and a 4 pound cross peen hammer $20.00 each with fiber glass handles. You can get one at home depot or lowes. find your local blacksmith group and attend meeting they usely meet at diffrent shopes and it will give you a chance to try diffrent tools. Beginning classes will help a lot before you make a major investment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I prefer wood over fiberglass or plastic handles as you can reshape wood to fit you hand more easily. That said, you can reshape synthetic handles bit sometimes you need to recoat them with the right product or you risk splinters.

But this post is a separate discussion.

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me this question is like asking which is better, a straight screwdriver or a phillips. The answer is niether is better, they do two different things, and you need both. Example: Fish tail scroll with long taper. Fisrt I draw the stock using the straight peen, the stock and hammer handle are at right angles to each other and one hand is not in the way of the other. Next I spread the tail with the crosspein, again the stock and the hammer handle are at right angles. Of course there are other ways to do this, but is having a couple extra hammers that big of a deal? I have never gone the diagonal pein route, it is not that I am against it, but I do O.K. with my pairs of straight and cross piens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The old catalogs would show a straight peen for use by coopers, maybe for driving the hoops on?? I've never used a straight peen or diagonal peen for anything. Presently, my most used hammer is a 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bottom line is what works for you. Ball pein,cross pein,streight pein, rounding,claw. If
it works for ya use it. You wanna drive what I drive, Shoot what I shoot, Drink what I drink. Do what works for you not me or any one else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now