Mark Wargo New2bs

Cross Pein Vs. Straight Pein?

41 posts in this topic

Thanks for the perspectives. As a novice, I just wanted to get some ideas about what might work best. I don't want to develop bad habits, or use shortcuts when I need to be learning something valuable. Up to this point I've been using re-handled pawn shop hammers. My wife is ordering me a 3# cast hofi hammer, so I can look forward to using that when it arrives next year. In the mean time, I'll develop the skill I can with the cross pein and improve my muscle development and hammer control.

P.S. I drive a Toyota Tacoma and shoot a Tikka T3 .270 Winchester Short Magnum. :D

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Also, Arftist, my thinking was along your method. It feels more natural for me to hold the material and the hammer at 90 degree angles. That places me closer to the work, and helps me better see what I'm doing.

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A few years ago I was looking for a straight pien hammer selection and could find none. Tons of cross piens but no real selection of straights. Junior Strasil made me a 3 lb straight pien and I absolutely loved it. I then over a period of a couple years had him make me 3 more straights and 3 cross piens. All different weights.

Take a piece of 3/8 rod and forge a long tapered point. Make the pigtail and then prepare to make a hook end (fron the far side of the face to the horn ). To me, the transition by rolling the head from hammer face to straight pien is a natural way to get a nice symmetrical curve. You can strike in close to the pigtail. This all done without changing the postiion of your hand.

It has been stated that perhaps a beginner class might be a good way prior to making an investment in tools. I won't necessarily disagree with this. Your own shop and your own anvil will make a difference.

Forging loops on ends of stock is a basic exercise. I do this exercise a lot on the face and horn of the anvil and use a straight pien. If I have a piece of tooling in the hardy (or vise) I use a cross pien because the geometry has changed. This also pertains to a floor cone mandril or swage block edge (which almost always uses a cross pien in my needs).

Some are in love with a quarter pien and I can understand that I guess. I just stay 45

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My mame was mentioned here several times and I want to clear some points from my point of view.
In my smithy and school I have ALL types of hammers to show my students the veriety of hammers in the smithing world.
There is NO contrediction between the hammer types and one is useing the hammers according to the need.
I forge ALL the types of hammers according the order and the will of my customers .
I myself used the straight pein hammer only once in the last 21 years only because I was asked by one of my student to demo it .the diagonal hammer I NEVER USE because I do not fined a need or a reason to use it. 95 % of my forging and I forge a lot is done with the cross pein hammer and to day or the last 5 years I forge mainly with the cast crosspein hammer because it is the most balanced ergonomic hammer .
I personaly do not like the phrase ''do what is good for you'' this is allways a cover for not learning another way that might be better only bacause one is used to a wrong or inferier way of forging. I KNOW IT IS NOT EASY TO CHANGE.
Hofi

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Thank you all for your insight. I went looking around this weekend for blacksmithing tools at flea markets and antique shops. By pure luck I happened upon a demonstration by the Mississippi Forge Council. Those folks were very informative and discussed hammers with me and allowed me to get a feel for each of the hammers they had available. A big thanks to those guys for their knowledge and hospitality!

Mark

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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! :)


Wow Peyton, I've never heard such a thing.

Maybe if you close your eyes when using one?

Frosty

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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

I

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I think you have it right. I'm cheap and I don't have a straight pene but I want one. I like the hammer to dance in my hands. If it doesn't I walk away. I like 24 oz -2.5 lb regular work and 3 lb heavy stuff. My best hammer was in the scrap pile at a flea market- old hand forged straight pene 3 lb. paid a dollar. I always round the edges of the face of the hammer with a file so it is like a slight dome - think farrier rounding hammers. doesn't leave marks and pushes the metal . Do that to the pene as well. Penes are always too sharp - round them up.

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I am a fan of cross and straight pein hammers. They both have their place. I have enjoyed reading the discussion.

I made myself a straight pein, because I could only find one for sale for about $70 US. I like to make tools, so I made the eye drift, hot chisel, then the hammer head. I made some mistakes. I made the pein to thin. about 3/16"... I use it for texture now. I did want to use it for long drawing, or middle of the long piece work. I may make another.. but a fuller or guillatine are more effecient in my mind for a lot of or heavy drawing.

I agree with the "take some classes" suggestion.. wish I had. .. but at the same time..make, borrow or buy cheaply the tools you want to play with to get a feel for them. Each of us will have their own tool kit. I think the only mandatory items ... with broad interpretation... are a. Forge, b. Anvil, c. Tongs, d. Hammer... and 1 or 2 non negotiables that must be high quality !!! Saftey glasses... !!!

If you learn about many different styles, you will find your own. ...

don't be afraid to try things out, whats the worst that can happen? ... you need to buy more steel and coal... (I am leaving injuries out on purpose... ) and another day at the forge...

Cliff

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This is a question that I have thought about as well.  I personally prefer the straight peen that I have, at least it seems that the way I use it to draw out makes more sense than trying to do it with a cross peen, since I like that 90 degree angle more than 180 or 0 degrees.  I use it more, but for widening out a cross peen obviously works better for me.  For general work without drawing out or widening, I don't see any difference.  So... use the tool to do what you need to do.

E. Beachy

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Are you sure it is the cross pien hammer that is giving tyou grief? It could equally be the tongs, size/type/shape/fit or how they are being held. When viewing a video or watching a demo by a tutor or skilled proponent, how often do you watch how the work is being hammered, failing to take notice of how it is being held and handled?

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That could be.  I just know that the way I tried to do it felt really awkward trying to bend my hands around.  More practice needed...

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CBrann,

I did the same thing with a cheapo drilling hammer. At the time I thought it made more sense to draw out long stock using the peen.  That didn't turn out to well for me.

After trying a bunch of different options, I found that I got things done faster using a crowned face hammer on either the horn or with half-face blows on the off side corner.  Frank's comment about a flat peen leaving less "cleanup" is spot on.  It takes some experience to realize that "faster" blacksmithing comes from moving metal quickly AND precisely.  Anything that puts deep dings or creases where you'll want it smooth later isn't saving time.  

I find myself using a ball peen more often than anything else.  It's not "balanced" which is what makes it want to fall straight.  I find that if the face is cocked too far for corner fullering, it torques in my hand.  That feedback tells me that I've passed the "sweet spot" where I've maximized the pinching effect of the cocked blow.  The limitations on "corner fullering" keeps me from putting in dings to planish out later on. 

 

 

 

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To hit in the exact right spot is always a challenge - more for the newbee than for the experienced. It is easier to hit right with the flat than with the peen. Now this moves steel in both directions so the solution is to use a bottom fuller or the far edge of the anvil. This way the horizontal direction of the handle is unimportant so the cross or diagonal peen hammer is not needed. One can stand slightly off center versus the anvil and hold the hammer in the most comfortable way. Also less precision is necessary since it is hitting flat with flat. A simple spring fuller is also a very helpful tool. To do it this way not only gives a better precision but it also minimizes the contact area between stock and anvil so less heat is lost. For these reasons I hardly ever use the pein these days and I would not use a Hofi hammer since I find it easier to position the stock on the edge of the anvil than to tilt the hammer head. Of course one should have the anvil edge properly dressed. To use the horn is an alternative but there is less mass below. I have made an experimental straight peen hammer (Stock removal from a scrapped stone masons hammer) but I find that I do not use it. My main anvil weighs 250 pounds. Maybe I would do it differently on a small one.   

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I have taken cheap 2# engineers hammers (double faced) and reforged them into diagonal piens, and straight peins.  If I still needed a cross pein that I liked I would do the same to get that.  I have a double diagonal pien that is one of my favorite hammers.  I once used the double to forge a large colonial ladle out of around 3"-4" of 1" square, it ended up over 14" long.  I don't draw points with the pien much at all, rather I use the edge of the anvil and a bottom fuller.  I tend to use the pein for texturing, precise shaping, setting down, shoulding, and drawing stems or necks.... I like lots of different hammers, and use a wide variety to get whatever effect I am going for...  I have probably 4 or 5 straight peins, from 1.5#-6# in hand hammers and an ugly 14# straight sledge... I regularly find uses for all the hand hammer sized ones.  The 14# sledge is an excellent doorstop...  I really like the Hofi style hammers, but lost my Tom Clark hammer out the back of the truck, in a moment of senility...

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At one of the Abana Affiliate meetings a fellow borrowed the use of the hosts hydraulic press and turned a double flat face hammer into a double diagonal peen.  As I recall once heated it took the press two bites on each end and left a lovely curved peen "face" as well.

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