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I Forge Iron

Is a Sen worth making


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Frosty referred to a Sen in a recent topic and it reminded me of my poor experience with the Sen I made. My Sen looks good and seems to be properly hardened but I have no idea what the edge bevel angle should be. I tried blunt and sharp and had poor performance with both. Is there anyone who has had good results with a SEN.If so, please describe the edge angle, hardening process and use of this tool. Is it better than a large file?
Similar questions re a metal scraper used to true up a flat surface.

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I have never got around to making a proper sen, but I've made some quickly by grinding off the teeth (carefully) from a half round file, leaving sharp D-shaped edges on both sides of the bar. Rich is right that a file removes more pieces of metal, but a sen can take off much larger pieces with each stroke. I'm removed curls of metal 0.7mm thick and 5mm wide and upto about 20mm long quite easily. And by shaping the blade to a slight curve, you can remove a focussed area that a file can't reach (such as the fuller or even just a gentl hollowing in targetted areas.

I still use files in preference myself, but I think its partly down to my lack of experiece with making the sen just right.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have made a couple of sen and used them initally and then not at all. they are a tool designed for tamagane , in that material I think they would work well. I find their action which is somewhat akin to a shaper or milling machine tends to work harden the modern steel I use. Files seem to work better and a belt grinder best!!
If you like having every tool then go and make one if not i would not bother.

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Not everyone works in a powered shop or wants to for that matter.

I tend to use an angle grinder myself and do a bit of careful "hogging" before switching to the file. This is based on having *1* extension cord heading across the lawn to my smithy. When/If I get full electrical service then the bader and powerhammers and electric heat treat oven and *lights* will finally have their day!

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