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I Forge Iron

Wrought San-Mai Cleaver


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On 12/3/2020 at 10:56 AM, ThomasPowers said:

Lovely to look at; but what is the fuller for?  Seems like it would make it harder to clean; also the hard milled(?) edges don't play nice with the more "organic" lines of the san mai to my eye.

In all honesty, it's there solely because the customer I made the first one of these for requested it specifically.  When I tried to talk him out of it (I'm not a personal fan of fullers in general) he insisted it was a must.  So there it is.  


On this one, the customer requested a knife just like the first (he saw the pictures when I put them online) but with a different handle material.  So, it got the fullers too.  

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EXACTLY, the customer wants extra pays extra. I charge changes or special features at: time, materials and consumables.  That includes special tooling. A fuller would need a spring fullering die in my shop, I don't like ground let alone machined fullers. Of course if a customer wanted to buy me a vertical or horizontal mill I could be persuaded.;)

Frosty The Lucky. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Good morning what a beautiful piece! I have a question for you about san mai.

I tried my first san mai yesterday with a railroad spike and coilspring. I tried what I've heard is the "traditional technique" so hot cut a well in the spike and inserted a piece of high carbon. It seemed to go pretty well for my first time, I tried a heat treat in oil first but it didn't seem to harden. I may have heated the oil too much so I did a second heat treat in water, that got the file to skate.

My question is, do you need to temper san mai? 

Sorry to high jack, I just saw an opportunity to ask someone who might be able to help.


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If most any piece of steel is hard enough for a file to skate on it, it is also brittle and has a higher possibility of chipping and breaking in use.  So, yes, IMO you should temper the edge to whatever hardness you desire.  You don't have to worry about the mild steel part of the blade, all it is doing is supporting the higher carbon steel of the edge.  The construction of the body of the blade, san mai, solid, pattern welded, etc. has little to do with how you temper the edge.  The edge is the working part of the knife and that should be your focus.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Thanks George that's great information I really appreciate it and that completely makes sense. The next one I do I'll wait to heat treat it until after I shape it. I ended up cracking about 1/8" off the tip when I tried to straighten out a minor warp. The positive part I found was a) it was definitely hard and b) I have a strong forge weld since the tip is still encased. I will have to reshape the end but that's part of the fun.

Also, I'll create my own thread.

Thanks again. 

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