San mai and/or laminated steel

Kev

Well-Known Member
I would very much like to expand my offerings to include some San mai blades. I wish with all my heart I could make my own billets, but with 2 shoulder replacements swinging a hammer is not in the cards, and I’ve got a ways to go yet to afford, the tools that would help with that.
I see on a few sights laminated steel. Would something like this yield the wavy line between the different steels, or would it just be a straight line? Beyond that I would love a recommendation or 2 as to where I could purchased some San mai like I’m looking for. Better yet if you’d want to whip up a few billets and sell/trade them to me.
Thanks
 

billyO

Well-Known Member
Would something like this yield the wavy line between the different steels, or would it just be a straight line?
That depends on how much forging is done after the steels are welded, as well as the size of the drawing dies, the way the bar is drawn out, etc...

How big of a billet are you looking for?
 
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fitzo

KNIFE MAKER
USA Knifemaker sells Takefu san mai. Alpha Knife Supply offers san mai on occasion.
 
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Taz575

Well-Known Member
Makers material supply also sells japanese san Mai and another higher end brand. NJSB lists some laminated steel as well.
 

Heikki

KNIFE MAKER
I've been interested in doing this too and have the same questions. Been looking at the Alpha Knife Supply stuff. I've seen some pieces by Robert Erickson and asked him about it. Seems it gives a relatively straight line from just stock removal. I've read you need to "disrupt" it to achieve the wavy lines. My question is how thick do you need to start with and what are the possible pitfalls of reworking it? Can you cause it to delaminate? Is there a target working temp?
 

Taz575

Well-Known Member
I think some people hammer on it to disrupt the cladding, not sure if it is done hot or cold though? I thought I read about someone cold hammering before it was hardened, but I am not 100% sure? I would think doing it hot would be better and less stress on the steel?
 
I would very much like to expand my offerings to include some San mai blades. I wish with all my heart I could make my own billets, but with 2 shoulder replacements swinging a hammer is not in the cards, and I’ve got a ways to go yet to afford, the tools that would help with that.
I see on a few sights laminated steel. Would something like this yield the wavy line between the different steels, or would it just be a straight line? Beyond that I would love a recommendation or 2 as to where I could purchased some San mai like I’m looking for. Better yet if you’d want to whip up a few billets and sell/trade them to me.
Thanks
Kev, I use the stuff from New Jersey Steel Baron. I grind grooves into the cladding, nearly through it at a bevel, then forge it flat to get a wavy line. Without that process the line will be pretty much straight. I think it looks nice either way
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
The "store bought" stuff is likely made on a press and then rolling mill. Drawing it out with a press or hammer would give it the character that you see with hand/smith made stuff.
 

billyO

Well-Known Member
likely made on a press and then {drawn out on a} rolling mill. Drawing it out with a press or hammer would give it the character that you see with hand/smith made stuff.
So you would need to find a maker who draws out their billets to your final thickness without using a rolling mill.
 

Kev

Well-Known Member
What size billets and what steels are you looking for?
Size really isn’t a huge factor, except thickness I suppose. I would like it in the 3/16 range but no thinner than 1/8. Steels I’m not crazy picky either, but obviously something I can heat treat. I have an oven so I can do things like AEB-L and 52100, and I’m comfortable with those and that would be my preference, but I wouldn’t pass up the chance to try something new.
Thank you.
 

billyO

Well-Known Member
I use 1080/15N20 for my billets, and if you don't find a source by the end of the year, go ahead and send me a message and I'll play....but I won't have time until I get back in town and move my shop on Dec 27th....
 
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