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My 1st go at San Mai

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This started  out as a goofing around project & has kinda gone off in it's own direction. I've never attempted to do san mai before, let alone cable san mai, or cable anything either. We restrung a crane at work a month or two back & I snagged 10m or so of the old take off. It was free, so why not. No idea of material type though, but its 12mm cable. 

I cut 6 sections of cable roughly 100mm long. So its 3 peices on each side of a 1095 core. Welded the ends to the core & a tack midway down on either side. Then with absolutely no idea what I'm doing I went to the fire. 

This is where I'm at now. Did a quick grind to 240 to see what's going on. Inclusions here and there. Cores not to straight. Need to draw out the tang more. Bevel or bevel & etc. 


I'm thinking a small chisel ground herb chopper or something similar. 


Any pointers from those whose done this before is greatly appreciated. 





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You get fewer inclusions if you twist it up tight on the first welding heat.  That closes the gaps.  You can actually feel it lock up solid.

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Thank you. It's a start I suppose. I ment to do some plain stainless san mai. But I got sidetracked. Again & again. 

Since I got a new forge a couple months back. I've been bouncing all over the place with what I've been doing. Everything  from this to random damascus to some Merovingian. It's all fun!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ha,  I'm from Springfield too, only in Oregon.    Your first try at San Mai looks a lot like my firsts to.  My core was all over the place, on one side on one edge, and running out to the surface the other way on the other edge.  My hammering isn't as uniform as I'd like.  My next ones I just forged it as bar stock and ground to shape checking the centering of the core as I went and those worked out better.  Your use of the cable as the outside is wise as small diameter cable will be rather low carbon after forge welding, and this will make better sides for pattern and flexible strength.  Next one you might leave it a bit thicker to leave more for grinding past forging defects to leave cleaner sides.  It's always learning as we go along.  Fun experimenting..

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