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May 2, 2008 07:48 AM

Hand hammered woks

I've been trying to look for those woks with those beautiful hammer marks on them, like the ones in these pictures

The "Wok Shop" ( sells hand hammered woks, but the ones I bought don't really have that distinctive hammer pattern. They came out with a new hand hammered one, but the hammer dents look really really strange, like they purposely put a bunch of dents in a regular wok as some gimmick

Anyways, it seems as if you can only get "authentic" hand hammered woks from China. Has anyone been able to get a hold of one in the US? I would probably assume that you could find anything and everything Chinese in San Francisco, but unfortunately I live in DC

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  1. Same reply as earlier. Ask the folks at Best Restaurant Supply if they can locate something like that for you.

    1. I bought a hand-hammered wok in SF at the Wok Shop; it is lovely and works like a charm, after a thorough seasoning.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Hungry Celeste

        Do they sell the ones with the ping marks over there? I ordered a handhammered wok online, and though it is an excellent product, I'm specifically looking for the ones with the authentic looking hammer marks on them.

        1. re: takadi

          The one I bought certainly looks hand-hammered, but I'm not a metalworker, so I can't vouch for the hammering technique.

            1. re: justjoe

              To me, both the wok above and the seasoned one linked below look to be hammered for looks only and not actually formed by hammering. This wok appears smooth and has an even matte finish, and the hammer marks are evenly spaced and shiny (hammering metal creates a shiny mark), more like a decorative pattern. It is possible that the wok was formed by hammering and the craftsman fully planished out all hammer marks, created a matte finish (sanding/sandblasting or whatever), THEN put decorative hammer marks back into the metal (this seems unlikely). More than likely, I would think that the wok was stamped into shape, given a matte finish, then given hammer marks as a final step. Technically I guess you could say it is a 'hammered wok.' However, to actually form a piece of metal by hammering, you have to hammer the HELL out of it and nice neat evenly spaced marks are not what you get.

              Here's a photo of a wok that looks like it was formed by hammering:

              It is possible that the shiny hammer marks perform some function, but I'm not a wok-cooking expert.

      2. like you, i had some concerns about the wok shop's hand-hammered wok being too "dented". i found this better picture of one of their woks after seasoning:

        it looks as though the "dents" aren't nearly as pronounced as they look in the picture on the wok shop site, but the fact that they are so regular and evenly spaced lead me to doubt that it's truly hand-hammered.

        i'm guessing that the marks are caused by two hammers--a hammer (or stamp) is placed where the mark is to be made, and then another hammer is used to strike the marking hammer/stamp. so i guess technically that could still be considered "hand-hammered", but not in the sense that the mark is caused by a direct hammer strike during the forming process.

        either that, or the marks are caused by a stamping machine.

        i agree, it doesn't have that "authentic" look, but even so, it's probably a perfectly good wok which i might end up ordering anyway. and i'm guessing the hammer marks still serve the function of holding the food up on the sides of the wok, rather than just being a gimmick.

        since you live in dc, maybe you can contact the person who took that picture to see if you can take a look at the wok first hand! or else just contact him/her if you have more questions.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bbobbo

          I was always under the impression the hammer marks or dings were to hold the oil not food. If you find a solid source I hope you will share as I have always wanted a I mean hammered wok.

          1. re: bbobbo

            Oh my, the wok shop's credibility dropped a notch for me. It looks like they took a regular wok and pounded some dents in it, and they think it'll increase it's value! LOL

            In the summer of 2007 they had another hand hammered wok that was very much different than the one they have today, perhaps they couldn't find anymore of it. Anyways, I'm convinced that you can only find the "real" stuff in China.

            1. re: jeffreyem

              Asianawest seems to have outrageous pricing -- cooking chopsticks for 10.95 (a dollar store item!) and porcelain soup spoon for 4.95 (way under a dollar at any asian store store I've ever been in). If you're buying a wok here, make sure you price compare what you're getting!


              1. re: tekkamaki

                I have to be genuinely curious as to the *real* benefit of a hand hammered wok over one that has been fully planished (smoothed out) or one that has been spun (resulting in the familiar concentric pattern in the steel). I admit I love the visual beauty of a rustic-looking roughly hewn cooking vessel, but I have to question just how much the millimeter or so variance can affect cooking -especially if the heat gets evenly distributed.

                As an aside as to where to go for such an item- has anyone considered having one made?? Such a form as a shallow bowl (all a wok is, after all) is simple work for anyone familiar with metalworking. any metalworking student or auto fabricator can churn that shape out in literally under an hour (if not under a half!).

                I can almost assure you that the "hand" aspect of many of these woks is less than likely to actually be the result of the visual imagined hammer in hand striking the metal and more the result of a power-hammer and the piece being controlled by hand turning - still considered 'hand-hammered" in truth *and* result, but not quite as poetic an image.

                1. re: Scortch

                  I think that a cast iron wok works best on most home stoves. I like my Lodge cast iron wok.

                  1. re: justjoe

                    They had an amazing deal on Amazon where they cut the price in half. Stupid me thought it was going to go lower, so it's back at 50/60 dollars now. I can't bring myself to buy cast iron for that much money

              1. re: alanbarnes

                I recently bought this wok. It's a great wok, don't get me wrong, but it looks like kinda a toned down version of the wooden-handled pow wok posted earlier in this thread.

                So "authentic"...probably not, but it really does cook great and the price is right. That being said, if I found a genuinely hand-hammered wok, I'd buy it in a half second, give my current one away, never look back - I'm flaky that way. :)