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Mokume Gane


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The press is an H frame. I would also love to have a small roller mill....

BI- give it a go, try a small amount at first, don't breath the fumes, Bla, Bla, Bla.... you know what to do :D but don't forget pictures B)

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John, I have done Iron and copper and what I did (not saying its the "right thing" but it worked well for me)


I made a iron box to contain the billet, tried to get as little dead space inside the box as possible, What I did was use copper filings and shavings to fill the box after the stack was in place and on top of the stack to make sure there where no voids... I welded the thing solid and heated it at about 95% of the melting temp for an hour, brought it out and heated the shell with a rose bud for just a second to get it above the core temp and then hammered it with the powerhammer.... the only failure I ever had was once I got the can too hot and it burst during hammering, not good to send streams of near molten copper squirting at high speed across the shop... And FE-wood is right, if you want to have a consistent pattern you need about 10 times the thickness in silver to iron to end up anyplace close to it... If you want to be able to forge the finished product I would keep the iron layers thin and the silver thick

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Pictures! I'll open my veins before I go down that road again :angry: I hate computers and digital cameras! :blink:
I have made up some small blobs of silver and copper saw dust, dose this ever forge down different than regular sterling :o
I didn't do any weighing or anything like that just made two piles on my charcoal block and then mixed them together, put the torch to it. When I forged it out to about the size of a half dollar, annealed it twice, it sure fought back quick, work hardened very quickly. Is this normal for this stuff? :huh:

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have made a few batches of Mokume Gane. I have used coins Canadian pennies and nickels. You used to be able to legally deface American coins but now it is illegal to do so to pennies and nickels. Dimes on up they do not have a problem with because it costs them less to make them than the face value.

I started with coins but now I have used fine silver,95% silver 5% copper,5,10 and 25% Shibuichi, copper, and several copper tin alloys in different combinations. I make my own alloys.

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post-16767-0-46627500-1295921507_thumb.j

post-16767-0-66711900-1295921560_thumb.j

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Pictures! I'll open my veins before I go down that road again :angry: I hate computers and digital cameras! :blink:
I have made up some small blobs of silver and copper saw dust, dose this ever forge down different than regular sterling :o
I didn't do any weighing or anything like that just made two piles on my charcoal block and then mixed them together, put the torch to it. When I forged it out to about the size of a half dollar, annealed it twice, it sure fought back quick, work hardened very quickly. Is this normal for this stuff? :huh:



I have never had much luck melting saw dust. it seems to form to many oxides and other impurities. I have tried different fluxes. Normally I melt the highest temp metal first and add the lower melt temp after the higher is liquid. then a small amount of flux stir with a Ti rod. the real key is to have a reducing flame and never let the flame leave the melted metal till it is solid. I normally do not use an oxy/fuel torch to alloy or make my Mokume Gane. a good propane torch is what I prefer to use
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Nice looking work there tala9!!

As far as making your alloys, are you doing it in a small crucible? I have melted filing before, they do need to be kept clean and the more the better.... Charge the pot before you fire up the melt...

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I don't have much of a problem with oxides with my acetylene/air torch on the charcoal block with a pinch of flux. It's not like I'm making a whole crucible of the stuff, just blobs of it. Like the song from Le Miserables, The master of the House, "a little bit of this and little bit of that". I have more than enough swarf to experiment with for a good long while and have produce one rather nice looking little disk of Mokume-Gane, about 3/8" round. Fun stuff this Mokume-Gane! :P

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Fe yes I use a small crucible and generally make 2 to 4 troy ozs at a time pouring it into an ingot mold and work that into sheets.

Bentiron1946 I do not have an acetylene/air torch so I use Propane but yes this Mokume is fun stuff.

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Was messing around and with some quarters... and stumbled on an odd effect on the copper.



Cant find the cable for my camera, so had to use the one in my phone.

The first image is after setting in lemon juice for an hour or so...
..the second, is the same bar after taking a short bath in muriatic acid.

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post-14529-0-02259700-1296448689_thumb.j

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was it clean muriatic acid? Pool supply kind? The affect looks like bubles... or is it pits? Interesting



I'll have to check what type for sure, got a small amount from a friend
to see.

It's neither pits or bubbles, but rather a crystalized look/appearance.
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Got another piece to do the same...

muriatic acid, 'dirty' or 'contaminated' by a rusty, galvanized coupling.
Depth or thickness of the copper layer seems to play a part in how pronounced the effect.

Going to toss a small piece of copper in the dirty mix and see what happens.

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Interesting! I'm no chemist so I haven't a clue as to whats going on. Sounds a bit like a crystalline build up of some sort I had a similar thing happen- I was using some muriatic acid that had previously been used to clean mild steel to clean some copper and the copper came out with a nice red patina on it. It would mostly wash right off but still, it looked like a red brick color....

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I think that the "red brick" color is just copper that had been leached off of the surface, not a true patina. The crystals that you are seeing in the other one are what is left after the smaller metallic crystals of copper have been leached away by the etching action of the acid on the whole of the mokume-gane billet. I wish James B. could see that one, maybe you could send him an e-mail about it, he knows a lot more than most near anybody about it. :blink:

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  • 1 year later...

I'm writing as one who has not tried mokume gane. I co-hosted a workshop at the Yuma, AZ Symposium with Phillip Baldwin in 1988. He worked on steel knife blades for his portion of the workshop. I didn't realize at the time that he had already founded www.shiningwaves.com, a firm that makes mokume gane. Phillip is in Washington state and was on the Southern Illinois University team that experimented with the art and developed some of the techniques in its making in the late 1970's. On Shining Waves website, Phillip talks about his approach and his background. He gets some amazing patterns. He is a supplier for already made billets and sheets of mokume gane, some of which is sold through an interesting firm, www.reactivemetals.com. Reactive Metals sells all sorts of supplies and tools for bench work as opposed to large hammered work (like blacksmithing). They have a DVD by Steve Midgett on the process titled "Mokume Gane in the Small Shop" @ $49.95 plus shipping.

Hope this helps

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Correction to Frank Turley's post the website is http://www.shiningwave.com/ no "s" at the end of shiningwave.

His patterns (http://www.shiningwave.com/patterngallery.html) especially his Jaz pattern is very interesting and his and I am looking forward to sitting down and reading the PDF (http://www.shiningwave.com/RioPatternDevelopmentWorkshop.pdf) I would have paid good money to have been in that Rio Workshop.

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  • 5 months later...



I have seen numerous recommendations here on IFI and elsewhere online for Steve Midgett's Mokume Gane - A Comprehensive Study, and I am utterly baffled by the prices that I am seeing online. Is the supply/demand curve so utterly inflated by limited printing that a used copy can legitimately retail for $500? I checked the authors website and he just links back to amazon, and the only other vendor i found with a reasonable price (ottofrei, sub $50) was out of stock. Im more than tempted to pick up the german translation from amazon for $50 and beg my girlfriend to translate it back to english!

Am I missing something? I would love to have a copy of this book!

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So i am getting some equipment set up to try making a billet of quarters mokume in the near future, iv included a few photos for reference.

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this is the set of steel plates that i prepared to use as a pressure clamp (sitting on my 4" harbor freight bench vice, also the only anvil i have been able to source so far) holding 8 quarters (old and burned from a previous fail, just for sizing purposes here)

Having only worked extensively with silver, brass and copper i do not have a very good working knowledge of the different types of steel, this is the tag of the steel bar stock i picked up from lowes, will this be applicable for heating under pressure for mokume?
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the plates are 1.5" x 2" x 1/8" and the bolts are 1/4" stainless.

i wll post up photos of whatever may result when i get the time to actually attempt it!

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It will work once, maybe more than once, but it is sacrificial anyways. I used 1x1/4, about 4 inches long, and wired it tight when I did "quarters".

So your only anvil is the flat on the back of the vise? That isn't very strong. A sizable chunk of plain steel would be much better.

Phil

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Thanks Phil,

Rats, i was hoping id be able to recycle that a few times... if not just have it be a 'quarters setup'. perhaps if it might end up as a disposable item i should up the ante and do more than 8 in the first batch.

why did you use what seems like such a long setup for quarters? they are just under 1" in the rough by my calipers, any particular reason for that much overhang? or were you doing multiple stacks at once?

Lamentably yes, thats my anvil at present, its actually a step up from my jewelers anvil, which is just a 4"x4"x1" block of modestly polished steel with no potential to anchor without clamping it in a bench vice. im going to partake in an intro to blacksmithing course at adams forge this weekend, and depending on how that goes i may intensify my efforts to find a more propper anvil. i have recently aquired a decent stump to anchor it to as well, just need to get the bolt sizes right and level out the faces of the wood.

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I will certainly keep you posted! ran out of time this weekend so it will have to be bumped. I did however attend the intro course at Adam's Forge in LA today which was pretty excellent. Convenient too that the intro project was a letter opener, as that is my ultimate intended project with the Mokume Gane that I want to make (real style, using brass/copper/nickel; quarters is just for training purposes)

Steve, is the 3/8" more reuseable or still pretty disposable? I'm hoping the short lever arm on my plate will offer some resistance and at the very least prevent it from bowing and failing in the first heat, if not maybe stay serviceable for another.

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