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Hey guys and gals,

I was bored today, so I made some Mokume out of a buck and a half. I've never done this before, and it felt rather gratifying to actually see some striations coming out. I drilled it four times, and pounded it flat again. Then I sanded it. Its at the 150 grit stage now.
P1270447.jpg
Sorry for the subpar picture.

Maybe it will be my unofficial lucky coin, and ride in my pocket for a while.

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I guess that would be nice huh.

I have a set of tongs I hammered out of some 1" pipe, and twisted. The mouth is about 1.5" wide. This pair of tongs are perfect for this sort of thing, as the mouth holds the material just right.
Anyways, at first, I tried heating them up to bright red, and dusted them with some borax. I figured the borax would help with the welding process. I was wrong.
My next shot at it I skipped the borax, and left them clamped in the tongs until a bright red color formed. I let it hang out there (bright red) for a little while, then promptly pulled it out of the fire. Next, I stuck the hot stuff in the vise, and cranked on it good. I did this process twice.

Back into the fire to a bright red, and then alternated between the anvil and fire a couple times to squish it out. Somewhere along the way, I drilled it four times, and flattened it some more. I teased it a little bit with a 120 grit bit on my dremel to get the ick off of it, then went to the 100 and 150 grit sandypaper.

The next one I make I am going to try either a twist, or maybe carve my initials into it. Or better yet, I could carve the initials of my parents in it, and give it to them as a gift!!

Genius!!!

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I think you forgot to tell what the buck and a half was incase those looking dont know.
New US quarters.
I do mine in a fixture made up of 1 1/2 X 1/4" steel with two 5/16" holes drilled.
I drill the holes far enough apart so with the bolts in it can still slide onto the vise jaws.
I take up to 15 quarters and gently flatten the little ridge on the outside of the faces of the quarter. This is so they stack better. Put them in the fixture and tighten the bolts as tight as they go then put in the vise and tighten some more.
I then heat in the forge. I use charcoal but any high heat will do.
I heated till red and then they sort of flashed. If you see little beads of material forming between the layers of quarters get them out of the heat now or you might get a puddle. I turn them over once in the heat process to get an even heat.

Once they are hot enough bring out of the fire put in vise and squeeze again. This squeeze should be as thick as a quarter of greater.
Once cold I take out of fixture and belt sand off the ridges in the side of the stack other wise it may be a cold shut which would be a flaw. I then reduce the height of the stack about 1/2, then drill, grind file ect a pattern on one side Ie top or bottom.
Heat and quench to soften or work hot to thin the stack. You can continue to patern by drilling ect. When drilling dont drill deeper that the angle of the bit. IE larger bit you can drill deeper smaller less deep.
The Nickel silver content of the quarter only wants to work our soo far then edges of quaters start forming in the pattern. I have thaught about doing a smaller stack of quarters working them to the size of 50 cent pieces then fusing that stack to about 3 or 4 half dollars then working down and paterning to get a bigger billed.

Last year at SOFA Ryan Johnson showed this process. He did not clean the quarters or anything just put them in tongs. He said this type mokume at his house was for when he gets up in the morning and remembers he has to go to a birthday party that day and did not get a gift and it was time to make mokume. He patterened his into a heart about the size of an old silver dollar There is a DVD somewhere of him doing this and making tomahawks at SOFA

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Fun isn't it Jed?

I've done it the simple way and just used tongs. I've also done it like 781 describes. The Ni Cop alloy in american coins fuses very easily, it's designed that way so it's cheaper making the stock for the coins. How handy for us eh?

I like taking my flatter to quarters before making a billet it just takes less effort to get good fusion if the faces match. Yeah, no flux or disolve a LITTLE borax in water and use the solution but it's not necessary. Use alcohol if you're using boric acid, again NOT necessary for this.

When heating I turn my forge WAY down from forging temp so I don't melt the stack before it's soaked to the center. Ideally you want a sweating temp just before you see beads of molten metal.

If your clamp is really nice and tight you won't need to do any pounding or take more than one good heat. Unfortunately Ni cop has the same or smaller expansion coefficient that steel so you're kind of stuck sticking it in the vise or hammering to get good fusion.

If on the other hand you make mokume from oh say copper and silver THEY have larger expansion coefficients than steel so they undergo increasing pressure in the clamp. Big time bigger pressure meaning once us usually plenty to get good fusion.

Here's another little tip, do NOT try making silver BRASS mokume or you'll run into the eutectic phase shift that is the reason brass and silver are used to make silver solder. In other words you won't have a billet, just a puddle in the forge.

Brass and copper make nice mokume though it's not as vivid as silver and copper. So, think separating the brass and silver with copper will work? . . . hmmmm? . . . You betcha. B)

Frosty the Lucky.

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Nice Jed. I did this a while ago, and it came out looking very similar to yours, though I did a different pattern with filed in lines instead of drilled in spots. It was great fun. I carried it in my pocket for weeks. It was nice to show it off when folks asked what I did 'blacksmithing'. Anyway, some where a long the way I lost it. I hope someone got a kick out of finding it!

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Thanks guys. It is pretty fun. I think I need to find a place that sells brass and silver. lol The applications are just about endless.


I Googled "Non-ferrous metal sales Anchorage" and got mostly recyclers but there were a few selling. I was really surprised to see the recycling center on King St. is selling again, so it might be a good place to look for inexpensive steel for the forge. I know I'd LOVE to have a rr car axle for a big honkin anvil.

Let me know when you get back, maybe we can get together for some fun with fire and hammers eh?

Frosty the Lucky.
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It looks like I'll get a chance to get back in my shop in a few days. Mark is coming over to do an evaluation. I need to get okayed to do things the Docs think are hazardous and smithing is right at the top of their list. Seeing as they don't really have any idea how to evaluate safe and proper shop practice they asked if a local smith might do the eval.

I can't tell you how good it's going to be to get back to playing with fire and hitting things. :D

Heck, we might even be alowed in my shop when you get back to town! :rolleyes:
Frosty the Lucky.

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I've got to try this. I read the famous book and the professor author made it very complicated compared to what has been said here. Bad Roger's clamp sounds like the approach I will try.


If you want to do it right talk to James Binnion, I think he still teaches. This is his site: http://mokume-gane.com/index.php

If you tell him Frosty sent you he'll probably only charge you double. :rolleyes: He's a good guy and does outrageous mokume, look around till you find his tea pot, it's 24k gold and iron. He's doing even more exotic things now. Wicked cool stuff for sure. He made Deb and my wedding rings a decade ago. Good guy all round.

Frosty the Lucky
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Say Jed: Mark came out yesterday and checked me out in my shop. I'm cleared to go to work as long as I take it easy and have someone one around to use the power hammer. All reasonable conditions I assure you.

So, come on out, we'll play with fire and iron. Let me know in advance though, if I need propane I'll need to make arrangements for a ride. I'm not recertified to drive and our pickup isn't running at the moment, you can't put a propane tank in a closed vehicle for good reason so I'll need a ride in a pickup to refill my 100lb bottle when it empties.

Give me a shout and come on out!

Frosty the Lucky

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