Rravan

mokume gane

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hi guys i was makind a knife the other day and was in the middle of desining the handle for it and thought it would look realy good with a mokume gane gard on it. only problem is i know next to nothing on the subject and was hoping you guys could help.
eg can i just forge weld it to gether?
do i need a flux?
ect. any light sheed on this would be well recived

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I have no experience making it, so take these links with a grain of salt peter. Came across them while looking myself.

Mokume-Gane Metal Techniques with James Binnion
J. Arthur Loose: Handmade Damascus Blades, Rings & Jewelry (Under Studio, Making Mokume)
Making Mokume (This is making Mokume from quarters, many sites, and posts in various forums cover this, it's a popular technique)
Ariel Salaverria Custom Knives - Damascus Custom Knives - Tutorials (An Argentine maker, who frequents many of the forums and posts alot of tutorials for his techniques, which tend to have a very 'Ariel' look to them. Probably does the most detailed photo tutorials out of anyone on knifemaking forums)

Hope that helps -MJ


And only bothered to check the obvious afterwards. Theres a blueprint on the subject,

http://www.iforgeiron.com/blueprints-000-100/bp0064-mokume-gane.html

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Hey Rraven,

I made a small pseudo piece of mokume by forging pennies & nickles together. The piece is large enough to make a guard, small bolsters, or butt cap. Saw how to do it on YouTube. Only problem now is that one of the guys at work wants a larger piece to machine and I'm not quite sure how to do it.

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What metals are you using? 

In general- no flux, it will just get in the way and will not protect soon enough or dissolve any firescale off copper.

The real secrets are all metal must be very clean and protected from the air. 

Leave not even a fingerprint. clean and use degreaser like alcohol. The main enemy here is air, so no gaps! Clamp it all tight, heat till it starts to sweat but not melt.weld it gently at first. Remember you are dealing with a huge pile of forge welds here so no rough housing until you are sure about it.

if you are using anything with nickel in it do not try and move it unless it is glowing hot. Nickel is harder than copper and it will tear away if beaten cold. 

Let me know if you get stuck and I will see what I can do to help.

Ps. There is a learning curve with this, so do not give up right away. It can be done and done well. 

Edited by teenylittlemetalguy

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I highly recommend the book Mokume Gane by Ian Ferguson, it is out of print, but still available online or at your public library. Everything you need to know is in that book.

I posted a short slide show on my website of making a billet from copper and fine silver. It's on the Shop page. I have a 24 ton press that puts out about 2500 psi, and a 25 lb power hammer, both of which are almost indespensible for working with larger billets, but if all you are making is the guard, you can get by with a simpler set up and smaller pieces. My first press was made from a hydraulic car jack (8 ton, the bottle type) and some heavy steel plate. I was using pieces of 1"x2" or 1"x3".  Pressing the weld is much better than trying to hammer it. Teeny has some good tips above, and the books are out there. Keep posting your progress here and those of us who have this down can help you as you go.

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cliffrat, if you had to choose specifically for Mokume and could afford only one tool would you take the press or the hammer?

 

​Not only for Mokume, but for metal working in general, I would take the hydraulic press. Ever since I got the press, my hammer has become more of an accessory to the press than my main working tool. I now have it semi-automated, but even when I only had the foot controller for the ram, it just made everything so much easier and faster. You can make dies for your press (similar to making tooling dies for your hammer except you don't need a hand to hold them) that do everything from drawing out, cut-off, squaring, and fullering, to whatever you can imagine. When I used to make Damascus with my power hammer only, it would take me most of the day to get a billet up to 300 or 400 layers. Now I can do it in about 2 hours (my new ribbon burner forge helps a lot too!). Also there are some Damascus patterns you just cannot make without a press, like double-U, feather, and any mosaic pattern.

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​Not only for Mokume, but for metal working in general, I would take the hydraulic press. Ever since I got the press, my hammer has become more of an accessory to the press than my main working tool. I now have it semi-automated, but even when I only had the foot controller for the ram, it just made everything so much easier and faster. You can make dies for your press (similar to making tooling dies for your hammer except you don't need a hand to hold them) that do everything from drawing out, cut-off, squaring, and fullering, to whatever you can imagine. When I used to make Damascus with my power hammer only, it would take me most of the day to get a billet up to 300 or 400 layers. Now I can do it in about 2 hours (my new ribbon burner forge helps a lot too!). Also there are some Damascus patterns you just cannot make without a press, like double-U, feather, and any mosaic pattern.

Thank you, I had heard similar before from others and was surprised. What hp pump did you use for 24 ton? I need to look into this.

 

 

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Teeny: I bought my press used. (I've bought a lot of used hand-me-downs from my mentor when he decided he needed to upgrade his machinery!)
 So I had to run out to the shop and look at the pump to answer your question....there was a toad in the shop so I had to catch him and relocate him to the vegetable garden. Sweet! Thanks for asking the question. I would never have found him otherwise. Now where was I? Oh yeah the pump. It's 5HP.

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Ps. There is a learning curve with this, so do not give up right away.

​These pearls of wisdom applies  to so  many things on this site!

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Teeny: I bought my press used. (I've bought a lot of used hand-me-downs from my mentor when he decided he needed to upgrade his machinery!)
 So I had to run out to the shop and look at the pump to answer your question....there was a toad in the shop so I had to catch him and relocate him to the vegetable garden. Sweet! Thanks for asking the question. I would never have found him otherwise. Now where was I? Oh yeah the pump. It's 5HP.

My psychic toad finding powers are at an all time high today! Happy to help, thanks for the pump info. Wish that kind of equipment ever came up for dale here. It is rare and you will fight for it pretty hard.

 

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​These pearls of wisdom applies  to so  many things on this site!

You are right about that. I say it about Mokume loudly though as it is very frustrating especially using coins as seems to be a common starting point here. I started and stopped a couple times while I contemplated my errors. I Eventually got it down.

 

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​Not only for Mokume, but for metal working in general, I would take the hydraulic press.....(snip).....  Also there are some Damascus patterns you just cannot make without a press, like double-U, feather, and any mosaic pattern.

​I too like presses, but I can not let this statement pass. You know of course Cliffrat that the feather pattern originated in Indonesia many generations ago where the smiths rarely wore shoes let alone had hydraulic presses. That pattern in particular was re-discovered by Larry Sandlin in 1988 I think who taught it to Don Fogg in the 90's who taught it to me and I to Steve Schwarzer and then Don, Steve and I demonstrated it at one of Jim Batson's conferences where it spread like blood in the water.........this was near 16 years ago now. As I recall Don used the power hammer for the main billet building and I hand drove the chisel with a five pound hammer through the stack prior to re-welding.

BUT to the point at hand with mokume:

Rravan, I suggest 110 copper at the base metal and either 260 brass or 752 nickel silver as the other metal.....no not use 360 brass as it is leaded. The technique involves getting to about 2/3 the liquids temp for the eutectic of the metals in contact and then allowing for both soak time and increasing the area of contact...i.e. holding at temp and then forging it out. Clean all metals very well prior to stacking.

Ric

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I need to add that I do not have a power hammer or a press, and I make mosaics by hand... Be very careful when stating absolutes.

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Steve is absolutely against absolutes.........wise man.

Steve.......I know you have site restrictions given your home location, but would not a hid press be allowed? They can be made quieter with a slower speed motor or a direct couple motor/pump (no lovejoy or linkage just a direct couple shaft).

Ric

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next on my list is a hydraulic press :)  after I firgure out what to remove to make space for it.

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Richard and Steve: I stand corrected and I wish to modify my previous statement as such:

"Also there are some Damascus patterns I just will not make without a press, like double-U, feather, and any mosaic pattern."

Not because I think it's impossible, it's just that I am fundamentally a lazy man. The most effort I put into doing anything is figuring out the easiest way to do it.

Steve, I think you should remove one wall of the shop. That way you can add the press. Right after you add another three sections of wall. As my original blacksmith mentor used to say "Every man needs a quarter acre under cover."

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The 752 Nickel-Silver contains about 17% Zinc, and the cartridge Brass has about 30% Zinc.. Do you think it helps with getting it to a fusing temp compared to 70/30 Cupronickel? I'm still looking for some high contrast metals like Cupronickel and Copper.

Edited by Jammer

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I have not tried CuproNickel, I would think it is possible but it is pretty tough compared to copper or brass and would be concerned with tearing if not worked hot. 

that being said nothing beats experience, give it a whirl. Maybe you have something there.

I have used cartridge brass and it behaves nicely.

if you are looking at making jewelry then you really should look at precious metals, you have lots of known patina solutions to give great contrast. If you want to try it silver is currently at a very reasonable level. I bought some just so I could make rings now and then. 

If like me you are trying to mostly do larger non jewelry items then Nickel silver ,Copper and Brass are what the Pro's seem to be using and I think they have spent considerable efforts in coming to their choices. I am using them and experimenting with options for patina to help with the contrast. That and saving for controls so I can do a solid state weld as the line between the metals is sharper and the bond is more reliable. 

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I know this is an old topic, but I will post it here anyways, since this is a Sticky post with the most useful info:

On 10/30/2007 at 10:38 AM, Firegirl said:

Get the books done by Steve Midgett on Making Mokume...he's one of the best.

The book "Mokume Gane: A Comprehensive Study" has recently (last year) been released for free by the author, in this site:

https://www.mokume.com/mokume-gane-a-comprehensive-study/table-of-contents

Maybe everyone already knew, but still I think it's useful to have all the info in the same place!

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AnBello- thanks for the link. It it now bookmarked for a rainy day!

Steve

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