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hello everyone, I was interested in attempting to make some mokume gane for some handle scales on a decorative damascus style wooden knife I want to make, my issue is, how do I achieve specific colors? mainly black, I know I can get it from a copper/gold alloy as well as purple, but I am certain there must be a lower priced alternative. I would also be interested in green, or blue, as well as any possible alternatives for purple. 

any advice will be greatly appreciated!

thank you very much! 

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No one shares Patina formulas. It takes a lot of experimentation on each combination type to come up with something that works.There are books on Patinas for single metals and they would be a good place to start. 

 If you are just thinking about making Mokume I suggest you make the metal first and then you can experiment on it to see what you like.  

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On 5/17/2016 at 1:03 PM, teenylittlemetalguy said:

No one shares Patina formulas. It takes a lot of experimentation on each combination type to come up with something that works.There are books on Patinas for single metals and they would be a good place to start. 

 If you are just thinking about making Mokume I suggest you make the metal first and then you can experiment on it to see what you like.  

I am not really looking for a patina formula per-say, but just some general information on what metals would typically patina to what colors, if that makes sense, but it seems that Google doesnt really even know too much on this topic, I did find a list of how to achieve many different colors of patinas from brass, copper, and bronze, but how will they react with the other metals in my work. 

I notice alot of Makune pieces out there that have a base color of black, so it seems as though it should be fairly simple and Commonplace.

  I was definitely planning on doing that, my plan is for this weekend I will start my first try with quarters, I am just trying to get some of my extended research done, so I can first off make a plan to acquire the materials, and see if there any other things I would need to practice with. 

 

On 5/17/2016 at 7:16 AM, Steve Sells said:

Iron is only thing cheaper than copper that I am aware of to get black.

what are the implications of using Iron in Mokume? I would figure the difficulty level of putting Iron in the piece would be fairly high

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The patina books will give ideas for the ranges of possible colors but multiple metals muddies that up because you have to worry about contrast. And the specific combinations all have limits.Honestly at this stage of the game I would suggest to just shoot for common patina results as color is a whole new ball of wax to cope with. 

Good luck with it!

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@teenylittlemetalguy I'm really not so worried about getting alot of specific color combinations and all that, I mostly want to use something that will contrast black in the mokume, as the primary color against what will likely be just Quarter Mokume.

The Knife I will be making will be made out of laminatedPurple Heart wood  

 Purple_Heart2.jpg.bd7daf222033150f127aca

 Bloodwood

bloodwood.jpg.7e115b0da20fafcb6bf5df3f61

and African Blackwood

K01152.jpg.44f7f5545cf667410c4c408d48f23

 

 I am thinking about using a nice lighter colored Hard wood to use to throw in there for a bit of breakup, but I am not really sure yet cause I kinda think the really dark coloring of it will look awesome. but either way I think a black based mokume with copper and silver in it would look amazing. 

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I have made some. it turned greyish on me using ammonia fuming. but there are lots of different ratios it can be alloyed in and that could effect the patina greatly. I did  75 AG / 25CU but some use more silver.

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Copper or silver patinas black.

However if you're looking for a nice contrast combination in a blade use medium to high carbon steel and a nickle alloy steel. do the patina etch in Ferric chloride.

If you want spectacular colors look into "reactive" metals like Niobium or even titanium alloys.

Frosty The Lucky.

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@Frosty thsnk you I will definitely look into those! I have seen some of the insane colors that titanium can produce, I have just always though it weas waaaay out of my skill level to even attempt at this point, since then at that point I would essentially be making Timascus. would I be able to put a couple Billets of Titanium into some copper nickel  Mokume and be ok ?

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The Colouring, Bronzing and Patination of Metals by Richard Hughes

 

Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Jewelers & Metalsmiths by Matthew Runfola

these are the books i started with, can get classes on the subject too teaching old japanese formulas.  Maybe email Ford Hallam for info on who gives the class as I cannot remember his name.   Additionally there are kits you can buy for patina applications to iron.   Kitchenknife forum has guys that use blood and onions etc to patina kitchen knives....but you've got to search em out.    At least where I live there are very few who have a good working knowledge of the metallurgy involved with mokume and reasonably so because there is no call for it outside of jewelry.   Local jewelers here dont deal in it much.   

Hope this helps.

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I have had some difficulty reproducing this effect I got early on in my fiddling a with Mokume, but the sticks of twisted billet are all from copper and nickel coins. The knife clip on the left and the bar on the right are from the same billet of UK copper pence and 5(or 10 or 20, I forget) pence coins (not the more modern steel core ones) and the two in the center are straight up U.S. quarters.  The blackest one is from the quarters, and I'm pretty sure it was just from overheating the life out of it and really severely fire staining the nickel (which is like trying to excise the devil), then it got a soak in the pickle pot to clean up the copper a bit.  That particular bar is so overcooked you can see individual grains in the copper, giving it a really neat granulated appearance actually :) the picture makes it looks a bit more black than it is in person, more of a dark blue/grey really.  I'll try to remember to go fish it out and shoot a more representative picture later.

Edited to add: you won't be able to just throw some titanium into a regular billet and cook as you normally would, the reactive metals need to be done in a controlled atmosphere because they (as the name suggests) start reacting with oxygen when they get hot and will not bond =\

 

image.jpg

Edited again with new pic:

The three bars on the right are all from the same parent billet, with the blackened nickel one on the far right and you can kinda see the flecked texture in the copper even though the surface is quasi polished but totally flat.

image.jpg

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And another example of color change by heat, this time as produced by a caveman (me)..

In my little experiments you will note the impression made by a pre '82 Canadian nickel (pure nickel) delaminating from the copper (a pre '82 U.S.A penny), also the very faint "LIBERTY" in the flattened quarter.  Colors are from firescale on the respective metalsIMG_1880.JPG.  The black can be more pronounced, but I wanted to polish and see how it changed as I did.  The scale is relatively hard to polish off, say compared to soot, but I wouldn't consider it "durable".   A ca finish or clear epoxy would make it a lot more resistant, but this is just my newbie-armchair-theorizing.

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Speaking of heat treating...these are mokume earrings made with 70/30 cupric nickel and copper.  To get the treatment I heated them to red with a torch and then cast them into a small boiling water bath. Be careful. I boiled for 5 minutes.  I finished with some wax. OK durability for earrings but not good for rings.

Nicole

Moke_Dangles.jpg

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On ‎17‎/‎05‎/‎2016 at 2:20 PM, Athen R Dailey said:

hello everyone, I was interested in attempting to make some mokume gane for some handle scales on a decorative damascus style wooden knife I want to make, my issue is, how do I achieve specific colors? mainly black, I know I can get it from a copper/gold alloy as well as purple, but I am certain there must be a lower priced alternative. I would also be interested in green, or blue, as well as any possible alternatives for purple. 

any advice will be greatly appreciated!

thank you very much! 

Phosphoric Acid,  manganese oxide and iron filings will turn most iron / steel Black. You will need to research "Parkerising" and follow it to a tee. I have no idea what effect it will have on the contrast metals you choose.

The layer is on microns thick and can be sanded off.  Typically it looks like the black tools you used to see or old English motor cycle parts. it invoves heating acid so make sure you don't do it on the kitchen stove and take all precautions.

Phosphoric acid is food grade but dangerous in these proportions.

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