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Material suggestion for different Mokume

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I have seen a YouTube video where a guy made Damascus from copper and nickel (mokume gane). I love the contrast it had between the two metals but after looking at prices to be able to duplicate it seems a bit too expensive. Does anyone have any suggestions as to other metals that would have such a contrast like this combination that would be more cost efficient?

I’m looking to make knives using the Honsanmai technique and would love to have a beautiful Damascus piece for the sides. Also any input on this idea would be most appreciated. 

Here is the link for the video I mentioned:


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 I saw a mokume gane demonstrationat by Bob Menard at a Fall NEB meet.  He used quarters and got subtle patterns with them alone.  You could cut out round billets from copper sheet and alternate them with the quarters and get a similar pattern.  It would be much cheaper than buying nickel at least.  According to Bob, oxygen free (highly conductive) copper is the way to go.  I’m not sure if brass or bronze would work because they are a lot less conductive than copper.  

In the end, mokume gane is the art of welding precious metals.  By definition it is not a cheap enterprise.  You can get plenty of practice in using coins, though, and the law allows the use of currency for artistic expression as long as it is not used as currency afterward....or something to that effect.

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I alternate quarters and nickels.  Google US coin alloys.  You will find that quarters have more copper than nickel.  If you will alternate the layers you will get more contrast.  I typically use $1.15 for a billet. 4 quarters and 3 nickels.  I don't think that sounds to expensive.  The wedding ring that I ware is made that way.  I also make nice sized heart necklaces that way.

Let me know if I can help you.


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On 7/7/2018 at 7:15 AM, WayneCoeArtistBlacksmith said:

None that show up well.  

Hello Wayne, I am curious about how you dealt with the over hang of the quarters over the nickels while making the billet. Did it delaminate in anyway?

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