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Mokume from US nickels?


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Hey all!

I've been taking a quick look at mokume. I see some people making it from US quarters, which are made of cupranickel, as are US nickels. I was wondering if anyone had ever tried using US nickels, as those are around the same weight though much cheaper. One thing to note is that nickels are 25% Ni, while quarters are only 8.33%. Thank you!

 

Chimaera

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I have used nickels before. I can't seem to find a photo, it must have been my last phone.  I did a whole roll without any other metals and it was really nice material. I think they work better than quarters, the material seems to weld a little better and they don't delaminate very easily. I did slide a few quarters in another stack and it worked. I am guessing that a little bit of straight copper would work best.  If you are looking for layers and better value than quarters you may want to try 50 cent pieces, they are a lot bigger and layered, my user photo was made with them. But in general I am happy to have put coins behind me and using straight sheet metals.   

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Ooh, beautiful! That was with the half dollars? So, the nickels do work but you suggest adding some pieces of straight copper? Did you weld the stack or just copper wrap it? I have a bunch of copper wire, but I imagine that welding works better... While I'm sure straight sheets work better, I'm on a budget and am only looking to do it to mess around, not to sell or make big pieces...

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1 hour ago, teenylittlemetalguy said:

But in general I am happy to have put coins behind me

Do you leave enough coins behind to make it worth following you with a sack? 

Frosty The Lucky.

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2 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Got any scrap copper pipe?  Cut and flattened you get copper sheet.

A bit. However, you would then need some nickel, right?

Or are you proposing sticking a bit of the pipe in with the nickels?

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Ok, I'm not sure if I understand the composition of these coins... are they solid cupronickel, or are they copper plated with nickel, or are they copper plated with cupronickel? Because if they're straight cupronickel, you need some copper to accent it, no? Sorry for my confusion...

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It won't let me edit my post right now, but I finally found out that quarters, at least, are copper plated with cupronickel. Therefore, I assume dimes and half dollars are, as well. But, I'm looking at nickels at the moment. 

17 hours ago, teenylittlemetalguy said:

I have used nickels before

 

17 hours ago, teenylittlemetalguy said:

and it was really nice material

That would suggest that they are a copper core. Does anyone know if you can do it in a solid fuel forge? It seems like it needs to be closely monitored, which would be difficult in solid fuel. And finally, can you run a mig weld line down the side? That would make it much easier to hold together in the forge... Thank you

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Ok. You clamp them and keep the whole clamp in the forge for the first couple heats?

I mean, if I melt a couple dollars of nickels, oh well. However, I'd really rather not have a puddle of cupronickel clinker stuck in my forge, and I REALLY don't want it bursting and spraying (I don't think that's a high risk with copper and nickel, but I've heard enough horror stories with titanium...)

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Mokume Gane usually starts as a stack of differing metals/alloys. I was suggesting copper sheet as a layer to be added between nickels.  Much like we use a Ni bearing alloy between layers of plain steels in making pattern welded billets.

I think "clad" is a better term than "plated" for the modern layered US coins.  I was sad to hear they no longer explosively weld the starter materials for them.

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I agree, clad would be a better word. So, you're suggesting (just as an example) taking 3 nickels (3 thin copper layers and 3 thin nickel layers) and then a thick layer of copper piping and repeat? Or one nickel, one pipe, one nickel? I think either of those would give a very nice pattern, if that's what you're suggesting. It would have a fine nickel and copper pattern between layers of thick copper. If that's not what you're suggesting, I'm lost. How do you keep your coins together? I've seen people forming brackets and then binding with copper wire? I've seen some people putting the whole stack in a pair of vice grip pliers or a clamp. I've seen a couple people put the stack in a vice and use an oxyacetalene torch, which is something I do not have. It's just a tricky situation for me, as I have a solid fuel forge, which makes observation very difficult... It sounds like by far the hardest part is getting the first weld

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First of all nickels are solid alloy--even the wooden ones!  The stack is done to suit yourself.  Then they are clamped and heated.  My friends who do this use two metal plates with a bolt through each corner to apply pressure before going into the furnace. A solid tap to set them at temp.

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Ok. That's what was confusing me. I believe quarters, dimes, and half dollars are clad, so that's what was throwing me off, along with, in reference to nickels:

18 hours ago, teenylittlemetalguy said:

I did a whole roll without any other metals and it was really nice material

Ok, so jerry rig some kind of bolt system to hold pressure on? SOunds good. Sorry for my confusion. Thanks so much for your clarification!

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Quarters you can see the banding on the edges; if you cut them and they look single alloy then the cut has smeared on layer across the others. Try filing or sanding the cut edge and see if it cleans up.

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