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Thread: Mokume Gane Patterns

  1. #1
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    Mokume Gane Patterns

    I've tried my hand at mokume gane and was wondering how to mar the surface to get the sweet wavy stuff that actually looks like wood grain. Here are some pics of what I have done from first attempt to the latest:
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  2. #2
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    neet how did you make them ?

  3. #3
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    I cut out about 10 layers of metal. I used German silver, copper, Nu Gold, and Bronze. I silver Soldered them into a stack and then I cut grooves into the surface and then hammered it flat again. Here's an interesting link that I found very informative:

    http://www.mokume-gane.com/Pages/What_is_Mokume.html

    Also here's some more of my aweful latest attempts. The first I did in the normal way and the second one I tried to hammer it on it's side(with terrible results)
    By the way, I don't have a rolling mill, so I have to forge the mokume gane billets.
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  4. #4
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    cool thanks for the link that is how i was going to try and make it ,did not know it was the way its done

  5. #5
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    What sort of pattern would result in twisting a billet?
    Last edited by E. Willis; 09-11-2005 at 12:23 PM.

  6. #6
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    x's or star (4 point) shape, depending on how deeply you cut.

  7. #7
    Very cool and an interesting way to do it. Have you had any problems with the solder joints splitting from the cold forging.
    I think the more layers you use and hot forge you'll end up with more of a random damascus /wood grain pattern.
    I wrote a tutorial for Mokume you can substitute other non ferous metals for the quarters I use but The quarters save me a bit of work.
    Making mokume from coins is easy to do. Start with about 4 bucks worth of US quarters. Which already have the nickel fused to the copper. This means you are brazing nickel to nickel so it makes it a bit easier to do. Neatly stack them in a pair of old tongs that you don’t care too much about. The tongs will get beaten up. Be careful that the coins don’t go squirting out of the tongs they will inevitably roll under all of the things in the shop that are too difficult to move. Holding the tongs as far back as possible put the jaws of the tongs with the coins in it in the forge. Make sure you get an even heat if using coal or charcoal you don’t want copper and nickel clogging up your forge. The copper will make welding a pain in the backside. The tongs will deform some from the heat and pressure while you are trying to keep the coins in place. When the coins start looking sweaty pull the tongs out and clamp the jaws of the tongs in a leg vice. The coins will braze together and will most likely not stick to the tongs. If that does happen a good whack usually separates the coins from the tongs. At worse you’ll have to cut the stack off and grind the remainder of the mokume off.

    The mokume billet can then be hot forged to the shape of the fitting as well as manipulated to produce a variety of patterns.The billet can be worked from the top of the stack to get a bull’s-eye pattern. This is easier to see if the billet is domed instead of making it completely flat or it can be forged on end to get lines and striations. Anything that can be done to manipulate the pattern in damscus can be done to mokume like drilling small divots in it with the dime of the drill. This will produce a stones hitting the water rippled effect or pool and eye pattern. Grooves can be cut into the billet to produce a ladder pattern. After cutting a pattern into the billet forge it smooth so the patternwill be brought to the surface.

    An important thing to remember is that non-ferrous metals anneal when hot quenched in water instead of harden like carbon steel. After annealing the mokume is very easy to cut and shape. Polish it smooth and etch it in ferric chloride to bring out the pattern. The ferric Chloride will eat the copper and leave the nickel virtually untouched. It doesn’t take long to get a topography. Letting the copper tarnish also helps to bring out the pattern.

    Straightening out the tongs and repeat as often as you like or as long as you have quarters.
    Last edited by Adlai Stein; 09-12-2005 at 06:01 PM.
    Adlai
    Macabee Knives
    There are no mistakes in bladesmithing only design modifications.
    http://www.macabeeknives.com

  8. #8
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    I never had a problem with the solder joints when working from the top-down on a stack, but when I tried to hammer from the side, the joints that had any inperfections did seem to rip a little. I have noticed that it is very important to have all smooth, curved edges when drilling or grooving the surface because when you forge it flat sometimes sharp edges will fold over resulting in a seam.

  9. #9
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    Here's my most recent attempt at mokume gane. It is made out of only copper and German silver. I cut grooves in it and flattened it like I normally do, but then I cut grooves in it again and flattened it. The additional detail seems to make it look a lot better. All I have to do is burnish out some of those hammer dents and it could make a decent kashira.
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  10. #10
    Do you hammer it out cold or hot?
    Adlai
    Macabee Knives
    There are no mistakes in bladesmithing only design modifications.
    http://www.macabeeknives.com

  11. #11
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    I suppose you could consider it hammering cold. What I do is I anneal the gane by heating it to red hot, then I put it on the anvil and hammer it out but by that time it is already black hot. The perfect tool for mokume gane would be a mini rolling mill, but I don't have the money for one of those. What I am most conserned about is pattern devolipment. What are the steps required for different patterns?
    Last edited by E. Willis; 09-14-2005 at 02:59 PM.

  12. #12
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    I think I will try to do diffusion bonding next, though I might go with either stacks of metal that I cut out or mabye stacks of dimes(cheaper than quarters) How exactly do you do it? Do you just stack up the coins and put them in a forge for 10-20 minutes? Does a reducing atmosphere in a gas forge mean that there is incomplete combustion and there are flames coming out of the exhaust hole?

  13. #13
    Originally posted by E. Willis
    I think I will try to do diffusion bonding next, though I might go with either stacks of metal that I cut out or mabye stacks of dimes(cheaper than quarters) How exactly do you do it? Do you just stack up the coins and put them in a forge for 10-20 minutes?
    The reason I use quarters is because they fit the tongs I have better than Dimes dry it with about 8 quarters instead of 16 The dimes may tend to slide out of the tongs more. About 10 minutes seems to be right. you want the edges of the coins to look like they are sweating a bit and the edges. You don't want them hot enough to melt.


    Does a reducing atmosphere in a gas forge mean that there is incomplete combustion and there are flames coming out of the exhaust hole?
    A reducing atmosphere means that you are running a bit rich because you are burning off a good bit of the oxygen in the forge. Your metal won't scale up as much.
    Adlai
    Macabee Knives
    There are no mistakes in bladesmithing only design modifications.
    http://www.macabeeknives.com

  14. #14
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    And yes, (yellowish) flames coming out the exhaust hole is a pretty good indication of a reducing atmosphere... Note that there is a lot of carbon monoxide produced when running the fuel air mix that rich. Take care to ventilate well. We'd hate to lose an SFI member...
    "Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art."
    Leonardo da Vinci

    "A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to Him."
    Louis Pasteur

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the info. My forge is outside so I shouldn't have a problem with ventalation.

  16. #16
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    Though it has already been mentioned, I'd also recommend having more layers for pattern manipulation. It will be a lot of work without a rolling mill, but would probably be worth it in the end. Just forge your piece out so it's long and thin, then you can cut it in half or thirds, stack the pieces on top of each other & resolder them. If you do it again, you can see that you'll be increasing the layer count very rapidly.

    The advantage here is that you'll be exposing lots more layers when you file/drill/disrupt the surface, so you don't have to cut as deep, or reflatten it so much. For example, with a low layer count, you might have to file/drill halfway through the billet just expose a couple layers, and then forge it very thin again. If the layers themselves are extremely thin, then you can just lightly file the surface and expose 3 times as many layers for more contrast.

    If your sole interest is pattern manipulation, rather than doing all the layering, you should consider buying some mokume from Reactive Metals Studios. You can get a plate or bar of highly layered random pattern stuff, so you can just go right into making patterns.

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