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Quick How to: Making Mokume


Dave Stephens
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Okay, this was just a first attempt, but it seemed to go pretty well. I thought I'd share the experience.

 

Sorry in advance for the bad photos. I wasn't planning on doing this, so I just had my Iphone.

 

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I had a bunch of scraps of brass and copper that I use as spacer material on hidden tang knives. I picked them up from a hobby store. Apparently they use them for building model airplanes. Anyway, they were very cheap.

 

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They are so thin you can cut them into strips with scissors. I cut them into approximately 1" wide by 3" long strips.

 

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I have a book on making Mokume, and the recommended method was to build a couple of plates with a handle on one and squish the cold billet in between with bolts. I almost built one. But then I thought, what the heck, let's try it the same way I do damascus.

 

I prepared this pretty much the same way I do a damascus billet, minus the welded handle. I sanded each strip clean, stacked and secured with bailing wire.

 

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I turned the PSI in the forge down to 6 and choked the oxygen down way low so it was a low, reducing atmosphere. I let it soak, turning it occasionally, until I saw a drip of molten brass fall out one side.

 

Then I took it out and squished it on the press. No photo of that. Sorry.

 

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Here it is after squish and cool.

 

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Ground and polished. Looks pretty good. No inclusions that I could find. (The big groove is where the bailing wire was).

 

This yielded about a 1/4" thick chunk of mokume.

 

I'm going to go get some more material and make a thicker billet and put some pattern into the next one. If there is interest I'll post that process too. Let me know if you guys would like to see.

 

Cheers!

 

--Dave

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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Dave, that is awesome.

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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that looks lovely. certainly puts my mokume to shame!

jared Z.

 

lilzee on britishblades.

 

From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

-Sir Winston Churchill

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thank you for sharing this. I have a question, do you have to use a flux ? cant wait to give this a try, will have to hit the hobbie store for cheep thin metal.

 

chris.

i could complain but who would listen.

 

chris.

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thank you for sharing this. I have a question, do you have to use a flux ? cant wait to give this a try, will have to hit the hobbie store for cheep thin metal.

 

chris.

 

Chris,

 

No, I did not use any flux. I just reduced the oxygen intake of the forge so it was a pretty dramatic reducing environment (flames licking out of the mouth of the forge like crazy).

 

Although, I can't say for sure this made a big difference, as this was my first attempt. Maybe it would work in an oxidizing environment too.

 

Smiths with more experience making mokume might have a comment on this.

 

Luck!

 

-Dave

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"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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Awesome, Dave! Thanks for posting this. Copper/brass mokume has been on my "some day I gotta try that" list for a couple years now. Yours looks great!

Kurt Huhn

pipecrafter@pipecrafter.com

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Dave ..Looks really great and your posts are always very informative..thanks..one question though, I've heard melting copper in a forge makes it harder to weld steel later.Is this an old wives [or blacksmiths] tale or was it something only true in coal forges...I've heard this from several sources..regards ,Arthur

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." — Mark Twain

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