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Mokume Gane

JJ Simon

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I finally got my flattening dies from my friends who built this press for me.

Its a bottle jack 50ton...I know excessive!


Question for anyone who knows. Do these bottle jacks lose force as the ram reaches its tallest extension?

I'm having a some difficulty flattening these billets out and the press seems to work better when hand operated than when used with the compressor at its fullest extension.



Here is the box I put the billet in to fire. The billets are 2"X2"X1.25 and 1.5 respectively. The billets have cardboard top and bottom so the oxygen is burned out of the box and leaves a carbon layer so that the billets don't fuse to the steel box. I fire at 1830 degrees for 10-15 minutes in a charcoal furnace.



Here are the 2 billets after firing. The sides have been a little cleaned up because there is some shift when pressing. The fusion looks pretty good and I have reduced the shorter billet a little and have no de-lam to this point



Thanks to Kerry and Matt Stagmar for giving me a chance to try this at their last hammer in with their screw presses'

Hopefully I will be able to get these down to a pattern-able thickness.

Feedback is welcome.



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Interesting idea. I never thought of doing mokume in a can.


I like the use of cardboard to both eat up the oxygen and also create a carbon layer to keep the box from fusing to the billet.






"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


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Thats a nice press! I don't notice any drop in power at full extension, but its there. Make sure your fluid is topped up and there is no air in the cylinder. Also, I run the air compressor at 120-150 PSI. If you're lower than 120 you might need higher pressure.

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I have never tried this before so, I have got to ask some questions.


Are you fluxing the material in the can and if so with what?


When making the can what is the thickness of the material is the can is made from?


Why doesn't the cardboard you refrenced catch a fire from welding the can?

Edited by C Craft

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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Using a can is the only way I have consistently got it to work. It also allows you to incorporate different powders into the mix.

Everything I need to know I learned from the people trapped in my basement.



I'm out of my mind but feel free to leave a message.

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my process is a modified version of what Ariel Salaverria does.

IF you go to his website he has a full tutorial.

My modifications are the cardboard, and the billet being square.

The box is a piece of square tubing with a top and bottom welded on.

The material is from San Francisco jewelery supply the will cut for size to order. My material is between 14-18 gauge.

I try to get steel tubing with an ID as close to the dimensions of my material.

Its hard to find an exact match but Parker Steel sells metric tubing so that will be my next try.

The tighter the fit the less slippage and material trim will be needed.

I do not flux. Both the video and books I have on Mokume do not show fluxing in the process.

Having the material squeaky clean is very important. I use de-greaser and then ammonia

and finally soap and water with surgical gloves on. I dry well with a towel, stack and wrap in plastic or put right in the box.

The cardboard might catch fire when I weld but it will go out once the box is air tight. Once the box is in the forge the cardboard burns

sucking the oxygen out of the box (as Dave pointed out) and without oxygen there should be no scale so there's no need for flux.

My press is screwed! I hope I only have air in it but I think the seal is shot.

Bad thing is I'm out of town for the next 9 days so I can't even try to make it right till I come home.

I'm looking for a 25-30 ton Hydra-pneumatic ram to replace the bottle jack but it will have to wait.

Here are 2 pictures of the smaller billet forged flat.

The piece is now about 4" square and 3/16 thick.

I had very little delam and what I consider a modest pattern.

This is the most developed pattern I've gotten yet and I started patterning it at about 5/8"

next time I will start at about 3/4" and build the pattern through the process.

I hope you enjoy this piece. I'm satisfied and look forward to working the other larger billet when I get home.

Cheers to all.

Thanks for looking and feedback.








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