Jump to content
Joshua States

Mokume Gane (a quick How To Do)

Recommended Posts

While hot

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disclaimer: I am no expert at this. I have had some great successes, but I have failed more times than I have succeeded.

Reducing forging heat largely depends on the materials used. Generally speaking, the copper mixes are forged at dull red to black heat once fully welded.

There are three large sections in making Mokume: 

1: Welding. This is done in a specific heat range that changes with materials. It is done flat and gently (think trip hammer or press). Takes several heats.

2. Thinning. Also done hot, but not so hot as to easily break the welds. This is below welding heat, but not much. This is reducing the billet thickness down to a manageable  size and refining the welds. The billet is not quite behaving like a solid piece of material yet. Depending on the shape of your billet and equipment, this can de done with a flat bottom die and a rounded top die, or both flat. If the billet is square, you start diagonally and then go parallel to the sides. Still using the trip hammer technique, even if by hand. This is the most difficult stage and I have lost more billets to delamination during this phase than any other.

3. Patterning. Once you get about half as thick as you started with, the billet is starting to behave more like a solid piece of material. More aggressive forging can be done, but is done at lower heats (depending on materials used).

 

Depending on what materials you use, frequent annealing may be necessary. I have found that any forging of nickel-silver requires frequent annealing. That stuff work hardens very quickly and is prone to hot short. Mokume mixes with NS are done at red heat or lower. This takes a lot of time.

 

I have Ian Ferguson's book, and it's probably a couple hundred dollars now. If you really plan to do this, get the book.

Here  it is on Amazon.

 

I have also been told that Steve Midgett's book is good, but it's in German.

 

This was the best (probably only) set of knife fittings I ever made from Mokume. We made a bunch of jewelry with the rest of it and it all sold.

This is copper/nickel-silver and I patinated the copper to a rich brown.

Mokume Bowie Close up.jpg

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I have recently purchased materials to do another set of fittings. This time I am using copper and pure nickel. When I get around to doing it, I will be updating this post.

Edited by Joshua States

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/4/2020 at 6:15 PM, Dave Stephens said:

So, just a thought: If you wanted a finer grain (personal preference, I'm not a coarse grain guy) it seems like you could start with a much larger stack, just do one weld, and then squish the stack to the thickness desired (for those who have a press).

I forgot to answer this one. Just start with thinner stock. you can buy the pieces from Rio Grande or Otto Frei.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/4/2020 at 8:15 PM, Dave Stephens said:

Josh:

I think I've heard others say the same.

 

So, just a thought: If you wanted a finer grain (personal preference, I'm not a coarse grain guy) it seems like you could start with a much larger stack, just do one weld, and then squish the stack to the thickness desired (for those who have a press).


Question: Do you reduce thickness hot, or cold forge/anneal/repeat?

 

Thanks.

 

Dave

 

 

I have always worked non ferrous billets cold/anneal/repeat.It would depend on the size of the billet you would be producing and what final product you are working for.

 

A little mokume info.... http://www.silversmithing.com/1mokume.htm

 

I found Ferguson's book too technical,seem like he was trying to impress a board of review for a PHD degree.

 

a couple simple pieces I made,sterling and 14K palladium gold,copper and sterling.

 

 

 

mokume1.jpg

mokumebrac.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you generally using noble metals, and working them cold? I have only used fine silver/copper once and I cannot remember whether I worked that cold or hot. I think it was at a black heat. I think I remember that noble metals are much easier to bond/use, but I don't have the financial resources or specialized equipment for that. James Binnion seems to be the preeminent artist when it comes to noble metal Mokume. I remember reading about his process and it was very equipment heavy. His process and other info is here.

 

I know what you mean about Ferguson's book. It does go off on the details of the chemistry, when what I really want is a how-to. I cannot fault him for that. He wrote the book for his reasons, and why I read it are my reasons. I do like the devotion he has for different combinations of metals, and the working methods for each combination.

 

Thanks for the article.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Are you generally using noble metals, and working them cold? I have only used fine silver/copper once and I cannot remember whether I worked that cold or hot. I think it was at a black heat. I think I remember that noble metals are much easier to bond/use, but I don't have the financial resources or specialized equipment for that. James Binnion seems to be the preeminent artist when it comes to noble metal Mokume. I remember reading about his process and it was very equipment heavy. His process and other info is here.

 

I know what you mean about Ferguson's book. It does go off on the details of the chemistry, when what I really want is a how-to. I cannot fault him for that. He wrote the book for his reasons, and why I read it are my reasons. I do like the devotion he has for different combinations of metals, and the working methods for each combination.

 

Thanks for the article.

I mentioned in a post above that I really can't talk about techniques.I have Steve Midgett's book and I"ll give everyone a gift to share.

 

https://www.mokume.com/mokume-gane-a-comprehensive-study/table-of-contents

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Score!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that is generous!  Thanks, Dan. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve is the generous person,I just shared something he wanted to share to everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow!  Thanks Dan.  Thank Steve for me/us!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been reading for about 2 hours now. Thank you thank you thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW.....and thank you, I'm very deep down a rabbit hole I never knew existed!
I've tried to make something I can no longer call Mokume Gane using the only suitable coins I could find, never hand any inkling of the world this book is revealing!B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i was thinking that higher layers would mean that if you were grinding and drilling or deforming and then grinding flat to bring out a pattern you could get more activity with less stock removal. 

 

a blade im working on now is going to need some mokume, i really want to try copper and mild steel, ive read it can be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, steven smith said:

i really want to try copper and mild steel, ive read it can be done.

I'm sure it can be, but whether it's a very difficult one to do is the question. I have never tried it.

There's a little table in Ferguson's book of different combinations and it's color coded for bonding ease and workability.

He doesn't put mild steel in the table, but he does list iron and stainless steel. I'm not sure which stainless he was using, and I couldn't find the reference on a quick pass. I'll keep looking, if you like. I think it was the high ferrous type.

Copper & Iron: Difficult to bond, good working characteristics.

Copper & Stainless: Difficult to bond, difficult working characteristics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...