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Damascus Stell

Does anyone know whether the same or similar technique used to make
damascus steel (forge-welded laminate of different alloys) could be
used using gold and either sterling or platinum? The technique
strikes me as being cousin to that used in mokume gane (sp?), though
my knowledge of that is limited to the discussions here on Orchid.
I’m concerned that the gold might alloy into the silver or platinum
rather than leaving a distinct boundary.

From metallurgy in engineering school I’m inclined to believe that I
need to try and choose a gold alloy that comes the closest to
matching the melting points of the silver and platinum, then
carefully monitor the billet temperature and time. Any suggestions
or recommended readings would be greatly appreciated.

Warm Regards,

Don;t think it would wander into the other metals but ask Steve
Midgett…he would be able to tell you also maybe Fiorini a metal expert…
and theres one more… Binion is his last name and he’s also on the
net.hope this helps calgang

Shawn, You must also keep in mind the compressability and ductility of
the alloys you choose. If one alloy spreads out more rapidly than
another, they will tend to delaminate as you work them. You might
have a look at Steve Midgett’s book “Mokume Gane for the Small Shop”.
It has a chapter discussing the compatability of different alloys
which may be relevant to your efforts. Hope this helps. MP

Shawn, The technique used to make Mokume Gane is different from that
used to make Damascus steel. The Gold and silver will not stand up to
forging at red heat. The metals need to be clamped and heated in a gas
fired kiln (reducing atmosphere) or clamped and packed with charcoal
and sealed with stainless steel foil (again a reducing atmosphere) and
than heated in a kiln or forge.

For more

Get the book “Mokume Gane in the Small Shop” by Steve Midget.

His web site is at

James Binnion is an expert on Mokume Gane. He is a contributor to

His website is at

I have done Mokume Gane using Steve Midgets method. It works quite

Timothy A. Hansen
TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
P.M.B. 131, 305 N. Second Ave.
Upland, California 91786-6028

E-Mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen

Shawn- I’m with you, and I agree! I see a lot of parallels, although
I’ve actually done neither mokume gane nor Damascus steel. I think
there’s a distinct parallel, but I’ve never heard it discussed before.

All the best,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Take a look at which is Jim Binion’s
site. There are another one or two out there. I’ll see if I can
remember the URL’s for them, and get back to you, unless someone else
kicks in with the info. Good luck! I think you will get a great
deal of satisfaction out of the results, as well as the process
itself. I know I have, even though so far I have only used
copper/bronze, etc.

Timothy, I just wanted to say that last summer I had access to an
electric enameling kiln with a good temperature control and had great
success with mokume billets. I have tried a number of things with
them including a “torture test” and have had no problems and no
delamination. Aside from using electricity instead of gas, I followed
Steve Midgett’s instructions faithfully. (If you happen to see this Steve, Thanks.)


It is all the same whether you call it Damascus Steel or Mokume Gane
or Solid State Diffusion Welding. They all involve welding different
metals/alloys with out melting the parent metal. There are several
techniques for accomplishing the weld; some like forge welding only
work with some ferrous metals due to their relative insensitivity to
oxides in the bonding area others like mokume gane will work for
almost any metal/alloy either ferrous or non ferrous even ferrous to
non ferrous.


James Binnion Metal Arts
4701 San Leandro St #18
Oakland, CA 94601

Also check out Steve Midgett’s site, Steve has
written a very explanatory small book on the subject, titled “Mokume
Gane in the Small Shop” (or something quite similar). I can’t put my
hands on my copy at the moment, or I could be more exact. Steve is
also teaching a siminar for the Society of American Silversmiths
(SAS) August 7-12, 2000.

Jim Binion is in California, and Steve Midgett is in North Carolina.
I know Steve offers seminars, but I’m not sure whether Jim does at

Philip Baldwin, in Washington State, also occasionally offers short
seminars. It was in one of his classes that I first experienced
mokume. I don’t have a ste or e-mail address for Phil, but will pass
one along if I find it. The seminar I took was at the National
Ornamental Metal Museum, in Memphis, Tennessee (USA, since I’m not
sure where you are from). I’ll ask in the next day or so at the
Museum about an address for Phil. Perhaps someone else here has one
for him??

Anyway, I’ll pass along what I can to you if you wish. There are a
small core of us here in Memphis who get to gether every few months
for a communal mokume making session at the shop of oen of our local
ABANA members. He has an electric oven capable of the temperatures
needed for bronze, copper, siver and so on. I’m not sure about
whether his furnace will handle the temperatures necessary for
platinum or not. Midget’s small, bench-top torch-fired furnace will,
if I remember correctly.

As before, good luck!