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Mokume gane patterning

Hello all,

I recently purchased pre-made mokume stock that I have been playing
around with, trying to make a band style ring from. I twisted it and
then carved out before rolling flat. I like the pattern fine, and
there are no scratches or anything that needs filed away since the
rolling mill smoothed it out. My question is: Should I file it down
a layer, anyway, to expose a new layer? I don’t know much about
physics but I got thinking that the top most layer may be thinner
than the others beneath, therefore I’d be unable to get as deep of an
etch if I don’t expose a deeper layer. I don’t want to get it too
thin, either, so not sure how much to file away (if necessary). It is
a 12 layer piece that is now 1.5 mm thick. Am I overthinking this?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions…


Hello Noelle

personal taste is all that matters…if you like it leave it alone,
you don’t want it too thin if it’s to last as a band, but given the
rod and the cost of gold, you only have x amount to play with. After
youhave taken a length (say rolled out to 60 mm in length leaving it
thick as is possible, bump it carve it, flatten it and roll it…the
more rises you put into the length the more texture you’ll get once
filed off and rolled out…don’t think too much on one hand, yet do
think about conserving as much of the material as you can! that’s
why planishing it out lengthwise helps to make it easier to put some
peined in bumps to the billet giving slight rises that can be filed,
or using a pumice wheel can expose sections once you have lenghtened
it to the thickness you almost are to use finished, then when rolled
you maximize the texture while conserving and exposing as many
different layers and patterns as is possible at the thickness you
want in your final piece of the material you are going to fabricate
your design from… As for etching it- I would not do that as if the
billet contains copper or nickel alloy-as in white golds- layers
(given the proliferation of sterling or white gold and copper
products that are being sold) the etchant may degrade the billet in
ways undesireable and unexpected weakening the bonding of the billet
too much… Steve Midgett is the man to ask about that though…he
could probably make some recommendations given your particular
billet/rod and given the quantity you have to work with…rer

Am I overthinking this? 

Yes, I think you are over-thinking it. Nothing wrong with thinking,
but successful mokume pattern development comes with experience,
which is difficult to achieve if you get too stingy and precious
with the material. Mokume does not always work out the way you would
think it should. Like anything else, the more you do, the better you
get at it. If you like mokume your best bet at getting good at it is
to experiment with billets of the cheapest materials available to
work out your pattern technique and then move on to more precious
materials that you will then be able to work with confidence.

Stephen Walker