I will try to answer your questions as they come up. You wrote:
Hello All, I decided to try my hand at making mokume gane
following the diffusion method. To start, I want to work with
copper, nickel silver and Sterling. A couple of things are unclear
to me, so I would like to ask a couple of questions.
If I may make a suggestion…get rid of the nickel silver. My first
billets were copper brass and nickel silver and they are very hard to
roll. Later, I did copper and sterling and it rolls like
1) The laminant stack has to be secured in steel clamping plates
with bolts. Does anyone know where I can purchase such clamps? About
which measurements are we talking here? I do not want to melt the
I had mine made at a local machine shop. The two plates are
10cmX10cmX1.6cm (thick) with 13mm diameter holes for the bolts
drilled approximately 5mm from the edges at the corners of the plate.
Everything is, I believe, tool steel to withstand the heat. The
bolts and nuts must be the same material
2) Is it a good idea to preheat the clamps several times as to
build up a layer of oxidation which will subsequently prevent the
possibility of the lamination fusing to the plates?
I didn’t. I used yellow ochre to paint the inside faces of the
plates to prevent fusing.
3) I do not have a forge or a firebrick oven. Is it possible
and is it a good idea to use my burn out oven for it? I heard that
a burn out oven can indeed be used, on the condition that the
laminant stack is put on charcoal in an sturdy box made of steel.
Could someone please elaborate on this? How much charcoal do I need
to use? How sturdy does the box need to be? Is there no danger of
damaging my oven? Is the little hole in the oven sufficient to get
all the fumes (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide!) out of the way?
I use a burnout oven with a pyrometer for Mokume (but I don’t use it
for burnout anymore). I wrap the whole stack (torque plates and all
with tool steel and pile in aquarium charcoal. I follow the
instructions that James Binnion has kindly provided at
4) Once the laminant has been shimmering for a couple of
minutes, the construction has to be freed from the clamp while it
is still red hot. What is the best way to accomplish this? Isn't
this a rather dangerous operation? Thank you for reading. Any help
will be greatly appreciated. With best regards, Will
If you put the stack inside a tool steel bag, you will not be able
to see any shimmering in the stack. So, I simply heat sink for 8-10
hours, turn off the kiln, let it cool, disassemble the plates and
then heat and forge the billet.
I have had good luck with this in several different mokumes. I
have not killed myself yet, but I do set the kiln in a
I have seen the process done in a forge and there are several
differences: there is no need to create a reducing atmosphere (thus
no charcoal & tool wrap) because the forge itself provides the
apropriate environment. In the forge, you can see the stack "sweat"
so you know when to remove the stack and there is less time involved.
Once removed, the bolts are cut off, the plates opened, and the
I hope this is a help. I would be happy to answer additional
questions if I can. I wish you persistance and success. Mokume is
really beautiful and fun. I am very grateful to James Binnion and
Orchid for helping me to get it right.