A couple of years ago I saw some items made with a reticulation
alloy which gave a "goose bumps" pattern instead of the more usual
"wavy" pattern. I believe it was a silver/copper alloy, but am not
sure of the percentage composition, or if there were other metals
To me the "goose bumps" mean the alloy is Shibuichi, a silver/copper
mixture originally used for decorative accents on Samurai swords.
The name means literally "one quarter" denoting the proportions of
25% silver and 75% copper used in the traditional process. The metal
takes on a nice "puckered" or "blistered" surface finish when torch
If you are making the alloy yourself, you may want to play with the
proportions. I've seen a fairly wide range. An old magazine article
I read mentioned the "best" alloy the author had found was 32% silver
68% copper. On the high side I've seen one reference to a 40% silver
The only commercial source I have found for Shibuichi is Reactive
Metals in Clarkdale, New Mexico (800 876-3434)
http://www.reactivemetals.com/ They have two different alloys, a 25%
silver 75% copper and a 15% silver 85% copper.
So what alloy is actually "best"? Last week I made up three
different blends, 25%, 32% and 40% silver (with the rest being
copper). Using the same thickness sheet, the same torch technique,
and the same surface prep, I found the "goose bumps" got
progressively larger as the silver content was increased. My
preference was for the largest blisters which were produced by the
40% silver 85% copper alloy.
If anyone would like detailed instructions on the process, I have a
data sheet I made up for my class. Please email me off-list. File
format is WORD 2000 for Windows.