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Karl Carvalho

Mokume Gane

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Aloha Karl,

 

I bet your batteries are charged after your class with Gene Pijanowski! As for the soldering part, it's the technical issue. There are so many ways to make a billet. Have you tried a gold solder for the copper/bronze?

The trap is there, I stepped into it. But as you mentioned the pieces of the puzzle can fall in place. Combinig the knowledge shared on this forum is of great help.

And yes, the goldprice does suck.

 

Jeff, that really is a snake!

 

Hi Ford,

 

I'm trying to find a way to came to the things I want to make. The methods involved, old or new, are a way to get there. Maybe "proven"ways would be a better term.

 

;)

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Aloha Karl,

 

Okay, so I am on the wrong track solder bonding bronze. Ferguson recommends 750 deg.C for 60 minutes in N2 atmosphere for copper/bronze. How do you do it with only a blowpipe? Smaller mass? How long before sweat lines appear? I guess silver is out of the question unless separated by copper.

 

Karl

 

Hi Karl,

 

as you guessed I am using very little quantities of metal. Most billets I made are 1,5cm to 4cm, mostly 9 layers, 1 mm per layer. They were tied together with binding wire (one half compressed in a vice- the free side tied, then turn- same procedure on the other side). The whole billet then get a bath made of destilled water with a little flux-this makes sure that not much of the flux remains between the layers. Still wet the billet is sprinkelt with powdered borax to seal the metal while heating. All is placed on a charcoal block. Then giving heat (-with a blow torch a kind of blow job that makes dizzy in the head ;) - ) making sure the whole billet is within the flame. Using the combination bronze copper there will be no bonding flash. Heating to a bright orange over a few minutes is everything that can be done. Hope my crooked explainations are somewhat helpful.

 

Jeff, a really nice snake head. :)

 

 

Berlin-Karl

 

Ps. In olden times Tin was called "Diabolus metallorum"- Devil`s metal- because is alloying so rapidely with precious metals. Even traces are eating holes into gold or silver surfaces when accidentaly left from an old soft solder seam for instance. These traces coming in contact with gold or silver to be melted will ruin the metal, making it brittle and hard. So be carefull using Bronze and suchlike stuff. :)

 

Hey, any sources for shirome, nigorome out there?

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Berlin Karl,

 

I have a copy of a treatise on shirome done by Prof. Gowland published in 1894. His analyses are generally reliable. I'll pm you a couple of them. Nigurome has to my knowledge not been definitively identified in any Japanese text. My own theory is that it's an earlier version of kuromi-do. I've made up various samples with As ( arsenic ) ranging from .25%; to .5% . You get a much more pleasing reddish brown than straight kuromi-do ( which is often a blackish/grey after patinating ). If you can get some kuromido then you can play ;) . I'll send you some images of the patinated alloys, you also get a subtle black spotting or gaining in my version of nigurome which is quite pleasing too. Funny enough, the kanji used to write nigurome actually mean "red black taste" which I like to think adds weight to my theory. :)

 

cheers, Ford

 

p.s. I really like your little smiling bloke. How big is it and is it a brooch or pin?

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p.p.s. Aloha Karl,

 

you can make a perfectly acceptable shakudo, which colours to a perfect solid black, by mixing .5% gold + .5% silver and the rest copper. If you use a small amount, say 20% kuromi-do with the copper you'll be replicating a Muromachi period alloy.

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Hi Jeff,

 

you'll have to tell use more. Yamagane is simply unrefined copper, or native copper.

 

Ford

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Ford,

That's a bit of metal inlaid into an antique tsuba, that looks like unrefined copper. I was just hoping for confirmation that it indeed is that stuff, although it looks a little more unrefined than I expected, with a couple blobs of very different but still coppery alloy in the mix.

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Hi Jeff,

 

could you post an image of the whole tsuba? please.

 

I actually don't think that it is "yama-gane" though. I suspect basic copper that's had various other metal filings fused into the surface to create localized patches of dissimilar alloy. It's a, not unknown, technique, to create a marbleized sheet which can be then further worked. Good for leaves, as in this case. The resulting metal is known as "madara-gane ( Dalmatian metal, if memory serves, I must check my notes ;) )

 

When the Japanese craftsman used yama-gane it had actually been completely homogenized by melting, so the colour is generally an even, dark brown, sometimes with a hint of steely grey.

 

regards, Ford

 

Hi Jeff,

 

could you post an image of the whole tsuba? please.

 

I actually don't think that it is "yama-gane" though. I suspect basic copper that's had various other metal filings fused into the surface to create localized patches of dissimilar alloy. It's a, not unknown, technique, to create a marbleized sheet which can be then further worked. Good for leaves, as in this case. The resulting metal is known as "madara-gane ( Dalmatian metal, if memory serves, I must check my notes :) )

 

When the Japanese craftsman used yama-gane it had actually been completely homogenized by melting, so the colour is generally an even, dark brown, sometimes with a hint of steely grey.

 

regards, Ford

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Aloha Guys,

 

I really like waking up to this. Many thanks for all the great info. I got a "pipe" (yep) last night and plan to give it a whirl. Also have a copy of the 1980 catalogue (thick sucker) for the Second Copper, Brass and Bronze Exhibition at the U of A Museum of Art (Gene was a juror). All the greats were there, like Sepa, Fike, Hu, Christensen, Paley and Fenster to name a few.

 

Karl

I really appreciate your help getting onto the right track. I think the distilled water and flux trick will help a lot. I often worry, where does the flux go? I use a boric acid/borax/sodium fluoborate flux that goes to 927 deg.C (1700F).

You mentioned Alistair McCallum. I'm using his technique from Midgett's book. Is there anything else in print from him regarding this subject?

 

Sjoerd

Ah yes, the ubiquitous Tutorial #1 from Dick "Dragon Master" Bonham. ;) Thanks for the encouragement. We all fell into that trap. As I mentioned, it is an inevitable offshoot of the learning curve. I just built in a backdoor by sketching out organic forms from the beginning.

 

Ford

What can I say? Thank you.

 

Karl

 

At this rate, my day job is in serious jeopardy. :)

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I think the distilled water and flux trick will help a lot. I often worry, where does the flux go? I use a boric acid/borax/sodium fluoborate flux that goes to 927 deg.C (1700F).

You mentioned Alistair McCallum. I'm using his technique from Midgett's book. Is there anything else in print from him regarding this subject?

 

Guten Abend Karl,

 

with the flux, just try what will work best for you. Some people using no flux at all. :) But when firewelding blades most blacksmithes using flux too.

 

Here are some biblographic sources:

 

- "Nico Taeymans Masterclass 2000; Alistair McCullum; Sterckshof Studies 15; Antwerpen 2000" few pages, nice pieces, only few points on technique But taken from this little volume another source:

-Alistair McCullum; The Technique of Mokume Gane, in: Crafts, 42, 1980,p. 20-21

Ok, is not much on McCullum.

 

Birgit Laken is one of his pupils. She made a nice Cataloge called: Metal in Motion, 1990, Haarlem.

 

Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim This is a link to the jewellery museum in Pforzheim were the forementioned exhibition took place. click on "Zur Webseite" there will be "mokume gane" in tiny letters, clicking that showing two pieces of Laken`s work. ;) (good luck)

 

Berlin Karl

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Hi there,

 

Alistiar has some of his work on display at www.studio925.nl

That's Jan van Nouhuys'site, a Dutch silversmith. Another man found on his site is Louis Hankart, he's loaded with info.

www.birgitlaken.nl

www.mokume.ch =Hansruedi Spillmann. He was taught by Birgit Laken.

 

:huh:

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Guest ford hallam

Hi Sjoerd,

 

thanks very much for those links. :huh: I was unaware of Alistair McCullum's work, it's very well conceived I think.

 

regards, ford

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I actually don't think that it is "yama-gane" though. I suspect basic copper that's had various other metal filings fused into the surface to create localized patches of dissimilar alloy

That's a relief, it did seem 'unrefined' in the wrong way.

I have some copper ore that I've been meaning to smelt, and I guess I'm looking for an example of yamagane so I will know when to stop the refining process. The goal being to have a material with more visual interest/historical context than modern store-bought copper, but not so much that it is a serious pain to work with :huh:;)

could you post an image of the whole tsuba?

Here it is, it obviously suffers from having been in the collection of a 'patina cleaner' at some point:

 

post-1173-1181400003.jpg

 

post-1173-1181400021.jpg

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Hi Jeff,

 

Ouch! poor thing...being stripped bare like that. I'd suggest late Edo period but in a sort of revivalist style, after the earlier, Kamakura period Onin guards. Brass is most likely 15% zinc with .5% lead, the rest copper. Now you can replicate that too! :huh:

 

There seems to be a bit of interest in making variations on the yama-gane theme so I'll take some images of various samples I have and give the alloy compositions. If you have some native copper then all you need to do is clean out any grit and such and melt it. Depending on where it came from you'll find the patinated metal "interesting" ;)

 

more to come.

 

regards, Ford

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That's a relief, it did seem 'unrefined' in the wrong way.

I have some copper ore that I've been meaning to smelt, and I guess I'm looking for an example of yamagane so I will know when to stop the refining process. The goal being to have a material with more visual interest/historical context than modern store-bought copper, but not so much that it is a serious pain to work with :huh:;)

 

Here it is, it obviously suffers from having been in the collection of a 'patina cleaner' at some point:

 

post-1173-1181400003.jpg

 

post-1173-1181400021.jpg

 

 

Hi Jeff,

I see your not too far away from my location. Short distance as far as forumites go. I am up on highway 36 about an hour from Fortuna. I have a great interest in primitive smelting of copper ore. We should talk. Copper taken from raw smelts is really a natural alloy that can contain a variety of other metals. Lead, Tin, Silver, and arsenic among others. This is what I believe Yamagane is. It is smelted but not separated from the other metals. The source of the ore will determine all the goodies in the copper and so the final colors vary considerably in the art work. As too why the alloy is splotchy on such a large scale well that might be explained by reasons other than it being Yamagane.

Patrick

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Aloha Ford,

 

I'm a little confused :huh: . Did you mean that a Muromachi shakudo alternative would have a composition of:

0.5% gold

0.5% fine silver

20.0% kuromido (composed of 99% pure copper/1% arsenic)

79% pure copper?

And did you mean that adding kuromido to pure copper results in a more historically accurate form of yamagane (because of the As)?

Part of my confusion comes from a chicken or the egg mentality i.e. did As come from yamagane or kuromido (not important)? Part comes from several composition charts that I have; some expressed in percentages (%), others in parts per. (Oh boy, I feel another thread coming on.) This all relates to making mokume with yamagane.

 

Dan

Belated thanks for IT info and the link. I'll be ordering soon.

btw - Wouldn't mind seeing that octopus image if you could get a hold of it. ;)

 

Karl

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Aloha Patrick, Jeff

 

I seemed to have passed by Patrick in the ether. I may be in the Bay Area/Berkeley Hills in Sept./Oct. Are you guys interested in hooking up? I would try my best to bring kuromido and yamagane experiments.

 

Karl

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Aloha Karl,

 

I've actually been lead to believe that Kuromido has 3% As in it. The composition you given there is a very close copy of Muromachi period shakudo, yes. I've had extensive ranges analysis of specifically identified ( in terms of age, artist etc. ) alloys done. This alloy patinates to what I call an ink stick ( sumi) black, no hint of blue or purple that is seen on Edo period shakudo. So, Early shakudo was made with unrefined copper.

 

After the Tokugawa Shogunate was established they took control of the copper mines, particularly the most important ones on Sado Island ( where the Kodo drummers live ). The Goto family, apart from getting the job of supplying the required fittings for the classic kamishimo style "dress" koshirae for attendance at court , also controlled the mint ( nice work if you can get it! :huh: ) and oversaw the refining and supply of metals. Hence the standardization that becomes evident in the Edo period. Now we will overturn all that state control...long live the revolution ;) .

 

cheers, Ford :(

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Aloha Patrick, Jeff

 

I seemed to have passed by Patrick in the ether. I may be in the Bay Area/Berkeley Hills in Sept./Oct. Are you guys interested in hooking up? I would try my best to bring kuromido and yamagane experiments.

 

Karl

 

I would be interested,

I have some traveling to do back east around that time, but there might be a window in there. I will be attending the Sanfran Token Kai show as I usually do August 16-19. I have been making alloy samples like crazy lately. My latest focus is Yamagane Emulation. I am adding various small percentages of metals that are naturally found in native copper to understand the effects on coloration and grain structure. I have a piece of Kuromido made in Japan that Ford Gifted to me. It is 3 percent Rather than the 1 percent I see cited in many sources about Mokume gane. I use it to impart arsenic in my samples when desired.

Patrick

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Aloha Patrick,

 

Thanks for the quick reply. We'll communicate soon (let's hear from Jeff). I am just beginning this journey. I have been begging, borrowing and stealing (not really!) pure zinc, tin etc. I've started a Japanese Alloy thread next door to split off Mokume.

 

Karl

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I have done some work in Mokume. Since my interest grew out of exposure to sword fittings I mainly have used it for that. I have made some jewelry and knicknacks, but fittings are my thing. Here is a set I did awhile back. It is not Traditional alloy. It is just Copper and Nicklesilver. Easy to bond and work with nice contrast once the copper darkens. The Tsuba is three separate plates of 29 layers each. With a fukurin of silver to cover the outer plate seams. The patterns are nearly identical on both sides. The Fuchi and kashira are a more random pattern as the forming process for the parts does not lend its self to pattern control as much as the flat sheets do. The bonding process was Solid state diffusion in a digital furnace for 10 hours at 1500f. These pics were taken before I had lights and a decent camera setup.

post-40-1181424171.jpg

post-40-1181424208.jpg

In the solid state method you have to have a compression system of some type. I went through various designs. Some did not work so well when scaled up to hold a billet with a 3"x3" footprint. I ended up abandoning the typical two plates held together with bolts and went on to this design. Only being made from mild steel it worked for three cycles before tearing at a weld on the side plate splice. The unit would have worked longer had I not spliced the side plate. In this picture there are actually 7 sepparate billets, but with parting compound there is no reason why you can't fire them all at once so I built the frame to accomodate them all. The whole frame is wrapped in tool wrap with some charcoal inside. The whole unit is placed in the furnace. The way the compression is distributed on the billet provides a solid bond with no center weak point. Typical compression plate systems bow under pressure and the center of a 3"x3" ingot will not get any pressure during the fireing. This can cause the ingot to fail when working it down later. I have plans to make a Hot press that will not need a separate compression frame. When I finish that I have grandious ideas for some Mokume projects.

post-40-1181425504.jpg

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The Fuchi and kashira are a more random pattern as the forming process for the parts does not lend its self to pattern control as much as the flat sheets do.

 

 

 

post-40-1181425504.jpg

 

Aloha

 

Patrick, you have been holding out on us. :angry::D That mokume "furniture suite" is awesome. We should have seen it in Show & Tell before. I hate to say, but I'm liking the fuchi and kashira more. While the tsuba is impressive, the other two look like you "let go" where a certain organic randomness appeared.

The torque box is really interesting. There are a few lying around the studio (actually, I think they are the original prototypes seen in texts). I will copy this image (with your kind permission) to show the class. It seems like a 3rd, 4th or whatever generation refinement of the original.

Discussions about stack/billet shape as relates to traditional methods bears some looking at. My teacher relates discussions with his teacher, who felt that round billets have less problems i.e. no corners. Think about it, tsubas and the like are round. We can kick this around a bit. :)

 

Karl

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I'd suggest late Edo period but in a sort of revivalist style, after the earlier, Kamakura period Onin guards.

It had a label that said ‘mito school, c. 1800’ but I know enough not to trust attributions on objects like these…

I see your not too far away from my location. Short distance as far as forumites go. I am up on highway 36 about an hour from Fortuna.

Wow, that is close – I’ve been meaning to get up to Eureka/Ferndale for about five years now, if I ever do head up that way I’ll be sure to look you up.

I may be in the Bay Area/Berkeley Hills in Sept./Oct. Are you guys interested in hooking up?

Sure, I know where the good restaurants are! I too will be visiting the Token Kai, and in general will be around, if I’m not in Europe for a week or two.

More Yamagane exploration in the alloys thread!

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Aloha

 

Patrick, you have been holding out on us. :angry::D That mokume "furniture suite" is awesome. We should have seen it in Show & Tell before. I hate to say, but I'm liking the fuchi and kashira more. While the tsuba is impressive, the other two look like you "let go" where a certain organic randomness appeared.

The torque box is really interesting. There are a few lying around the studio (actually, I think they are the original prototypes seen in texts). I will copy this image (with your kind permission) to show the class. It seems like a 3rd, 4th or whatever generation refinement of the original.

Discussions about stack/billet shape as relates to traditional methods bears some looking at. My teacher relates discussions with his teacher, who felt that round billets have less problems i.e. no corners. Think about it, tsubas and the like are round. We can kick this around a bit. :)

 

Karl

 

Thanks Karl,

I have to agree about the Tsuba, it is not a design I personally want to repeat. I have made more Fuchi Kashira and Kojiri with patterns that I enjoy though.

You can use that picture and if you want more details about the design I would be happy to provide them. there are four bolts provideing the compression and I would probably refine the design further next time around, but like I mentioned I want to move away from the portable frame and make a dedicated hot press.

I considered the round billets, but when working larger billets the corners provide quite abit of useable material once rolled out. So you have two choices. A large pile of unbonded scrap or good sized chunks of mokume that can be rolled out into all sorts of goodies for barely anymore effort. Squares are simply easier to shear and every last piece of a sheet can be used. In my particular way of doing things square is the way to go.

I also have purchase Mokume in straight layers and worked it down. I traded a smith for some interesting material and I forget who made the billet, but it was Shakudo copper and supposedly Shibuichi. The copper and Shibuichi do not show much contrast though. Here are some examples of the material after I patterned it.

post-40-1181458697.jpg

post-40-1181458737.jpg

In the future I will be making my own Shakudo and yamagane billets for a project I want to do, but I am waiting until I can put together the hot press.

patrick

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