Mokume-gane ( 木目金 ) is a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. Translating as "wood-grain metal", the name was borrowed from one type of pattern created in the forging of swords and other edged weapons.
First made in 17th-century Japan, the mixed-metal was used only for sword fittings until the Meiji era, when the decline of the katana industry forced artisans to create purely decorative items instead. The inventor, Denbei Shoami (1651-1728), initially called his product "guri bori" for its simplest form's resemblance to "guri", a type of carved lacquerwork with alternating layers of red and black. Other historical names for it were kasumi-uchi (cloud metal), itame-gane (wood-grain metal), and yosefuki. (Pijanowski & Pijanowski, 2001)
The traditional components were relatively soft metallic elements and alloys - gold, copper, silver, shakudo, shibuichi, and kuromido - which would form liquid phase diffusion bonds with one another without completely melting. After the original metal sheets were stacked and carefully heated, the solid billet of simple stripes could be forged and carved to increase the pattern's complexity. To achieve a successful lamination using the traditional process required a highly skilled smith with a great deal of experience.
The modernized process typically uses a controlled atmosphere in a temperature controlled furnace. Mechanical aids such as a hydraulic press or torque plates (bolted clamps) are also typically used to apply compressive force on the billet during lamination and provide for the implementation of lower temperature solid-state diffusion between the interleaved layers, allowing the inclusion of many nontraditional components such as titanium, platinum, iron, bronze, brass, nickel silver, and various colors of karat gold including yellow, white, sage, and rose hues as well as sterling silver. (Binnion & Chaix, 2002)
Coloring
To increase the contrast between the laminate layers many mokume-gane items are colored by the application of a patina (a controlled corrosion layer) to accentuate or even totally change the colors of the metal's surface. One example of a traditional Japanese patination is the use of rokusho. Rokusho is a complex copper verdigris compound produced specifically for use as a patina.
To color the shakudo and gold, submerse the piece in boiling rokusho, and hold there - agitating constantly - until it reaches the desired color. Rokusho colors shakudo a black-purple. The more gold is in the alloy, the more purple it turns.
Rokusho is produced in small batches in a traditional process and is somewhat difficult to acquire outside Japan. There are some proposed substitute formulas (see rokusho article.)
Traditionally a paste of ground daikon radish is also used to prepare the work for the patina.
The paste is applied immediately before the piece is boiled in the rokusho to protect the surface against tarnish and uneven coloring.
(Pijanowski & Pijanowski, 2001)
Shakudo can also be darkened by adding salt with ammonia in a plastic bag. The warmer the solution, the faster it will darken the metal.
References
• Pijanowski, H.S. and Pijanowski, G.M. (2001). Wood Grained Metal: Mokume-Gane. http://www.silversmithing.com/1mokume.htm. Retrieved on 2007-01-26.
• Binnion, J. E. and Chaix, B. (2002) (PDF). Old Process, New Technology: Modern Mokume Gane. http://www.mokume-gane.com/Papers/PaperThankyou.html. Retrieved on 2007-01-26.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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