Well, I suppose more engraving isn’t different but forging mokume certainly is.  I have spent the last couple of days on a rather pretty geometric pattern.  We tried a photo-transfer film to imprint the image, but it didn’t go according to plan.  Missy thinks we just need to tweek the process a bit.  If it works it will be much better than the “acetone PIMA” technique that I am stuck with now.  I am not good enough at drawing to just draw it on the metal, not yet anyway.  I got all the line work done today on the engraving and started doing some minimal border texture.  I am pleased with how it is turning out.  I included a pic of one of the tails I produced while texturing the inner border.  It might not look all that special, however that was one continuous cut from one side of the square to the other (which is one of the things I am shooting for).  It is rather difficult to get a straight line over distance with this particular set of techniques because you are rotating your hand (it looks almost like voluntary trembling when done properly) at a prescribed angle and a hopefully uniform back and forth motion.  It works fine for shorter cuts, but keeping all of those things in the right balance for more than a few millimeters is somewhat difficult.  But I am working on that.

Last night, Richard and I stayed a couple of hours over to forge a billet of mokume.  I don’t know when exactly I will be attempting that for myself.  I was mainly taking pictures and observing and providing moral support.  It went pretty well.  We got the first weld done, which is the most important one.  I am only including a few pics because, partly I have so many others AND I am going to do a mokume-specific post in the NOT-too-distant future.  We found out, though, that the billet was too tall for any of the rolling mills in the shop.  So Richard put it in the fly-press and smashed it repeatedly for about half an hour.  We decided to call it quits for the night because that managed to bring the billet down only about a millimeter.  It is too bad we don’t have a small power hammer in the shop.  Once we draw it down to about 30% of its orginal height, we will cut it in half and do another weld, so as to have 22 layers.  After that, the creative part happens.  That is when Richard will shape the billet to define the pattern that he wants.  It should be noted here that this is what Richard describes as “california mokume” and not “true mokume”.  We used ordinary solder to bind the layers together.  In order to do the molecular diffusion method that is considered “traditional” you need an oxygen free forging environment, which is currently out of our reach here at the shop.  (What makes it ‘california’?….I have NO idea…..)  More to come later on…..

Bill also did a demo on anodizing niobium, which was pretty neat.  He made a pair of colorful earrings in the space of just a few minutes.  That is one of the things I will probably tackle either tomorrow or Monday.  I also purchased a 3 carat tourmalated quarzt which is pretty awesome.  I am planning on making a pendant out of it.  I have seen rutilated quartz before but not tourmalated quartz.  And it was inexpensive: 15 bucks for the stone! 

I also included a pic of our beloved Kringle…..


I finished up the cutting part of the engraving that I have been working on.  Bill said that it is a “Pass” which is a very good and very unexpected thing.  I didn’t have any intention of submitting that as a graded project, but I will take a passing grade with a very big smile upon my face.  This doesn’t mean that I am gonna just kick engraving to the curb.  I am sure there are other projects that involve that on the horizon AND (at least as important to me) I want to be as good an engraver as I can be.  So….lots more practice to be had…..