Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mokume Gane: Wood Eye Metal

"Mokume Gane", translated from Japanese means "wood eye metal. Philip Jones, of the Jones Brothers Custom Knives, recently taught this at Montgomery Community College. His twin brother,Barry, came along to help. Phillip's self taught method of making this interesting and colorful metal is a terrific addition to the skills used in knifemaking and is of course used in jewelry and other crafts. The ability to make Mokume in my small shop was my main goal and with the brothers help I came away with that skill. We used copper and German silver as the metals for our ingots and learned everything from the proper preparation to carving and forging to bring out the grain. Preparation is everything! Without the proper prep, the layers will not fuse properly and will delaminate during the forging process, rendering the billet useless. One of the first items we made was a small kiln from soft firebrick. These worked great, concentrating the heat generated by a small propane torch and allowing the ingot to get to forging temperature while reducing the amount of oxidation.
The traditional method of making Mokume requires cleaning and the application of temperature and pressure. During the surface preparation, the oxides naturally occurring on the metals are removed using sandpaper which also cuts microscopic ridges in the metals. These ridges help break up the surface film. As heat is applied, melting starts and brings interfaces within atomic distances and fusion occurs. The original interface is eliminated and formation of a new alloy is formed.
The next step is forging and carving to bring the layers into a desired pattern. This can be done with punches, grinders, milling cutters, and is up to the imagination of the metalsmith and the intended look.

At the end of three days, we had made three billets of copper and German silver. One by the rolling method, and two by using steel pressure plates and threaded rods to hold them in place. We patterned the metal using different methods. Of course, between forgings, the metal is thoroughly annealed to reduce stress and delamination. Overall, very interesting workshop and I highly recommend it I feel I have a good base for further study and at the same time, the skill base to make mokume gane in my own studio.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"A new spin on the perceptions, procedures, and principles of flight";

Love this site! John Denker's online book, "See How It Flies", gives an in depth and interesting (to aviation enthusiasts especially) look at how an airplane flies and how to make one fly better. As he puts it, "This book is intended to appeal to pilots and everyone else who is interested in how airplanes behave. The idea is to concentrate on ideas that are useful in the cockpit, and to explain them as clearly as possible." If you're looking for more information on how and why an airplane flies this is a great place to start. It's coverage is limited to actual flying and not to pilot/ controller operations. As he puts it, "It explains things at a nontechnical level that should be accessible to almost everybody".

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Holly Arts & Crafts Festival 08

I'm wide open for the Holly Arts & Crafts Festival this Saturday in Pinehurst, NC. Downtown with the golf carts whizzing by and plenty of people, hopefully with lots of disposable income to spend on quality arts (like mine). Look me up if you make it down.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Art in the Arboretum 08

Well another festival is over for the year. What a great venue. The Greensboro Arboretum was in the best shape I've seen it in years. Unfortunately I don't make it over there very often, but you could tell, much work had been done to make it extra nice for the crowd that came out on Sunday. This year, there was a cash prize for first in show. I came close....well, in a way. Bennett Glass Art, from Winston-Salem, won. And, they happened to be right next to me. They received a cash prize and the opportunity to display their work at the Shops at Friendly. I don't know what the numbers were but the great weather surly helped in drawing a good crowd to the event. I saw quite a few familiar faces from the ,Greensboro Farmers Curb Market plus other old friends. Made some new ones , too. Well, better get back to work.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Art in the Arboretum Latest

Mark your calender for Art in the Arboretum, this Sunday. October 5 from 1-6 PM. The juried art and fine craft event will be held in the Greensboro Arboretum, located just off W. Market Street and Wendover Avenue within Lindley Park. Parking and Admission is free.


  • 50 artists with pottery, metal sculpture, paintings, jewelry, dolls, wood crafts, fiber art, and more
  • Entertainment on 3 Stages
  • The new Fiesta Stage featuring dancers from South America
  • Art Bark – the canine art activity
  • Art Quest art activities for children
  • The International Food Court – featuring Riva’s Trattoria and Zaytoon CafĂ© (there will also be hot dogs, lemonades, funnel cakes, coffees, and ice cream)
  • Master Gardeners Nature Cart
  • Face painting
  • And more...

Bailout or Blowout?

Come on now, how much more "help" can we stand from big government? As if congress and the administration hasn't known for sometime that the American public and the American government weren't borrowing too much money, they jump in like the sky is falling and if we don't give them some new power we'll all drop dead. Mac Johnson has it right in his article "Dump Their Deal", Check it out!

"I no more believe that their loud and clumsy action can
stop a recession than I believe that Barney Frank can run outside and
stop the rain. I am sure, however, that when the rain ends
spontaneously, he will take credit for the abundant sunshine."