It has been some time since the last post, and it was mostly work-work-work.
Today I sold my first mokume billets to a local jeweler!
I 've decided to offer three types of billets, a more expensive 15 layer silver, shibuichi, shakudo combination, a common 15 layer silver-copper combination, and a more economical 19 layer copper, brass, nickel silver, brass combination, shown below.
Dimensions are 45mm x 45mm, and thickness 7.5mm, 8mm, and 10mm respectively. Prices are per gram, and are as follows: 0.5 Euros/gr for the non-precious metal combinations, 2 Euros/gr for the silver-copper, and 4 Euros/gr for the Japanese alloys. These are about the same prices that the only European commerial mokume producer quotes. Due to the roughly 1.4 exchange rate between Euro and USD, they do seem pricey in USD, so I've decided (in the off chance that I get a client from the US) to keep the same prices in USD, so US customers roughly get a 30% discount.
Anyway enough with money and such. I have also worked both liquid state diffusion where the metals slightly melt before bonding, and solid state diffusion where the metals bond without melting. Of course, the Japanese swordsmiths of yore used only the liquid state diffusion process. For more technical details read the excellent Santa Fe paper below.
It's interesting how the modern approach relies on advanced technology, and really long bonding times but requires very little experience and care, while the old process is really quick but requires intimate contact with the material, a watchful eye and good timing. In the modern process you are guaranteed good results, but you have to wait, while in the old way you can do it in a pinch, but can easily ruin the whole billet if you are careless for a few seconds! Says a lot about the old masters...
Can't really say which technique I prefer, for the time being I do both, and time will tell. I am also twisting and flattening pieces to see how well they hold up, but more on that (with photos, I promise) later on.
UPDATE: I am still offering mokume billets for sale, just not through the Etsy shop. Just contact me below and I will respond directly through email, so we can work out what you need.