Metal Magic

We’ve received a wonderful surprise from kestrel. She’s making magic and has decided to let us watch the show. This is part 1 of what may be about 5 parts and I am just as in the dark as you about what’s coming next. Kestrel will reveal all one post at a time so make sure to tune in for all the updates. That’s just the way magic should be, full of anticipation and surprises. And now… heeere’s kestrel!

A while back, Marcus posted about some mokume gane he had made, and the exciting adventures he had making it. I know it’s properly called mokume gane, but I like to think of it as MarcusMetal. (No doubt that will trademarked soon.) Much to my surprise, it arrived at my house early one morning. I immediately leaped up to polish part of it – away from the coffee, mind you – because I knew it was going to be very beautiful and I could not wait to see it. If you look carefully, you can see a pattern of swirls of copper against the nickel in the part that I polished. When I am done and I finish a piece, I will put a patina on the metal that will make the pattern show up in greater contrast.

©kestrel, all rights reserved

Now, to make something with this, I’m going to have to cut a piece out. I want the longest piece I can get out of this piece of metal. So I have scribed two lines, marking the piece I’d like to cut out. Unfortunately it’s only a little over 4” (a little over 10 cm) long, but that’s OK. I can make it longer. But first I have to cut it out of the larger piece.

©kestrel, all rights reserved

There are professional metal workers here who have really nice equipment, but I’m a jeweler and my tools are very simple. These are the blades I’m going to use in my saw frame to cut on the scribed line. These are size 8, the smallest my supplier carries. And yes, I love Laser Gold blades! 

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Before you can put a blade in the saw frame, you have to figure out where the teeth are and make sure they are facing forwards and pointing downwards. Once I get it in there, it is tightened up and then I apply lubrication so the blade will last a little longer. 

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Now I start to saw. And saw, and saw and saw… This is going to take a while, I’ll have to continue another time! In the meantime, if you need to stop and rest while sawing, be careful how you extract your blade, you don’t want it to break! It’s actually quite normal to have blades break while working on a project like this. The metal is very thick, much thicker than what I would normally work with, so the stress on the blade is greater. If you twist or flex the blade at all in such a thick piece, it will break. But no worries, I have a lot of experience in this, and you can see I have successfully extracted the blade without breaking it so I could take the photo. 

©kestrel, all rights reserved

In the next installment, I’ll get the blank cut out and start to prepare it for working into something useful. 





  1. Jazzlet says

    Oooooh, I love series like this. Seeing the skills you all have put into practise is fascinating.

  2. Nightjar says

    Oooh, pretty! And I bet kestrel will make it even prettier! Can’t wait for the next installment.

  3. says

    I had completely forgotten the lump of mokume! That’s the one that nearly set me ablaze…

    Can’t wait to see what you do with it. And I am in awe of your straight line sawing skills.

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