Best machine-able "Damascus" metals : Making rings

Background: I've been working on some rings using "mokueme-gane" billets for jewelry... Non-ferrous metals, so they are pretty easy to
cut/drill/form.
I want to create a pattern welded billet to cut rings (the kind you wear) out of.
I want a simple light/dark contrast... And thinking of using L6 or nickel or nickel silver and some type of carbon steel.
My question is:
What types of metal would be best suited for this? Since I want to actually "machine" the ring from a solid piece of stock I'll need something I can drill and grind with out much trouble.
What combinations would you suggest for this purpose
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

I'd go with one of the 'food grade' stainlesses for the light part, and W2 (Nicholson file stock) for the dark part, then heat treat in oil after machining. The 200 and 300 SS series are non heat treatable, and will retain their 'whiteness' after quenching. The W2 will go very dark gray with granular highlights. Zebra...
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Any good common source for either?
I'm guessing since you mention "food grade" I could just hunt for junk pieces of stainless kitchenware?
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

Think resturant equipment, that'll most likely be 304. Take a magnet to the scrapyard, 200 and 300 SS aren't magnetic. Stainless isn't easy to work with. You GOTTA get rid of the oxygen before you push to weld heat. Flux the billet until it looks like it's dipped in molten glass. With stainless, there's no such thing as 'too much flux'. Expect a steep learning curve and a lot of scrap iron, I get lucky about one in four.
As to machining, 304 is one of the toughest non heat-treatable alloys I've encountered. It eats resin grinder disks for breakfast. It will work fairly easy with HSS tooling, just ease up on the feed rate. It can be a real pain in the arse, but it's gorgeous. I made sword hardware out of it over two decades ago, and it's still a mirror. I can count the hairs in my mustache at arm's length.
Charly
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snipped-for-privacy@msn.com wrote:

Have you ever heard of "nickel allergy"?
A ring made using Ni may be fine for awhile but sooner or later the nickel allergy will -prob'ly- show up. People that wear rings made from Fe-Ni meteorite keep a coat of fingernail polish inside of their rings.
Do what you want... just want you to know, before you run into trouble later.
Alvin in AZ
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Yup, had that happen to me. I made a pretty little ring from some 316 Sched 80 seamless tubing. Gorgeous shine but I developed the nickel allergy after a couple of years.
The allergy, once developed, is pretty much permanent. That ring was 30 years ago and I still cannot have any nickel-bearing metal in contact with my skin. I have to use the cloth type sports band for my watch to hold the back away from my skin.
John
On Wed, 7 Sep 2005 20:28:19 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@XX.com wrote:

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John I wish I knew more about your experience and equipment. I make my own "damascus" (pattern welded steel) for knives. I have made some stainless material but it is difficult to make. You will have to "can" the material to get a bond. Without canning it you will not be able to forge weld it at all - much less to dis-similiar materials. I would reccomend you look at commercially available material unless you have the equipment and the experience to make your own. Google "Devin Thomas damascus" and that will find his web site for you. Devin is THE leading damascus producer for knife makers and he does make stainless damascus. I have a good friend that make rings from his stainless stock and I heat treat the rings for him. If I can help let me know. -- Bill

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As for nickel allergy, I plan to solder a thin silver band on the inside of the ring, this should make skin contact almost non existant.
I've forge welded stainless before... Not that much though. As far as equipment I have access to a decent coal burning forge, various presses and grinders... Thats about it.
As long as the pattern has a light/dark I dont care what grade or type of metals I use... Just that its not impossible to join them and not going to eat up all my tools when I try to drill / grind them to shape.
So I guess my wants are metals that:
cheap not going to kill my tools (drills, grinders) Will bond very good in a coal forge will leave a good high contrast light/dark pattern..
Thank you all for the help and suggestions and help
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If you are going to make rings I see nothing but problems with most any steel that isn't stainless... and you will need at least one that isn't for patterning. Most steels will rust pretty fast with skin oils and a LOT of people can't take steel on bare skin. I can guarantee my wife would have a serious rash in a few hours with something like that. Then there is the Ni alergy thing. A bit of silver on the inside won't protect the fingers next to it. If you want to do a cheap mokume you can still do stuff like copper brass and silver. Your choice though. Good luck. I've thought about doing other kinds of forge/pattern welded jewerlry, like pendants, belt buckles and such.
Steels that contrast? 15N20 is favored for light color, L6 should be lighter but not as much as the 15N20. Plain carbon steel is dark, O1 is real dark. Can't hazard a guess after that. Keep in mind that the color differences don't show much untill the metal has been acid etched.
GA

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<snip;>

Oooo... GA, your post about Ag and bronze reminded me of some really cool belt buckels and other gaudy-jewlery made from layers of red and yellow brass and I guess a couple colors of nickel-silver. It was sooo cool and I'm usually not interested in anything artsyfartsy like that. :) It was simply silver soldered layers even, but still cool looking as anything. :)
But real silver and real tin-based-bronze (with no zinc) would prob'ly work. Some people don't turn green (and stinky) from copper and others get green with 10K gold. So it'll depend on who wears it?
The "precious metals" are just that, I guess. ;)
OP, I think I know what you're getting at tho, I've panned and "creavsed" gold and the "boring yellow stuff" just doesn't do a thing for me anymore.
I'd rather trade my gold in for stuff made of steel. YMMV :)
Alvin in AZ
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Stainless Steel (It was capitalized in them thar days!) was comparatively rare and expensive, was considered a semi-precious metal, and was used in some mid-costly jewelry.
I grew up through the late 40s, and early 50s. I recall my father being very pleased when he got a stainless steel watch for Fathers' Day.
That fad only lasted a short time before stainless became commonly used.
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You could try pure iron. James Binnion has done some pretty cool rings. Take a look at http://www.mokume-gane.com/Pages/Photos/PtFe.html
Chris

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Check this out, it's metorite metal. Very Interesting http://www.bonnydoonengineering.com/gallery/pages/ploof02.shtml
jenni.chris wrote:

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Gotta admit, the iron and platnum version looks a lot cooler than the all precious (white) metals. Neat stuff though, all of it. For myself - I'm a copper enthusiest. Been meaning to make some copper and silver Mokume for fittings and jewelry. Just haven't got there yet :-) So much to do in such a short life.
GA

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Try 52100, high chrome alloy used for ball bearing and bearing races with mild steel. I think you will get a good contrast, at low cost that shouldnt be too hard to work and polish. Also should avoid the niclel desease, though there may be a chrome one Doug

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