Casting Bronze Ingots

Recently, I was reading METAL-COLOURING AND BRONZING by Hiorns, and I was impressed by his account of the high level of development of bronze alloys in Japan. They
created alloys including precious metals like silver and gold that could be processed to produce color patinas like nothing anybody else ever created. This 19th century book includes a number of formulas for their alloys, taken from quantitative analysis of original samples.
I've been thinking it might be fun to create samples of these alloys, and perhaps go beyond the original recipes by exploring the design space. It should be very simple, just have some ceramic molds made up, quantitatively weigh out the ingredients, melt them in a kiln, roll out the ingots into sheets, and expose them to various patination processes. The recent book COLOURING, BRONZING, and PATINATION OF METALS by Hughes gives a large number of patination processes for bronze. Hiorns does too, but not as many, and not with color pictures like Hughes does.
I'm wondering if it is that simple. Pottery kilns easily reach the required temperatures. If I put measured amounts of pure metals for a bronze alloy in a mold and heat it up well above the melting point of any single ingredient, will they all mix and form a uniform melt? Do I have to stir it? Would I need to have it performed in a reducing atmosphere?
I can rent time in a local pottery kiln. If it's that easy, all I need is a scale and the pure metals, like copper, tin, silver, gold, etc. Once I have the ingots, I could roll them into sheets to make coupons for patination experiments. On eBay (and elsewhere), I notice for about $250 I can buy a brand-new hand-cranked rolling mill imported from India. I could roll ingots into 3-inch wide ribbons, and cut them with a metal shears.
I was thinking this could be a subject for a book. I could vary the recipes by +/- 5%, 10%, 20%, etc. for each ingredient, and see what the result would be. The book would be mostly a collection of actual samples of each material exposed to each patination process. I'll bet everybody doing serious work in bronze would want that book, even if it were very expensive. If you could afford it and you were working in bronze professionally, it would be a must-have.
I got the idea from LEATHER DRESSING by Lamb, a classic in the field of leather tanning and dyeing which fetches very high prices, both because it's a good book and because he included many samples of actual leather processed using the materials and methods described in the book. Even though it's very dated (last edition 1926), they typically go for $200 to $500 in good original condition.
Any comments? I doubt if it would be immensely profitable, but I think it could easily break even, and even make enough profit to be worth doing. I'd be even more pleased by the fame of producing an important book, both by engineering standards and book-collecting standards. Even if I hired people to do most of the work, the investment wouldn't be that large -- mostly in the production of the actual book itself, if I hired a specialty, low-volume, artisan printing/bookbinding to actually assemble the final product. For the sort of price I think I would charge, it would have to be a first-class product, probably come in its own box, that kind of thing.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Have a look at Ian Ferguson's work at the University of Manchester on extending the ancient "mokume gane" technique (which I think is what you are thinking of?) using a wide range of modern alloys. The Manchester University materials website doesn't have a lot on it, but he has written a book on it: (Amazon.com product link shortened)93880284/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/202-7794485-0365410.
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Steve Roberts wrote:

No, he's working on joining metals to create laminated materials. I'm talking about creating pure alloys, starting from traditional recipes but hitting additional points in the design space to see what's out there.

(Amazon.com product link shortened)93880284/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/202-7794485-0365410.
Better web pages for that are:
http://www.faceters.com/askjeff/mokume.shtml http://www.mokume-gane.com/Pages/What_is_Mokume.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.