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Belt Buckle Classes

The Japanese technique known as mokume gane produces a unique wood-like grain in metal.  Similar to Damascus steel, the varied patterns come from layers of different metals.  Each piece embodies a balanced fusion of beauty and ruggedness from raw metal.  

Learn the mokume gane technique and forge a one-of-a-kind belt buckle that you'll enjoy wearing for years to come.  Iron Mike's Forge hosts a small class each year for students with some prior experience in metal work.   This class takes 5-6 hours, $240 per student plus materials.  You should be comfortable with metal work and be ready to drill, grind, cut, solder, and sand.   These belt buckles are crafted from nickel and copper so no nickel allergies, please!

mokume gane anchor

Topographic Belt Buckle

The patterns in mokume gane form a unique organic grain, depending on how it is carved. When complete, the pattern is literally a topo map of the carving that was done.  

So if you carve Franconia Ridge into the billet, that's the map you get!

Building the Patterned Billet


We'll be using the copper & nickel layers in quarters and half dollars.  First, we'll stack them up and get them into the forge, and then hammer them together just when they're starting to melt (forge welding).  Next we'll cut / drill / grind a 3D shape into the top of the billet.  When it is next hammered flat, the layers in the textured "valleys" come to the surface.  That's how the buckles become the topo map of the surface that you carved!

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