M3 Mokume v. Traditional Mokume Gane
Traditional “Mokume-Gane” (pronounced Moe-koo-may Gah-nay and translates to “wood grain metal”) is the ancient Japanese metal working technique where 2 or more layers of contrasting color solid metals are fused into one solid block of metal. The fused metals are twisted and pulled resulting in spectacular geometric, concentric and random wood grain patterns.
Depending on the metals used, the finished part may need to be acid etched in order to create a visual contrast between the metals. Mokume Gane produced with precious metals is heirloom quality and will literally last and look great forever. Mokume Gane produced with more common metals in some cases will self destruct in a relatively short period of time due to electrolysis caused by non-compatible metals.
Today there is still a small community of talented metal workers that carry on these age old traditions and produce master quality Mokume Gane that is far superior to any other Mokume including M3. The only similarities between M3 Mokume and what masters like Binnion and Ploof produce; both are made up of layers of contrasting materials, both mimic natural wood grain patterns and both will look great forever. Beyond that these materials are completely different. Comparing M3 Mokume with the Traditional Mokume Gane in the noble metals produced by top studios is like comparing apples and oranges.
“M3 Mokume” is a modern interpretation of these ancient metal arts utilizing some of today’s most advanced material technology. The short version is this. We have taken the same advanced material technology that has revolutionized the aerospace, medical, marine and construction industries, and applied it to producing beautiful materials that will literally last forever. In the 21st century, engineers use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to produce materials that meet a multitude of specific needs, rather than designing around any single materials limitations.
Instead of fusing and twisting hot metal, we use advanced composite technology developed in America’s finest colleges and universities, to create twisted layers of atomized metals (and other elements) which have been reconstructed using chemistry instead of heat.
The resulting new material has a unique macro molecular structure exhibiting characteristics that are the sum of its parts, both visible and structural. This material is called “Macro Molecular Material” or “M3” for short. “M3 Mokume” literally translates to Macro Molecular Material Wood Grain; which is exactly what it is.