Mokume Gane, Japanese for "wood-grain metal" or "burl metal" is a technique of metal-working developed by Denbei Shoami in 17th century Japan for the adornment of the guards (tsuba) of Samurai swords. The wood-grained effect is achieved by working diffusion bonded stacks of dissimilar metal plates. The contrast between the metals can then be accentuated with chemical treatments called patinas. It has more recently found use in the west to create beautiful jewelry. Although mokume gane can be made at home by the DIY'er, it takes some pretty heavy equipment to make it happen. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to achieve a similar wood-grained effect with simpler techniques? Enter our old friend the composite.
Back in 1910, Westinghouse developed a composite of resin-impregnated fabric trademarked as MIcarta® (now a registered trademark of the Norplex-Micarta company). The name micarta (with a small "m") is sometimes used as a generic term for any resin impregnated laminate of linen, canvas, paper, carbon fiber, or glass fiber. These composites are generally strong, waterproof, resistant to many solvents, and are great electrical insulators. They have been used as knife handles, grips for firearms, printed circuit boards, electrical insulators, pool cues, and guitar fretboards.
In this instructable, we'll use simple techniques to produce micarta-like laminates with Mokume Gane style patterns out of cheap bed sheets and epoxy resin. You can use these laminates for computer case modding, steampunk projects, costume jewelry, knife handles, and a host of other things. I call these laminates Mokume Kireji (wood grained fabric).