Mokume Safety Razor Patina - Different Patina for Mokume-Gane

Traditional Patina on a Mokume Gane Safety Razor

In the early part of the 17th century, the Japanese used multiple ways to create the patina including Niiro or a “cooked color” which was created by boiling the metal in a special solution creating a heat patina effect. Different metals react differently to the patina process creating multiple colors on the Mokume. In Japan, this class of metalwork is called Irogane or “colored metal”. Rokusho is another traditional process used in the Niiro process. Below are a few more traditional Japanese patinas:

    • Su-tanpan
    • Niage
    • Wara-ibushi
    • The above are just a few...most are still kept secret by traditional craftsmen.


Preparing your Safety Razor for a Patina

  1. To apply a patina on the surface, polish the Mokume with a gentle polish, and be careful around the engraving.
  2. Use a very fine grit sandpaper(3K grit or higher) to create a brushed satin finish
  3. Clean the surface very well with isopropyl alcohol...use rubber gloves and don't touch the surface. The oil on your hands will create a patina (fingerprint) on the surface. A Q-tip helps with the cleaning(and polishing). Soak in alcohol...clean really well!

Heat Patina on a Mokume Gane Safety Razor:

  1. To apply the heat patina, preheat an oven to 400F(Bake).
  2. Place the parts on a cooking sheet that is lined with aluminum foil.
  3. Checking the pieces frequently but we found baking the top cap and base plate for 8 minutes works best but you decide if you want it longer or shorter to develop a different color patina. The handle and stands will need more time (16 minutes).
  4. Pull the pan out after 8 minutes...let cool. It will be hot...don't touch the parts with your bare hands...I use metal tweezers to take off the hot pan. Don't scratch the Mokume with the tweezers or drop the pieces!

If you don't like the finish....repolish and try again!

We continue to experiment with the different patinas but have found a polished or brushed surface with a heat patina provides the best starting place for the razor's journey. The patina will evolve, we don’t recommend coating the surface but some jewelers do to maintain the patina they applied. The coating won’t last in a wet environment and we want the razor to show its age and evolve over time.

We found a heat patina looks cool and highlights the patterns nicely, it creates a high contrast between the copper and brass. It is also pretty durable but will still evolve.

Patina on Mokume Gane Safety Razors:

One of the distinctive features of mokume-gane is the variety of patinas applied to enhance and customize the appearance of the finished piece. Patination involves the controlled oxidation or corrosion of the metal surface, resulting in different colors and textures. Various chemicals and processes are used to achieve these effects.

While forging the material of Mokume Gane itself is difficult, still reserved for skilled blacksmiths, the unique patina that can be applied is a whole other story. Some techniques are still guarded secrets but some have been used for thousands of years.

We continue to play with different patinas but below, are a few examples of the finishes we have been able to create. The razor below are the same razor:

Mokume patina with patina
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Copper Sulfate Patina above


With the decline of the samurai class and the advent of the Meiji Restoration, which marked the modernization of Japan and the end of the samurai era, the demand for traditional sword fittings diminished. This led to a decline in the practice of mokume-gane.

Mokume Heat Patina on shaver
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Heat Patina above


Over the centuries, mokume-gane expanded beyond its initial use in sword fittings. Artisans began applying this mesmerizing technique to various metal objects, including jewelry, knife handles, and decorative items and now safety razors. As the art form spread globally, different cultures adapted and incorporated mokume-gane into their own traditional crafts.

Luxury safety razor with Mokume Patina
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Sulfate experimental Patina above


The technique was revived and adapted by contemporary artists and metalworkers outside Japan. This resurgence was part of a broader interest in traditional crafts and techniques, often driven by artisans seeking to preserve and innovate upon historical methods.

Unique Mokume Patina on mens razor - Roduko
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Roduko Patina above


Edward C. Moore, who was the head of Tiffany's silverware department in the late 19th century, played a crucial role in the company's adoption of mokume-gane. He was fascinated by Japanese art and craftsmanship and incorporated various Japanese metalworking techniques, including mokume-gane, into Tiffany's designs. Moore's efforts significantly contributed to the Western appreciation and adaptation of Japanese metalworking techniques.


Custom Mens Shaver made with Mokume and unique Patina - Shodulo and Cupric
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Roduko and Cupric Sulfate Patina above

Tiffany & Co. was instrumental in the resurgence and popularization of mokume-gane in the West. By incorporating this intricate technique into their designs and promoting it through exhibitions, Tiffany helped ensure that mokume-gane would continue to be appreciated and practiced by contemporary artisans and metalworkers.

Luxury mens razor from Mokume with patina made with vinegar rub
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Roduko, Cupric Sulfate, vinegar Patina above

Mokume-gane works have been featured in various international exhibitions, showcasing both historical and contemporary pieces. These exhibitions highlight the technique's evolution and its ongoing relevance in the world of art and craftsmanship.

Mokume patina on exotic safety razor - Sodium
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Sodium Sulfate Patina above

Mokume-gane pieces are part of collections in several major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Tokyo National Museum. These collections include historical sword fittings, inro, and contemporary jewelry.

custom safety razor mokume gane with unique patina
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Extended Cupric Sulfate Patina above

Mokume-gane has been used to create many famous and beautiful pieces, from historical samurai sword fittings to modern jewelry and art. Its intricate patterns and the skill required to produce them ensure that mokume-gane pieces remain highly valued and admired in both historical and contemporary contexts.


The best safety razor made from with patina
3 Color Mokume(Copper, Brass and Argentan) - Roduko and hand polished Patina above

The history of mokume-gane is a story of revival and innovation. From its origins in the decorative arts of the samurai era, it has evolved into a widely appreciated and practiced metal art form, combining the best of traditional craftsmanship with contemporary techniques. This blend of old and new continues to captivate and inspire me.

What I find fascinating is the safety razors show above...are the same shaver with a different patina! I still make these pieces, reach out if interested and want to know more.




Misc. At CarbonShavingCo notes: We make custom mokume gane safety razors. Wet shaving is a bit of an art form. It is personal to your skin type, which dictates the type of soap and shaving brush you will be using. Opting between a straight razor or safety razor (disposable razors won't be the best of experiences at all). The use of some hot water to open up your pores and soften the facial hair is a good thing. When it comes to skin conditions, such as sensitive skin, razor bumps, and at times hair growth in multiple directions extra care and consideration must be taken and avoid razor burn caused by dry shaving, lack of lubrication, wrong direction, ingrown hairs, etc. At CarbonShavingCo, the construction of our razors aims to be bacteria-free as much as possible to help avoid allergic reactions by being polished with easy to clean surface, the design maximizes the flow of debris, the pinch design reduces gaps for the collection of debris and germs, we aim to help people with sensitive skin and prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs. We believe that wet shaving is the best approach with a good shaving soap as opposed to using men's disposable razors. This also applies to safety razors for women. Keeping your gear clean is so important if you are sensitive. Join the community of wet shavers today to learn more so you can enjoy your personal spa experience.

Share this post

Leave a comment

Note, comments must be approved before they are published