So I have some experience with metalworking and jewelry (good with solder/anything involving a torch, not so good at sawing out intricate shapes), and a habit of biting off more than I can chew, craft-wise :-P. Lately I've got it in my head to make a pair of mokume gane rings, one with silver and white gold (which I plan to etch), and the other with yellow gold (perhaps 14K and 18K? Or does there need to be more of a difference for the pattern to show up? Should I just use rose gold instead?)
So my questions are thus, and forgive me if I sound like a total idiot/noob:
1) What tools do I absolutely need, keeping in mind that this is a pretty bare-bones at-home type operation?
2) How much of each metal, roughly, will I need?
3) If I find that it requires more tools than I have/can reasonably obtain, what would be the best way to go about getting time at a studio/workshop better equipped than my own?
4) For the silver etching, what works best, both chemically and technique-wise? I haven't done any silver etching, just patinas, so I don't really know.
5) What kind of tool should I use to carve out the patterns? Or can I avoid carving altogether if I do the twists right?
6) Annealing the billets: is it possible? Is it hellishly difficult?
7) I've seen a lot of patterns that look really unnatural; I want these to look as real-woodgrain-y as possible. Is there anything I should try and/or avoid to get the effect I want?
Any other tips/opinions I should hear?