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How do you heat-anodize titanium scales?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by arcanum, May 12, 2004.

  1. arcanum


    Dec 22, 2003
    OK, so I've fired up a butane torch (kitchen/creme brulee-type -- don't spank me too hard) a handful of times in order to "colorize" my Ti-scaled folders -- and all I've ended up with is a handful of really hot titanium with a negligible amount of shading but NO color.

    What's the trick??
  2. Steven Roos

    Steven Roos

    Jun 29, 2002
    I've heard WD-40 works wonders. (no joke!)
  3. Robert Marotz

    Robert Marotz

    Jul 2, 2000
    It's a matter of temperature.

    Really hot titanium? With butane and propane torches, it will take some time to get the titanium to a heat that will color it.

    Titanium starts to color around 600-700 degrees F.

    When you first apply heat you'll first see moisture burn away and then a slightly duller layer of oxide will form. keep the heat even over the surface and not in a specific spot, and the titanium will actually start turning red if you are using a propane torch with constant heat on. When it starts turning red just pull the flame away long enough so you can watch the oxidation. The material needs air to actually oxidize, so don't just hold the flame on it if it's turning red. As you get towards higher temperature colors, you will find that the material goes red quicker and quicker and so you need to be more careful with your flame.

    The first coloration will start to be a straw yellow color. If you sweep the torch over it evenly and allow it to continue to oxidize, it will turn into more of a gold and bronze, then it will break into the purple zone. After purple it will turn blue, then the blue will pull away to reveal a bright cyan. The cyan will then turn into gold, and the gold will again revert to a cyanish color that then makes way for magenta and finally green.

    It takes reasonably good control of your heat to get colors above purple and blue to be consistent, and it's hard to get any consistency with the higher-order colors like magenta and green.

    ADDENDUM: while the target of your heat should remain the scales, bear in mind that this temperature can affect the hardness of your blade and may also affect the washers. Try to make sure you isolate the scales from the blade and swashers.
  4. mete

    mete Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 10, 2003
    Remember that the outer cone of the flame is oxydizing and the inner cone is reducing.
  5. Peter Atwood

    Peter Atwood

    Oct 26, 2000
    Worse yet, you will ruin the hardness of your detent ball. Much better to anodize electrically or use heat before you set the detent.
  6. =Voodoo=


    Sep 6, 2003
  7. patrickb


    Dec 29, 2003
    Voodo, while I typically like the darker colors obtained fron heat ano'ing ti, your Sebbie looks damn good as is! Very nicely done.
  8. FivePointOhh


    Oct 7, 2002
  9. Robert Marotz

    Robert Marotz

    Jul 2, 2000
    yep hotter torches can get nice effects I've found too, especially if you can control the size of the flame.

    an example of my rainbow effect on some chopstick handles:

    the lighting isn't so hot but you can still see that it goes up through greens and everything. Pretty much every color on the oxide spectrum is represented there hehehe.
  10. ARtsig1

    ARtsig1 Banned by Moderators

    Jul 20, 2000
    I heat anodized a large Pat Crawford Leopard several years back using one of the small handheld torches that run off butane fuel. Came out nicely colored except for one spot where it made a dark spot. Only real trouble was that the heat allowed the detent ball to fall out!
  11. TiSurvival

    TiSurvival KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 7, 2006
    is it possible to heat anodize a piece of titanium by sticking it in a wood fire, like a camp fire? Will it get hot enough?
  12. amroc


    Jan 4, 2009
    The best way to anodize Ti IMO is with the proper anodizing set up. http://mrtitanium.com/anodizing.html Is a good place for info.

    My other hobby, chainmaille, has me working with Ti fairly regularly. I have a friend who has a set up and it works wonders. You get great, consistent colors. He told me it only cost him a few hundred for the set up, but he can control so much with it.

    BTW, I REALLY like those chopsticks.
  13. SIFU1A


    May 12, 2001
    it used to be popular to use windex on cammilus cuda maxx handles, it darkens them a bit FWIW.
  14. Frapiscide


    Aug 26, 2009
    Do Benchmade Bali's handles have a ball detent? Or are you talking about the detent ball in the liner of a folding knife?
  15. 2brothers


    Apr 22, 2007
    Are ya asking the guy that was banned 4 yrs ago about about a 5 yr post? :D

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