MT LCC Titanium Bolster vs Aluminum

Anyone have any thoughts, one way or the other, about the changing of the bolsters in the LCC from Titanium to Aluminum? Besides the obvious color change?

I'm going to be buying one and I'm not sure which way to go. Any opinions on how the aluminum will maintain it's finish compared to the titanium? Any other thoughts to keep in mind?

I'm on the fence as to which color I like better.

It may not replace my current EDC but would probably get 2-4 days of carry every week.

"I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6"


Feb 25, 2000
Well, I guess it's safe to say that the switchover has been something of a contentious issue amongst the hardcore MT fans. Some (myself included) like titanium in general, and titanium bolsters in particular, and were kind of sad to hear of the planned switch to aluminum. We were very impressed with just how close MT came to making a "custom-like" folder for $140, and feel that this move is sort of a step in the wrong direction.

But, in all fairness, the aluminum lovers do make some compelling points in defense of their favored metal. For one thing, the bolster is not really a structural component per se. Even in the double action version, the bolster is not subjected to much in the way of stress. So the inherent strength advantages of titanium are not really necessary. The bolster is easy to access and keep clean, so the inherent corrosion resistance advantages that titanium enjoys over aluminum is not really important. And last but not least, there's the scratch resistance issue. Evidently many MT LCC owners were having problems with their titanium bolsters getting scratched. I routinely use the pocket clip, so I haven't had this problem, but the aluminum bolsters are being hard anodized (in black for now) and thus will have greater scratch resistance than the uncoated titanium bolsters.

I should probably also mention that MT was encountering manufacturing delays in the production of the LCC due to the fact that the titanium bolsters were warping slightly during the machining phase. This was, in turn, requiring time consuming hand fitting of the bolsters. The aluminum bolsters will alleviate the need for hand fitting and thus will make the knives much more economical to produce.

After all that explanation you may be wondering why I prefer the titanium bolsters. Simply put, I just think they look better. Not a very scientific explanation, but one that is responsible for selling an awful lot of knives.

Semper Fi


[This message has been edited by Bronco (edited 04-02-2001).]
This may not be the kind of answer that you have in mind, but for me, by far the largest issue here is that aluminum is an extremely toxic metal, while titanium is harmless (as best science knows). If all the factors of strength, corrosion, weight, etcetera, were equal, would you consider it okay to be replacing the titanium with lead or cadmium? This is something you are going to be touching quite a bit, occasionally with sweaty hands. Trace amounts of this material are going to rub off on your hands, and some will either get absorbed osmotically into your skin or find their way into your mouth and get swallowed or get breathed into you. I'd find this unacceptable.
I like Titanium, because you can have them anodized. With aluminum, wht you see is what you get. I also thought aluminum is soft, and tends to scratch very easy, and it's hard to keep polished. I could be all wrong... Maybe MT has something that keeps their aluminum better.

Well, I'm sure you are still confused as what to get... Sorry!
Good luck!

BC... For those who fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know... Semper Fi
I agree with the above....aluminum is a poor choice......but TOXIC!!!!!!?? maybe if you grind it up and eat it, but its not going to bother you sitting in your pocket!!
Anodizing does NOT help, it just makes the scratches show more!!
You're quite right. Aluminum is much softer and will scratch much more readily than titanium when both metals are in an uncoated state. But aluminum can be hard anodized in such a way that the surface hardness will increase dramatically and even exceed the hardness of titanium. Titanium can, of course, be anodized as well, and though the results are much more beautiful, they are no where near as durable.

Your health concerns regarding aluminum may be well founded, I don't know. But as long as Coke and Pepsi continue to sell their beverages in aluminum containers, I doubt that too many average citizens will become concerned with the potential osmotic toxicity of their aluminum bolsters.

Sorry, Tom, we were posting at the same time. I agree that anodized aluminum "appears" to scratch as easily as titanium, but I think in some cases what you're seeing in the "scratch" is merely a transfer of material from the other object that came in contact with the folder handle (keys, coins, whatever). I can tell you though, that the anodizing process doesn't do much to protect aluminum handles from becoming dented. FWIW, my almost year old TNT handles have no scratches, imagine that.

Semper Fi


[This message has been edited by Bronco (edited 04-02-2001).]
I love titanium. A lot of people complain about scratches.I polished my LCC's titanium bolsters and they still look great after 5 months of almost daily carry. I am very dissapointed with this change. I personally would not pay more for an LCC with aluminum bolsters. Just my $.02

Bronco, you are right about the TNT finish. I don't know what Tom does to these things, but the finish on mine still looks brand new. It's unbelievable. I wish my Sebenza's finish held up as well.

[This message has been edited by Joe Cop (edited 04-02-2001).]
Great info everyon, thanks!

Not only do I not like the black anodizing as well on the aluminum I also prefer the titanium given a choice.

Here's another can of worms. Rust aside, any major opinions on bead blasting versus the sandwash? I'm leaning toward Titanium/sandwash/plain edge but this is also the most popular and getting a little harder to find.

I have a CQC7 which I have always considered bead blasted but never any rust, just a lot of scratches in the finish and no good way to "rub" them out.

Since I've never actually seen an LCC, is their bead blasting the same as the finish on my CQC7 (Benchmade/Emerson BTW)

"I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6"
I personally like the stonewash finish, which IMHO is both more rust and scratch resistant than beadblast. The stonewash finish gives the blade an almost galvanized look to it, if that makes any sense (in fact, some folks don't like it just for this very reason). Take a look at a picture of a Chris Reeve Sebenza (if you can't find a pic of the appropriate LCC) as they are finished in the same manner.

Semper Fi

I had the same concerns abou the Bead Blast issue. I have had my LCC for a little while now, and there has been no rust problems. That may be due to the fact that when I got it, I treated the blade with tuf-glide adn then wiped it down every week with some Militec-1. I would be curious to see how the Bead Blast would hold up without this kind of attention

Just keep the thing well lubed! It's not like you are talking about a carbon steel here.


Name's Ash......Housewares.
Regarding Bronco's observations on scatching:

Try taking a brass key from your keyring and rub it on any Al anodized surface on an MT, MOD, BM knife and it will leave what appears to be a "scratch".

Next, simply rub the "scratch" off with your finger.

Trust me, this will work. All it is is a deposit of brass on the harder anodized surface.

I have tested this on my own knives and I would not subject them to this if I was not sure of myself.

With regard to the MT situation, I think it was simply a matter of cost effectiveness. The original Ti bolsters were just too expensive to continue to offer on a $150 knife.

of course I agree that the anodizing makes it significantly harder, but its just SOOO stinkin thin that it hardly makes a difference, I have bought a lot of ti coated tools, and the same effect...its hard, but not for long. The complaint I have is that anodized aluminum looks great until you throw it in your pocket with your keys a few times or drop it and then it really looks like opinion.....obviously!

John 1:14
Love is Stronger than Death!