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Sandblasting Titanium help!

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by jbblount, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. jbblount


    Aug 15, 2010
    I'm making some titanium framelocks and I'm trying to figure out a good finish to put on them. I have a small sandbasting cabinet and have blasted some test pieces. It shows fingerprints and scratches easy (is that just part of it?). I see alot of titanium framelocks out there with some nice looking finishes. Can anybody help me achieve that. Don't really want to just leave it shiny.
  2. Kunklec


    Aug 21, 2006
    I blast some with aluminum oxide. It gives the titanium a darker grey finish that is pretty durable. It also helps in covering over small scratches. If you put some heavy pressure into buffing, you can get an orangepeel like surface. Lately I have been anodizing most of the titanium. The gold and copper colors seem to be less sensitive to fingerprints and oils. The blue colors change a lot just from touching them. This can be reversed by cleaning the oil off with windex, but as soon as you touch it again, the change happens.
    Chip Kunkle
  3. STR

    STR Knifemaker/Moderator Moderator

    Aug 27, 2004
    I use a number 80 glass bead. For variance in shade and finish look you can mix ceramic and glass, sand and ceramic, sand and glass, sand, glass and ceramic and play with various recipes if you will but when you start doing that you need to make good notes on how you did it to easily repeat the process so things look the same for you as you make more or have to retouch those already made up and sold or passed on to family.

    Whatever the titanium is normally blasted or hand rubbed to some level of brushed finish. I have not seen shiny per say although some of them have a more glossy look to them. You can blast the ti first, tumble it in a rock tumbler to give it a finish that way or you can after blasting it all over simply lay it flat on a surface that won't scratch it and simply grab a green Scotchbrite pad and start rubbing one direction only in straight lines and just rub the side you want exposed down until it reaches a finish level or look you like. If the piece is all scratched up you may need to put some equipment and muscle into it first to clean those up and then blast, then rub but one way or the other you can come up with a good look.

    If you don't like it simply blast it over again and it can be left that way. I like ti. Its not as hard and won't wear quite as well as stainless but it sticks in place better than stainless, is less weight by about 2/3rds usually and overall the benefits of it are pretty good. It indents easier than hardened steel but otherwise it should wear about the same for most other uses.
  4. Jsteele


    Dec 11, 2010
    I am interested in learning how to bead blast framelocks as well Brad. I will be keeping an eye on this thread. Thanks..
  5. CampCo


    Dec 5, 2017
    Not sure if this thread is still active but can someone give me some tips on using aluminum oxide on titanium? What is the bare minimum equipment I need to sand blast a pair of knife scales with 60 grit aluminium oxide? And what is needed to "put heavy pressure into buffing" to achieve an orange peel like surface? Could I purchase a gem tumbler off Amazon for around $50 and put the knife scales in that with the 60 grit aluminum oxide and leave it for a few days to get a dark, matte finish like a Chris Reeve knife or is there more to the process? Any help would be appreciated. Trying to DIY this but I know nothing about the subject.

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