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Experience with Titanium Rings


#1

Hi all,

So, when I was working with Titanium about 6 years ago, during my
research about making rings I found out that because of Ti’s
hardness, in extreme emergencies there was a possibility that if the
ring were not removable, the finger would have to be amputated.
There are now claims that that was a rumor spread because Ti sales
were hurting jeweler’s sales of more expensive rings, and that Ti
rings can in fact be cut off quite easily. Sooo…now that I am
passing on what is left of my Ti rod to another artist, I’m
wondering what people’s real life experiences are with Ti. Has
anyone had any customers that have needed their rings cut off? Was
it easy, hard, etc? Have you had to cut off someone’s Ti ring?
Looking forward to hearing some real-life experience responses :slight_smile:

Thank you,
Catherine Chandler


#2

Catherine,

Based on my experience, I would say that the facts are different than
what your research has found. I have made tens of thousands of
titanium rings over many years. It is extremely rare to have a ring
that gets so stuck that the ring can’t be removed with soap and
water, but I did have one customer that had to get a ring cut off.
They had no problem doing so with a normal ring cutter. She came back
for another ring. Years ago, I have personally cut rings off my own
finger using a ring cutter, hacksaw, bolt cutters, and a Dremel tool
to prove to myself that it could be done. Titanium has the reputation
of being some sort of ultra strong alloy because it’s used in
aerospace, but it’s the high strength to weight ratio that counts
there. It’s very similar in properties to stainless steel, like a
kitchen sink. Whenever a customer that comes to my shop expresses
concern, I saw through a sample ring with a normal and fairly dull
hacksaw in about 3 seconds. Obviously you don’t want to be that
aggressive when there’s a finger in there, but it shows that it can
indeed be easily cut if necessary.

I believe the rumors started years ago, when someone working at an
aerospace factory used a bearing race as a ring. They had a hard time
cutting it off. Bearing races, by their nature are made as hard as
possible and have very square and sharp corners. Finger rings are
made from annealed material that is not hardened further. It is
around 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which is hard enough not
to dent and ding like most precious metals, yet soft enough to be
able to be cut off if necessary.

Bruce Boone
Boone Titanium Rings
http://www.boonerings.com


#3
So, when I was working with Titanium about 6 years ago, during my
research about making rings I found out that because of Ti's
hardness, in extreme emergencies there was a possibility that if
the ring were not removable, the finger would have to be amputated. 

This is so much crap. Even the very high strength alloys like 21S
are able to be cut by high speed steel. And even simple tool steels
like those are used for jewelers saw blades can make it through
titanium alloys. I have heard that this rumor was started by a
salesman to try to blunt the sales of Ti rings but do not have any
real data to back that up.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#4
Has anyone had any customers that have needed their rings cut off?
Was it easy, hard, etc? Have you had to cut off someone's Ti ring?
Looking forward to hearing some real-life experience responses :) 

No doctor in his or her right might would amputate a finger to get a
ring off. There are always ways. I’ve not only seen Ti rings that
were cut off in emergency rooms (and then had to tell customers
they’d have to replace them, since I couldn’t just solder it together
again…), but I’ve cut and diced into a few of them myself for
various reasons. Some are softer than others, and they tend to be a
bit tough to cut, but the ring cutters will do it. So will bolt
cutters, which many emergency rooms also have around. Some titanium
is indeed pretty hard, but it’s not all THAT hard. Most of it, you
can cut easily enough with ordinary jewelers saw blades, though they
tend to dull quickly…

Of more concern than the TI rings, to me, would be the advent of
carbide rings. These would only be easy to cut with diamond or
similarly hard grinding tools, and I don’t know if you’re local
emergency rooms would have a dremel tool and diamond disk around…
They can no doubt somehow still be removed, but I’d wonder how an
e.r. doc would prevent further damage to the finger while smashing
the ring with a hammer to shatter it, since that’s the most likely
means I can think of at the moment…

Peter


#5

I’ve only done a few Titanium rings and a bunch of earings all using
parts cut with a regular jewellers saw. Total myth about it not being
cutable. It does dull saw blades faster than high nickel white
gold… rather fun when you can dull a saw blade before it breaks :slight_smile:

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#6

What is amazing is how long something like this can persist. A false
rumor will out last the truth anytime. In 28 years of titanium work
I have never actually seen a documented case. “Crap” and then some!

Bill
Bill, Deborah, Michele & Sharon
Reactive Metals Studio, Inc
928-634-3434, 800-876-3434, 928-634-6734fx


#7
Of more concern than the TI rings, to me, would be the advent of
carbide rings. These would only be easy to cut with diamond or
similarly hard grinding tools, and I don't know if you're local
emergency rooms would have a dremel tool and diamond disk
around... They can no doubt somehow still be removed, but I'd
wonder how an e.r. doc would prevent further damage to the finger
while smashing the ring with a hammer to shatter it, since that's
the most likely means I can think of at the moment... 

Grab a tungsten ring with a pair of vicegrips and they shatter.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#8

Thank you guys for your responses!

I don’t know whether it was that I was in Australia when I was
making these, and available was limited, or what. I’m
glad to find out that people have had success cutting through Ti
rings fairly quickly and easily! That puts my mind at ease for my
customers, as well as for passing on my Ti rod to another artist.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences–you guys are
fabulous!

Catherine


#9

Every jeweler, and perhaps every parent, should know how to remove a
"too tight" ring. The following is almost always successful, and
leaves the ring intact.

Use dental floss or a rather stout sewing thread. Hold the spool in
your dominant hand with several inches of the floss hanging free and
begin winding around the ring-finger starting as close as reasonable
to the tip. The objective is to squeeze the blood and tissue out of
the finger-UP into the hand. Continue to wind, quite firmly and very
closely, as if you were whipping a fishing rod.

When the binding reaches the ring pass the floss UNDER the ring with
fine forceps or a sewing needle. Then, while controlling the ring
with your non-dominant hand, slowly unwind the floss which will push
the ring slowly down to the tip of the finger. The ring wearer will
be a little uncomfortable during the wrapping, but already is! The
relief of having the ring off is the award.

This has been a standard technique in ER’s for ages, although some
seem to want to “cut that ring off”. Of course, you girls know that
some boys just love to make loud noises and break things!

Blessings to all,
Dr. Mac


#10

Jim,

Grab a tungsten ring with a pair of vicegrips and they shatter. 

That’s fine if you’re not having a problem with your finger, but
since most rings have to be cut off when someone is having a problem
with their fingers, nor sure it would always be a feasible solution
without doing further damage.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com


#11

Hi Jim!

I have been told by EMT types that dental floss is sometimes used to
shrink wrap the finger so the ring slides off unscathed. Ouch! Beats
a hammer in my mind.


#12

Hello,

Titanium is a pretty tough metal, but certainly not impossible to
cut. I sell sculpture rainbow Titanium and to cut it I use a diamond
saw blade which does the trick very nicely.

I imagine an amputation would be a pretty extreme choice for
removing a ring in an emergency.

I think what is further interesting in your research, would be
another industry being desperate enough to start a rumor like that
just because they are threatened by the sales of Ti rings.

Holly


#13

Oh I don’t know, might be worth the extra stitches to patch up the
finger after the passing of the shards for the speed with which it
would work.

How ever as I see it why make a ring out of something that hard to
work anyway? I understand the concept of “because it’s there”, but
are there any other more convincing rationales?

Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Little Gems.
www.tjlittlegems.com


#14

My Titanium rings come with a script in the box, “If Love is
Forever, These Will Last Longer”. With the divorce rate in the states
this is a truth.

Jerry


#15

Well, my brother had titanium wedding bands made because of the
material’s strength and durability – and the symbolic value thereof.

RC


#16
Grab a tungsten ring with a pair of vicegrips and they shatter. not
sure it would always be a feasible solution without doing further
damage. 

On one hand I agree the ideal is to minimize further damage to the
patient, sometimes we do have to inflict further damage in order to
treat the problem. That being said, at the ER that I had worked in,
following an incident with a super hard stainless steel ring, we had
a small vice and hacksaw added to the collection of misc tools in
one drawer that were there if needed. Rather than use vice grips in a
case like that I would be more tempted to use the vice and slowly
tighten it until the ring cracked. Less danger of it springing
further closed as the pressure is released by the ring letting go.

Kay


#17

Well, my brother had titanium wedding bands made because of the
material’s strength and durability – and the symbolic value thereof.

RC


#18

In a previous carrier I was a hospital based paramedic for over 15
years in a metropolitan area. And can state that we cut off any rings
we needed to without the need for amputation. The worst ring was made
by a machinist who took a nut made of some alloy of stainless meant
for use in the primary heat exchanger of a reactor, but with the aid
of the maintenance department of the hospital it was cut off without
cutting the finger.

However like any good urban legend there is a grain of truth in the
"oh we had to cut the finger off" and it has nothing to do with the
hardness of the ring metal/ compound.

There are cases where a person comes in with a crush injury and the
ring is imbedded into the bone in addition to such severe bone and
tissue injury that the surgeon looks at it and decides it is
non-viable and rather than subject the patient to the trauma of
removing the ring in the emergency room, just to amputate later it is
wrapped up and the patient is told “Sorry but the damage is too
extensive and we will have to amputate the finger, do you want the
ring back once we get it off”. So… the 3 inch minnow becomes a foot
long prize fish story

Kay


#19

Grab a tungsten ring with a pair of vicegrips and they shatter.

That's fine if you're not having a problem with your finger, but
since most rings have to be cut off when someone is having a
problem with their fingers, nor sure it would always be a feasible
solution without doing further damage. 

Oh I agree, even though the vice grip will not close much further
the experience would probably be unpleasant but short of a diamond
saw and a fair amount of time you are not going to cut a tungsten
carbide ring off. So given a need to remove a ring in an emergency
where the solution that Dr Mac talked about today is not feasible the
vice grip is the only solution I have heard of. This is why I would
never wear or sell tungsten (carbide) rings.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#20

Hey Dan,

I have been told by EMT types that dental floss is sometimes used
to shrink wrap the finger so the ring slides off unscathed. Ouch!
Beats a hammer in my mind. 

That is my understanding as well but the vice grips are a last
resort measure if the finger is too mangled to use the floss. I don’t
seriously believe a hammer would be used for such a removal.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550