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Hammer suggestions for working on titanium


#1

I see many examples of hammered Ti rings on the web and would like
to hear what kind of hammers are being used to indent the titanium.
Since Ti is so hard, I understand that some people apply a torch to
heat the metal to soften it, but I presume that one would still need
a hardened hammer of some sort to make any significant impression in
the titanium?

Any advice, suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

Fred


#2

Hammered surfaces on rings are rarely hammered, they are ground. Try
a rubberized abrasive wheel on your flex shaft. Choose one that is
rated for platinum or stainless steel as titanium is tough stuff.
And as a safety issue don’t let the titanium grinding dust collect
anywhere, it is pyrophoric (it burns easily) and grinding dust is
the easiest form to ignite. Clean up often and send the dust out to
the dump ASAP. This will mean you will want to segregate the titanium
work from your precious metal work as that dust dust you will want
to keep :slight_smile:

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#3
I presume that one would still need a hardened hammer of some sort
to make any significant impression in the titanium? 

Peddinghaus hammers are quite hard, and will work, it will also
depend on the grade of titanium, how hard you hit it, and how deep
you want those impressions. Heating the titanium and working it hot
will make the impressions more pronounced…at that point your
forging. Keep in mind that titanium is just a metal, deforming it at
that level will stretch the ring.

The other way of creating the hammered texture is to create the
texture using a ball burr of a substantial size, say 1/4" or 3/8"
diameter, you can buy these from industrial supply houses made from
carbide for little money. These would be my choice of creating the
texture on a to size ring. They normally have 1/4" shanks, so youll
have to accomodate that.

Good luck and have fun,
P@
www.patpruitt.com


#4

Hi Fred,

Err… Titanium’s not really that hard. It’s got a nasty reputation,
but it’s not particularly hard. About on par with mild steel, so
pretty much any steel hammers will put a dent (or more) into it. Use
good steel hammers, and you’ll be fine. You may need to polish them a
little more often, depending on what finish you like on your hammers,
but any steel hammer will move it.

If you’re looking to raise it or form it without making dents, I’m
in the final R&D stages on a raising mallet specifically designed to
have enough power to push titanium & other reactives around. More
info soon.

The one thing you really don’t want to do is heat it up with a
torch. Get it hot, and it’s allergic to pretty much everything that
makes up the air you’re breathing. So you can’t solder it in any
normal way. Cold connections like rivets & screws only.

Regards,
Brian Meek.


#5

Hi Jim,

Hammered surfaces on rings are rarely hammered, they are ground. 

Got to ask why aren’t they hammered?

The reason I ask is that, grinding leaves lemel (think I spelt that
right), where as hammering compresses the grain structure. Sure this
could lead to deformation, and cracking due to work hardening, but
wouldn’t a skilled crafts person be able to account for this.

In knife making, you can compress the grain structure on the edge of
a blade, basically packed metal on the edge, called “edge packing”.
Wouldn’t this principle be similar to hammering a ring?

Just trying to understand why people would prefer to grind than
hammer?

Regards Charles A.


#6
Got to ask why aren't they hammered? 

Try it on any ring no need for it to be titanium, the reason will
become obvious as you try to hold the ring to the desired size and
shape while forging it.

In knife making, you can compress the grain structure on the edge
of a blade, basically packed metal on the edge, called "edge
packing". Wouldn't this principle be similar to hammering a ring? 

Packing an edge is a fairy tale the continues to rear its head in
the blacksmithing and knife makers world. You can not compress the
grain structure of metal. To do so would be to imply that you can
make it more dense by hammering. You can work harden it by forging it
but the volume will not change and the blade will get thinner
wherever you hammer it and it will stretch away from the blow
becoming wider and the crystal lattice of the metal will not become
any more dense.

Just trying to understand why people would prefer to grind than
hammer? 

I don’t, I like to hammer and dont really like to grind unless it is
the best way to get the desired result however using a hammer to
create a “hammered” finish on a ring is like trying to use a wrench
as a hammer, yes you can do it but the results will not be what you
really want

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#7

Commercial pure titanium is easily worked with a regular hammer. The
only thing to worry about is it work hardens quickly. You can give a
titanium ring a hammered texture without needing to anneal but you
can’t overdo the hammering without making the ring brittle. Annealing
titanium can be a bit tricky. I’ve never done it but I understand you
need inert gas of vacuum in your oven to anneal titanium. I did try
annealing in a regular atmosphere oven just to see what happens and
the titanium was completely ruined.

Jon Daniels
The Ring Lord Chainmail
http://theringlord.com


#8

Thanks for the info–I perhaps should have been a bit more specific
outlining what I want to do. I want to put a hammered Ti finish on a
Titanium flashlight, not on a ring–I only mentioned those as I
found lots of references to them on the web. What I’m looking to
achieve, physically and visually is best seen on the hot hammered
scale of a knife made by Todd Rexford:

http://tinyurl.com/345r2zd

I know that Todd does heat the Ti while hammering/forging it, and
one can clearly see evidence of the flame anodizing remaining on the
Ti.

I have worked with titanium, mainly on my lathe and I am well aware
of its ability to burn–and I do know how difficult a fire can be to
extinguish–think expensive fire extinguisher, or thing a big bucket
of sand. :slight_smile:

Seems like I’ll just need to get a good Peddington hammer and shape
it to the contour I need. And then I’ll learn how to deal with the
stretching that will occur from the hammering–yet another learning
experience. :slight_smile:


#9
Get it hot, and it's allergic to pretty much everything that makes
up the air you're breathing. 

Brian, what does this mean? Titanium is allergic?

Bill


#10
Got to ask why aren't they hammered? 

I’ve experimented with both methods, and I prefer to hammer my
rings. I generally roll square wire to rectangular wire, then solder
closed deliberately smaller than the intended size. Then I hammer the
ring whilst constantly turning the mandrel to keep the forces even
around the ring. Half way through I also turn it round so that the
size is the same on both sides. The sides are then flattened using
sandpaper, and the corners chamfered using a file. It produces great
results and if careful, the desired size is easily achieved. I also
sometimes make shanks like that when making stone set rings, and
either file the top flat to accept a closed backplate/bezel for an
opaque stone, or cut out an appropriately sized section for the
faceted stone setting I’ve made, after the shank is perfectly round
and to size.

Personally I didn’t like the texture created by grinding, but each
to their own. Grinding is easier to achieve good, professional
results, but hammering can produce results which are just as good
with practice.

Helen
UK


#11
I generally roll square wire to rectangular wire, then solder
closed deliberately smaller than the intended size. 

Sorry, I must clarify what I said above. This thread is about
hammering titanium, but I was talking about hammering as opposed to
grinding, and describing what I do with sterling silver. Titanium
can’t be soldered in the conventional sense I believe, without the
use of inert gases to eliminate the heated metal coming into contact
with atmospheric gases.

But to answer the question of hammering vs grinding, I have used the
hammering technique (as described in my last post) on sterling
silver and palladium with great success. You have to work within the
limits, ie making the ring smaller than you want it, as it will
stretch when being hammered. Then you have to neaten up the sides and
edges due to any distortion. But after you’ve done a few, you get
more consistent results without as much need for clean up anyway.

Helen
UK


#12

Hi Bill,

Just a simple way of saying that it’ll suck down the oxygen and
nitrogen, and make itself brittle. I figured “allergic” would get the
idea across without the overhead of explaining about the oxides and
nitrides getting into the crystal lattice, and screwing up the
bonding. Perhaps not the ultimate in scientific accuracy, but enough
to make the point. (The point being: “don’t heat it, you won’t like
what happens”.)

Definitely a case of having spent years trying to come up with
simple ways to explain things to non-specialists leaving me with a
case of ‘bubba-speak’.

Cheers-
Brian.


#13

Hi Jim,

Try it on any ring no need for it to be titanium, the reason will
become obvious as you try to hold the ring to the desired size and
shape while forging it. 

Err… Normally, when I’m doing a hammered texture…I actually
hammer it. (Pretty much as per Helen’s procedure) Yeah, it’s going to
stretch. Knowing this, I make it a size small, and hammer up from
there. No problem. The only funky bit is that I have a couple of
hammers that I made with small ball-peen ends, rather like small
dapping punches on a handle, that I use for this sort of thing, to
give a small-scale pattern. The nice thing (especially with
reactives) is that if you polish the hammer heads, you have very
little polishing to do on the actual part.

What am I missing that would make it obvious that I didn’t want to
do this?

Puzzled,
Brian.


#14

Ok call it opinion, but in my experience it is much faster and more
accurate to use the appropriate abrasives to grind “hammer” marks
into the ring. Trying to get proper hammer marks around other
decorative areas for example channels is near impossible without
serious distortion. Also with tough metals like titanium if you
overshoot on size trying to shrink it back to size is a major PITA.


#15

Hi Jim,

OK, that makes more sense. The rings I do it to almost never have
any particular decorative elements that I need to shoot around.
They’re just bands. And I do a lot of ‘un-sizeable’ rings, so having
once had to eat a set of platinum wedding bands because my mandrel
was off by a quarter size, I’m really paranoid about checking size
when I get close. (So overshooting isn’t such a big deal.) Just
depends on the design.

Regards,
Brian.


#16

Hi Brian, I must say it was a really bad choice of words. To use
"allergic" in a reference to any metal can leave a lasting
misimpression. Lord knows we have chased rumors of allergic reactions
to the reactive metals for 30 years. And you know, I have to disagree
some. I have hot worked and hot spun titanium many times. The
industry does it too. Agreed when hot Ti absorbs gases that are
around it, agreed it forms tenacious oxides +… but grind them off,
refine the surface and you have perfectly good titanium. For that
matter leave the oxides in place. The metal can look like ceramic. It
is really very cool. Please don’t dissuade artists from attacking the
metal any way they know. Hot forging is a legitimate artistic process
to be explored on titanium. Who’s to say “don’t heat it, you won’t
like it.”

In the next day or two I will post some pictures of hot spun
titanium vessels on the Reactive Metals Face Book page.

Bill


#17
Err... Normally, when I'm doing a hammered texture...I actually
hammer it. (Pretty much as per Helen's procedure) 

Hammered texture and I use a hammer, ground abrasive similar finish
is still ground, road and truck tire imprint and I throw in on the
road out front for an hour. I can imitate a number of textures but
the real ones always feel the best.

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


#18
Packing an edge is a fairy tale the continues to rear its head in
the blacksmithing and knife makers world. 

Well a lot of master smiths will disagree with you. They would
simply say that it was knife grinders making up stories again :wink:

Regards Charles A.


#19

Hi Helen,

I've experimented with both methods, and I prefer to hammer my
rings. 

Thinking about it I did a 1/2 round wedder, and basically hammered
its profile, wasn’t that difficult, and the clean up was minimal.

So would from your experience would it be fair to say “that
hammering produces a good result if care is taken, and the advantage
over grinding is less lemel?”

Regards Charles A.


#20

I first started out hammering for this texture. Then learned to do
the grinding trick. It is much faster less clean up and no chance of
making the ring too large or distorting its shape.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts