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Titanium how to work

I am interested in exploring some design possibilities incorporating
titanium in some of my pieces. I really have no idea what titanium is
made of and how to solder/fuse and work it. Can anyone help with some
tips or a source for info?

Many Thanks,
John A. Carey

John, your best source for info on Ti is Bill Seeley: Reactive
Metals… e-mail:

Bill knows everything you could ever want to know about Ti. You
might also ask him about Niobium… It’s oh so much easier to work

Have fun, “Red”

Titanium is an element. (like gold or silver or iron ) For
on it see:

You will have to use mechanical means to fasten it. You will not be
able to fuse or solder it… It can be welded but this is outside
normal abilities and equipment.


You will not be able to solder it but there are all sorts of cold
connections that you can use. You can change the color by torch heat
and not mess with anodizing equipment and chemicals. You can forge it
as long as you have the malleable grade. It can be sawn, filed and
sanded. Check out Reflective Metals. I think that it is in their

Marilyn Smith

I know of no way to solder titanium, however it can be welded with a
laser as long as you use argon around it. Titanium is hard to bend and
shape it tends to break when bent. The best way to bend that I have
found is to heat it red hot. The best way to atach it to other metel
would be some kind of mech. atachment, screws, rivits, pins. The best
thing would be to get some and try diffrent things with it. good luck

Mike Lomax

Titanium is made of…well… titanium. It is an element, as is gold
or silver. It is difficult to work with, being very hard and brittle.
Very thin sheet (like 26 ga) can be cut with very heavy metal shears,
but eventually it will ruin the shears. Soldering- forget about it.
You can use cold connections such as riveting on it, however. The
coolest thing about it is that you can “paint” great colors onto it
with a torch- it turns different colors as the heat makes it oxidize.
The place where you would get the most would be Reactive
metals studio, don’t know their web address. Anne

John, I just purchased some from Metaliferous. If you normally work in
gold you will be thrilled with its inexpensive price. I actually
giggled when I was quoted the prices. I have no idea how to work the
color of it, but it is VERY light, relatively strong tensile
strength, and accomodatingly hypo-allergenic. After receiving it and
realizing that I have no earthly idea how to color it, I looked in
the Metaliferous catalog and for $7.50 they have a booklet on how to
work and color it, that I will send for. If there are other people
out there who work with it, I will be very interested in hearing
about it too! Suzanne

About titanium-- I use a lot of it, mostly anodized, though I’ve done
a lot with heat as well. It’s kind of my specialty.

The advice to talk to Reactive Metals is right on. (I didn’t know
metaliferous sold it!)They have a booklet on the studio preparation,
etc, of Titanium that costs a lot less than $7.50–in fact, it may be
free with an order.

Yes, Niobium is earier to shape, and takes a high polish. It is easier
to color, but not with heat, only anodizing. By the way, the only
chemical involved in anodizing Ti is a conductive bath–anything
conductive. TSP is the most common choice. Cheap, lasts
indefinately–pretty benign. Niobium, however, is quite a bit more
expensive, and, for me, too bright.

Anyway, if you run into questions that Reactive Metals hasn’t answered
for you (hard to imagine), or you want a second opinion, I’d be happy
to try to help.


Dear Anne, We have a foot shear that has been in service cutting
titanium and niobium for 20 years. It has been sharpened twice.
Cutting titanium will not ruin a shear. It is bad press, but not
necessarily true. Bill

Dear Noel, I am trying to work with titanium also. I tried heating a
small piece yesterday and got some interesting blues. I will also get
the book available for coloring titanium, but since then I received
my copy of Lapidary Journal where the focus was niobium and they had
a project that anodized it. I loved the result, but the article
implied that one would already know about the equipment and processes
involved in anodizing. I must be an idiot, I looked in all my
catalogs for an “anodizer” piece of equipment not no avail. There has
to be something large that I am overlooking. Can you refer me to a
book or article that explains what is involved in anodizing and the
expense involved? I would really appreciate it, suzanne

For anodizing equipment and more info, contact Reactive Metals
Studio, 520-634-3434. The carry an assortment of other interesting
metals and findings, in addition to niobium and titanium.

Rene Roberts

Suzanne… Your best bet is to get in touch with Bill Seeley, and e-mail:

Bill has and knows everything you need for anodizing Titanium and
Niobium. I highly recommend him.

Good luck with your ‘experimenting’, ‘Red’

Dear Anne, We have a foot shear that has been in service cutting
titanium and niobium for 20 years. It has been sharpened twice.
Cutting titanium will not ruin a shear. It is bad press, but not
necessarily true. Bill 

Bill- you have to realize that I also sew. Cutting PAPER will ruin a
good pair of sewing shears. I used my Fiskars brand shears heavy
duty cut-anything shears on the titanium. (I have used them for years
on silver.)OK, maybe ruined was an exaggeration. But they definitely
were more dull after that. How’s life in…Texas, is it? Anne

Dear Suzanne-- As a few people have mentioned, the best source for
materials, equipment and info on titanium is Bill Seely at Reactive
Metals ( They are also thew easiest source for an
appropriate anodizer. Anodizers are not cheap–I think the complete
set-up is somewhere between $300 and $500. I was lucky enough to buy
a used one, cheap. You can get a lot more controll with an anodizer,
but you can do all the same colors with heat. Be sure your metal is
clean, dry, and dust free–any spot will show up as a color
variation–and heat slowly with a big, soft, bushy flame. heat
intermittently–it takes a moment for the metal to finish reacting.
It will go up through gold, to purple, dark blue, successively
lighter blue, then yellow, pink, magenta, turquoise, green, then
begin to grey out. The higher the color, the harder to get, but the
more durable, because it is a thicker oxide layer. The early colors
show fingerprints, which can be washed off, and scratch more easily.
Anodizing gets the same colors, but colors the whole exposed area the
same–hard to do with a torch. Plus, you can expose areas one at a
time for different colors. Heat can’t be isolated, really. To
anodize, you hook a clip on a wire to the piece, and suspend it in a
conductive bath–usually TSP or a phosphate-free substitute in
water–with a cathode (a piece of metal) attached to another clip.
You set the voltage on the machine, flip the switch, and the titanium
colors. Very simple–you just have to have the machine. People say
you have to etch the ti first, but that is not true. Etching it will
give brighter colors, more like niobium, but I find those colors
garish, and prefer the slightly more subdued (to me, more natural)
colors you get without etching. You can prepare the metal by wire
brushing, texturing with grinding tools, engraving, or sanding–or
use it as it comes, if you keep it from getting scratched. You can
polish it (before coloring) to some extent, but if you want polish,
use niobium. Beyond this, check out Reactive Metals. They have a
pamphlet on the process which is cheap, if not free, with a purchase,
and they know about all there is to know, plus they sell anodizers.
Good luck! Noel

There’s an excellent article on niobium in the September issue of
Lapidary Journal. Its versatility versus titanium is discussed by
Bill Seeley and others. You might want to check it out.