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Titanium seeker

Hi All, I’m really curious about Titanium and trying to gather some
info before I attempt to work with it. (All I remember from college
is that I wrecked some tools trying to cut Ti) What is its memory
like, is it springy? Could 18-20g wire be finger shaped? Does it
take a good polish and what would you polish it with? Can you solder
gold or platinum to it? Anyone have any sources of wire stock they
wouldnt mind sharing?

Thanks all you ‘Smarties’, (too much Halloween candy,sorry)

I am no expert, but I will put in my two cents. I was told by my
chemistry teacher that you can’t melt titanium in a normal
atmosphere, you can only melt/cast it in a vaccum. I did make some
titanium rings in highschool from a pipe, so I do know that you can
get an AWESOME mirror finish from them if you are willing to do the
work, since I had limited resources (being in highschool) all I had
to work with was the usual different grades of masonry clothe,
Scotch pads, and buffine wheel, so if I can do it, I am sure that
you can do it. I was able to work grooves into the titanium rings
with tempered steel files, and did a lot of the rough finishing with
masonry wheels. I know that this is crude, but I think you may get
an idea of how you could adapt better techniques using more advanced
tools. Well that is my two cents! Have a good day.


t.lee, I wrote an article on working in titanium for Lapidary Journal
that was published in March 2000: that same issue included tips on
polishing platinum from Heather Sickler. You can contact Lapidary
Journal about the availablility of back issues
( , or check your local library: they
sometimes carry LJ. If you can’t find a copy of that issue, feel free
to drop me an e-mail and I’ll see what I can do to dig up an extra

AJM also had an article on manufacturing with titanium in their
October issue. While much of the detail may not apply to a small
studio, the about the metal itself should be useful. For
a copy of AJM, drop them a note at or phone
MJSA at 1-800-444-MJSA.

Hope that helps!
Suzanne Wade
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (520) 563-8255

Mr. Lee, Nice work! I have some experience with Ti as I am a bicycle
maker who occasionally works with it. Um, lets see.

  1. You should be able to cut it with no problems, especially the
    commercial grade you will most likely use. Harder than silver, gold
    for sure but softer and easier to cut than most steels.

  2. Ti is very “springy” It has a elasticity of around 20% so if
    you want to make it take a set you will have to bend it far beyond
    your intended shape. I tried fabricating some rings out of sheet
    once and that was a really pain. Next time I would machine them.

  3. You could finger shape 18 to 20 gauge with the gentle help of
    some pliers and the like. No problem.

  4. It takes a good polish, You must use compounds and buffs meant
    for stainless steel. White stainless compound works well.
    Scotchbrite wheels can give a nice frosted effect quickly and easily
    and then of course there is anodizing which can bring up some
    wonderful colors.

  5. soldering. Here is the crutch. You can’t solder it. Well, I
    should say you can but you need an atmosphere devoid of oxygen,
    nasty fluxes etc. That was only done for aerospace in the cold war.
    The standard method is the TIG weld which can be done on some
    pretty tiny stuff but I would doubt you have access to such a
    sophisticated welder and the like. You will have to use mechanical
    connections, rivets etc but this might be pretty cool.

Take it easy
Dave Bohm
Bohemian Bicycles