Jim, you have pulled many of us back from the brink of doing
something dangerous in the past, but is it possible you're being
overly cautious in this case? I sure hope so! Thanks!
he’s being a little cautious, but not totally. I personally don’t
like titanium solder picks precisely because now and then, the point
of one will get a little too hot, and suddenly melt back, burning
brightly in the process for just a moment, leaving the former sharp
point a rather bubbled knobby ugly and slightly shorter thing. When
the titanium does burn like this, it’s at a temp rather higher than I
would ever have wanted the gold to go (but lower than I’d have
required if I were soldering platinum). But titanium doesn’t
transmit heat well, so whatever part is in the hottest part of the
flame will tend to get hotter than other parts, not cooled by
conduction. A wire mesh, not having exposed sharp points, would be
harder to ignite like this than the slim sharp point of a solder pic,
but not impossible. Note that it’s not something that likely would
continue to burn more and more when you pulled the torch away. You’d
get a quick flare up of the overheated part of the mesh, with a
bright flare of light that no doubt would cause you to pull your
torch away. When you did that, the screen would go out. But it likely
would be pretty ruined by then.
Titanium DOES work very well for fixtures in the kiln for supporting
things to be enameled, or otherwise fired. It won’t get overheated to
the point of igniting in this situation.
And if you were using a screen with a thicker coarser wire size, I’d
guess the likelyhood of igniting it wouldn’t be high. But it’s still
possible. Demonstrate this for yourself with an old titanium solder
pick. You’ll quickly get an idea of what’s likely and what’s not.
You’ll only hurt the solder pick, not yourself, with this demo, and
the point of the solder pick will be easily reground.
Now, if you could find a screen made of tungsten wire…