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Types of twist drills

Here are some examples of my work. 3 pendants (thanks for the invitation!) - heat-coloured krystal titanium and sterling silver, 2 layers of heat coloured krystal and silver rivets and heat coloured krystal and gold-plated silver riveted behind. All c. 25 - 32 mm across on 18" sterling silver chain.


Good to see your using HEAT, like me to colour T.

Thanks for the pics, very nice use of colour. Iv bought some rose gold 1/16th in dia to do similar rivetting in my smaller pieces. Also did a lot of experimental titanium fire coloured with fine gold decoration. Might have some pics somewhere. Never seen any here on this forum. Mostly nipple piercings. Another project in hand is enamelled fine silver with titanium ear sruds. Joined to the silver.

Have you pushed your heat treatment to the secondary range of colours, which has a gorgeous mallard iridescent green?
The above bowl has it in a few places. Very difficult to get, a shade too hot and its just a grey mess.

I agree. I have several of the titanium strips sold by Knew Concepts. They’re very easy to cut with my fret saw (yeah, it’s a Knew Concepts saw), and I assume they’d be equally easy to drill.


Thanks for your generous comments Ted. No, I haven’t dared to push the colouring to green! If it goes wrong with krystal titanium there’s no going back. I should try with standard titanium sheet, though, it’s a beautiful colour. That’s the exciting and scary thing about heat colouring - wonderful effects, but one false move and DISASTER!!


Hi Pat,
Krystal titanium? can you point me to where theres a tech description of it?
when I was working with titanium International in B’ham, they showed me around their production factory.
they had an electro etch test facility that showed up the grain structure like whats in your matal.
Im not sure what acid they used but wasnt anything special or needed care in its use.
If your paying mega bucks for your metal your being ripped off.
Ive it here in 4ft by 4ft sheets 1/`10th in thick.and over a hundred in 6 by 2in off cuts.
The latter is I think, V4 A6.
The big sheets are comm pure.
Have you tried ordinary sheet, polishing? its a real pain to get a proper mirror finish that shows up the colouring to its best…
How do you colour? in a kiln?, I use a BIG propane burner some 2in in dia fed from a 47kg tank.
Im happy to pass on some trade secrets to those who have made an effort and have good work to show for it.
The real tricks I keep to myself as there commercially too valuable.
All this business of passing on real knowhow, is for mugs only. Whats already in the public domain, thats different.

You can often rescue titanium coloring disasters with “Armor Etch.” It’s main use is in etching glass but as it contains
Barium sulfate, Sulfuric acid, Sodium bifluoride and Ammonium bifluoride it will cut into the surface of titanium gently and remove the oxides. If you’ve already polished the metal it will require a minimum of re-finishing.

Another useful trick is to use an auto finish polish (such as GAP_VKIT_04 - V Line Polish.) This also works to remove firescale!

Saved my life many times.

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Hi Ted
I get krystal titanium sheet from Reactive Metals in Arizona. It’s produced by an unspecified etching technique (?similar to the one you describe) 6" x 12" grade 2 24g is $77.52. I heat with a butane hand torch - slowly, slowly checking frequently as colours develop. As you see from my pics, each crystal comes out a slightly different colour, giving the whole a beautiful iridescent effect, particularly if you can achieve a gold/purple/dark blue mix

Wow! Thanks for that! The problem with oxide removal from krystal titanium with any abrasion technique is that it blurs the distinction between each crystal and re-heating therefore never gets a good result. How long do you leave the armor etch in contact with the metal to be sure of effective oxide removal?

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The length of time depends on the ambient temperature - but about half an hour seems to work here in the tropics

Tony Konrath

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Hi Pat, Thanks for the info re metal. The gold/purple/blue are the 1st stage ist colours.
I found that fire! oxidation gives a much harder coating than the electrolytic route.
Re the secondary colours, Ive dug out a piece of the IMI 2TA2 sheet, and polished it, took it to the secondary colours to try to get the mallard green.
Also tried to photo it with led’s but very difficult. Weve sun today, so will try outside. If its any good will post it on this thread.
If you can mail me at vladimirdotfrateratgmaildotcom with your email address ill write to you off list.


Do the vibrant colors keep over time, or do you have to protect them in some way (lacquer, wax, etc.)? If the former, how long does it last?

Janet in Jerusalem

They do keep, although handling and the transfer of finger oils dulls them. A brush with a soft soapy toothbrush brings them back. Lacquer, wax etc have the same dulling/disappearing effect, since the colours depend on light of different wavelengths being refracted and absorbed by the oxide crystals - “interference colours”

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Many thanks Tony. I’ll bear that in mind - having rescue backup may make me more adventurous in trying to widen the range of colours…

Thanks. I agree that photography of heat-coloured titanium is challenging. All part of that complicated business of interference colours. At markets I encourage people to pick up my pieces and view them from different angles to appreciate the range and combinations of colours - all part of the magic of heat colouration!


Of course it is preferable not to have to use any kind of sealer, as they all will alter appearance in one way or another. The question is how long does the color keep… Months? Years? Indefinitely? If it’s anything other than ‘indefinitely’, the client would have to be warned.

Janet in Jerusalem

Morning Janet,
As usual, your wanting the right technical info! and quite right too! well ill tell you what ive found, with samples of work done 30 yrs ago I have here.
It lasts indefinately, as the primary colours come from 400C . The secondary come from 600c to around 700, beyond that the oxide is no longer transparent and all you will have is a dark grey colour…
The oxide film , when generated with a neutral soft propane flame, is harder than the metal.
However, the real problem is with the user.
One customer loved her ring, but a few weeks later came to my expo and showed it to me.
I asked how come its so badly scratched?
She said she does a lot of gardening and had been building a rockery, without gloves!

Naturally I had it back, polished out all the scratches and the oxide film, re coloured it and gave it back. She thought the blue colour went right through. I said IF I could do that id be a millionaire!.
At last some sun here in Dorset.
PS, if your thinking of trying it do let me know.
theres more to it than justjust putting it into a flame!.

If I ever think of trying it, I’ll come visit you first…:-)…

Janet in Jerusalem

Gosh! id be honored! with a visit.
Seriously, if you do get back to the UK some time, give some thought to visiting anyway.
Lots of very different kit even to the pro bench jeweller.
Have you ever visited the B’ham jewellery museum? its a lot like that.
Waterloo by train to Wareham station 2.1/2 hrs. Were 1/2 an hour from there.
The sky blue of titanium or even the mallard green with gold, echo’s the colours of the mask of king Tutenkahmen.
Pat’s use of colour is good

Yes, it’s handling and abrasion that will alter the oxide layer - so you can’t give an estimate for clients, they’ll all behave differently. Finger oil /make-up/face-cream can be removed as I’ve described. I haven’t had anyone come back to me yet in several years…

Hi Janet,
for what its worth, since I commented last, Ive been thinking how a particular metal fits into ones work portfolio.
In my case, I was forging bowls and dishes in bronze, silver, and asked the question? what if?could I interpret this metal in the same way as the others, into my own exhibitions?
As a metal, its a whole magnitude more demanding, but it does reward you in like kind.
Forging isnt so much of the problem, what is, is the polishing after, then fire oxidising to bring out the beautiful colours.
Ive not seen any real development in combining titanium with gold. Ive ideas! but gold on the scale I work rules it out.
Have you thought how coloured pieces of titanium might fit into your work shop products?.
Not knowing how you work, whether primarily by individual comissions, or like me have several product categories that I design, make , show, and sell accordingly.
You may well have more work than you know what to do with!