Ways to texture titanium

I know I could use design stamps but can titanium sheet be textured
with metal clay texture sheets.

HI Karen,

Err… Probably not. You could use the steel embossing pattern plates
that Bonny Doon makes for rolling mills. Anything that says
"PMC"says"lightly made" to me. If they’re steel, then yes, probably.
If not, I wouldn’t try it. If they’re plastic, certainly not. (or
not more than once, anyway.)

What kind of Ti do you have, and what do you want to do to it?
(Where’d you get it?)


Titanium, in all its forms and alloys, is primarily an industrial,
chemical and aerospace metal.

So if you wish to use it in the applied art and or jewellery world,
you really need the industrial tools that go with that, therefore
you should be aware its a magnitude more demanding than the usual
metals used, such as all the non ferrous alloys, silver and gold.

Before anyone here can give you an answer thats going to be any real
use to you, we do need to know the following.

1.What grade of titanium have you got or plan to get?

  1. what thickness have you in mind?

  2. What tools do you have? for example, a hydraulic press, or fly

  3. Any access to tool steel die making? punch and die makers ?

  4. Argon shielded arc welding (that fusing) for joining ?

  5. Controlled atmosphere for fire colouring ?

  6. The polishing equipment needed to finish to jewellery standards?
    Whatever you want to make it can be done, but you need to have in
    place all the knowhow and all the right kit to make it economical,
    fast, and profitable.

Metal clay as in sintered steel just isnt hard or tough enough to
move titanium.

There are basically only 3 ways to make jewellery, fabrication,
casting and forging. For the normal bench jeweller, with their
average tools, titanium is not something to devote production time to
when starting to explore it as a metal…

Yes, out of earning time, explore it, it really is rewarding.

Await you answers to the above.

Ted, titanium smith.

I’d say no. Titanium is VERY stiff and hard.

Noel Yovovich

Though I agree with the other views expressed on titanium regarding
its hardness, difficulty to form and join, etc. After years of
experimenting from the early 1980s in Australia I have been working
with titanium alone or in conjunction with 18ct gold or silver. I
have forged very hot rod and used traditional methods to form the
shapes I needed, though I would not recommend this unless you have
lapidary equipment to remove the imbedded oxide, (which must not be
breathed when forging and will ruin a new file at a stroke) Despite
the problems of working with titanium the efforts can be rewarding.
And basically at the jewellery scale it can be treated almost as
other metals, you need to find out how to saw pierce and drill, form
and finish to a high polish if needed.

As titanium cuts beautifully on a lathe I used this technique to
produce a range of layered rings with 18ct gold joined with rivets.

As to texturing, say, for a ring, if the ring is made somewhat
small, a sharp hammer can produce textures to bringing the ring up to
required size. Dental drills can be used with lubrication to
advantage. Then experiment flame colouring the titanium and removing
the surface then recolouring to a lower temperature leaving the
recessed areas with a different colour.

Mat finishing wheels are excellent for fine finishing.

With an air hammer engraving is possible, I am not an engraver

Oh yes, punches over 1.5mm will not work easily on titanium, also,
the thinner the titanium the more difficult it is to manipulate.

David Cruickshank

The titanium I was planning on using was 22 and 26 gauge grade 1
commercially pure from Reactive metals. I saw some texturing hammers
but the patterns were limited to simple lines. Ideally I want a
product of tool that could but a pattern on the metal like on niobium
patterned discs.

Thanks for your info.

You have the right grade, and the suitable thickness.

Next you have to consider 2 ways of working your titanium.

  1. embossing, thats just bending the metal like putting names etc on
    GI dog tags.

Its indented on one side, and raised on the other.

  1. actually keeping one side flat and indenting the other.

This is the hard one to do, allmost impossible in titanium in the
thinness you plan to use.

With option 1. you need male and female dies that are aligned
precisely. ie in a tooling setup like a fly press.

With option 2. you need a hard as in a tool steel block, with
punches also hard, which like me you can make yourself from standard
small 6 in cold chisels, and similar 4 to 6 in center punches. Then
you position the punch over the metal and strike well with say, a 2lb

thats an aquired skill, practice, practice and more on ali, copper,
brass scrap before you go at titanium.

Have fun!.

Ok, to make your punches,

  1. anneal the working end.

  2. clamp in your smiths leg vice.

take engineers files to rough out the design you want, 3.use your
juellers files, small drills and jewellers saw to vut in reverse! the
design you want.

  1. Harden and temper to a straw colour.

  2. Polish up. and away you go.

You’re asking a lot from a hammer. Even the much softer patterned
Niobium is produced in a press with thousands of PSI. A hammer
stroke is not going to have enough pressure.

Bill Seeley

Hi Bill,

You comment that its asking a lot from a hammer, Not surprisingly a
hammer will give a lot, if your setup is right.

As I have mentioned in the past, I hammer titanium, cold, up to 18in
dia and 3/16th in thick into bowls and dishes. You just need a big
hammer and the right anvil.

So to the question asked by the poster, I use a hardened steel block
weighing around 20 lbs being 3in thick and is set up at 45Deg to the
bench top, I sit in front of it, moving the metal as the chasing
hammer goes ding ding ding, some 30 to 40 strokes a minuite. This
texturing is done on the titanium with a mirror polished edge chasing
hammer weighing only some 8 oz.

I set this up back in 1969 when I was texturing silver prior to
enamelling, just tried titanium on this this setup and it worked

As an aside you may not be aware that im primarily a wrought product
workshop now specialising in minted work.

It was some 21 yrs after I started down this metalworking road
before I got my first Hazelwood and Dent drop hammer for the minting

Circa 1889. height some 10 ft, weight around 2 tons hammer weight
some 100lbs, drop height some 5 ft.

The second d/stamp has a hammer of 275 lbs and gives some 100 tons
dynamic energy.

Building all the lift and drive mechanism was quite a challenge.

Just love big hammers.! The minting dies are the key to use all this
supporting machinery. Their design and making is where the artistry
come in.

I build all my own structural steel work to turn what was designed
to be permanently built into a factory, into a fully mobile setup.

Not the hammer used on the titanium tho.

Obviously some things are soldered as in silver brazed, after
minting, ie the omega’s on button backs etc, tho some products like my
buckles have no soldering at all. Also one design of torque uses
swaged as in the talurit technique used on ships rigging, silver
terminal ends.

Google for Ted Frater Bronzesmith and minter for written details of
my work history in this area.

Hope you enjoy.
Dorset UK.