Working with Titanium

I have reached a point where I want to start experimenting with
titanium in some of my work, but I really have no idea about
where to get it and how to work it. Does anyone have experience
with titanium that they could share? In particular I am
interested in the working properties (can it be hammer formed,
rolled, etc…), metalurgical info (can it be annealed, alloys,
etc… more technical is better), and on

Also I need to find out where I might be able to purchase it.



I think that Reactive Metals carries titanium as well as other
interesting items. Titanium can be heat colored with a
Presto-Lite torch and forged. However, you can not solder it or
anneal it without turning it gray. The colors a re lovely. The
metal is light and is used in the aviation industry.

Marilyn Smith

Hi Mike, Can’t help with any technical info, but Boeing Aircraft
in Seattle does a lot of fabricating with titanium. You might
possibly call or write them for or a lead to a
supplier. In fact probably any Airplane Company could probably
give this If you live close enough Boeing has a
Surplus Store where they sell off their extra material and you
could get some Titanium from there. Luck, JB

Also I need to find out where I might be able to purchase it.  

Hi Michael,

Reactive Metals sells titanium and niobium as well as anodizers,
fusion welders, and other nifty stuff. They have a website at

I can’t help you with working titanium, I just want to do it
someday, I haven’t done it yet.

Lynn A. Davis
Tephra’s Treasures
Handcrafted Jewelry, Accessories
And Other Fine Treasures

Hi all, To any one interested. I have around 90 pieces of
titanium left over from a job I ran awhile back, this is "drop"
from a wire EDM operation.

Description: .050" x 3/4" x 6" CP titanium annealed

Chemistry: N:.012 Fe:.07 C:.12 H: 14/17 Ti: Balance

If this sounds like something any one would be interested in
please email me direct with any questions and ask for an image,
to view cut way section. It’s annealed so it will bend without
breaking. Regards, Kevin Willis Advantage Tool & Microweld

Probably the best source for titanium wire and sheet is Reactive
Metals Studio, Inc. Check out their website at

They also sell anodizing equipment, as well as mokume gane and



I work with Ti a little. I have a laser welder which does a
beautiful job of welding Ti. You can get Ti at a company called
Reactive Metals Studio, I think they are in Arizona or New Mex.
(I’m not at work, so I don’t have my catalog w/me.) They have
lots of unusual stuff. When welding or soldering Ti you must have
an ambient field of an inert gas since oxygen causes the weld to
be brittle. I use argon. Good luck! Bob Staley-

Micheal, I have minimal knowledge about titanium. I worked with
it a bit in college. The first thing to know is that it may be
toxic. I got a sore throat from sanding it. You can get it
from Reactive Metals, I don’t have a number for them. It can be
colored with a torch and you will get shades of blue, purple,
and gold. If you overheat it you can buff or sand off the
surface and start over. You can also color it with electric
current to get the brighter colors. It is a very hard metal so
forming would be tough. It may be different now but when I used
it you had to use cold connections. Good Luck -Deb

Hi Michael: You’ll probably get many answers to your questions
re titanium. While a number of suppliers will sell titanium, its
usually best to get it from the “horses mouth” who will answer
your questions as you go along. That is Reactive Metals Studio,
Inc. PO BOX 890, Clarkdale, AZ 86324. e-mail: For some
basic answers: Titanium is a light metal often used in
aerospace applications. It is corrosion resistant and
hpoallergenic. It can be hammer formed, but it cannot be
annealed in the studio. It takes industrial equipment to anneal
it. You can roll patterns on it. Ti can be heat colored or
anodized. If there are alloys of Ti, it is probably industrial.
I enjoy working with Ti, although it is hard on sawblades and
drills. When you use a torch to color, you can get interesting
flares in color. Color is more controlled when it is anodized.
The whales on my webpage are made of Ti that has been torch
colored. Have fun, Frances

Visit me or “beam me up” at:

Titanium is very lightweight and has a brittle feel. It is also
very hard. You have to be careful when drilling it as it gets
very hot very quickly. Since it must be cold-connected, drilling
is a necessary evil. Due to its brittleness, it’s difficult to
forge or rollerprint. Niobium, on the other hand, has working
properties more like sterling. I have been successful with
rollerprinting and dieforming niobium. Reactive metals carries
sheet, rod, and wire in both metals along with tubing and solid
balls in niobium. Niobium will produce more vivid colors when
anodizing. In order to obtain the more vivid colors with
titanium, it had to be surface etched with hydroflouric acid
first. Nasty stuff–I didn’t care for that! All supplies
needed for working with these metals are available from Reactive
metals. Check their website:

I have a client that wants a Titanium band altered. He just wants a
few lines cut through the band horizontally and I was wondering if I
am going to need special tools so I don’t ruin the rings or my tools.
The band is a flat 1.5mm to 2mm thick plain band. Thank
you in anvance.

Related Readings

Working Titanium

   Working Titanium 

That’s an interesting article at the ganoksin site. However, I think
that there might be a mistake in the text.

A formula reads:

20% concentrated nitric acid
20% hydrochloric acid
20% lactic acid
40% distilled water

and the mixing instructions read:

Only a plastic container may be used, and care should be taken that
the environment is not too warm because hydrofluoric acid
evaporates at 16C (60F, rroom temperature). 

I know that you can’t use glass with hydrofluoric acid so
“hydrofluoric” is probably the correct one rather than
“hydrochloric”. I’m sure it’s just a typo but probably should be



I for one am totally against hydrofluoric acid being used in a
contemporary jewelry workshop. At all.

Try Reactive Metals safer etchants.

   I know that you can't use glass with hydrofluoric acid so
"hydrofluoric" is probably the correct one rather than
"hydrochloric". I'm sure it's just a typo but probably should be

It is quite possible that it is a mistake.


Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
President, Canadian Crafts Federation
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada

Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email:

hydrofluoric acid is VERY VERY NASTY stuff. Use EXTREME cauction
when using it. It will eat just about anything including skin to the

mike w

   I for one am totally against hydrofluoric acid being used in a
contemporary jewelry workshop. At all. 


I completely agree. Hydroflouric acid is a very dangerous substance.
A tiny drop will eat right through your skin very quickly. Of course
the fumes are equally dangerous. Stay away from it.

Joel Schwalb Studio

    I completely agree. Hydroflouric acid is a very dangerous
substance. A tiny drop will eat right through your skin very
quickly. Of course the fumes are equally dangerous. Stay away from

One of the more dangerous aspects of HF is that it doesn’t “eat”
through skin. It will pass right through it and attack tissues
underneath. I know this from personal experience. This should also
be in the archives.

Someone on this thread mentioned hydrofluoric acid’s use as a glass

If you’re looking for a safe alternative, try Dip n’ Etch solution,
which is sold through many bead and lampwork suppliers (i.e., It’s reusable and relatively safe (don’t drink it), it
smells like burning caramel, and it works beautifully. I use it to
create matte finishes on seed beads.

[usual disclaimers]

happy etching,

Jessee Smith

Dear all,

On regard about HF acid. Of course it is dangerous. Al acids are in
high concentration.

For etching titanium you do not need a higher concentration than 4%

You are an idiot if you are not taking safety measures when working
with acids. I personally can not see how I ever get any drop op this
acid on my hand. I am working of course with (long) cloves and behind
a simples fume cupboard. So in this way it is not dangerous!!!

But please, I am getting tired of only hearing it is dangerous and
stay of it. If you cross a busy road, you don’t close your eyes I

Good luck in using materials to help you progress.

Martin Niemeijer

Cultuurwerkplaats R10
Rieteweg 10
8041 AK, Zwolle
The Netherlands ;
Phone +31 (0)38 7501258
Mobile phone +31 (0)651831576

Martin, I think the reason people are mentioning the danger is to
make very sure people are aware of it. WE are not all chemists, or
even “chemically aware”. It is far more dangerous than other acids,
and people need to know this.


Hey Martin,

You certainly can work with HF in a safe manner but most jewelry
studios are not equipped with the proper safety gear and most
metalsmiths have not been trained to handle it safely. To work with
it safely you need a laboratory grade fume hood and the proper
protective clothing, goggles. gloves etc… The problem is many
people do not listen when this said and run out and buy a bottle of
HF and use it. I was teaching a workshop once and the subject of HF
came up and I told the class that it was not needed for what we were
doing and mentioned the safety precautions that HF needed and told
them they should not use it unless they had full understanding of
its safety requirements and had the proper equipment. A week later I
get a call from a student who has bought some HF and they want to
know dilution rates and other info. I asked if they had the hood, no
but they had some rubber kitchen gloves and their safety glasses
wasn’t that enough?

I think this is the reason many of us get so agitated about it.
Unlike the rest of the acids use by metalsmiths HF will kill you if
you get a spill on your skin that covers 5% or more of your skin
area. There is no antidote for this event, no hospital can save you.
So while other acids can cause severe burns, blind and even kill you
if the event is severe enough they are typically much less lethal in
the dilutions we purchase and the volumes we use.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau