What is Titanium Damascus?
We use a Titanium Damascus that is called Damtanium for our safety razors, it is made of 2 different grades of titanium, grade 2 titanium, and grade 5 titanium. Using a process similar to how we have our Stainless Damascus forged, layers of alternating titanium grades are fused and forged together with pressure and heat. Forging temperatures reach about 1500 degrees F...interesting but our Titanium is forged with higher pressures and lower temperatures then Damascus steel. The temperature, like with Mokume forging needs to be very carefully controlled.
Grade 2 titanium is considered “commercially pure” Titanium (99% pure), it is very lightweight, and extremely corrosion-resistant but is not as strong as other titanium alloys. It lends itself to Titanium Damascus because of its ability to weld with other titanium grades during forging. Because of its lightweight and form-ability, it is often used in the aerospace industry(skin on airplanes).
Grade 5 titanium is a titanium alloy containing 6% aluminum and 4% Vanadium. It's the same material we make our Cx-Ti razors from. This alloy is much stronger than pure titanium (Grade 2) but is still light and corrosive resistant. It often goes by the name 6AL 4V.
Despite Titanium's strength and low weight its biggest downside in a knife or cutthroat straight razor is it does not hold an edge as well as certain grades of steel. What makes a blade steel hard is the ability to form carbon bonds with the metal. Titanium does not lend itself to this carbon bonding. Most knives and straight razors are made with a carbon steel.
What are the types of titanium Damascus -
In 2005 a patent was granted to a number of US blacksmiths out of Washington state who developed a process for creating a type of Titanium Damascus called “Timascus”, the name is a registered trademark of theirs. In their process, they create a “can” (or metal box) with alternating layers of different grades of titanium. They then fill the can with inert gas and “forge-weld”(stamp at high temperature) the material to fuse the different grades together. This technique is public as a patent was issued to them. We have noticed a lot of knock off material for Timascus coming out of China and Eastern Europe who incorrectly also call it Timascus.
Other makers of Titanium Damascus have chosen to keep their recipe a trade secret. MokuTi or TiMoku are other names for Titanium Damascus the process developed in Florida, Missouri and Mississippi USA. All using a different process to Timascus...all a guarded trade secret. MokuTi and TiMoku are both plays on the symbol for Titanium(Ti) and the word for an ancient japanese laminated material known as Mokume.
ZlaTi or Zla-Ti is similar, except developed by the Russian company "A&R" in the city of Zlatous.
We work with Vegas Forge out of Las Vegas to make our Titanium Damascus, both Timascus and Damtanium are combinations of the word Titanium and Damascus...Vegas Forge calls their material Damtanium. Their process is also a trade secret...
Like Mokume Gane and Damascus, numerous techniques have since been developed to forge the layers of titanium together. Forging this material is not for the light-hearted..imagine forging material only to have the molten titanium spill and explode in your shop after striking it with a 20-ton hammer! The hardness of titanium requires significant force to forge weld the different layers...small variables will swing the quality including some of the other variables that might not be considered with Damascus, including oxygen levels, temperatures, pressure and even atmospheric humidity. Forging carbon Damascus, seen in kitchen knifes and EDC kives is different. The forces needed, the heat control and the atmosphere is very stringent for Mokume, Stainless Damascus, or Titanium Damascus. Not a discredit to carbon steel damascus...the patterns, color and material combinations are beautiful and extensive. Carbon steel can also hold a better shaving edge, perfect for a shaving knife, cut-throat razor or a shaving blade. But it will rust compared to stainless damascus, mokume or titanium damascus.
What makes this material unique, besides its incredible light weight, is when you anodize, specifically heat anodize the material. Colors are revealed on the surface of the metal caused by an oxide level that is added to the surface. The light reflects differently depending on the thickness of the oxide layer. Greens, Blues, purples and yellows appear after treating the surface.
Machining this material can be very difficult as the different hardness of the 2 grades of Titanium can be very wearing on the tooling, causing them to wear out easily and break. To bring out the colors we finish the razor to a high polish finish and then apply a heat patina using a flame to apply the titanium oxide. The finish will wear off over time but can be reapplied or left to wear to show its age...