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Please note this blog is written in 5 parts due to file size constraints.  Please access parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 to view the rest of the knives

 

As most of you know by now, Stanley May is a huge titanium fan.  My background from my work at Honeywell Inc., where I performed countless stress analyses on commercial and military aircraft
wheels and brakes has highly influenced me.  Because of its many great characteristics, a large aircraft brake part called a torque tube was/is often fabricated from 6AL-4V investment cast titanium.  These torque tubes operate in intimate contact with parts containing the “brake pads”, causing this part to heat up to temperatures in the 800 – 1000 ⁰F range while supporting enormous loads.  It needs to be lightweight at the same time since the aircraft has to carry them around.  And it must resist the many environmental substances it will be exposed to; like water, salt, skydrol (a very corrosive brake fluid they use on commercial aircraft), wing deicing fluids, various acids, etc.  (Try putting a little acid on a hot metal, and see how long it lasts…..on second thought, don’t try this at home)  All aircraft carrier based navy planes have titanium torque tubes, because they are sitting around in a salt spray environment, where a steel torque tube would oxidize in no time flat.  It is incredible to me that there is such a metal that can perform and operate in such conditions and not degrade.  Below is a picture of an F-18 torque tube that has been sitting around in my garage for 10+ years.  (Note: the part was mismachined/unusable……so don’t get upset taxpayers, I didn’t steal it!)  Everything else in my garage that is metal is either well rusted or broken down.  But this torque tube looks just like the day it was made.

Titanium knife fans, I have good news for you!  Titanium handles and liners are also made of 6AL-4V titanium.  This is one tough and rugged metal that provides high strength at a relatively low weight.  If this metal can survive the punishing environment of a torque tube, a knife environment is a walk in the park.  And if like and can hold onto it, you can use the knife when it is 1000 ⁰F.  To learn a little more about this amazing metal, you can refer to a blog I wrote not too long ago titled “My Favorite Handles”.

 

Titanium does suffer somewhat from being a cold looking, grey metal that is not all that attractive, especially when compared to natural materials like the woods or bone.  I am not even going to begin to argue with this because truth be known, for outright beauty, I think the natural materials are by far the best.  However knife makers have found ways to make titanium very attractive; I think.  So the rest of this blog will simply be pictures of some titanium knives I find attractive and have collected.  Feel free to agree or disagree with me as to their attractiveness.  Please email me and tell me which one(s) you like best, as well as any comments and any titanium knives you find appealing that I have not included.

#1 – A custom Darrel Ralph Gun Hammer 3D Alpha Carved Titanium with Maxx, Glide Bearing System, Thick Blue Anodizing, CPM S90V Blade, Very Expensive (I had to save a long time to get this one), Great workmanship and operation.

 

#2 - SPYDERCO C36TIFP MILITARY FLUTED TITANIUM KNIFE, Blue Anodize, CPM S30V blade, fairly expensive, but a great knife.  This is my first Spyderco knife.

 

 

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Comment by Stanley May on June 23, 2013 at 9:04

You just hit the nail right on the head Streve

Comment by Stanley May on June 22, 2013 at 22:29

It is simply that, touting.  It is a titanium coating that in the short term protects the blade a little.  Everyone thinks titanium is so impressive/expensive, so I really should buy this knife because it is such a good buy.  i.e., on the marketing "surface", it sounds great and impressive to have this coating.  But as soon as you start using the blade, this coating comes off from usage/wear.  The blade is SS and really doesn't need this coating.   A solid titanium blade is too weak compared to good blade steels.  The best Ti UTS (ultimate tensile strength) is about 180,000 psi with a lot of work.  A good blade steel (say D2) has a UTS above 300,000 psi.  So for edge retension, wear, etc., a ti blade is at a great disadvantage compared to the steels.  In summary I take titanium coated blades as a waste of titanium, and I see very, very little advantage in doing this.  Don't be fooled.


In Memoriam
Comment by Robert Burris on June 21, 2013 at 11:44

I must agree, they are very pretty. Titanium knives have come a long way, by making them more attractive but not always multi-colored and shinny. More earth tones, is what I'm trying to say.

Comment by Michelle "Fingers" DellaPelle on June 21, 2013 at 9:41

interested.. the blade come solid titanium... I consider about buying it.... hehehe

Comment by Jan Carter on June 21, 2013 at 6:55

I agree, this is a must read!  The more I see the amazing knives being made from this steel, the more I appreciate knowing about it.  Thanks Stanley

Comment by Ron Cooper on June 20, 2013 at 17:00

I drool every time I see a Fluted Military. Although I think I preferred the first versions that were not anodized but, rather, heated to give each piece its own unique and distinctive look. But, hey! Don't get me wrong. I love the way the anodized version looks and would love to get my hands on one!

Comment by Ron Cooper on June 20, 2013 at 15:32

Stan,

I think it's great that we have so many people from all walks of life who have done so many interesting things. What a truly wonderful tapestry we can weave by sharing our own personal experience and abilities. By sharing your unique perspective and expertise on Titanium the fabric of our community is strengthened and enriched in this knowledge. Thank you for this amazing contribution to our website! Excellent critical analysis and fantastic photographs! Truly a must read n' see for everyone in the knife community!

Cheers, my friend -- Kudos & well done!

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