well, here is the finished ring after acid etching.
i set out to make a ring that is unique to me, something rare and precious. not so much because of the element that it is made from but through the process by which it is made.
making pattern welded titanium is a relatively new process and one that is full of difficulties. a layer of oxides form on the surface and that makes it hard to weld, the same oxides also make etching difficult. the exact pattern is unpredictable and no two pieces are the same.
i am satisfied that i have achieved what i set out to do, this ring is singular, there really isn't another one quite like it. in fact having done quite a lot of research on the subject, it is likely to be the only Pattern Welded Titanium wedding ring in the world.
Shape the outside of the ring using an angle grinder, abrasive paper and files.
Create the profile inside the ring using a Dremel with an abrasive drum, then polish with a buffing wheel.
As you can see, after polishing the Damascus pattern is no longer showing. in order to bring the pattern out the ring needs to be acid etched.
Titanium is tricky stuff to etch and you need some really aggressive chemicals to do the job.
i would not recommend attempting to etch titanium.
if you are in any doubt, have a read of the material safety data sheet for Hydrofluoric acid. this stuff is really nasty and according to the experts that i spoke to, it shouldn't be handled without a full protective suit and a respirator with a face shield.
So, the original plan was to have someone etch the ring for me but very few people will etch titanium given the potentially risks of working with such dangerous chemicals. after exhausting all of the options both here and in America and doing a lot of research, it turns out that it's possible to do it in your shed with a pair of rubber gloves and some chemicals contained in readily available products that you can buy on-line. still a little scary but the quantities of acid that you need are relatively low and the risks are manageable.
still wouldn't recommend it though.
Because of the significance of a wedding band, I wanted a ring that was both special and unique to me. I decided that the best way forward would be to make my own. In that way, through choice of material and the labour of making i would have a ring that is not only unique to me but also reminds me of the journey to get here and bond that it symbolises.
So for those interested, here is how i did it.
I make my living by working with my hands so I wanted a metal that was both tough and durable. I chose pattern welded (also know as Damascus) Titanium because of it's toughness, weight, appearance and the process through which it is made. This very special material is only produced by a handful of craftsmen around the world and has a pattern like wood grain. The pattern is produced by welding different alloys of titanium together and then twisting the welded bar. the patterns are largely random and no two pieces are alike. I contacted Richard Furrer from Door County Forgeworks in Wisconsin.
Today I had what was probably as good a session as it gets up here on the Spectro. Solid head high, not a breath of wind so mirror-glass conditions, spring low tide, shallow, punchy, hollow beach break surf.
I felt instantly at home on the board. Paddles well (possibly a touch better than the Lumus) and can pick up waves with ease. Not much adjustment needed in the takeoff other than an extra split-second to be sure I'm moving down the face before popping up.
I actually suprised myself with a few late drops, one of them a bit of an air-drop going front side as the lip pitched early. Felt amazing as the fins connected on the steep face. Couple of pretty late backside drops too, definitely assisted by the narrower nose.
Up and riding it's got all of the good bits about the Lumus, projection, flow and speed, but a little more refined overall and a slightly more lively/agile feel. The fins seem to offer the perfect mix of drive, control and looseness and I think the smaller size works really well.
Duck diving is also a touch easier than the Lumus, which I wasn't expecting as it's got slightly more volume. Makes sense I guess as there is less nose to sink. Anyway was grateful for it today and made the paddle out that little bit easier.
Overall I think we got the sizing spot on and it's the perfect compliment to the Lumus for exactly the sort of surf we had today. I feel like I can jump on either board with minimal adjustment needed. Super-stoked.....again!
The genesis for all three of these boards is Steve's own Magic fish, a MR style modern twinzer fish. The middle board came first, which was made as a good allrounder and last March I took it to Indonesia. The board goes great in all kinds of condtions, but I felt I wanted something extra for fat small weak waves and something else for bigger more challenging waves. Yet, still retain the feel of the original board to ease transition between the boards. So, Steve recently shaped for me shorter, flatter and fatter version for little waves and a longer, slimmer and drivier version for bigger waves. All three boards have the glide of a fish but with modern performance intergrated into the design.
Left: 5ft 8" x 20.75 x 2.75" small wave quad. The bottom shape is a subtle flat - single concave - double concave - vee between the fins. I asked Steve to incorporate some of what he has learned from making his Lumus model. The rocker is very flat and rails boxy helping the board to get up and plane quickly. This lift seems to keep the board loose and lively even in the smallest of waves. The fin setup is a Neal Purchase Junior style Quartet. Which seems to give the board lots of speed and drive, but still be loose.
Middle: 6ft x 20" x 2.65" all round performance fish with five fcs fusion plugs. Single concave - double concave - vee quad concave through the fins. Works well as a quad, twin with trailer fin or in powerfull and hollow surf as a quad with a knubster fin. Thinner railed and curvy where it needs it to perform turns in the steeper part of a wave but straight enough to be fast down the line or generate speed in small waves.
Right: 6ft 4" x 19.75 x 2.65" Step up Bonzer fish. This is a stretched out version of the 6ft fish. So, when the surf is bigger and, or very hollow I have a board that will the familar feel of a fish but with more control and extra paddle power. With the nose/tail pulled in and the curvier rocker this board is starting to look more like a conventional shortboard but it is still part of the modern fish evolution. The Bonzer bottom shape, thinner rails and Bonzer5 fin system make the board fast, drivey and responsive.
All three boards function different but have a similar feel which allows me to swop between the boards smoothly. There is also an amount of overlap between the functionality of each board, which means if it turns out bigger, smaller or slower etc. It does not matter as much as if I was transitioning between widely different boards. Each to there own and this is just what works for me. Thanks for the great boards Steve.