This is the third in a series of posts about knife modifications you can do yourself, A.K.A. pimping your knife.
As you may (or may not) remember, a while back we said we’d pick the coolest pimped out knife that you posted on our Facebook page and feature it on our blog. So, here it is! There were some really cool ones, but this one was our favorite. This knife was anodized by Yllek Sitruc.
Here’s the text Yllek posted with the knife on our Facebook page:
“My ZT 0561 EDC. The titanium scale side has been anodized blue, the inner frame has been flame anodized, the clip has been acid washed, it has a mirror Wicked Edge sharpening and the bead is titanium with three ice blue tritium tubes. I had the bead made by some Italian guy from CPFmarketplace. I have a Kyrptoglow scale that lights up blue as well but it looks classy with the tan one it came with. Too bad the photo doesn’t show the how bright the anodizing job really is.”
Basics of Anodizing
There are different ways to anodize, but basically you need either a source of heat or a source of electricity to anodize titanium. Anodizing with electricity tends to produce a more even color tone throughout the titanium, while heat tends to create random patterns and colors throughout the material. I don’t know for sure, but by the looks of it, Yllek used some form of electricity to anodize the scales on that ZT; the color is very uniform throughout the handle. Feel free to set me straight if I’m wrong, Yllek!
Typically you can get blues, purples, and bronze colors out of titanium that has been anodized with heat. However with electrical anodizing, you can get a wide variety of colors—even oranges. Aluminum is often anodized too, but the process is more complex (and expensive) than the processes you can use with titanium.
While the results you get with electrical anodizing are really cool, anodizing with heat is a lot easier—at least from what I could tell. Ergo, I decided to focus on anodizing with heat for this post. My brain just couldn’t wrap around everything that goes into electrical anodizing today, but that’s probably because as I’m writing this, it’s the end of the day and I have been writing and staring at the computer for hours. Maybe I’ll be focused enough sometime soon to write a post on electrical anodizing. You never know.
Anyway, Parker (you might recognize his work from this post or this post) is kind of my go-to person as far as knife pimping goes. He (of course) has anodized before. Here’s a DPx he anodized. It also has a titanium frame:
Parker used heat anodizing, which you can see from the colors and patterns on the handle. I focus on the method that Parker used to anodize below, but if you want to use electricity to anodize, check out this post or this post. They seem really good, and they provide pictures of the process as well.
How to Anodize Titanium with Heat
***Remember: dissembling and/or customizing your knife will void any warranty that is applicable to your knife. Don’t dissemble, anodize, or modify your knife if you’re planning on returning it.
Anodizing with heat is super easy! Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
-Knife with a titanium handle
-Cloth to wipe down the blade with
-Tools to dissemble your knife with
- Dissemble the knife and wipe off any fingerprints, and you’re ready to begin.
- Grab your pliers, and grip the handle securely.
- To anodize the handle, you will heat one portion at a time with the torch. Begin on one end of the handle. Turn on the torch, and hold the flame close enough to the handle that it strikes the titanium and flares out. Eventually, the flared-out flame will begin turning orange. This means that the titanium is getting to the correct temperature.
- When you see that the flame and titanium is orange, you can begin to treat the rest of the handle. “Walk” the orange through the rest of the handle, slowly and evenly. This will help the titanium to be colored uniformly from end to end.
- Once you have anodized the whole handle, stick the handle under some cold water for a couple of seconds to help finish the anodizing process.
- You don’t need to polish the handle after it’s been anodized; polishing will remove the anodized color. (If you mess up though, feel free to polish the handle and begin again.)
- Marvel at the level of awesomeness your anodized knife has reached.
So that’s it. Anodizing is a pretty non-complex and inexpensive way to customize your knife, but it can really make it look awesome and unique, too. If you have any questions, feel free to post them below and I’ll get them answered for you.
Check out our How to Anodize Titanium Guide for a more in-depth look at the process!