Showing 1 of 12 conversations about:
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
May 26, 2017
bookmark_border
What grade of titanium? The bend radii look pretty small and sharp like it is grade 2. Grade 2 is soft, like what they make pots out of. Trowels, tools, and knives should be made out of grade 5. --Josh Leavitt
May 26, 2017
M.a.v
146
May 27, 2017
bookmark_border
I'd like to know this as well. It appears to be far heavier than expected (double the Deuce of Spades!) for the materials used.
May 27, 2017
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
May 28, 2017
bookmark_border
If it is grade 2 it will need to be twice as thick to be even close to the Deuce, which I believe is grade 5. The Russians perfected building titanium shovels. They build full size heads, look them up on Ebay, "titanium shovel". Most of them are grade 9, not quite as strong as grade 5, but much more formable than grade 5, and many times stronger than grade 2. This is the problem with all the titanium V stakes out there, they are grade 2, and have no where near the strength for their intended purpose. Even when used in soft soils, the notch for the cord fails very easily(V-stakes). Search BPL for a good write up on this subject(titanium V-stakes) by Roger Caffin.
May 28, 2017
M.a.v
146
May 28, 2017
bookmark_border
The Deuce is 7k series Al, not Ti at all. That said grade-2 Ti (which isn't really an alloy) isn't even as strong as 7k series (AKA: T6) aluminum...and not nearly as lightweight. Ti makes a lot of sense for certain things (like pots and stoves, which are subjected to high heat), but often times good alloys of Al or SS make for a more appropriate material due to their higher (Al) or lower (SS) cross sections and inversely their higher (SS) or lower (Al) densities. All three of these materials (when comparing good/appropriate alloys of each) are very similar in strength to weight ratio...Ti, being in the middle, honestly has less usefulness from a structural standpoint than the other two (until you need a property that it excels at, like the aforementioned use in high heat as a result of its exceptionally high melting point as well as low thermal expansion & conductivity. Obviously CF and other high-tech composites best any metal in strength to weight, but they, too, are limited in application (e.g.: a spade...I don't believe it would fare very well without a metal edge insert added for greater durability and sharper cutting point).
May 28, 2017
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
May 28, 2017
bookmark_border
I stand corrected on the Deuce, I just looked it up, I was thinking of the other two titanium trowels out there. The fact that the deuce is aluminum, and is half the weight, is exactly my point, though admittedly not as I intended it. The problem with many titanium products, like I mentioned, is that they are not built from the proper grades of material(With Ti it is grade, not alloy, at least by nomenclature). You would not build a stove with grade 5, just as you should not build tools with grade 2. Much like with composites, too much voodoo, improper application, and lack of common understanding on the part of consumers. Most of this is unfortunately driven by manufactures and retailers( I am one). This ultimately is not good for consumers, as they end up not getting what they should be getting. They are then not satisfied with what they bought, and they start to voice their displeasure, as they should. But in voicing this displeasure, they say things generally about particular materials, or products they have, that are not on the whole accurate. This is turn is read and passed on by others, and continues the cycle of consumer displeasure, or in some cases unjustified loyalty and myths about those products as well. Ultimately this comes back on everyone, the manufactures, the retailers, consumers, everyone. And it is bad for innovation, sales, customer satisfaction, etc. But as long as the right people get their cut, who really cares, right?
May 28, 2017
Stepbystep
549
May 29, 2017
bookmark_border
Josh, if you brought us a high quality ti trowel that can do some work in tough packed soils and has a comfortable handle, I would buy one or two even if they weren't the lightest, and if the price could be kept less than $40-ish. The best thing about this Vargo to me is that someone finally rolled the end of the handle for comfort. Something with grade 5, a comfy handle end like this (or better, perhaps with some kind of accessory cap available), a 2-1/2 inch blade width, and maybe just one side toothed with those teeth cutting on the pull stroke.....would be an ideal mid-weight tool for those that don't need the lightest like the Montbell scoops and all of the ti models but do need to have a strong reliable trowel without adding the ounces of a small commercial gardening tool. I currently use a modified cheap-cheap steel transplanting trowel - the kind you can get for 99 cents at a hardware store with a plastic handle over a rolled tang - because it's strong and comfortable enough to work and won't break or melt. With the blade trimmed down to 4-1/4 inches and squared off, it weighs 99.5 grams. I'd be ok with spending a silly amount to save the smidgen of weight and bulk if the design and material were as functional, which I really think could be done with ti. Except for being extra narrow, this Vargo attempt is the best I've seen yet, imho. I suppose it would be cost prohibitive, but this almost looks like a great application for cast ti instead of formed, if someone would do it.
May 29, 2017
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
May 29, 2017
bookmark_border
They had to make it out of soft material to be able to bend the edge, which is where I start to take issue. And because it is softer, they had to use thicker material. So a trowel that could weigh ~18 grams(Like the Suluk Tark, or Qiwiz Big Dig) weighs 36 grams. Ultimately this is just a part of the "ultralight" evolution into the mass market, which is fine, but I take issue with some particulars of how it is being executed. Price: That is simply a function of mass produced out of China, verses smaller batches built in North America(I don't really have a problem with either, that is a function of a lot of other factors). Cheap garden trowels: I have dug 1000s of holes with a number of these, including some homemade ones(I use sticks for cat holes) in all kinds of soil(native plant restoration). So here is where the rubber hits the road, or the trowel hits the dirt. The handle comes into play when the digging gets tough, so here is where the Vargo design should excel. Yet it is the harder digging where a much stronger material is required, so the Tark or Big Dig would excel here by being built out of stronger material. But ultimately neither may perform all that well in hard soils, because the Vargo may bend, while you won't be able to muscle the handle of the Tark or Big dig to get the benefit of its strength. Given my personal experience, I would go with the Tark or the Big dig, it is the material strength that makes the difference. I've been left with a broken and bent tool, and 500 more holes to dig. Any of them will work as well as a stick, which will did just fine in aerobic soils with microbial activity, where you should be digging cat holes in the first place. The need for trowels is more environmentally niche than most people realize. Me building one: I'll put it on my list of 100 other projects with a very low likelihood of ever getting done. I don't mean to be too dismissive, but I am currently in an "interesting" place business wise. Besides having two small children, health problems, and a number of other excuses, I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on a project that does not pay the bills, or leave time for the business to expand, let alone operate to capacity. Something will give on that eventually, and me or someone else will put forth the effort into new products.
May 29, 2017
Stepbystep
549
May 29, 2017
bookmark_border
Well, someone else, then, but it would be nice. Sticks and pole tips don't cut it (in my region). Kids first, but don't close up shop any time soon...been meaning to order some tarp poles from you!
May 29, 2017
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
May 30, 2017
bookmark_border
We won't be "closing" shop anytime soon. The carbon fiber stuff is the core of the business, so you will be able to get tarp poles even if we sell. Not that we are looking at that in the foreseeable future, but it is something that could have to happen, should my current "hobby" get funded, and I have to hit the road. We are looking to sell off the wood burning stove stove, and possibly the firearms accessory portion of the business. They are peripheral to the core of the business, and need their own focus.
May 30, 2017
VargoOutdoors
76
Vargo Outdoors
May 31, 2017
bookmark_border
Hi, Josh! Please see our new post for the answer. Thanks!
May 31, 2017
Joomy
211
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
Trying to find that Caffin article on BPL but can't. Do you mind linking to it?
Jun 2, 2017
M.a.v
146
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
Speaking of CF products...do you have any plans to start making a 900mL size lid? I could really use one for my Toaks-900/Caldera Cone setup.
Jun 2, 2017
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
It is on that "list". I have the material for a mold, I just need to find the time to get it on the machine and cut it.
Jun 2, 2017
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
You may have to dig deep, I don't have a link handy, and I have not been to BPL in quite some time. It was about building your own titanium V tent stakes out of grade 5, so try DIY. Roger built his own bending dies, and went into all the details of the standard grade 2 V stakes that are offered by various vendors, their failings, etc. This may be as long as 7 years ago. I remember it because I appreciate Roger's scientific take on things, and I sold him the grade 5 titanium to build the stakes with.
Jun 2, 2017
M.a.v
146
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
Thank you for the quick reply! I look forward to it...I'm trying to cut a few grams here and there and that would be a reasonably inexpensive way to cut weight without sacrificing comfort/convenience.
Jun 2, 2017
Joomy
211
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
Ah yes I think I found it. He's making "snow pegs" which is why searching for "V stakes" didn't work. This the one? https://backpackinglight.com/make_your_own_gear_titanium_snow_stakes/
Edit: wait no, that one doesn't mention any other brands of stakes or grades of Ti, hmm...
Jun 2, 2017
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
The time frame might be about right( I literally have no sense of time), and I think I remember him using that Ti for several projects, it was a piece about 24"x24", or possibly bigger. I can't login to read it, but I'm pretty sure that one is not it. He does mentions how other stakes "crumble". That was the general narrative on the V stakes as well, which is why he building his own.
Jun 2, 2017
Joomy
211
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
Hmm, all else I can find is this one from his own website, but he doesn't talk about grades of Ti here either. https://bushwalkingnsw.org.au/clubsites/FAQ/FAQ_Pegs.htm#Pegs
Anyway, having done some reading it does seem that Grade 5/6Al-4V is the stuff to use for lightweight, strong gear and anything else is a bit of a compromise. But that's fine, as long as the compromises are made in the right places.
Jun 2, 2017
RutaLocura
36
Ruta Locura
Jun 2, 2017
bookmark_border
Stakes #8, in that link. I did not read the entire thing, but those are some of the grade 5 stakes he built. So the snow stake article may be the right one, IDK, I can't read it, and it has been a few years(or close to a decade).
I have some grade 9 stakes sitting here in the office, it is a really good compromise for building titanium stakes, bendable yet strong, though it does tend to cost more than grade 5 or 2. But, if the tent stakes(or other tools) last twice as long in grade 9, as they would in grade 2, it would seem to be the way to go. That takes market education, which has been lacking, even in the more informed UL community. Some one should look at doing grade 9 stuff, that is a big part of what I am saying here. I am just not the one to it, at least not right now. hint, hint, for those paying attention.
Jun 2, 2017
View Full Discussion