Nitriding - PANArt Hang, and HandPan

While, being the uneducated type, I can only begin to half-understand the science behind ‘nitriding’, at the time of writing, the group of HandPan that are often referred to as being ‘the big four’ (Hang, Halo, BElls, and SPB), are all nitrided. Meaning; that while there have been some very nice sounding non-nitrided HandPan released into the wild, the process of nitriding the shells, it would seem, is a crucial step in the construction of producing a ‘top-tier’ HandPan.

As per Wikipedia: Nitriding is a heat treating process that diffuses nitrogen into the surface of a metal to create a case hardened surface. It is predominantly used on steel, but also titanium, aluminum and molybdenum’. (If you haven’t yet read the nitriding Wiki-page in its entirety, should you wish to, you can do so: HERE

So, essentially, as I understand it, nitriding the steel makes for a more stable instrument, both physically, and in terms of strength of tone. Non-nitrided HandPan have been known to go out of tune fairly easily (in cases), while nitrided HandPan, being harder, are believed to better hold their tuning. And while there are various different methods of nitriding, as far as is known, ‘gas nitriding’ appears to be the process of choice, for the makers of the ‘big four’.  And it is one of (if not the only step) in the construction of a HandPan, that is usually outsourced to a third-party.

Need more info?

* The following is an article published some time around 2002, by PANArt, the original maker, titled ‘Hardening Steel by Nitriding’. Which talks about the importance of nitriding with regard to the creation of the Hang. And while technically removed from the internet years ago, the article can still be accessed via the archival website ‘Wayback Machine’: HERE

* HandPan.org is always a great source of information for any, and all things HandPan. And with six pages (and counting) of HandPan-nitriding related discussion to be read. If you’re still hungry for more info, you can pop on over, and find out more: HERE

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