Heat Treatments and HandPan Colouration

You may have noticed that while HandPan do come in various different colours, the most common colouration for a HandPan is a blueish / greyish hue - and there is reason for this.  Most (if not all) HandPan undergo heat treatments as part of their creation process, and it is these heat treatments that (unless other means are used to artificially colour the instrument) are responsible for the colour of the HandPan.  

The colouration itself is primarily a side-effect of the heat treatments upon the steel from which the HandPan is formed, with the heat treatments being used to modify the strength of the raw steel, by exposing it to specific temperatures, in a prescribed manner.  And the colour is formed from an oxide-layer that forms upon the steel during the heating process.

As mentioned before a blueish hue is among the most common to HandPan, and we can see from the chart (right) that this occurs at around 575°F / 302°C.  An interesting example of different temperatures used in these heat treatments affecting the final colouration of HandPan can be seen in the work of Pantheon Steel.  Earlier generation Halo all exhibited a strong blue colouration, while more recent examples (at time of posting) display a more golden-brown to purple finish - showing that the temperature of the heat treatments used in the creation of more recent Halo, are somewhat lower.

You can watch a video from Live-MetalArt demonstrating heat treatments upon a HandPan below...



While the following video provides a great introduction into the purposes of heat treating steel, for those wishing to understand the process more fully...

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