Why did we develop new titanium alloy hooks for our gaffs?

Our customers and supporters have come to expect cutting edge technology and “pushing the envelope” from us. The initial genesis of titanium prototype models of our patented gaff hooks came as we did displacement calculations with our stainless steel hooks and gaff handle designs and realized that our gaffs with the needed diameters for stronger hooks made of stainless steel would no longer float without some sort of cheap, expendable foam grips added for significantly more water displacement on the product. That would go against our pedigree. Our pedigree isn’t to use bigger or fatter horses, but instead to use lighter and faster ones! The larger prototype hooks made of heavier stainless also made our gaffs feel extremely out of balance, or “hook-heavy” and much like the gaffs on the market that inspired us to develop our gaffs in the first place. We approached the problem with grade 2 titanium, but, being 1/3 the strength of the 17-4 stainless we had been using, we couldn’t gain any weight loss without a significant loss in strength. We would be taking one step forward but two steps backwards with ordinary titanium.

As we began looking at the much stronger, but painfully difficult to machine 6Al-4V titanium alloy material as a potential solution, we heard two stories of giant bluefin tuna pulling our gaffs and harpoon darts down out of crews’ hands and fading into the deep blue to not be seen again. We knew the challenges had to be overcome to keep the weight and size of our gaffs down to result in accurate, fast placements with deep penetration and unquestionable strength. We forced through the engineering obstacles and made the titanium 6Al-4V alloy work.

Now, our 5″ titanium alloy hook weighs LESS THAN our old 4″ 17-4 stainless steel hook but is more than double the strength. You can say the “work” was worth it as we now have a workhorse of a gaff hook. As we learned to work the titanium alloy, we started to realize how much potential there was for our smaller gaffs as well. A few ounces is huge when it’s extended out 8, or even 12ft away from your hand!

 

How much lighter is titanium vs. stainless steel?

Our titanium alloy and original 17-4 stainless hooks are identical, geometrically, but the titanium alloy versions are approximately 40% lighter. If you don’t think a few ounces matter, try holding up the differing weights at the end of an 8ft long pole for just a few seconds.

Benefits of a lighter gaff hook:

  • less fatigue
  • less likely to have rushed shots
  • faster response
  • more accuracy
  • less wasted meat
  • less tournament blood loss
  • better control of the fish
  • safer

 

How strong are the titanium hooks?

Our titanium hooks are not plain titanium but titanium alloy. Our titanium alloy hooks are made of a type of titanium called 6Al-4V. The yield strength, i.e.: the amount of force needed to permanently bend it, of this alloy is 120,000 psi. Our stainless gaff hooks were made from 17-4 stainless steel, which we polished and passivated before attaching into the carbon fiber handles with high strength adhesive and composite insulator bushings in order to bring any corrosion and staining to an absolute minimum (but impossible to totally eliminate without steady upkeep). 17-4 stainless steel has a yield strength of 110,000 psi. 316/316L stainless steel that many other gaff hooks are made of has a yield strength of 30,000 psi. Coincidentally, pure un-alloyed titanium, which has also been used for gaff hooks occasionally, has a yield strength of just 40,000 psi.  We are literally using material that is 3-4 times stronger. Similar is also true of these materials’ hardnesses. With the 6Al-4V, a sharp point remains a sharp point, period. The reason mass produced gaffs do not use the materials we do is because doing so is very difficult and expensive. There must be a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail in order to make our hooks and gaffs out of such unforgiving materials.

 

What colors can you make your titanium hooks in?

There’s a broad array of colors and hues that our titanium alloy hooks can be anodized in, but red and black are not possible. Titanium is not anodized with dyed or tinted acids like other metals. The process is actually very environmentally friendly and unique. Titanium oxide is built up on the outside of titanium as a protective coating naturally, but anodizing can control the thickness of this oxide layer in order to have a refractive effect and absorb more or less colors from light visible to the human eye. By altering the thickness of the coating layer, we can produce different colors, such as blue, pink, green, yellow, purple, or blends of these colors. If you want a truly unique tool on your boat that will last a lifetime, this is it!

 

OK. The gaffs are extremely light and good looking, but how durable are they?

All our gaffs are lifetime warrantied. If you aren’t satisfied that your new gaff isn’t the best (including the toughest) you’ve ever seen, held or used, you can return it for a full refund.