Material Guide for Metals

Metal is a highly versatile material, used for making casters, frames, hardware, and other support systems for furniture. There’s also furniture fully made up of metal such as benches, beds, chairs, etc. All metals have inherent quality of being durable and sturdy, however some metals are preferred over others. Below is a list of metals commonly used for furniture and hardware production.

  • Stainless steel: It is defined as a steel alloy with a minimum of 11.5 percent chromium content. Stainless steel does not stain, corrode or rust as easily as ordinary steel. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment to which the material will be subjected in its lifetime.

    Grades of stainless steel: There are over 150 grades of stainless steel, of which 15 are most commonly used. Stainless steels are engineering materials with good corrosion- resistance, strength and fabrication characteristics. They can readily meet a wide range of design criteria, including load, service life and low maintenance. Selecting the proper stainless steel grades involves weighing four qualities in the following order of importance:

    1. Corrosion or Heat Resistance, the primary reason for specifying stainless. The specifier needs to know the nature of the environment and the degree of corrosion or heat resistance required.
    2. Mechanical Properties, particularly strength at room, elevated or low temperature. The combination of corrosion resistance and strength is the basis for selection.
    3. Fabrication Operations and how the product will be made (e.g., forging, machining, forming, welding, stamping, roll forming, four-slide operations).
    4. Total Cost, including material and production costs and considering the cumulative savings of a maintenance-free product with longevity.

  • Mild steels: Carbon steel is sometimes referred to as ‘mild steel’ or ‘plain carbon steel’. Mild steel makes up the largest part of steel production and is used in a vast range of applications. Typically carbon steels are stiff and strong. Some form of protective coating is used so that it doesn’t rust if used in a corrosive environment.

    Stainless steel v/s mild steel: Stainless Steel is less malleable and harder than mild steel. Mild steel is less brittle than steel. Stainless Steel is more resistant to corrosion. Mild steel can be further strengthened through the addition of carbon. The basic difference is that s/s has very little carbon and is alloyed with chromium, nickel, molybdenum and other elements to improve its mechanical and chemical properties.

  • Brass: It is a metal alloy made of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties. Brass is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance. Since it has gold like appearance it would be a royal choice if used as a material for furniture. It provides high workability (historically with hand tools) and durability. We use the so-called dezincification resistant (DZR or DR) brasses, sometimes referred to as CR (corrosion resistant) brasses to avoid corrosion risk; also it does not affect the look or quality if water is kept in contact of it.

  • Bronze: It is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12 percent tin and often with the addition of other metals and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon. Bronze is far more resilient to everyday wear and tear which is one of the main reasons that it is the number one choice for many customers. Another advantage is that this type of furniture is pet resistant because they cannot scratch or damage the furniture, making it practically indestructible by common household pets.