Depending on what you are going to build, choosing the correct material to start a project with is an important first step. Cold Rolled Steel, Hot Rolled Steel, Mild Steel, Stainless Steel; the list goes on and can be confusing to a beginner, especially when it comes time to produce a beautiful decorative surface finish to the final part. It’s necessary to understand some of the differences between them before making a selection to ensure the best-finished outcome. Today we are specifically looking at straight-line metal finishing of metal flat bar material and the two types most metal fabricators are familiar with are Flat Bar Stock and True Bar Stock.
Metal suppliers today routinely stock flat bar, commonly referred to as “Sheared, Gauered or simply Flat Bar Stock”. On the other hand, “True Bar” is usually considered a non-stock or special order item resulting in a significant price difference between the two types. Architectural or aerospace may call out for True Bar because of its higher dimensional tolerances and square, sharp corners. Whereas, Sheared is nearly as good dimensionally, mainly due to the advances in processing equipment to ensure straightness and flatness, but the two main differences between them is going to be the surface/edge finish and the cost of the material.
So what does this all mean when it comes to the metal surface finishing world?
To be honest, you would think that because of the premium price you pay for True Bar, it would come with a smooth, blemish-free surface that requires very little work; but you would be in for a big surprise. That is simply not the case with this material (See the Mill Finish True Bar photo, right). This is when smart architectural metal fabricators are going to start looking for a project partner like JIT Companies. This is a hurdle most people can’t clear nor do they have the time to try and get over it.
Most metal finishing job shops find it a challenge to work with full-length bar stock, especially when all edges and flat surfaces need to be finished and blended perfectly. Depending on the process used, this material can twist and warp from built-up tension within the bar stock, especially when a dry grinding process is involved. At JIT, our specialized wet finishing equipment lessens the chance of this happening while speeding up the finishing process resulting in shorter lead times and cost savings.
(Can you tell the difference between the Edge Finish Detail between the Bar Stock and the True Bar in the images above? If not, you can save money with the sheared bar stock.)
Straightline Metal Finishing of a Metal Flat Bar
Stock Flat Bar
- Also referred to as Sheared Bar Stock, Gauered Bar Stock, or Flat Bar Stock
- Lower cost compared to True Bar and different Surface/Edge Finish
- Sheared is nearly as good as True Bar dimensionally, mainly due to the advances in processing equipment to ensure straightness and flatness
- Non-stock or Special Order Item
- Higher cost than the stock flat bar and different Surface/Edge Finish
- Architectural or aerospace may call out for True Bar because of its higher dimensional tolerances and square, sharp corners
Thanks to our “JIT” Polishing Technologies, we can make either type of bar stock look identical when it comes to a final finish. So, if you have a choice between Bar Stock or True Bar, go with the Sheared Bar Stock and put the savings into your pocket. “We promise not to tell.”
If you want to finish first in the metal finishing race, give us a call at 507-326-5240 or contact us online and we’ll get you across the finish line, blemish-free. You’ll be glad you did!