Designer's Library

The Beauty Of Forged Steel

Understanding The Surface Of Forged Steel

Our steel furniture is beautiful for many reasons, one of which is the way the surface of the metal looks when it has been heated and forged. While not all our pieces are forged, it’s important to understand how that process changes the look of a piece.

Steel must be heated to about 1,200 degrees centigrade before it is malleable enough to shape. When heated like this, the surface of the steel reacts with the air, causing oxidation, a darkening and texturing of the steel that we call ‘scaling’. People are often referring to scaling when they talk about the quintessential look of steel.

We powder coat paint some pieces that have scaling with a semi-translucent finish to accentuate this look. We call this ‘Burnished Iron’. It is important to understand however that the scaling on a forged piece will still be evident to one degree or another, even if it is painted using one of our opaque powder coat finishes.

Some things to keep in mind about scaling:

· Scaling will appear on anything that has been forged, that means that any piece of steel that has been either bent or hammered using heat will display some degree of scaling.

· The oxidation of the metal that is the cause of scaling is a natural, random process, so there is no way to control the degree to which scaling is evident on a frame.

· While sometimes quite subtle, scaling is a distinct texture that is usually still quite visible after the frame has been painted.

· Some frames, or parts of frames, that do not look like they have been hammered or bent may still exhibit scaling. This is because they have been heated in the forge simply to give them scaling for aesthetic consistency or contrast within a single piece of furniture.

· It is also important to understand that just because a piece of steel is curved does not mean it was heated. Some pieces of steel, for example the rings that support the tops of many of our tables, are bent on what is called a pinch roller. This is also referred to as ‘cold forging’.

Click here to watch a video about scaling.

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