OK, I know it exists but been unable to find much. Looking for info on
maintenance-free structural metal (other than Al or SS) for
constructing tower to hang bell in front of church. Dark color to
blend w/ red/black/brown brick desired (hence not SS) and preferable to
not require painting or similar maintenance. Am thinking 4x4 square
tubing would be reasonable dimension combing adequate strength as well
as appropriate visual "heft". (Bell weight is uncertain but estimated
at 3000 lb based on data found for similarly sized cast bells.)
What alternatives are available and links to information would be
Thanks, I "knew" I should know the trade name. But, unfortunately,
seems only comes in plate unless require enough to make a mill run--no
indication of standard structural shapes available routinely (that I
can find, anyway). Don't think we can afford that! :) (The
possibility exists since we're in a relatively dry area to simply use
steel and let it go--it'll last a _long_ time here simply unpainted but
would undoubtedly leave some ugly rust stains on the mounting pads. I
initially thought of just using SS, but in looking at the area where it
would sit I think the bright surface would "stick out" excessively...
I've a call in to local metal dealer, so we'll see what I can learn
there (if anything).
I didn't realize it was an issue to find the stuff in whatever form one
I'll search some more for other high Cu/Ni alloys. I surely thought
there were a variety of materials readily available but don't seem to
find what I thought I would.
All the references I've found so far to the alloy class to which
Cor-ten belongs for all fabricators have same general result -- it's
all in the sheet goods and forms for bridges, etc., all seem custom.
Not found a single point for standard structural shapes from any
distributor. I've sent of a couple queries asking about small
quantities or alternatives to them as well. If you happen to know a
link/distributor, that would be kewl...
Like I said, stop asking for corten, I believe it's only available as coils
stock, which is a far, far cry from rolled structural shapes and will only
get you funny looks.
The people who sell structural (particularly in Service Centers, and that's
where you would find it in stock) will know and understand the term
"weathering steel", it's commonly used in that world.
In hollow structural shapes you would specify it as A847.
In W, M, S, HP, C and L shapes you would most likely spec it as A588 Gr. 50.
Keep in mind if you do use this stuff, you have to use the proper welding
consumables for a good color match as the steel weathers.
While I wasn't precise, that's what the previous posting (of "alloy
class") was intended to imply--per your suggestion I did a search on
"weathering steel" which got me the A588 and A847 ASTM numbers but no
distributors/service companies of other than coil stock.
I then did the search by the two alloys and so far have found only a
single service company (Central Steel Service in AL) who have
structural shapes listed in their product lines. They have
angle/channel/beam/flat but no square tubing. Of course, one could
fabricate the square from angle or change the concept to use what one
If you know of any further service companies/distributors to
contact/pursue, I'm still open.
My conclusion at this point is that the material doesn't seem nearly as
widely used/available as I had presumed for other than for very large
projects like bridges/transmission poles or sheet applications.
Bob's idea looks more promising all the time assuming the vo-tech can
do the powder coating or other finish which I'm pretty confident they
No it's not used commonly for little jobs. I don't have any idea what the
availability is in your area, I don't even know what area you are in. But
sevice centers will many times have small amounts in stock. You have to
search for and find steel service centers in your region of the world.
If it was me (and I know it's not), as a welding contractor, and if'n I was
making this for my own personal bell tower, I would fab it out of regular
structural steel (or pipe more likely), put one of the many industrial epoxy
coatings on it, about three coats and forget about it. We have fabricated
steel products bolted to intake structures at the bottom of 250' lakes that
are spec'd that way and they will outlive my kids.
Personally I wouldn't powdercoat any structural steel. If your piece has to
be field erected your powdercoating is garanteed to be chipped during
loading, shipping, rigging, landing, or during the bolting up process. Of
course it can't be field welded if powdercoat is to be your finish. Plus it
can be hard to find powdercoaters who can handle long or wide or oddly
Industrial epoxy paints are more chip resistant (a large factor on steel)
easily touched up in the field, and can be applied/touched up after field
None of this may apply to your situation so take it for what it's worth.
SW KS, so there aren't many choices...I'll talk to local ironmonger :)
Monday and see who/what he knows.
That is more than likely what we'll end up doing--I was just trying to
find out what options were available and (as is obvious, I'm sure)
figured the weathering steel wasn't anything all that out of the
ordinary when I began the hunt. I'm not nor was I committed that it
had to be a finish-free material, just didn't realize it was as
little-used as is. There is certainly a lot of stuff built out of pipe
around here (being in oil-patch country it's everywhere, cheap) but
I've seen a couple of open structures for bell towers of the square
tubing that I think are quite nice but not particularly involved in
construction so I am really leaning towards that as opposed to pipe.
I've not done any detailed design yet other than try to research the
probably upper limit of the bell weight based on its size and data I
could find for similar bells of same size. We have the original cast
mounting brackets so all that really is required from that standpoint
is a frame on which they can be mounted.
Good points, all, and I was aware of the limitation on field welding
powdercoated material, obviously. I know the Vo Tech kids have done
several really nice painted decorative signs some of which were quite
large and I suspect something similar is what they used on them. I'll
check in w/ the school when classes start again here in another week or
This is still in the conceptual phase at the moment--the church
committees who have the say-so about doing it have said "ok" and the
bell is an old one which has been in storage for the last 30 years or
so, so waiting a few more weeks (or months) to get something designed
and built won't make any discernible difference... :)
Thanks for the input--it did lead me further down the path than I had
gotten previously--as noted, I was just trying to find out what
material(s) would be readily available and had started w/ a notion that
turned out to not be so...
It's not out of the ordinary or little use, it's just used normally on large
commercial or public works projects.
The square tube will be cheaper and easier to work with, and of course give
you that vintage timber look.
A good industrial epoxy coating will be as close to "maintenance free" as
you will find in SW Kansas. I have thousands of tons of iron coated that way
in Eastern Kansas (Topeka, Lawrence, Manhattan, K.C. Kansas, K.C. Mo area,
ect., quite a bit of it in very corrosive enviroments such as chemical
Anyway good luck, I hope it looks nice when you're done.
So's he. :)
He's got to have a supplier somewhere.
The "vintage timber" look wasn't much in my mind...but I suppose w/ the
right color and some consideration of how it was joined it could leave
such an impression...the examples I had seen were pretty simple and
didn't remind me of that at all, however. :)
At least it is in town instead of on the farm so it does have a fair
amount of protection we don't out here. UV is big killer of most
finishes out here, of course.
Any supplier/distributor in the KC area you can recommend? Denver is
equidistant to KC, while OKC, Wichita, Amarillo are all roughly
equidistant and about half as far...
Make the support frame with regular structural steel and get it powder
coated in almost any color you wish. Should be no maintenance.
Bob Morrison, PE, SE
R L Morrison Engineering Co
Structural & Civil Engineering
bob at rlmorrisonengr dot com
Not a bad idea at all, Bob...I _knew_ I could count on you! :)
Now I'll have to see if I can find a local somebody who could handle
the size of pieces they would/will be (it's a small place here and the
Trailmobile facility closed a couple of years ago--they built reefers
for a while here and I think they did the frames here, but the building
has been vacant since they folded. :( )
Yeah, if I were only in Indy... :) Checking local yellow pages finds
nobody in town and one shop about 60 miles away in the area-wide
directory. When school opens I'll call the technical school who has a
auto-body shop and good facilities and are always on the lookout for
projects. They're probably the best bet locally.
there a company that sales power coating equipment for small to meduim
call them they may be able to help. also you would be able do any thing
else you would like.
Church --> Budget --> Nil :)
(Actually this project is from the Memorials Fund, but it doesn't have
pockets that deep, I'm sure. The structural steel w/ an industrial
coating will probably end up being the choice.)
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