Black Metal Bar footrail


A client wants us to supply a black metal foot rail for a bar we recently installed. Is there a method of darkening steel or iron or ... . tubing? Painting is one answer but she prefers a "maintenance free" finish. However, as the bar is in a home most people will be in their stocking feet so maybe some type of paint or other coating may work. Any ideas? Thanks, JG
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Get it that way from the factory. Mild steel bar is supplied in two common forms; hot rolled and cold-drawn. Hot rolled is rolled to shape and gains a thick layer of black oxide on it. Cold drawn is the same stuff, then pulled through a die to scrape this oxide film off. Cold has sharper corners than hot, which tends to be a bit rounded.
The oxide film on hot-rolled bar is about the toughest and most hard-wearing black patina you can put onto steel.
A tub of black patina wax (Liberon) will touch up any welds or grinding marks that have come out shiny.
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On Sun, 22 May 2005 12:23:55 +0100, Andy Dingley

The only problem with that is that the oxide that is built up on a hot rolled bar tends to be very scaly, and the hot rolled steel usually comes off the truck rusty. It's a whole lot nicer looking if you get cold-rolled steel, and then have a shop put an oxide coating on it.

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Andy's suggestion is one way to go, although the hot roll oxide will be more light blue than black. Might not be the look they are looking for. An alternative is to take your tubing and fittings to a shop that does "black oxide". The process is similar to gun blueing, which can be blue or black depending on the process and salts used. Look at the finish on a typical allen head screw to get an idea of what it will look like.
This is the local company I use: http://www.allblackco-llc.com /
Just look for a similar vendor near you.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com/woodshop
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After doing all the cutting and fitting, have it powder coated.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Agreed.
Lew
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As long as the local shops have an oven big enough to handle the length of your pipe. I was unable to find one within 2 hours that would take a 3' piece of pipe.

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The robot I just finished helping build is 28"x38"x5' tall, welded aluminum, and the powdercoat shop offered to just put the whole thing in the oven, with room to spare. Supposedly the shop can do entire driveway entrance gates 6-8' on a side.
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There is one in So. Windsor CT that does race car chassis. The ovens are at least 8 or 10 feet high.
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A client of mine made a foot rail out of railroad track. The thing was elevated from the floor by blocks and old style spikes were cut and let in to pre-drilled holes. Look spiffy and cool, albeit a bit hefty.
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Take it to a shop and have it powder coated or anodized. Or some sort of baked on enamel. Similar to the finish they use on some woodstoves.
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Whenever I want some metal painted with a durable finish, I take it to a local car body shop and get them to include the piece in another run that is using a similar colour. Since they're using that colour on an existing order, they don't have to do a special setup and I save money.
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Thanks for the leads guys. I will see what is available locally. Cheers, JG
JGS wrote:

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wrote:

Black oxide or powder coat are both pretty tough. Neither of them are really do-it-yourself projects (Black oxide requires vats of toxic chemicals with a heat source under a couple of them, and powder coating requires a gun that will ionize the powder, and an oven that is big enough to fit the piece in) If you look around a bit, there are usually at least one or two shops devoted to this kind of work in any given town, and I can't imagine it's too awfully expensive for one piece. Black oxide looks the best, IMO.
If you decide to go the paint route, we use tractor enamel to repaint steelworking machinery in the shop, and that holds up really well also- and you can touch it up if it gets damaged. With powder coat, you'd have to sandblast the entire thing to refinish it properly.
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There is an epoxy gun coating called Alumahyde (II, I think) which you can spray onto a part which is warmed by a heat gun (or left in the sun) and cures best with heat in the 100 degree range. Heck, on a sunny day witha cheaply built solar oven made from a box sprayed black inside with a polyethelyene sheeting window.

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