Please consider the type of quality you are seeking when determining who will be doing your work.
Weld quality is a huge issue—both in appearance but also functionality (meaning will the weld actually hold together?)
Most architectural items like railing or decorative features look best with TIG welds. TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas welding. This type of welding allows for a very clean, almost decorative, weld bead but can be very challenging to do, particularly out in the field. Tungsten is the weld rod that gets ‘melted’ into the product as shown in the picture below.
Traditional weld shops are often very ill equipped to handle this type of welding, which brings up another key issue and that is capacity. Qualified TIG welders are hard to find…AMF, because of our niche in stainless steel and aluminum work, boasts approximately 20 full-time certified TIG welders. Our stainless-steel work is seen on railing, decorative hoods, signs, counter-tops, wall wraps, benches, steeples, sun shades, etc., etc.
Stainless Contamination is also a huge issue. Typical shops are notorious for contaminating stainless steel with carbon steel filings, meaning that rust will eventually appear on the surface of expensive, supposedly rust-free, material.
How does this happen? Two very common ways are as follows:
1) Stainless materials are worked-on with tools that are normally used for steel-only fabrication. This might happen when the parts are cut, formed, ground or even transported (something as simple as steel forklift tines contaminate stainless steel).
2) Stainless materials are stored around other carbon steel parts—filings, grindings and shavings find their way (like dust) on to the stainless material and then rest on the stainless waiting for water or atmospheric conditions to start the rusting process.
Ultimately, high quality stainless steel craftsmanship is a real thing—not all stainless steel parts are created equal.
It is important to remember that Carbon Steel and Stainless Steel are NOT FRIENDS!
Weld quality, capacity, and contamination are three key items to consider when determining who does your work. All three can be very critical to making your job successful. Contact us with questions and see what we can do to make your stainless steel work look and function amazingly well.