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What you need to know about steel and iron before you buy furniture

Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-06-27      Origin: Site


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Steel and iron are the two most used alloy materials in furniture products. Understanding the basics and price distribution of steel helps to avoid being duped.

I have been involved in furniture product development for 10 years and have 25 years of production experience in a furniture factory in partnership, through channels such as export, designer co-design and outlets. This article, based on production experience, details the need to know before buying furniture steel knowledge.

1. Definition and differences between iron, steel and stainless steel

In iron and carbon alloys, we call those containing less than 2.11% carbon steel and those greater than 2.11% iron.

On the basis of steel, by adding cobalt, chromium, nickel, tungsten, titanium and other metal elements, so that it has resistance to air, steam, water and other weak corrosive media and acid, alkali, salt and other chemical leaching media corrosion of steel, called alloy steel, also called stainless steel.

2. What are the types of steel for furniture, how is the grade and price arrangement?

300 series stainless steel > 200 series stainless steel > multi-layer plated iron alloy ≈ baked iron alloy > ordinary painted iron alloy ≈ single plated iron alloy

3. What is the difference between 304 stainless steel plate and 201 stainless steel plate?

304 and 201 are the two most widely used stainless steel materials

Firstly, 200 series stainless steel was first developed successfully in the USA during World War II as a substitute for 300 series stainless steel. At that time, due to the war, nickel, a strategic material, was strictly controlled by the various countries involved and the supply of nickel in the USA was seriously inadequate. In order to solve the problem of production and supply of stainless steel in the case of a serious shortage of nickel supply, the USA developed this new steel series of austenitic stainless steel with manganese instead of nickel.

The biggest difference between 304 stainless steel plate and 201 stainless steel plate is therefore that 201 contains high manganese, less nickel and high carbon.

Because of the high manganese content, 201 is darker in colour compared to 304

Because of the low nickel content, 201 is slightly less resistant to acid corrosion than 304

Because of the high carbon content, 201 is a little harder and more brittle, 304 is a little tougher. At the same time, 201 scratches more significantly under the same type of scratching force.

The price of 304 stainless steel sheet is usually 1/3-1/2 more expensive than the price of 201 stainless steel sheet. but because the furniture scene is not a harsh environment, so the difference in appearance and performance during use is not obvious, affordable 201 can also be used to replace 304.

4. What is the difference between electroplating and baking?

Electroplating is the use of electrolytic principles to attach a metal film to the surface of a metal or other material made.

Baking is the process of spraying several layers of paint onto a polished object and baking it at a high temperature to set it in place.

The purpose of both is to protect and decorate the subject material.

The difference is this.

Electroplating is mostly a protective layer of overlaid metal. Metals such as zinc, copper, nickel, chromium, etc. In single layer plating, zinc is the most commonly used metal, its plating is cheap and protective, after plating the alloy is often used as the internal frame of the sofa. In multi-layer plated iron alloys, copper and nickel are often used as the base and chromium as the surface coating. The plated iron alloy has excellent rust resistance and a translucent, shiny metallic feel, and is often used as sofa legs or as the outer frame of sofas.

Baked lacquer is a type of painting process where the coating is a chemical protective layer. On a substrate polished to a certain roughness, several layers of paint are sprayed on and baked at a high temperature to set the shape. Unlike ordinary paint coating, baked paint requires high temperature baking and requires a high level of paint and working environment to produce a good, thin, even and bright coating.

5. What is the difference between vacuum plating, water plating and electroplating of stainless steel?

Vacuum plating, also known as PVD vacuum plasma plating, is the use of physical vapour deposition principle for surface coating, which is carried out under high vacuum conditions and does not require rectifiers, plating baths, plating solutions, etc.

Aqueous plating uses the principle of electrolysis, in which the plated part is the cathode and the metal to be plated is the anode in a certain plating solution, and a direct current is applied to deposit that metal ion on the plated part as a coating. Water plating is also often referred to directly as electroplating

Water plating and vacuum plating are collectively referred to as electroplating

The advantages of PVD vacuum plating are 3 things: 1. compared to water plating, the combination of plating and stainless steel is better; 2. the colour of plating is more colourful and more stable than water plating; 3. the process is more environmentally friendly and more in line with the current environmental requirements

Of course this does not mean that vacuum plating is superior to conventional plating. It depends on the process and application scenario.

In addition, coloured stainless steel products mostly use vacuum plating

6. "What can be sucked by a magnet is iron, what cannot be sucked is steel"?

The essential difference between iron and steel is the carbon content. The difference in carbon content cannot be tested by a magnet.

A simple example is 400 series martensitic stainless steel, which can be held by a magnet, but it is steel, not iron. 304 stainless steel will also be magnetic if it is cold worked to a large degree of deformation.

7. Is 400 series stainless steel good for use?

The corrosion resistance and weldability of 400 series stainless steel are not as good as 200 series and 300 series, so it is often used as tool steel, structural steel, such as valves, pumps, etc. It will not be used in sofas and furniture, which have high requirements for corrosion resistance and welding.

8. Which is better, baked iron alloy or painted iron alloy?

This question has been answered by a beautiful sister, who is interested to see.

How to distinguish between lacquered and painted doors? I know!

For furniture, the most important thing with lacquer is to avoid orange peel. This is because orange peel generally represents a lower, failed standard of craftsmanship. Its texture is unattractive and has a poor feel.

9. Which is better: baked, painted or electroplated iron alloy or vacuum plated iron alloy?

Generally speaking, electroplated products cost slightly more than baked products

However, it is not possible to generalise, as a good lacquering process can be much more expensive than electroplating.

Therefore it depends on the needs or scenarios for which they are suitable.

Painted and lacquered iron alloys are usually slightly cheaper and give the effect of painted lustre and texture, and are suitable for use with painted wooden furniture, such as American and European styles. Occasionally used in low cost, low price scenarios, such as shop furnishings, open air furnishings.

Lacquered coffee table with a thick texture

Electroplated, vacuum-plated iron alloy with a clear sense of metal, suitable for scenes that highlight the beauty of metal transparency, such as modern minimalism, light luxury style.

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