Decorative/architecture steel tubing with small radius?

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Forum topic by Jack_Isidore posted 04-14-2011 06:24 PM 7385 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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89 posts in 2121 days

04-14-2011 06:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: welding metal tubing metal tubing tig mixed materials materials

I’m taking a tig welding course over the summer in the hopes of using steel (and maybe aluminum) for components in some mostly wood furniture. So far, all I can find locally is structural steel tubing, which has a larger radius than you see on furniture tubing. Any ideas on particular suppliers, or a better google search term? I’ve gotten a few dead end results trying for “decorative steel tubing” and “architectural steel tubing”.

I know this is probably a question better suited to a welding forum (which I’m not on any) but I thought surely some of you have used metal tubing in your furniture.

11 replies so far

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2266 days

#1 posted 04-14-2011 07:46 PM

Electrical conduit is your best bet for practice material. You can get it just about anywhere and it is cheap. Just use lots of ventilation and preferably work outside. I don’t know what coatings it uses internally and it does have some zinc on the outside.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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7999 posts in 2915 days

#2 posted 04-14-2011 08:02 PM

I searched for “thin wall steel tubing” and found some RC guys discussing


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89 posts in 2121 days

#3 posted 04-14-2011 09:31 PM

Woops, I should clarify, I am looking for square and rectangular tubing. That’s what I meant when I said I can’t find tubing with a small radius. All the structural square tubing I can find has very rounded corners.

View murch's profile


1304 posts in 1892 days

#4 posted 04-20-2011 01:40 PM

Jack – try looking for aluminium box-section. Stainless steel box-section is also available in a variety
of cross-sections,many with the clean, sharp corners you seem to be after.
SS is more expensive but it polishes to an almost mirror finish, including the welds and tends to keep its shine. It is also an absolute joy to weld with a TIG.

Hope this helps,
Best Regards.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 1935 days

#5 posted 04-20-2011 01:58 PM

You mentioned which has a larger radius, are you looking to purchase stock bent to a radi, or are you looking for stock that you can bend on your own?
What exactly are you going to do with this tubing ? Bending square tubing, and bending round tubing are a little bit different .
Structural metals and tubing, are different in the fact that they are composed of different mix of metals, but mostly the only difference is the thickness of the wall of the tubing. Aluminum is a very versatile metal, but requires a special process for bending. welding all of general steel, and aluminum are very different.
Maybe I have shed some light here, or maybe not

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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861 posts in 1935 days

#6 posted 04-20-2011 02:23 PM

You want stock with 90° square corners, as opposed to around over corners, is that correct?
What you need to do is refine your search

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View idunno's profile


11 posts in 1882 days

#7 posted 04-20-2011 04:04 PM

I’m jealous—would love to have time/money to learn to weld. Have fun!

Try here: McMaster-Carr
I’ve had good luck with them for random metal pieces.

We occasionally specify products from Julius Blum but I’ve never bought from them—don’t even know if they sell direct.

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89 posts in 2121 days

#8 posted 04-20-2011 05:41 PM

Murch, my first glance at a google search looks like box section may be the terminology I was looking for. Thanks.

Bubinga, to clarify, I am looking for square or rectangular cross sectional tubing that has small radius corners, I am not actually trying to bend the tubing myself. The application is table legs or other framework. Here is a sketch of what I’m talking about. These are the cross sections of two types of tubing. The one on the left is what I’m trying to find in stainless and or non-stainless alloy, and the one is the right which is more like structural steel tubing that I have found locally.

Unfortunately for me, the SS tubing mcmaster has doesn’t specify a radius or provide 3d cad (or drawings).

I may be wasting my time looking all over when the first day of class the instructor might be able to tell me exactly where to go to find this… Still, that’s a month or two away, I was hoping to get some ideas of prices so I can design a project in advance.

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11 posts in 1882 days

#9 posted 04-20-2011 06:30 PM

Hmmm… finding hard numbers for the corner radii tends to be extremely difficult; I’d be interested to hear if you find a place which lists this upfront. That radius will vary from mill to mill, and suppliers will sell the products of multiple mills under the same item number, since the rough dimensions are the same.

Is your design that dependent on the exact radius? If so, I’m guessing that you’re going to need to start calling suppliers and/or the mills themselves, unless you’re willing to take a chance on ordering some material.

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89 posts in 2121 days

#10 posted 04-20-2011 06:49 PM

That’s true, they may not be supplied. Although my design doesn’t depend on it, I just want to get a general idea of what it is. I want it to be relatively small, but what exactly it is, isn’t a concern.

View MrsN's profile


974 posts in 2794 days

#11 posted 04-20-2011 07:36 PM

You might have luck if you take the picture to your local suppliers and ask if they can get anything. Talking to the teacher or other metal/welding people might help also. The picture will help you clairify what you are looking for and they might beable to give you better search results.

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