When it comes to the most common grades of stainless steel flat bar such as 304L and 316L, there are two basic ways these bars are produced – sheared and edged bar, and true flat bar.
Is there a difference between a steel flat bar and a sheared and edged bar?
A true flat bar is produced at the mill to the specific size indicated. The finish on all four sides is virtually identical. The corners are relatively square, and the tolerances are reasonably close to the actual dimension listed – usually within just a few thousandths of an inch.
It generally is produced in the HRAP (Hot Rolled Annealed and Pickled) form which gives it a gray finish. In some rare instances, it can be produced in a cold drawn finish, providing a shinier surface and even closer dimensional tolerances.
The sheared and edged bar is bar cut and processed from stainless plate. The edges are milled and have a slightly different finish from the flat sides. Though it is flattened and straightened as part of the process, sheared and edged bar is not as dimensional “true” as true flat bar. Still, it remains an extremely viable and much less expensive alternative to true flat bar.
Which option should you choose?
The vast majority of stainless steel flat bar sold today is sheared and edged, primarily due to the considerable price difference. True bar is often used for architectural purposes when the material needs to be polished to create consistency of the finish on all four sides. However, with increased polishing technology today, sheared and edged bar can often be polished and yield similar results. There are differences in the ASTM specifications between the two bar types, and that should be taken into consideration when ordering for specific jobs. If you have any questions on which type would be appropriate for your project, contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.
Atlantic Stainless offers both true bar and sheared and edges in many sizes, and our ability to polish in-house reduces wait time and freight costs. For more information about flat bar and sheared and edged, contact us or request a quote.