Livers Bronze Metal Finishing: The Last But Certainly Not the Least Step

    • Offering a wide variety of metal finishes from which to choose and done right is why customers turn to Livers Bronze. While finishing is the last step, it’s also the one that can turn a metal handrail or ornamental piece into a distinctive one.

At Livers Bronze, there is just one quality method for metal finishing, the best. We train our employees with top-of-the-line finishing methods and are able to match just about any sample a customer brings to us. No shortcuts or variations, which means that every handrail or ornamental project is finished with equal care under our high quality standards.

What’s Involved in the Metal Finishing Process?

Going back 69 years, Livers Bronze has always had a section of our facility here in the United States dedicated to and specifically designed for metal finishing. Most of our finishing work is completely done by hand. All types of metal are processed and finished, including steel, stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, brass and various alloys of each.

Final Finishing. Depending on the material, there are many ways that Livers Bronze finishes various metals. It’s important to keep in mind that there are no particular industry standards for these finishes, since fabricators may use different application processes. For example, comparing mechanically finished flat sheet samples to bar or tube samples should not be done since they have been finished using different methods.

Livers Bronze Offers a Wide Variety of Metal Finishes

Steel. Livers Bronze does a great deal of work in architectural steel. We design steel railings with their final finish in mind; and therefore the end product can be far different from an ordinary steel railing. Finished steel starts with the design; hidden welds are critical to avoid a lot of grinding which may show through a painted finish. Designing interior steel railing and finishing them is different than an exterior railing where galvanizing is required. The final product is a well-designed and perfectly finished piece of architectural railing.

Stainless Steel. For stainless steel finishing, we apply brushed/sanded finishes from an industry #4 all the way to an industry #8 polished finish. Additionally, we can apply this finish on circular tubes in either a linear or a circular finish; linear finishes tend to be softer and may be interpreted as a #6 (finer finish).

Aluminum. Over the years, Livers Bronze has perfected a “satin lacquer” aluminum finish, which is a 180 grit linear finish with a clear lacquer coating. It produces a beautiful, soft look. Aluminum can also be painted with a variety of powder coat color finishes. We do not recommend any anodized finishes for aluminum railings because the finish is inconsistent from piece-to-piece, and it may be discolored at welded areas and environmentally challenging. There are powder coat finishes on the market that can be applied to metal and have the same color value and appearance as an anodized finish.

Bronze and Brass. Finishes that are available for these copper alloy materials are satin, polished and applied patina finishes. Satin finishes are applied with a soft brush wheel that features specific grit media between the brushes. This produces a very fine finish on the metal which in turn is straightened by hand with woven nylon pads.

Polished finishes are produced in the same way as a satin finish with the addition of cotton buffing wheels to bring out the luster of the metal. Both of these are clear coated with lacquer to avoid tarnishing.

Patina finishes are applied to satin finished material that has been rubbed clean of all dirt and oils. Specific chemicals are then applied to the material in successive treatments which are designed to alter the color of the metal. These oxidized finishes can range from light brown to almost black along with everything shade in between – with a final coating of clear lacquer. As these oxidized finishes are hand-applied, there are color variations that occur from piece-to-piece and within each section that has been treated. These variations highlight the “beauty of bronze!”

Painting. Livers Bronze has two paint lines. One is wet for lacquers, primers and special wet paint as specified. The other is a batch system powder line in which every part is hand cleaned in a wash bay and hand detailed prior to painting. We do not have a power-operated conveyor for our products – everything is painted by hand and carefully placed into the oven.

Once the oven racks are full, the doors are closed and the oven is started. We have a specially designed oven system for our particular industry and we can produce large fabricated parts that are difficult (or impossible) for other shops to handle.

The Proof is in the Finishing

These are just a few examples of why the finishing process is of paramount importance at Livers Bronze, and is considered the most important part of the entire fabrication process. Livers Bronze is dedicated to following the best quality finishing practices, while maintaining a clean, state-of-the-art facility and being environmentally friendly.