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Brake Metal – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Stainless Steel door jamb cladding

Stainless Steel door jamb cladding

Frequently Asked Questions for Brake Metal

  • “What is brake metal?”

Brake metal is simply metal bent with a brake press, a metalworking machine.  The brake press bends metal sheets and creates precise bends in the metal, creating “brake metal”, aka “break metal, cladding”.


  • “Do you do brake metal?”

We fabricate brake metal every day, miles every year.  Foreman Fabricators fabricates a wide variety of metals. Many glaziers and contractors, and property owners throughout St. Louis count on us to get brake metal pieces they need, fast and accurately.


  • “How fast can you turnaround my brake metal order , how quick can I get it?”

How soon do you need it? Tell us your deadline, we’ll figure out how to get it to you.  We have a system in place in order to be flexible with scheduling. We have shipped orders in the same day, or while people wait.


  • “Can you make this shape?”

Most shapes and configurations are possible.  Our capabilities on shapes and sizes are dependent on the type of metal and metal thickness.   Send us your sample or drawing with dimensions, it’s the best way for us to be able to tell you what’s feasible. Our brake metal operators are experts.  If it’s possible to make a requested shape with brake metal, our fabricators can do it, or we can likely recommend alternative ideas to fulfill what you envision.


  • “What’s the longest piece you can bend?”

Our equipment can handle 12 feet, or 144” is typically the longest brake metal we do, that covers almost any job we’ve encountered.  Standard sheet lengths we keep in stock are 8’, 10’ & 12’. Once in a while, a customer wants a longer piece of brake metal, and we can help them with it, but that’s atypical.


  • “How thick can you bend?”

Some metals or alloys bend easier than others, but as a general guideline, ¼’ is the limit.   Tonnage is a factor as well on the bending thickness. The longer the part, the thinner it will need to be in order stay within our tonnage. Shorter lengths allow us to exceed ¼”.  Send us a drawing or call to discuss your project, we’ll give you a specific answer and a quote.


  • “What size sheets do you have in stock?”

We keep plenty of stock on our floor so we can turn your order around fast.  Standard stock material is 4’ in width and includes 8’, 10’ and 12’ lengths, so we can custom fabricate to your exact specs quickly in any length you need, up to and including 144”.   Other lengths and widths can be provided, let us know what you need.


  • “What thicknesses of metal do you carry?”

These are the thicknesses we keep in stock.  If you don’t see what you need, don’t worry, it’s very likely we can order whatever you need and have it in short order.

  • Prefinished & mill finish Aluminum- 0.40” & 0.63” and up to 0.080” & 0.125”.
  • Steel & Stainless Steel- 20ga-11ga (including galvanized & galvanneal)
  • Light amounts of Brass and Bronze in same thickness range


  • “What finishes do you have in stock?”

We carry mill finish anodized aluminum,  pre-finished aluminum, stainless steel, steel, brass and bronze sheets, checkerplate, perforated sheets, wire mesh, woven wire cloth, and some flattened and expanded sheets. If we don’t have what you need just let us know, we can order whatever is required.    And we can supply a myriad of colors and custom finishes after fabrication by painting or applying coatings. Examples include painting, powder coating, anodizing, galvanizing, etc.


  • “Does your inventory match field conditions, other vendor’s color?

Matching an existing metal finish is not an easy task.   Metal finishes can be inconsistent from vendor to vendor and even from batch to batch from the same vendor.   Weathering and age is also a factor for older construction. We deal with this all the time, it’s part of our job, so fortunately we have experience in this.   Although we can’t guarantee an exact match, we will develop a strategy and do everything we can to get as close as possible.

Sample Brake Metal Orders:

Sample Order 1

Sample Order 2

Sample Order 3

Sample Order 4

Damaged or Worn Metal Equipment or Parts? Repair It, Don’t Replace It, with Foreman Fabricators, Inc.

If it’s made of metal and you’re looking for solutions, Foreman Fabricators is the one to call first. Repair It, Don’t Replace It, with Foreman Fabricators, Inc.  Since 1959, Foreman has been known as a top quality metal fabricator specializing in stainless steel, aluminum, brass, steel, bronze, copper and more.  Construction companies, contractors, window glaziers, architects and designers know Foreman well for their expertise in manufacturing a variety of architectural metal items including handrails, staircases, entryway canopies, gratings and more, plus brake metal cladding for elevators, windows, pillars and walls…the list goes on and on.  But many companies, building owners and even residential customers also know Foreman as the one to call for replacement and repair of a wide variety of metal items.

A perfect example of how Foreman can help is their work with a company called Spider (aka “Spider Staging”), who in 1946 pioneered the powered suspended access business.  Spider is an industry leader in manufacturing and renting high rise window washing/painting hoists and platforms, work cages, scaffolding, rigging equipment and a variety of related items that make it safer for workers to access tough to reach areas of industrial and commercial building sites, whether it be for construction or maintenance.  Naturally, their equipment has to stand up to stringent OSHA regulations for durability and safety, and due to the nature of the use of their equipment, it takes a beating on a regular basis.

That’s where Foreman Fabricators comes in.  Spider sells much of their equipment outright, but because their highly specialized equipment is costly and often only needed at a given site for relatively short periods, they also run a thriving rental business.  Spider regularly sends damaged or worn equipment to Foreman for refurbishing and repair, which is a cost effective alternative to replacement of these expensive items.  Sometimes it’s a broken weld or two, or a damaged section that needs repair or replacement, and sometimes an entire cage requires replacement.  Foreman’s skilled craftsmen have the expertise to handle such repairs, and their welding technicians are certified on steel, aluminum and stainless steel, an important part of OSHA requirements for working on safety equipment such as that provided by Spider.  When an inspection of their equipment identifies any fault with their equipment, Spider knows that Foreman Fabricators has the expertise to do the job right and provide all the necessary documentation for their OSHA maintenance records.

As they do for companies like Spider Staging, Foreman has the expertise to match existing metal parts that have become worn or damaged, which helps customers reduce costs by repairing or replacing expensive metal parts instead of buying something new.  They can also create specialized, one-of-a-kind parts and components to meet the specific needs of a customer.  Foreman does a lot of work with facility owners and their maintenance departments to offer solutions such as customized door plates and corner guards, grate replacements, elevator cladding fixes or upgrades, railing and guardrail replacement and repair, and so on.  They also work with a wide variety of companies to help them maintain expensive equipment that has metal parts prone to wear or damage.

Foreman Fabricators, Inc. of St. Louis Wins International Bronze Award

Foreman Fabricators, Inc. in St. Louis wins international bronze award.  It’s a prestigious award for outstanding craftsmanship in the annual Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition, sponsored by the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA).  Judges honored Foreman with the “Bronze Award for Furniture & Accessories Fabrication (non-forged)” for its entry of a unique, custom stainless steel kitchen range hood.  The International competition was open to over 700 member firms from throughout the U.S. and 12 foreign countries, and recognized outstanding work in the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry.

Foreman custom fabricated this range hood for homeowners Chad and Kate Angle, who said, “we spoke with many metal fabricators before choosing Foreman, and they were the only one we felt confident about.  They did an outstanding job!”  The final design for the range hood was the result of collaboration between Foreman and the Angles.  Kate did some research online, gathering images and ideas, and then worked with Foreman’s Project Manager, Andrew Ehlmann, to create an attractive ornamental custom design that would seamlessly cover their existing Viking exhaust unit.  The finished product is a beautiful, functional one-of-a-kind piece.

The clients couldn’t be more pleased with the finished product.  Kate Angle said, “The hood is really magnificent and it’s the crown jewel to my new kitchen!”  Kate and her husband often entertain large groups of friends and family at their home, and the range hood is the first thing her guests notice in her brand-new kitchen.  “Everyone comments how beautiful it is.”  When asked if she would recommend Foreman to others, Kate’s immediate response was, “Absolutely!”  Satisfied comments like these are why Foreman takes pride in every job; they know how important it is to be flexible with the changing wants and needs of customers to create outstanding finished products.

Founded in 1959, Foreman Fabricators is a premier fabricator of custom architectural metal items.  Examples of their work are all over the metropolitan area, from the railings surrounding the baggage carousels at Lambert International Airport, and the departure and arrival signs as well.  To the stainless steel countertops and ticket counters and brackets in Scottrade Center, as well as bar tops, bar footrails, bar waitress rails and some metal components in all the party suites.   To the aluminum flagpoles in the World Series Room in the Cardinals Museum, elevator cladding at Barnes Hospital, and on and on. As owner Brian Foreman says, “If you live in St. Louis, you’ve seen our work!”  Specializing in architectural metal fabrication, Foreman Fabricators can custom create almost anything in metal…from a single, unique bracket, to intricate hand railings, to one-of-a-kind architectural features for buildings.  With more than a half century of work in commercial venues and homes throughout the St. Louis area, there’s a good chance you’ve had your hand on a Foreman railing.

Getting More Accurate Handrail Quotes

Foreman Fabricators is a recognized expert in the fabrication of handrails, guardrails, suspended glass railings, spiral staircases and stair railings of all types. Customers also count on us to design, fabricate and install a variety of safety guards and railing for dangerous areas around machinery or equipment.

Whether your business has you buying hand rails for jobs frequently, or if you’re a first time buyer for a commercial building or private residence, it’s easy to forget details. We always want to get your order right, and in over 50 years in business, we’ve learned where most problems with hand rail quotes occur, so we can help you get it right.

Need a Glass Rail?… Click Here to Use the Online Glass Rail Calculator.

Need a Metal Rail? To help us get your rail quotes as quickly and accurately as possible, we’ve put together this helpful guide.

7 Quick Tips for Better Handrail Quotes

  1. Provide a drawing and dimensions. Architectural drawings are great, but a simple sketch will often do, with enough detail to show how many turns there are and if the rail is on a stair, a ramp or a level area. Along with dimensions for each run between turns (if any). This will give us a strong idea of the total footage of the railing, material required, number of turns, etc. We will assist with exact field measuring when the job is ready to go.

  2. Send us a picture. It’s not an absolute requirement if you have architectural drawings or know exactly what you want to order, but it’s very helpful if you can send us a picture of a railing that resembles what you’re looking for. Pop online to find one you can send us, or snap a picture of one with your camera. If your rail is part of an existing structure, provide pictures of the future location of the rail and any related railings or features that will impact the railing design. Check out our website for examples of our work but remember, we’re a custom fabricator…we can build what you need and want.

  3. Specify your metal. Choose from stainless steel, bronze, brass, steel, aluminum and more. We also offer a wide variety of metal finishes and coatings to enhance beauty and durability so please be specific. Not sure? Give us a call, tell us the application you need it for, and we’ll help you make the best choice for your budget. We also work with other trades and can add wood or other types of material to the rail.

  4. Finish level. Typically, high finish, better looking welds cost more, so keep that in mind when you choose your finish levels. For example, a utilitarian safety rail in a service area may not require the same level of finish as a rail in a front foyer.

  5. Budget. Those who purchase railings with some regularity will often have a budget in mind. If you know you have a firm budget, please let us know. We’re always happy to quote you first, but knowing your budget in the end allows us to suggest options that might better fit your budget versus the end use of the rail. If any quote we provide doesn’t fit your budget, please let us know so we can offer you alternative solutions.

  6. A desired completion date. We can determine if the time frame is feasible and offer suggestions to help meet deadlines.

  7. Installation. Indicate whether you’d like a quote for an experienced team to install your railing.

Count on Foreman Fabricators to meet your exact handrail specifications for safety, durability and appearance. If it’s made of metal, Call Foreman Fabricators First.

See Our Work at the Washington Monument

Foreman Fabricators is based in St. Louis, MO and you can see our work in various attractions all over the city. But we can work anywhere in the US, and we have. You can see our work in National Parks, National Monuments, and on Federal Projects throughout the country.

Foreman recently completed a high-profile project at the Washington Monument in our nation’s capital.  Foreman did the site measurements and fabricated a custom stainless steel door and panel frames that incorporated an interwoven metal mesh as infill.  The mesh for the door and panel frames was a bit unusual and had to match exactly with what was already in use at the site. Working with our HUBZone partner for the installation, the custom stainless steel door and panel frames were seamlessly tied into the existing structure.  We also supplied plexiglass & door hardware.

Foreman’s work at the Washington Monument is a perfect example of our extensive capabilities, including:
  • Field measurement.
  • Custom design to exactly match existing materials on the job site.
  • Expert fabrication and assembly.
  • Incorporation of multiple materials into the finished product.
Whether you just need our expertise in metal fabrication and design, or you want someone who can do the whole job from concept to design and fabrication to installation…If it’s made of metal, call Foreman First!  One-of-a-kind or quantity, since 1959.

Alex Nanna: Alumni Spotlight at Missouri State

Alex NannaAlex has been featured in an Alumni Spotlight article on the Missouri State website. Way to go, Alex!

Fabrication Capabilities

Architectural Brake Metal & Cladding Handrails and Railings (Ornamental, Glass Suspended, and others) Welding Miscellaneous Metal Items Metal Rework & Repair Metal Polishing/Finishing Staircases Custom Attachment Hardware Drilling Assemblies Buffing and much more...

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NAICS: 332321, 332322, 332323, 332999 SIC: 3446, 3499, 3449, 3444 FSC: 1680, 2540, 2590, 5340, 5660 PSC: J025, J056, J095

Foreman Fabricators

If it’s made of metal and you’re looking for solutions…

Foreman Fabricators has been an industry leader in custom metal fabrication since 1959.  Whether you need a single one-of-a-kind metal item or thousands of them, Foreman Fabricators can make it to your exact specifications.

We’re known for our commitment to being a top quality metal fabricator, and for working with our customers to get them exactly what they need, on budget and on time.  Our talented team of project managers will help you every step of the way.  From concept, to measurement, spec development, fabrication, delivery and even installation, Foreman Fabricators will help you get the job done right.

One of a kind or quantity…since 1959!