Category Archives: News / Blog

Careful! The Wrong Stainless Steel Can Be an Expensive Mistake.

Choose the Right Metal for the End-Use Environment.
Stainless steel is prized for its strength, durability and aesthetic qualities, so it’s often the “go-to” or “default” choice for many metal fabrication projects.  But there are over 150 grades of stainless steel, and your end-use application should drive the type of stainless you select for the job.  While most stainless fabrication projects will use something from the 300 series of stainless alloys, such as 304 stainless, other applications might require something different to give you the best results.

Stainless steel is not rust-proof, it is just more resistant than other metals.   It does “stain less” but can be marred in some conditions. To select the right type of stainless steel (or other metal) for your job, you need to consider the end-use of your finished product, and the environment it will be used in. 

For example, will your metal item be exposed to –stainless steel

  • Chlorinated water, like from a pool or fountain?
  • Plant fertilizers, chemicals or pesticides used for lawns, gardens and planters?
  • Deicing salt and chemicals used on streets, parking lots, stairs and walkways?
  • Hot/cold temperature extremes, like those found in some factories, kitchens or intemperate climates?
  • Other unique exposure factors?

Choosing the wrong stainless steel for your application can negate the benefits you thought you were getting, so think about your material choice.  Foreman Fabricators can help you choose your material wisely.

By the Way, Do You Even Need to Go with Stainless Steel?

But wait!  Depending on the application, stainless steel isn’t always the best choice. It’s more expensive than mild or carbon steels, and it takes extra effort to fabricate.  For example, stainless steel requires more tack welds than carbon steel, it often requires the use of additional support fixtures to prevent warpage during welding, and it takes extra steps to avoid distortion when joining pieces of different thicknesses.  Knife-sharp edges from shearing must be deburred for safety, and even more extra steps are required to properly finish stainless steel welds.  That adds up to plenty of time and labor costs that simply might not be necessary for your project.  So, the question is: “Does the end-use application of my fabrication justify the expense of using stainless steel?” 

Foreman Can Help You Select the Right Metal for Your Job.

Foreman Fabricators has the experience and expertise to help you make the best metal choice for your project, whether it’s a particular type of stainless steel, or a carbon steel, or brass, bronze, copper, aluminum or more.  Count on Foreman to help you choose the metal and fabrication process that will reflect your budget.

Clean, Modern Painted Steel Balcony Rails with Stainless Cable Infill Make a Statement at 4101 Laclede

Stainless cable infill railings add the perfect finishing touch to a St. Louis construction project. The new condominiums at 4101 Laclede in St. Louis are nearing completion.  Foreman Fabricators was selected by the general contractor to help on this project. The modern luxury condos needed sleek, linear balcony railings to complete the architect’s vision.

Foreman built the steel rails with stainless cable infill to the exact specifications of Trivers & Associates, the development’s architect.  Black painted steel flat bar forms a solid, secure frame thanks to our clean, precise welds.  Horizontal stainless cable and tensioners complete the railings while allowing full safety and visibility with a sleek modern look.

We even handled a technical challenge.  The railings on the east side of the building needed to be constructed in a different configuration, while maintaining a uniform appearance, than the ones on the south side.  Working closely with the contractor we easily adapted the rail design to accommodate the varying configurations.  Just another reason why Foreman is the choice of high end developers and contractors in the Saint Louis area.

We bring our skills, flexibility, and communication expertise to every job, from luxury condominiums to one-off custom designs.

Our partners on this job:

News about 4101 Laclede:

Bronze Handrail Fabrication for St. Ambrose Church in St. Louis

See Our Bronze handrail at St. Ambrose Church on The Hill

Chances are, You’ve Seen Our Work. Foreman Fabricators has been making pieces of St. Louis landmarks since 1959.

St. Ambrose Church, in the heart of the Italian “Hill” neighborhood, was founded in 1903, and was built to its current state in 1926.  Foreman recently helped with some bronze handrail fabrication inside this historic community church.

St. Ambrose contacted Foreman about fabricating some bronze handrails for the steps in the sanctuary because some parishioners had fallen on them. To address this safety issue, we went on-site, took measurements, and provided the Church with some samples of polished bronze so they could choose the materials.  Then we designed and fabricated custom bronze railings which included steel flange inserts and bronze cover plates so no fasteners would show upon final installation. The result and was beautiful, and fully fitting for this wonderful historic landmark on The Hill.

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

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.

St. Louis Landmarks

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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!