METALS AND FINISHES
Hardware comes in a variety of metals and has a number of different finishes, factors that affect quality and use of the items. For example, if you want to use an item outside, you need to know if it is weatherproof.
Appearance, of course, is another factor. Brass certainly has a different look from hot-dipped galvanized items.
Black iron: This is iron that has no finish on it, but resembles iron when it's manufactured -- grey black. If it is real black -- the wrought-iron look -- it is actually painted.
Brass: A soft, yellowish metal that has excellent weather resistance but can turn green (oxidize) to a degree if under constant exposure to weather, particularly near salt water.
Bronze: Brownish metal that has even more weather resistance than brass -- it doesn't turn green -- and is harder. Bronze is considered the ultimate metal for use outdoors. For marine applications there is silicon bronze, which is even better than the ordinary kind.
Cast iron: Very hard, heavy metal that will last forever but tends to be brittle. If smacked with a heavy hammer, it can shatter.
Steel: Most hardware items are made of steel, which requires painting or plating for protection against rusting. This versatile material comes in various alloys and finishes, as follows:
== Blued. A finish, of limited protection, often given to nails to keep them from rusting while waiting to be sold.
== Brass-plated. Steel that has been coated with a plating of brass. It is attractive and strong, and is somewhat, though not completely, weatherproof. A clear, lacquer spray will do much to extend its life.
== Bright. A term used for steel items that are not coated after manufacture. Nails commonly have this "finish. "
== Bright zinc. A plating that protects items against tarnishing and gives them some degree of weather resistance. Bright zinc-finished items can be painted.
== Bronze- plated. Provides some weather resistance, but the usual reason for the plating is that bronze is attractive.
== Cadmium-plated. Refers to an item that has been coated with cadmium to make it rust -resistant. Many different hardware items are cadmium-plated, which is more wear-resistant than zinc.
== Chrome-plated. Bath items -- plastic as well as steel -- commonly come chrome-plated. Chrome resists corrosion and water very well.
== Electroplated. A broad term that includes items that are coated by various metals in an electrochemical process. The plating is usually thin, and items with this finish are weather-resistant rather than weatherproof.
== Galvanized. Steel that is coated with zinc to make it weather-resistant or weatherproof. Only items that are called "hot-dipped galvanized" are relatively weatherproof. The finish is silvery and rough.
== Nickel-plated. Refer to items that have been coated with nickel, not quite as garish as chrome. Such items are more attractive than cadmium-plated pieces and are durable, though not weatherproof.
== Oiled. Not a true finish, this simply means that a light coat of oil has been applied to retard rusting while an item is waiting to be sold.
== Stainless: Made with nickel and chrome, this shiny metal is generally weatherproof and strong, but stainless comes in degrees of quality.
== Zinc-plated. Similar to bright zinc but the plating may be thicker and less shiny.
GENERAL HARDWARE SECTION
Description of Contents
Cabinet Door Parts
Chain And Accessories
Closet Door Parts
Garage Door Parts
Nuts And Bolts
Rope, Cord And Accessories
Screw Eyes And Hooks
Storm & Screen Door Parts
OTHER HARDWARE SECTIONS
ADHESIVES, PATCHES & MORE