The Padilla Designs blog features a series called “Featured Materials”, dedicated to sharing what we love about the fascinating raw materials that come through our studio on a regular basis. We regularly work with copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel, aluminum, cor-ten steel, a variety of high-end hardwoods, and enjoy teaching our clients about the wonders of these natural elements and how they can be used in our artistic fabrication process
Stainless Steel was discovered in the early 1900s by the accumulated efforts of several individuals, including a Frenchman by the name of Berthier, who found that Iron alloyed with Chromium was resistant to some acids. The Chromium content needed to be at least 10.5% for it to be considered Stainless Steel.
Stainless steel is used by Padilla Designs to add durable structure to our gates and railings. We add it internally to a lot of our metal sculptures to add strength and stability for structural integrity. For example, a lot of our gates have an outer shell of brass or copper, with and interior stainless steel support structure. This allows us to utilize our signature patina finishes on the outer surface while keeping the integrity of the structure strong on the inside.
Because of its durability and non-corrosive properties, stainless steel can come into contact with other materials with no electrolysis or corrosion damage, which makes it an ideal metal for our hinges and brackets since we are surrounded by salt water here in Hawai‘i. Stainless Steel that has a tight smooth finish enhances the corrosion resistanc – the more the surface is polished the longer it will last.
We also occasionally use Stainless Steel as the finish medium or as the only metal in a project (which you can see in the photos below), in which case there is a variety of finishes we can apply to the product. These include Blackened Stainless, Polished Stainless (creating a mirrored finish), and Brushed Stainless for patterned/textured finishes. There are also various grades and surface finishes to be applied to the stainless steel depending on what type of environment the alloy needs to endure.