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Stainless steel top for island unit

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Halo Jones

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Hi,

I'm in the middle of making an island unit for our kitchen. Finished top size will be 1.2 x 2.5 m. The plan for the top is 2 sheets of mrmdf with stainless steel on top. This will all be lipped with oak.

Does anyone have any idea what thickness of steel sheet we should use and whether we can get away with using 304 vs 316 grade steel. The thicknesses I am looking at start at 0.9 mm but I was guessing I should really be considering approx 1.5 mm (although this is based purely on gut feeling).

Regards,

H.
 

AJB Temple

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I would think about this if I were you.

Normally when people do stainless steel work surfaces, they get the top folded around the edge. I know from experience that it is very difficult keep a gap free join between stainless steel and wood. Usually when tops are supplied they are bonded to MDF and the work surface thickness can be anything you like.

Stainless steel suppliers are used to providing wrapped edge tops with welded corner seams. This delivers a better job and is much easier to clean.

Thin stainless sheet can tend to look as if it has ripples unless you are super careful about bonding it down very well.

Be aware that stainless steel tops scratch and mark very easily. The scratches can be buffed out but it is hard work. No one cares in commercial kitchens but domestically it may be different.
 

Halo Jones

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Thanks AJB. I take your point about having rolled edges. From what I had read the 316 steel should not stain as easily but I have no real world experience of this. I do know that the oak counter tops we currently have are a PITA to keep looking smart - constantly getting ring marks from wet pans and opened tomato cans getting put down. If the steel just required a quick buff every now and again that would be fine but not wanting something that needs attention every few weeks.

Will take this back to mission control and see what she makes of it.
 

Cabinetman

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And to carry on from what AJP said, find out what width of stainless steel sheet is available, no point making your worktop 1.2 meter wide if you need to have two x 20mm edges on it which means they have to cut it out of a larger sheet, and it’s true that it needs sticking down it will end up being convex from being worked on on a regular basis, sounds ridiculous but I have experience of it. Ian
 

--Tom--

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Stainless will look great for a bit, you’ll get a few scratches and be annoyed it’s looking tattered, then after a year it will be a hazy mass of scratches and you’ll be used to it no longer looking nicely brushed. I’d be tempted to go a cheaper grade and spend the saving on thickness. You won’t have to worry about scouting through it then when it gets a mark or two.

I went with a Quartz type composite as knew the wife would want it looking immaculate all the time, and would fret about the scratched up stainless.
 

Halo Jones

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Thanks for all your thoughts. I've reported back and mission control is still keen.

Bob- I like the design of your top - gives a softer looking edge than a rolled top and would probably fit the look of the rest of the kitchen better while not trapping dirt during cleaning. Would it be cheeky to ask where you got the steel from just so I can compare with what I have found?

As far as I can tell 304 and 316 are both catering grade with the 316 being more resistant to salt and acid. There is nearly a £200 difference for the 1.5 mm stuff from an online retailer. Still unsure whether to bite the bullet and pay the difference or do as Tom suggests and learn to love the lived in look.

I was going to use either contact adhesive or sikaflex to bond the steel to the mdf.
 

TFrench

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In my day job we fit stainless cladding to pipework in food factories. We use 304 for that. All food contact surfaces tend to be 316 though. We use a bright annealed sheet, which gives the chrome look or there is mill finish/2B (dull) or brushed finish sheet. We buy it in 2000x1000 sheets or 1250x2400. We use Richard Austin, I think they have a branch in Glasgow.
 

Cabinetman

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Hi Halo, I live near Grimsby which is a fishing port, there must be lots of fishing ports near you, they tend to have a support industry of production line engineers for the Fish processing industry that use an enormous amount of stainless steel, in the past I have used them for this type of worktop. Probably less expensive than online etc. Ian
 

Halo Jones

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I'd like to say a huge thanks to Cabinetman and TFrench. I received the steel from Richard Austin, Glasgow today. Saved over £500 on the original quotes I got 😳. There were a couple of local sheet metal places who also got back to me with a similar price to RA but then didn't respond to follow up emails. The chaps at Richard Austin couldn't have been more helpful.

Just gotta get everything finished for Christmas now.........
 

TheTiddles

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Bit late to the party here...

316 is used more when there’s salts present and prolonged damp, so marine, swimming pools, etc... more corrosion resistant but also harder to work.

Aidan
 
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