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What's in a Frame: Steel Gauge Differences

| Furniture Materials

July 10 2014

What’s in a frame? Would that which we call steel of any gauge hold up the same?

The thickness of a sheet of metal is measured in a unit that is known as its gauge. Unlike many forms of measurement, gauge is determined on a retrogressive scale, meaning that the higher the gauge is the thinner the sheet of metal is. Thus, a sheet of 10 gauge steel is thicker than a sheet of 12 gauge steel is thicker than a sheet of 14 gauge steel. So what does that all mean in the grand scheme of things? What level of gauge should you look out for when shopping for your new metal desk or chair?

If you’re looking for a more artful design in your furniture or if you’re in need of a desk that is lightweight enough to move around the office without much hassle, a product with a higher metal gauge will be a better option. Desks and chairs made with 22 or 20 gauge steel will naturally be more lightweight than 14 or 12 gauge steel because they are made of much thinner sheets of metal. In addition to affecting the products weight, the thinner the metal is the more pliable it is, so metal furniture with more intricate details and design aspects is more likely to be constructed of a higher gauge of steel because a thinner sheet means the metal will have more give for the welder to mold.

The downside to the higher gauge steel, of course, is that it is not as durable as the lower gauge steel. Lower gauge steel is important to find when shopping for commercial furniture products like the ones we sell on Most commercial grade office desks are constructed of 14 or 16 gauge steel which, while they may be more difficult to move, are much sturdier and more able to stand up to the rigorous daily wear and tear that an office, school or healthcare setting often inflicts.

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