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Specialty Finishes for Structural Stainless Steel Cable


I am interested in finding out more information about shop applied finishes for stainless steel cable. We are designing a decorative ceiling over the auditorium of a large opera house that consists to a large part of hundreds of structural stainless steel cables stretched across the width of the hall.

We are looking for a finish that will diminish the naturally "shiny" quality of the cable, add color, but not lose the metallic appearance. The finish needs to be durable enough to withstand on-site installation and tensioning of the cables. We like the look of bronze, copper or gray anodizing, but are not sure if that kind of finish is possible for stainless cable.

Any information you might be able to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Patreese Martin AIA
- Seattle, Washington

Stainless Steel Cable

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I know of no finish that you can put on SS cable that would meet your requirements. Unfortunately, you have chosen the one SS product that cannot be easily polished, passivated, or plated. The reason is the tightly woven strands of steel lying on one another in such close proximity as to prevent ingress or egress either electrically or chemically.

Good Luck!

Dan Weaver
- Toccoa, Georgia


While there are a few electro-chemical processes that might technically satisfy your goal, the most cost effective means of getting the type of finish I think you want would be to simply run the cable from one reel to another and apply a metallic-finish paint (in the color you want) as it travels between the reels. The paint could be sprayed on, or applied with small rollers. A good "Rustoleum" type product would stick well and last a very long time.

Phil Sterrett
- Cleveland Ohio USA

Just a possibility: Since you want a copper color, why not check out if some copper cable maker could produce a special cable for you. I understand why you need SS cable for strength, and minimal elongation over time, with corrosion resistance probably not an issue. Ordinary copper cable produced for electrical applications probably wouldn't have the require strength, however, there are cables made for long, high power transmission purposes that have a SS core surrounded by copper strands. These are normally covered with a plastic insulating jacket, which, for your purpose, could be omitted during manufacture, allowing the copper to retain it's natural color, if given a clear organic coating. Check it out! Good Luck.

W. Carl Erickson
- Rome, New York

You may check the possibility of getting your ropes with a clear plastic coating that can then be easily painted . This coating is hardly visible and highly durable/ you should look for a paint that is compatible with the coating.

Nahoum Oltchik
YECIMA - Jerusalem Israel

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