Metal edging is a popular choice for table tops, but do you know what it entails and what sort of table tops it is suitable for? In this article, we will explore the different advantages and disadvantages for using metal as edging on table tops.
Types of Metals
Many different metals can be used for table top edging - the most common are brass, copper, and blackened steel. It is important to remember that metal can quickly tarnish when exposed to air or acidic/alkaline materials, forming a distinctive matt layer or ‘patina’. The patina increases over time and reacts with liquids and other materials. For this reason, Brass and Copper metals are finished with a layer of Beeswax, while Blackened Steel is finished with Renaissance Micro-crystalline
Types of Metal Edging
After choosing your metal, it's time to consider the style of the edging. There are three popular types: trim, band, and inlayed. Metal edge thickness starts from 1.2mm, and has a maximum of 5mm. The price increases the thicker it is; having sharp corners or radius may also dictate what thickness can be used.
Trim edging: A metal edging that is wrapped around a table top and which overlaps the top surface. Because it doesn't sit flush to the top surface, it can make for a slightly uncomfortable surface to rest your arms on. Liquids can also creep through to the core material. It is often paired with decorative fixings, more about these below.
Band edging: This is by far the most popular style of edging. The metal band (typically <2mm thick) is wrapped around the top edge, glued and fixed with small nails at the join. The thicker the band is, the less of a sharp corner is achieved; therefore, the core table top may require a radius to the corners to allow unnecessary gaps between the metal and core.
Inlayed edging: Sits flush with the top surface and requires fine craftsmanship to get right, therefore expensive and time consuming. This technique is also often referred to as "channel edging".
Types of Fixings
There are two ways to fix metal edging to the table top - the first is to conceal them, so to give the table top edges a seamless look. The second is to use studs as decorative elements (as depicted below.)
1) Invisible - Standard: The most minimalistic and at the same time affordable option. In this option, the edge is glued around the core material and fixed with small pins at the join. The finished edging appears smooth from the side with innocuous fixings that are seamless and almost invisible at the join.
2) Invisible - Reinforced: The stronger option is to wrap edging around the underside of the core material. This allows for additional screws to be applied to the underside of the table, further reinforcing the connection between the core and the metal edge. Technique is demonstrated in the following diagram: Types of Invisible Metal Edging. This type of edging is much stronger than standard, but also more expensive.
Studded side fixings:
These fixings are visible from the side and used as adornment for the table top. They are often applied at even intervals along the edges.
There are three common types of decorative fixings that can be used: Rivets, Domed studs, and Countersunk screws; they are all available in many finishes and sizes. The differences between them are mostly aesthetic (see below.) The location and distance between each fixing can also be specified based on the buyer's requirements.
The most important 'pro tip' for metal edging is that it should never be applied to solid wood table tops. As wood tends to move naturally, reacting to surrounding temperatures, such movements can cause the edging to come away. Read more about what happens when metal edging is applied to solid wood in our article: Why you shouldn't fix metal edging to solid wood table tops.
To overcome this, we recommend metal edging for veneer wood table tops instead, they are much more solid and do not warp over time. Read more about this type of table tops here: Veneered wood table tops.
Are you interested in a quote?
If you are interested in specifying a metal edged table top, please browse through our selection of standard metal edged table tops. Remember - our table tops are fully customisable with any combination of the above described options, so feel fee to reach out to your account manager, send us a query through the contact form, or use our live chat to get a quick no obligations quotation.
You can also visit us at our Hammersmith furniture showroom, where we have a wide range of table tops and edging samples on display.
In the meantime, feel free to download our Hospitality Furniture Knowledge booklet to learn more about the pros and cons of furniture materials, current style trends, and tips and tricks of the trade.