Welding zinc sheet???
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  1. #1
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    Welding zinc sheet???

    I'm considering making some zinc sheet counter-tops for or food concessions counters and looking for any input on soldering vs welding the corners. Also any one with experience on finishes and patinas would be great. Most of our counters are 7'-8' in length and I have a 48" shear and 6' break so there will be a seam in the middle of the length so I will probably just leave it butted to each other but I'm not sure yet. They will be on a plywood sub-straight, so basically a pan flipped upside down.

    Any recommendations would be great!!!

    Thanks,
    Ken

  2. #2
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    why not just fold and fasten to wood with screws?? are you going to use any adhesive so the middle doesnt bounce off the wood and sits flat on the wood surface?

  3. #3
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbytime View Post
    why not just fold and fasten to wood with screws?? are you going to use any adhesive so the middle doesnt bounce off the wood and sits flat on the wood surface?
    That's an option but for health code here it has to be a smooth washable surface and that's the sort of thing they write us up on sometimes.

  4. #4
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    If you opt for welding, you can use silicon bronze MIG wire (SiB) without having to grind the zinc coating off.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    These folks say to use lead free zinc solder.

    https://www.rotometals.com/zinc-sheets/
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  6. #6
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Quote Originally Posted by KGIOR View Post
    That's an option but for health code here it has to be a smooth washable surface and that's the sort of thing they write us up on sometimes.
    I would solder it then, you have more control to fill the joint smooth with solder and then use a big iron to really smooth and form it..

  7. #7
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???


    KGIOR


    Quote Originally Posted by KGIOR View Post
    I'm considering making some zinc sheet counter-tops for or food concessions
    counters and looking for any input on soldering vs welding the corners.

    Any recommendations . . .
    I take - 'zinc sheet' to mean zinc coated/plated steel sheet metal - and not
    'pure zinc plate' . . .

    In some jurisdictions/applications - zinc may not be food service approved -
    but generally, it is approved . . .

    The metal wants to be thick, so it doesn't dent when impacted by something
    [dropped] heavy.

    Heavy gauge has a great secondary benefit . . . galvanized sheet TIG brazes
    wonderfully/beautifully . . . a heavier gauge produces a better 'corner edge
    joint'
    for brazing - the corners polish 'in use' - and look ever-better . . .

    Aesthetics is another consideration - not all zinc sheet metal is created equal.
    Hot-dipped sheet is being replaced by electroplate.

    In essence - the gorgeous character-crystals of hot-dipped have been replaced
    by an androgynous silver plane.

    Hope this helps . . .


    Opus




    ps - I plagiarized scsmith42

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    If you opt for welding, you can use silicon bronze MIG wire
    (SiB) without having to grind the zinc coating off.
    Oops . . .






    Last edited by OPUS FERRO; 01-13-2019 at 11:44 PM. Reason: . . . laconic attribution . . .

  8. #8
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Thanks for the replies so far. This will be pure zinc, about 99.5% at least. Not plated.

  9. #9
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???


    KGIOR


    Quote Originally Posted by KGIOR View Post
    Thanks for the replies so far. This will be pure zinc, about 99.5% at least. Not plated.
    Pure, genuine, authentic materials, are a rare commodity on the WW - and the
    modes of working Zinc Plate - 'I would like to know, as much as you' . . .

    Anyone: 'in the know' - please chime-in . . .


    Opus

  10. #10
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Food service should be stainless.
    Story, end of.

    Edit: especially in commifornia.
    Last edited by Fnord5; 01-14-2019 at 02:01 AM.

  11. #11
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Picture a food concessions trailer at a fair with separate counters out front for ordering and receiving food. These tops will be for these separate service counters. Stainless gets to hot in the sun and actually burns the customers. I have over 30 years experience in the food industry and we have created some very interesting solutions to our unique problems as a mobile operator. Zinc countertops are a item that is being used in some very high-end retail and is already being used in the food industry. I appreciate input but I would like to keep it focused on the zinc as I have no experience working with it and was hoping to get some feedback about processes relating to it as this site has seemed to provide a wealth of information over the years.
    Last edited by KGIOR; 01-14-2019 at 03:25 AM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy View Post
    These folks say to use lead free zinc solder.

    https://www.rotometals.com/zinc-sheets/
    This site was very helpful, thanks!!!

  13. #13
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Quote Originally Posted by scsmith42 View Post
    If you opt for welding, you can use silicon bronze MIG wire (SiB) without having to grind the zinc coating off.
    Silicon bronze is one of my considerations, thought about tigging it. I have some rod but have never used it.

  14. #14
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbytime View Post
    I would solder it then, you have more control to fill the joint smooth with solder and then use a big iron to really smooth and form it..
    This sounds the best so far.

  15. #15
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    If it's pure zinc, is there any way you could weld the joint with pure zinc filler, maybe with a propane torch or something not too hot? I have no idea, just throwing it out there...

    If not, what about soldering with non-lead solder?

  16. #16
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    I did a zinc countertop once. Once. My suggestion would be: talk them into stainless. It was a giant PITA and didn't turn out that nice. If you can get a sheet big enough to do the whole thing in one piece, then it's ok. Soldering the corners and stuff is ok, but don't try to make a long butt joint.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Quote Originally Posted by KGIOR View Post
    Picture a food concessions trailer at a fair with separate counters out front for ordering and receiving food. These tops will be for these separate service counters. Stainless gets to hot in the sun and actually burns the customers.
    Why would stainless get any hotter in the sun than any other metal? I've worked in food service and also did a lot of fabrication of food manufacturing equipment and we everything from stainless (or aluminium for box forming machines). OTOH it was all for indoor use so I don't have any experience with that usage.

  18. #18
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Polished stainless won't get any hotter than any other material in the sun. In fact, to support my (school-taught) understanding, there is literature around which states it stays cooler than most metals due to the thin oxide and surface being able to reflect a lot of energy, not adsorb it.

    Another option is aluminium which conducts it's heat into other things more easily - maybe a steel backing plate perhaps?

    If you really must use zinc (I hate the idea but looking around it seems it's gaining in popularity for its weathered looks) then oxy-fuel brazing is supposed to be the process of choice. You'll need perfect fit-up and a decent thickness <1mm to have any chance of making it look good.

  19. #19
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Quote Originally Posted by Munkul View Post
    Another option is aluminium which conducts it's heat into other things more easily
    ...which is why it burns you so fast when you touch hot aluminum!

  20. #20
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    I dealt with zinc some years ago, thankfully it’s popularity is waning. It is a pain to work with, dents and scratches easily. A worn surface is the sort of patina that supposed to be what people are looking for, but complaints about damage are frequent. Either solder or tig with with scraps from the same sheet. Soldering is a fair bit easier, but this soldering with a big iron, not with a torch.
    My personal opinion, use stainless, cheaper overall, easier to work with, and wears much better for a commercial application.

  21. #21
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvin View Post
    ...which is why it burns you so fast when you touch hot aluminum!
    I did think this... but then my daft side overrode my common sense

  22. #22
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    L- series stainless.Satin finish

  23. #23
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    Re: Welding zinc sheet???

    I really appreciate all the input but I'm trying to explore some options other than Stainless. I understand all the long term benefits of using Stainless but it's not what we are looking for 100% of the time. One example is sun reflection, a 30' long section of brushed stainless in the sunlight can be so harsh that costumers and employees are extremely uncomfortable just standing next to it, not a very customer friendly setting so you have to cover it anyway. Can't explain why it gets so hot in direct sunlight, most other metals we us are coated somehow, painted, powder coated, or wrapped with a graphic, the Zinc may get just as hot so will have to test that. One of my other considerations is blackened steal or a rusted patina with clear coat but these may get hot also. Keep in mind that sometimes we are in temperatures exceeding 100 in the shade.

    I'm looking for something with rustic character so if anyone has some ideas along those lines I'd like to hear them.

    To clarify this is for our own use, we try to fabricate as much as we in house for our own needs. Tops we have used in the past are Stainless, Corian, Paperstone, Formica, Wood, Epoxy painted substrate.
    Last edited by KGIOR; Today at 04:58 PM.

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