best steel for fireplace grate?
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  1. #1
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    Default best steel for fireplace grate?

    i was hoping to use stainless for my outdoor fireplace grate because it would pretty much last forever. however, i put a 1/2" 303 stainless rod in the fire just to see how it handled the heat. it warped.

    is there a stainless that won't warp with fireplace heat? if there are no options, should i just go with cold rolled? i'd really rather not use regular steel because it would rust and stain the bricks.

    thanks
    caspian

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    Is there any possibility of getting an old sewer grate at the junk yard or something. In my opinion nothing beats cast iron for this application.

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    Yes, cast iron is great for grates

    Stainless is bad for warping because of its low thermal conductivity. This means the side facing the fire gets a lot longer than the cold side, and that upsets the metal permanently.

    I had an idea: you can buy solid cast iron rods for brazing. They are typically cast in kind of a rough square cross section, maybe 1/4" square. I wonder if you could construct a custom grate from those? You'd need to use a bit of nickle rod to weld them.

    Try to design a grate that is constrained on only one end. For example, weld all the bars of the grate at one end only, and allow the other end to be supported by a 'rest' which allows the bar to expand and contract as needed.

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    Cast iron is the only thing that will hold up. It makes stainless look silly in this application. Old drain grates are some of the best.

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    A friend of mine used a couple of short (2') pieces of railroad track in his fireplace. But then, he has a fairly large fireplace

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    Mine is 52" wide, so size isn't a problem. I like the railroad rail idea. Any ideas on where to begin when calling around?

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    Maybe I misunderstood the OP, but I thought you wanted a grate to put on top to hold food, or pots and pans? Rail track would be great for the bottom for a log rest.

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    re-bar works.

    Cheers

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    Poor communication on my part. This is for the logs. I'm "testing" rebar now and it seems to hold up without warp. It doesn't meet my anti rust criteria, but would be a nice runner up if I can't find railroad rail. I really like the industrial look of railroad rail.

    CalG, you posted that when I was typing mine. Rebar will be the next option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CalG View Post
    re-bar works.

    Cheers

    Yep, best material out there for this. I have been slowly replacing the warped/rusted out parts of my grate with 3/4 rebar as they burn out. Eventually Ill have a solid rebar grate. Its something how you can see the difference between the commercial grate rods that came with my fireplace and the rebar.

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    Inconel.... if money is no object, lol.

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    Caspian: I have no idea where my friend got his track. But we have a big Union Pacific yard here in Tucson, and I'm guessing that might have had something to do with it.
    If you have a terminal/switch yard near you, that's where I would start calling.

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    crane builders use alot of 30lb rail
    easier to handle and shorts may be had

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    Cast Iron is the grate of choice however rr track would work well and once hot would hold heat for an extended period of time. The secret of grates that last is don't let the ashes build up under the grate, they will hold the heat in like a forge and burn up the steel.

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    if you wanna take a trip to Charleston ive got a huge pile of #138 track that you can scavenge for free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike C. View Post
    Inconel.... if money is no object, lol.
    You laugh...I'm designing a set of andirions now from Monel 405 1" hex bar...


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    Quote Originally Posted by tailstock View Post
    Cast Iron is the grate of choice however rr track would work well and once hot would hold heat for an extended period of time. The secret of grates that last is don't let the ashes build up under the grate, they will hold the heat in like a forge and burn up the steel.
    That's the secret with iron, anything a std gas cutting torch won't burn or melt well will make a good grate. Rail road track just buys time over smaller sections being so large.

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    If it's just a grate for burning logs, rust shouldn't be an issue anyways. Weld up some large diameter rebar. It will outlast us all.


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