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The Difference Between Stainless Steel True and Sheared and Edge Flat Bar

Stainless Steel Flat Bar

What is Stainless Steel Flat Bar?

Stainless steel flat bar is a flat, rectangular shaped steel product that typically comes in two varieties: True Bar and Sheared and Edge Bar. Both have varying tolerances and differences between them. Stainless Steel Flat Bar is considered a basic construction material due to its versatility, as it possesses relatively high strength and the ability to be worked on site. Stainless steel flat bar also provides extra corrosion protection for outdoor or marine applications.

What is True Bar?

True Bar is flat bar that has been milled to a specific size and all four faces have an identical finish. True bar has tight tolerances and the corners are square.

True bar is typically hot rolled, annealed, and treated with an acid solution to remove any surface oxidation. This process ensures a continuous polished surface which allows for the True Bar to be more dimensionally accurate and increases the corrosion resistance of the product.

True Bar requires quite involved processing steps to ensure the final product meets the required specifications, making it more expensive than other types of flat bar.

What is Sheared and Edge Bar?

Sheared and Edge Bar is flat bar that has been cut to size from a stainless steel coil. As the Sheared and Edge Bar has been cut rather than milled, the tolerance of the final product is not as precise, and the dimensions are not as ‘true’. The accuracy of the Sheared and Edge Bar is dependent on the cutting method used, however Sheared and Edge Bar is typically flattened, straightened, and polished to approximate the dimensional accuracy of True Bar.

It is also noteworthy that the four faces of Sheared and Edge bar are not identical. The cut edges will have a different finish compared to the finish the original coil had which can have important practical applications.

As Sheared and Edge Bar is simpler to manufacture than True Bar it is generally the cheaper of the two options.

What are the Differences Between True and Sheared and Edge Flat Bar?

The main differences between the two types of stainless steel flat bar are:

  • True Bar is milled to specific sizes while Sheared and Edge Bar is cut to size
  • True Bar has tight tolerances and square corners, Sheared and Edge Bar is less precise, with tolerances determined by the cutting method
  • True Bar’s four faces all have the same finish while Sheared and Edge Bar can have varying finishes on each side
  • Ture Bar is generally a more expensive product when compared to Sheared and Edge Bar

What are the Applications of True Bar and Sheared and Edge Bar?

Sheared and Edge Bar is the most commonly used type of stainless steel flat bar as it is cheaper, readily available and the final dimensional accuracy and finish is adequate for most applications. These mostly include structural and building applications.

Due primarily to the extra cost, True Bar is only used when high tolerances or continuity in the surface polish is a requirement. These applications include precision machinery, such as that found in the pharmaceutical or food industries, chemically sensitive applications such as in chemical processing, or where product consistency is required for safety such as the aeronautical industry.

Metal Supermarkets


Metal Supermarkets is the world’s largest small-quantity metal supplier with 125 brick-and-mortar stores across the US, Canada, and United Kingdom. We are metal experts and have been providing quality customer service and products since 1985.

At Metal Supermarkets, we supply a wide range of metals for a variety of applications. Our stock includes: mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, tool steel, engineering steel, brass, bronze and copper.

We carry a wide range of shapes including: bars, tubes, sheets and plates. We can cut metal to your exact specifications.

Visit one of our 8 locations in the United Kingdom today.

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