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Re: Light gauge steel (or alum) tubes

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For architectural sections, I generally go to the Julius Blum catalogue; www.juliusblum.com is their web site, I believe.  They are very handy for architectural sections, railing, tubing, non-steel materials, and such.  That sounds pretty big for an architectural or aluminum section, but you could check to see.  For a trellis, though, I would likely use a thin HSS section.  HSS sections are pretty easy to get, and the welding or bolting would be very standard.  They get down to 3/16" or even 1/8" in some cases if you are worried about weight.  If you were to use aluminum, you need to start looking at the rest of the hardware to avoid dissimilar metal problems, and welding is more difficult, so I use steel if possible.  Also, even if your trellis has little or no apparent load on it, I like having the robustness of HSS sections to handle unintended uses like deliquent teens climbing on them, window washers standing on them, etc.  

Paul Crocker, PE, SE



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