steel gauge chart

As the number goes up, the thickness goes down: this is the universal truth to reading a steel gauge chart. But truth be told, it isn’t quite clear as to why this is the case.

When you need to know the thickness of your metal, a steel gauge chart is your guide. The numbers of a steel gauge chart typically range between 3-30. Yet those numbers do not indicate a specific dimensional value. Standard gauge sizes were developed based on the weight of the sheet for a given material and the equivalent thicknesses differ for each gauge size.

Why gauge?

Rather than inches or millimeters, steel is measured in terms of ‘gauge’. According to history, you can thank the 19th century British iron wire industry for this fact. During a period when no universal unit of thickness existed, gauge was adopted as the unit of measure. The journey from that time until now has some interesting points:
  • The word ‘gauge’ is derived from and related to the French word ‘jauge’, meaning ‘result of measurement’.
  • Gauge number sizes were the result of the process of wire drawing and the nature of iron as a substance.
  • Gauges were measured and described in fractions of an inch during the 19th century.
  • Craftsman found gauge to be convenient, thus further its adoption.
  • At one point during the 20th century, the gauge was to be replaced with International System of Units—which ultimately did not occur.

How to read the steel gauge chart

There two primary principles to keep in mind when using steel gauge charts:

  1. Moving up or down a given steel gauge chart isn’t an equal move in decimal equivalent between numbers. Let’s take a 14-gauge stainless steel sheet, for example.
    • A 14-gauge stainless steel sheet has a decimal equivalent of .0751.
    • Moving down to a 13-gauge stainless steel sheet, the decimal equivalent is 0.0900
    • Moving up to a 16-gauge stainless steel sheet, the decimal equivalent is 0.0595
  2. The decimal equivalent of gauge numbers differs based on type of metal. Again, let’s use stainless steel as our example:
  • A 14-gauge stainless steel sheet has a decimal equivalent of .0751.
  • A 14-gauge carbon sheet has a decimal equivalent of 0.747.

This means that in order to ensure your material meets the correct dimensional requirements for your project, you must use the right steel gauge chart.

Aluminum Gauge Chart

Looking for aluminum products? Check out the gauge chart below and then begin your search here.

 

 

 Carbon Steel Gauge Charts

Looking for steel products? Check out the gauge chart below and then begin your search here

Stainless Steel Gauge Chart

Lookin for stainless steel? Check out the gauge chart below and then begin your search here


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