Can I use stainless steel snap-on edging to make a curve? Not easily. Use butcher block or switch to aluminum tee molding

I just got off the phone with George from New York Metals – purveyors of the stainless steel edging to true to 40s 50s and 60s kitchen countertops.

The recent question on the table has been: How to bend my preferred “Snap-On Molding” (in photo above) for rounded edges – be they quarter-round cubbies or 180-degree/half-circle peninsula or snack bars. The news is ‘bad’ – but with solutions – George says:

  • In the 50s and 60s, all countertop installers had special machinery to make these rounded bends with this edging. So it is, or was, do-able. But, he is very skeptical that any of this machinery is around today. You can try metal shops in your town to see if they have the equipment – but it’s unlikely, he thinks. If you do find someone who can do it, let us know!
  • If you have already purchased this edging – need to complete your project – and want to make a rounded peninsula, I suggest: Butcherblock, as above. You will have to keep it sealed, but there are precedents, and I personally think that mixing and matching countertop surfaces is even more effective than just using the same material throughout.
  • If you have NOT already purchased your edging, George says rounded countertops CAN be accomplished today with the aluminum TEE moldings that New York Metals sell. Please also talk to Thor at RetroTrims — he’s a current advertiser. Images are in the gallery below. BUT, you must use countertop installers – unless you truly have the DIY equipment and skilles – because the edges of the countertop need to be routed to take the tee-insert. The trick to getting a good round edge is to clip the tee…miter it…clip it like you would clip the selvage in sewing where you make a curve…which will allow the metal must bend.
  • Can you mix and match the aluminum and the stainless steel? George says it’s all in the eye of the beholder…but if you have a discriminating eye, the finishes are slightly different. I would advise: Choose one or the other.
  • My #1 preference remains: The stainless steel snap-on. I believe this was most common. The snap-on edge comes in a 1-5/8″ width – a profile I prefer to the max. 1-1/4″ for the aluminum. And, the snap-on edge comes right up over your countertop – whereas the aluminum edge ‘marries’ with it at the common edge. But all this said – either set of choices are good, an authentic. More than anything, this is an aesthetic preference.

My apologies to readers who may have purchased the snap-on molding with the goal to make a rounded edge — I think there may be two of you out there! — I hope the alternative of butcher block is appealing to you.  As I’ve mentioned before – I am not an expert, rather an obsessed amateur – and I am learning as I go, too.

For more info on countertops: See my new Laminates and Countertop Edgings Page including:

Stainless steel / metal countertop edging: The #1 choice for sure!

Important countertop design tips:

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. CrestwoodsSpringfield1952 says

    Thanks for the updated and the great information. I had a feeling that this was going to be the case, as it just didn’t seem feasible to be able to bend/curve that snap on molding around due to the upper and lower parts being stiff and almost reinforced by their very nature. There is one place that I know of that does (or at least did) custom 50’s style counter tops and edging for retro soda shop rec rooms etc. I will check with them. If anyone is interested, this place is about an hour or so away from me. I’ve been in their store and they really have done beautiful work. This link is for the metal banding they do. I figure it can’t hurt to ask them if they can work with the type we all seem to prefer with the snap on style from NY Metals.
    http://www.barsandbooths.com/bandbmetalbanding.htm

    Have a great day everyone!
    Robyn

  2. Jennifer says

    My husband just gave me an incredible idea, Vehicle trim molding. Gives you the silver bendable and cheap edge to your countertops! Just an idea but I am gonna try it!

  3. Dean says

    I was thinking about how you might fill those gaps unobtrusively, and metallic epoxy putty came to mind. Since it’s such a slight gap, I’m guessing a toothpick sized piece of dark gray (slightly metallic) kneaded epoxy putty could be placed in the corner before applying the edging material. Perhaps do it in such a way that it slightly squishes through the void when compressed. I’m guessing you could then do a little detail work to remove the excess and smooth the area out. This material would look better than a light colored surface behind the gap, and it would likely function as a seal as well.

    Another thought would be a tiny bit of unsanded epoxy or urethane grout — again, paying attention to the clean up at the end. These grouts would not stain as they are not porous, and I think they might function as a seal to the joint as well.

    Lastly, lol, they make a material called “stainless steel tool wrap” that is very thin and flexible — but solid stainless steel. It’s VERY thin, so you could cut a 1″ wide “tape” , crease it to 90″ and stick it in the corner (or underneath the desired surface) with some contact cement. It would provide a true stainless steel “background” for any gaps — and you could probably even place a tiny bead of the epoxy putty behind it (playing with getting the right amount) so that the foil (it’s as thin as aluminum foil) would protrude a but through the gap when you apply the edging.

    This may be a bit out there, but I have a feeling that one or more of these methods could give nice results.

    🙂

  4. Teresa says

    I found another supplier for the metal trim other than NY Metals. Eagle Mouldings in Maple Grove MN also sells the vintage style metal trim, and their shipping is much more reasonable than NY Metals — however, they don’t have the snap-on style edging.

    http://www.eaglemouldingsinc.com/Nostalgic50s.aspx

    I’ve really enjoyed looking at the DIY photos featured here. If anyone knows where I can get step-by-step instructions on the cove molding, including how to attach the back splash to the counter, please let me know. Although I did find a counter top fabricator willing to install the metal trim – they want $900 for labor. I’m seriously considering just asking them to deliver the pieces to me so I can assemble myself.

    More home work!!

    • pam kueber says

      Thank you, Teresa. Yes: Eagle Moldings is the same as RetroTrims.com, which advertises on this site. Go, Thor (owner of Eagle Moldings)!

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