What is COR-TEN Steel?

COR-TEN steel (sometimes called weathering steel or corrosion resistant steel) is a low carbon steel which has a small amount of copper and other elements (Chromium, Nickel, Silicon) added during the manufacturing process. The combination of these alloying elements provides its unique characteristics

It has been used in bridge and other large structural applications such as the New River Gorge Bridge, the newer span of the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, and the creation of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. It is also a popular material used in outdoor sculptures by artists such as Richard Sera, Robert Indiana, Albert Paley, Clement Meadmore, Richard Starks (that’s me), and others.

My Sculptures

COR-TEN is known for its natural look which is characterized by its rust layer. This protective oxide layer, called patina will form on the surface. This layer matures in about 8-10 years and is said to form a protective “rust” layer over the base metal, thereby halting the formation of further rusting. At first, the patina is a reddish brown color, but with time takes on a darker hue which will remain forever. These sculptures can be displayed outdoors or indoors. Indoor display will slow the rusting process greatly. Harsh environments such as salty air or constant wetness will increase the rate at which the oxidation will occur. Covering any part of the sculpture with dirt or other moisture holding material is not recommended.

Each sculpture I have created using COR-TEN steel has been given a number and sometimes a name.  Numbers are assigned as the sculptures are created; for example, “CT-1” being the first completed in the series.  Sometimes I name the sculpture before I start and sometimes I it name during construction.  If a customer relates to a sculpture in a special way, I will give that name to their sculpture, if they agree.   My forms come from my imagination, and a name is not a requirement for me to turn a thought into reality.

Mounting sculptures can be done in a variety of ways.  Some have a base plate with holes which must be securely fastened to a concrete base.  Others have “receiver” type holes in their bases for mounting to a concrete base which totally hides the connection between the sculpture and the ground.  The size, weight, and balance of the sculpture and type of material it will be displayed in (dirt, sand, gravel, ice, snow, etc.), will determine the type or size of the base.

Additional information can be found by doing a Google search for COR-TEN Steel.