Traditionally we have all used dowels of various forms to join to the base. Copper, aluminium and galvanised steel have all been used by masons for dowels but now we are all required by the Code of Working Practice to use stainless steel – but not any old type of stainless steel. There are over 150 grades stainless steel in production, each one having a unique identifying number. The Code of Working Practice demands that any steel used in the construction of a memorial should be grade 302 or higher and is technically known as “austentic” stainless steel. The most common grades in use are 304 and 316, the latter having a higher resistance to chloride corrosion. When you buy dowels always ensure that you specify the grade of stainless steel you require, don’t just ask for stainless steel or you may easily find that you don't meet the requirements of the Code of Working Practice and you don't want to have to repair the job at your cost if you get it wrong.
All our dowels are 304 any are available in either smooth or threaded form. Threaded dowels give a much better key in the jointing adhesive (cement or resin) but if you use this type of dowel it can be a problem to split the job if you ever need to. With smooth dowels you have a much better chance of doing this but there is a trade off in terms of strength. We would always recommend using threaded dowels if you don’t think the joint will ever need to be split and with most of us now sandblasting there is rarely a need to split the headpiece from the base. Kerbs are a different matter and for jointing these we normally use smooth dowels.
We supply four different diameters of dowels – 12, 16, 20 and 25mm in standard lengths up to 11 inches long. We also supply metre length bar for you to custom cut your own sizes.