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Vol 43, No. 1

January/February 2002 $6.00

The Crown Jewel

Multilevel Stair Becomes A Building's Centerpiece METALfab 2002

Exhibitor Preview

The Crown Jewel

Multilevel Stair Becomes A Building's Centerp METALfab 2002

Exhibitor Preview

Dedicated to the success of our members and industry.

NOMMA Officers President Michael D. Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA President-Elect Belk Null Berger Iron Works Inc. Houston, TX Vice President/Treasurer Chris Maitner Christopher Metal Fabricating Inc. Grand Rapids, MI Immediate Past President Ed Powell Powell’s Custom Metal Fab. Inc. Jacksonville, FL NOMMA Directors Doug Bracken Wiemann Iron Works Tulsa, OK Chris Connelly DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. South Easton, MA Gib Plimpton Myers & Company Architectural Metals Basalt, CO Fred Michael Colonial Iron Works Inc. Petersburg, VA Rob Mueller Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL Curt Witter Big D Metalworks of Texas Dallas, TX Steve Engebregtsen R & B Wagner Inc. Butler, WI Bob Paxton Lawler Foundry Corp. Birmingham, AL Pam Beckham Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Foristell, MO Executive Director Barbara H. Cook Forest Park, GA

President’s Message A Foundation To Build On


he beginning of a New Year encourages us to assess our goals and devise new means to achieve them. To be the primary source of education for our members and our industry has been and is one of the most important goals of NOMMA. The Board of Directors has taken action to assure that NOMMA will have the ability to deliver the best education program possible by establishing the NOMMA Education Foundation. A foundation is by far much more flexible in the types of programs and services that it can provide. The foundation has the ability to solicit and receive contributions, donations, bequests, endowments, and grants to help fund programs that NOMMA as a trade association cannot. The NOMMA Education Foundation will continue to support existing programs plus expand into exciting new areas. For instance, the following are possibilities that we can now explore: • Sponsor master smiths from Germany, France, England, or Australia to conduct seminars around the country. • Create a technology center with an instructor to teach managers and employees how to set up equipment or how to master software programs for accounting, project management, job costing, or CAD drawing. • Produce CD-ROM instructional courses for shop personnel to learn to build railings, stairs, curved railings, and installation techniques. • Provide a family business seminar dealing with problems specific to our industry. • Organize study tours of European ironwork to England, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, and France. • Establish an ornamental iron university, where students study curriculums which prepare them as fully qualified workers for our industry. These are just a few of the ideas that could possibly grow and flourish under the umbrella of a foundation, which is focused on educating our industry. Like so many things in life, the potential for success is huge, but nothing will sprout and bloom without someone taking an interest in the seed. I urge you to assist us in making sure that the full potential of this foundation is achieved. Your support through philanthropic tax deductible donations is welcomed and encouraged. Your support through participation, ideas and suggestions, and volunteerism is essential for this landmark enterprise to reach full fruition. Contact the NOMMA Education Foundation at NOMMA headquarters to offer your support.

Plan now for:

METALfab 2002

Mar. 5-9, 2002 • Galveston, TX 4

FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Ornamental & Miscellaneous To order publications, see pg. 85.Metal Fabricator

Table of Contents Vol. 43, No. 1 • January/February 2002



METALfab 2002 Exhibitor Listing Preview this year’s trade show exhibitors.


Read This and Weep Placing weep holes now can save you heartache later.


A Fabricator Makes his Mark with an Oval-Spiral Staircase Designing a spiral stair for a tight space proves challenging.


Quality All Around A fabricator completes a 3-story steel, glass, and wood railing.


Welcome to the World of Patina New developments makes the age-old process a little easier.


Gambling in Las Vegas Some bet the market in Vegas will make a quick comeback.


Keeping Backyard Pools Safe Dependable safety gate latches can save toddlers’ lives.


The Art of Bending Circles and Arcs A trusty shop friend handles the most challenging bends.


The Industry’s Response To “Climbable” Guardrails The NOMMA Technical Committee presents a strong case.




President’s Message 4 Business Briefs 81 New Products & Services NOMMA Network News News Roundup 88 Inventions & Products 93 Noteworthy Jobs 94 Restoration 95 From The Bookshelf 96 New Members 98 Industry Shakers 99 Nationwide Suppliers 100 Working Smarter 102 Coming Events 104 Classifieds 105

82 86


Introducing Our New Reader Service System Now you can request information from advertisers directly on our web site. } Quick Responses From Advertisers } Choice of Response Formats, Including Email, Fax, Phone, Or Mail. } Direct Links To Advertiser Web Sites } Complete Advertiser Contact Information } Ability To Search By Company Name, Prod- For additional info, see page 98.

ABOUT THE COVER: This 500-foot “floating” monumental stair combines stainless steel, glass, and wood. Dubbed the “crown jewel” of the building, the stair features balusters that were water-jet cut from 1/2-inch thick stainless steel plate and then polished. The rail was glazed with a special 1/2-inch laminated rice paper glass, and a 3-inch cherry hand rail was added for the final touch. Fabricator: Continental Bronze, a div. of Offenhauser Co., Pawtucket, RI. 8

Editor’s Letter Vol. 43, No. 1 • January/February 2001 Editor J. Todd Daniel Associate Editor Rachel Squires Business Manager Cynthia Smith Senior Writers John L. Campbell John L. Cochran, PhD

Send Your Tips & Tricks


Executive Director Barbara Cook 2002 Fabricator Advisory Council Patrick S. Kelly Decor Cable Innovations Sharon Picard South Attleboro Welding Corp.

Ornamental & Miscellaneous Met­al Fab­ ri­ca­tor is the of­fi­cial pub­li­ca­tion of the Na­tional Or­na­men­tal & Mis­cel­la­ne­ous Metals As­so­cia­tion (NOMMA). Published bi­monthly at For­est Park, Ga. For editorial, advertising, and spe­cific dead­line in­for­ma­ tion, con­tact NOM­MA, 532 Forest Pkwy., Suite A, For­est Park, Geor­gia 30297; (404) 363-4009; Fax (404) 363-2857. E-mail: Cir­cu­la­tion: 9,500. ISSN 0191-5940. Publication dates are the 15th of January, March, May, July, September, and No­vem­ ber. Closing dates: Insertion orders - first Fri­day of the month prior to pub­li­ca­tion; cam­era-ready art or film - second Friday of month prior to pub­li­ca­tion. Please call for a rate card and calendar. Subscription rates: 1-year U.S. CanadaMexico - $24.00; 2-year U.S.-CanadaMex­i­co - $44; 1-year all other countries $38.00; 2-year all other countries - $72.00. Pay­ment in U.S. dol­lars by check drawn on U.S. bank or money order. For NOMMA mem­bers, a year’s sub­scrip­tion is a part of membership dues. Opinions expressed in Fabricator are not necessarily those of the editor or NOM­MA. Articles appearing in Fabricator may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of NOMMA.


Magazine Association of Georgia Proud Member

hat was the most popular article that we’ve printed in the past two years? Was it our feature on nickelsilver or the in-depth story we did on hinges? Nope. Much to my surprise, the article I’ve received the most feedback on was a one-page tip that we published in November 2000. Written by Don Walsh of Pro-Fusion Ornamental Iron Inc., the mini feature describes how to mount a heavy bender on a truck tailgate. The clever idea centers around a platform that hangs in sockets at the rear of the truck. At the last METALfab convention, a reader came up to me and said the “Tips, Tricks & Jigs” section was his favorite part of the magazine. He had noticed that this column had skipped a month and said, “You’re NOT discontinuing this column are you?” The answer to that is a definite “no.” The problem is that while this section is very popular, finding tips is always a great challenge — especially since we’ve tapped out some of our regular sources. With a new year upon us, I encourage you to send us a tip. Each year, the person who submits the most popular idea wins a Literature Pak. At the NOMMA office, we receive many review books over the course of a year, and we simply use these as the prize. Judging is based on the number of calls, e-mails, and positive feedback I receive on an article. I believe that everyone has a few favorite ideas to offer. Please share these by calling me at (404) 363-4009, ext. 15 or sending an e-mail to: — Todd Daniel

FABRICATOR January-February 2002

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METALfab 2002

Don’t miss NOMMA’s 44th annual trade show! The trade show is FREE. Advanced registration is encouraged. Simply fill out the ticket on page 2A or visit www.

Exhibit Hours Thursday, March 7 3:15 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Friday, March 8 10:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 9 10:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Advanced Measuring Systems Booth: 602 2226 Donald St. NW P.O. Box 186 Dover, OH 44622 888-289-9432 • 330-602-1203 Fax: 330-343-7050 Description: “Quick-Loc” stop gauging and “Pro-Loc” programmable stop and positioning system. AP Automation Booth: 401 515 Industrial Way Cumming, GA 30040 770-887-1692 Fax: 770-887-1692 Description: Importer of hydraulic and mechanical gate operators; factory direct distributor. Fabricator of tubular steel and ornamental swing and slide gates. Apollo Gate Operators 12

Booth: 225

12902 Delivery Dr. San Antonio, TX 78247-3476 210-545-2900 Fax: 210-545-2915 Description: Gate operators and access controls. Julius Blum & Co. Inc. Booth: 409 P.O. Box 816 Carlstadt, NJ 07072-0816 800-526-6293 • 201-438-4600 Fax: 201-438-6003 Description: Traditional railing to glass railing components in aluminum, stainless, bronze, steel and nickel-silver. J.G. Braun Co. Booth: 103 8145 River Dr. Morton Grove, IL 60053-2645 800-323-4072 • 847-663-9300 Fax: 847-663-0667

• See b • View th rand new prod uc e • Meet v latest technolo ts. endors gies. on • Enjoy the Thu e-on-one. rsday G Openin rand g celeb ration

Description: Architectural metal products; ferrous and nonferrous. Byan Systems Inc. Booth: 621 P.O. Box 1384 Lusk, WY 82225 800-223-2926 • 307-334-2865 Fax: 307-334-2028 Description: Hydraulic gate operators and access control devices. CLYSZHP Inc. Booth: 223 2745 South Fremont Ave., #4 Alhambra, CA 91803 626-289-8024 Description: Cast iron spears; all kinds of hinges, lock boxes, window release, aluminum castings, ornamental iron supply, etc.

FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Cleveland Steel Tool Co. Booth 323 474 East 105th St. Cleveland, OH 44108 800-446-4402 Fax: 216-681-7009 Description: Ironworker tooling, ironworker and related fabricating equipment. Colorado Waterjet Co. Booth: 219 1015 Second St. Berthoud, CO 80513-1124 970-532-5404 Fax: 970-532-5405 Description: Custom panels & components for railings and gates, cut from sheet & plate with abrasive water jet. Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. Booth: 413

9835 Derby Ln. Westchester, IL 60154 800-535-9842 Fax: 708-345-6660 Description: Ornamental iron components and hardware. Cross River Metals Booth: 209 8700 Crownhill, Ste. 206 San Antonio, TX 78209 210-824-1750 Fax: 210-824-6195 Description: Ornamental steel tubing and galvanized steel tubing. DecorativeIron.Com Booth: 419 10600 Telephone Rd. Houston, TX 77075 713-991-7600 Fax: 713-991-6493 Description: Ornamental iron supplies in cast iron, aluminum, forged steel,

and carbon steel. D.J.A. Imports Ltd. Booth: 613 1672A East 233rd St. Bronx, NY 10466-3306 888-933-5993 • 718-324-6871 Fax: 718-324-0726 Description: Ferrous and nonferrous metals; gate and door hardware in solid steel/stainless steel; machinery. DKS, DoorKing Systems Booth: 307 120 South Glasgow Ave. Inglewood, CA 90301-1502 310-645-0023 Fax: 310-641-1586 Description: Access control products. Eagle Bending Machines Inc.


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FABRICATOR January-February 2002


303 P.O. Box 99 Stapleton, AL 36578 251-937-0947 • Fax: 251-937-4742 Description: Section bending machines, scrolling machines, hand shears, ornamental bar working machines, bar twisting machines. Eastern Metal Supply Booth: 201 2925 Stewart Creek Blvd.

j. walter

Charlotte, NC 28216 704-391-2266 Fax: 704-391-2267 Description: Hand railings, wall and fence systems, fence suffengers, castings, standard and custom extrusions. EURO-FER SRL Booth: 707 V. LE Dell’Industria 16/18 Castelgomberto (VI) 36070

ITALY 011-39-044-544-0033 Fax: 011-39-044-544-0351 Description: Wrought iron products for gates, stairs, and windows. FAAC International Inc. Booth: 507 303 Lexington Ave. Cheyenne, WY 82007 307-635-1991 Fax: 307-632-8148 Description: Hydraulic swing gate operators and barriers. FABCAD.USA Booth: 403 2000 Midway Ave. Petersburg, VA 23803-2879 800-255-9032 • 804-862-8807 Fax: 804-861-6379 Description: Ornamental computer aided design systems for beginners and experienced users. GTO Inc. Booth: 502 3121 Hartsfield Rd. Tallahassee, FL 32303 800-543-4283 Fax: 850-575-8912 Description: Full line of AC and DC automatic gate operators; all operators listed and system certified to UL 325 4th edition. House of Forgings Booth: 716 1922 Rankin Rd. Houston, TX 77073 281-443-4848 Fax: 281-443-1133 Description: Ornamental iron products. INDITAL USA Booth: 115 415 Blueberry St. Houston, TX 77018-5626 800-772-4706 • 713-694-6065 Fax: 713-694-2055

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Circle 130 on Reader Service Card Description: Forged and wrought iron architectural components. Intercorp Inc. Booth: 414 3628 West Pierce St. Milwaukee, WI 53215 800-532-6303 Fax: 414-383-6725 Description: Baroque art gilders paste. ITW Ransburg Electrostatic

sumter coatings

Systems Booth 511 320 Phillips Ave. Toledo, OH 43612-1476 419-470-2000 Fax: 419-470-2112 Description: Liquid electrostatic paint application equipment. King Architectural Metals Booth: 500 P.O. Box 271169 Dallas, TX 75227-1169

800-542-2379 • 214-388-9834 Fax: 800-948-5558 Description: Ornamental and architectural metal components for wrought iron staircases, handrails, gates, fences, balustrades, furniture, mailboxes, doors, screen, and awnings. Also, aluminum lamp posts, urns, gate operators. Lavi Industries Booth: 612 27810 Avenue Hopkins Valencia, CA 91355-3409 800-624-6225 • 661-257-7800 Fax: 661-257-4938 Description: Stainless steel and brass architectural railing and components. Lawler Foundry Corp. Booth: 109 P.O. Box 320069 Birmingham, AL 35232-0069 800-624-9512 • 205-595-0596 Fax: 205-595-0599 Description: Ornamental metal components and accessories. Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Booth: 515 121 East Mulberry St., P.O. Box 110 Foristell, MO 63348-0110 636-463-2464 Fax: 636-463-2874 Description: Ultimate tubing notcher, hydraulic tubing bender, smart tools, protractors and plasma cutting. Frank Morrow Co. Booth: 315 129 Baker St. Providence, RI 02905-4504 800-556-7688 • 401-941-3900 Fax: 401-941-3810 Description: Metal stampings, banding, filigree galleries, grey iron castings. National Ornamental & Miscel-

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laneous Metals Association (NOMMA) Booth: 112 532 Forest Pkwy., Suite A Forest Park, GA 30297 404-363-4009 Fax: 404-366-1852 Description: Industry trade association. New Metals Inc. Booth: 205 5823 Northgate Ln., PMB 2032 Laredo, TX 78041-2697 888-639-6382 • 956-729-1184 Fax: 956-729-1185 Description: Ornamental forgings, expanded metal and grating. NITEK Inc. Booth 308 10763 Mapleridge Dr. Dallas, TX 75238 972-447-9628 Fax: 972-447-9641

Description: All types of abrasives, welding rods, and castings. Omega Coating Corp. Booth: 408 P.O. Box 1318 El Dorado, KS 67042 316-322-8200 Fax: 316-322-8203 Description: Paint and coatings, including VOC compliant and water based. Ornamental Steel Designs Inc. Booth: 611 405 Marietta Pl. Clarksville, TN 37043 931-358-5281 Fax: 931-358-0943 Description: Ornamental patterns cut from plate using laser and plasma technology. PPG Industries 316 19699 Progress Dr. Strongsville, OH 44149 440-572-2800


Fax: 440-572-6880 Description: Commercial and light industrial coatings. Production Machinery Inc. Booth: 422 9000 Yellow Brick Rd. Baltimore, MD 21237 410-574-2110 Fax: 410-574-4790 Description: Roll bending and cold sawing machinery. R & B Wagner Inc. Booth: 103 10600 West Brown Deer Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53224 800-786-2111 • 414-461-2111 Fax: 414-461-5124 Description: Railing fittings and specialty tube and pipe bending.

american fence systems

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FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Rail Wizard (R & F Metals Inc.) Booth: 505 7607 Poplar Hill Ln. Clinton, MD 20735 301-868-7083 Fax: 301-868-5085 Description: Rail Wizard computer software - “railing and fence fabrication made easy.” Regency Railings Inc. Booth: 100 100 Glass St., Suite 101

apollo pms 186

Dallas, TX 75207-6904 972-407-9408 Fax: 972-380-8394 Description: Prefabricated ornamental iron components. Rockite, Div.. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. Booth: 310 2120 South Green Rd., Ste. 202 Cleveland, OH 44121-3317 216-291-2303 Fax: 216-291-4482 Description: Rockite expanding, fast-setting (15 minute), pourable, non-shrinking, anchoring/patching cement. Rogers Mfg. Inc. Booth: 218 109 Southwest 7th St. Mineral Wells, TX 76067-5865 940-325-7806 Fax: 940-325-7156 Description: Iron working machines to punch and shear metal. Sharpe Products Booth: 524 1910 South 81st St. Milwaukee, WI 53219 800-879-4418 Fax: 414-327-7080 Description: Handrail components, ells, brackets, caps, flanges, connectors and custom bending. Sparky Abrasives Booth: 314 4811 Dusharme Dr. Minneapolis, MN 55429 800-328-4560 Fax: 763-535-2708 Description: Abrasives and grinding products. Sumter Coatings Inc. Booth: 215 2410 Hwy. 15 S Sumter, SC 29154 888-471-3400 • 803-481-3400 Fax: 803-481-3776 Description: Fast dry paints and primers specially formulated for ornamental and miscellaneous metals. Tennessee Fabricating Co. Booth: 313 2025 York Ave. Memphis, TN 38104-5435 800-258-4766 • 901-725-1548 Fax: 901-725-5954 Description: Decorative metals and

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hardware. Texas Metal Industries Inc. Booth: 217 P.O. Box 154, Main & Trunk St. Crandall, TX 75114 800-222-6033 Fax: 972-472-3807 Description: Aluminum castings, ornamental metal products. Torch-Made Booth: 717 Rt. 6, Box 63C Livingston, TX 77351 800-590-7804 Fax: 936-327-9831 Description: CNC profile/flame cutting machine. Triebenbacher Bavarian Iron Works Co. Booth: 700 619 Pennbrook Ave. Lansdale, PA 19446 800-522-4766

Fax: 215-362-3494 Description: Wrought iron components.


Triple-S Steel Supply Co. Booth: 221 P.O. Box 21119 Houston, TX 77226-1119 800-231-1034 • 713-697-7105 Fax: 713-697-5945 Description: Welding equipment and fabrication accessories. Tubo Decorado, S.A. De C.V. Booth: 406 Ave. Casa Blanca No. 1014 Fraccionamiento Casa Blanca San Nicolas De Los Garza, Nuevo Leon 66480 MEXICO 011-528-313-9722 Fax: 011-528-313-7700 Circle 75 on Reader Service Card

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FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Top Job Profiles

Read This and Weep

The proper use of weep holes can greatly impact the quality and life span of a job.

By John L. Campbell

Weep holes, who needs them? Maybe you. Although the question sounds innocuous; and the topic seems mundane, when Tony Leto of J. G. Braun Co. put a case history on NOMMA’s e-mail list from one of his customers, the comments on weep holes tumbled out like coins from a slot machine. Fourteen e-mails from NOMMA members resulted in a lively exchange of ideas about the following incident. Hurtt Fabricating Corp. produced a steel fence frame in 8 feet by 8 feet sections for a 200-foot long overhead pedestrian walkway in Kansas City, MO. The frame functioned to support steel mesh, and the installation was done by an outside contractor. The hollows were 2fi inch by 1fi inch by 3/16 inch thick. When moisture accumulated inside the hollows and froze, some sections bulged. Describing what happened, company president Bob Hurtt said, “After the winter of 2000-2001, the highway department noticed some of the rectangular bars had deflected. Upon closer inspection, it was noted that this deflection was caused by the rectangular tubes expanding to the point of being almost round. The reason for the expansion had to be condensation build-up in the short tubes, and the freeze and thaw cycle over the winter.” When something fails, the question asked is — who’s responsible? Weep holes to let the moisture out might have 26

Courtesy of R & B Wagner

R & B Wagner drills weep holes into each U-bend of this serpentine schedule 40 pipe. After galvanizing, Wagner welds the top weep holes closed and uses a zinc solder to recoat the weld.

prevented this. Who’s responsible for specifying weep holes? Is it the designer, the fabricator, or the installer? The answers to these questions led to pages of dialogue on the email list, where members of NOMMA were willing to help a fellow metalsmith. Robert Rayson, owner of Stratford Gate Systems near Portland, OR, uses only galvanized steel for his fabrications. Hot dip galvanizing requires weep holes of fi inch to 3/8 inch diameter to allow air to get out and molten metal to flow inside the assembly. The galvanizing temperature ranges from 835° F to 850° F. Weep holes are necessary to allow super-heated air to escape as the fabricated unit sinks into the hot bath. Air trapped in pockets could cause an explosion or at the very least the assembly would float rather than sink into the metal bath. As the product is raised from the molten bath, weep-holes allow the zinc to drain from the hollows. Stratford Gate manufactures only high-end gate systems, where price is usually not the deciding factor on selling a job. “If you don’t protect steel on the inside, you have to make sure all your welds are free of pinholes,” Rayson said. “Otherwise, water will get in, and it’ll rust from the inside.” Eileen Webb pointed out that from her experience steel hollow fabrications that aren’t protected against corroFABRICATOR January-February 2002

Rayson suggests testing sealed fabrication for pinhole leak by tapping a hole and inserting a tank valve like this one. Air-pressure applied will reveal the leaking spots. Photo by John L. Campbell

sion on the inside won’t last more than five years. She recommends using a coating of asphalt on the inside of painted tubular surfaces. “You might try getting a car undercoating kit from your local automotive supply store. It should work great for the inside of railing tube,” Webb suggested. Unfortunately, the NAPA dealer in my area didn’t have such a product in stock, but 3M does make a pencil-thin wand that, when used with a special gun, applies corrosion resistant coatings like asphalt. The fact that water got into the steel frame fabricated by Hurtt was not a surprise to Bob Rayson. But he offered a unique suggestion for finding leaks in fabricated joints. “Get a threaded tire valve,” Rayson said, “tap a hole and screw it into the fabrication. Apply air pressure and the leaks will show-up.” Pinholes in the welds can be spotted and closed. Other than condensate from moisture trapped in the fabrication, outside water shouldn’t be a problem. Dr. Pierre R. Roberge, who authored the popular Handbook for Corrosion Engineers, published by McGrawHill, is an authority on corrosion. He now teaches materials engineering at the Royal Military College in Canada. He recommends that tubular structures be sealed in harsh environments, especially in areas where salt spray is a problem. “Usually, we would recommend using an additional barrier to prevent corrosion in these conditions. A few decades ago people were slushing tar loaded petrol before sealing a

system.” When asked about the potential of corrosion from anaerobic bacteria and their metabolites, Dr. Roberge didn’t feel it was a problem. Anaerobic bacteria, which can cause corrosion in the absence of oxygen, wouldn’t be able to survive in a sealed environment because the bacteria require a finite amount of nutrients to survive. The location of any metal fabrication will make a tremendous difference in its exposure to corrosion. In northern urban areas, where salt is used on the streets during winter, chlorides are splashed into the air by traffic and carried by the wind for the length of a football field. Tom Zuzik at Artistic Railings Inc. of Garfield, NJ seals all hollows, especially if the installation is near seawater. Moreover, Zuzik likes to work with aluminum rather than steel, mainly because his company has never located a satisfactory galvanizing source. To give aluminum maximum corrosion protection Artistic Railing uses a polyester powder paint that’s rated to withstand 2,000 hours of salt spray testing.

Marks USA

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FABRICATOR January-February 2002


avoid trapping air and to allow electrolyte to drain from the final product. Scott Johnson at Hiawatha Metal Craft in Minneapolis recommends weep holes of 3/8 to ⁄ inch for anodizing and hard coating aluminum. The thickness of a typical anodized coating is a milliliter to 1fi milliliters. With tanks 44 feet long and 6 feet

Courtesy American Galvanizers Association

“We’re using a powder paint that’s 4 to 5 milliliters thick,” Zuzik said, “where most powder coatings cost $3.59 to $4.50 per square foot, we’re paying our vendor $11 to $12, three times the average powder paint job. We’ve got installations in service for seven years within 55 feet of seawater.” Zuzik went on to say that he never recommends anodized aluminum near saltwater environments. Like the galvanizing process, the anodizing process requires weep holes to

The following specifications come from the American Galvanizers Association: 1 - External vent holes must be as close to the weld as possible and not less than 3/8 inch (9.5) mm in diameter. 2 - Internal holes should be the full I.D. of the pipe for the best quality and lowest galvanizing cost. 3 - Vent holes in end sections or on similar sections must be 1/2 inch (12.7) mm. 4 & 5 - Ends should be left completely open. Any device used for erection in the field that prevents full openings on ends of horizontal rails and vertical legs should be galvanized separately and attached after galvanizing.

10 inches deep, Hiawatha anodizes poles for lighting and flags. “We can handle widths of 34 inches,” Johnson said. “The biggest problem we have in anodizing a fabrication is the welds. There’s a halo effect caused by the weld and the base metal has a different color. The weld metal is not the same chemistry as, let’s say, a 6063 extrusion. Sometimes the weld is done too hot and the filler rod loses some of its alloy.” Like galvanizing, if the weep holes are not located to let the air escape from the assembly, the fabrication will tend to float. To investigate what other trade organizations recommend regarding weep holes for hollow steel products, we contacted Dr. Sergio Zoruba, a senior engineer at the solutions-center of the American Institute of Steel Construction Inc. in Chicago. ( html) “If the hollow-structural-section (HSS) assembly is fabricated as an airtight enclosure, weep holes need not be provided because any oxygen in the contained air will be quickly used and corrosion cannot progress. Circle 19 on Reader Service Card


FABRICATOR January-February 2002

condensation, weep holes should be proThis fence in Kansas vided. If, however, a City, MO has red ribbons tied around the column is protected bulged sections of the from the elements steel frame indicatand is neither subing where moisture ject to drastic temaccumulated and froze. Whether it was moisture perature change nor from condensate or pinhumid environment, holes in the welds, propweep holes may not erly placed weep holes be necessary.” So would have allowed the moisture to drain out. wrote Dr. Zoruba, and he followed that paragraph with an AISC disclaimer for any liability arising from the unauthorized use of his advice. Edward R. Estes, PE and Technical Consultant for the National Association of Architec-tural Metal Manufacturers (NAAMM) found references to weep holes in their Pipe Railing Systems Manual published by their Architectural Metal Products Division: “Provide vent/ drain holes at the ends of all closed sections of pipe and When non-airtight HSS columns are tubing for galvanized or anodized rail exposed to the weather or to temperasystems. Fabricate joints which will ture changes that can cause interior be exposed to weather so as to exclude

water or provide weep holes where water may accumulate.” The Hollow Metal Manufacturers Association, another division of NAAMM suggests that, “Openings be provided in the bottom closure channel of exterior doors to permit the escape of trapped moisture.” Some NOMMA members have avoided galvanizing steel because they’ve had poor experiences with suppliers. Moreover, the number of galvanizing sources has diminished. The American Galvanizers Assoc-iation (AGA) publishes a quality booklet on painting over galvanized surfaces, a process they call duplexing. The information in their publication may answer some of the adhesion problems NOMMA members have had with painting galvanized surfaces. (www. With galvanizing, a hot dipped zinc coating bonds with the steel giving it cathodic protection. The synergistic effect of painting over the galvanized exterior adds additional years to the protection. Where a galvanized coating is expected to last


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Crescent City

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40 years, and a paint coating 10 years, galvanizing and painting should last 75 years with reasonable maintenance. The galvanizer should be made aware that you plan to paint over their coating. You don’t want runs, drips, and dross inclusions on the surface. Moreover, it’s important that the galvanizer refrain from quenching in water or chromate solutions, common final steps in the galvanizing process. In addition, if you paint over galvanizing in less than a year’s time, you should employ a surface etching with zinc phosphate to remove loose zinc oxide or zinc hydroxide particles. It’s important to know the age of the galvanized coating for surface preparation. A galvanized coat goes through different stages before reaching a stable zinc patina. The surface is a mixture of zinc oxides, hydroxides, and carbonates. Paint can be applied to a stable zinc surface without adhesion problems. Zinc phosphate treatments can be applied by dipping, spray, or brush. The paint system to be used is equally important. If phosphate etching is used, AGA doesn’t recommend zinc-rich paints. The phosphate cuts down on the electrical conductivity of the paint, which is vital to corrosion protection. Once weep holes have been drilled into structural hollows there may be situations where the customer wants the holes covered. At R & B Wagner in Milwaukee one of their products is a serpentine bike rack using galvanized steel tubing. Weep holes are drilled in each U-bend for the galvanizing process. After galvanizing, Wagner welds the top weep holes closed and uses a zinc solder to re-coat the weld. In Aloha, OR, Bruce Reichelt supplies standard plugs (1/4 inch, 3/8 inch and fi inch) in 6061 aluminum for closing weep holes in galvanized hollows. ( Eileen Webb made a comment well worth remembering. “When negotiating a new job, always asks the customer how long they want the fabrication to last.” It’s a question that leads into the importance of doing a quality job, one that lasts longer; moreover, the question of longevity presents an FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Top Job Profiles

A Fabricator Makes his Mark with an Oval-Spiral Staircase Renovations to an historical house in Alabama presents a large challenge for a young company.

By Earl Burkett New Market Iron Works

Huntsville, AL is rich with history in its downtown area. That’s why it was such an honor for our company to be chosen to work on the restoration and addition to this circa 1813 mansion, one of the oldest homes in the city. With antique statuary punctuating the front yard, this 12,500 square foot home on 2fi acres is impressive in detail, and it tells quite a story. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers carved their initials and dates in the beams of the crawlspace as they hid from the Union soldiers walking on the floor above. The pipes had been wrapped with era’s local newspapers for insulation. Every day we worked, history was us After the clients purchased the home in 1999 they began a 6,500 square foot addition designed by Bill Peters Architects and coordinated by Albert

The narrow space made it necessary to create an oval-spiral staircase. 36

FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Ordway & David Stone Contractors. A two-story conservatory was added to the back of the home. It contained a catwalk and needed a spiral stair. The only catch was a large stained glass window and a door that created a narrow space for the staircase. The best solution was to build it oval instead of round. Although we had installed spiral kits, we had never built a spiral from scratch whether round or otherwise. Our challenges have come steadily since beginning this business three years ago and it just seemed par

for the course. Luckily our client decided to give us a shot at it. We began by planning it out in AutoCAD based on a magazine photo admired by our client. Paul Hamby, our part time draftsman, (and full time space shuttle manager for NASA) was well qualified to create the drawings and chart the top: The center pole is 6 inches around and 12 feet high. bottom: New Market decorated the suspension hardware, and other subs added the plaster beneath the structure.


headroom and tread depths. When you compress a spiral, it changes the size and shape of every step on the job and this one needed two landings as well. Hamby even made us a scale model of the staircase out of wood with a handrail which helped our client visualize and approve everything before we started construction. The center pole was 6 inches round and approximately 12 feet high. Layout was done with a series of chalk lines for tread locations. We measured, numbered, and plotted out the treads in real size for our shop to build from angle iron and weld to the pole. Since our shop ceiling is only 10 feet we also built a frame for it to lie in on its side. This made it easy to turn it and attach the treads accurately. The frame also supported the staircase durCircle 77 on Reader Service Card


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ing transportation to prevent damage. We hired a crane to set it into place before the conservatory windows were installed. We welded a hook to the inside of the center post for the crane. Before we sealed the top of the center pipe with a plate we dropped our own little time capsule inside. Inspired by the soldiers from 140 years ago, we left a Ziploc bag with our signatures and pictures inside. The rails, designed by decorator Mark Brubacher, came after other subs installed a wooden skirting. We used 5/8-inch solid stock with large square collars from Lawler Foundry. Custom two-part brackets were CNC machined to hold each baluster on the outside of the step. We rolled a large forged panel for the landing and added the wide metal handrail. Our client chose terminal ends at the top and bottom. Then they decided to eliminate the catwalk’s support pole and suspend it from the ceiling. We decorated the suspension hardware and added rails with forged panels to match. We provided a primed finish, which was later painted with a gray,

industrial enamel, which we had originally mixed for another client but it was vehemently rejected. This client’s decorator loved our gray and considered using it extensively through the house. Other subs came in to add the heart pine to the treads and plaster be-neath the structure and gave the staircase a polished look. We like to think that New Market Iron Works has contributed something significant to this city and our client through this historically correct renovation. It has been quite extensive with much more than just the oval staircase. Some of the other projects include custom cast original components for multiple balustrades and balconies, cast iron steps, support

The fabricator rolled a large forged panel for the landing and added a wide metal handrail.

columns on the porches, five interior staircases including two spirals, a new pool fence, restoration of an old Stewart fence and posts, three sets of entrance gates, multiple walkthrough gates, exterior double curved stairs outside the conservatory, custom columns inside the conservatory and stainless steel components for a pot rack. New Market Iron Works, New Market, AL, has been a NOMMA

Texas Metal Industries

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Top Job Profiles

Quality All Around A fabricator completes a monumental steel, glass, and wood railing.

By Jim Eldridge Continental Bronze, Div. of Offenhauser Co.

The owner wanted the highest quality and degree of craftsmanship available and the architect had every intention of seeing that his client was satisfied. His ambitious design for a three-story floating steel stair clad entirely in stainless steel with railings crafted from stainless steel, glass, and cherry wood was to be the “crown jewel” of the building. Continental Bronze’s involvement began with a meeting at the offices of the construction manager where we were exposed to a set of “80 percent drawings.” By definition they are supposed to be 80 percent complete but typically turn out to be 20 percent complete with the other 80 percent still floating around in the architect’s head. As luck would have 42

This three-story staircase is made of stainless steel, glass, and cherry wood.

FABRICATOR January-February 2002

it, though, the details were remarkably complete. A substantial amount of thought had been given to the concept, the structural design, and the architectural details. Furthermore the project architect had personally been involved with the detail work which simplified communication. During the initial meeting it was determined that due to the tight construction schedule (can you say “hypertrack?”) it made sense to separate the structural stair itself from the finish work. It was mutually agreed that the stair would be fabricated by the structural steel fabricator and the stainless steel/glass/cherry wood components would be handled by the successful ornamental metals bidder. This arrangement can sometimes be compared to partnering an auto body repairman with a neurosurgeon. But in this case, the structural fabricator was well known to us, had a good reputation, and his shop was only 15 minutes from Continental Bronze. Plans and specs in hand we


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The fabricator was contracted to build 500 feet of stainless steel, glass, and cherry wood railing for a 3-story “floating” stair. Over 15 tons of material was used to accomplish the task. After installation the railings were glazed with a special fi inch thick laminated rice paper glass. Random polished 16 gauge stainless steel sheet was water-jet cut to form curved appliqués which were adhered to both sides of the glass at each baluster.


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returned to our office and set to work on the estimate. The drafting room was immediately involved in order to translate some of the architectural details into fabrication sketches for further refinement. Prices were solicited for the 15 tons of stainless steel bar and sheet, the hundreds of square feet of custom “rice paper” glass, the custom cherry wood handrail moldings, and the numerous other components and outside services. We had to consider who would make up the fabrication team in our shop, what jigs and fixtures would have to be built, what the delivery sequence would be, as well as that of installation, etc,. Our price was assembled and submitted, and for a couple of weeks rumors were flying: “So-and-so’s price is low; our price is high; this guy can’t deliver; that guy must be crazy,” etc. Then we received a phone call inviting us to a “scope review” at the site offices. Our group of five attended the meeting, and two hours after it started we left the meeting with a general good feeling. Later we received another phone call and were advised that Continental Bronze would be recommended to the owner as the fabricator of choice and that we should start to gear up for the job ahead. Needless to say we were ecstatic. Also needless to say, the stair that would carry our precious material would not be ready to field measure for two months. It was only just being detailed for approval. Faced with that issue we concentrated on our shop drawings and began ordering material that we were confident would not change. We were given limited approval to our drawings to enable us to build a 6-foot mock up of the railing complete with all the bells and whistles. There was some fun to be had here. Once the mockup was complete, we scheduled an appointment with the architect, construction manager, and owner’s representative for an inspection at our shop. One of our guys suggested renting theatrical curtains and lighting, in a good-natured attempt to really wow our guests. So that’s the way it happened. After an hour or so, we were sincerely thanked for presenting the product in this manner and basically told that the work was approved for FABRICATOR January/February 2002

Cleveland Steel Tool

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fabrication. We would receive our stamped drawings within a few days. Now things really got serious. An adjustable fixture was constructed that would allow us to replicate each stair stringer. This allowed each railing to be assembled and mated to the adjacent railing in its ultimate vertical position. In effect we would be “preerecting” the sections. They could then be broken down for easier shipping and handling on site. A-frame dollies were also built so that as a section was removed from the truck at the site it

The railings balusters were waterjet cut from fi inch thick stainless steel plate and then polished (all surfaces) to a #4 fine satin finish. They were assembled into pairs with various other components and then combined with a fi inch by 2 inch stainless steel top bar with glass stops to form the railing’s skeleton.

could be placed on a dolly (each dolly accommodated up to four sections) and rolled into the building on rubber


casters. The dollies would also act as storage racks on site. With this preliminary work behind us, we began fabricating components which would not be affected by field measurements. We had 250 balusters water-jet cut from fi inch thick stainless steel plate. Each piece then received a #4 fine satin polish on all surfaces. Other components of the railing skeleton were similarly produced. At this point the steel stair had been erected and was ready for field measurements. A team was contracted to do a complete survey of the stair verifying “as built” conditions and laying out reference points for our erector. We found very little variation from the shop drawings. The path was now clear to begin complete assembly of the railings as well as the shearing and forming of the 14 gauge stainless sheet that would clad the steel stair stringers. About three months passed during which the bulk of the rails were built, and it was time to begin installation. Our erector set up scaffolding at the top level of the stairwell to support a monorail beam, from which a trolley and electric hoist were hung. This allowed them to pick each rail section from a dolly, hoist it into position, and secure it to the appropriate stringer. The process would be repeated as many as 50 times (there were rails on both sides of every stair run for nine long flights) until every section was in place. The finish welding was then accomplished using stick to weld baluster to stringer, and TIG weld-

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ing to join each individual section of railing. Once this was completed, an aluminum “shoe” was bolted to the top flange of the stair stringers which would eventually support the glass infill panels. This was an interesting detail. The “shoe” was only acting as a receptor for the bottom edge of the glass, and as an anchoring point for the stringer cladding. It was not performing the normal function of a structural support for the glass which, in turn, is generally the structural element in the rail system. In this case the railing skeleton, i.e. balusters and con-

tinuous top rail,


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The railing’s skeleton was welded directly to the stair structure in the field. AN extruded aluminum glass “shoe” was then bolted to the top of the stair stringers. The shoe and stringer were clad with 14 gauge stainless steel sheet which had been laser cut to the appropriate shapes. Templates of the inside face of the stringers were made of a “saw-tooth” configuration of the riser treads and 14 gauge stainless steel sheet was then laser cut and formed into additional cladding and installed.

formed the structure. The glass was only an infill panel that would be held in place by the shoe at the bottom edge and a pair of stainless steel glass stops welded to the underside of the top rail, (exposed fasteners to fasten the bars was not an option). These stops were only fi inch thick bars. There was no extra space or void here to receive the panel so it could be dropped into the shoe. The solution was to remove the inside vertical leg of the shoe by saw cutting and then fastening it back into place using Allen head cap screws which were tapped into the base of the shoe from the side. With this scenario we would be able to slip the light of glass into the upper glass stops from below and then into the shoe from the side. The removable leg would then be bolted into place, closing up the shoe and making it ready for the cladding. It also allowed us to hold off on installation of the glass until all potentially damaging work had been completed. Oh by the way, while all of the above work was going on we didn’t exactly have the stairwell to ourselves. There were drywallers, an HVAC contractor, painters, carpenters, electricians, and the occasional visit by a group from the owner’s other offices. Oh yes, there were also stone masons laying the Italian marble and French limestone floor. Needless to say we were not lonesome. At this point the railing, glass shoe, and glass panels were in place, and our millwork subcontractor was starting installation of the cherry FABRICATOR January-February 2002

guardrail cap (3-inch diameter) and the offset handrail (1fi-inch diameter). All the cherry was continuous from top to bottom of the stair so it was fit, mitered, splined, installed, and spray finished in the field. Simultaneously the stainless steel cladding for the outside face of the stringer was tackled. Due to the very deep stringer section (a C 12 inch on top of a HSS 12 inch by 8 inch by 5/8 inch) these pieces of 14 gauge stainless sheet were made into 25 inches wide by 52 inches long parallelograms. They have a brake-formed top edge that hooks over the top edge of the glass shoe and a bottom edge that was also brakeformed to receive stainless steel soffit cladding. At each end the panels abutted the balusters. There was no trim to allow any tolerance, so it was decided to make the panels slightly long to allow for field fitting, scribing, and cutting. The cladding for the inside face of the stringer was also oversized and was scribed and fitted to the saw-tooth risers/treads hard against the steel riser and the concrete fill of the treads. All cladding was permanently affixed using an ultra-high bond “double-faced” tape from 3M which is used in the aerospace industry — incredible stuff! It was now time for some final tweaking of our work and some housekeeping. All surfaces were wiped down with soft cloths and a glass cleaner. This was followed by the carpeting, a ⁄ inch thick commercial type glued to the risers and treads. We were finally finished. The owner had begun moving into the building and the huge planter at the base of the stair was filled with an attractive planting of trees and plants including bright red poinsettias, since Christmas was only a few weeks away. The “crown jewel of the building” was a wonderful combination of material and finishes, marble and limestone floors, bright satin stainless steel, rich rice paper glass, cherry wood, etc., We left the site for the final time with a true sense of accomplishment. The architect was smiling, the owner was pleased and, best of all, there was no punch list. Continental Bronze, a division of Offenhauser Co., has been a FABRICATOR January/February 2002

Ornamental Steel Designs

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Top Job Profiles

Welcome to the World of

atina P

While creating a patina finish requires careful attention to detail, developments in patina products continue to make the process easier.

By Rachel Squires Associate Editor

Who doesn’t love a patina finish? It protects metal while offering a lively variety of colors. A patina occurs when metal oxidizes or changes color. This process occurs from natural weathering or exposure to acid. The classic example is the green color copper takes on with age. Although a natural patina may take several years to occur, patina chemical suppliers offer products that give the fabricator more control over patination. Such control speeds up the process to a matter of weeks, days, and even hours in some cases. This is referred to as forced patination, and there are several options available to even the lay patinator. Chaitanya Dave of Sur-Fin 50

Chemical Corp. says that patina has become a popular choice for finishing for two reasons. First, patina finishes create a more natural and attractive look. Secondly, developments in patina products continually make the forced process easier. For example, it’s no longer necessary to use heat when applying patina chemicals, or what patina specialists refer to as the hot process. above:

Vega Metals Inc., Durham, NC, entered this bench with patinaed brass and copper flower accents in the 1998 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest. right: Art’s Work Unlimited , Miami, FL, applied a patina wash to tone down the bronze paint, and gold and copper brushing on this 2000 Top Job entry.

FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Although it may take longer for the cold process to produce the desired color, it requires less equipment, like a torch. But the same beautiful patina finish can result. You simply dip, brush on, or spray on a room-temperature product and the chemicals make the patina happen. Of course there’s more involved in the cold process than simply applying a chemical. While heat is no longer necessary, it is still a very meticulous project, requiring careful timing and attention to detail. But no matter which process, there are three basic steps to patinating metals: clean, apply, and protect. But what’s the most important step? According to Sur-Fin’s Dave and Solomon Motamed of Triple-S Chemical Products (both of their companies are located in Los Angeles, CA), the most important step in patinating is the initial cleaning of the metal. If the metal surface is not properly cleaned from the get go, oils or dirt on the surface inhibit the reaction of the patina. Ron Young of Sculpt Nouveau, Burbank, CA, says either sand-

“Sandblasting or using a good metal cleaner are the best ways to properly prepare metal surfaces for patina application.” blasting or using a good metal cleaner are the best ways to properly prepare metal surfaces. Sandblasting abrades the surface, which is necessary if it is highly polished. Young says, “When working with iron, steel, or aluminum you may need to remove rust and fire scale.” He also warns that although mild acids are available for cleaning, they can sometimes interfere with the patina reaction. When using a metal cleaner on bronze, brass, or copper, Young suggests applying the cleaner with a brush, sponge, or rag. Let it stand for about five minutes. Then rub it with a red or green “Scotch Brite,” and rinse it with water. Repeat if necessary; dry the surface, and then apply the finish.

When working with iron, steel, or aluminum, Young says to use the same steps but do not rinse the cleaner with water. Instead remove it with a cloth and then apply the finish immediately. Note that most companies that supply patina finishing products also supply metal cleaners and conditioners. But you can only prepare a metal surface so much. Some surfaces react differently to acid applications. Products like metal coatings and oxides provide a solution for applying patinas to surfaces that traditionally don’t accept patina or are difficult metals to work with. Metal coatings can be applied to just about any nonmetal surfaces or to metal surfaces when you want to protect the metal underneath or change the type of metal for finishing. Once the coating is in place fabricators can then treat the coated surface like that particular metal — with a few exceptions of course. For example, when applying patina finishes, Young says to first apply a primer to a metal coating to keep it from being absorbed. Apply the primer “as soon as possible after


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cleaning because oxidation forms very quickly, even though you can’t see it,” says Young. He also stresses the importance of only using a cold process of patination when working with metal coatings. Once the surface — whether true metal or metal coating — is properly prepared, cleaned, and thoroughly dried, it’s time to apply the patina. Which patina chemical to use depends on the kind of metal surface you are working with and the color or finish you’d like the end product to reveal. There is a big dividing line between ferrous metals, which are iron, and steel and nonferrous metals, which are brass, bronze, and copper. It’s important to understand that a patina is a chemical reaction that causes metals to oxidize. This oxidation yields different colors with different metals depending on the chemical formula applied. Typically, the oxide of metals containing iron, ferrous metals, is rust, while aluminum forms a white oxide. So working with these metals greatly reduces your color choices to variations of rust and white. However,

Definitions from Contemporary Patination by Ron Young: Patina: The color of the surface of the metal caused by weathering or chemical application of acids. Cold Patina: A process of applying patina chemical solutions directly to the unheated surface of the metal. Usually cold patinas are layered patinas involving cycles of applications lasting days or weeks until the desired color is developed. Hot Patina: The most widely used technique. The surface of the metal is heated with a torch to open pours, usually around 200°F. Then the patina chemical solutions are applied with a brush or spray. As the metal cools, the patina is locked in. Torch: An instrument for bringing together and properly mixing oxygen and gases so that when ignited, the heat of the flame is controlled. Ferrous: A word used to describe compounds that contain iron, from the Latin word ferrum for iron. Oxide: A naturally occurring agent that causes the surface of metal to change color. adding a chemical called selenium to a patina formula yields dark rust like black or grey on ferrous metals.

Working with bronze, brass, and copper leaves you with a much wider variety of possible colors, from

SUPER SCROLLER PLUS 3000 by Phillips Machine & Tool Company

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hot rolled) to make scrolls from approximately 4” wide to 8-1/2” wide. Will bend 3/8” rods, round and square, to make scrolls from (approx.) 2” wide to 8” wide. Will bend 3/8” x 1” flat bars. Makes up to 360 scrolls per hour.

The big die bends flat metal up to 1/4” x 1-1/2”, 3/16” x 1-1/2” and 1/8” x 1-1/2, small die bends up to 3/8” rods, round or square and flats up to 3/16” x 1”. Dies can be changed in less than 10 seconds with no tools. Comes complete with circle maker (approx. 8” circles or larger.) With optional equipment, will make small rings as shown in photo (approx. 3 1/2” diameter and larger.) Rotation of scroll dies is controlled by a foot switch on each end of the machine; reverse is controlled by two con­ve­nient­ly located hand le­vers. The Plus 3000 mod­el has a dial on top which can be set to stop au­to­mat­i­cal­ly for any

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green, to blue, to violet, and so on. Since there is no iron in these metals they do not form rust. But, according to Debbie and Ron Young, even an experienced patina applier may find it difficult to create certain colors on nonferrous metals. It takes a skilled eye and careful handling of the metal and chemicals. To make this process easier and to increase the variety of possible colors for ferrous metals, Ron Young created special patina oxides. Since the product is already an oxide, the color, so to speak, is already produced. By applying it to the metal surface, you are actually applying an oxide, not a patina. The patina has already happened, and the color or oxide binds to the metal surface without reacting to it. As mentioned, the patina process itself, whether applying an oxide or a traditional chemical patina formula, can take up to several weeks before the final desired appearance is achieved. It may take a variety of formulas and multiple layers to produce a certain color. Some formulas require dipping, brushing, or spraying. Jeremy

Free Patina Technical Advice

Sur-Fin Chemical Corp* (800) 282-3533 Triple-S Chemical Products* (800) 862-5958 Patina Finishes and Copper Coats (800) 882-7004 Instructional Videos and Books Sculpt Nouveau (760) 432-8242 Obtaining these items have incurs a fee. * Indicates NOMMA member.

Bonaguidi of Patina Finishes and Copper Coats Inc., San Diego, CA, warns fabricators to be careful during application not to create puddles where the formula will be thicker in some areas. According to Bonaguidi, weather temperature and humidity affect the patina reaction. He says, “Do not apply in direct sunlight or excessively hot weather, or during freezing or rainy

weather.” Also be sure to allow each layer the appropriate amount of drying time before applying another layer or before sealing the patina with a clear coat. Depending on the product you are using this can take from 24 hours to six or eight days or longer. Sur-Fin, Triple-S Chemical, and Patina Finishes and Copper Coats offer technical advice on patina application, cleaning, and final coating. You can call to request information or speak to a patina specialist during their business hours. Call Sur-Fin at (800) 282-3533, Triple-S at (800) 862-5958, or visit:, or call Patina Finishes and Copper Coats at (800) 882-7004, or visit: www. Sculpt Nouveau also offers instructional books and videos which you can obtain by calling (760) 432-8242, or visiting: www. Once you’ve achieved the look you want, seal it. Sealing your finish protects it from further weathering. Ferrous metals may still rust and nonferrous metals may tarnish. Your best bet is to apply a clear coat. Young

Calif Wire Products

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suggests spraying on your clear coat rather than brushing it on since the brush can create bubbles. He also says that two or three light coats are better than one heavy coating. Depending on the type of patina, you can also apply a layer of wax, either alone or in addition to the clear coat Aside from patina formulas, hot and cold processes, and oxides, there are other options for achieving a patina look, like patina paints and dyes. They come with their own application specifications. Another choice may be optimal for some fabricators — prepatinated copper materials. In an article published in the summer 2001 issue of Architectural Metal, “Prepatinated Copper Offers the Beauty of Aged Copper Now!” author and editor Danielle A. Doiesz explains why the demand for pre-patinated copper roofing is on the rise - it’s already done. However, David Hunt, Manager of Architectural Services at Revere Copper, says that although Revere produces pre-patinated copper sheets, there’s no been demand for pre-patinated stock material. “Typically, we only produce pre-patinated sheets up to 2 milliliters thick for a sheet ounce weight,” says Hunt. “The reason is that there simply isn’t a market for anything else yet. Perhaps there could be. But gates and rails are subject to a lot of ‘physical abuse,’ which natural patination and pre-patination materials aren’t really that resistant too.” He explains that patina is not resistant to abrasion. “If a door is sheathed with patinated copper, the patina would wear off from touching,” says Hunt. “It’s very tenacious to environmental attacks, but certain acids will destroy it, and abrasives wear it.” Keep this information in mind when offering patina finishing to your clients. It’s another reason why protecting a patina with some form of clear coating is so important. And it may require including a maintenance fee in contracts involving patina work. But Motamed of Triple-S Chemical says the reason ornamental and miscellaneous fabricators aren’t really interested in pre-patinated materials is because they like to have more FABRICATOR January/February 2002

Tennessee Fabricating

control over theirService projects. Circle 89 on Reader Card This said,

as the versatility of patina products 57

Market Profile

Gambling In Las Vegas

ssive its ma wn for : Las Vegas o n k g ttom gas is Las Ve projects. bo lion in gamin top: il n b o ti 7.2 uc constr generated $ s casino in 1999. e revenu

Like the rest of the nation, the Las Vegas construction market has hit a bump. Despite the slowdown, some fabricators are still seeing plenty of action. By Thomas G. Dolan

byan 4C

types — single family, multi-family, hotel/motel, commercial buildings, public buildings, and miscellaneous grew from 40,325 in 1995 to 51,621 in 2000. Overall growth rate is 28 percent. During this same period the population grew from 1,040,688 to 1,428,690, an average annual growth rate of over 6 percent. Yet that brings us up only to 2000, before the arrival of the

Photos: Las Vegas News Bureau

You’ve just hit the jackpot! Or maybe not. But sometime, sooner or later, if you play your cards right, as a fabricator in Las Vegas you’ll likely hit the jackpot! There’s no question that Las Vegas has been growing, at least up to the recent past. The Clark County Department of Comprehensive Planning, Las Vegas, reports that new building permits for the county, including all

















TRIPLE-S CHEMICAL PRODUCTS, INC. 3464 UNION PACIFIC AVE., LA., CA 90023 TEL: (323) 261-7301 FAX: (323) 261-5567 Toll Free: 1(800) 862-5958 Circle 94 on Reader Service Card


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recession and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. What’s expected to happen next? The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority projects some hotel/room figures, which is a helpful indicator. While they project rooms growing from 127,369 in 2001 to 136,100 in 2004, the actual numbers diminish each of these years from 3,009 to 3,070, to 3,761, to 900. Does this mean that this market is saturated, or falling off, or that these are simply the number of bids which will increase as the future arrives? Who knows?

liberty brass turning

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The last update was August 28, before September 11. Those in the know in Las Vegas say casino construction has stalled as a result of September 11. But the stall is either short or long term, and some projects are now coming to completion after all while others will come about in the near future. Want to know for sure? Get out your dice. Somer Hollingsworth, president /CEO, Nevada Development Authority, Las Vegas, reports

that for many years his agency has been very successful in attracting new commercial and industrial buildings to the area. “That business has been excellent,” he says, until recently, that is. “Now many of the people we’re working with say, ‘put everything on hold.’ We’ve never heard that before,” Hollingsworth says. He is quick to add, however, “A lot of people are saying things will pick up the second quarter of 2002.” Gene Lazaroff, MAP project manager, Industrial Extension Program of the University and Community College System of Nevada, Reno, acknowledges that the Nevada economy has taken a hit, but is continuing to grow at a slower rate. He predicts it will pick up and continue well ahead of the national average. “The short term emphasis is on infrastructure, which has accelerated after September 11,” he says. “About $4 billion will be spent on infrastructure over the next five years, which will create jobs and help sustain growth. There’s a whole new series of highways projected which will aid commercial development. The population is expected to grow at 3 to 4 percent over the next five years, and residential sales continue at a brisk rate, 22,000 home starts a year. This is the tops in the country, and the month of November exceeded last year’s growth.” So, probably, the best way to sum up a somewhat uncertain outlook is that, if you’re willing to take a gamble, Las Vegas will probably remain a hot market. But how are fabricators doing in this hit and miss world? Indirect reports we heard suggest that many fabricators are experiencing challenges. But the two NOMMA fabricators we interviewed said they are doing well. According to Ronal Hill, owner/partner of Riverside Iron Supply, CA, which supplies fabricators in the Las Vegas area, there are winners and losers. But the overall amount of material he has shipped in has dropped substantially. “A year ago I was selling $300,000 to $400,000 worth of component parts to Las Vegas a year, but that’s now down to $30,000 to $40,000.”

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Hill says that the big builders, who, of course, provide the work for fabricators, are becoming relatively frugal. For instance Steve Wynn has sold off about five of his multi-billion dollar casinos and has recently built one for a measly $500 million. On the other hand, it’s the high-end fabricators who continue to do well, while those who do the more standard work appear to be suffering. “It used to be that the fabricator doing standard residential work would be ordering $200 to $300 worth of material from me once a week; now it’s $100 to $200 once a month. The average homeowner is not buying, or, if he is, he’s buying off the shelf at Home Depot,” Hill says. Hill adds that “a lot of millionaires here have become paupers but there still is high-end work. Before it would be once in a blue moon that I would get a $10,000 to $15,000 order for a mansion. But now there are more of those.” Hill explains that there are only a small handful of fabricators who have the capital to finance the big jobs and who can endure the wait to


“It’s a weird situation. Some of the authorities are predicting disaster. I’m envisioning things picking up by next summer.” FFF get paid. They get the bulk of the business. “I have some customers doing residential work who say they’re so booked up they can’t take on any new work for about eight months, while others can’t give their work away.” The future? “It’s a weird situation,” says Hill. “Some of the authorities are predicting disaster. I’m envisioning things picking up by next summer. But I’m just guessing, like everybody else.” One NOMMA fabricator seems unaffected by the slowdown. Rod Lambirth, owner of Rod Iron Rod, brings an insight into another

side of the Las Vegas economy, one that directly affects his business. Promoters in recent years have striven to improve the city’s image. But Las Vegas casinos had their beginnings in the gangster days, and the basic premise has not changed. For everyone who goes to the city to make money, there is still someone there to take it from him. “A great many people who are attracted here are a vagrant type, so much so that the employee market is terrible,” Lambirth says. “You can hardly trust any employee.” Lambirth says he had $80,000 worth of

Mac Metals

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tools stolen from him. It’s a common problem. Another fabricator had his shop broken into and all his tools were stolen off of three trucks. Another lost his gasoline welder. Up until March and April, Lambirth had some 30 to 35 employees. But this number was reduced to about eight, to both get rid of those he couldn’t trust as well as those who wouldn’t meet his standards. “I couldn’t keep up the quality, but now I have eight quality guys,” he says. He adds, “In desperation, I offered the top

surfin 4C

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While casino work has slowed, the high-end residential market apparently remains strong. Shown is a “rusted vine” railing fabricated for a $3 million home. The rust effect was created with a three-chemical formula. Fabricator: Rob Iron Rob Inc., Henderson, NV.

ones shares in the company… now a theft against me is one against them too.” Yet, outside of the employee challenges, which he appears to have resolved, Lambirth is on a roll, and sees no end in sight. “It’s crazy here, there’s so much work it’s unbelievable.” Lambirth acknowledges that the market is slow for the medium to low end iron market. But, he adds, “For the custom market, there are only a few of us, and there’s plenty of work out there.” Lambirth acknowledges that casino work has dropped off somewhat since September 11, which has hurt the big builders and big general contractors. But he adds that he is currently involved in a lucrative project for what he calls a “gentlemen’s club.” It calls for some 300 feet of brass for things like handicap railings, guardrails, and, yes, “poles.” Lambirth’s main work, however, is focused on high-end residential. His strong suit is that he mostly custom designs and builds his own work. Some of his big gates are like murals with engraved design incorporating streams and fish or other natural scenes. He does a lot of stair designs, which, though varying, he says, “are pretty much out of this world, and have my signature of a whirl like a tornado.” He builds one-of-a-kind originals, such as a 12-foot cactus made out of barbed wire. “The number one thing we do is design rails that FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Tennessee II

look like a dead tree trunk,” he says. “We rust the steel and put on 10 to 12 coats of clear lacquer so it looks like dead wood. Then we put on cast iron leaves.” Lambirth does absolutely no radio, newspaper, magazine, or any other advertising. “All I offer is my business card,” he says. His business is built totally by word of mouth. Lambirth has built a solid business foundation in a transitory society because he follows his motto: “Quality work the first time.” Jerry Wallace, who recently sold Advanced Architectural Metals Inc. but continues to work there as general manager, says that Advanced is the biggest fabricator in town, with a high of 70 employees. The next two largest have about 22 and 10 employees respectively. For Wallace, the economic impact of September 11, was, “just a slight lag; it was just another day at work.” Though casino building was either put on hold or slowed down, there was still enough to keep him busy. He says many of the big casino projects that were put on hold are now coming to completion, and he’s had his hand in most of them. Wallace is optimistic about the continued growth of the area. “It’s a very healthy economy, and a lot of people keep moving into town,” Wallace says. “There are very smart people who run this town. They are diversifying into making Las Vegas the center for world class restaurants and world class shopping. Every time something shows an indication of slowing down, they do something to bring in something to build it back up.” Wallace acknowledges that he has heard from suppliers all over the country that business is down. He adds, “If the recession is here I haven’t seen it. Our sales are still up where they were last year, and we have enough work to last through the third quarter of 2002.” So, Las Vegas is still the place for those who can hit the jackpot. But Lambirth, though speaking tongue-in-cheek about himself, probably speaks the truth for many if not most of the people who come to

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Industry Issues

CPSC Guidelines, codes, and gate hardware products can make pool perimeter fences even safer and more effective. By Maureen Williams D & D Technologies Inc.


ome of the most beautiful fences and gates in the world are fabricated from ornamental metal. These materials also play an important role in the safety device field. From residential gates around pools to automated gates that protect businesses, ornamental metal is frequently the material of choice. Most importantly, fences can save lives, especially when used around pools. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) statistics show that each year in the U.S., about 350 children less than five years old drown in swimming pools. The agency estimates that hospital treatment is required for an additional 2,600 children under five. Unfortunately, many of these children are left with permanent brain damage. Marcia Kerr, CPSC Consumer Information Officer, says, “Homeowners should take steps immediately to ensure the safety of children who live in or visit their homes. The weak link in the strongest and highest fence is a gate that fails to close and latch completely.” Kerr, the mother of a drowned child, continues by saying, “You can’t watch your child every second. Layers of protection are essential. As good parents, we never think it can happen to us, but it can and does.” The value of perimeter fencFABRICATOR January-February 2002

ing around pools in saving toddlers’ lives has been demonstrated in numerous studies done by injury control experts in several nations. Australia has perhaps the toughest pool fencing laws in the world. A recent review of toddler drowning in Queensland, Australia

showed that isolation fencing of backyard pools is highly effective in reducing the drowning of young children. In the U.S., the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center also reviewed a number of pool fencing intervention studies, and reported on the significant decrease in toddler drownings when a perimeter fence with self-closing, self-latching gate

hardware is in place. Per the Queensland study, pool fencing legislation was introduced in Australia in 1991, and fully implemented in 1992. Pool drownings numbered 15 in 1988 and 1990; 14 in 1989. In 1991, this number was reduced to 10. Pool drownings dropped to seven in 1992, and in 1993, there was only one such drowning recorded. The simultaneous introduction of safer gate hardware, strict standards, and a government publicity campaign assisted in this reduction. A gradual rise in subsequent years — though not equal to the rates prior to pool fencing legislation — can be explained by the increase in pools and in part by the cessation of the government awareness campaign. Per this same study, “The 1996 Labour Force Survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggests that the number of pools in Queensland has at least doubled over the last 10 years.” The Harborview researchers stated that, “Subsequent case-control studies are able to examine pool fencing intervention, showing that pool fencing significantly reduces the risk of drowning.” Authors concluded, “Early studies of pool fencing compare drowning rates in communities with and without pool fencing legislation, revealing significantly higher 65

drowning incidences in those areas without any pool fencing laws.” The extensive child drowning studies in Australia show that 90 percent of “unauthorized” access by toddlers to pool areas occurs as a result of a gate being inadequately latched or propped open. The Queensland study concluded that the most important element in an effective barrier of this type is a secure self-closing and selflatching gate. For some areas in the U.S., the use of self-latching latches and self-closing hinges on pool gates is recommended. In others, it’s required by state legislation, building codes, or local ordinances. Independent studies of “self-latching” devices have found that many traditional mechanical gate latches were not truly self-latching, since without the assistance of powerful and reliable self-closing devices (hinges, springs, etc.) the latches were found to rest on the latching mechanism, only appearing to be latched. This has led to the introduction in recent years of safer “magnetic” latches

that do not encounter mechanical resistance to closure. The CPSC recommends that the top of the fence should be at least 48 inches above grade/ground, measured on the side of the barrier that faces away from the swimming pool. The guidelines recommend eliminating handholds and footholds and minimizing the size of openings between bars. Per the CPSC, “If the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is less than 45 inches, the horizontal members should be on the swimming pool side of the fence. The spacing of the vertical members should not exceed 1fl inch. This size is based on the foot width of a young child and is intended to reduce the potential for a child to gain a foothold.” The report goes on to say that, “If the distance between the tops of the horizontal members is more than 45 inches, the horizontal members can be on the side of the fence facing away from the pool. The spacing between vertical members should

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers several booklets on pool safety, including this publication on barrier guidelines. Provisions contained in the 2000 International Residential Code are similar to the CPSC guidelines.

not exceed 4 inches.” The CPSC also recommends that, if there are decorative elements in the fence, the space within “cutouts” should not exceed 1fl inch to prevent footholds. Pedestrian access gates should open outward, away from the


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The CPSC guidelines recommend that the top of a pool barrier be at least 48 inches above grade, measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool. pool, and should be self-closing and self-latching, and “a locking device should be included in the gate design.” Per the ASTM and many building codes, where the release mechanism of the self-latching device is located less than 54 inches above grade, (a) the release mechanism should be located on the pool side of the gate at least 3 inches below the top of the gate and (b) the gate and barrier should have no opening greater than fi inch within 18 inches of the release mechanism. On ornamental metal fences and gates, a quarter-circle shaped acrylic shield can be mounted around each side of the latch to meet these specifications. The 2000 International

Residential Code (IRC), Appendix G, Section AG105, Barrier Requirements, follows the CPSC recommendations closely, with a few exceptions. The CPSC recommends that the bottom of the barrier not exceed 4 inches above grade. The 2000 IRC says, “The maximum vertical clearance between grade and the bottom of the barrier shall be 2 inches (51mm) measured on the side of the barrier which faces away from the swimming pool.” The IRC states, “Openings in the barrier shall not allow passage of a 4-inch-diameter (102mm) sphere.” The code concurs with the CPSC’s recommendations that the gate “shall open outward away from the pool and

shall be self-closing and have a selflatching device,” and that it “shall be equipped to accommodate a locking device.” The Magna-Latch, manufactured by D&D Technologies, is one example of a product that meets the requirements for self-closing, selflatching gates. As fencing professionals, we should take the lead in promoting perimeter fencing for pool and childsafety areas. For above-ground pools, a smaller fence and gate surrounding the steps or ladder can be effective in preventing toddler access. Maureen Williams chairs the task group on latches for the ASTM F14.10 Fencing Subcommittee on Specific Applications, and is a member of the Orange County (CA) Drowning Prevention Network, the California Drowning Prevention Network and the Safe Kids Coalition. She is public relations manager for D&D TechnoloFor more information on CPSC guidelines, visit:

Classic Iron

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Why the Swimming Pool Guidelines Were Devel The following is excerpted from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Safety Barrier Guidelines For Home Pools. Each year, hundreds of young children die and thousands come close to death due to submersion in residential swimming pools. CPSC has estimated that each year about 300 children under 5 years old drown in residential swimming pools. The Commission

estimates hospital emergency room treatment is required for approximately another 2,300 children under 5 years of age who were submerged in residential pools. In the late 1980s, CPSC did an extensive study of swimming pool accidents, both fatal drownings and near-fatal submersions, in California, Arizona, and Florida, states in which home swimming pools are very popular and in use during much of the year.


The findings from that study led Commission staff to develop the swimming pool guidelines. • In California, Arizona, and Florida, drowning was the leading cause of accidental death in and around the home for children under the age of 5 years. • Seventy-five percent of the children involved in swimming pool submersion or drowning accidents were between 1 and 3 years old. • Most of the victims were being supervised by one or both parents when the swimming pool accident occurred. • Nearly half of the child victims were last seen in the house before the pool accident occurred. In addition, 23 percent of the accident victims were last seen on the porch or patio, or in the yard. • Sixty-five percent of the accidents occurred in a pool owned by the victim’s immediate family, and 33 percent of the accidents occurred in pools owned by relatives or friends. • Seventy-seven percent of the swimming pool accident victims had been missing for five minutes or less when they were found in the pool drowned or submerged. The speed with which swimming pool drownings and submersions can occur is a special concern: by the time a child’s absence is noted, the child may have drowned. Anyone who has cared for a toddler knows how fast young children can move. Toddlers are inquisitive and impulsive and lack a realistic sense of danger. These behaviors make swimming pools particularly hazardous for households with young children. CPSC staff have reviewed a great deal of data on drownings and child behavior, as well as information on pool and pool barrier construction. The staff concluded that the best way to reduce child drownings in residential pools was for pool owners to construct and maintain barriers that would prevent young children from gaining access to pools. However, there are no substitutes for diligent supervision.

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Shop Talk

The Art of BendingBending Circles & Arcs A popular bending machine provides the “right stuff” for creating quick and accurate bends. By Chris Ray

Editor’s Note: This article begins a series we are launching on shop machinery.


he Hossfeld bender is a popular machine found in many small metalworking shops. The machine has many functions that belie its simple appearance. It’s one of the most versatile hand bending machines I’ve ever encountered. This article covers just one aspect of its fabrication capabilities —making circles and arcs. Let’s start by setting the machine up to bend a nine inch O.D. ring out of a 3/8 inch round. The bend has been started and the arm is ready to be pulled around to create the curve. In place is an 8fi inch diameter cast iron radius die and the backing block is set close enough to hold the bar in place. It’s a very simple and straight forward setup. Before pulling the arm around the die, it’s a good idea to try and “wipe” both ends of the bar (it’s difficult to align the ends of round stock). The reason for this is because it’s unavoidable to have both a beginning and ending portion of the bar — to have a flat. For starters, a wedge has been tapped between the backing block and the rod to hold it firmly FABRICATOR January-February 2002

in place while first bending the extreme end of the rod [figure 1]. If not secured, the rod simply pulls around the die itself, which results in a longer flat at the beginning of the bend. The wider the clearance between the backing block and the die, the longer the initial flat will be. So you want to try and minimize this. Of the standard block sets that come with this bender there are three settings you can use. One is the pinhole alignment to set the block distance. The block itself has two faces that are at different distances from the center of the pin. That’s it. In this particular situation, there is a little too much space for my liking between the backing block and this particular die. However, this arrangement is going to work just fine

The Hossfeld Universal Bender, first introduced in 1925, is an industry classic.

anyway. The arm is being pulled around the die, and the rod is being pulled along with it in this case. When the fit is tighter between the die and the backing block then the extended portion of the bar bends around the die while the rest remains in place. This is my preferred way of bending [figure 2]. A DiAcro bender which can do pretty much the same thing has a better arrangement for locking a piece in place while bending. That’s where I got the idea for using a wedge to hold the piece for the initial wipe. Both the backing block and the follower block for this machine are identical and they swivel on the hardened pins to conform to the angle of the bar in relation to either the arm or to the die. I also have rollers that I use for the follower and prefer those in most cases. Since they are made on a lathe and are not part of the standard setup, I’m not going in to those right now. You can make up rollers by using a series of nesting pipes. Or you can drill out a round rod or do it on a lathe Figure 1: A wedge is tapped between the backing block depending on your shop setup and and rod to secure it in place. the equipment available. 69

Using a roller exclusively though isn’t necessarily desirable for this machine. There are some operations where the flat block is not only better but essential. As a standard component, it’s a compromise since rollers are not included (except for the pipe bending rolls and dies). Well, this is pretty much it as far as making a simple radius bend, either for a complete circle or a partial arc. There is one drawback to this style bender, and that is for larger radii it’s not practical to make a coil inside the frame of this unit. By making a coil you may roll a longer piece than necessary. Then cut off the flats from the excess, leaving the remaining piece well-rounded and ready for further work. I’ll explain what you can do to compensate for that at the end of this article. Small coils and springs can be made however, when bending on the top part of the frame using a special tooling provided

Figure 2: The arm is pulled around the die, and the rod is pulled along with it.

Figure 3: Cast iron dies are available which have the chord of a circle formed on each side of the die. Also shown here is a collection of circular dies.

with this unit. This die setup will be described later. Next I’ll illustrate how large radiused arcs and even circles can be easily created. There are a series of cast iron dies available for the machine. They have the chord of a circle formed on each side. Each die then can be used for two different sized arcs. Shown on the shelf [figure 3] are some of these special dies as well as a bunch of circular dies stacked in the right hand part of the shelf. Circular dies are easy enough to make yourself using dense plywood or oak, layered at 90 degree angles then glued together. Two fl inch pieces would give you a thickness of 1fi inches times any diameter that will fit into the machine. Drill a hole that will receive a pipe with a 1 inch i.d., and you have a pretty good bearing for the 1 inch hardened center pin. Now you will have to face your wooden circle die with some strap iron or sheet that’s at least 1/8 inch thick. Drill and coun-


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tersink holes for some wood screws and then you’ll have something usable and very inexpensive to make. I haven’t bothered to figure out how to make the chord dies but so far I have enough variety to get me through most jobs. You’ll have to use some basic math skills to determine the distance and arc to make such a die. I don’t believe it would be difficult. A large radius arc is now being formed with the chord die [figure 4]. This is one of the most tedious and patience trying operations for this machine, but it works. Why is it a pain in the butt? Because you can only shift the metal about 1/8 inch or a little more at a time. Then you crank the bending arm to move the metal, then shift a little bit, crank, shift, etc., etc. You can only bend just a little bit of a large arc and sometimes when the chord is very shallow for a 12-foot radius, it seems as if nothing is happening. But it is! It takes a long time to do a shape that large but on the other hand

Figure 4: A large radius arc is formed with the cast iron chord die.

Figure 5: An arch of this size requires a chord die, rather than a circle die.

most of us don’t have any kind of tool or machine at all to accomplish something like this. So that being the case and since it’s only an intermittent job at best, I certainly don’t mind the time spent in exchange for having the ability to do the job in the first place. Remember, the Hossfeld bender in particular isn’t an ideal production machine. It’s better suited for small shops that have a wide range and variety of bending operations to do. For production work, you may want to consider some of the larger units on the market. Shown is a little sample I made just for demonstration purposes [figure 5]. It’s a piece of ⁄ inch by 1⁄ inch cold rolled steel I had laying around on the floor. As you can see, that’s a pretty decent size arc which of course couldn’t be made with a complete circle die. Thus, I used the chord die instead. If you have a rolling machine then you don’t need to do things this way unless you ex-


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Figure 7: The metal is “wiped” prior to bending. Note the special tool that’s used to create the “eye.”

Figure 6: A third way of making radius bends on the machine requires that you shift the die to the top of the machine frame.

ceed the capacity of your roller. The Hossfeld can handle up to fi inch by 2 inch hot rolled mild steel flats! That’s a pretty hefty hunk of iron for cold bending. You can increase the capacity dramatically if you heat the heavy iron one or two times. I guess by now you’re beginning to sense the versatility of this machine. What I like best about the unit is that I can make some custom attachments myself. It doesn’t care a whit about tolerances counted in the thousands of an inch. In fact this machine is so loose and floppy it’s hard

to imagine that you can do some fairly precise work with it. There is a third way to make circles or radius bends on the machine [figure 6]. You can shift the die to the top of the machine frame. This is generally done for lighter work when the pin isn’t supported by both the top and bottom arm. Then you can only figure on half the bending capacity. I substituted a longer stainless steel pin here since the normal one is too short to hold this thicker die. I also made a special backing block which is a miniature of the

standard set. With the offset hole I drilled in it, I have extended the range of open space available between a die face and the center of a pin. These are easy to make out of 1fi inch and 2 inch square bars cut to size. You can slip different size pipe over the extended pin to adjust the span, which is yet another option. The wiper arm is a special tool that is adjustable. You can fit different thicknesses of steel between it and the face, or you can loosen up the space for bending differently and ease up on the friction. As shown in figure


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Note the special tool that is used to make an “eye.” If you want to make a loop on a stem or an eye, form your circle until you stop at the straight run remaining on the steel. Next you flip the tool above so that the sharper end is facing the other way. Flip your just-formed piece over and swing the tool around. It will indent or offset the circle so it centers over the straight leg or shank of the piece. Figure 8: A floor mandrel can be Think of it as an eyebolt. used to even out circular shapes. Finally, as I promised earlier, I’ll explain how to get rid of the flats 6, I have tightened the arm against that may be part of a formed circle. the piece of strap steel because I’m Shown is a ring mandrel or floor mangoing to wipe the initial bend before drel [ figure 8] which is a tapered cast proceeding any further. This lessens iron shape used to even out circular the amount of the flat that I would otherwise have. I will tap in the wedge before I start the wipe to keep the metal from shifting. The next photo [figure 7] seems a little redundant but what the heck. The metal is being wiped to start the bend. Then the piece will be shifted and the arm pulled around to complete the circle after the wedge is removed.

shapes. You slip your deformed ring over the mandrel then tap the metal along the bottom side of the rim. Flip it over and continue. Remember, this is a tapered shape so you can’t hit the metal across the whole of the face, otherwise you’ll taper in the top portion of the ring. Another form that can be used is something like a section of schedule 80 pipe or any other heavy cylindrical object. In the case of using a pipe, you can first start a bend by hammering the ends over a pipe or the horn of an anvil before either rolling Technique articles are provided as a service to the industry and information should be used as general guidance only. By using the information in this article, the reader agrees to not hold liable the author or NOMMA for any damages.



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NOMMA’s Newest Video Is Now Available

“Almost The Last Word in Finishes” Cost: $36 NOMMA members, $45 nonmembers. Presenter: Lloyd K. Hughes of Lloyd K. Hughes Metalsmithing Length: 72 min. To order: See pg. 85 or visit: www.nomma. color. The result is fabulous, and you org

As promised, the second edition of NOMMA’s education video series is out! Again Lloyd Hughes of Lloyd K. Hughes Metalsmithing, Lexington, KY presents the subject matter with his comfortable, charismatic, and encouraging manner. This time the subject is finishing. In the 72-minute demonstration, Hughes explains how to apply over 12 different finishes using a variety of chemicals and materials, from oil and wax finishes to hot


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and cold patinas. Although Hughes makes it look easy, he stresses the importance of reading up on finishes before tackling any new project. Hughes offers good tips for preparing surfaces and ways to make certain jobs easier. For example when creating an antique finish, Hughes grips a thin sheet of plastic over his barely dried glaze as a means of removing the excess glaze and bringing out more of the base

can do it too. But like Hughes says, read up and practice on scrap material first. “Almost The Last Word in Finishes” was produced in May and is available now as part of NOMMA’s Educational Video Series. Parts and materials used in the video were donated by: Lawler Foundry, SculptNouveau, and Tennessee Fabricating. Future video subjects include fences, gates, and working with nonferrous metals.


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Industry Issues

The Industry’s Response To “Climbable” Guardrails By Tim Moss NOMMA Technical Consultant


ince 1988, Elliott O. Stephenson has published articles in model code magazines that advocate stricter guardrail requirements in the name of safety. While NOMMA embraces sensible guidelines for improving the safety and quality of our products, we are concerned with the recent offering from Mr. Stephenson — who advocates through inconclusive and misleading research — that there are only two types of guardrail designs suitable to protect children under the age of three from climbing. By pulling on the emotional heartstrings of parents, presumably in an effort to remain in the eye of the code body committees, his plea is to disallow all but two designs for guardrails while ignoring the very obvious: • Children under the age of 5 require constant adult supervision. • By his own research, most children over the age of 3 can and will climb anything, including ALL types of guardrails. • The very livelihood of NOMMA members and our affiliates depends on the installation of safe guards in every configuration imaginable. In this litigious world we work in today, if the products we manufacture were unsafe, the industry would perish FABRICATOR January-February 2002

“It is one thing to see our products cast in a negative light, but to call our rails an enemy to children is simply ridiculous.” and or the products would change. • The number of accidents from falls from children climbing guards is not recorded as a separate incident by organizations that keep records on accidents, presumably because there are too few incidents to warrant a separate line item. Meanwhile, over 120,000 children a year are injured in falls from playground equipment and Mr. Stephenson has not once mentioned this as a concern of his for the safety of the world’s children. In the September/October 2001 issue of Southern Building magazine, the committee was once again troubled to see yet another misleading article titled, “Climbable Guards — Special Enemy of the World’s Children.” It is one thing to see our

products cast in a negative light, but to call our rails an enemy to children is simply ridiculous. To begin with, we find his article an affront to all past building code officials and inspectors. In the second paragraph of his article, Mr. Stephenson spares no tact by saying, “For many decades during the past century the needs of young children in buildings have been given inadequate consideration by our building codes with the results that there are literally millions of unsafe guards in our existing homes, apartments, motels, hotels, and schools.” He calls this situation “an unfortunate legacy that has been left by building code authorities.” When misleading information is published about our trade, the Technical Committee feels compelled to respond. This is exactly what we did following the publication of Stephenson’s last article in May 1999 titled “Climbable Guards: An Unnecessary Hazard to Children.” Even before the 1999 article was published, the Technical Committee was conducting extensive research in this area, and our results were printed in the July/August 2000 issue of Fabricator. In the article, NOMMA’s research showed only 130 estimated annual injuries for children under age 10 that could be linked to climbing. 75

With the 2003 International Code Council (ICC) hearings quickly approaching, we feel it’s essential to once again respond to Mr. Stephenson’s latest article. It’s important that the railing manufacturing industry and our friends in the design community receive all of the facts on this issue. The 2003 ICC hearings take place April 8-19, 2002 in Pittsburgh, PA, and we fully anticipate that the controversial “ladder effect” requirements will be reintroduced in an attempt to get the language re-written into the latest codes. On the following pages, we’d like to address some points raised in Mr. Stephenson’s recent article. This information adds to our previous research, which is available for viewing at (Fabricator Support area). Defining a Guardrail A good starting point is to define the purpose of a guardrail. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a guardrail as follows: • A protective rail, as on a

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footpath or highway. • A device or apparatus that prevents injury, damage, or loss.

Summary of Key Events 1999 - NOMMA works to keep the “ladder effect” out of the 2000 International Building Code, but it gets in International Residential Code. 2000 - NOMMA helps to get the “ladder effect” removed from the 2001 International Residential Code Supplement. 2001 - There are no attempts to re-insert the “ladder effect” into the 2002 International Residential Code Supplement. 2002 - Hearings begin for the 2003 codes. NOMMA anticipates that the “ladder effect” will be resubmitted. Information on • Review NOMMA’s research conducted between 1999 and 2000. • View NOMMA’s first response to Mr. Stephenson’s research, which originally appeared in the July/August 2000 Fabricator.

Examining the Data In the opening sections of his article, Stephenson cites research to justify the banning of various guardrail designs. His information comes from the National Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which records detailed injury reports at 101 participating hospitals. A centerpiece of his article is a chart that shows a list of injuries and the number of incidents, which he compiled from 195 pages of NEISS data. This information was taken during a 5.8 year period beginning January 1, 1994 and ending October 19, 1999. Once again, he uses extrapolated figures to give a distorted view of the numbers and causes of accidents. The chart lists TOTAL incidents, including injuries not related to climbable guards, up to age 10. Included in the chart is data from “jumps or falls off a banister.” According to Webster’s dictionary, a “banister” is defined as: “a hand-


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rail with its supporting posts.” So, when Stephenson cites “falls and jumps from a banister,” there is no way to determine the design, and if horizontal members were present. In fact, nothing in his data specifically shows if a railing is creating a “ladder effect.” The bottom of the chart reads “Specific References to Climbing,” which he shows as 65 injuries. Since the data only comes from the 101 hospitals participating in the reporting program, he multiplies this figure by 40 to make it more representative of the 5,400 hospitals in the U.S. Thus, he estimates that there were 2,600 injuries (65 x 40) directly attributed to climbing during the 5.8 year period. Again, there is no specific information on what was climbed, and again the facts appear distorted and confused. Even Solid Guards Climbable In the next section of his article, Stephenson reports on a series of tests he performed to show the ability of children to climb guard assemblies. First, he takes on guardrails that have wood panels or vertical members up to 34 inches, with an open space between 34 and 42 inches. Stephenson says, “Many children ages two and three have enough arm and shoulder strength to hoist themselves over the bar having a height of 34 inches.” In fact, he even shows a little girl climbing through this space. Even wire mesh, with 11/4 inch openings, cannot stop children. He says, “Although a 42-inch high guard of woven wire with a 11/4 inch opening … provided toe holds, the toe holds were not essential for a child able to put his or her fingers through the opening and place his or her feet flat against the guard.” In short, Stephenson shows that even a solid guardrail can be climbed by a child. He summarizes by saying, “During the testing described, every guard type illustrated could be climbed by some four-year-olds. That includes solid guards 42 inches in height without openings, included in the test program but not illustrated in this report.”

climbing trees, furniture, park monuments, and practically everything. As a parent of four children, I can attest to the fact that children will climb everything! In an article titled “Keeping Your Climbing Toddler Safe,” author Alessia Cowee writes: “At any age, a child who climbs places him/herself in a dangerous, potentially fatal position. Parents of these pint-sized acrobats must remain vigilant, diligent, and resourceful: watchful of the climber in question, attentive in removing the child from heights, and creative in seeking solutions to frequent climbing

hazards.” Cowee also suggests that a child’s obsession with climbing will not likely falter, even after an accident. She says, “An injury such as a broken elbow may cause certain climbers to give up the habit; most climbers however will go right up the nearest tree, cast and all.” Climbing Is Healthy Climbing is even looked upon with approval by the medical community. Pediatricians check muscle development by a child’s ability to pull themselves up. Parents have

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encouraged the use of climbing walls at preschools to develop muscle skills and strength. During my research, I found numerous articles that discuss the cause of child injuries. One underlying cause is a child’s lack of judgment. A 1994 article from the National Pediatric Trauma Registry Fact Sheet, titled “Falls From Windows,” states that toddlers and preschoolers lack the judgment needed for risk assessment and safety precautions. Numerous medical reports show that child safety is an adult’s responsibility. Stephenson even states that the children in the two-year old group were possibly at their most dangerous age. They could climb some guards but did not yet have the knowledge to prevent injury. Following this reasoning, you wouldn’t leave a child alone next to a ladder that is leaning against a house because the child’s curiosity would possibly cause them to climb it. Should the manufacture of ladders be discontinued? No. A rubber ball could be kicked into a busy street where

“You wouldn’t leave a child alone next to a ladder that is leaning against a house because the child’s curiosity would possibly cause them to climb it. Should the manufacture of ladders be discontinued?”

a child may be tempted to retrieve it. Should rubber balls be outlawed because of this potential threat? No. The same principles should apply to the design of a guardrails. Nolo’s Legal Encyclopedia states that “even a very small child is presumed by the law to understand some dangers — for example, falling from a height or touching fire.” Nolo’s also says that the law doesn’t require


owners to childproof their properties. But it expects people to be alert to potential dangers to children and to take reasonable steps to prevent harm to those too young to understand the danger. The Tennessee Board of Education has a program called SAFETY FIRST! According to information from the program, “The child needs supervision to prevent him or her from running out into unsafe areas such as driveways and streets … Children love to climb up trees and over fences. Your child needs protection from falls by learning how to get sure footholds and proper handholds. Continue to teach your child safety habits and provide limits (rules).” The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has established voluntary guidelines for playground equipment as part of their “Kidd Safety” program. On their list of playground safety rules, one states, “carefully supervise children on playgrounds to make sure they are safe.” Charlotte M. Hendricks has authored Safer Playgrounds for Young Children, a publication of the Educational Resources Information Center (1993). In the publication, she says, “Playgrounds can be exciting areas where children explore their environment while developing motor and social skills. Yet each year, almost 200,000 children are treated at hospital emergency rooms for injuries occurring on playgrounds (Frost, 1990). About 60 percent of all playground equipment-related injuries result from falls (CPSC, 1990).” If we apply Stephenson’s logic, we should eliminate playgrounds since more children are hurt from falls there than allegedly from railings. No railing can stop children from climbing, and in the same vein, no playground where a child could fall is truly safe. Ms. Hendricks’ safety booklet goes on to list “lack of proper supervision” as one of the most common causes of playground accidents. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin also stresses supervision in their guidelines. An item on their safety list reads, “Never leave a child alone on a balcony, fire escape, or high porch”

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while another sentence says, “Make sure railings are sturdy.” Product Design and Safety When we look at the design of any product, safety is always a consideration. But sometimes the safety feature itself may cause an injury. For example, consider a vehicle airbag. Investigations have shown that it is unsafe for a small child to sit facing an airbag. Therefore, the adult driver either places the child in a rear seat, or if unable to do so, the driver may have the option to deactivate the air bag. Some safety features are designed to prevent or decrease the severity of injury, but can not, obviously, guarantee complete protection from injury. For example a water heater is an appliance that has a device for setting limits. If small children are in a home, the owner can program the temperature to never exceed a certain degree in order to prevent scalding. Yet another product designed for child safety that can help reduce injury but not completely prevent it is a bicycle safety helmet. The helmet does not prevent the fall, it simply protects the rider. Please note that in each of

the above instances, it is the responsibility of the adult to ensure that the proper precautions have been taken and proper supervision is given to help prevent injury. This is also the case with children playing on or around guardrails. Regardless of the design, children should never be left unattended on an open balcony where climbing may be attempted on the guard itself, or on adjacent furniture or other objects. Horizontal Rails Provide Benefits In the ADAAG Manual, Section 4.8.7 on Edge Protection, horizontal rails are recommended to function like a curb to keep front wheelchair casters from getting caught on the vertical post. We’ve also been told that horizontal members can benefit the blind by providing a guide for their walking sticks. Another advantage of horizontal rails is that small children are able to use them as a handrail to assist them as they learn to walk and maneuver on stairs. Summary

In conclusion, as our findings illustrate, the way to keep children safe is by teaching appropriate behaviors and being vigilant in supervising the child. There are always going to be things that cause a person to have an accident. A child could fall off of a chair; do we eliminate chairs? As Stephenson’s research shows, determined children in the age 2 plus group can climb virtually any rail design. Therefore, it seems more than unreasonable to mandate the entire industry to manufacture only “climb proof” guards (if there is such a thing) to protect a section of the population who are and should be under parental supervision at all times. Parents must assume responsibility to watch their children until they are old enough to act responsibly in guarded areas. Our position is backed by safety guidelines of hospitals and safety organizations that repeatedly stress the importance of watching children. NOMMA and members of the railing industry are very concerned about safety too, since the children we

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METALfab 2002

Galveston, Texas March 5 - 9, 2002

A Thanks To Our Sponsors Platinum CNA Commercial Insurance Lawler Foundry Corp. R & B Wagner Inc. Triple-S Steel Supply Gold J.G. Braun Co. Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. Silver Eagle Bending Machines Inc. GTO Inc. Regency Railings Inc. Stairways Inc. Tennessee Fabricating Co. Bronze Julius Blum & Co. Inc. Carell Corp. D.J.A. Imports Ltd. Production Machinery Rogers Mfg. Yavuz Ferforje A.S.

Business Briefs • The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA) has issued its 2001 Metal Forming & Fabricating Industry Wage & Benefits Survey, a bi-annual report on compensation for shop floor employees. The report provides data on job titles in all technology sectors of metal forming and fabricating, as well as benefits offered to shop floor workers. Employers can use the report to compare pay rates and compensation policies to those of other employers in the industry. For more info, call (815) 399-8775, or visit: www.fmametalfab. org. • NOMMA member, SIGNON USA, has a new address: 171 Powell St., Brooklyn, NY 11212; new phone number: (718) 485-8500; new fax: (718) 485-8400, but their toll free number remains the same: (866) 7446661.

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SMACNA’s newly designed web site features free access to technical articles, news, and events, and easy to navigate drop-down menus.For more info, visit: www. • A NOMMA member has recently changed their company name from Grand Entrances to Alamo Designs Inc. Their contact information remains the same: 3941 Legacy Dr., Ste. 204-304, Plano, TX 75023; ph: (210)

496-6764, (972) 517-5200; fax: (800) 859-4716; web: www.grandentrances. com. • Jerith Manufacturing Co. Inc. celebrated its 50th anniversary on November 16-17, 2001. Approximately 500 people showed up for the two day event as Jerith provided plant tours, a champagne reception, and activities for children. Located in Philadelphia, Jerith Manufacturing Company, an aluminum ornamental fence producer, was established in Send business updates to: Fabrica-

tor, Attn: Rachel Squires, 532 Forest Pkwy., Ste. A, Forest Park, GA 30297, or e-mail:


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New Products & Ser­vic­es • ARTEZZI announces its Forged Spear, which doesn’t require welding. Using these forged spears leaves no welds to clean and no need for alignment. Artezzi guarantees their durability. The spears are machined out and have a nylon compression bushing pressed into them. The bushings come in different sizes to fit round and square bar and are interchangeable. For more info, call (800) 718-6661, or visit: www. • ESAB Welding & Cutting Products presents the PowerCut 1500 Plasma Cutting Machine. In addition to an automatic pilot arc start, trigger lock, and 40amp nozzle for drag cutting, the machine also features a durable, portable casing made of fiberglass composite. The external shell is weatherproof and designed to facilitate two-person carrying. PowerCut 1500 cuts 1 fi inch and severs 1 ⁄ inch. Output is 90 amps at 60 percent duty

cycle. For more info, call (800) ESAB-123, or visit: • A new bonding agent from Enecon Corp. called Eneclad Superbond specializes in bonding hard-to-adhere surfaces. It can be used as a bond coat for many types of conventional paint systems and be used to improve the adhesion of conventional structural caulking materials used in expansion and control joints. Superbond is also highly resistant to corrosive and chemical conditions. For more info, call (516) 349-0022, or visit: • A new line of angle rolling machines from E.G. Heller’s Son Inc. offers higher capacity and enhanced performance. The MG AR Series features drive rolls with independent hydraulic planetary motors. The machines have two forming rolls for pre-forming and the reduction of flat ends and they also feature modular tooling. According to com-


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pany President Robert Heller, “The AR series delivers more power with fewer moving parts. For more info, call (800) 233-0929, or visit: • HEWI Inc. has added Circum Stainless Steel Railings to its growing line of guardrails and handrails. The system features circular components that are 100 percent mechanically connected. There are no welded joints. Infill options include glass, stainless steel perforated panels, and multi-lie solid stainless steel rods. Handrails and top rails are available in stainless steel, HEWI nylon, or with straight or natural wood. For more info, call (717) 293-1313, or visit: www.hewi-inc. com. • The Automatic Gate Supply Co. has developed a new residential swing gate operator. The AGS 104 uses a permanently lubricated continuous duty gear motor, which allows for silent and continuous operation. The operator securely closes the gate in open and closed positions and includes a full-systems capable circuit board. It handles gates up to 13 feet wide and up to 300 pounds and is available in a battery or solar-powered version. For


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more info, call (800) 423-3090, or visit: • The Iron Shop introduces the One-Half Turn, Combination-4 or Combination-5 Stair Kit for situations where space is an issue. This stair takes up less square footage than a traditional stair on the upper and lower floors and only requires well openings of 36 inches by 68 inches. The 5-foot, 6-inch stair can be installed either right or left hand up. For more info, call (800) 523-7427, ext. PR-FAB, or visit: www. • ITW Ransburg introduces a new Turbodisk Speed Upgrade kit, which allows Turbodisk users the opportunity to increase speed from 40 to 60 percent depending on the size of their disk. Increased speed provides better atomization, especially for difficult to atomize coatings. The kit includes a new drive air heater, a high-low filter/regulator, and a redesigned air turbine assembly. The new kit is compatible Send new product and service updates to Fabricator, Attn: Rachel Squires, 532 Forest Pkwy., Ste. A, Forest Park, GA 30297, or e-mail: Next closing date for materials is February 1, 2002.

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NOMMA Network News NOMMA Launches Foundation

NOMMA is embarking on a bold adventure thanks to the formation of the NOMMA Education Foundation. In a groundbreaking move, the Board of Directors unveiled the new foundation in November. Designed solely to improve education services, the foundation will allow NOMMA to expand on its existing education programs while offering new and innovative learning opportunities. Possibilities include scholarship and certification programs, worker exchanges with foreign organizations, instructional CD’s, and online and video teleconferencing sessions. “One of the most important reasons for the foundation is to make sure that for years to come, education remains a top priority for our industry,” said Lloyd K. Hughes, who is serving as the 2002 Foundation Chair.

By Todd Daniel

In addition to Hughes, other Board of Trustees include vice chair Mike Boyler, who is also NOMMA’s president, and trustees Gib Plimpton, Bob Paxton, Curt Witter, and Jan Allen Smith. A major advantage of the foundation is that donations are tax deductible. The foundation also opens the door to additional funding sources such as bequests, endowments, and grants. While the foundation operates as a separate entity from NOMMA, the two organizations will remain closely aligned. For example, Board of Trustees will be elected each year by the NOMMA Board of Directors, which will help insure that foundation closely follows the goals and direction of NOMMA. In December, a letter was sent to the NOMMA membership that introduced the foundation and provided a form for donating funds.

Tax-deductible gifts may be sent to: NOMMA Education Foundation, 532 Forest Pkwy., Suite A, Forest Park, GA 30297. During METALfab 2002 in Galveston, everyone in the industry is invited to attend the foundation kickoff party on Friday, March 8. Called “Party for a Purpose,” the firstclass beach party will feature games, food, and live entertainment. Ticket information is available in the Convention Guide that came bundled with this magazine or on the web at www.

Metal Rail Manual Gets A Face Lift

After faithfully serving the industry since 1986, the popular NOMMA Metal Rail Manual is receiving an overhaul. But rather than appearing as a new volume, the publication is being updated a section at a time and placed on the web.

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Already, several chapters are available electronically in the Member’s Only area of the NOMMA site, including the Literature Guide, Glossary, and Code Comparison Guide. In addition, the Specification Guidelines section has been updated and now appears in the Architect’s Area. Since its inception in the 1980s, the goal of NOMMA was to provide an all-in-one publication that was useful to architects, designers, fabricators, and installers. Four years after the original book was published, the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed, which greatly impacted the railing industry and left a gaping hole in the original publication. To address this, Tim Moss, NOMMA’s Technical Consultant, has written an ADA chapter for on-line use, and it is now in the final review stage. Work is also underway to update the Rail Engineering Data section, which is a favorite for the design community. Once completed, this chapter will appear in the Architect’s Area, and will be available to engi-

Chicago Area Chapter Meeting A Hit! Members of the Chicago Area Chapter enjoyed a two-part program during their December 1 meeting. The first presentation was a finishing demonstration using Baroque Art Gilder’s Paste, which was led by Intercorp. Next, the group was treated to a presentation on powder coating, given by Acme Powder Coating. Muller Ornamental Iron Works Inc. served as host shop for the event, and there was a great turnout of 32 people. left: David Wareham of Intercorp leads a finishing demonstration.

neers and designers. Based on calls received at the NOMMA office, the old Metal Rail Manual is still in demand, and the hope is that the new electronic version will better meet the needs of both fabricators and designers. For more information, visit:

NOMMA has chapters in Chicago, Florida, New York, the Northeast, and Southern California. For more info on NOMMA’s chapters, call the NOMMA office in Forest Park, GA at (404) 363-4009.


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News Roundup

By Todd Daniel

Construction Defect Litigation Haunts Contractors When someone coined the phrase, “If you build it, they will come,” they probably never expected the lawyers to arrive, but that is exactly what’s happening around the country. While prominent in California, construction defect litigation cases are on the rise. The typical scenario goes as follows: you complete a project and move on to the next job. You think it’s behind you, but then years later a lawyer calls. This time it’s different instead of getting paid for the job, you pay. Unfortunately, lawyers don’t just target the builder — they include architects, plumbers, electricians, and everyone involved with the project. Even if your work was flawless, and

even if your work had nothing to do with the alleged problem, you may still get called. According to an article published in the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) newsletter, the troublesome lawsuits began in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and their popularity continues to increase. Initially, some of the cases were bona fide — and some still are today — however many are also frivolous. By definition, work is legally considered defective when it doesn’t meet building codes, approved plans and specifications, manufacturers’ recommendations, or accepted trade practices. When a building component



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does not function properly because of one these factors, the stage is set for a lawsuit. A casual search on the Web shows an abundance of law firms eager to take on construction defect cases, and they appear particularly interested in homeowner and condominium associations. Fortunately, there are some defenses to a possible lawsuit, such as good record keeping that includes thorough field service records and photos. The SMACNA article also recommends that if you see problems in building plans point them out, and if your suggestion is rejected, document that fact. More good news is that there are statues of limitations for filing actions, which can range from 3 to 10 years. Often, it’s right at the end of these terms when a homeowner association will initiate their lawsuit. In the January 2000 issue of Window & Door, attorney Paul R. Gary writes, “The only way to ultimately win the game of product claims is to avoid them. But no company or product is perfect. There will be times when the problem is yours. When that happens, the goal should be to promptly identify the fact that the company is at fault and act to repair the product, or take other action provided as within the company’s prerogative in the warranty. Tendering prompt performance under the warranty is often the best practical and legal strategy.” Should a claim reach the legal stage, the outcome can be unpleasant. Your insurance carrier may find it easier to settle for some money, and you will get hit with the deductible and higher premiums. Should you

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decide to fight a claim on your own, the money will likely come from your pockets — not the carrier’s. Making the situation more challenging is the fact that some insurance policies now carry a “Montrose Exclusion.” In short, this exclusion exempts a carrier from paying claims for jobs completed before the coverage period. The Montrose precedent came about in a 1995 pesticide case in California when the California Supreme Court upheld the idea that all policies in effect during the span of damage were responsible for paying claims. In the pollution liability business, this is called a “continuous trigger.” In an article published by Nevada Contractors Insurance, Tom Wheeler Jr. says, “Insurance companies are, in fact, eager to limit or deny Montrose based claims. Most policies have a ‘Montrose Exclusion,’ which means that no claims made from prior work will be allowed. They’ll be ‘excluded’ unless the claims arise from activities done while the contractor was insured under the policy. This may help the current insurer skate off a claim, but again, it leaves other companies paying more.” While it’s always good to get phone calls from people who’ve noticed your past work, if the caller has an “Esq.” at the end of their name, that could mean trouble.

decision, the next phase is to recommend solutions that would benefit the domestic steel industry. President Bush will then approve any recommendations, which could include quotas and tariffs. PMA’s Gaskin maintains that domestic producers only account for 75 to 80 percent of the steel needed in the U.S. “If the metalforming industry is unable to purchase steel at competitive prices, the loss of jobs in the steel consuming industry would far outweigh the loss of steel producing jobs,” Gaskin said. Based on one estimate by the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition, the loss of steel consuming jobs would be 9 to 1 compared with steel-producing jobs. This would result in a taxpayer cost of $565,000 for every steel-producing job protected, totaling $2.34 billion a year. Already, the PMA points out, the U.S. steel industry is one of the nation’s most protected industries. More than 50 percent of steel imports are currently covered by antidumping and

countervailing duty actions. Yet U.S. firms who use steel have no such protections and risk being put out of business by high steel prices, according to the PMA. “In addition,” Gaskin points out, “if steel quotas and tariffs are imposed, the foreign producers will respond by selling their materials in other countries. This results in the shift to other countries of component parts, assemblies, and end products now manufactured in the United States.” That’s because the lower steel costs in other countries would make foreign firms more competitive. Ultimately, Gaskins says, “The combination of high steel prices and increased competition on metalformed products

Domestic Steel Victory May Cost U.S. Jobs

What is advantageous to one industry may be harmful to another, and such a case is especially true with the steel industry. In October, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of the domestic steel industry in an alleged dumping case. According to the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), the decision will be, “a major blow to the metalforming industry if the eventual result of the ITC’s finding is the imposition of quotas or duties resulting in high steel prices.” According to PMA president William E. Gaskin, such higher prices could make metalforming companies less competitive in the world market. Now that ITC has made its Circle 115 on Reader Service Card

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would devastate the U.S. metalforming industry.” To learn more about how protectionism impacts industries that use steel products, visit: www.

Powder Coating Technical Info Available

Powder coating has always been a high interest area in the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry, and now fabricators can get the information they need with the

click of a button. The Powder Coating Institute (PCI) has expanded their website to include a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that features a lengthy question and answer area. Developed by the Institute’s Application & Recovery Equipment Subcommittee, the addition is the latest of several enhancements to the PCI website. Last year, the organization placed its popular Powder v. Liquid spreadsheet program on the web, which allows for quick comparisons of liquid finishing and powder coating costs. According to PCI executive

The G-S

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director Greg Bocchi, “Adding the Q&A sections and the cost comparison software are the latest steps to expand the PCI web site with more information for powder coating users, as well as consumers and media.” Already, the PCI site contains a variety of resources, including case studies and a photo gallery. For consumers, there is an area that explains powder coating in simple English and provides information on the Powder Coated Tough Mark. For fabricators, one particularly helpful resource is the on-line membership directory that provides information on PCI’s 180 members. The web site address is:

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If you need assistance with shop safety training, a new government partnership may be your knight in shining armor. In December, OSHA announced that it has teamed up with the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) and the Department of Labor’s Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) to help small companies improve their health and safety performance. With the arrangement, businesses already working with ASBDC or OSBP will now have better access to OSHA’s technical support and various programs. According to OSHA Administrator John Henshaw, “This partnership sets in motion a new working relationship that addresses safety and health issues unique to our nation’s small businesses.” He FABRICATOR January-February 2002

added, “Together, we can make a real difference by delivering the training and outreach small businesses need to improve their safety and health programs.” Current plans are to identify interested companies that wish to learn about safety and health, need assistance with developing their programs, or that wish to be recognized in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program. The partnership also provides an avenue for firms to be recognized in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program by going through a free comprehensive safety and health consultation. According to an OSBP spokesperson, the arrangement is actually proactive, since it focuses on education and prevention, rather than “after-the-fact enforcement.” The goals of the program include increased awareness, better referrals, improved training, and better overall performance. Initially, the new partnership will focus on providing small companies with information and training on OSHA’s new recordkeeping requirements. A pilot training program for recordkeeping will be developed and then offered at Small Business Development Centers in selected states. For more information, visit .

Texas Is Latest State To Implement IRC

While New Years Day is a time for sleeping in and watching football games, for Texans the recent holiday marked the arrival of the International Residential Code (IRC). On January 1, the 2000 code became “the law of the land.” The impetus for the code adoption began last year when Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill making the IRC the official residential building code for the Lone Star state. The bill actually went into effect September 1, but cities had until January 1 to begin enforcement. For fabricators in Texas, the new code may mean new challenges, since the IRC contains the controverFABRICATOR January-February 2002

sial “ladder effect” clause. Since the new code began going into effect last year, interpretations of the “ladder effect” have varied greatly, and it is uncertain how Texas authorities will enforce the rule. Adoption of the code marks the first time Texas has adopted a statewide code. To get the code approved by the state legislature, the International Code Council and the Texas Association of Builders worked together in their lobbying efforts. Other organizations that pushed for the adoption include the Texas Municipal League, the Texas Society of Architects, and six other constructionrelated organizations.

Under the new bill, the IRC is the official code for one- and twofamily dwellings. Local municipalities have the authority to adopt local amendments to the code, establish procedures for administration, and may review and consider amendments for future editions of the IRC. Thanks in great part to the NOMMA Technical Committee, the “ladder effect” has not appeared in the 2001 or 2002 IRC supplements. When hearings begin for the 2003 code next year, NOMMA plans to continue opposing the onerous rule. — Source: ICBO

Firms Reevaluate


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Insurance Needs

“We’ve been waiting for an ironworker!”


The September 11 tragedy has prompted many individuals to reevaluate their lives and businesses. One of the many issues that has come to the forefront following the terrorist attacks is the need to reconsider insurance needs. To highlight this concern, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a survey in December that shows business owners are concerned about major lawsuits and uninsured claims. “Businesses are worried about increased liability, but many remain underinsured,” said Chamber President Thomas Donohue. “In post-911, companies large and small are reexamining their insurance needs, and many current strategies are coming up short.” The U.S. Chamber’s recent survey reveals that three-fourths of their members are concerned about exposure to major lawsuits or uninsured claims, and nearly half say their current coverage probably isn’t adequate. In addition, less than half of the respondents reported having coverage for “employment practices” risks, such as sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination. Also revealed in the survey is that one-third of the respondents said they were concerned about the exposure of their executives’ and directors’ personal wealth to the company’s liabilities, yet that did not have directors and officers liability coverage. “There is a critical need out there that is not being met,” Donohue said. The U.S. Chamber boasts 3

Letters Wanted . . . Send your thoughts to: AtFabricator ten: Editor 532 Forest Pkwy., Ste. A Forest Park, GA 30297 e-mail: fabricator@ Circle 65 on Reader Service Card


FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Inventions & Products

Any Wail Will Do: Improving the Siren Operated Sensor

The SOS (Siren Operated Sensor) Co. now offers a new version of the SOS. The siren operated sensor allows emergency vehicles to enter gated communities and other gated areas by responding to the high decibel siren sound. The original version of the SOS is triggered by the “yelp” sound of emergency vehicles. The new product, called SOS-YDT (which stands for Yelp, Decibel, Time), reacts to older fire vehicles that do not have the “yelp” siren. A switch built into the control board allows users to choose whether the gate operator will react to the “yelp” sound only, or to any “wail” or consistent sound that produces 4.5 seconds of high decibel. At that point the SOS will trigger the gate to open. The frequency response of the Siren-Operated Sensor is from 200 Hz to 10 KHz. SOS President Wayne Skeem assures consumers that there is no threat of an unauthorized entry because the microprocessor built into the sensor will not read sound until it reaches 100 decibels or more. The SOS uses an omnidirectional microphone. Alignment is not necessary. Range of the SOS is adjustable - 5 to 50 feet or more. A potentiometer located on the PC board provides this adjustability. The SOS is not affected by ambient light. The PC board is mounted in a 3.2 inch by 6.5 inch by 3.2 inch rain-tight enclosure and weighs 10 ounces. The power requirements are 12/24 Volts AC/DC with approximately 2.5 mA draw. For more info, call (800) 767-4283, or visit: FABRICATOR January-February 2002

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Noteworthy Jobs roof is covered with a Tackling a Big Proj- foot wooden skin of beadboard and Italian copper shingles. steel lemon trees, 9 ect with a Little Help Three feet tall, hold up the roof, while lighting fixtures, strafrom My Friends tegically placed within three By Corinna Mensoff Phoenix Metalworks

My client wanted a place to sit and talk with friends - a beautiful shady spot. We came up with a Lemon Tree Gazebo. But due to time constraints and the large size of the c structure, I came up with some fellow Atlanta-based metalworkers to help complete the project. Jeffry Loy, and his assistant Chad Coble, handled the roof, while Thomas Clarkson, Beth Reneè, Neil Carver, and Carlos Park helped me forge the flower pots, the trees, their branches, lemons, and leaves. b The gazebo’s 16 foot by 11

The roof is made of 1 inch by 2 inch tubing, which was rolled at a local fabricator (Bowers Fabrication). A nearby water-jet company cut 500 leaves, which were forged and veined by hand and power hammer and then welded to the branches. A local caststeel and embossed flower ing company cast 50 bronze lemons. pots complete the structure. We forged the trees from schedule 40 pipe, ranging from 3 inches to 1 inch. Each piece was delineated down to fit the next piece (3 to 2fi to 2 to 1 fi e d to 1 inch). The branches were made from solid and hollow bar stock and were textured and tapered to the tips. After welding the branches to the trunks, we cleaned and blended all the welds to create the most natural appearance possible. The three flowerpots were made with a solid ring at the top and bottom a of fl inch by 2 inch and fi inch by 1 inch steel. We embossed 1/8 inch plates of steel with a texturing tool in the power hammer and then each plate was then plasma cut, cleaned, and hot-formed into a slanted cylindrical shape. The whole project was primed and painted. Installation took a few days with our two crews, the contractor, and an electrician. For more info on this project, call (404) 758-9969, or visit: www.

Steptoe & Wife

center: (a) Mensoff drew this design sketch. clockwise l to r: (b) 1 inch by 2 inch tubing supports the roof; (c) Mensoff found the Italian copper shingles that cover the roof on the Internet; (d) The Lemon Tree Gazebo took three days to install; (e) Mensoff outsourced casting the lemons and water-jet cutting the leaves.

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Restoration California Fabricator Restores 100-Year-Old European Gates This pair of gates was purchased in the part of Romania which was once Poland by an antique dealer local to the fabricator’s Martell, CA shop. Their design suggests a touch of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. This dates their construction to the turn of the 20th century. They withstood two world wars, but bullet holes and dents

from tanks along the addition of extra locks and electric welding repairs greatly altered their appearance. Before restoration, the gates stood 13 feet 6 inches high and 10 feet 4 inches wide.Although the owner wanted to maintain their original look, an upper panel was removed leaving them 10 feet 6 inches upon completion. In its initial construction, the entire gate was riveted together, including tensions on the main frame. The fabricator, Parkey’s Welding & Design, dismantled the entire gate before replacing, straightening, forging, and re-riveting the parts back together. The project required minimal welding. After assembly, the fabricator sandblasted the gate to white steel, and then primed, painted, and finished it. This job was entered in the 2000 Top Job Contest. Labor time: approx. 40 hours.

American Spiral

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FABRICATOR January-February 2002


From the Bookshelf Insider’s Guide to Small Business Loans

The Pre-Process of Business Loans

PSI Library

By Rachel Squires

Given current economic uncertainty few people may pick the beginning of 2002 to start a new business. But The Insider’s Guide to Small Business Loans is a resourceful book non-theless. Studying it over the winter will prepare small business entrepreneurs for an adventurous and successful spring. Author Dan M. Koehler has been an active member of the small business community for more than 25 years, as a small business owner and a federally appointed policy maker. Drawing from his experience, Koehler

says the best way to prepare for a new prospect is to investigate and analyze the situation thoroughly. His book provides a good step in that direction. Koehler emphasizes the importance of preparing for the loan application. In fact most of the work seems to be in the pre-application stage, which includes the applicant obtaining free advice and counseling from a local Small Business Administration (SBA) office. An SBA office connects people with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and Small Business Development

Automatic Gate

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Dan M.Koehler

Centers (SBDC). The volunteers associated with these organizations serve as counselors who help small business loan applicants better prepare their applications. They can also help create business plans and other supplements that increase the chances of getting approved for the amount of money applicants needs. These counselors can help applicants better assess exactly what they will need and can also offer business advice. There are other


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national organizations representing special groups that can provide free guidance, particularly for the field you are interested in. In addition to this information Koehler’s book provides sample SBA forms that applicants will need to use in order to request and submit information involved in the loan process. There are forms for requesting publications like Business Plan for Retailers. Although the book gets into technical particulars, Koehler’s language remains clear, like when he explains that the role of the SBA is a guarantor, not a lender. And key points and summary information are bulleted. For example, Koehler provides web site addresses where readers can find more information on certain topics. While chapter one breaks down the planning process, chapter two presents an applicant’s lender options from microloan lenders to surety bond programs. Chapter three walks you through the application process and chapter four talks about loan pro-


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grams. And in chapter five applicants can read case histories and compare their situation with others. The book also includes a glossary, index, and listings of lenders, SBA offices, and Small Business Investment Companies. Just be sure to check with your local SBA about any recent updates or technical revisions to the small business loan application process as changes may have occurred since the book’s publication in 2000. To order, contact: PSI Research/ The Oasis Press, P.O. Box 327, Central Point, OR 97502-0032, or visit: www.

Astragal Reprints Basic Forging Text Plain and Ornamental Forging By Ernst Schwarzkopf By Chuck Hamsa

Thanks to Astragal Press a classic is back in print. Plain and Ornamental

Forging was originally part of the Wiley Series, educational books printed for technical and vocational schools in the early twentieth century. It covers iron’s general properties as well as basic forges, squirrel cages, anvils, and tools, and the properties of steel. It also includes a series of practical exercises on both basic blacksmithing and forge welding. The exercises incorporate gas welding advances that were in existence during the first printing in 1916. Schwarzkoph explains tempering, annealing, and hardening processes and provides a basic chart indicating suggested colors that occur when making tools, such as heat treated and hardened chisels. Several black and white photographs show samples of the forger’s art, such as hardware, leafwork, and the production of tinsmithing tools. Rounding out the book are an index, suggestions on working with brass and copper pipes, and creating flowers. The book is a handy resource for any shop. To order, contact: The Astragal Press, P.O. Box 239, Mend-


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New Members

Welcome Aluminum Designs Naples, FL Vernon Hanks Fabricator B & B Welding Contractor Berlin, NJ Jim B. Brady Fabricator Jeff Blithe’s Ironwerks Carney’s Point, NJ Jeff Blithe Fabricator Caltin Ironworks Port Tobacco, MD Quentin S. Jones Fabricator City Welding Works Peterborough, Ontario, Canada Leo Gabourie Fabricator

NOMMA’s 31 Newest Members

Croissant Custom Fabrications Denver, CO Milton Croissant Fabricator Cumberland Iron Works Inc. Portland, TN David Harp Fabricator Ed’s Welding & Iron Works Inc. Brentwood, NY Ed Seckeler Fabricator Fouts Bros. Truck Center Smyrna, GA Jason Wilder Affiliate Frederick Railing Works Frederick, MD

Mittler Bros.

As of 10/19/01 Darren Myers Fabricator

House of Forgings Houston, TX Manuel Vela Nationwide Supplier

Glaser USA Park City, IL Harry Haack Nationwide Supplier

Iron Creations Jackson, MS Jason Myers Fabricator

Gulf Coast Handrails Freeport, TX LeeAnn Hurst Fabricator

Jerico Metal Specialties Inc. Bloomington, IN Tyler E. Curry Fabricator

Hadco Aluminum & Metal Corp. Jamaica, NY Ron Davidson Fabricator Hartford Standard Stamping & Plating Co. Inc. Hartford, KY Russell Broady Nationwide Supplier

L.B. Welding Bloomingdale, NJ Leonard Bertneskie Fabricator Landmark Fence Co. Inc. Montclair, CA Robert Yanik Fabricator


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Mastercraft Iron Co. Inc. North Hollywood, CA Tom Cole Fabricator

Perry’s Fabrication Juno Beach, FL Daniel Perry Fabricator

Morris Fabrication Inc. Rehoboth, MA Paul Morris Fabricator

Prestige Aluminum Railings Inc. Starke, FL Mike Cribby Fabricator

Northeast Fence & Iron Works Inc. Philadelphia, PA Jack Sims Fabricator P & P Metal Sales Co. Inc. High Point, NC Joe B. Petty Fabricator Panhandle Rail Fort Walton Beach, FL John Kadrovich Fabricator PATCO Custom Welding Service LLC Madison, WI John and Pamela Nunn Fabricator

Pugh’s Welding & Fabrication Prosperity, SC Bachman Pugh Fabricator State Welding & Fabrication Wallingford, CT Charlie Mascola Fabricator TNC Industrial Miami, FL Tomas Nieto Fabricator Welco Services Inc. McPherson, KS Brent Milleson Fabricator

Multi Sales

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The Lincoln Electric Co. has named Richard J. Seif Vice President of Sales Marketing for Lincoln U.S. In his new position, Seif is responsible for the company’s marketing strategies and coordination with global marketing programs, sales implementation and customer service. Seif joined Lincoln in 1971 and served the past three years as President and CEO of Lincoln Electric Canada. Gordon Rice

Gordon Rice is the new president of Centricut LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hypertherm Inc., which manufactures and distributes consumable products for metal fabrication companies. Rice joined Centricut in 1989 and has held various roles in the organization, including Director of Engineering and Technical Support, Operations Manager, Director of International Business, and Director of Sales and Marketing.


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Nationwide Supplier Mem­bers

133 Nationwide Suppliers

Back the Association through Membership Bold denotes new members.

Company Phone A Cut Above Distributing 800-444-2999 Advanced Fabricating Machinery 603-642-4906 Advanced Measuring Systems 330-602-1203 Allen Architectural Metals Inc. 800-204-3858 Alloy Casting Co. Inc. 800-527-1318 Alvin Products Inc. 978-975-4580 Al-Zalzalah Steel Works Factory 011-965-473-0017 American Punch Co. 800-243-1492 American Stair Corp. 800-872-7824 Antech Corp. 520-320-1810 AP Automation 770-205-2213 Apollo Gate Operators 210-545-2900 Arcadia Steel 877-501-3200 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. 201-222-7444 Architectural Prod. by Outwater 800-835-4400 Armstrong-Blum Mfg. Co. 847-803-4000 Arteferro Miami LLC 305-836-9232 Artezzi 800-718-6661 AST Waterjet Inc. 800-532-0383 Automatic Gate Supply Co. 800-423-3090 Avantage Orn. Fence Supply 800-231-4586 Aztec Castings Inc. 800-631-0018 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. 800-526-6293 J. G. Braun Co. 800-323-4072 Buff Polish & Grind Ind. Supply Co. 940-455-2269 Builders Fence Co. Inc. 800-767-0367 Byan Systems Inc. 800-223-2926 California Wire Products Corp. 800-486-7730 Carell Corp. 334-937-0947 CI Banker Wire & Iron Works Inc. 262-679-9609 Classic Iron Supply 800-367-2639 The Cleveland Steel Tool Co. 800-446-4402 CML USA Inc. 407-857-1122 Colonial Castings Inc. 305-688-8901 Colorado Waterjet Co. 970-532-5404 COMEQ Inc. 410-933-8500 Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. 800-535-9842 Cross River Metals 210-824-1750 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. 714-430-1100 D.J.A. Imports Ltd., dba Pietrocola & Sons 800-933-5993 DAC Industries Inc. 800-888-9768 DAESA, US 800-323-7287 Décor Cable Innovations 312-474-1100 Decor-Iron Supply 503-657-9188 DKS (DoorKing Inc.) 800-826-7493 Doval Industries 800-237-0335 Duff-Norton 704-588-0510 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. 334-937-0947 Eagle Iron Supply Inc. 972-289-7688 Eastern Metal Supply 800-343-8154 Eastern Ornamental Supply Inc. 800-590-7111 EDF Equipment Sales Inc. 407-351-7017 Elegant Aluminum Products Inc. 810-293-1020 Emerdex Stainless SteelInc. 626-282-0099

Company Phone Encon Electronics 800-782-5598 EURO-FER SRL 011-39-044 5440033 FAAC International Inc. 800-221-8278 FABCAD.USA 800-255-9032 FabTrol Systems Inc. 541-485-4719 Feeney Wire Rope & Rigging Inc. 510-893-9473 FSB USA LLC 011-34-92-580-2483 The G-S Co. 410-284-9549 Glaser USA 847-782-5880 GTO Inc. 800-543-4283 Hartford Standard Stampings & Plating Co. 270-298-3227 E.G. Heller’s Son Inc. 818-881-0900 Hewi Inc. 717-293-1313 House of Forgings 281-443-4848 Impressive Reflections 503-666-5827 Indiana Gratings Inc. 800-634-1988 INDITAL U.S.A. 800-772-4706 Intercorp Inc. 414-383-2021 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. 603-863-4855 The Iron Shop 800-523-7427 ITW Ransburg Electostatic Systems 800-909-6886 Jancy Engineering Co. 319-391-1300 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. 800-423-4494 Jesco Industries Inc. 517-542-2903 King Architectural Metals 800-542-2379 Joachim Krieger 011-49-64-258-1890 Kuwait & the World Co. 011-965-484-9577 Lavi Industries 800-624-6225 Lawler Foundry Corp. 800-624-9512 Lecky Metal Ornaments Pte Ltd. 011-65-749-9651 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. 800-221-5579 Liberty Brass Turning Co. 800-345-5939 Mac Metals Inc. 800-631-9510 Master-Halco 888-643-3623 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool 800-467-2464 Frank Morrow Co. 800-556-7688 Multi Lock Inc. 954-563-2148 MyAutomaticGates.Com 901-386-0015 Nationwide Architectural Metals Inc. 800-851-5053 New Metals Inc. 888-639-6382 Nitek Inc. 972-447-9628 Ohio Gratings Inc. 800-321-9800 Omega Coating Corp. 888-386-6342 Overseas Supply Inc. 713-290-9885 Phillips Machine & Tools Co. 919-934-3345 Polished Metals Ltd. Inc. 800-526-7051 PPG Industries 440-572-2800 Production Machinery Inc. 410-574-2110 R & B Wagner Inc. 800-786-2111 Regency Railing 972-407-9408 Robertson Grating Products Inc. 877-638-6365 Robinson Iron Corp. 256-329-8486 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. 216-291-2303 Rogers Mfg. Inc. 940-325-7806

For A Detailed Listing of NOMMA Supplier Members, Please Visit Our Web Site:

NOMMA’s Nationwide Suppliers Bold denotes new members.

Company Phone

Company Phone

Sahinler Form Metal San. Ve Tic. 011-90-224-4700158 SECO South 888-535-7326 Sharpe Products 800-879-4418 Signon USA 718-438-1500 Soheil Mosun Limited 416-243-1600 Sparky Abrasives Co. 800-328-4560 Stairways Inc. 800-231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. 602-243-5245 Steel Supply Inc. 713-991-7600 Steptoe & Wife 800-461-0060 Sumter Coatings Inc. 888-471-3400 Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. 800-282-3533 Tennessee Fabricating Co. 800-258-4766 Texas Metal Industries 800-222-6033 Texas Stairs & Rails Inc. 800-633-6874 Torch-Made 800-590-7804 Triebenbacher 800-522-4766 Triple-S Steel Supply 800-231-1034 Tri-State Shearing & Bending 718-485-2200 Tubular Spec. Mfg. Inc. (TSM) 800-421-2961 Universal Entry Systems Inc. 800-837-4283 Universal Mfg. Co. Inc. 800-821-1414 Wrought Iron Handicrafts Inc. 800-456-7738 Yavuz Ferforje Ve Demir Tic San 011-90-258-269-1664 *Join NOMMA! 404-363-4009

For A Detailed Listing of NOMMA Supplier Members, Please Visit Our Web Site:

Fabricator’s NEW Reader Service access it at FABRICATOR January-February 2002

Just click on the red “reader service” button.


Working Smarter - Not Hard­er

Liquidity Is King s i v l ot E


By Sanford Kahn Business Author/Speaker

Remember the saying from one of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty

Harry movies - “A man has got to know his limitations.” This applies equally to the art of economic forecasting. The art, not science, of economics is useful in forecasting what predominant risks are facing our national economy and their resulting consequences. It is not sufficient to say that next year our business economy will grow at a 3 percent rate and inflation will be 2 percent. This is sheer crystal ball gazing and not much use. With this in mind, let’s examine our national economy and see why liquidity, both on a professional and personal level, will be king for the next three to five years at least. Picture a metal chain. Notice all the links are of equal size. The U.S. economy can, in a way, be represented by the links in a chain. But, the difference is that the economic links are not of equal size. In addition, some links are weaker than others. The biggest link in our national economic chain is the consumer, or more explicitly, consumption expenditures. This link now represents 75 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GPD) and dwarfs all the other economic links combined. This link is also the weakest link in our chain and is the one of most concern. To put it succinctly, the consumer is tapped-out. No matter how much Fed chairman Alan Greenspan lowers interest rates, Americans can not continue spending money they do not have. Household borrowing has risen to a record $7.2 trillion, up 46 percent in the past five years. More recently, on an annualized basis, the first quarter 2001 increase in household debt was more than five times larger than the increase in disposable personal income. This trend 102

cannot continue. In addition, we use to talk about a healthy savings rate in this country. Now, we have none - it’s now minus .7 percent. The most important link in our economic chain is extremely illiquid. This will have long-term consequences for economic growth and, hence, the ability for companies to maintain their profitability and grow their top-line. There are some things worse than having a recession, which is, having none at all. Recessions provide the impetuous for both consumers and businesses to rebuild their liquidity. It is a painful process, but it sets the stage for the next strong upward expansion. It is possible for a while to avoid a business recession through Federal Reserve policy of manipulating interest rates. But, the price to be paid is high. The economy can flounder along in a tepid sluggish manner and can easily stumble into a more serious recession. You are sort of operating in an economic Twilight Zone between growth and stagnation. Another serious consideration that has not received much coverage from the popular media outlets is the unusual political alliance in Washington. Democrats and Republicans in Congress disagree on many political matters, but there is one fundamental economic point they do agree on. It is the importance of maintaining the Federal budget surplus. And another way of looking at the Federal budget surplus is that it is simply drawing liquidity out of the private sector. For example, in the 12 months ending October 2000 personal income increased by 6 percent. Unfortunately, due to people being pushed into higher tax brackets, personal taxes paid increased by almost 13 percent. This sucking of liquidity out of the private sector will put a further dampening force on the economy’s ability to grow. Even the tax cut signed by President Bush does little to rectify this situation. With this emphasis on maintaining the budget surplus by the politicians in D.C., do not expect any future tax relief FABRICATOR January-February 2002

of any significance. Most likely when the surplus starts to dwindle due to a slowing economy, Congress will attempt to undue part or all of Bush’s entire tax cut. This is unfortunate because large cuts in marginal tax rates can produce both sustained and substantial increases in economic growth. In the 1920’s, then Secretary of the Treasury, Mellon went through an exhaustive study to determine what top incremental tax rate would maximize income to government yet also provide meaningful incentives for individuals to take business risks. The answer was a top rate of 25 percent. This is far lower than the current top rate of 39.6 percent, which may be lowered to 36 percent by 2006 if we are lucky. The question is then how do you grow your business in an economy that is likely to exhibit sluggish economic growth. The most logical answer is to increase prices of the goods and services your company offers. Logical - yes, but it is not realistic. If anything, with the economic environment described above, the market will be dictating downward pressure on prices - not upside. This leaves one other alternative: going after market share. We have had the mistaken belief in this country (egged on by the popular press) that the business future belongs to the big and the mighty. This is nonsense. The future belongs to the swift. The swift are those men and women whose businesses have liquidity (low debt levels) and are generating sufficient levels of free cash flow to take advantage of opportunities present in a slow growth economy. Free cash flow is the wherewithal, the stuff that


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successful business people can use to implement new products and services. Along with effective marketing and consumer relations, it can be used to grab market share from your competitors. Additionally, those businesses that have liquidity and the right cash flow can also secure market share by lowering prices while still maintaining profitability. This line of survival thinking falls under the category of guerrilla marketing. Let’s face it — it is a jungle out there, and the swift and nimble are the one who will prosper in this environment. People tend to make situations more complex than they are. I think this evolves from a tendency in human nature to drift from the simple to the complex. But, in business it does not have to be this way. If you can focus on building-up the free cash flow in your business (and it wouldn’t hurt your personal life either), you will increase its value and have a competitive edge in the marketplace. It’s that simple. Good hunting! Sanford Kahn has been a professional speaker for over 20 years to corporate and national trade and professional association markets. For more info, call (562) 434-


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Coming Events March 5-9, 2002 NOMMA’s 44th annual trade show and convention, METALfab 2002, takes place this year in Galveston, TX at Moody Gardens. Ornamental fabricators and suppliers from around the world share the latest techniques and technologies in the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. For more info, call (404) 363-4009, or visit: March 15-18, 2002 ASA Business Forum and Convention 2002: “Building in Times of Change” meets at Alexis Park and Resort Spa, Las Vegas, NV. The convention draws subcontractors, suppliers, and service providers of the construction industry. For more info,


NOMMA’s Northeast Chapter Upcoming Meetings:

February 9, 2002 PPG Industries & Paint Professionals, Windsor, CT, talk about finishing. March 23, 2002 South Attleboro Welding, South Attleboro, MA, discusses proper stair layout. You need not need be a NOMMA member to attend. For more info, call Majka Railing Co., Paterson, NJ (973) 247-7606. call (800) 582-2228, or visit: www.

April 6, 2002 The Greater Chicago Chapter of the American Fence Association is holding their annual Chicago Table Top Trade Show at William Tell Holiday Inn in Coutryside, IL. Admission is free. Event is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more info, call (773) 7778700, or visit: April 24-27, 2002 The Washington State Trade and Convention Center in Seattle, WA hosts the North American Steel Construction Convention and Trade Show. Learn the latest design and construction trends and techniques. For more info, call Victoria Campbell (312) 670-8311.

Advertiser Index

Use this index when filling out the Reader Service Card. Firms in boldface are first-time advertisers. Pg.

Circle No.

27 A Cut Above Distributing Co. 88 20 American Fence Systems 146 95 American Spiral Corp. 61 89 Antech Corporation 115 22 Apollo Gate Operators 59 11 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. 103 10 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. 103 33 Arch. Products by Outwater 105 9 Artezzi 27 105 ABANA 142 44 ARTMETAL 155 82 Atlas Metal Sales 25 96 Automatic Gate Supply Co. 139 72 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. 20 13 J.G. Braun Co. 40 58 Byan Systems Inc. 94 56 California Wire Products Corp. 154 103 Carell Corp. 137 88 Classic Brassworks Inc. 149 67 Classic Iron Supply 26 25 The Cleveland Steel Tool Co. 132 45 The Cleveland Steel Tool Co. 132 73 CML USA Inc. 110 47 CNA Commercial Insurance 29 93 Colorado Waterjet Co. 107 91 COMEQ Inc. 10 19 Contrarian Metal Resources 152 34 Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. 41 31 D.J.A Imports Ltd. 118 73 DECO Ornamental Iron 147 24 1 30 DKS, DoorKing Systems 19 38 Duff-Norton 77 23 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. 120 35 Elite Access Systems Inc. 4 81 Encon Electronics 57 104


48 15 99 66 90 14 51 83 32 82 102 76 17 7 77 91 114 108 90 24 75 88 97 74 71 136 92 79 54 55 59 2 21 60 77 103 61

Circle No.


FAAC International 49 FABCAD.USA 87 FSB USA Inc. 44 Glaser USA 123 The G-S Co. 82 GTO Inc. 56 Hallmark Iron Works Hawke Industries 16 Hebo GmbH 150 E.G. Heller’s Sons Inc.


Hossfeld Mfg. Co. 33 House of Forgings 130 INDITAL U.S.A. 111 International Gate Devices 24 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. The Iron Shop 11 Ironwood LLC 70 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Jax Chemical Co. 23 Jesco Industries Inc. Kayne & Son 81 King Architectural Metals


Joachim Krieger 65 Laser Precision Cutting 99 Lawler Foundry Corp. 47 Lawler Foundry Corp. 47 Lawrence Metal Products 39 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. Liberty Brass Turning Co. Inc. 38 Liberty Ornamental Products 22 Lindblade Metal Works 63 Mac Metals Inc. 71

74 28 46 98 29 56 76 99 21 83 95 81 70 73 49 58 53 148 98 41 68 87 93 39 44 52 63 3 107 43 37 94 86 18 62 57 64

Circle No.

Majka Railing 53 Marks U.S.A. 34 Master-Halco 90 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool 35 Pat Mooney Inc. 140 Frank Morrow Co. 129 Multi Lock Inc. 9 Multi Sales 37 New Metals Inc. 104 North East Gate Operator Supply Ol’ Joint Jigger Tube Notcher 91 Olin Wrought Iron 153 Operator Specialty Co. Inc. 97 Ornamental Steel Designs Inc. Phillips Machines & Tools Co. Postville Power Hammers Production Machinery Inc. R & B Wagner Inc. 6 R & D Hydraulics 121 R & F Metals Inc. 100 Regency Railings 92 Rogers Mfg. Inc. 112 Sharpe Products 101 Shop Outfitters 98 Signon USA 151 Sparky Abrasives Co. Spiral Stairs of America Inc. Stairways Inc. 5 Steptoe & Wife 96 Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. Sumter Coatings Inc. Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. Tennessee Fabricating Co. Tennessee Fabricating Co.

FABRICATOR January-February 2002

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32 36 30 80 72 89 89

Classifieds Project Manager Available Available immediately, with knowledge of all aspects of ornamental metalwork including fabrication, management, and marketing. Seventh generation metalworker. Work history: 1980 -1981: ornamental fabricator; 1982 - 1989: shop foreman; 1990 - 2001: shop manager. Experience: Assistant Manager of a 3M$, three division, corporation; supervisor; salesman; designer; estimator; materials take off; materials purchaser; CAD/Computer aided draftsman; cost comptroller; quality, safety and MSDS controller, and more. Career desires: preferably to enhance the team of a large shop, or to assist in bringing a small shop to the next level. Desired salary depends upon required duties and responsibilities; location of new employment (willing to commute or relocate), and benefits package.

Contact: Allen Guidry, 309 E. Edith Rd., Lafayette, LA 70508, hm: 337857-1651, cell: 337-319-7937, fax: 337-857-1358, e-mail: VulCajun@aol. com. Project Manager Steel fabricator specializing in miscellaneous and light structural is looking for a project manager. Must have steel detailing experience, manual or AutoCAD. Career opportunity. Located near Memphis, TN. Full benefit package and relocation allowance. Send resume in confidence to Gallaway Industries, P.O. Box 6, Gallaway, TN 38036 or call (901) 867-3859. For Sale Cleveland Steel Tool 25 Ton Ironwoker. New condition, several sets of punches, foot control. Call

Classified Ads: $25 for up to 35 words, $38 for 36-55 words, $50 for 56-70 words. No logos or boxed ads. Pre-payment only. Send items to: Rachel Squires, Fabricator, 532 Forest Pkwy., Suite

(423) 348-7428, or (423) 276-3856. Project Manager Like to run our show? Experienced Project Manager interested in running Branch Operation for regional Midwest ornamental metal fabricator/ manufacturer. All benefits with all the responsibilities. If today is the day, send response along with work experience, resume, and salary requirements to P.O. Box 62417, Cincinnati, OH 45262. Exceptional opportunity. Production Manager Fast growing manufacturer looking for an expert fabricator to streamline the production process in our new facility. Must enjoy a challenge and be a self starter. Benefit package and relocation allowance for right person. Send resume in confidence to: Amazing Gates, 7901 Ranchitos NE, Albuquerque, NM

A, Forest Park, GA 30297. Ads may be faxed with credit card information to: (404) 366-1852. The closing date for the March/April edition is February 11.

Circle 142 on Reader Service Card

FABRICATOR January-February 2002


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Three Easy Ways To Respond We’ve added an Internet-based Reader Service system. Now you can receive a faster response to your inquiries — they can even arrive by e-mail. Other advantages include:

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Fill out the form below and fax to (941) 213-2199.

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Complete the form below and mail to: MediaBrains P.O. Box 12079 Naples, Florida 34101-2079

Reader Service Coupon 200) Are you a NOMMA member? q Yes q No 201) Type of Business: q Fabricator q Supplier q Architect q Other

Vol. 43, No. 1 January-February 2002

Interested in NOMMA? Membership Information Circle 66 Advertising In Fabricator

Exhibiting In METALfab Circle 67 Attending Circle 68 Convention Circle 69

Name Phone Company Address City State Zip

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Send to: MediaBrains, P.O. Box 12079, Naples, FL 34101-2079 106

Expires 1 yr. after publication date. FABRICATOR January-February 2002

2002 01 fab  
2002 01 fab