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Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal


The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

July/August 2003

$6.00 US

Job Profiles

Technique Adds New Dimension page 48 Shop Talk

Forging aluminum: tricky but rewarding, page 16

Member Talk

Window project makes the airwaves, page 42

Biz Side

When to walk away from a job, page 74

Fax: 718-326-4032 Web: E-mail:

FPO Lewis Brass

(Note that client wants his e-mail changed - see corrective patch. If this isn’t done, client will bite down on me like an old yard dog and shake me senseless).

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July/August 2003 Vol. 44, No. 4

Creating a bronze sculptural fountain, page 54.

Job Profiles

Tips & Tactics We heard it online Help! Guardrail with no bottom rail. Ask our expert 15 Defects in galvanized coatings.

Preparing aluminum light fixtures, page 63.


Shop Talk Forging aluminum: Tricky but rewarding 16 The secret is to understand how the metal differs from steel.

Biz Side

A unique technique adds new dimension to winning job 48 A technique called “blown steel” is used to create a unique door.

Thinking about sales: Find the silver lining 66 Sure the economy is slow, but believe it or not there is a good side.

Braving the elements to com54 plete a fountain Despite bad weather, a memorial fountain is completed on time.

Create an effective safety program and stick with it 69 Determine your shop’s needs, develop a program, and stick with it.

By John Medwedeff

By Ralph Schmidt

Member Talk A business born in the tradition of excellence 36 Two brothers combine their talents to establish a high-end fabrication shop. By Mark Hoerrner

An innovative window project makes national airwaves 42 The work of a NOMMA member is shown on national TV. President’s Letter A new appreciation for “silly” mistakes


By Chris Osment

When to walk away from a job 74 Don’t waste your time with a no-win customer–sometimes it’s better to walk.

By John L. Campbell

Tackling the large radius bend 28 Find the technique and equipment that works best for your needs.

By Dave Kahle

By Michael Stone

Retired Navy welder goes ornamental 59 An old military friend is called in to lend a helping hand. By Kerry Patric Moylan

The String of Pearls: Restoring a treasure 63 The icing to a restoration project was a unique lighting system. By Jack van Kauwenbergh & Don Schmidt

Editor’s Letter 8 Working behind-the-scenes for our industry

Reader’s Letters Thanks for the article

Wages are not profit 77 Many business owners fail to realize that salary is a cost, not profit. By Michael Stone

What’s Hot! Biz Briefs 82 New Members 86 Coming Events 88 People 90 Products 92 Classifieds 97 9

Fabricator Poll 98 Do you prefer working with contractors or homeowners?

Cover photo: This door was engineered, fabricated, and forged by the artist. It features steel tubing and sheet, which was inlaid with sterling silver and leaded glass. Shapes were formed using a “blown steel” technique, where compressed air is used on steel in a way similar to glass. Various hammers, dies, and punches were then used to form the detail. Fabricator: Pearson’s Studio, Grants, NM. Photo credit: Deb Whalen, Photographic Works, Tucson, AZ.

President’s Letter

Dedicated to the success of our members and industry. NOMMA Officers President Chris Maitner Christopher Metal Fab. Inc. Grand Rapids, MI President-Elect Curt Witter Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX

Treasurer Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks Tulsa, OK Immediate Past President Belk Null Berger Iron Works Inc. Houston, TX

Vice President/

Fabricator Directors Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC Peoria, IL Chris Connelly DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. South Easton, MA Fred Michael Colonial Iron Works Inc. Petersburg, VA Rob Mueller Mueller Ornamental

Iron Works Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL Rod Stodtmeister Stodtmeister Iron Sparks, NV Sally Powell Powell’s Custom Metal Fab Inc. Jacksonville, FL

Supplier Directors David T. Donnell Eagle Bending Machines Stapleton, AL Bob Borsh House of Forgings Houston, TX Pam Beckham

Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Foristell, MO

NOMMA Staff Executive Director Barbara H. Cook Meetings & Exposition Manager Martha Pennington Communications Mgr. & Editor J. Todd Daniel Managing Editor Rachel Squires Administrative Assistant Liz Ware

Technical Consultant Tim Moss

2003-04 Advisory Council Jay Holeman Mountain Iron Fabrications

Rob Rolves Foreman Fabricators

Contributing Writers John L. Campbell


Mark Hoerrner

A new appreciation for ‘silly’ mistakes We’ve all had days when we say to ourselves, “I should have stayed in bed,” but then if we had, the house probably would have burned down. Well I’ve had one of those cars. I’ve had it barely two years and it’s been in the body shop six times. Only one incident, the first, was my fault, and the story follows. The vehicle in question is a 2000 Safari van that I had just purchased. It was parked in our garage and in the driveway was my 1999 Sonoma highrider pickup truck. It was a Saturday morning in December. My wife Marie and I were running late for a Weight Watchers meeting. As I hurriedly backed out of the garage, Marie said, “Be careful, your pickup truck is there.” I kind of smirked and said, “I know, I parked it there.” As I said we were in a hurry. Our driveway is “S” shaped. The pickup was parked in the corner directly behind the garage doors, hence her concern. I backed out and negotiated around the Sonoma down to the street, pulled forward, and got halfway up the block when I realized we had forgotten our membership cards, so now were running even later. So I hurried back home, pulled up to our garage door, ran into the house, got the card, jumped back into the car, and proceeded to back up a little faster. Again, Marie said, “Remember your truck.” I said, “Oh, Shut up.” Of course, since it was December there was plenty of snow and ice on the ground. I backed brilliantly around the truck once again but as I finished the turn I came dangerously close to This trophy sits in my office and serves as a valuable reminder of a lesson learned.

some driveway markers for the snowplow. Since this was a brand new van I didn’t want to scratch it so I was paying attention to the rearview mirror as I started to pull away from the marker, again in a bit of a hurry. I had just broken free from that marker when Marie cried, “Chris!!!” I looked forward and said “Oops,” and slammed my snow covered shoe onto the brake pedal only to have it slip sideways and hit the gas. All in an instant, I hit the rear end of my Sonoma highrider. Not realizing my foot was on the gas pedal I pushed down harder, which was enough for my all-wheel drive vehicle to push the Sonoma off the Chris Maitner driveway and into is president of the neighbor’s tree. the National Ornamental and Both hands on the wheel, sweat pouring Miscellaneous Metals Associafrom my brow, all I tion. could manage to do was look at Marie and say, “What the - - - just happened?” All she could do was burst out laughing. In one hurried moment I managed to bash in the front of my new van, damage the front and back of my one-year-old pickup, and prune my neighbor’s tree. The entire episode was too bizarre to deny and I fessed up at work on Monday. Three weeks later the shop and office staff presented me with a memorable Christmas present—a humorous hard hat with a crumpled van mounted on the top. So now anytime I’m ready to blow a cork over someone’s “stupid” mistake at work I look at my hard hat and approach the situation with more tolerance.

Fabricator n July–August 2003

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How to reach us

Editor’s Letter

Ornamental & Miscellaneous Met­al Fab­ri­ca­tor (ISSN 0191-5940), is the of­fi­cial pub­li­ca­tion of the Na­tional Or­na­men­tal & Mis­cel­la­ne­ous Metals As­so­cia­tion (NOMMA). 532 Forest Parkway, Suite A For­est Park, GA 30297 (404) 363-4009 Subscriptions: (678) 387-0108 Fax (404) 366-1852 E-mail: Fabricator is published bi-monthly on the 15th of January, March, May, July, September, and No­vem­ber. Opinions expressed in Fabricator are not necessarily those of the editors or NOM­MA. Articles appearing in Fabricator may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of NOMMA. Reader Focus Fabricator is targeted to managers and owners of ornamental and miscellaneous metalworking firms. Circulation: 8,000. News, literature, product releases, and other editorial matters Please contact managing editor, Rachel Squires, at (404) 363-4009, ext. 14, or Magazine display advertising Insertion order deadline: first Fri­day of the month prior to pub­li­ca­tion date. Cam­eraready art or film deadline: second Friday of month prior to pub­li­ca­tion date. Visit our website for a media kit: Classifieds $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 Parkway., Ste. A, Forest Park, GA 30297. Ads may be faxed with credit card information to: (404) 366-1852. Deadline: Second Fri­day of the month prior to pub­li­ca­tion date. Subscriptions, address changes: 1-year: U.S., Canada, Mexico — $30; 2-year: U.S., Canada, Mex­i­co — $50; 1-year: all other countries — $44; 2-year: all other countries — $78. 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. Subscription Info: (678) 387-0108. Magazine subscription information is available online at: • Subscribe/renew • Change your address • Report duplicate issues. NOMMA Supplier Directory Published each December as a separate issue. Space reservation deadline is July 31. Deadline for all advertising materials is August 31. For info, contact Rachel Squires at (404) 363-4009, ext. 14 or Reprints Reprints of articles are available. For a quote, contact Rachel Squires at (404) 3634009, ext. 14 or

Working behind-thescenes for our industry One of the greatest benefits of supporting NOMMA is that you also support our industry advocacy work. Since the early 1990s, NOMMA has had a team of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to represent fabricator interests with code bodies, standards organizations, and government agencies. In 1999, things looked difficult on the codes and standards front. New access requirements for the disabled were mandating dimensions and requirements that placed hardship on industry while showing no measurable safety benefit. At the same time, in the code arena a vaguely worded rule, known as the “ladder effect,” threatened to outlaw virtually all ornamental railings. Although the “ladder effect” made it into the 2000 International Codes, the clause was subsequently removed the following year, thanks in large part to the efforts of NOMMA volunteers.

ADAAG and ANSI A117.1 Things have also improved with ANSI A117.1, the accessibility standard for the disabled, and ADAAG, its government equivalent. After submitting many comments and attending numerous hearings and meetings, many of the troubling requirements that first appeared in the 1998 ANSI A117 have since been removed or modified. A complete summary of our progress on the various issues can be found in issues 1-4 of TechNotes, our bimonthly technical bulletin that is mailed to members. A quantum leap


Realizing the importance of remaining vigilant in monitoring codes and standards, NOMMA hired Technical Consultant Tim Moss in August 2001. Both an engineer and fabricator, Tim has represented NOMMA at code and standards meetings around

the country. In addition to the ICC, ANSI A117, and ADAAG, Tim has also attended meetings of the National Fire Protection Association and ANSI 1264, which deals with industrial stairs and railings. Enjoying success but never resting While the NOMMA Technical Affairs Division has enjoyed many successes, there is never time to rest. Already, the technical team is preparing for the fall ICC code Todd Daniel hearings, which take is editor of place in Nashville in Ornamental & September. As of this Miscellaneous writing, there are four Fabricator. proposals of concern. Without representation from industry, such code proposals could easily become law without any regard for economics, aesthetics, or fabricating practicality. That’s why the association has learned that it’s essential to have representation at meetings. The driveway gate front In addition to Tim, it’s also important to recognize Brent Nichols, who leads NOMMA’s Vehicular Gate Task Force. In addition to providing input on UL 325, Brent has worked with an industry coalition to create a gate construction standard, known as ASTM F2200-02. At the various ASTM and UL meetings, Brent provides valuable input from the perspective of a fabricator. It is comforting to know that our interests are regularly represented at meetings around the country. A sincere “thank you” goes to our dedicated technical team.

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Reader’s Letters Thanks for the article I just wanted to let you know we’ve received the requested extra copies of the Fabricator magazine that features our shop. We are very pleased with how the article turned out and want to thank you for allowing us the opportunity to be featured in the magazine. Rod & Jeannie Ouellette Rod’s Welding & Fabrication Coudersport, PA W RI TE !

Tell us what you think

METALfab 2004 The industry’s premier event is just around the corner. March 3–6, 2004 Ÿ Sacramento, CA Sacramento is one of California’s most accessible major cities. Arrive by air, rail, highway and even water. The city is located just 90 miles from San Francisco and Lake Tahoe and just 50 miles from Napa. Complete convention details will appear with the September/October Fabricator. We will also be continually adding convention content to the NOMMA website beginning in July. Visit it at: Important Date to Remember Deadline for 2004 Top Job Contest Dec. 19, 2003 Grace Period Deadline (requires add’l fee) Jan. 5, 2004

Mail Letter to the Editor, c/o Fabricator, 532 Forest Pkwy., Ste. A, Forest Park, GA 30297 E-mail Fax (404) 366-1852. Please include your name, company, address, telephone number, and e-mail. Letters are subject

Beautiful sculpture and metalwork abound in downtown Sacramento.

FPO Texas Metal Industries (TMI)

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Tips& Tactics

We heard it online

n Help! Guardrail with NO bottom rail.

Fabricator seeks help from fellow NOMMA members on how to fabricate a guardrail with no bottom rail. He gets plenty of encouragement and several possible solutions.


ListServ Participants

Hello All, In our unbridled enthusiasm to tackle new jobs and push the limits of our expertise (and keep the money flowing in the door, too!), we accepted an interior railing job calling for the steel top rail (dixie cap over U-channel), but no bottom rail: the balusters will install directly into the wood treads of the staircase or the hardwood floor of the landing. We would greatly appreciate any advice as to the best way to put this all together. One experienced fabricator has recommended that each baluster be attached to the top rail with a screw instead of welding them all to the top rail and then trying to fit them all together into the tread holes.

Kim Boyer Masterguard Ornamental Iron Seattle, WA Ph: (206) 204-0021 Web: E-mail:

From Kim Boyer Subject: Help! Guardrail with NO bottom rail

Solution 1 From: John Groll Subject Re: Help!

Kim, We do a lot of rails like this. We drill and tap the top end of the picket for 1/4-20 x 1/2” round head machine screw. The picket is cut 1” longer to be driven into the wood. We grind the corners of the picket and drill a 9/16 or 5 /8 hole for the 1/2 x 1/2” picket depending on the type of wood. A Lawler 9503 collar covers the gap around the picket. You could use a Lawler EE or SS 1/2 collar bolted to the wood instead of driving them into the wood, but it isn’t as strong. TE LL US !

John Groll Groll Ornamental Iron Works Pittsburgh, PA Ph: (412) 431-4444 Web: E-mail: Ornman6527@AOL.COM Thomas Zuzik, Jr Artistic Railings Inc. Garfield, NJ Ph: (973) 772-8540 Web: E-mail: Terry Barrett Royal Iron and Aluminum West Palm Beach, FL Ph: (561) 655-9353 Web: E-mail: royaltlb@BELLSOUTH.NET

Solution 2

From: Thomas Zuzik, Jr Subject: Re: Help!

Kim, Depending on the look you are looking for we regularly get requests for bronze balusters to be installed in a baluster and step configuration with no mounting shoes or bottom bar. We tap the top and bottom of the baluster with a 3/8 thread and then sink a lag screw into the floor or step. Then twist the baluster onto the machine thread

side of the screw sticking up and add the top bar once all the balusters are in place. It leaves a clean “no-show” mate with the floor and is extremely strong. This does require you to install the railing by assembling it on site, however it goes together very quickly once you get the hang of it.

Solution 3 From: Terry Barrett Subject: Re: Help!

Kim, We have completed several of these into wood treads. Our method is as follows: We use a 1/2” x 1” top bar that is drilled and countersunk at the place where the spindle would be. We then cut, drill and tap the top of the picket, at an angle, with a 1/4”-20 hole to accept a screw. On the other end of the spindle, we drill and tap a hole to accept a “Headless Hanger Screw.” This is a screw that has machine threads on one end and lag screw threads on the other. The method for installing the spindles is to drill a pilot hole in the wood tread, slide a small base shoe on the spindle, and screw the spindle into the tread. Once the spindles are all installed, then simply lay the top cap on and install the 1/4”-20 screws. In order to facilitate the marking of where to put the spindles, you can either lie your flat bar, with the predrilled holes, on the stair tread or install a few spindles and plumb bob down. The most critical part is getting the height of the spindles right. In some Continued on page 12

If you have topics for an Ask Our Expert tutorial, please let us know the idea. For consideration, please contact the Editor at 532 Forest Parkway, Suite A, For­est Park, Ga. 30297. Phone (404) 363-4009, Fax (404) 366-1852, E-mail July–August 2003 n Fabricator


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Tips & Tactics n

cases, you may need to “Porta-band” or grind off the top of the spindle a little. Also, since the base shoe covers the connection point, you can back off or crank down an occasional spindle a little. Just don’t do too many for strength purposes. Also, this is just like any other railing: make sure you have good anchor points for stability. An inside radius works well; outside radius needs more support. I will fax you a detail drawing of the spindle for your info.


From Kim Boyer Subject: Thanks!

We greatly appreciated the response from NOMMA members and their willingness to share their expertise with us. Terry Barrett of Royal Iron & Aluminum faxed us several sketches that were invaluable. We slightly modified the process he and others recommended. Since the project specification called for a shoe for each baluster, we welded wood screws to the bottoms of each baluster. The shoes actually allowed us to simplify the job since they covered the bottoms of the balusters. We could weld the screws on instead of drilling and tapping the balusters, and the shoes covered up the welds. The top end of each baluster was drilled and tapped for a machine screw. After all the balusters and posts were installed on-site, the top rail was drilled and screwed onto the balusters. Finally, the dixie/bell cap was screwed onto the rail. A couple of welds were needed to tie everything together, but it all came out looking great with a VERY satisfied customer. One complication was that the customer wanted a clear powdercoat over everything (balusters, posts, rail, and top cap). We used hand-forged balusters from Custom Ornamental Iron in Richmond, BC. Since there was a lot of fire on each baluster, many hours were July–August 2003 n Fabricator

spent with a cup brush and grinder to get the polished look the customer wanted. We tried sandblasting and then cup brushing, but that left too dull a finish, especially after the clear coat was baked on. Because hand-forged balusters were used, there was some variation from baluster to baluster—the beauty of wrought iron! In particular, some of the balusters were slightly curved, so we had to work at getting them all in alignment under the top rail.

top and right:

Thanks to his NOMMA friends, Boyer completed this project much to his client’s satisfaction. Still, Boyer had to modify the processes that Barrett, Groll, and Zuzik suggested because his project specification called for a shoe for each baluster.


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Tips& Tactics

Ask our expert Industrial Galvanizers America Ph: (800) 776-4258 Web: Contact: Brian Pittman


Defects in Galvanized Coatings

Several common types of defects arise from the hot dip galvanizing process. What causes the different defects and variations in appearance? Ungalvanized weld areas

Coating misses on weld areas are caused by the presence of welding slag on the welds. Fabricators must remove all welding slag prior to sending to the galvanizer. Dark staining adjacent to welds

Preparation chemicals entering unsealed overlaps or through poor quality welds boil out of the connection during galvanizing and cause surface contamination and coating misses during galvanizing. Also, anhydrous fluxing salts left in the connection will absorb atmospheric moisture and leach out onto the adjacent galvanized surface. Leaching of these salts eventually reaches equilibrium. Affected area should be washed clean to remove slightly corrosive leachate. Dull gray or mottled coatings

Reactive steels generate thicker galvanized coatings that are duller than standard coatings. These coatings last longer because of their greater thickness and their appearance is a function of steel metallurgy and generally beyond the control of the galvanizer. White storage staining

After galvanizing, items stored or stacked in wet, poorly ventilated conditions will react with atmospheric moisture to form bulky white zinc hydroxide deposits on the surface of the galvanized coating. Ash staining

Zinc ash forms during galvanizing as the work is immersed in the zinc. Fabricators skim the ash off the surface of the molten zinc before withdrawing July–August 2003 n Fabricator

the work from the galvanizing bath. But sometimes, ash is trapped inside inaccessible areas and sticks to the outside of the coating as the work exits the bath. Ash may leave a dull surface appearance or a light brown stain after removal. It does not affect the performance of the galvanized coating.

Poor surface preparation, inadequate pretreatment in degreasing, pickling, and pre-fluxing can leave areas on the surface of galvanized work uncoated. Fabricators must repair these areas. Or, if the defect is big enough, fabricators can regalvanize the entire item.

Dross pimples/inclusions

Rust staining

Dross forms in the galvanizing process as zinc-iron crystals (approx 95% zinc - 5% iron) with a higher melting point than the metal in the zinc bath. Dross trapped in the galvanized coating may give the coating a rough or gritty appearance. However, the presence of dross inclusions in the coatings is not detrimental to the coating’s performance as the corrosion resistance of zinc dross is identical to that of the galvanized coating.

Uncoated steel in contact with galvanized coatings accelerate corrosion of the coating and stain the coating brown in the area of contact. This can be removed by wire brushing.

Striations & general irregularities

Ridges and lines thicker than the adjacent galvanized coating are caused by different rates of reaction of the zinc with the steel surface due to stress areas on the steel surface or the presence of weld areas or weld metal with modified metallurgy to the parent metal. This phenomenon occurs mostly on pipe and tube products. Again, coating performance is unaffected. Runs, drainage spikes & puddling

These defects are unavoidable in the hot dip galvanizing of general items and are acceptable as long as they do not interfere with the assembly of the function of the item or present a safety hazard in handling or service.


Very heavy galvanized coatings (over 250 microns thick) may be brittle and delaminate from the surface under impact and require more careful handling in transport and erection. Thin, cold rolled items with very smooth surface finish and manufactured from reactive steel may also give rise to coating delamination. Black spots

Scattered black spotting is due to residual galvanizing flux crystalizing on the surface of the work and is generally due to poor rinsing after galvanizing or flux contaminated rinse water. This defect is usually encountered from galvanizing baths using the “wet” galvanizing process where the flux is on top of the molten zinc. Excess aluminum in the galvanizing bath can also cause this defect.

Bare Patches 15

Shop Talk

File Photo

aluminum can be challenging, but certainly not impossible. The key is to understand the properties of this metal and how it differs from steel.

By John L. Campbell Of all the forging facilities in the United

States, estimated at about 650, only a few, maybe 15 percent of them, forge aluminum. In talking with fabricators, asking if they’ve ever tried to forge aluminum, some admit they’ve tried and failed. To paraphrase what several fabricators said, “Aluminum doesn’t forge like iron or steel. First time we tried it we ended up with a silver puddle in our furnace. Who needs the grief? Let someone else forge aluminum.” There’s not much information available on the subject yet, but several NOMMA members are doing it. More and more decorative gates and rails are being fabricated from aluminum, where forgings could be used. With the finishes available to prevent atmospheric corrosion from salt water, aluminum appears to be gaining in popularity along the Florida coasts.


above: This formal entranceway is made of forged aluminum. The door jamb is 1” x 6” solid and the frame is 2” x 3 tubing. The castings were guilded with 23k gold leaf and the majority of the fabrication was pin welded to achieve an invisible joint. Fabricator: Klahm & Sons Inc., Ocala, FL. top left: These exterior aluminum double driveway gates feature custom repoussé and forged wildlife. Material used includes sheets, pipes, and flatbar. The finish is raw aluminum with polish and clear powder coating. (See related article, p. 26) Fabricator: Florida Aluminum & Steel, Ft. Myers, FL.

A little history

Long before we learned how to construct a furnace hot enough to melt the first rudimentary iron and bronze alloys, metalsmiths were using stone hammers to pound metallic composites into tools and weapons. Today’s forging techniques evolved after centuries of trial and error experiences, and we’re still learning, sharing process methods with each other on materials like aluminum. First, let’s consider the differences between aluminum and the ferrous alloys, wrought iron and steel. Conductivity: The high conductivity of aluminum requires handling work pieces with tongs, not a gloved hand. The end of a bar hanging out of the furnace is almost as hot as the part in the flame. Heat color: Predicting metal temperature by its color is a throwback to the days of the old foundry superintendent, who could judge from experience when the metal was

For your information


n Forging

File Photo

Forging aluminum: Tricky but rewarding

Material: Aluminum Melting point: Pure aluminum melts at 1,220° F. Forging temperatures: Alloy additions variably raise the melting temperature for forging aluminum, but they are necessary to give aluminum its mechanical properties. Alloy Example: The forging temperature for aluminum 6061 alloy is between 810° F and 900° F.

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At NOMMA’s 1996 convention, Jack Klahm led a demo on aluminum forging. The video, titled Forging Aluminum, Bronze & Brass, is available from the NOMMA Education Foundation and can be ordered online at

ready to pour. That type of know-how guaranteed the guy his job. Although the eyeballing method may be accurate enough for bronze, brass, and iron base alloys, it doesn’t work with aluminum, where there’s no color change by which to judge the temperature. Forging temperatures: Another difference between aluminum and steel is

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the narrow temperature range between the ideal forging temperature and melting point. Aluminum 6063 can be forged in a cold state. Other alloys like 6061 and 3003 require heating to a temperature where their grains slip past each other and flow like warm butter under pressure. Pure aluminum melts at 1220° F. Alloy additions, which are necessary to give aluminum its mechanical properties, raise the melting temperature. Thus, for forging aluminum 6061 alloy the forging temperature is between 810° F and 900° F. In addition to heat being put into the metal prior to forging, the forging process itself puts heat into the part being worked. That’s another variable that adds to the necessity of treating every job slightly different. At a temperature of 1020° F to 1050° F incipient melting occurs in aluminum, where the alloy starts to melt at the grain boundaries. Striking a bar at that temperature is likely to shatter the material. It’s too hot to forge. With only 100 to 200 degrees between success and failure, forging temperature is vitally important. That’s the tricky

part. Tips for gauging temperatures Temperature-controlled furnace: Jock Dempsey, who operates

Dempsey’s Forge in Gladys, VA, recommends a temperature-controlled furnace for forging aluminum. His website offers good advice on forging. You can visit it at: Paint stick: Jack Klahm, whose company forges aluminum at Klahm & Sons, Inc., Ocala, FL, produced a video for NOMMA on the subject of forging aluminum. In his video demonstration, Jack uses a paint stick with lots of resin in it to determine forging temperature. The stick rubbed across the heated aluminum work piece leaves a black charred residue when the metal is ready for forging. Temp sticks: Temperature crayons (i.e. temp sticks) cost about $10 each. To forge at 800° F, mark your work with a crayon that will melt at 800° F. Temperature crayons are available in melting increments of 50 degrees. Didymium glasses: NOMMA member Mike Roy at Decorative Metals in

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“When the aluminum flashes a straw color it’s just 2 to 3 seconds

away from melting. I pull the work piece out of the furnace, and it’s ready to forge. Wait another few seconds and you’ll have a puddle.”

Bonita Springs, FL, has been forging aluminum for around 20 years. Using didymium glasses for eye protection, Roy has learned to tell by sight when aluminum is ready to forge. Didymium lenses filter sodium glare using glass combined with two rare earth ingredients.

“When the aluminum flashes a straw color,” explains Roy, it’s just 2 to 3 seconds away from melting. I pull the work piece out of the furnace, and it’s ready to forge. Wait another few seconds, and you’ll have a puddle of aluminum.” Roy forges using propane fuel, which burns hotter than natural

gas. He has built his own furnace. Decorative Metals does a lot of scrollwork in aluminum, and they’ve built a furnace 34 inches long. Propane is fed through six burners at 8 psi. Because the metal gets up to forging temperature fast, Mike works on one scroll at a time. Didymium lenses can be purchased from Centaur Forge ( in Burlington, WI. Phillips Safety Products in Middlesex, NJ, also has them. They recommend their Phillips 202 lenses that sell for $35 a pair. Aura Lens Products Inc. sells green didymium glasses from their Internet site, Mike Aurelius said he only had 20 pairs of didymium in stock. He cited changes in the glass industry that could cause a shortage of the lenses in the future. Alloy types and properties

The most common aluminum alloys being forged are 6061, 6063 and 3003. Carl Grainger at Grainger Metal Works in Conway, SC, likes 6063, because the alloy can be cold forged. Aluminum alloys like 3003 will workharden when forged. Parts can be annealed at temperatures of 300° F to 600° F, then air cooled to soften and restore ductility. Dies and tooling

For decorative work most aluminum forging is being done freeform or with open-dies. Closed-die forging uses a series of progressive dies or a single two-piece, tool steel die set that opens and closes, fixed in an air hammer or a hydraulic press. To offset the cost of tooling for closed-die work the volume has to be high. Typical closed-die forgings are automotive connecting rods, pistons, aircraft landing gears, and horseshoes, called racing plates in the trade. In addition to cast iron swaging blocks for forming aluminum, die blocks are being cut in mild steel for parts and shapes that are moderate volume. Mike Roy uses A-36 steel dies with a 110-pound Kuhn air-hammer that he calls the Cadillac of power. Providing the die doesn’t have any sharp corners, which can lead to stress cracking, Mike says the dies take a pounding to Fill in 171 on Reader Service Card


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produce many parts. Where die release agents are required, there are a number of graphite-oilin-water emulsions on the market for high temperature applications. They’re available in spray or liquid form. RENITE S-28 is a dispersion of graphite in water especially developed as a release agent and a die lubricant for both aluminum forging and extrusion dies. Renite Company is located in Columbus, OH. A good market

Everyone seeks a specialty in their industry, a niche where profit margins are higher. Why not take advantage of the relatively few fabricators welding and forging aluminum. Because it’s less competitive than other processes, now is a great time to tackle this kind of work. Mr. Campbell, an expert in the field of metallurgy, is a regular freelance writer for Fabricator.

Few blacksmiths have ever tried

that’s an indication that the piece is

The art of aluminum forge welding

A step-by-step example of a rare process to forge-weld aluminum, but Bob Schantz, who makes custom tools for tradesmen at his Spanish Lake Blacksmith Shop in Foristell, MO, explains how he does it, and illustrates the process by welding two ends of an aluminum horse shoe. To duplicate Schantz’s example make sure the horseshoe or racing plate is forged aluminum and not a die casting. ( In Schantz’s demonstration, he first scarfs the two open ends so that they overlap. [Photo 1] Then, he places a short piece of 1/8 inch diameter Cor-Al aluminum welding rod where the two scarfed edges meet. [Photo 2] Cor-Al is sold under the name of Welco, a J. W. Harris Company product. The rod has a flux in its core. ( When the piece of weld rod melts,

1 Jack Schantz at Spanish Lake Blacksmith Shop, Inc., Foristell, MO, shows how he forge-welds aluminum using a forged aluminum horseshoe. First, he scarfs the two open ends of the horseshoe and forges them together so they overlap.

hot enough to weld. The Col-Al rod is applied as a filler. [Photo3] When enough of the filler rod completes

Continued on page 24

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Fabricator n July–August 2003

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the bond and the weld becomes solid, it’ll look “black and ugly,” in Schantz’s own words. He then cleans the weld with a wire brush [Photo 4] and proceeds to forge the weld without separation. [Photos 5 and 6] The aluminum will remain malleable for a long period of time. These same photos can be seen on Schantz’s website at:



With the shoe in the fire, Schantz applies more Cor-Al filler rod to the weld area.

Here, the weld is shown after brushing and before additional forging.

2 This photo shows the tiny piece of 1/8” diameter Cor-Al welding rod placed on top of the shoe, where the two scarfed edges meet. When placed in the fire and the Cor-Al melts, Schantz says it’s time to use the filler rod.

4 Ugly and burnt looking, the weld is ready to be brushed clean.

6 Alas, the final finish, which is shown after grinding the weld flush with the shoe surface.

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Aneye-catchingaluminum gate Forged aluminum projects are particularly popular This eye-catching aluminum gate was fabricated from aluminum for the Bonita Beach, FL residence of Norman Jackson, Chairman of the Board for Florida Aluminum and Steel Fabrication in Fort Myers, FL. Note the small turtle and the manner in which tube ends were cut and welded to provide rigidity to the base of the gate. Aluminum gates are particularly popular along the Coast, and powder paint and/or anodizing is often used for additional protection against the salt spray. The gate received a bronze award in the 1999 Top Job contest, and recently underwent a refurbishing.

RepoussĂŠ and forging were used to create the wildlife. The greatest challenge of this project was creating the proper balance among all the design elements.

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Shop Talk

Tackling the large radius bend assortment of uses, but a popular roll are many ways to make a large radius bend; the trick is to find the method and bending application is to form rings out of angles. equipment that works best for your particular Roll benders are usually constructed need. with three roll shafts in a triangular

By Ralph Schmidt Production Machinery Inc. There are several ways to achieve the large radius bends required for curved handrails and other ornamental metalwork projects. These may, of course, be heated and manually manipulated to match a template or they may be bent “cold.”

Three cold roll bending options One: Hossfeld bender

A popular method of cold bending a handrail is with a Hossfeld bender. Although that tool is designed for tight radius bends, fabricators often employ the Hossfeld to perform a series of very slight bends along the length of a handrail. This process creates the illusion of a curved piece with a constant radius. Two: Brute force and leverage

Another method of cold bending is by combining brute force and leverage. Some years ago a fabricator was faced with the dilemma of supplying a curved handrail to match a walkway at a customer’s residence. Lacking the proper equipment to perform the necessary bend, this ingenious NOMMA member fixed one end of the handrail in the fork of a tree. By pulling on the other ends of the handrail, using the rail itself as a lever, he was able (with some effort) to achieve the required bend. Pass the Ben Gay, Hoss! Three: Roll benders or angle rolls


About the author: Ralph Schmidt, Production Machinery Inc., has been a NOMMA Supplier Member since 1990 and is a regular exhibitor at the METALfab trade show. Ralph Schmidt, Produccontact tion Machinery Inc., Ph: (410) 574-2110; E-mail:; Web:

Common questions about roll benders

Because these roll benders are quite similar in design, they offer some universal advantages but there are also challenges. The following addresses the most often asked questions about these machines: Repeatability

Roll bending is not an exact science, but it’s not voodoo either. The process simply involves drawing the material through the roll dies and allowing the inherent resistance of the material to work against the strength of the machine shafts to curve the work piece. There are two variables. One is the location of the machine’s forming roll and the other is the

File Photo

It is generally accepted, however, that the most efficient and economical method of producing large, variable radii, cold bends is to “roll” the work piece. The machines employed for this purpose are called roll benders or “angle rolls.” The latter label is actually a misnomer because of the machines’ wide

configuration. Beyond that common feature roll benders are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles, including: manual, hydraulic, pyramid, initial pinch, double initial pinch, digital, analog, two roll driven, three roll driven, etc. The version favored by most ornamental fabricators, however, is the pyramid type machine with manual positioning of the forming roll and electric motor drive. Regardless of the vendor, these benders all share some common characteristics. They are usually compact, ruggedly built, and affordably priced, which accounts for their popularity for ornamental ironwork.

For your information


n There

Sometimes extra large radius bends call for extreme measures—like getting on the roof! Fabricator: William Henry Ornamental Iron Works, Willow Grove, PA. Fabricator n July–August 2003

FPO Regency Railings IMPORTANT: Make sure the corrective patch is repositioned after you place the file!!!!!

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“The bending properties of

metals, particularly of hot rolled steel, are such that the radius of each individual piece should be checked as it is rolled.”

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amount of resistance offered by the material itself. The machine operator can control the first variable but not the second. The bending properties of metals, particularly of hot rolled steel, are such that the radius of each individual piece should be checked as it is rolled, especially when tight tolerances are required. The good news is that there is no material “spring back” in the rolling process (unlike rotary bending processes). As the material exits the roll dies, the finished bend is displayed. It can, therefore, be measured with radius calipers or matched against a sample or template. Jack Klahm of Klahm & Sons Inc. reports that he often cuts material into three-foot lengths and feeds each piece through his roll bender in a single pass, lowering the forming roll slightly for each new piece and noting the location. When he achieves the desired radius, Jack will use that piece as a sample to match against the material he will use for his job. He will also know, as precisely as possible, the required location of the machine’s forming roll to produce that radius. It also helps to keep a record of the bends that are performed. Keep a notebook at the machine. Require operators to record the material type and size, the radius achieved, and the location of the forming roll. This can form a useful “database” that will save time during future operations. Such data is only useful when pieces have been rolled in a single pass. Fabricators, who are not familiar with the process, often ask how a roll bender may be used to open a piece up that has been rolled too tightly. The machines do not have such capability, so when working with expensive materials like bronze, brass, or polished stainless, it’s a good idea to roll in multiple passes to increase the radius incrementally. Although this process is time consuming, it may actually prove more cost effective in multiple passes, if the (final) location of the Fabricator n July–August 2003

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on thin wall box tubing are not a problem. But when smaller radii are required (even as large as 6 feet) the tubing will be crushed while rolling. Alan recommends simply using a thicker wall tube (3/16 inch) for tighter bends. In some cases, deformation can be somewhat controlled Benders like this Promaco Model RBM 2-40H can accommo- by closing the cleardate a wide variety of dies for different shapes and materiances of the tooling. als. The machine also accepts custom dies for nonstandard But most often, the applications. problem does not lie forming roll is at the same depth for with the tooling or the both bends. machine, but rather with the material thickness. Thin materials do not Avoiding material deformation allow sufficient compression of their Any fabricator with experience in roll molecules inherent to the roll bending bending has faced a project in which process. But suppose a specific light rolling the material caused the inside gauge material must be rolled for a radius to ripple or simply crushed certain project. Jackie Johnson of Alit. For example, Alan Lavoie with len Iron Works had just this problem Custom Ornamental Iron tells us that with a piece of round tubing. Jackie’s large radius bends of 20 feet or more solution was to cap one end of the tube

and to fill it with sand before capping the other end. Jackie advises that the key to success is to “pack and tamp” the sand tightly, because any voids will cause the tube to kink. Angle rolling without twisting

This is one of the most problematic roll bending applications because the bending pressure is applied asymmetrically to the material, causing it to twist when rolled. Initial pinch type roll benders with hydraulic guide roller adjustments are designed specifically to address this issue by controlling and rectifying the angle as it is rolled. For most pyramid type roll benders, optional rectifier assemblies are available for rolling angle leg-in, but they are expensive and cumbersome. The fabricator who may only have to roll angle occasionally may want to follow these simple guidelines: One: Always use the heaviest angle possible. Two: Unless the angle itself is less than 1 inch by 1 inch, avoid using angles

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Fabricator n July–August 2003

FPO Pat Mooney

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with 1/8-inch toes. Three: Use some suitable tool to manually rectify the angle, such as a bending fork, forge tongs, or even a large crescent wrench. As the angle rolls, stop the machine every few seconds and straighten the rolled section with the tool you have selected. Four: It may also help to warm the angle. A slight increase in temperature helps facilitate the bending of any metal. If weather permits, lay the material in direct sunlight for at least

half an hour before rolling it, so that the material is warm to the touch. The material will then be “more receptive” to being rolled and easier to manipulate if it needs to be rectified. Decrease material slippage

Most roll benders being used by ornamental fabricators are two-driven roll machines (two roll shafts are powered). Sometimes an absence of friction between the material and tooling will cause the material feed to stall.


Sumter Coatings

LARGE RADIUS BENDS  IN THE FIELD One of our most popular articles, which appeared in the Nov./Dec. 2000 Fabricator, told about a resourceful craftsperson who secured a bender to the back of his truck. The unit is ideal for making adjustments at the job site and can save trips back to the shop. A forklift is used to place the bender into a specially made platform and sockets, which keeps the machine secure. To power the unit, it’s necessary to have a three-phase power source on board, such as a heavy duty welder or generator. Fabricator: Pro-Fusion Ornamental Iron Inc., San Carlos, CA.

This “slippage” may be because the radius is too tight to create in a single pass. In such a case, the forming roll should be retracted and the material rolled to a large radius. A second pass should be used to bring the material to its final size. Sometimes, especially on round tubes, slippage may be caused by an oily residue on the tube’s surface. In this case, it is helpful to wipe the tube down thoroughly with scouring powder (like Comet or Zud). This removes the residue and creates a more “gritty” surface, which will enhance material feed. The author would like to acknowledge Groll Ornamental Iron Works and Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. for their contributions to this article.

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Member Talk

A business born in the tradition of excellence n Two

brothers combine their talents and connections to establish a successful high-end fabrication shop in San Carlos, CA

In the days when chivalry was the social custom and courtly knights aspired to legendary deeds, the men who forged hot iron made their living by the artistic look and quality of the weapons they produced. On the battlefield, many a smith had their metal’s mettle tested through combat. A weapon’s failure was often as lethal to a metallurgist’s highly prized reputation as it was to the knight who wielded it. Two California custom fabricators carry on a tradition of excellence and quality remi-

niscent of those medieval smiths. The heroes of our story are not grizzled men covered in soot eking out a living making sturdy blades but intricate and beautiful stair railings, gates, entranceways, and art. Far removed from the lances and polearms of ancient times, these men started their business with an object much simpler—a martini. A.J. and James Guaspari, the owners and management team of Fable Inc., San Carlos, CA, chanced into their jobs. A.J., a former power plant inspector and long-time welder, had spent time toying in a metal shop making a number of art objects and furniture for personal use. James had made a name for

For your information


By Mark Hoerrner

Projects like this forged railing are typical of the company’s high end projects. The scrollwork in this job is 1/2” round bar with all ends drawn to a taper. For accent pieces, 1/4” round bar was forged into vine tendrils and used to fill in spaces that didn’t meet code.

Member: Fable Inc., San Carlos, CA has been a NOMMA member since 2000. Owners: A.J. and James Guaspari. About the company: Since 1990, Fable Inc. has provided quality metal craftsmanship for residential and commercial projects. The firm offers comprehensive services ranging from design to installation. Chec k it out

This residential driveway gate is completely hand forged with all components made from scratch. 36

Fabricator n July–August 2003

“The brothers try to be available to their clients. They return calls

constantly, work nights and weekends, and even provide service to their clients on holidays if needed.”

himself as a model and actor in the entertainment industry. Neither of them had considered a career outside what they were doing, but both were ready for a change. A.J was tired of flying all over the country on his inspection trips. James, who also had a passion for design, was ready for a new challenge. James had assisted his brother in creating a set of barstools for his house—martini-shaped barstools, in fact. Like the stuff of fairy tales, serendipity would soon show her face. A friend mentioned to James that he should consider showing some of the items he and his brother had created. He uprooted one of the barstools and took it to a local gallery where it caught the eye of a professional football player who was in the process of building and furnishing a new home. After receiving a list of commissions from the athlete, the fairy-tale of Fable Inc. was born instantly in 1990.

client base, most of which consists of wealthy residence owners. The brothers, A.J. especially, try to be available to their clients. They return calls constantly, work nights and weekends, and even provide services to their clients on holidays if needed. Perseverance and strong customer service have paid off, allowing them to outfit a 21,000-square foot shop

capable of turning out just about anything Fable’s clients can dream up. It’s a state-of-the-art facility, designed specifically to keep them from having to use too many components, though they do use a fair number of pre-fabricated elements in their work. Key to the development of the operation is the importance the owners of Fable place on hiring. They now employ a full-time staff of seven dedicated metalworkers. Each staff member is carefully chosen for his or her loyalty, attention to detail, and capability.

Growing the business

The early days were hard for the brothers, but they had a clear purpose—do the best job possible for the client. “We wanted to set ourselves apart from other shops by our commitment to customer service,” says A.J., who personally participates in the forging on all projects. “That’s why we like to give such personal service to our customers. Whether I’ve made money or not, I want to walk away from a job knowing the customer was happy with the work. Our reputation is everything.” Reputation, indeed, has been the driving force of their sales. Through James’s contacts from his time in the entertainment industry, the duo was able to land a steady string of jobs in the bay area near the home of their business in San Carlos. They have restricted themselves geographically to be able to provide quick on-site service. Because of their willingness to turn around jobs in a short time frame, they wanted to be close to their

FPO Sur-Fin

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“Much of the secret of our success has been the people we hired,” A.J. says. “Often, we do a lot of work right in a client’s home. Since most of our clients are quite wealthy, they expect a certain level of professionalism. When handling a job in a $10 million home, for example, you can’t just bring in some work crew off the street. You have to bring in people who understand the care that must be taken to protect the grounds, the architecture, and the furniture and valuables in a home.” “Our people are top-notch at that,” James says. The creative process

Though they do use machined components, the Guaspari brothers prefer custom forging. Although the process is labor intensive, they say the result is worth the extra effort. “We really want to be known primarily as artists,” James says. “We’ll spend a lot of time with the client helping them decide on a design, whatever the idea. We pride ourselves on being able to take sketchy concepts and translate

them into a metal reality.” The process of creation doesn’t stop there. “I find that people are often surprised when they sit down with us because they never expected we could do just about anything,” he says. “Sometimes, people come in thinking about a stair railing and leave with plans for a garden gate.” A.J. attributes this ability to “wow” the customer to the shop’s flexibility. “There are probably some fabricators who rely on a lot of packaged elements to accommodate their clients,” he says. “While we take pride in using the vendors we use for component parts, our skill lies in being able to make a job conform to the client’s vision rather than asking the client to conform to what we may have available.” In some cases, it’s not just the customer’s requirements that dictate the shape of a job. Building codes and statutes often place limits on what the brothers can do, especially in commercial settings. The hand-forged approach allows the team at Fable to quickly overcome those requirements and handle jobs like scrollwork on

stair railings with ease. Looking beyond the present

The brothers don’t foresee business slowing down anytime soon, but that seems to sit well with both of them. A.J. likes his personal involvement in each job, approaching each gate and entryway as Rodin or Matisse approached a canvas. James’s first love will always be horses. He usually spends two grueling 16-plus-hour days at the office early in the week and the rest of the time at his ranch. Fable currently has about 30 open jobs at the moment. A.J. confesses they could take on additional work but has concerns the quality of the work would begin to degrade. “Currently, there are too many jobs out there,” he says. “We could easily take on more clients, but it would stretch our resources to the point where I couldn’t personally track everything. Further, I like to keep a little time available in case one of our clients comes through with a design that will require a considerable timecrunch.”


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Old World styles remain popular

James says the bay area residents who call on Fable are looking for a more Italian look—open, airy, and full of artistic iron. The trend, he says, is toward creating Italian villas or integrating a tasteful mix of Italian or Old Spanish accents. Fable’s repertoire includes more than just hand-forged steel, and they are looking to incorporate a more varied palette of metals in their work.

“For example, if you wanted a bronzy look, you could simply paint the metal,” A.J. says. “But when you see the painted metal next to hand-forged bronze, the difference is readily apparent. It’s the level of quality that matters, and using the actual metal rather than a metal appearance sets a project above others.” A.J. cites their current work as a clear example of the quality and workmanship Fable provides. They recently outfitted a 12,000 square foot home

with railings, gates, and other artistic work. The client spent in the area of $350,000 to accessorize the home with Fable’s hand-forged work. The work also included an intricate automatic gate for the main driveway, which while being automated, gives the appearance of seamless integration with the gateway and conceals the motors. “One of the reasons the clients picked us was because we were not afraid to try new things,” A.J. says. “That’s important in this business.” A memorable job

Another one of the pair’s recent jobs was the creation of a massive entry for a local winery. The job took them several weeks but allowed them to create a pair of magnificent iron towers connected by an archway and an automatic gate full of scrollwork. The owners wanted a rustic look, so Fable gave them exactly that—rust. Using a special acid, the entryway was constructed and then doused with the chemical to give the appearance of years of wear. The result is a highly decorative entryway that looks as if it’s been there for a hundred years but has the durability of recently-forged construction. Like all fabricators, James and A.J. Guaspari know the best way to continue their business is to continue providing top-drawer service to their clients and continue to be available to almost any challenge. Their discreet, flexible approach to their client’s designs has helped them become one of the premier fabricators in their area, and they say they will continue that record of service, one hand-forged scroll at a time. Of course, if clients ask for it, they might make a sword or two along the way. Mr. Hoerrner is a free-lance writer residing in Kennesaw, GA.

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Member Talk

An innovative window project makes national airwaves A NOMMA member receives valuable publicity when a residence containing their work is featured on two TV shows.

For your information


NOMMA member is featured in the media. When we learned about the work of Iron Craft Studios appearing on The Early Show, we contacted David and Joey D’Avignon to learn the “story” behind their unique project.

Fabricator: How long have you

and started running the business. We are still a family business. My wife, Marsha, runs the office and most of the sales work. Our youngest daughter, Andrea, works in the office and helps with sales and does a lot of on-site measuring and digital photography. Our oldest, Joey, works the installation crews and helps with shop maintenance. Our middle child got away and became a lawyer.

worked in the ornamental iron business? David D’Avignon: My dad started the business in 1948. He bought Fabricator: How did you become a some old tools off of a fellow NOMMA member? who had owned a business called David D’Avignon: We joined back Rigsbee Iron Craft Studio. It had in the days when Blanche Ballew been closed for some time. At the worked for NOMMA. We’d been time my dad was working for a getting the magazine for a few landscape company which needed years. Then we went to the Oklaan iron man. For some years he homa convention in 1974 because worked part-time for them and it was so close by. We joined that part-time at ironwork. year. I never knew there were My dad built a very small shop other people out there doing this in front of our house and called and supplying equipment for it it Roy’s Machine Shop. We had before then. We had just used old a couple of acres so when things machines and adapted other tools. got slow he’d add on I got my first big to the shop. We still ironworker from RogLooking for a humble retirement do that during slow ers, used to be called home? periods. Lehman. The day I The Goldfield estate is I have three older saw my first portable on sale for a cool $45 brothers and we all band saw was the hapmillion. Amenities in worked in shop—and piest day of my life; the 48,000-squareI mean worked. The we were cutting things foot French style other three went with just hacksaws. home include a on to other careers, bowling alley, theatre, and I came back to Fabricator: What is two pools, and even heated drawers in the the family business. the size of your shop? bathroom to keep Marsha and I later David D’Avignon: We towels warm. bought my dad out have 15 people work42


We are always thrilled when a

ing here now, and that’s about all we ever want. We’ve tried going up to 20, but it requires too much management. Fabricator: Your


David D’Avignon:

Member: David D’Avignon of Iron Craft Studio Inc. Dallas, TX joined NOMMA in 1975. Project: Giant, moveable windows, rails, and driveway gate at the Goldfield Residence in Hickory Creek, TX. The house was featured on Designing Texas and on The Early Show in March 2003.

In the last 10 or 15 years we’ve specialized in doing high-end rails and gates for multi million dollar houses as much as possible. But over the last several years we’ve done lots of windows—not bars—custom steel framed windows and doors for these same houses. Fabricator: Recently your firm was featured on Designing Texas and The Early Show for work you did on a house that is 48,000 square feet. What did you do? David D’Avignon: We made several

Driveway gate operators are used to open and close the massive windows. Fabricator n July–August 2003

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rails for the house, its main entrance gate, and we fabricated five sets of 20-feet tall and 8 feet wide moveable windows. Pettigrew Ironworks did work out there too. They are also a NOMMA member. Fabricator: Can you give us an idea of the scale of the house? David D’Avignon: There’s several hundred acres. Mrs. Goldfield lined the driveway with 20-year-old trees and bought eight extra and planted them in the back in case any die. The

The project included interior work, such as these balcony railings. Also helping on the project was fellow member Pettigrew’s Custom Iron & Metals Inc. of Dallas.

house also has two bowling alley lanes in the basement. When you first walk in the home you see the main stair and a dome. That stair goes from the first to the third floor, skipping the second to make it more difficult for visitors to get to the family quarters. But the owners never moved into the house. They put it on the market; it’s open for tours and used for charity events. The family lives across the highway in a ranch house where there’s another set of gates that we built. Fabricator: The show mentions that a lot of artisans contributed to the project. How did that affect your work on the house? Was it difficult with so many different hands involved? David D’Avignon: No we’re used to that—and it wasn’t a rush job, not a crowded thing. They wanted good work. Sometimes you get a job where it’s rush from day one. But this went on for a long, long time. They had a steel company do the structural part and the dome—somebody must have worked to get the curve of that dome. Someone else did the structure for stairs; we did the rails Fabricator: How did you get this


David D’Avignon: We already have a name for ourselves, particularly for doing custom, difficult windows, and we know the contractor, Sterling Kenty. We were probably the only people crazy enough to try it. Kenty is a good contractor and doesn’t do many houses, only nice ones. He said he wasn’t sure the window idea would work, and I wasn’t sure either Fabricator: How are the windows constructed? David D’Avignon: We built tracks for the windows, including the upper part. Someone else put the glass in. Those windows are 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The bottom 12 feet slides up and down. The top 8-foot tall arches are permanent. Gears are recessed in the sides of the windows. My son Joey did most of the work and installation of the windows. Fill in 30 on Reader Service Card


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Fabricator: What materials are used to move them? Joey D’Avignon: There are five openings and two windows (one glass and one screen) per opening. An Elite SL 3000 gate operator controls each window. They are all set with chains and cross-wired so they can all open and close at the same time. One end of each chain is attached to the bottom of the window and counterweighted on each side of the frame—like an old sash window. Fabricator: What was the most challenging part of setting up the gate operator pulley system? Joey D’Avignon: Well, gate operators move a little faster than one foot a second. But that would be too fast to move the windows because it would make the glass shatter. So we had to slow down the operators. The problem there is that when you slow something down you make it more powerful and less sensitive. But we were able to keep the entrapment safety feature in place. If someone is standing in the way of

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top: The window panels are assembled. right: An inside view of the 20-foot frame.

the windows closing, the gate operator will sense the weight and will not close. The windows can open all at the same time, and you can have the glass up, or all the glass down and just screens, or all the glass and screens down. Fabricator: Did you have to work in conjunction with anyone else on the windows? Joey D’Avignon: It required a lot of planning and talking to the electricians about it. We had to make sure the alarm could be wired through them.

Fabricator: Is there any maintenance


Joey D’Avignon: Occasionally we have

to tighten the chains. With so much weighing on them the chains are bound to stretch. But we took that into consideration when we installed the windows and made the chains easily accessible for maintenance.

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Cover Feature

Job Profiles

A unique technique adds new dimension to award winning job Using a process called “blown steel,” a metal artist creates a head-turning door sculpture that receives NOMMA’s top craftsmanship award.


By Rachel Squires Managing Editor

Blown steel sounds like a Hollywood movie title. It’s actually a technical term describing how Jan Pearson of Pearson’s Studio, Grants, NM, created his 2003 Mitch Heitler award winning Top Job entry, titled “Ministering Angels.” The project is a set of steel doors 9 feet tall and 6 feet wide, weighing just over 250 pounds each. It incorporates steel tubing and sheet, inlayed sterling silver, and leaded glass. The most eye-catching feature of this project are the two three-dimensional steel angels, which appear to float in front of the door. The life-like illusion was created through a technique called “blown steel.” “It’s a process in which compressed air is used on steel in much the same way it is used with glass,” Pearson explains. “Heat allows the air pressure to blow out the desired areas. Various hammers, dies, and punches then help impress the detail.” Pearson’s background in leather carving and silversmithing led him to begin creating two-dimensional relief effects with steel, like the kind you get when you carve leather or utilize chasing and repoussé with nonferrous metals. “With a nonferrous metal you hammer into a mold or a pitch bowl,” Pearson explains. Pearson used to do a lot of that as a silver smith. Then when he got into doing metalwork the concept stuck with him. Artist: Jan Pearson,

For your information


A style emerges

In addition to the “blown steel” technique, various hammers, dies, and punches were used to obtain detail. The door’s right panel is stationary and is held with retractable steel rods. The finish is a base of copper sulfate with a wax finial finish. Approx. labor time: 1,800 hrs. 48

“When I work, I’ll have a concept in mind and just move forward with the concept and worry about the technical aspects when I get to it,” Pearson says. “Back in 1987 I had the idea of an eagle in mind. The wings were real stylized. All the panels were flat sheet but the belly was rounded. I had to figure out a way to bring the belly out without hammer blows. So I pressurized it and took a torch to the belly. When it reached the plastic stage the belly blew out.” Pearson says he’s been working on ways to utilize the concept ever since. In the case of the Ministering Angels, a lighter

Pearson’s Studio, Grants, NM Awards: This project, Ministering Angels, won the 2003 Mitch Heitler Award. Materials: Steel tubing and sheet, inlayed sterling silver, and leaded glass. Special technique: Blown Steel, a process in which compressed air is used on steel in much the same way it is used with glass. contact

Fabricator n July–August 2003

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gauge is welded to a heavier gauge, and then that is welded to a big table with an x- and y-axis and a press on it. The two sheets are welded together airtight. For the angel doors he used a 12-gauge silhouette of the figures and welded that to a ⁄ inch plate silhouette, making an airtight envelope. The silhouettes were then tack welded to a heavy table for the forming process. To pressurize it he puts an air chuck at some entry point. “By heating at

say 120 pounds p.s.i. you end up with a little over 8fi tons of square feet of pressure pushing on the area that you heat up,” Pearson explains. “The heated metal blows out once it reaches a plastic state. “Then I use different tools to make smaller areas go back in. It’s a way of using compressed air to partner behind the metal you can’t reach.” “It’s important to not have your body at a right angle to the heat, in case you

A closeup shows the smoothness and detail that can be obtained with the “blown steel” technique.

burn through the sheet,” Pearson says. “If it’s not anchored down and you put too much heat on it, it can blow to one side. Mistakes can happen,” Pearson cautions. For those interested in trying this method, Pearson suggests starting with small pieces. “I have had seams rip and send larger pieces across the shop. It can be more difficult if the project is too big and has too much volume,” Pearson says. “You can use up to 12 gauge sheet, but if you’re trying to get detail it gets more difficult.” A lighter gauge of 14 gauge is easier to work with, and Pearson usually works with 14 and 12. “It depends on the size, and the design,” Pearson says. “You really need some basic knowledge of physics,” says Pearson who started basic repulsion engineering in the Navy. That provided him with a good background in physics and engineering. A similar technique

Pearson is not the only artist to use this technique. In fact, Elizabeth Brim, an instructor at Penland School in Penland, NC, and an active member and previous board member of ABANA, travels the U.S. and even Canada demonstrating this technique, which she refers to as inflation, or inflating metal. Brim is known for her popular metal pillows, “Their rectangular shape reveals a very dramatic effect of the air inflating process,” Brim says. Brim also uses a variation of the inflation technique, which Fill in 31 on Reader Service Card


Fabricator n July–August 2003

sucks air out, causing the heated metal to conform to the shape of an object placed inside the two sheets of airtight metal. Aside from the smooth curves made from inflating the metal or blowing the steel, other aspects of Pearson’s award winning Ministering Angels project are remarkable too. For example, he did all the leaded glass and silver inlay detail himself. “I’ve been working with different media so long if you get into an area that you’re not sure about you can always call a supplier to get some technical information,” Pearson says. “I had done leaded glass in the past.” For the silver inlay that appears on the handle and the doors, Pearson explains, “I cut my pattern through the 14 gauge steel handles and beveled the edge in from behind. Then I welded another sheet behind it to back it up. The handles were then shaped using the same air pressure technique. The silver lightening bolts and logo were then hammered into place. Pearson also did the original design work for this project. It is based on Art

Nouveau and Art Deco, “kind of a transitory period between the two, they didn’t know exactly what they wanted,” explains Pearson. “They just had some general ideas but the wife gave me the most input based on my interview with them.” The couple had seen a project Pearson completed previously called the “Buffalo Hunt Gates.“ That project, along with the eagle sculpture Pearson mentions called “Spirit Talker,” appeared in Fabricator’s September-October 1998 issue and can be seen on the web at Pearson typically does all the design work for his clients. He says he just sits and listens and usually he gets a sense of the person and the kind of elements they might respond to. “The most challenging aspect of the Ministering Angels project was bringing together all of its components and

A standard lock was used on the left door, but a coiled spring was added in the handle to compensate for the extra weight. The handle on the right is stationary from the outside.

making it function as a unit,” relates Pearson. As any fabricator knows, a lot of distortion can occur during repeated heating and welding of a complex piece. This particular project had to come out very clean. Pearson says the lock on the door is also unique, “I used a standard lock and beefed up the return spring. “ The handles are matched inside and out with inlaid silver lightening bolts and signature logos. The stationary door on the right is held with retractable steel rods that retract by depressing the inside spring-loaded signature button and rotating the handle. Pearson owns and runs Pearson’s Studio in Grants, NM. In addition to his experience with jewelry making, leather, glass, and woodwork, he has taught at Vision Quest, a comprehensive national youth services organization that provides innovative intervention services to at-risk youth and families in Tucson, AZ.

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Job Profiles

Braving the elements to complete a bronze fountain Despite the cold and snow, the team made final adjustments to the waterflow and the memorial fountain was completed in time for dedication ceremonies.


By John Medwedeff Medwedeff Forge & Design

The opportunity to create this piece was born of disaster. On January 22, 1999, an F4 tornado cut a 4.3 mile long, .5-mile wide path of devastation through the heart of Clarksville’s downtown business district. In five minutes, 124 buildings were destroyed and another 562 were damaged. According to the area’s 54

The completed fountain provides a centerpiece for the Clarksville, TN courtyard.

daily newspaper, The Leaf-Chronicle, the twister caused $72.6 million dollars in property damage, but no injuries because it struck at 4:15 a.m. The Courthouse lost its roof, bell tower, and a huge section of the east wall. This venerable building, originally constructed in 1878, had also been damaged in 1884 by a tornado and gutted by fire in 1900. It was decided to once again save the damaged facade of the building to help preserve the rich architectural history of the city. With an eye on the future, the county commissioners planned to turn the historic building into modern office space and move the courts to a new building that would meet the county’s needs for the next century. The pedestrian space between the two buildings would be called Millennium Plaza and feature a fountain commissioned as the first major public art project for Montgomery County. The design parameters were quite open to interpretation. The landscape architect’s design for the plaza called for a 12-foot diameter pool in which the sculptural water

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Photo: Susan Hicks Bryant

I would never have imagined that one day, dressing for work as a metalsmith/sculptor would mean zipping myself into a neoprene wet suit in freezing weather. In 1999 I completed my first large-scale municipal fountain sculpture, which appeared in the May/ June 2000 issue of Fabricator. The success of that project and several other monumental sculptures quickly brought new opportunities to create more fountains. In December 2002, my staff and I installed the most recent work: the Millennium Plaza Fountain in Clarksville, TN. Designing and building large-scale bronze fountains has become a passion as much as a major part of my business. My interest in designing water features goes back to a childhood trip to Japan with my father where we saw beautiful gardens, and to white water kayaking in the mountains of East Tennessee while in high school. I have now spent over twenty years professionally creating architectural ironwork and sculpture. For me, combining moving water with the discipline of fabricated metal sculpture is an especially fulfilling creative experience.

About: John Medwedeff has developed a name for himself fabricating large-scale, bronze, commemorative fountains for several prominent communities. He has been a NOMMA member since 1999. Project: The Millennium Plaza Fountain in Clarksville, TN. Size: The fountain is 16 feet tall with an 8-foot 9-inch diameter basin that rests in a 12-foot diameter black granite pool. Materials used: Silicon bronze plate and discrete stainless steel mechanical fasteners. Award: 2003 Top Job, BRONZE in Art/Sculpture category.

Fabricator n July–August 2003

for a large sculpture and reflecting pool. The vertical space of the plaza, disproportionately tall relative to its width, seemed to call for a piece that would be between 15 feet and 20 feet in height. The east/west axis of the plaza and its hill top location would conspire to create venturi like wind conditions unfavorable for the operation of a water feature. When adding water features to sculpture there is a long list of mechanical realities that must be integrated with the artwork.

Public health, safety, maintenance, wind/spray, and the interface of electronic sensors, plumbing, filtration and feature pumps, water volumes, and lighting top the list. My sculptures often convey a sense of angular velocity, the same rotating force found in tornados. My aesthetic and this commission created a dilemma. I felt that a sculpture referencing tornado imagery in any way was the last thing I wanted to propose. The people of Clarksville were of course

Photo: Jeremy Waak

The team forges the top surface of the volute. Shown are (l to r): Andrew M. Rieckenberg, John Medwedeff, and Nicole Klinge.

feature would be located. The White House Millennium Council in Washington had designated Montgomery County as an official Millennium Community so the local Commission had adopted the national theme, “Honor the Past-Imagine the Future.” The Call to Artists’ only specification regarding the design was “In keeping with this theme, the piece will celebrate the restoration of the Courthouse and the construction of the new Courts Complex.” I was one of five finalists chosen out of 80 responses to their national Call To Artists, so I needed to produce a scale model for the next stage of the competition. When I begin to design, I concentrate on the question of design relative to a specific site and my aesthetic. I draw and build test models until I am confident that I have realized a form that is correct in proportion and style to the site, its intended function, and how viewers may perceive it. This site was more demanding than most. The sculpture would have to visually harmonize with both an ornate 19th century building and a historically referenced but clearly 21st century building. The physical space, previously a street, would be compressed to 55 feet wide, and due to the requirements for pedestrian walks and ramps, lighting fixtures, and planters, did not have much room to spare Fill in 20 on Reader Service Card July–August 2003 n Fabricator


Photo: John Medwedeff Photo: John Medwedeff

left: Jeremy Waak stands next to the weir prior to bending. The fountain was fabricated from 3/16” x 1/4” sheets of silicon bronze, laser and plasma cut, and then formed and welded.

very focused on the tornado that had altered their lives, but I knew that in time they would rebuild and the event would become another chapter of history, just as it is in the Southern Illinois community where I live. It was also destroyed by a tornado, the famous “Tri-State Tornado” in 1925. That terrible day is still part of the collective memory of Murphysboro but

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does not affect our daily life now. Thinking of the future, my goal was to create forms of sustained beauty, meaning and interest through time, without referencing a particular moment in history. The proportions would be as classical as the architecture of the old Court House, the shapes as contemporary as the new Courts Complex, stay true to my

left: The top and bottom edges of the weir are prepared for welding. Most of the material was shaped using pinch rolls and presses.

design vocabulary, and address the symbolic theme that had been suggested. I presented a 1/12 scale forged and fabricated model of a bronze sculptural fountain that was selected as the winning design in September 2001. My solution was the maximum use of the 12-foot diameter black granite pool with an 8-foot 9-inch diameter basin supported by a tapered bronze pedestal and an internal stainless steel structure. The center of the basin, in which the major sculptural elements are arranged, is off center creating an asymmetrical, eccentric weir or rim. The 16-foot tall sculpture is intended to be an elegant, dynamic form in any season, enhanced by water features during temperate months. The sculptural elements are based on the movement of water as in a wave, and the water cascading from the volute becomes a kinetic extension of the static piece. Considering the wind factor and the close proximity of pedestrians, I incorporated the water features as low as possible. The water pumped up through five, 1-inch flex PVC hoses concealed inside the hollow volute falls 30 inches to the basin. The asymmetrical design locates the drip line of the volute just west of the center of the 12-foot pool. Water caught by a west wind is blocked from spraying pedestrians by the large curvilinear shapes on the east side. The water supplied by a 4-inch pipe that flows over the weir drops only 17 inches on the north elevation and 23 inches on the south elevation to the surface of the pool. The short drops minimize wind spray. Although I was not required to, I chose to work with the site plan that the architectural team had developed Fabricator n July–August 2003

Photo: John Medwedeff

One of the two vertical elements of the sculpture. The holes in the bottom side are passages for plumbing and lighting.

because I did not want to interfere with their vision, and I also thought that they had done a superb job with the plaza design. The planning for construction of the fountain and pool, begun in the winter of 2002, was a collaborative effort between Lyle Cook Martin Architects of Clarksville, TN; Hodgson & Douglas LLC of Nashville, TN; Hydro Dramatics of St. Louis, MO; R.C. Mathews Contractor of Nashville, TN; and my studio, Medwedeff Forge & Design. The architects did the work of coordinating plans. Hydro Dramatics designed and supplied the mechanical equipment that would operate the water features, and the general contractor was responsible for the site preparation.

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I began by scaling up from the presentation model to a ⁄ scale machinists model. This second model then became the guide for construction of the full-scale sculpture. In April, our subcontractor, L.E. Sauer Machine Co. in St. Louis, delivered 4,000 pounds of laser cut ⁄ inch and 3/16 inch thick silicon bronze plate. At the time we were constructing another, larger sculpture in the studio. Both were to be installed in the fall, and consequently we felt short on both space and time. During most of the summer we were able to accommodate simultaneous work on the two sculptures. I divided my staff into two teams, and I worked with them on both pieces. Staff members

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Photo: John Medwedeff

top: The fountain basin and vertical elements of the sculpture shown during fabrication. For the finish, the surface was sanded to 50 grit, then sandblasted.

of the tornado. With just over a month to go, there was a tight window of opportunity to install and get out of the way of the finish work on the site. Hoping that the weather would hold, we installed the sculpture on December 2. A crane lifted the components 125 feet from the street to the pool, where we bolted them together. The next day we installed the internal plumbing and lighting while Hydro Dramatics did a final check on the equipment in the subterranean vault. It was 35 degrees, windy, and the sky was heavy with snow clouds while I spent 1.5 hours in the water in a wet suit, adjusting the flow volumes. Then, the water was turned off for the winter months. We retreated around the corner to Clarksville’s Black Horse Brewery to warm up and have a fine dinner. My

Photo: Matt Haugh

Jeremy Waak and Jed Wallace, son of my mentor Jim Wallace, concentrated on the Millennium Plaza Fountain. Later, after the other project was completed, Andrew Rieckenberg and Nicole Klinge joined us to finish the work. Most of the plate bending was done with pinch rolls, various presses, and portable hydraulic tools. The top surface of the volute, a 4-foot wide, ⁄-inch thick plate is an anticlastic form and had to be hand forged (easier said than done!). MIG welding and discrete stainless steel mechanical fasteners were used in the fabrication. The entire sculpture was later sanded to 40-grit finish and then sand blasted. Hiding all traces of the internal plumbing system while keeping it accessible through removable panels that doubled as elements of the sculpture made this a challenging project. Everyone involved in the work participated in brainstorming sessions that resulted in clever solutions to some extremely complex fabrication “opportunities.” With permission from the Murphysboro Public Works Department, we tested the water features in the studio by connecting to the fire hydrant across the street. Yes, we got the workshop wet. Very wet. By Thanksgiving, the job site was almost ready. The grand opening was scheduled for the fourth anniversary

John Medwedeff adjusts the internal lighting during spring 2003 startup.

staff departed for home, and I stayed behind to take care of a few last details. The next morning I woke up to find that I had to make the final adjustments in 3 inches of snow and freezing rain. It was close but we had completed the project before the onset of one of the worst winters on record. On January 22, 2003 my family and I stood with the residents of Clarksville who proudly gathered for dedications of the restored Montgomery County Courthouse, Millennium Plaza, and the new Montgomery County Courts Complex. The ceremony included placing a time capsule and cornerstone. I was surprised to later learn that the time capsule contained a copy of my “owner’s manual.” Participating in the rebuilding of Clarksville was one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. Over the sounds of Clarksville’s ongoing reconstruction, speeches were made and a military band from Fort Campbell played the National Anthem.

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Fabricator n July–August 2003

Job Profile

Retired Navy welder goes ornamental n Since

fabrication on site was not an option, an old military friend was called in to build a mock staircase at the shop.

By Kerry Patric Moylan Metal Creations One of my favorite sayings is, “Welder

by trade, artist by choice.” Welding was something I had come to do very well, and rightfully so with 25 years experience and extensive training that began with a military career. In 1977 I went to Area XI Vocational School in Ankeny, IA for welding. My instructor Rick Cowman was knowledgeable in the field, and through him I found I had a creative side relating to metal. Now, many years later, I still enjoy creating those one of a kind items. So, upon my retirement from the Navy, I tried my hand at a more ornamental side of metal. I started a small business called Metal Creations

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Project: Vine rail, 54 lineal feet, for a new home near Charleston, SC. Biggest challenge: Installation raised some concern since the brand new home would be complete upon installation time, and onsite fabrication was not possible. Solution: An old Navy friend, a master carpenter, built a mock staircase at the shop. Using this as

July–August 2003 n Fabricator

There are no visible fasteners on this project. To remove them from view, the fasteners were recessed inside the already welded 3/4” pipe nipple to 1/4” plate and filled with a two-part epoxy. The surface was then textured to create a knot appearance.

and set about marketing my artistic pieces in local galleries in the Charleston, SC area. It was through East Bay Galleries of Mt. Pleasant, SC, where my works were consigned and I happened upon the wonderful opportunity to be commissioned for the ironwork featured in this article. The shop owner’s friend was a young lady who was recently engaged to be married. They were building a showcase home and needed an ironworker to create a staircase for their entrance. Phone numbers were exchanged, and thus began a project that evolved into a frienda guide, the rails were ship. completely fabricated off I must admit, when the site. Small welds were opportunity arose to do then used to join the sections at the job site. The a 100 percent custom fabricator also arranged ornamental job, I jumped for plenty in with both feet. The of mandesign process began power to carry the when homeowner Doug railing secDojan came to visit my tions into shop. He viewed samples the home, of the items, checking the which required going up many quality of my workmansteps and between ship. At this point, Doug columns. showed me a small magazine photo of a grapevine rail he envisioned for his

home, except the size and amount of railing required for his home would dwarf this job many times over. At first I was overwhelmed with emotion. The opportunity and challenge of such a task was more than I was prepared for. My experience was limited in jobs of this magnitude, and I wondered how I would handle the final installation. Yet, the homeowner was confident in my ability to build what he wanted, and offered to lend resources to get the job through its final stages. The project begins

So began the customization of the Dojan rails. First I decided to use different sizes of vine rod, and three sizes of torch-cut leaves, which I heated, hammered, and detailed to accent the vines and grapes. Grape clusters were individually created by hand using 3/8 inch and 7/8 inch un-plated steel balls. The tree trunk newel posts required a massive look. So, I began with a 1⁄ inch re-bar stock and then hand-forged additional pieces and contoured them to the trunk to give it a dimensional appearance. I applied about eight to ten weld layers to get the right thickness. The trunks were lightly surfaced with 59

The tree trunks started out with 11/4” rebar stock, and then additional contoured pieces were welded on, resurfaced, and cold-beaded. Hand forge techniques were used on six different sizes of vine round bar and each grape cluster was individually created by hand.

a grinder, and tree knots were added with cold bead to give it texture. The re-bar protruded six inches below the base of the trunk in order to install the rail into the solid wooden beam at the jobsite. These three tree trunks ranged in weight from 42 to 45 pounds each. Doug wanted to keep the flow of the

rail uninterrupted, so there would be no trunk support for the long top rail. The top rail, along with wall attachments, would have to support all the weight of the vine. Additional fixtures and heat sinks were added to maintain a straight rail. I also incorporated 4-inch

by 4-inch pads for the base, and 36inch by 4-inch pads to attach the railing to the wall. These pads were constructed using ⁄ inch plate with fl inch by 1 inch pipe nipples welded onto plate over 3/8-inch holes where fasteners would go through. The objective was to have no visible fasteners once torqued down into the pipe nipple. A major challenge

The biggest problem was still ahead—I had to install the rail into a building that was totally completed, and onsite fabrication was not possible. So I hired one of my old Navy buddies to use his skill as a master carpenter to build a mock staircase at my shop. I decided to completely fabricate the rails offsite, and then use small welds onsite to join the sections during final installation. With that problem solved the physical work of creating the vines began. All grape clusters and leaves were fabricated and ready to find their home in the vine. Then the 7/8-inch vine rod was bent into an initial state to provide a starting point to build

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Fill in 25 on Reader Service Card Fabricator n July–August 2003

upon. Railings were set in fixtures, and the 7/8-inch vine rod attached. From that point I began to add the other size vines by hot bending and blending them in with welding and grinding. This provided a smooth transition between the sizes. One of the most satisfying parts of the fabrication process was adding the grape clusters and leaves, because it brought the vine to life. The final stages

Once all the hotwork was done, it was time to ensure the proper contour of all the welds, make sure all splatter was removed, and ensure that the rail met the 4-inch building code. Next I applied a finish to the rail. The rail was sandblasted and then given an acid etching. The etching was removed with water, and this prepared the rail for various chemical solutions, which were applied in order to obtain the rust color scheme. To get the rust color I applied a store bought rusting solution. Then peroxide and vinegar

Three sizes of leaves were torch cut, heated, hammered, and detailed for the vines and grapes. The entire project was designed by the fabricator based on the owner’s proposal. Approx. labor time: 350 hrs.

were applied, thereby giving a multidimensional look to the rust color. In order to provide an excellent encapsulation of the rust and produce a gloss finish, a product by Dupont called Imron was applied as a finish coat. This two part polyurethane enamel

enhanced the play of light on the railing, and the vines actually looked real. Now the rails were ready to go to their new home. Like I said, installation was something I was nervous about. The rails had to be carried up 25 exterior steps, ma-

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“The rails had to be carried up 25 exterior steps, maneuvered

around the 18 inch exterior entry columns, clear very expensive special ordered doors, turn, and then carried up 13 more steps inside the house.”

neuvered around the 18 inch exterior the pad and the wooden beam. Once entry columns, clear very expensive it was torqued down, I applied a twospecial ordered doors, turn, and then part epoxy adhesive to fill the space carried up 13 more steps inside the and give it added stability. The epoxy house. All the while, I was thinking of was textured before it set, to blend in the expensive wood floors, trim, and with the “tree trunk” look. preparation done to the interior of the One last onsite clear coat was applied home. Thankfully, the six consciento the entire vine rail, and the project tious muscle men accomplishing this was complete. In the end I had over task did a wonderful job and no nega350 labor-hours invested, and the tive incidents occurred. result was two very happily married However, I still ran into a homeowners who Got Rust? problem with the installation were proud to own the The multi-shaded once the rails were in place. I finished product. rust effect for this should have realized from the I am lucky to live job was created initial measurements that the in the fast growing with an acid etch, open walkway of 20 feet long Charleston area where followed by several had a dip in the center. Now the most famous different chemical I had fi inch to 5/8-inch gaps blacksmith, Phillip solutions. A heavy clear coat was then Simmons, lives. His under the footpads. I followed added for the final artistic endeavors in my original plan of using a touch. the historic city have 4-inch lag bolt; however, I now brought the demand incorporated spacers between

for ironwork in new homes to a frenzy in the surrounding suburbs. My one-man shop is in Summerville, SC, where I build custom rails, gates, and functional ironwork pieces such as headboards, fire screens, entertainment centers, and chess sets. The opportunity to be creative is the best part of it all.

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Fabricator n July–August 2003

Job Profile

The String of Pearls: Restoring an historical treasure n The

highlight of this restoration project is a lighting system that allows each fixture to be lowered individually by cable for lightbulb replacement. By Jack van Kauwenbergh & Don Schmidt Custom Metals Inc.

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Fabricator: Custom Metals Inc., Madison, WI; NOMMA member since 2000. Project: Restoration of the Wisconsin State Capitol Assembly Chamber. Biggest challenge: Engineering the “String of Pearls” so that each of the fixtures is mounted on its own cable so that July–August 2003 n Fabricator

Photo: © Eric Oxendorf

Elegance, creativity, feasibility, and function—it is the goal of any designer and fabricator to combine all of these seemingly conflicting elements in every project— and it is truly a marvelous thing when it is successfully done! The photos that accompany this article show such a project. The photos feature the Wisconsin State Capitol Assembly Chamber, and although the full restoration project was very involved, the focus of this article is the “string of pearls” light fixtures that surround the stained glass ceiling/skylight.  Custom Metals Inc. was called upon by Carley Wood Associates (General Contractors of this renovation project) to remove existing plaster plugs from the ceiling and to not only aid in design; but also to produce, wire, and install all of the new floweret fixtures. When we arrived at the job site the room was not well lit. One could feel the history of the building indelibly etched in the walls of the room. Having reverence for the building was daunting in and of itself, the challenges of what the job entailed could be absolutely intimidating. The fact that the “String of Pearls” appears to be one cohesive ring is a sort of optical illusion—the ring is actually comprised of individual cast aluminum

The elegant ring of lights became known as “the string of pearls” and proved to be the most challenging part of the project.

light fixtures that strategically fit together to create the appearance of a ring. One of the most remarkable engineering aspects of this project is that each of these fixtures is actually mounted on its own cable so that it can be individually lowered to the floor below to change out the single light bulb. Incorporating the appearance of a cohesive ring in the final product and the functionality of the lowering of each individual fixture was not easy to design or install. In order to have the ring appear consistent, their seating had to be precisely controlled. The solution was to give each floweret fixture a stainless steel funnel-like implement (or “trumpet”) on the topside, which is invisible to viewers below. This “funnel” fits into a similarly shaped it can be individually lowered to the floor larger stationary funnel in for changing the lightbulb. Award: GOLD, 2003 Top Job Contest the ceiling above that has been strategically placed—an elegant and clean solution for the problem. As for installation, that was a whole other story. Imagine, if you will, the following scene: It is a hot A Custom Metals service vehicle. summer, averaging 90 de63

fabrication and welding takes place in a cramped, unventilated space between the stained-glass ceiling of the chamber and the skylight above it. Sunlight pours into this space for most of the day, and where shade does exist,

top and left: Putting the final touches on the light fixtures. Creating the “String of Pearls” light fixtures was part of a 14-year restoration project that began in 1988. right: The Capitol assembly room.

the temperature averages well over 115 degrees. One person stands on scaffolding inside the Assembly Chamber. He is responsible for positioning each light fixture and for building its framework so that when the cable is fully retracted the fixture will come to rest in the correct position. In the crawl space above him another person lies flat on his stomach, bending and welding into place

Photo: © Eric Oxendorf

Photo: Mike Bath

Photo: Mike Bath

grees outdoors. Much of the on-site

the pipes that will guide each cable from its fixture to a spool above. The crawl space is choked with structural beams that radiate from the stained glass, and many of the pipes have to be strategically bent to travel horizontally before returning to vertical orientation some ways away from the fixture they attach to. The two men must use walkie-talkies to coordinate every detail of the installation to assure that the fixtures come to rest precisely in position vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. Considering that the person in the crawlspace has little room to move, has to use mirrors to find whatever small openings exist for the pipe, and has to weld in sweltering inhumane conditions—this installation was truly an accomplishment. A massive project

The “String of Pearls” light fixtures were completed as part of a 14-year restoration project that started in 1988 and represents the dedication of the government and people of Wisconsin to keep our State Capitol one of the most beautiful and functional in the U.S. It is a remarkable building—one of the premier state capitol buildings in our nation in regards to marble, Fill in 82 on Reader Service Card


Fabricator n July–August 2003

top: A light fixture is assembled prior to being pulled up to the dome. top left: Adjusting the decorative frieze. bottom left: A view of the dome’s elaborate ceiling.

Custom Metals rose to the task to “create a brighter present to light our tomorrows while seeking to preserve and learn from our past.” The String of Pearls themselves seems to encapsulate this life lesson. But in a more palpable way, the string of pearls is only one of the crowning achievements of an extraordinary project that shall

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Photo: Mike Bath

As far as the role of Custom Metals in the overall scheme of the Capitol Restoration project, we were responsible for much more than these fixtures. We were responsible for work ranging from the surveying of existing historic grilles and hardware, to refurbishing interior stairwells, to the manufacture of new period-style interior and exterior ramp rails, to restoration and production of stamped and cast decorative and functional HVAC bronze grilles—not to mention the cataloging, tracking, restoration, repair and/or replication of approximately 10,000 hardware items (including door knobs, escutcheon plates, hinges, and the like.) To describe all of the elements of the tremendous human endeavor that was the Capitol Restoration & Rehabilitation Project, or all of the talented individuals who made it a success, would take an entirely new article, if not a book!

now be passed along to our children to

Photo: Mike Bath

Other responsibilities

Photo: Mike Bath

artifacts, and design. This renovation project was geared to revitalize its appearance and update its efficiency while remaining true to the original vision of George Browne Post when he designed the Capitol in 1906. The design of these fixtures and the funnel assembly was the result of a collaborative effort between Don Schmidt (President of Custom Metals, Inc.) and Robin Carley (President of Carley Wood Associates). Several key players were responsible for the completion of the String of Pearls—to name a few along with the roles they played: Mike Bath (State of Wisconsin, Building Management—Capitol, Owner Representative), Greg Ericson (Carley Wood Associates, GC, Project Manager), and many other talented individuals.

admire and care for. It is still amazing what can be done when people combine their talents and efforts to leave their mark in this world. Also contributing to this article were Kate Garden & Carole Schmidt.


Biz Side

Create an effective safety program and stick with it What you’ll learn! n How

to reasonably manage an effective program by determining your shop’s specific needs. Then meet those needs and keep the ball rolling.

By Chris Osment There’s an old guy named Dave who’s worked in (and basically run) my uncle’s metal shop for over 20 years. Dave is a no-nonsense fellow and a master at his craft; he also tends to see things in fairly simple terms. I remember a discussion I had with him a few months after I entered the OSHA compliance field; For the most part, determining what I was quizzing him about the shop’s safety safety training to provide is a matter programs. He entertained my questions for of common sense—you examine the a while, then cracked a smile and said, “Shop various job duties and tasks performed safety rules are a lot like children—they in your shop, pick out the health and safety should be seen and not heard.” hazards associated with those tasks, and After I had time to digest what he’d said, teach your employees to avoid them. I grasped a fundamental truth behind his While this addresses the most pressing safety words. A truly effective safety program isn’t concerns, it leaves out two important types about hanging up signs or reading a fiveminute safety talk printed out from a web site; of hazard: the plainly obvious and the ones you don’t think of. No matter how simple, instead, it should reveal itself in how workers straightforward, or readily apparent some do their jobs. precaution is, there will always be someone Still, Dave wasn’t completely on target—after who either doesn’t get it or decides to take a all, people have to learn about safety someshortcut. where. Ongoing training and On the flip side of the coin education, properly applied, Lockout-Tagout (also are the hazards that are so increases awareness and proknown as “Control of uncommon or unheard of motes a safer workplace. The Hazardous Energy”) that spending time on traintrick is in finding safety soludeals with preventing ing your workers in that area tions that provide real results the accidental re-enerseems like a waste of time. For without sacrificing productivigization of equip- ment instance, many metal shops ty or creating headaches. With or machinery that is and related operations neglect that in mind, following are being serviced, adjusted, Lockout-Tagout training/ some ideas on how to manage or repaired. {OSHA programs, on the basis it’s an effective safety program. 1910.147} Identify your needs either (a) so rarely relevant January–February 2003 n Fabricator


For your information

About the author: Osment is a freelance business writer and Web/ IT consultant and previously worked as director of operations for an OSHA/ EPA/ federal regulations compliance company. Issue Managing a successful safety program takes a commitment fromthe top down. Best advice Have your site surveyed by a professional safety consultant and find out how other similar shops run their programs.

Chris Osment Ph: (877) 895-4629 t E-mail: nt co Web:

that such situations can be handled on a case-by-case basis, or (b) if equipment’s broken or being serviced, no one’s going to be around it anyway. Such thinking is unfortunately at the root of dozens of fatalities, hundreds of injuries, and thousands of dollars in fines every year. Four ways to determine what safety training programs your facility needs: One: Site survey and consultation.

Such an audit can be performed by the safety director at a VocationalTechnical school, from your insurance carrier, through a safety company, or through the OSHA consultation program (usually administered by your state’s Department of Labor). In the first, second, and fourth cases, the consultation should be free of charge, though OSHA consultations carry the caveat that you must correct any gross deficiencies uncovered by the survey. Two: Consult with other shops, even rivals or competitors.

Safety techniques aren’t trade secrets, and swapping training materials and know-how can be both cost-effective and highly productive (since you’re virtually guaranteed that another shop’s programs will mirror your needs). In fact, Dave (from my uncle’s shop) will give safety talks at other metal shops in the area about once a month—and about as often, someone from one of those shops will return the favor and share what he knows at Dave’s shop.

OSHA “Hot-spots” for SIC 7692

Machines, General Requirements: covers guarding issues, training records, general maintenance, inspections, etc. Occupational Noise Exposure: a big problem in some shops, but not at the majority Welding, Cutting, & Brazing: not a big surprise. However, despite Dave’s hard work, the regulation revealed one area he hadn’t addressed—the fuel cylinder “corral” wasn’t up to standard. Lockout-Tagout: (also known as “Control of Hazardous Energy”) deals with preventing the accidental re-energization of equipment or machinery that is being serviced, adjusted, or repaired. {OSHA 1910.147} Hazard Communication: probably the single most frequently cited OSHA standard, HazComm requires you to educate your employees about the properties and dangers of hazardous substances found at your shop, and to maintain a written safety manual and Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) library.

Either take an OSHA training course or read through the standards. Don’t be intimidated—while it may seem like there are enough rules to snow you under until next spring, you’ll actually be able to determine within a minute or two if a particular regulation applies to you.

link, followed by the “Frequently Cited OSHA Standards” link. Then enter your specific SIC code to be presented with a listing of the regulations shops like yours are most frequently found to be in violation of. For instance, my uncle’s metal shop is primarily a welding repair shop that falls under SIC code 7692. The sidebar at the right outlines the biggest OSHA “trouble spots” for that SIC code.

Four: Check out the industry profile for your SIC code.

Meet your needs

Three: Review OSHA regulations.

You can find out the industry profile for your SIC code on the OSHA web site or by calling your local Department of Labor office. On the web, go to OSHA’s homepage at, then click on the “Inspection Data”

Once you have a good idea about what Find your nearest OSHA consultation office on the web: www.osha. gov/oshdir/consult.html areas you need to address, it’s time to start satisfying those needs. This is one area where Dave’s “children analogy” doesn’t hold true; while training is a critical part of a safety program, by itself it is not enough to satisfy all of your shop’s health and safety requirements. To meet your practical and mandated obligations (and to enjoy the positive benefits of an effective safety program) requires the following four elements:

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Training: Fabricator n July–August 2003

No big surprise here—ensuring that your employees are aware of and follow proper safety procedures forms the basis for any safety program Documentation:

As mentioned above, many OSHA standards require you to have a written safety program backing them up. And don’t let someone sell you a “boilerplate” program; one size doesn’t fit all…your programs must be site-specific. In addition, you need to have logs documenting all of your safety training and meetings… with, at a minimum, the topics covered, the instructor(s), the date, and names and signatures of the employees trained. You should also maintain a log indicating when follow-up training is needed—for instance, some OSHA regulations require annual refresher training of all employees. Commitment to safety:

Safety is more than a buzzword—and management’s policies and behavior must reflect that. Every person in a position of authority must continually reinforce the “safety mindset”—once it becomes obvious to your workers that you’re serious about safety, they’ll begin to be as well. Employee involvement:

This is the most elusive element, and the one that ties the whole package together. The good news is if you’re

doing everything else right, this will generally take care of itself. Reward employees who show exceptional safety awareness or initiative, and always solicit opinions and feedback from your workers on safety issues— then be sure to follow-up so they see their input does matter. Keep the ball rolling

Finally—you’ve spent months putting together your organization’s safety manuals, making sure everyone’s trained and that training is documented, and tracking down those elusive MSDS’s you need. Time for a break— after all, you’ve earned it, right? Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news: the bad news is your work is just begun… the good news is the hard part is behind you. Here are some ways to keep your safety program moving: Get outside help:

This was touched on above; it’s often helpful to get someone from outside your organization to come by and give a short safety lecture on an appropriate topic. Finding these guys isn’t as hard as you might think: start with area Vo-Tech schools and, once again, similar or rival operations. Don’t forget about your insurance carriers— worker’s compensation and property and casualty firms have safety pros and materials free for their customer’s.

If your carrier balks at the idea, you have two recourses: find another carrier (or threaten to!) or consult your state’s worker’s compensation agency... many states require insurance companies to provide training upon request. Watch and listen:

Solve problems before they happen; note instances where you witness unsafe behavior and evaluate accidents and near-misses. All of these occasions can form the basis for a safety “refresher course.” And always pay special attention to suggestions from your workers—not only does it help foster a stronger safety mentality, it can often save you the headache of coming up with a new topic. Offer bribes:

Actually, they’re called incentives—for instance, give away some bonus every month, with the winner either being chosen for his/her contributions to the safety program or picked in a lottery (where everyone who hasn’t been guilty of a safety violation that month gets a chance of winning). Everything old is new again:

When revisiting topics familiar to your employees, try a new twist—employ a guest instructor, make a PowerPoint presentation, or make the owner or manager illustrate the procedures the trainer is outlining…this last is often a favorite when the “performer” is an “office person”. Cast your net:

You thought you’d get through this without another reference to the Internet, didn’t you? Sorry…like seemingly everything else these days, safety has found a new home on the net. Use web-based message boards to pick the brains of colleagues; subscribe to OSHA’s safety e-bulletin; browse the safety programs that many colleges and universities post on the net. Surf to your favorite search engine and enter words like “safety toolbox talk”—you’re sure to find something that works for you. Osment is a freelance business writer and Web/IT consultant and previously Fill in 173 on Reader Service Card


Fabricator n July–August 2003

worked as director of operations for an OSHA/EPA/ federal regulations compliance company.

Resources on the Web


Listed below are resources offering free safety materials, communities, and information. Occupational Safety & Health Administration: assistance/index.html National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health: Toolbox Talks at Thompson Contracting: Toolbox%20Talks.htm Construction Employer’s Federation (from the UK, but safety is universal): Electrician’s Toolbox Safety Talks: Toolboxtalk/toolboxtalk.htm Environmental Safety & Health’s Toolbox Talks:

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Job Profile

When to walk away from a job


For your information


the work done!” Your response should be: ”May I ask for your n This space is for a summary blurb, budget on this job?” which explains what benefits the If they respond with, “We don’t know what it is going to cost, that is why you’re here,” your reader will gain from reading this response should be, “I know you don’t know article. what it is going to cost, I don’t know what it will cost until we get all the details defined. My question was, ‘what is your budget for By Michael Stone this job?’” When out selling, you’ll often run into poNow they must give you an answer, as there tential customers who are not a good fit for is no place left to dodge. If they give you their your company. Should you get involved and budget, great. If they won’t, be aware that you accept their job? are wasting your time and it is probably time The first warning sign of a trouble customer to move on. is the lack of good eye contact. After 33 years Another response that comes from individuof direct selling, good eye contact is the first als who put no value on your time is, “I want thing I look for. No good eye contact during a complete itemization of everything you the first three or four minutes, and that dude propose to do and a material list so we can or dudette is about to get fired. Normally, compare bids.” lack of eye contact shows insecurity, or some A good response is, “We charge other anti-social symptom. I $75 an hour, minimum 4 hours Schedule politely excuse myself and go find for itemization of any kind. If you for code apa customer that I can work with, a wish to get your checkbook, I’ll provals customer who will be up front and get started with your itemization. Code make the eye contact that is essenIs that fair enough?” Now you will review tial to good business relationships. April 8–19 find out real quick if you have a Public comment The other major warning sign is a good potential customer or someApril 19–July 9 low price shopper. They are easy one just shopping for low prices. Voting to recognize. If they are shopping prices, it is September 29– Customer says: “Oh, we are just time to move on, as there will be October 4 getting prices right now and then another company that will give we’ll decide if we are going to have them a quote for less than your

What you’ll learn!

Project laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a Fabricator skdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al Client askdjf slk l lk lk la ma la Primary vendors laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a .laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a Primary Materials/ Tools las kdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a .laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a Joe Smith, 123 4th St., Anytown, co nt ac tGa. 12345 Phone 123-456-7890; Fax 123-456-7890 E-mail; Web

Fabricator n July–August 2003

cost. Walk away. A final time waster is, “We are just getting prices now and we plan on doing the work later this year.” A good response is, ”When specifically later this year?” If they won’t give a solid date, tell them you have all the information you need, and to call when they are ready to get started. Thank them for their time and head for the barn. These are a quick overview of ways customers can waste your time. If your time does get wasted, in most cases, it is your own fault. Don’t let people string you along or not give straight answers. Prepare by writing down all the things people have told you to waste your time or stall making a decision. Then write a response that will keep them on track and to get to the contract. Practice these comments and responses until they flow naturally.

excuse yourself and leave. You can do this by saying, “John, I have another appointment across town to go to. When you get your budget (or whatever) decided, please call me and we will be glad to do the work for you. I have all the information I need other than that, so I’ll excuse myself and be on my way. Thank you for calling us.” If they in turn tell you to send them their “bid” by mail, respond immediately by telling them that you charge for that service, $75 an hour, minimum 4

hours. If they want you to give them a quote, then they should be willing to make a commitment. The true measure of business maturity is to walk away from any given job and not look back. There are jobs that you don’t want. You must have the maturity to recognize them and walk away. When you find yourself in a position of taking a job because you have to keep money flowing through your company, you are a long way from

Can the folks that use these time wasters be turned around?

Sometimes. The secret is finding a common ground you can start from to gain their trust. Here is an example. Your response was, “We don’t know what it is going to cost, what is your budget?” If they give you a number that is too low, which happens 9 out of 10 jobs, the book Markup and Profit; A Contractor’s Guide shows how to give them three price ranges. Ask if their budget can be adjusted to fit one of those ranges. If they are serious about the job and you have gained their trust, they will adjust to your number and you can move on with the sale. If they won’t adjust, you do not want to get involved with this job because you won’t be able to make money. However, once you agree on a budget with the owner, you will never hear your price is too high. If you can’t get answers you want, you may have to excuse yourself and leave. There are many ways of doing this but don’t burn any bridges. One tactic I learned early on for excusing myself from a potential job is to ask point blank what their budget is for the job. “John, what kind of investment would you like to make in this work on your home/building?” If they can’t or won’t give you a number, then as above, July–August 2003 n Fabricator

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business maturity. Get yourself out of that hole and the sooner the better.

5186-F Longs Peak Road, Berthoud, CO 80513

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Fabricator n July–August 2003


Job Profile

Thinking about sales: find the silver lining What you’ll learn! n This

space is for a summary blurb, which explains what benefits the reader will gain from reading this article.

By Dave Kahle J

[Todd has read this –you can refer to the March/April issue to see how I handled all his free plugs he requires - I actually did it in such a way to make it less obtrusive]

I had just finished sharing some of my perceptions about the state of the economy and the challenges facing most salespeople in one of my recent seminars. One of the attendees sitting in the front row anticipated the next portion of the seminar when he said, “Dave, what’s the good news? Where is the silver lining?” Great question. So many of us have been concentrating on the clouds recently, that we haven’t noticed the silver lining around the clouds. Certainly the economy is limping along in many industries that had been accustomed to regular growth. And the challenges of the Information Age can seem overwhelming at the moment. However, at the same time, there are unique and powerful opportunities for those salespeople who choose to pursue them. It really is our reaction to the difficult times that distinguish the true professional from those who are merely in the right place at the right time. One of the characteristics that contribute to success in difficult times is the ability to see the opportunities in almost any situation. That ability is particularly valuable today. As examples of how negative situations always contain the seeds of positive opportunities, here are three issues that you may confront as a result of the slow economy, but which really provide you unique opportunities. Here are three clouds with silver linings.

1. YOUR CUSTOMERS MAY BE REDUCING THEIR STAFF. We’ve have all seen this. What looks like a negative, however, holds the potential for a great opportunity. Fewer staff generally means that some people are doing jobs that they have never done before and that fewer people are doing more jobs. These are both opportunities for the creative salesperson. If someone is newly responsible for some category of product you sell, you have a great opportunity to educate that person on your product, on the reasons why their company has chosen to work with you in the past, and on the benefits that you have brought to this company. Do this, and it will position you as a valuable resource to that customer. Capture that opportunity by leveraging your position into opportunities to present more of what you sell. If some of your key contacts are now responsible for doing jobs that they have not done before, they can use help. It may be that by expanding the services or products that you sell to them, you can simplify their jobs and reduce some of the stress on them. For example, a purchasing agent may suddenly become responsible for buying two or three new categories of product that were previously someone else’s responsibility. Now is the time to make a presentation of why that account should buy more from you. Stress that doing so will reduce the number of salespeople that purchasing agent needs to deal with, and will reduce the number of purchase orders, invoices, and all the ensuing time-consuming details. That’s a powerful attraction in these circumstances. One of the most potent opportunities for a salesperson is the customer who becomes overwhelmed with the details and complexity of his/her job. If you can help simplify your customer’s job, if you can take over some of what that customer formerly did themselves, then you’ll have a powerful opportunity to establish a growing importance in that account.

July–August 2003 n Fabricator


January–February 2003 n Fabricator


For your information

Project laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a Fabricator Joe Smith Client NOMMA Primary Vendors Robert Entebbe Project Philosophy laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a .laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a Primary Materials/Tools laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a .laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a Toughest Issue laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a .laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a Best Fabricating Advice laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a . laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a a .laskdjf slk l lk lk la ma la al al a For more information contact Joe Smith, 123 4th St., Anytown, Ga. 123-4567890;;

Be particularly sensitive, over the near future, to the fact that your customers may have more to do. Open up conversations about how you can make a positive impact on their time and stress levels by reducing the number of vendors they deal with. Find creative ways your company can do things for the customer that the customer was previously doing for themselves. If you can more closely ingrain your company with your customer in these difficult times, you’ll become more important to that customer, and you’ll enjoy a growing portion of their business when the economy turns around. It is a rare opportunity. 2. YOUR COMPETITORS MAY BE CUTTING BACK. A lot of companies are reducing their staff right now. They do so to reduce their costs so that they can survive in a difficult economy. That can open up an incredible opportunity for you to prosper in the long run. For example, if your competitors are cutting back on the number of sales people they employ, then relationships with their customers will suffer, and that is an opportunity for you. Your competitors’ customers won’t see the competitive salespeople as often, or maybe not at all. That lack of attention is an open door for you.

As you call on your customers over the next few months, pay particular attention to anything you can learn about possible competitor’s cut backs. Try to ascertain which of your customers or prospects may be impacted by that. Give those people special attention. If you can make an inroad into an account that was formerly committed to a competitor, that relationship that you establish will work well for you even after the market turns around. It may be, however, that your competitor has not reduced the number of salespeople, but has cut back on service or production. If that’s the case, then it is possible that some of your competitor’s accounts are having trouble with delivery, service, quality, etc. Now is the time to get into those accounts and sniff around to find problems they may be experiencing. Any such problem is an opportunity for you. 3. YOUR CUSTOMERS CLOSE DOWN, OR MOVE THEIR FACILITY TO MEXICO OR CHINA. This one is a real challenge. What possible good can come of a customer going out of business in your territory? If you do your job well and are blessed with a little bit of luck, this could turn into two or three good customers down the road.

If you have done your job well over the past few years, you will have created positive relationships with several key people. You know them personally as well as professionally. You may have met their spouses or children. You’ve gained their respect and trust. Many of them are not going to move to Mexico, China, or anywhere else. They are going to stay right where they are. Which means that they will be looking for a job similar to what they are doing now. Get their home addresses and phone numbers and copies of their resumes. When you hear of a position opening up somewhere, let them know about it. Try to help them find jobs in your area. Whether or not they find employment because of you, they will recognize that you tried to help. Keep in contact with them. It is possible that they will surface in a position of responsibility for some other company in your area of responsibility. What a great opportunity to leverage your relationship into a new account, by calling on that individual. With some luck, a couple of these displaced key contacts can open doors for you with their new employers. One of the beautiful aspects of these three clouds with their silver linings is that it is unlikely that your competitors are even thinking this way. They are too busy feeling sorry for themselves and bemoaning the change from the way things used to be. Use these clouds as opportunities to expand the business or to find one or two more accounts, and you’ll be the envy of all the nay sayers around you. More importantly, take on the attitude of looking for the silver lining among the clouds in every difficult situation. It’s the mark of a truly successful professional. ### ******* AGREEMENT TO PUBLISH *********************************** Agreement to publish an article:

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publication via email auto-responder, send a blank email to

We agree to publish the article by Dave Kahle noted above. In exchange, we agree to:

Publication Name: _____________________________ Publication date in which the article will appear: _______ Title of Arti-

1. Mail two copies of the publication in which the article appears to The DaCo Corporation at the address listed below. If electronic, then e-mail a copy of the newsletter in which the article appears to admins@davekahle. com. 2. If the article will be used on a website, e-mail or mail a copy of the exact URL that the article is posted, and provide a link to 3. Include the following statement before or at the end of the article, or as a sidebar associated with it. ********* BEGIN STATEMENT ***** ********************************* Dave Kahle is a consultant and trainer who helps his clients increase their sales and improve their sales productivity. Dave has trained thousands of salespeople to be more successful in the Information Age economy. He’s the author of over 500 articles, a monthly e-zine, and three books. You can join Dave’s FREE “Thinking About Sales Electronic Newsletter” on-line at: or register for his monthly phone seminars at: www.davekahle. com. For more information, or to contact the author, contact: The DaCo Corporation 15 Ionia SW, Ste. 220 Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Phone: 800.331.1287 — 616.451.9377 Fax: 616.451.9412 *********** END STATEMENT ***** ******************************** Please complete the form below and remit to The DaCo corporation. To receive Dave’s terms of

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Nationwide Supplier Members As of June 15, 2003

A Cut Above Distributing 818-988-1831 Advanced Measuring Systems 888-289-9432 Allen Architectural Metals Inc. 800-204-3858 Allied Pacific Resources 330-866-1776 Alloy Casting Co. Inc. 800-527-1318 Alvin Products Inc. 978-975-4580 American Punch Co. 800-243-1492 American Stair Corp. 800-872-7824 American Woven Wire Corp. 909-340-2333 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. 800-784-7444 Armstrong-Blum Mfg. Co. 800-472-9464 Arrow Iron 201-955-9151 Arteferro Miami LLC 305-836-9232 Artezzi 800-718-6661 Artist Supplies & Products 800-825-0029 Automatic Gate Supply Co. 800-423-3090 Aztec Castings Inc. 800-631-0018 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. 800-526-6293 J. G. Braun Co. 800-323-4072 Builders Fence Co. Inc. 800-767-0367 Byan Systems Inc. 800-223-2926 C.O. Iron Ltd. 604-273-6435 The Cable Connection 775-885-1443 Carell Corp. 251-937-0947 CI Banker Wire & Iron Works Inc. 262-679-9609 Classic Iron Supply 800-367-2639 Cleveland Steel Tool Co. 800-446-4402 CML USA Inc. 563-391-7700 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. 800-716-0888 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. 800-933-5993 DAC Industries Inc. 800-888-9768 DECO Orn. Iron Supply Inc. 630-350-0900 DécorCable Innovations 312-474-1100 DKS, DoorKing Systems 800-826-7493 Doval Industries 800-237-0335 Duff-Norton 704-588-0510 EAGLEGate 801-321-8252 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. 251-937-0947 Eastern Metal Supply Inc. 800-343-8154 Eastern Ornamental Supply Inc. 800-590-7111 EDF Equipment Sales Inc. 407-351-7017 Elegant Aluminum Products Inc. 810-293-1020 Elite Access Systems Inc. 949-582-1700 Encon Electronics 800-782-5598 EURO-FER SRL 011-39-044 5440033 Euro Forgings Inc. 800-465-7143 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 407-351-7017 The G-S Co. 410-284-9549 Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. 800-663-6356 Georgia Classic Design 770-506-4473 Glaser USA 847-782-5880 GTO Inc. 800-543-4283 Hartford Stdrd. Stampings & Plating 270-298-3227 House of Forgings 281-443-4848 Indiana Gratings Inc. 800-634-1988 INDITAL U.S.A. 800-772-4706 Industrial Coverage Corp. 800-242-9872 Innovative Hinge Products Inc. 817-284-3326 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. 603-863-4855 The Iron Shop 800-523-7427 Italfer Architectural Iron Inc. 905-455-6100 ITW Industrial Finishing 630-237-5159 Jamieson Mfg. Co. 214-339-8384 Jancy Engineering Co. 563-391-1300 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. 800-423-4494 Justin R.P.G Corp. 310-532-3441 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 LLC 760-598-4118 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. 800-221-5579 LGC Non-Ferrous Castings 603-934-6370 Liberty Brass Turning Co. 800-345-5939 Mac Metals Inc. 800-631-9510 Main Steel Polishing Co. Inc. 214-951-0574 Marks U.S.A. 631-225-5400 Master-Halco 888-643-3623 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool 800-467-2464 Frank Morrow Co. 800-556-7688 Multi Lock Inc. 954-563-2148 Multi Sales 562-803-3552 New Metals Inc. 888-639-6382 Ohio Gratings Inc. 800-321-9800 Old Iron Doors LLC 205-970-0500 Omega Coating Corp. 888-386-6342 Orange Steel & Orn. Supply 305-805-6000 Overseas Supply Inc. 281-776-9885 Pass West 303-288-1700 Polished Metals Ltd. Inc. 800-526-7051 Production Machinery Inc. 410-574-2110 R & B Wagner Inc. 800-786-2111 Regency Railings Inc. 214-742-9408 Rik-Fer 011-39-043-4630031 Robertson Grating Products Inc. 877-638-6365 Robinson Iron Corp. 256-329-8486 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Prod. Co. 216-291-2303

Fabricator n July-August 2003

Nationwide Supplier Members cont. . . Boldface denotes new member.

Rogers Mfg. Inc. 940-325-7806 Sahinler Form Metal San. Ve Tic. 011-90-224-4700158 SECO South 888-535-7326 Sharpe Products 800-879-4418 Signon USA 866-744-6661 Sparky Abrasives Co. 800-328-4560 Stainless Steel Stock Exchange Inc. 908-206-9008 Stairways Inc. 800-231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. 602-243-5245 Steel Supply Inc. 713-991-7600 Stephens Pipe and Steel LLC 800-451-2612 Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd. 800-461-0060 Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. 916-374-8296 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. 281-987-2115 Tracker – CNC Cutting Systems 800-590-7804 Triebenbacher Bavarian Iron 800-522-4766 Triple-S Chemical Chemical Prod. 800-862-5958 Triple-S Steel Supply 713-697-7105 Tri-State Shearing & Bending 718-485-2200 Tubular Spec. Mfg. Inc. (TSM) 800-421-2961

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Universal Entry Systems Inc. 800-837-4283 Universal Mfg. Co. Inc. 800-821-1414 West Tennessee Ornamental Door 901-346-0662 Wrought Iron Concepts 877-370-8000 Wrought Iron Handicrafts Inc. 800-456-7738 Yavuz Ferforje A.S. 011-90-258-269-1664 *Join NOMMA 404-363-4009

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What’s Hot? n NOMMA News NOMMA member gets front page spread in biz section Middletown, NY’s Times Herald Record featured NOMMA member Vaclav Metal Craft Inc. and his Ernest Wiemann Gold Award winning railing in the business section fo their April 2, 2003 issue. The periodical titled the piece “Czech refugee forges his future,” and accompanied it with an article just as dramatic. Apparently, Vaclav Barina learned everythig he knows from a trade school in Czechoslovakia and recetly returned to his native country, now the democratic Czech Republic, for a month to learn more from his country’s “old-school fellows.” According to the article Barina worked full time as a robotics technician up untiil four years ago. He had always practiced his metalworking trade after work, But when his company asked him to move to Illinois he decided to do ornametnal iron work full time.Vaclav Metal Craft has been a NOMMA member since 2002.

Inside Biz Briefs 82 Coming Events 86 New Members 88

People 90 Products Literature

92 92

ANSI A117 COMMITTEE MEETING SUMMARY On April 14–15, 2003, NOMMA’s Technical Consultant Tim Moss met with members of the ANSI ASC A117 Committee on Architectural Features and Site Design of Public Buildings and Residential Structures for Persons with Disabilities during the ANSI The Conference held at the Washington Plaza Hotel. The main agenda item for this meeting was to consider the Final Consideration Ballot Comments and other Comments submitted to The Committee Action on Proposals for the 2003 Edition of A117.1. Dan McGee of Julius Blum and Tim Moss were present to speak on behalf of the guardrail and handrail proposals. The following agenda items are listed by Final Committee Action Numbers (FCA #). The first items discussed were proposals dealing with handrails in corridors. • FCA #08 dealt with handrails at the side of a corridor. Such handrails will have to meet handrails standards. This action passed. • FCA #49. The next items discussed

were proposals dealing with 505 handrails. An amendment to change 505.4 Handrail Height above walking surfaces was withdrawn by the requester, Mark Wales, AIA. • FCA #50. The next item was 505.6 Gripping Surfaces. An amendment was submitted to modify Exception 2. Where handrails are provided along walking surfaces along the side of corridors. This amendment failed. • FCA #51. This item was a request to modify 505.6 Exception 1(b) on metric measurements. The amendment was withdrawn by the requester, Hale Zukas. There were several modifications to wording on stair tread nosing for visual contrast from the rest of the tread and the riser. There were also several modifications to stairway illumination. The next step in the process is the Final Ballet for the committee vote. Then a Final Committee Report will be published. The date for publishing the new Standard is October 2003.

Lawler donates forge to Metal Museum


Fabricator n July-August 2003

NOMMA’s Technical Consultant Reports on CDC Safety Conference On May 2 and 3, 2003, NOMMA’s Technical Consultant Tim Moss attended the Safety in Numbers Conference hosted by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA. According to Moss several high-level officials spoke at the conference. The topic was Safety in Numbers: Working Together from Research into Practice. In a session titled Unintentional Injury, which dealt with sports injuries and falls, the speaker covered Childhood Injuries Due to Falls from Apartment Windows and Balconies. “While few studies have investigated the circumstances about these falls and how to prevent them, research done on a Dallas, TX emergency department revealed that during a two-year survey period, 98 Dallas County children were injured in falls from buildings,” Moss says. “For more than two-thirds of the balcony related falls, the children fell from between the balcony rails, which were spaced more than four inches apart.” Another ses-

July-August 2003 n Fabricator

Biz Briefs

sion titled Falls Prevention suggested that the leading cause of falls are poor lighting, lack of handrails, and loose carpeting. “One interesting statistic was that the falls occurred on steps without handrails,” Moss says. Moss was told there was no information available about falls on stairs with rails. “This was an excellent educational conference,” Moss says. “I obtained many good resource and reference materials. I was also able to meet and introduce myself to many people who work in the field of injury prevention. They were interested in talking further about our work in the industry.”


What’s Hot n? Biz Briefs


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ASA getss support for antibid shopping’ legislation The American Subcontractors Associaiton (ASA) applauds Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) for reintroducing legislation that would prohibit the practice of “”bid shopping” on federal construction contracts. The legislation defines bid shopping as “the practice of divulging a contractor’s or subcontractor’s bid or proposal or requiring a contractor or subcontractor to divulge its bid or proposal to another prospective contractor or subcontractor before the award of a contract or subcontract in order to secure a lower bid or proposal.” In a letter distributed on May 2 to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Kanjorski urged his colleagues to support H.R. 1348, the Construction Quality Assurance Act of 2003. In the letter, Kanjorski said:

“The federal government should act as a responsible construction owner and disallow the currently prevalent practice of bid shopping on its projects. This reform would also send a clear message that bid shopping should not be tolerated at any level, public or private, in the construction process.” The bill recently picked up three additional co-sponsors, Reps. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., Bob Filner, D-Calif., and Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. The total number of co-sponsors now stands at 10. Rep. Kanjorski says the bill “would restore fairness and stability to the construction industry.” For more information, contact ASA Director of Gov-ernment Relations Jim Turpin, CAE, at jturpin@asa-hq. com or (703) 684-3450, ext. 333.

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SMACNA campaigns for quality construction The Sheet Metal and Air Condition-

ing Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), along with more than 250 Campaign for Quality Construction contractors, met with legislators at a conference in Washington May 5–7. Discussions covered many issues affecting the specialty construction industry. One issue in particular, The Contractors Accountability Act was supported by Sen. Specter, Re. Carolyn Maloney (D-14-NY). Rep. Maloney’s bill seeks to create a database where procurment officialswould have access to the latest information about a federal contractor’s history of compliance with the law. She explained that when awarding construction contracts the U.S. governement currently does not make a distinction between a responsible, law abiding contractor and an unscrupulous one. Rep. Maloney believes

taxpayer dollars should not subsidize lawbreakers. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D11-Ohio) encouraged support for Section 708of the Funding Relief for Multiemployer Pension Plans (H.R. 1776). This legislation would provide multiemployer plans time to develop optional long-term solutions to a potential fudning problem at no cost to the U.S. Treasury and at no risk to plans. The provision permits multiemployer plans to amortize investment losses incurred between July 1999 and 2003 over 30 years instead of 15 years. Apparently, the proposal is vurtually the same as refinancing a mortgage. Other issues discussed were permanence of the estate tax repeal, rapid write-off of leasehold improvements, energy issues, anti-bid shopping, and comp time and prevailing wage.

Biz Briefs Welding products manufacturer rebounds Thermadyne Hodlings Corp., a manufactureer of cutting and welding products and accessories, announces that its reorganization plan has become effective and it has emerged from Chapter 11. According to the plan, Thermadyne’s long-term debt has been reduced to approximately $230 million, down from $800 million in debt and $79 million in preferred stock when the company filed for protection under Chapter 11 in November 2001. The plan also calls for issuance of 13.3 million shares of new common stock, 94.5 percent of which will be held by THermadyne’s senior secured lenders and the remainng 5.5 percent by a group of bondholders.

Home Is Where The Y Is Y

Lifetime warranty


Superior performance




Crafted with pride in the USA

The Y Of Every Door... • 5300 New Horizons Blvd., Amityville, NY 11701 • 631-225-5400 • 1-800-526-0233 • Fax 631-225-6136 Fill in 34 on Reader Service Card July-August 2003 n Fabricator


What’s Hot n? Accent Stair Inc. Phoenix, AZ Murray Herron Fabricator Cream City Iron Designs LLC Milwaukee, WI Mark J. Von Dross Fabricator Fence World - Iron World* Sacramento, CA Stephen A. Lyman Fabricator Jimenez Brothers Art & Iron Works Inc. Fullerton, CA Ramon Jimenez Fabricator

New Members as of 4-15-03* Denotes returning member.

Fabricator Northbend Architectural Products Cincinnati, OH Dave hensley Fabricator Quality Arch. & Fab. Inc. Franklin, OH Demme Davis Fabricator Wrought Iron Fencing & Supply Inc. San Mrcos, CA Tom Barrett Local Supplier

Metra Elements of Design Calgary, AL Canada Shandelle Conrad

FPO - Northeast Gate Can’t get the copydot scan to work properly. Please place at the plant.

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What’s Hot n? Chapter Events

NOMMA chapter contacts

Chapter event spotlights

Florida chapter meetsin Ft. LauderMembers of the Florida Chapter held their May 3 meeting at Eagle Metal Fab. in Ft. Lauderdale. Demos during the meeting included: wire mesh rail

panel fabrication, large capacity auto feed band saw, stainless steel TIG welding and finishing, and a fastener demo by Powers Fasteners.

Florida Bob Ponsler Wonderland Products Inc. (904) 786-0144 New York Paul Montelbano Duke of Iron Inc. (631) 543-3600 Northeast Keith Majka Majka Railing Co. Inc. (973) 247-7606 Southern California Hans Duus Hans Duus Blacksmith (805) 688-9731 Upper Midwest Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC (309) 697-9870

Upper Midwest chapter meets at Germantown The Upper Midwest NOMMA

Chapter met on Saturday, June 14, 2003, at Germantown Iron & Steel Corp. in Richfield, WI. The group enjoyed a shop tour of Germantown’s facilitiesand held discussions on job process and scheduling. NOMMA’s chapters typically meet once a month at different locations throught their region. Meetings often include shop tours, technique demonstrations, and chapter business. To find out more about NOMMA chapters near you, visit:

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Coming Events

Event spotlight

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What’s Hot n? People Wagner Companies

The Wagner Companies announce that Jeremy Wielgosh has accepted the position of estimator with Wagner’s sales team. In his position as an estimator Wielgosh is responsible for processing quotes in the Wagner Architectural Product Line for the Wagner Companies. Before accepting his position as estimator, Wielgosh served as a customer service representative for The Wagner Companies. He will work as a member of the estimating team to continuously improve customer satisfaction.

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People Profile

Meet Sally Powell, NOMMA’s newest Fabricator Director Sally Powell President and owner

of Powell’s Custom Metal Fab. Inc., Jacksonville, FL, has recently been elected to NOMMA’s Board of Directors. Powell will serve as a Fabricator Director for a term of three years. Powell’s induction took place at NOMMA’s 45th annual convention held last month in Covington, KY, March 4–8, 2003. Powell’s Custom Metal Fab., began its NOMMA membership in 1974 under a previous name, Howell’s Engineering Iron Works. Sally Powell has consistently volunteered as a presenter for education sessions on office management and human resources at METALfab conventions. Her skill and experience in these areas have made her classes popular among METALfab attendees. NOMMA’s Board will certainly benefit from her leadership skills and

dedication to the industry. Contact: Sally Powell, Powell’s Custom Metal Fab. Inc., Address: 2900 North Canal St., Jacksonville, FL 32209, Phone (904) 356-8651.

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What’s Hot n?

Bob Borsh of House of Forgings,

Houston, TX, has recently been elected to NOMMA’s Board of Directors. Borsh will serve as a Supplier Director for a term of three years. Borsh’s induction took place at NOMMA’s 45th annual convention held last month in Covington, KY, March 4–8, 2003. House of Forgings has been a NOMMA member since 2001. Borsh has previously presented during education sessions at METALfab conventions on topics concerning problem solving and the development of action plans. Borsh has worked as a professional employee trainer and has recently earned a masters degree in industrial engineering. Borsh has served on a number of boards for other organizations and brings that experience to NOMMA’s Board as well as a good working knowledge of the supplier side of the industry. Contact: Bob Borsh, House of Forgings, Address: 1922 Rankin Rd., Houston, TX 77073, Phone (281) 443-4848, Web:

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People M.K. Morse Co.

Bob Borsh was inducted to NOMMA’s Board of Directors at METALfab 2003.

The M.K. Morse Co., a manufacturer of saw blades, has named Peter Heenan Director of Marketing. Heenan previously worked at Greenfield Industries as product manager for the drill division and manager of marketing for the industrial saw blade division. Heenan will now be responsible for leading the development and implementation of strategies for branding, pricing, and sales channel expansion. In his new position, Heenan will report directly to M.K. Morse President Jim Batchelder.

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What’s Hot n?


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Product Flashback

Big hits from METALfab

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Products New from CST a 30 ton ironworker

The Clevelan Steel Tool Co. has added a 30 ton ironworker to their line of metalworking machinery. The 30 ton ironworker features a 3 inch electric stroke for better control and accuracy in braking and punching applications. The 30 ton ironworker comes with a standard punching station with

Literature Books from the NOMMA Education Foundation

pedestal die table that allows leg down punching of angle iron. It also comes outfitted with the Cleveland Steel Tool Co.’s Multi-Shear, a multi-functional attachment that will shear 2 inch by 2 inch by 1/4 inch angle iron, round bar up to 1 inch diameter, and flat bar 1/4 inch by 6 inch or 3/8 inch by 3 inchwithout tooling changes. The new ironworker can also be equipped with with additional optional attachments for oversized punching, pipe and agle notching, coping, or braking. Contact: The Cleveland Steel Tool Co., Ph: (800) 446-4402, Web:

The NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) now offers a collection of Dover books specific to the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. There are over 13 books to choose from filled with design ideas, historical and background information, and helpful tips. Wrought Iron in Featured Architecture above is by Gerald K. GeerWrought lings Iron in Architecture: An Illustrated Survey edited by Gerald K. Geerlings. In his introduction Geerlings explores properties of wrought iron and tools and terms of the trade and provides interesting comment on the role of economic aspects in design. He also talks about the finishing process and the role of the architect in inter-

Compact portable shape cutter

Bug-O-Systems Inc. Bug-O Systems Inc., announces the availability of the Programmable Shape Machine, a simple to program, portable shape cutting machine that can be used to burn any shape with plasma or oxy-fuel. This small two axis machine takes up a fraction of the

Continued on page 94 . . .

MULTI SALES, INC. Wholesale Dis­trib­u­tors to the Door & Gate In­dus­try u u u u u u u u

Gate Operators Radio Controls Vehicle Detectors Telephone Entry Systems Accessories Repair Parts Card Access Systems Magnetic Locks

Sales & Marketing Sup­port Free Catalogs & Line Cards Downey, California 800-421-3575 San Diego, California Vancouver, Washington 800-736-4617 800-421-3574 Now with 3 locations to serve you! Fill in 37 on Reader Service Card July-August 2003 n Fabricator

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What’s Hot n? Literature economic aspects in design. He also talks about the finishing process and the role of the architect in interpreting designs. With nearly 400 illustrations, the book features wrought ironwork from around the globe. Geerlings also devotes an entire chapter to lighting fixtures and knockers. To order Wrought Iron in Architecture and other books, Contact: NOMMA/NEF, Attn: Liz Ware, Phone: (404) 363-4009, ext. 20, Fax: (404) 366-1852, E-mail: Liz@, Web: www.nomma. org/NEF/index.htm

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floor space of a large burning gantry and when not in use can be stored in a cabinet. The unit is very portable and can easily be carried to the jobsite. Contact: Bug-O-Systems Inc., Phone

and much more. It’s available in 3/4 by .035 (19 by .90), 1 by .035 (27 by .90), 11/4 by .042 (34 by 1.07) and 11/2 by .05 (41 by 1.27). Contact: Lenox, Ph: (800) 642-0010, Web: (800) 245-3186, Web: Band saw blade

Lenox The new Lenox Classic from Lenox is now the company’s most versatile band saw blade. Designed to tackle a wide range of steels and nonferrous metals, Lenox Classic is ideal for cutting bundled or small materials, square and round tubing, I/H beams, angle iron, channel iron, carbon steel solids,

Aluminum pipe fittings

Kee Industrial Products Inc. Kee Industrial Products introduces Key Lite LM51 and LM52, two new Kee Lite aluminum slip-on structural pipe fittings designed to allow flat panels to be connected to tubular pipe structures. The new fittings can be used to construct staircases, awning frames, for bracing tubular pipe structres, and other ornamental uses. The new fittings are available in sizes to fit 11/4 inch and 11/2 inch standard pipe.

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The fittings are strong, light-weight, and corrossion resistant, constructed of high-grade aluminum silicon magnesium.

Contact: Kee Industrial Products Inc., Ph: (800) 851-5181, Web: www. Bi-metal band saw blades

DoALL Co. New from DoALL are the Valu-Pac Bi-Metal Band Saw Blades. Sold in packages of three blades with the same pitch, width, and length, Valu-Pac blades feature an eight percent matrix cobalt cutting edge for resistance to tooth chipping and a neutral rake tooth design for added tooth strength. The blades are available in 1 inch width with either a 4–6 pitch or a 5–8

pitch and 11/4 inch width with a 3–4 or 4–6 pitch. Multi-pitch teeth reduce noise levels when sawing structurals, pipe, tubing, and other stock. Contact: DoALL Co., Ph: (847) 8241122, Web:

What’s Hot n? Literature Art Nouveau metal design ideas

Art Nouveau Decorative Ironwork by Theodore Menten

This design book explores the art movement that swept through Europe and America around the turn of the twentieth century. Known for pervasive rhythms and serpentine patterns, Art Nouveau has inspired the creation of extraordinary ironwork. (137 illus.) Contact: NOMMA/NEF, Phone: (404) 363-4009, ext. 20, Web:

Replacement plasma torch

Thermal Dynamics Corp. The new SL100 1Torch RPT (replacement palsma torch) from Thermal Dynamics Automation works on virtually any plasma cutting system and featurs a “total gas management” design, so no gas distributor or swirl ring is necessary. Plus, each tip is tuned to optimize cut performance. Contact: Thermal Dynamics Corp., Ph: (888) 832-3477, Web: www.

Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America

Join the Revival!

Two Quarterly Publications: The Anvil’s Ring The Hammer’s Blow Resources: Supplier Directory Hot-Line Help Job Listings & Referrals

LeeAnn Mitchell ABANA P.O. Box 816 Farmington, GA 30638-0816 Ph: (706) 310-1030 Fax: (706) 769-7147 E-mail: Web: Fill in 142 on Reader Service Card July-August 2003 n Fabricator

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As a NOMMA member, you receive valuable tools to help your business:

• Fabricator’s Journal - A publication of the NOMMA Education Foundation, this booklet features “how to” articles on topics ranging from finishes to core drilling. • TechNotes - Get the latest updates on codes, standards, and regulations that impact YOUR business. • Member’s Only Area - Access the “Member’s Only” area on the NOMMA website for free downloads and technical support for UL 325, ADA, and codes. • The Business Owner - Obtain the latest advice on small business issues, including legal concerns, taxes, estate planning, and more.

Additional membership benefits: • Starter Kit - Soon after you join, you’ll receive a kit containing a Membership Directory, Supplier Direc-

tory, educational publications, and sales aids. • Discount Rates - You’ll enjoy discounts on all NOMMA publications and association sponsored events, including educational seminars and our annual convention. • Affiliation - You receive a membership certificate, decal, and camera-ready logos to use on your stationery and business forms. • Subscriptions - Membership includes a subscription to Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator. • Top Job Competition - Enter your best work in our annual awards contest, which is open to member’s only. • Technical Affairs Division - Your dues support the work of our technical team, which insures that fabricator interests are represented at code hearings and other meetings around the country. Membership Category - Check One: q $305 - Fabricator q $465 - Nationwide Supplier (Firms selling to fabricators beyond

500 miles)

q $355 - Regional Supplier (Firms selling to fabricators within 500 miles)

q $280 - Local Supplier (Firms selling to fabricators within 150 miles) q $230 - Affiliate (Teachers and educational organizations)

Please note:

• The membership year runs from July 1 to June 30. • Membership dues payments are not deductible as charitable contributions, but may be deducted as an ordinary and necessary business expense. • By signing this application, you agree to abide by NOMMA’s Bylaws and Code of Ethics upon acceptance. • Checks should be made payable to NOMMA (U.S. dollars, check drawn on U.S. bank).

Company Name __________________________________________ Your Name ________________________________________ Address __________________________________________________________________________________________________ City _____________________________ State _________ Zip _________________ Country _______________________________ Phone ____________________________ Fax __________________________ Sponsor (if any) ____________________________ E-mail __________________________________________________ Web ______________________________________________ Company Specialty/Description ________________________________________________________________________________ Signature ___________________________________________ Payment Method: q Check q VISA q MC q AMEX q Discover Credit card no._________ __________________________________________________________________ Exp. ______/_______ Exact name on card ______________________________________ Signature ______________________________________

Return To: NOMMA, 532 Forest Pkwy., Suite A, Forest Park, GA 30297. (404) 363-4009. Fax: (404) 366-1852. Updated: 7/03

Don’t Miss METALfab 2004 March 4–8, 2003 Sacramento, CA

visit: or call 404 363-4009 for more info

Classifieds Recruiter Employment nationwide in structural/miscellaneous steel fabrication. ProCounsel is in communication with over 3,000 structural/ miscellaneous and ornamental steel fabricators. We can market your skills (estimator, project manager, detailer, shop manager) to the city or state of your choice without identifying you. Employer pays fee. The right location, the right job, at the right money. ProCounsel: Buzz Taylor. Call toll free (800) 545-5900, or (214) 741-3014. Fax: (214) 741-3019. Mailbox@

Fabricator classifieds Ad rates: $25 for 0–35 words $38 for 36–55 words $50 for 56–70 words. No logos or boxed ads. Pre-payment only. Classified ads are intended to promote a one-time sale or service.

Next closing date: June 6

To place a classified ad, call the editorial dept. at (404) 363-4009, ext. 15. Or fax text to (404) 366-1852, attn: classifieds. Or e-mail:

Advertiser’s index RS


Company Name

27 A Cut Above Distributing 88 79 Acme Metal Spinning 84 30 All-O-Matic Inc. 165 3 Aluminations Services 180 87 American Spiral Corp. 61 46 Antech Corporation 115 25 Architectural Iron Designs 103 10 Arch. Prod. by Outwater 105 22 Artist Supplies & Products 86 95 Artist-Blacksmith’s Assn. 142 60 Atlas Metal Sales 25 55 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. 20 90 Byan Systems Inc. 94 94 Carell Corporation 137 62 Classic Iron Supply 26 26 The Cleveland Steel Tool 132 40 The Cleveland Steel Tool July-August 2003 n Fabricator

132 76 107 87 53 41 18 12 48 17 65 55 46 147 61 20 171 49 19 60 45 39 120 19 94 21 72 173 181 91 24 177

Colorado Waterjet Co. COMEQ Inc. 10 Crescent City Iron Supply CS Unitec Inc. 170 D & D Technologies D.J.A Imports Ltd. 118 DAC Industries Inc. DECO Ornamental Iron Decorative Iron 1 DécorCable Innovations DKS, DoorKing Systems Doringer Cold Saw Eagle Bending Machines Elite Access Systems Inc. 4 Encon Electronics 57 FABCAD.USA 87 Federal Iron Works Co. 4

Feeney Wire Rope

64 84 58 130 88 24 88 32 75 70 91 93 84 159 86 67 136 50 47 51 47 per Co. 89 22 90 63 36

The G-S Co. 82 Hawke Industries 16 Hebo GmbH 150 7 House of Forgings International Gate Devices Ironwood LLC 70 Jansen Ornamental Supply Jax Chemical Co. 23 Jesco Industries Inc. WIPCO K Dahl Glass Studios Kayne & Son 81 King Architectural Metals Lawler Foundry Corp. Lawler Foundry Corp. 2 Lewis Brass & Cop21 Liberty Orn. Products Lindblade Metal Works Mac Metals Inc. 71

Use this index as a handy guide when 85 filling out Reader Services cards. Firms in boldface are first-time advertisers.

Glaser USA 123 Graham Manufacturing



Fabricator Poll

Who do you prefer working with:  Tom Duello Builders Steel Supply Lilburn, GA To be successful in this business, you need to be able to work with both. We have a mix of 60 percent structural and miscellaneous steel, and 40 percent ornamental iron. On the ornamental side, we get calls from homeowners and contractors. When dealing directly with the homeowner, the optimum word is patience. Usually, when it is time for the handrails, fences or gates, it is one of the last items for the project. They are usually tired of choosing, and just ready to finish the project—please. We usually meet them at the home and take preliminary measurements to get an idea of quantity and scope of the work. Then we ask them to come to our office to finalize the designs where, from our parking lot to the outside of the building to our showroom, they have a chance to see we are an established company that does quality work. Once in the office they have lots more choices to make. But with time, we get a good idea of what they want and steer them in the right direction. If they get to far out in left field, then I have no problem referring them to someone else. There are many advantages to dealing directly with the contractor. Usually he already has an idea of what the homeowner wants. He has a budget for the ironwork, which eliminates some choices. He also helps schedule and coordinate what you need from other trades. If you do a good job and develop a relationship, you have the opportunity of doing more work in the future with that contractor.

Dan Bellware SRS Inc. Metuchin, NJ

As a high-end architectural metal shop, most of our work is commercial rather than residential, so most of the time we work for a contractor. But even when doing commercial work, we sometimes work directly for the owner (at present, we’re doing a very large job directly for Rockefeller Center). But for me, working directly for a homeowner can be a complete nightmare. Possibly this is largely due to the homeowner’s lack of experience in construction, which contributes to lack of communication. I’ll never forget one owner who came on the attack at the job site (both she and her husband were attorneys who were building a multi-million dollar home). She had been screaming like a banshee at the cabinetmaker, and then laced into me about how the railing was all wrong. I pulled out the drawings to show her we had built everything exactly according to the plans, when she screamed, “you can’t expect me to understand those drawings!” So I’ll take a good, experienced contractor any day as opposed to a homeowner. In fact, you can even throw a tough architect into the mix and. As long as they are experienced enough to produce accurate drawings and write a clear specification, I’ll manage to work with them.

Don Bigelow McGregor

Industries Inc. Dunmore, PA Normally, we do not solicit work from homeowners. If approached, we may consider doing certain personal items for architects whose firm can steer major projects in the direction of our estimating department or for an individual with a contractor’s firm who could do the same. Very little of our work is done based upon a “one-on-one” price-negotiating basis, as some smaller firms might do with homeowners. Our firm is small enough to handle some walk-in work but big enough that it does not tie up our shop. This type of work is usually for a highly specialized item that the customer could get elsewhere if he wanted to wait for weeks or months instead of a few days. Most of our work comes to us through the bidding process, either with general contractors or construction management firms. Our general field of work is A.I.A. Division 5: Structural, Joists, Deck, Miscellaneous Metals, Stairs and Handrails, for which homeowners usually do not have drawings or written specifications. We do not do highly ornamental, residential design/build work like many NOMMA members do. We are more into the commercial contractual work, requiring tight specifications governed by codes and local building laws, although sometimes that work falls into the ornamental specification. We are set up to do prevailing wage work in the field, utilizing our own unionized ironworkers and hall members unless we get extremely busy and in a crunch.


Send Us Your Ideas? Do you have a question you’ve been anxious to ask fabricators? Simply telephone the Editor at (404) 363-4009; Fax (404) 363-2857 or e-mail your question to 98

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Low res file please insert hi res file for Iron Shop pu 1-03 pg. 104

2003 07 fab  
2003 07 fab