Page 1

Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal March/April 2004 $6.00 US

Job Profiles

A venture into the highly ornate page 57

Job Profiles

Crafting stupendous spiders,page 60

Tips & Tactics

Temperature impacts on outside rails, page 11

Shop Talk

Surviving in a family business, page 40

Biz Side

Fightingtheidentitythieves, page 66




March/April 2004 Vol. 45, No. 2

How do you make your family business successful? See pg. 40.

Tips & Tactics

Biz Side

Member Talk

Temperature affects outdoor handrails 11 Consider expansion and contraction rates when designing for outdoors.

Fishing for business 63 Stop relying on mass mailings and get on the phone!

A Charleston school preserves the building arts 53 Traditional building arts education is given a much-needed boost.

Fighting the Identity Thieves 66 Professional thieves find small business owners a favorite target.

By Rachel Squires Bailey

High steel prices: Any relief in sight? 13 Even with the tariffs removed, other factors are keeping prices up. Powdercoat follow-up

Fabricating a high-end market in Huntsville, AL 46 A NOMMA firm attributes success to good organization and an eye for detail.


Special Feature

By Rachel Squires Bailey

Job Profiles

METALfab 2004 16 Trade Show Report A review of products featured at NOMMA’s 46th trade show.

A venture into the highly ornate 57 A Florida fabrictor shows a longtime client their artistic side. By Sally Powell

Shop Talk Gas burners: Make it hotter 32 Increase burning temperatures in your propane-fueled burner. By Michael Porter

Tips on surviving your family business 40 Clearly defined roles and good communication are essential.

This spider even hisses and drools.

By William J. Lynott

Tax time tips 71 Get yourself up-to-date on all the latest tax deductions. By Mark E. Battersby

What’s Hot!

Metals shop makes stupendous spiders 60 Not even Little Miss Muffet would sit next to this massive spider. By Dona Z. Meilach

By Kim DeMotte

Biz Briefs 77 Coming Events 77 People 83 Products 86 New Product Literature New Members 90 Chapter Contacts 91 Classifieds 93


By Lee Rodrigue

President’s Letter Make time to put family first


Editor’s Letter 8 Bid on it and figure it out as you go? Nosiree!

Reader’s Letters 9 Are their dangers with welding rod fumes?

Fabricator Poll 94 Should we hire a salesperson or train from within?

Cover photo: This gate consists of 2” x 2” frame, horizontals and center supports. Vertical members are 3/4” tube, heated and free formed to obtain symmetrical design. The 1/4” rod is randomly wrapped as “vines” throughout the gate. The post tops are a combination of three separate finials, cut and welded together. Approx. labor time: 160 hrs. Fabricator: Powell’s Custom Metal Fab. Inc., Jacksonville, FL. Photo: Skip Wilson,


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 Administrative Assistant Liz Ware Technical Consultant

Tim Moss Managing Editor Rachel Squires Bailey

2004 Advisory Council Jay Holeman Mountain Iron Fabrications Tom McDonough Eagle Metal Fabricators Inc. Rob Rolves

Foreman Fabricators

Make time to put your family first There must be something that happens to the human psyche after one turns 50. I don’t believe I’ve ever been so fixated on how rapidly time passes. I swear it was just the other day I was handed the gavel of the NOMMA presidency, along with the task of writing six president’s columns. And in what seems a mere blink of an eye I’m sitting here writing the last one today. I think we are all pretty much in the same boat. We’re in this particular industry because we truly enjoy the work. We love its challenges and its creativity. That same attachment, I fear, turns many of us into workaholics. Although our work ethic and drive are admirable qualities in ourselves and, we hope, our employees, we must not let ourselves overlook and neglect the far more important things in life such as family.

Children grow up fast

My wife Marie and I were blessed with four wonderful children who are now grown and gone. Our last graduated from college last year and moved to California. And, as I said earlier, I look back on those years with the kids and it seems like it passed in the blink of an eye. At about the same time they were starting to get really busy in extracurricular activities like sports and music, I decided to start my own business. Right then I made a promise to Marie that I would make a conscious effort not to bury myself in work and find the time to spend with my family.

I vowed to spend time with them whether it was taking time off for vacation or leaving work early to participate in a child’s activity, even if it meant going back into work later that night. I made sure I didn’t short change my family, and for that I’m very proud. When I look back knowing that these years are gone I thank goodness I spent time with them because I surely would feel empty had I missed it—an opportunity lost forever. Families first

I encourage each and every one of you to somehow, some way, find time to share with your family. I Chris Maitner is know this is difficult president of in this business world the National Ornamental and and society that is Miscellaneous “go, go, go,” but it’s Metals Associaimportant. In fact, tion. there is no more important issue to this country and this world than preserving strong family values and commitment. It’s both our privilege and duty to help nurture our children, to help them become well rounded, well educated, upstanding future citizens. They are our future, and if we shortchange them we simply shortchange ourselves.

Contributing Writers John L. Campbell


William J. Lynott Fabricator n March-April 2004

Ornamental & Miscellaneous Met­al Fab­ri­ca­tor (ISSN 0191-5940), is the of­fi­cial pub­li­ca­tion of the Na­tional Or­na­men­tal & Mis­cel­la­ne­ous Metals As­so­cia­tion (NOMMA). O&MM Fabricator 532 Forest Pkwy., Ste. A Forest Park, GA 30297


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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 or rachel@


Reprints of articles are available. For a quote, contact Rachel Squires at (404) 3634009 or

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. Circulation: 8,000.



How to reach us

Editor’s Letter

Bid on it and figure it out as you go? Nosiree! During my years with NOMMA I’ve

learned many great things that have helped me become a better magazine editor and person. Our membership’s passion for quality and detail has left an indelible impression on my mind. But the one thing I’ve really learned from working with NOMMA members is the value of planning. Okay, I admit that I’ve always had a problem in this area, and I’ve noticed that nearly everyone else does too. When sitting down to plan, the first thought that likely races through your head is, “In the time it takes to plan it out on paper, I could have just done it.” Right? Wrong!

Upfront investment pays off

Sundance by Big D Metalworks, which was our May/June 1992 cover story. This project, which was an aluminum cityscape motif for a theatre, provides an inspiring example on the benefits of planning. Written by Bruce Witter and Phillip Hoppman, the article emphasized how the planning began even as the estimate was being prepared. As a result of the intricate planning, most problems were caught on the drawing board instead of the job site. In the past, I have Daniel heard fabricators say, Todd is editor of “We figured it out Ornamental & Miscellaneous as we went along.” While this is a natural Fabricator. tendency, it is not a good prescription for cost control, reducing stress, and achieving the highest quality.

Of course, there are many advantages to planning, such as less stress, less rework, etc. But there is one reason why we all should plan—because the final product is simply BETTER! What I’ve learned is that if I force myself to More planning articles plan out a magazine several months ahead, that ediIn addition to the Sundance tion simply looks and reads article, there are two other better. If I force myself to great articles on planning. work with an author and “Prime Your Planning outline an article all the way Pump” by Dennis Smith, through, we end up with FMI Corp. (Sept./Oct. a better feature. At first 1999) and “A Journey Not glance, a carefully planned A Destination” by Curt magazine may look like Witter and Bill Beavers, Big any other, but it’s those D Metalworks, (May/June Project Sundance little, carefully thought out 2000) both provide fantastic details that add up to create insight on the need to plan. a stronger end product. This is what I If you don’t have the back issues, you call the “magic of planning.” can download these articles in the Member’s Only area of the NOMMA No different with metalwork website ( This same philosophy holds true I thank Big D Metalworks and the with metalwork, and I’ve seen many many other NOMMA members that examples in the Top Job contest and have taught me the most important in articles appearing in Fabricator. first step of any project—PLANNING! Jobs that are carefully planned and executed simply make a more powerful impression. A perfect example of this is Project Fabricator n March-April 2004


Reader’s Letters A minor correction Thanks for the fine article on my firm’s project for the U.S. Customs and U.S. Immigration. You couldn’t imagine my surprise when I turned the page and saw it, as I wasn’t expecting it! One correction in the article is that we used V50 high strength steel, not B50. This is something that was likely lost in translation, but it might stick out with the readers. Allan R. Papp Papp Iron Works Inc. Plainfield, NJ Caution on welding rod fumes We have seen an ad running in several newspapers in our area lately titled, “Urgent News For People Who Have Used Welding Rods.” According to the ad, elevated exposure of manganese from welding rod fumes can lead to Parkinsonism, a disease similar to Parkinson’s Disease. The ad then lists various symptoms and provides a toll free number to an Arizona law firm.

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

I thought this was something that Fabricator might be interested in. Francis Flaherty Flaherty Iron Works Inc. Alexandria, VA Ed: Thanks for the lead. We will definitely look into this for a future article. Tracking installation time I’m looking for statistics for small metalworking businesses, but I’m not sure the information I need exists. I am in Charleston, SC and make architectural ironwork. I’m presently in the midst of a sales tax audit from my State Tax Commission. Here is my situation: I collect sales tax on all materials and production labor within my workshop.The labor required to install the product is not subject to tax. They are offended at the amount of installation labor on some of my jobs, which is sometimes 50 percent of the total cost of the job. I must say that it probably looks

suspicious to someone who has never installed a curved rail with individual spindles and no bottom rail. Thus, I’m trying to educate them. I’m wondering if any information exists that shows percentages of product v. installation times within our trade, nationwide. If anyone can help, please let me know. Rick Avrett Charleston Forge Charleston, SC Ed: If anyone has thoughts, please send to: W RI TE !

Tell us what you think

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 to editing for clarity, grammar, and length.


Tips& Tactics n

Fabrication issues

Temperature affects outdoor handrails The expansion and contraction of metal due to temperature changes could affect the design of your outdoor handrails. bury anchored uprights in concrete, attaching horizontal rails by welding. However, the cyclical changes of temperature extremes can result in warpage and shearing of bolted attachments. Taking temperature changes and the material of construction into consideration along with pre-planning the design can increase the service life of handrails.

By John L. Campbell Where temperatures vary as much as 60° F in a twelve-hour period, the expansion/contraction of metal handrails can present a challenge. Under such circumstances 200 feet of aluminum handrail can expand and contract by 0.96 of an inch. That’s almost half an inch per every 100 feet. Aluminum has the highest coefficient of expansion/contraction. Carbon steel would be affected less than half that amount. Stainless expands at a rate that is 30 percent less than aluminum. And brass and bronze rank second in variations due to temperature changes. So, as one astute engineer observed, “When our forebears designed the split-rail fence, they knew what they were doing. They compensated for the affect of temperature even on wooden rails.” Safety handrails are seldom over 100 feet, and with most industrial handrails, vertical supports are set loosely in pipe bases, cans imbedded in concrete. The cans are larger in diameter by 1/8 of an inch or more, which is enough to allow for expansion and contraction of horizontal rails. Installers may not consider heat and cold factors when they

An expansion joint diagram

Expansion/Contraction (£) Due to Temperature

Decimals are for inch/inch per degree Fahrenheit

Aluminum .0000133” Brass/Bronze .0000104” Stainless Steel .0000096” Carbon Steel .0000192”

Despite the fact that outdoor railings expand and contract with changes in temperature, many NOMMA fabricators indicate that the issue of expansion joints rarely comes up (see NEF’s February 2004 Fabricator’s Journal).

1” min 2” plug weld ground



smooth one side only

21/2” schd 40 alum pipe (6063 t5) 24” long insert w/(2) 1/8” plug welds eq spaced on one side

to top and bottom.

March-April 2004 n Fabricator



A recent job required NOMMA member Florida Aluminum and Steel Fab. Inc., Ft. Myers, FL, to allow for expansion joints in an outdoor railing system. The illustration at right depicts the expansion joint Allen Guidry designed for the job, which allows for a 2-inch expansion. A collar (not shown in the diagram) fits over the expansion joint to enhance its aesthetic appearance. Like the joint, the collar is fixed on the left but open on the right. The collar fits very close to the rail and is tapered for a flush fit.


By Allen Guidry Florida Aluminum and Steel Fab. Inc.

top and bottom rails:

3” o.d.x. 1/8” thick round tube 6063-t52 1.341 .8/ft

2” expansion joint

alum alloy


Tips& Tactics n


High steel prices: Any relief in sight? A steel distributor explains various factors currently impacting the U.S. steel market. Unfortunately there isn’t much hope for change in the near future. Interview by Rachel Squires Bailey Managing Editor Many members of the steel industry have already realized that dropping tariffs on steel imports has not affected prices, at least not yet. Unfortu-nately, there are several other variables keeping prices high. The following interview with Clarence Cavingac, vice president of purchasing for Namasco Corp., a metals service center headquartered in Roswell, GA, gives some insight as to what is presently shaping events in the steel industry and causing increased steel prices to continue.

Q Why is the demand for steel up? A Several factors are responsible for the increase in demand for steel. First, demand is cyclical, and steel demand hap-

pens to be currently on the rise. Aside from that, raw materials are difficult to obtain right now, and it takes a lot of ingredients to make steel. Scrap is selling at an all time high because demand continues to be strong and supplies are being squeezed. Some mills are operating with as little as a one-week supply of scrap on hand. China has bought more and more scrap metal as their production of metal has increased. In only five years steel production in China has doubled to 200 million tons. A large percentage of this production is electric furnace, which is scrap based. Materials other than scrap are also in short supply, especially coking coal, which is an important element in basic steel production. A fire at a major West Virginia coal mine has significantly impacted coke production in the U.S. Other factors are that

This chart represents statistics released by The Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA) comparing U.S. imports and consumption for January 2003 through November 2003 with the same period of 2002. ^ Imports of total specialty steel 1% ^ Consumption of total specialty steel ^ 2% Imports of stainless steel 7% ^


Increase Decrease

Consumption of stainless steel 2% Imports of stainless steel sheet/strip Consumption of sheet/strip 2% Imports of stainless steel plate 13% Consumption of stainless steel plate Imports of stainless steel bar 18% Consumption of stainless steel bar 8% Imports of stainless steel rod 39% Consumption of stainless steel rod 28%

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

2% 11%

imports into the U.S. are just not attractive right now. The low value of the U.S. dollar makes foreign markets more appealing. Also, the high cost of ocean freight affects U.S. manufacturing. In the last year ocean freight has increased by 300 percent. And rising shipping rates stem from the highdemand for Chinese production.

Q Have prices peaked yet? A We still anticipate price increases in tubing, pipe, plate, hot rolled coils, and in wide flange beams. In all likelihood the May surcharge will be higher than the April surcharge. I wish that I could predict when this present run up in cost would end, but there are too many factors involved. Most likely, escalating prices will continue through mid-year. Material shortages (in some products) could last until next year, especially if demand continues to accelerate. Needless to say, a reduction in demand would change the whole scenario dramatically. Q What are some factors other than an increase in raw materials that could help reduce the high demand for steel? A If steel prices get so high, it could cut off demand. But that would come from the consumers either delaying construction projects involving steel or turning to other materials. Eventually, however, because of the cyclical nature of supply and demand, availability of raw material will catch up. We just can’t predict when exactly that will happen.



Pre-cleaning aluminum prior to powdercoating

In the last issue, we provided an overview of powdercoating . The following information came in after the magazine was completed, and we wanted to share it with our readers. By John Campbell Doing research for technical writing is

like trying to control the flow of facts from a kinky rubber hose with a paper clip. There’s a lot of germane stuff that drips out after you’ve decided the hose is empty and you’ve siphoned off enough information to satiate your reader. A case in point is the article I wrote about painting with plastic, otherwise known as powder painting. Some significant information about precleaning came to my attention after deadline; and we’d be remiss not sharing this with you. John Bibber, Laboratory Director for Sanchem Inc., Chicago, pointed out that pre-cleaning aluminum with an iron phosphate cleaner is not recom-


mended. Trace iron deposits on the surface of the aluminum can create tiny galvanic cells (the dissimilar metal corrosion phenomenon) that results in eventual blistering. Sanchem Inc. sells cleaning solutions and installs powder painting systems. For that reason, Bibber knows too much about cleaning metal prior to painting to be specific on what acids to use for cleaning aluminum. “I’d have to see a sample of the fabrication to see what soils have to be removed,” Bibber explained. “I’d recommend showing a sample to the powdercoating firm before letting them paint the product.” Bibber says that aluminum is like a poison to an iron phosphate bath for steel. He recommends a milder acid cleaner for aluminum, but refused to

be specific until he knew what soiling had to be removed. In talking with another powder coating company I learned that they are aware that iron phosphate is not recommended for cleaning aluminum. Because they do batch-painting rather than continuous line production, they sandblast all items they powdercoat. Sandblasting provides a good tooth for adherence, provided the grit isn’t too aggressive for the surface finish. Here again, sampling is recommended. John Bibber says that one of the motivations for companies putting in their own powdercoating system is their inability to find convenient jobbing sources willing to customize their services to meet the needs of a given product.

Fabricator n March-April 2004

Special Feature

Trade Show Report Missed the trade show? Need contact information for an exhibitor you met? The following is a review of 2004 exhibitors and the products they displayed. You can also obtain a complete listing at www.

NOMMA’s 46th annual trade show took place at the Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, CA, March 4-6, 2004.

Advanced Measuring Systems

At METALfab 2004 Advanced Measuring Systems exhibited its new AMS Pro-Loc, a state of the art positioner and programmable stop system designed with the end user in mind. The Becterm control is designed to be user friendly and deliver incredible versatility. Drive units are sized to be efficient, accurate, and rugged. AMS also announced its recent move from Ohio to Forney, TX. For info, call (888) 289-9432, or visit: Atlas Metal Sales – no pic

Atlas Metal Sales is a distributor of CDA655 silicon bronze sheet, plate, rod, bar, and tube, and has a 35-year reputation for quality and competitive pricing serving the needs of fabricators and sculptors. Atlas Metal provides ornamental fabricators with materials like CDA655 silicon bronze, which forges well and is rated excellent for cold working, hot forming, and welding. Silicon bronze is a superb alloy for artistic and architectural applications. For info, call (800) 662-0143, or visit: Auciello Iron Works – 04 pic

Auciello Iron Works exhibited the EZ Sleeve, a removable plastic sleeve for forming quick, accurate, clean postholes in concrete. Set before or immediately after concrete is poured. Leave EZ Sleeve in place and remove before railing installation. It forms a tapered hole, and is ideal

for railings, fences, or other posts. EZ Sleeve is easy to use, lightweight, yet sturdy, and convenient. It yields precise field measurements. Sealed tapered tube keeps out debris and water. For info, call (978) 568-8382, or visit: Julius Blum & Co. Inc. — 04 pic

Julius Blum & Co. Inc. introduced their new Traditional Post Fascia Flange along with Spindle Cups that facilitate fascia mounted spindle railings. The new fascia mounting components are available in bronze, nickel-silver, and steel. Additionally, new aluminum ornamental valances and valance bars were exhibited. For info, call (800) 526-6293, or visit: J.G. Braun Co. – 04 pic

J. G. Braun Co. introduced the NEW GlassWedgeTM dry mount system for quick and easy installation of glass panels at METALFab 2004. GlassWedgeTM is used with pre-drilled shoe moulding and allows repositioning or replacement of glass panels. The GlassWedgeTM is complemented by Braun’s line of components for the assembly of structural glass railing using 1⁄2 or 3⁄4 inch tempered glass including shoe moulding, railing, and mounting brackets. For info, call (800) 323-4072, or visit:\glassrail. html.

Start planning now for next year’s show! METALfab 2005 takes place in New Orleans, LA, Mar. 2-5, 16

Fabricator n March-April 2004

Byan Systems Inc. 04 pic

Byan Systems Inc. automatic gate and access control products offers unsurpassed quality and dependability with totally integrated electronic and hydraulic design. All Byan components are manufactured in-house from raw castings to finished product insuring total quality control. We offer a 4-year warranty on all models and controllers. All operators now come with adjustable

mounting brackets for ease of installation. On-line product information and price quotations are available on the web, and technical support is always available. For info, call (800) 223-2926, or visit: The Cable Connection – 04 pic

The Cable Connection Ultra-tec® Cable Railing System features sleek, streamlined stainless steel hardware especially designed for railings with cable in-fill. Ultra-tec® cable railing hardware offers mounting and ten-

sioning devices that have no sharp edges, dust-collecting crevices or other undesirable features often found in products designed for other purposes and adapted for use in railings. Complete fabrication specifications are offered for five railing frame styles designed to support the tension of cables when properly installed. For info, call (800) 851-2962, or visit: Cleveland Steel Tool Co. pic

5186-F Longs Peak Road, Berthoud, CO 80513

Cleveland Steel Tool Co. offers a complete line of ironworkers, portable metalworking machines, punches and dies, and other related tooling ideally suited for ornamental metalworking. On display at METALfab 2004 was the ever-popular 55 Ton Ironworker as well as the 30 Ton Ironworker, which features the Multi-Shear attachment for nonstop shearing of angle, bar, and round stock. Also shown was a full line of portable machines for on-the-go drilling, punching and shearing. For info, call (800) 446-4402, or visit: www. CML USA Inc. Ercolina - 04 pic

CML USA Inc. Ercolina provides sales and service to all North America Ercolina customers. At METALfab 2004 CML USA Ercolina showed its rotary draw benders. These machines are capable of bending a wide variety of material and profiles. Models are fully programmable allowing control of bend angle from 0° to 180° and material spring back. Patented rotary draw machines with capacity to three-inch diameter, bend pipe or tube to centerline radiuses as small as 11/2-times material diameter with minimum deformation. This equipment is ideal for railing applications, furniture frames, sign 18

Fabricator n March-April 2004

manufacturing, ornamental ironwork, cap rail bending, and more. For info, call (563) 391-7700, or visit: www. Colorado Waterjet Co. 04 pic

This queen-sized headboard, cut by Colorado WaterJet Co., from a single piece of 1/2 inch steel is an example of the infinite designs possible with waterjet cutting. Colorado Waterjet has been serving ornamental metal fabricators nationwide since 1997, featuring standard and custom panels and

components for railings, gates, grills, signs, and other architectural accents, cut from all materials: steel, stainless, aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, etc. For info, call (970) 532-5404, or visit: www. coloradowaterjet. com. Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. pic

Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. is a family owned and operated company supplying the ornamental iron industry. Customer service is the most important part of our business so you can expect friendly and courteous service. To support fabricators we stock a complete line of castings, forgings, fence and rail components, gate hardware, paint, welding supplies, and various fabrication equipment. For info, call (800) 535-9842. Custom Ornamental Iron Works Ltd. 04 pic

Custom Ornamental Iron Works Ltd. displayed various wrought iron, cast iron, and aluminum components at METALFab 2004. We specialize in custom fabrication. We manufacture wrought iron and aluminum balusters, railings, and various other ornamental iron products in-house from Vancouver BC, Canada. We offer competitive prices, superior quality, as well as efficient and cost-effective shipping. One can now view our products, assemble an order, and request a quote through our newly updated web site. For info, call (604) 275-6435, or visit: www. D.J.A. Imports Ltd.

04 pic

DJA Imports Ltd., with over 20 years of technical and hands-on fabrication experience, can provide a variety of services including consulting, technical support, machinery for the industry, gate and door hardware, paints, patinas, blackener, and high quality wrought iron components including stainless steel. The stainless steel systems were developed with the fabricator in mind: cutting the expense of fabrication time and additional machinery, assembling railings is a snap, and there’s no need for 20

Fabricator n March-April 2004

a welding machine—you can even do it on the job site. For info, call (718) 324-6871, or visit: www.djaimports. com. DKS, DoorKing Systems 04 pic

DoorKing’s new model 6002 Swing Gate Actuator operates on 24-volt DC power making it ideal for farms, ranches, and residential applications. The unit can be used on gates up to 14-feet in length and features slow start and slow stop,

built-in battery charger, solar panel input, magnetic lock power output, and a fully enclosed screw driven piston. For info, call (800) 826-7493, or visit: Encon Electronics no pic

Encon Electronics is a distributor of gate operators, access control systems, and CCTV. Our product line includes equipment from the industry’s leading manufacturers. Since 1984 Encon has been dedicated to providing superior technical support and outstanding customer service. For info, call (800) 782-5598, or visit:

FabTrol Systems 04 pic

FabTrol Systems demonstrated the latest release of FabTrol MRP, the new generation of their fabrication management software. Designed specifically for steel fabricators, the software is in use at more than 800 companies worldwide, including many ornamental and miscellaneous metal fabricators. Its integrated, modular solution offers estimating, drawing management, material management, production control,

Simply The Best

800/900 C


900 Long





500 Resid

Hyd 1000 Slider Patented Rack & Pinion Continuous Duty Residential/ Commercial navigates up to 10 inches of road crown.

m Duty

600 Mediu

Visit our web site at

or call


March-April 2004 n Fabricator


and more. For info, call (888) 322-8765, or visit: www. Rope & Rigging pic

Feeney Wire

Feeney Wire Rope manufacturers the popular CableRail™ line of stainless steel cable assemblies and hardware used for infill on railings, trellises, and fences as well as other structural and decorative applications. At METALfab 2004 we presented our wide assortment of cables and components and also introducing our new stainless steel QuickConnect-SS™ fittings. These new fittings are designed for super fast and easy field attachment, tensioning and trimming of 1/8 inch, 3/16 inch, and 1/4 inch cable. For info, call (800) 888-2418, or visit: Flynn & Enslow 04 pic

Flynn & Enslow has manufactured woven or welded wire meshes and


perforated metals for over 50 years. Our large inventories in San Fran-cisco, Long Beach, and Los Angeles allow for fast turnaround on many stock items. Custom woven wire cloth and welded wire mesh in different alloys is available in rolls or cut to size panels. Pre-framed panels and standard sheets of perforated and expanded metal are available. Material can also be made to your specifications. For info, call (800) 726-9473, or visit: www.flynnenslow. com. FABCAD.USA pic pu Mar – 03

FABCAD.USA demonstrated its automatic railing and gate drawing programs and CAD Starter Package. This popular product has everything an ornamental/miscellaneous fabricator needs to develop attractive and accurate drawings. The package includes a customized version of AutoCad® LT, videos, over 2,200 casting and forging designs, and predrawn gates, columns, rails and fences. The latest features of the AutoRail program include an automatically

produced bill of materials, customization features that add piece marks, and dimensioning options. FABCAD offers live on-line tutoring, along with its plotter services. For info, call (800) 255-9032, or visit: GTO Inc. 04 pic

GTO Inc. introduced two new DC powered swing gate operators. The GTO/PRO 3000 is designed for gates weighing up to 650 pounds and 16 feet in length. The all black GTO/PRO 4000, nicknamed “Shadow,” blends well with decorative and ornamental gates and can handle gates weighing up to 1,000 pounds and 20 feet in length. Both systems feature true soft/start-soft/stop. For info, call (800) 543-4283, or visit: HEBÖ 04 pic

HEBÖ, manufactured in Germany, produces wrought iron machines for the ornamental iron industry. For over 35 years HEBÖ has been refin-

Fabricator n March-April 2004

ing the process used in producing wrought iron. HEBĂ– demonstrated the computerized scroll machines as well as others that twist, forge, and emboss. HEBĂ– works with steel, aluminum, copper, or brass. No waiting for parts to be delivered. Your least experienced employees can give you journeyman results. For info, call (503) 572-6500, or visit: www. Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. pic

Interstate Manufacturing Associates in Newport, NH manufactures and distributes The Boss Hinge, which has been specially designed for use in the ornamental iron industry. Its design incorporates strength and high durability and an elegant appearance while requiring minimal maintenance. For info, call (603) 863-4855, or visit: www. King Architectural Metals 04 pic

King Architectural Metals has three warehouses in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Baltimore that stock over 6,000 high quality decorative and architectural metal components. The firm offers same-day shipping from each facility, providing the most efficient and timely coast-tocoast delivery in the industry. Stock includes cast iron, cast steel, cast aluminum, hand forged steel, drop forged steel, cast brass, and stamped steel for staircases, handrails, fences, gates, furniture, lamps, mailboxes, and light structural applications. For info, call (800) 542-2379, or visit: C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. 04 pic

C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (CRL) introduced a line of Patio Windscreen Posts for use with 1/2 inch tempered glass, featuring eight glass pockets March-April 2004 n Fabricator


with snap-in covers that allow glass to be positioned in increments of 45 degrees. Patio windscreen posts are strong enough to support gates. No horizontal support rails are needed, and a variety of standard and custom post lengths are available. Black or white PPG Duracon paint, clear anodized, or custom colors. For info, call (800) 421-6144, or visit:

Lawler Foundry Corp. pu pic

Lawler Foundry Corp. of Birmingham, AL displayed their traditional and latest ornamental iron castings and artistic forgings. Lawler continually develops new and different products for the industry and is the largest full-line producer and supplier of high-quality, low-cost ornamental metal components in the U.S. For info, call (800) 624-9515, or visit: www.lawlerfound- Lavi Industries 04 pic

Lavi Industries has a renowned reputation in supplying high quality tubing and fittings for nearly 20 years. We were the first in our industry to offer stainless steel fittings and we continue to set the standards in this market. As a premiere world supplier and manufacturer, Lavi offers a variety of components and tubing for architectural railings, kitchen and closet accessories, and other architectural applications. For info, call (800) 624-6225, or visit: MB Software Solutions LLC no pic

MB Software Solutions LLC has created flexible, estimating software for metal fabricating job shops. It can also be customized easily for an ornamental shop. MB Software Solutions, a custom software development firm located in the eastern U.S., showed demos of its software at METALfab 2004 and stressed that the product can be completely customized to fit any client’s shop. Other benefits are no annual maintenance cost, no “seat” licenses, free online training, and lifetime support. For info, call (717) 350-2759, or visit: Frank Morrow Co. 04 pic

Frank Morrow Co. introduces two new 1/8 inch thick bandings, available plain and patterned. These items are sold in coil form.  Also new for METALfab are white metal on annealed stems, larger leaves, new dapped shapes, and new motif stampings. Contact the company for a free 4-page brochure. For info, call (800) 956-7688, or visit: New Metals Inc. 04 pic

DecoGuard™ decorative expanded metal mesh, manufactured exclusively by New Metals Inc., combines an attractive design with the strength of steel. Available in eight distinct 24

Fabricator n March-April 2004

designs, DecoGuard can be used anywhere intrusion prevention is a must, such as in fencing, gates, window covers, and more. Great for strict building code compliance, DecoGuard is now available in a wider range of sheet sizes, including 6-foot tall sheets for residential fencing applications. Shown is the “Roman� design. For info, call (888) 639-6382, or visit: www.newmetals.


NOMMA/NOMMA Education FoundationF get logo for p

The National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association was proud to once again sponsor its annual trade show and convention, METALfab. A special thanks goes to the NOMMA Education Foundation for an outstanding education program. For info, call (404)

363-4009, or visit: Omega Coating pic

We manufacture all of our products in a state-of-the-art facility, located in El Dorado, KS. This central location allows us to service our customers effectively across the country and eventually in Canada and Mexico. We have distributors located all over the country and one is sure to be close to you. For info, call (888) 386-6342, or visit: Production Machinery Inc. pu

Production Machinery Inc. showed a new roll-bending machine for the fist time in the U.S. The machine is manufactured in Germany and distributed in the states by Promaco. The model RBM 2-40 M performs common ornamental roll bending applications, such as molded cap rail and pipe and picket twisting. This bender also offers a 2-inch capacity in box tubing at an affordable price. For info, call (410) 574-2110, or visit: R & B Wagner 04 pic

R & B Wagner introduced two new Stainless Steel Glass Railing Caps at METALFab. These heavy-wall caps are available in 2 inch and 21/2-inch diameter with a 11/4 inch deep channel to accept 1/2 inch tempered glass. They have no visible seam, and are available in 19.75-foot lengths in satin or mirror finish. Contact us for information on components and tools for the assembly of structural glass railing including shoe moulding, railing and mounting brackets. For info, call (800) 786-2111, or visit: Rik-Fer USA Inc. 04 pic

Rik-Fer USA Inc. presented its line of quality ornamental iron products, including gates, steel forgings, component items and furniture. Attention to 26

Fabricator n March-April 2004

detail and a consistent desire to give their work that “handmade” touch are two of the qualities that distinguish Rik-Fer products from other manufacturers. The show also introduced the opening of Rik-Fer USA. Your favorite products are now stocked in the U.S. for more convenient availability. For info, call (877) 838-0900, or visit: Rockite Div. of Hartline Products Co. pu

Rockite is an anchoring and patching cement that sets in 15 minutes. New Kwixset Exterior Anchoring and Patching cement mixes with water and sets up in 15–20 minutes. Use it for installing railings and fences in concrete outdoors. Both products are stronger than concrete in one hour. For info, call (216) 291-2303. Scotchman Industries Inc. pic

Scotchman® Industries, Inc. demon-


strated their “metal fabricating solutions” including two ironworkers: 110 volt, Porta-Fab 45 and 5014 turret featuring a quick-change, 3-station punch and Scotchman’s versatile, flexible and dependable designs. The CPO 350, 14-inch circular cold saw, and SH 1016 band saw produce accurate, fast cuts and will miter without material movement. Scotchman GRIT tube and pipe notchers demonstrated quick and efficient tube and pipe notching. For info, call (800) 843-8844, or visit: Sharpe Products no image

This year Sharpe Products was very proud to showcase many new products along with their standard line of handrail components, stock bends, and custom bending. The product that drew the most attention was their “multi-splice” a mechanical splice that fits the most common pipe and tube sizes. The multi-splice is available with

either a single setscrew for expansion joints or double setscrews for locking joints. See their new catalog for details. For info, call (800) 879-4418, or visit: Striker Tool Co. (USA) 04 pic

Striker Tool Company (USA) was pleased to present its line of Striker STC Forging Hammers and Platen Tables. The Striker STC selfcontained, pneumatic forging hammer is the number one selling forging hammer in the U.S. designed specifically for use within fabrication and blacksmith shops. The rugged, one-piece and two-piece models come with limited lifetime original owner warranties on the hammer’s cast frame. For info, call (866) 290-1263, or visit: Sparky Abrasives Co.

Sparky Abrasives Co. presented the firm’s extensive line of abra-

Fabricator n March-April 2004

sives for the fabricator. The exclusive Sparky Flap Disc was featured. With this product, a grinder can take down welds and finish-sand with one product. For info, call (800) 328-4560.

locations for quick shipping and service that is second to none. For info, call (800) 222-6033, or visit: www.

Sumter Coatings 04 pic

This year’s METALfab saw Tennessee Fabricating Co. showing examples from their complete lines of high quality castings, forgings, hardware, and introducing the NEW roll-formed punched channel. Another feature this year was the emphasis on custom capabilities at little or no extra charge. Special lengths, twists, textures, and castings can be made from a variety of metals in short lead times, continuing a tradition of customer service. For info, call (901)-725-1548, or visit: www.tnfab. com.

Sumter Coatings featured paints, primers, and topcoats especially for ornamental and miscellaneous metal. The firm’s popular Satin Shield Enamel was a featured product. Satin Shield is a fast drying direct-to-metal paint offered in assorted colors. For info, call (888) 471-3400, or visit: www. Texas Metal Industries Inc. 04 pic

Texas Metal Industries Inc. presented its new 250+-page catalog number 11. The catalog shows their extensive collection of ornamental iron products. Texas Metal now has three

Tennessee Fabricating Co. 04 pic

West Tennessee Ornamental Door

West Tennessee Ornamental Door is expanding to better serve the or-

namental fabricator with custom fabricated and in-stock products. At METALfab 2004 we displayed ornamental security doors, fence and ornamental products for the fabricator who manufactures and sells doors, fence, and gates. West Tennessee Ornamental is known for high quality and competitive prices. We ship door parts, locks, raw frames to completed stock or custom doors assembled, boxed, and ready to install. We have relocated to a larger facility and now have in stock for immediate delivery, ornamental security doors, steel and aluminum fence, gates, gate operators, and mailboxes (or all the parts you need to build your own). We also can custom manufacture to your specification. For info, call (866) 790-3667. Wrought Iron Concepts Inc. 04 pic

Wrought Iron Concepts Inc. is a manufacturer and nationwide supplier of quality decorative wrought iron component products embossed with intricate details. Our product line includes forged and cast steel leaves, embossed caprail comprised of thicker materials, forged posts and balusters, decorative pickets, and forged scroll panels. Offering free shipping allowances and same day shipping, we provide our customers with the lowest nationwide shipping charges in the industry and get your materials to you fast. For info, call (877) 370-8000, or visit: www.

Just Released!!! The NOMMA Education Foundation is proud to announce its latest video:

Curved Stair Fabrication

Covers site inspection, field dimensioning, detailing, making adjustments, stringer layout, pay layout, rolling/forming, shop assembly, fixtures, bracing, and more. To order, visit: or call (404) 363-4009.


Fabricator n March-April 2004

Shop Talk

Fig. 1: A 1/4-28 thread is tapped directly into 1/8-inch Sched. #80 pipe.

Fig. 2: A typical slotted tube burner.

Gas burners: Make it hotter! By Michael Porter In a gas burner, it is obvious that too little air produces poor combustion (a reducing flame). But, it is less well understood that too much air also creates poor combustion (an oxidizing flame). Both conditions produce carbon monoxide and reduce heat. Proper combustion is a balancing act. Home-built naturally aspirated propane burners, capable of being tuned to neutral flames, have been around for many years. They reach flame temperatures around 2,200° F and are reasonably clean burning. The fundamental advantage of these burners over fan-blown systems is their compact flame. A coherent flame can be manipulated, and it is central to gas burner design. All hydrocarbon fuel gasses have primary and secondary flames. For most industrial purposes, the secondary flame is useless and a nuisance. The secondary flame cannot effectively combust without drawing additional oxygen from ambient air. Any secondary air source is counterproductive in a forge, furnace, or most kilns. But that flame must be combusted or 32

become a pollutant. Thus, total primary flame combustion becomes the next logical step in propane burner designs. A happy by-product of eliminating the secondary flame is an increased primary flame temperature, which jumps above 2,800° F. The net result is effective use of propane’s potential energy. Fuel gas consumes more than its own volume of oxygen during combustion. The amount of oxygen in air is only about 22 percent, so a fuel/air flame needs a lot of air to work properly. A naturally aspirated burner creates a venturi effect that provides sufficient air. The effect is created by a jet of gas in front of an opening, such as a tube. The jet sets up a low-pressure area at the tube opening, drawing air molecules in with it. The faster the gas molecules travel the stronger the venturi affect, and the greater the ratio of air molecules to gas molecules in the mix. Using a gas pipe in line with the air stream greatly reduces drag by placing the hole at its front, but the difference between the pipe and the orifice size means that most of the molecules still have to make a turn just at the wrong time. Gas molecules can be much more effectively accelerated if the exit hole itself

For your information


n By eliminating the secondary flame in gas burners, Michael Porter has figured out how to increase primary flame temperatures in propane-fueled burners. This article explains the science behind the design of tube burners.

About the author: After working in the ornamental iron and welding industries for over 30 years, Mike Porter combined his tooling and creative skills and developed several improvements in forge and burner technology.

About the book: Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces, & Kilns, Written and illustrated by Michael Porter. ISBN 1879535203. Paperback with 216 pages and 111 illustrations by the author. Order through Bookmasters, Ph: (800) 247-6553; Web: www.skipjackpress. com. Cost: $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

Fabricator n March-April 2004

“An orifice that is too small for the burner tube diameter will cause

the gas/air mixture to run lean.”

becomes a tube. Four years ago MIG contact tips were introduced to provide a narrow acceleration tube at the end of the larger pipe. These tips have different size orifices, high quality control, and low cost. This makes them an excellent choice for use on a gas accelerator. In restricted spaces, the area that the accelerator occupies constricts airflow. Tapered contact tips diminish this problem, and is the reason why they are used on smaller tube burners. Tweco tips also have a tapered entrance to the orifice. This helps laminar flow by funneling gas molecules into the smaller opening. The right sized tube

An orifice that is too small for the burner tube diameter causes the gas/ air mixture to run lean. Its flame will completely oxidize and will tend to blow out or burn back into the tube. An orifice that is too large for the


lowed by adjustments in tip sizes. Speeding up the gas

burner tube size will run too rich, making a reducing flame. Its heat potential will be low and it will pollute the air in your work area. If you find that your burner’s tube diameter requires an orifice size that doesn’t exist or your welding store doesn’t have the size you want available, then you can use torch tip cleaners to file the orifice of the next smaller size tip into the needed size. Don’t attempt to drill the tip. Typically, sizes .023-inch to .063-inch are readily available. These size call-outs are designed for the welding wire, where orifice diameters run several thousandths larger. For several years the following tip sizes to pipe call out sizes have been accepted as optimal: .023-inch tip for 1/2-inch pipe; .035inch tip for 3/4-inch pipe; .052-inch tip for 1-inch pipe; and .062-inch tip for 11/4-inch pipe. This rule of thumb must be considered as only a starting point. Changes in burner design must be fol-

The gas accelerator has a MIG tip and a gas tube, which is usually fabricated from a 1/8-inch nipple for convenience and strength [fig. 1]. When opening the burner valve, gas starts moving all the way back to the tank. Therefore, acceleration is affected by every constriction or turn made between the bottle and the orifice. But the most important section for acceleration is the last few inches of the accelerator assembly. The pressurized gas is also gaining momentum in the pipe portion of the accelerator assembly. It takes between three and four inches of pipe length for the gas to reach full velocity before it encounters the contact tip. A short pipe on the accelerator will ruin burner performance. Both the position of the tip to the burner tube opening and its aim affect burner performance. As a rule, the best performance comes from an accelerator that is axially true with the burner tube, and placed 3/8-inch short of the

Fabricator n March-April 2004

“The burners tube’s length should be a minimum of nine times the

inside diameter of the burner tube.” air intakes forward ends. Tube burners

With tube burners, the pipe or metal tube constitutes the basic body structure and is subject to the “Nine Diameters” rule [fig. 2]. This rule of thumb states that burner tube’s length should be a minimum of nine times the inside diameter of the burner tube for proper gas and air mixing. Some burner designs promote mixing well enough to fudge this rule a little. Air intakes

In the tube burner, lateral openings (the air intakes) are provided beside the accelerator tip to serve as entry ports for incoming air. Early designs used large round openings. The openings were crowded on small diameter tube bodies, so they were replaced by rows of holes, and then by slots. The slots provided a larger opening in a given area than a row of holes could, but this was a minor advantage. The


real improvement was the reduction in air turbulence caused by all the round surfaces in a row of holes (air passing through a round opening tends to rotate, creating vortices). This form of air turbulence creates a lot of drag. Some turbulence can help overall burner performance by promoting better mixing of the fuel and air. But, since the row of holes creates most of the turbulence behind the gas stream it does nothing to promote mixing, while doing much to decrease airflow. Drilling air slots leaves them with rounded ends. The shape of the rear end has less effect on performance than the shape of the forward end. Positioning a sliding choke so that it covers the rounded end of a slot when the choke is fully open will accomplish a similar result to squaring the opening’s end. However, squared ends can also be beveled, increasing laminar flow. On most burner sizes 21/2-inch long slots work best.


The choke sleeve is a movable part that limits airflow to the air intakes on the burner’s mixing chamber. The thumbscrew is a minor part, which controls the sleeve’s position. The intakes and sleeve work together, forming a choke. Other burner types use different shapes and motions to limit the amount of incoming air. Burners size 3/4-inch and less can benefit from using a flared choke sleeve. While the choke sleeve creates a square configuration at the forward end of the air slot by covering its rounded end, the back of the opening is still rounded, which creates drag by forming vortices. Nozzles

By creating a sudden expansion at the end of the burner tube, the nozzle reduces flow speed. Otherwise the gas/ air mixture would tend to blow the flame right off the burner’s end. The nozzle can be moved on the burner tube to vary the amount of its overhang. This changes the width to length ratio, allowing the nozzle to

Fabricator n March-April 2004

“Stainless steel is recommended for all burner nozzles because the should not be flared; it depends on the construction of the burner. Burners with sufficient flow speed to achieve total primary flame combustion don’t use tapered nozzles. Stainless steel is recommended for all burner nozzles because the hot gasses rapidly corrode mild steel.

ent kinds employ a threaded bushing. Other end caps hold the bushing centered in a bell reducer or pipe cap. All of them enclose the end of the mixing chamber. Surprisingly, a burner with a wide-open end on its body will not perform as well as it can with lateral air intakes. Even with lateral intakes, an open end on the mixing chamber will hurt overall performance rather than enhance it.

End caps


Gas accelerators are held in place by end enclosures. Some of the differ-

The theoretical temperature limit of a propane flame burning in air is 3,600° F, so there is still room for burner improvements. However, present tube burner design limits will do until better refractories are invented.

hot gasses rapidly corrode mild steel.” vary the amount of its impedance. Some nozzles should have a taper and a step. A shoulder in turned flares generally forms the step, or a spacer in forged flares. It should increase the width of the opening to at least 1/4-inch all the way around the burner tube’s interior diameter, no matter what the thickness of the tube’s material. Burners can run fairly well with just the step, but some run much better with a taper of 1:12 included, while others

FPO Sur-Fin

Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America Two Quarterly Publications: The Anvil’s Ring The Hammer’s Blow

Join the Revival!

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:


Fabricator n March-April 2004

Shop Talk

Tips on surviving your family business For your information


The Rodriguefamily at work in the shop. l to r: Mike (father), Kevin (son), and Betsy (mother)

Just like any relationship, a family business needs good communication in order to run well. But it also needs well-written instructions stipulating job descriptions and operating procedures.


Tips from the Rodrigue family business, Virginia Architectural Metals, Fredericksburg, VA: Communicate: Don’t let small problems become big problems. Talk them out before they go too far. Job descriptions: Make clear job descriptions for every position. And avoid having everybody do everything— those positions are harder to fill when vacancies come up. Standard Operating Procedures: Create a well-documented business structure and follow it.

By Lee Rodrigue Virginia Architectural Metals At some point in your life, you as a fabricator may have worked with your brother, your father, or your uncle. In an industry that relies so much on tradition and apprenticeship, it’s hard not to fall into the business of metalwork. In fact, it’s a large part of the history of the trade. Most armorers and blacksmiths passed their knowledge and businesses on to their sons, and for the most part this made sense. What didn’t make sense was giving angry adolescents the knowledge to make weapons and stomp around with hammers and

About the author

sharp objects. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is where the sport of “hammerthrowing” originated. Passing trade secrets onto your offspring makes sense. That way you don’t have to worry about any non-blood-related whippersnappers gaining a few skills and then running down the street to go work at a competitor’s shop for an extra ten cents an hour. You have all this precious knowledge, and it’s not fair to just let it die with you. You owe it to all metalworkers to pass it to someone, so it doesn’t

Lee Rodrigue is a webmaster for his family’s company, Virginia Architectural Metals. He now lives in Eugene, OR, where he provides detailing services for his family’s business via the Internet.

get lost. You want to pass it on to someone who will cherish it and use it to make beautiful work, someone who, ideally, can’t run away. This is why so many metalworkers choose their sons and daughters as their main apprentices. At the very least, they can’t run away until they’re 18 years old. The hope is that they, realizing the honor in your trade, will continue the traditions of the Old World and propagate all that you’ve worked so hard for. Granted, for most of us, the Old World consists of post-WWII stick welding, air hammers, and oxy-acetylene torches. But if it makes us feel more like our European forefathers to call the 1960’s the Old World, then I’m happy to oblige.


Offer your kin apprentices some40

Fabricator n March-April 2004

But somehow, you have to convey to your offspring that

there’s fun to be had in what you do, even though you still have to work at it for 70 hours a week and have lived on beans and rice for 10 of the last 20 years. thing they can’t refuse

So pay attention, dads. Here’s the rub. The trick is giving your kin apprentices a reason to follow in your footsteps. Sure, you’ve built a successful business over the last 20 years, and paid for it in sweat and second-degree burns. I get teary-eyed when I look at my own father’s forearm, where a grinder has left a big scar. I think, “That should have been me, but I went off to college instead.” But somehow, you have to convey to your offspring that there’s fun to be had in what you do, even though you still have to work at it for 70 hours a week and have lived on beans and rice for 10 of the last 20 years. The successful father will pull this off and end up with a covey of kids running around his shop, doing everything the way he has always done it. However, it is not the purpose of


this article to help you pops out there recruit your kids. It is rather the author’s hope that you get them to commit to the shop without killing them in the process. After all, that would defeat the purpose. Communicate: Talk about small issues before they get big

More often than not, people in family situations are either too afraid or too eager to share their concerns along the way. It requires courage to voice a contrary opinion to your own family and diplomatic skill to do it without hurting feelings. Most people simply avoid the situation altogether. The end result of this behavior is that small issues become huge ones within the minds of dissenters, and instead of an “I-have-a-small-problem,” you get a resignation. To illustrate this point, I’ll create a

hypothetical situation. Ian, a tradesman from the Old World, spent most of his summers working at his shop while his three sons, Jimmy, Dave, and Darryl, played on the rusting equipment out in the yard. They learned the usefulness of 55-gallon drums and old hydraulic cylinders and managed to develop an appreciation for flammable gases and solvents. When they were old enough, Ian taught them first how to grind and paint, then how to cut on the saw and with a torch, and finally how to weld and read blueprints. By the time they graduated from high school, they were ample metalworkers and going ahead full steam. Separate family issues from business issues

The only problem was that they weren’t just cheap employees with metalworking skills. They were far worse: employees with skills like talking back, questioning directives, and disobeying orders at will, just like they did as adolescents. They didn’t see Ian as boss; they saw him as “dad,” and all the issues they’ve

Fabricator n March-April 2004

I’ve worked for nothing BUT family-owned firms. The ones that

are still around have fallen into two basic categories: those that have separated family issues from business issues, and those who have separated family from the business.

developed with dear old Ian throughout their growing pains were plainly visible on a day-to-day basis in the shop and in the field. In addition, there were the brotherly issues that had always been there. Jimmy was an academic, and was always trying to find more efficient ways of getting the job done. Darryl was an artist, who spent hours trying to make something look just right rather than matching the sample or meeting deadline. And Dave was the salesman, concerned with always keeping the customers happy and getting more and more work into the shop. In most instances, their actions worked against one another, and Ian could never seem to intervene without the illusion of favoritism. Make a business plan and stick to it

The unfortunate mistake that Ian had made was giving his boys the skills to do metalwork without teaching them the discipline that makes a well-run shop operate. Any manufacturing process can be broken down into a set of responsibilities, and each responsibility can be assigned to the individual or individuals best suited to complete it. This requires some people doing things that they may not like, and others not getting to do things they really want to do. Now, I’m sure that this hypothetical situation can’t possibly occur in real life. Personally, I’ve never heard of any situation where a son or daughter has scoffed at a parent over a business idea, or vice versa. At least I’ve never encountered it in my 15 years or so of working with my family. No, we simply love each other too much. However, I can imagine it happening

elsewhere. I’ve worked with enough brothers, uncles, cousins, fathers, and daughters to see how it could happen. Come to think of it, when I examine my employment history dating back to my first real job in miscellaneous steel, I’ve worked for nothing BUT family-owned firms. The ones that are still around have fallen into two basic categories: those that have separated family issues from business issues, and those who have separated family from the business. In the former category, you typically find companies who have created a solid business plan from the ground up. Usually the most experienced member of the family sets up Standard Operating Procedures, a welldocumented business structure, and a set of titles and job descriptions. These job descriptions explain what each individual’s role is and the set of standards to which he or she must adhere. Place each family member in a well-suited position

Hopefully, each person works their

















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Fabricator n March-April 2004

way into their desired position by proving to the rest of the clan that they are the best person suited for that specific role. In the hypothetical case above, it would make sense to place customer-oriented Dave in a sales position, and once he had found his way into that role, a majority of the other family members would probably agree that he was well suited for it. However, such an individual should NOT also be given the responsibilities more fitting of a project manager. After all, you can’t always tell the customer what he or she wants to hear… and customer-friendly Dave might have trouble with this aspect of running the company.

this. It’s best if you lament over how much harder things have gotten since they’ve gone, and leave them thinking that you’ve made a huge mistake. They will be less inclined to hate you for it if you give them the opportunity to be more “valuable” in their absence. I am truly blessed to have been a part of the smoothest-running family business I’ve ever known. We are so smooth that we manage to remain a tight-knit clan, even though I live 3,000 miles away from the rest of my family. I hope that my fellow NOMMA members can enjoy the

benefits of our lessons, and propagate the great history of metalworking from generation to generation as my forefathers have.

Don’t assign any one person too many roles

Another advantage of this type of structure is that, if a member is forced to leave for a while, it’s easy to find someone to replace him or her. Let’s suppose Dave needed surgery, and was out for 3-4 months. It would be fairly simple to find a salesman to pick up his duties. However, if he was also a project manager, draftsman, and installer, then finding someone with all these skills might be near impossible. As a result, the entire family has to take on his responsibilities, resulting in more hours for everyone. Be willing to let go and to be let go

Start planning now for METALfab 2005, which takes place in New Orleans, LA, Mar. 2-5,

Of course, there will always be one individual (or more) who simply cannot accept his lot in life. In this case, a non-family member will work just as well. After all, there is no shortage of disgruntled employees out there, and they’re a lot cheaper than disgruntled family members. As long as you must have a whiner around, you may as well choose one you can cut loose any time it suits your fancy. Although it may hurt initially, look at your decision objectively. First, you’re offering your wife/son/ daughter/nephew/niece a chance at a happier career, or at least a more pleasant job in the same career. Of course, the morale around your own shop will improve dramatically once he or she is gone. However, you can never let the former employee know March-April 2004 n Fabricator


Member Talk

Member spotlight: Fabricating a high-end market in Huntsville, AL n This husband and wife team started their own full-time ornamental fabrication shop in Huntsville, AL, six years ago, and already they’re already running it like pros.

Interview by Rachel Squires Bailey, Managing Editor

This three-story spiral stair graces a million dollar plus home in the Huntsville area. The rail’s initial design required alteration to meet code requirements (see inset at left).

For your information


Member: New Market Iron Works, Huntsville, AL Market: High-end residences and new home trim. Tips for success: Maintain a highly organized shop, pay close attention to detail, and give great service from start to finish.


Earl and Jennifer Burkett established New Market Iron Works in 1998. Fabricator: How did you get started in this industry? Earl: A few things led me into ornamental metal fabrication. My dad worked for Huntsville’s John Blue Co., a farm equipment manufacturer, while I was growing up. Then he started his own small fabrication shop. That’s where I got my first welding experience. But there was also a blacksmith, Jim Batson, who lived down the street from us. I heard the sound of that anvil one night and went down to check it out. He gave me a job on the spot helping him at night after school. I got my start in blacksmithing in

Jim’s shop. When I got out of high school I went to Oklahoma Horse Shoeing School, and I worked as a farrier for about 18 years. Jennifer: I had a horse, so that’s how we met. Earl: But I developed some back problems. Jennifer: . . . from bending in that position. Earl: Yeah, working as a farrier can do a number on your back. So I had to stop. But I’d already started doing ornamental work, and while I was recovering I worked on a few small projects. Jennifer: The wife of our dentist gave us some work, making a pot rack. And then Fabricator n March-April 2004

she told some friends, and it just grew from there. Fabricator: Where was your first shop? Earl: I had my blacksmith shop behind our house that I used for about a year and a half. Then we purchased a commercial building and stayed there for three years. When we outgrew that one we built on this location in the summer of 2002. Fabricator: What is the size of this shop? Earl: We’ve got 9,000 square feet of shop, office, and showroom space. Nine people work for us now. Fabricator: Jennifer, what is your background? Jennifer: I have a degree in MIS, management of information systems, and have worked for two different computer companies in the Huntsville area. When we first moved into the

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

smaller building I took the big leap of faith and quit my job to help with the business full time. I do the books and work with customers on design. Earl: Jen does concept designs. Then I’ll measure and figure out quotes and do shop drawings. Fabricator: What type of ornamental work does New Market specialize in?

Jennifer Burkett quit her full-time job to help husband Earl run New Market Iron Works.

Earl: We’re doing more and more high-end residential work. I started out making simple design porch railings. Then we moved into more custom and complex stair and balcony rails, gates, and fences. We typically work within a 50-mile radius of the shop. But as more high-end neighborhoods are developing and as word spreads about our work, we’re picking up more jobs further out.

Jennifer: We’ve done very little advertising. It’s mainly word of mouth and using business cards. Fabricator: What is your workload for a given year? Earl: We always have at least one or two big jobs at a time, doing multiple phases of custom work on a million-plus house. Depending on the builder’s progress, we’ll spend three to six months on those projects. We do


40 percent new construction exterior rails. New construction is our bread and butter. Jennifer: We do complete work for at least one or two of those a day. Fabricator: What allows you to get so much work through the shop? Jennifer: We’re very organized and our employees are great, very loyal. We try to keep them happy by paying them well and offering health insurance. top:

Earl designed this drying rack pulley system for his shop.


Earl prides himself on his loyal shop employees.

bottom: Earl appreciates employing people with no prior training. “It’s

hard to change what they already know,” he says.

Earl: Not one person in our shop knew how to weld when he got here. There’s an argument for homegrown employees. We’ve hired people from other shops before. But it’s hard to change what they already know. If their methods or styles are different than yours, it’s hard to change that. Jennifer: Learning FABCAD has really helped our business as a design and layout tool. It cuts down on communication problems with our customers and our welders. It’s also a big help for bidding jobs since we can get exact material, cut, and weld requirements. Earl: We started using that four years ago. Fabricator: Have you ever picked up more work that you could handle? Jennifer: Yes, there were some stressful times in the beginning when we let ourselves get overloaded because we were afraid we’d lose a job if we turned someone down. At one point it seemed every contractor wanted us “right then.” But now our shop is more experienced; we can depend on our staff, and we can schedule our


Fabricator n March-April 2004

Earl, William, and Jennifer Burkett: The Burkett’s son is nine-years-old. Earl says he’s going to wait just a few more years before training William to weld.

These large brackets decorate the outside of a spa. Clients of the spa have brought even more business to New Market.

time better. Fabricator: Do you have much competition in the area? Earl: There are several other ornamental shops near here, but there’s plenty of work for everyone. Jennifer: We’ve never been out of work since we started, and we’ve never had to look for work. This rail is made of hammered stock. Earl cut one of the rails panels in half and reforged it around to make newel.

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Imitating wood: The Burketts used 2” tubing, 11/2” Sched.40pipe,widemouldedcoverrail,andinverted handrail to create moulding on this 13” X 13” fence post. The post cap is 1/4” plate with 3 X 3/8 angle iron on the corners and 2 fi “ X 3/8” flat bar.

Earl: Definitely, we attend the Metalfab convention at least every other year. We learn a lot and make friends with people like us. NOMMA members are very helpful and willing to share what they know. For instance, I learned some tips building curved stairs offsite from Herndon & Merry (Nashville, TN). That helped speed up production and installation. James Coble of Coble Iron in Florence, AL has been very helpful and supportive. And I speak with Gary Waldherr of Gary’s Garden Gate out in Olympia, WA, every week. Earl: In this business you have to give excellent service and do quality work, pay attention to details, and word of mouth will bring you more projects. Jennifer: We recently made brackets for an exterior awning at a day spa. The design is really simple but elegant, and that surprised us with how much business it brought in. Fabricator: Do you think being a member of NOMMA has given you an edge?

Jennifer: Gary and Deb started out on their own just after we did. Fabricator: What else helps your business? Earl: Our new location is closer to the center of town. We are in Chase Industrial Park near other businesses involved in construction like The Stonecutters Guild, so we share a lot of customers. We’ll do a table base for a bathroom vanity or some other support for their stonework. It’s amazing what they can for us and what we can do for them. Fabricator: What are some recent developments inside your shop? Earl: We just invested in a powdercoating system, which should be up and running in about eight weeks. We’re waiting on the oven to arrive. Jennifer: And we’ve got a great drying rack pulley system that Earl designed. We can work on several rails and panels at different stages of finishing and drying without them taking up a lot of space. They are much easier to handle and move. Fabricator: What are your future goals for New Market? Earl: Well, the next big project is to build a new home for ourselves. Jennifer: Yeah, it’s going to be trimmed all in wood! Earl: Nah, we’ve got big metal plans for it. We’ll do antique cast iron columns, stairs, vanities, and of course the railings. Jennifer: Check back with us next year to see how it turns out.


Fabricator n March-April 2004


Member Talk

ACharlestonschoolpreserves the building arts Charleston’s School of the Building Arts gives traditional building arts education a much needed boost.


For your information


Spotlight: Charleston’s School of the Building Arts was established in 1997. It begins operating in 2005 as a four-year college dedicated to the education of the building arts. Founder and President: John Paul Huguley Education Director: David AvRutick. SoBA School of the Building Arts Inc. Old City Jail, 20 Franklin St. Co n tac t Charleston, SC 29401 Ph: (877) 283-5245 Web:

Inthefallof2005SoBAbeginsoperatingasafour-yearcollegewithdegreeprogramsincarpentry,ironwork, masonry, timber framing, plasterwork, and stone carving.

By Rachel Squires Bailey Managing Editor Ornamental fabricators often get frustrated with the small pool of welltrained ornamental fabricators for hire. But a program in Charleston, SC may be just what NOMMA and other industry members are looking for to help support much needed education in the trades. Such a program could organize and preserve the hands-on knowledge belonging to the buildMarch-April 2004 n Fabricator

ing arts that most high school and college curriculums seem to leave out. Charleston’s School of the Building Arts (SoBA), dedicated to preserving and nurturing the skills of the building arts, offers an important resource to the ornamental metals industry and other trades as well. The school was founded after a problem involving a shortage of people skilled in the traditional building arts emerged in Charleston, a city many Americans appreciate for its rich history and southern charm. In 1989 after

Hurricane Hugo devastated many of Charleston’s historic structures, the city’s mayor, Joseph P. Riley, Jr., and the citizens of Charleston decided to pay tribute to the city’s historic beauty. They sought trades people trained in the traditional building arts to restore Charleston’s historic buildings. During this endeavor, however, Charleston’s building community realized that very few trades people were actually trained and skilled in these traditional methods. In 1997, a structural engineer named 53


Currently, SoBA members of the community and students enrolled in the College of Charleston’sPreservationProgram,attheCitadel,ClemsonUniversity,andCharlestonareapublic schools can attend classes, lectures, and workshops on a variety of fields in the building arts.

John Paul Huguley, whose work focuses on structural preservation, responded to this lack in Charleston’s building community by founding SoBA. Convinced that Charleston’s problem was not unique, Huguley made it SoBA’s mission to increase the quality of craftsmanship in today’s building standards nationwide by rejuvenating the building trades through a dedicated educational program. While the school’s development will


doubt help preserve and enrich the architectural history of Charleston, Huguley intends for SoBA to have a more global impact on the construction industry. He sees a real void and a real need for construction and restoration work education across the U.S. “The way to improve the U.S. construction industry is to educate current and future members of its industry,” says Huguley who feels “the

idea of excellence in craftsmanship is not new, it just hasn’t been valued in the U.S. in a long time. It will take educating students and the public as well to turn this trend around.” Huguley traces the deterioration in quality craftsmanship and in the pride craftsmen have in their trades to the U.S. war effort of the 1940’s. “That era encouraged mass production,” Huguley explains. “The U.S. construction boom of the 1980’s further solidified that way of thinking with the development of strip malls, etc. By the 1990’s what we were leaving behind began to materialize.” According to Huguley the poorquality materials manufactured today reduce the longevity of buildings and building materials. “The industry needs good design, good materials, and good techniques to create quality products.” But, what is missing is knowledge. People fail to realize the value of well-made materials. Huguley says he often hears people say, “‘But it costs more to do it right.’ That is not true,” says Huguley. “When you consider the liability of not doing it right, it costs more to do it wrong.” That is why SoBA’s program aims to teach craftsmen how to choose as well as use quality materials. Currently, SoBA operates as a nonprofit organization, partnering with local educational programs and institutions in the Charleston area. Students enrolled in the College of Charleston’s Preservation Program, at the Citadel, Clemson University, and Charleston-area public schools can attend classes, lectures, and workshops on a variety of fields in the building arts. These classes currently range from two-day to six-week workshops and are available to members of the community as well. Several talented instructors, including Charleston’s own master blacksmithing legend Philip Simmons, lead SoBA’s classes and workshops. Simmons, who among other accomplishments, received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982, facilitates students and advises other highly-skilled SoBA instructors. Jay Fabricator n March-April 2004

Who Cares... about Consistent Quality Parts that Always Fit? about Fair Low Pricing? about Listening to Our Customers?

Jay Rice teaches ironwork at SoBA. He is a trained farrier and apprenticed under the renown Philip Simmons.

Rice, for example, previously apprenticed under Simmons. Rice is himself a third generation blacksmith and trained farrier. He gives demonstrations, lectures, and workshops on ironworking at SoBA. “We’re here to service the country,” says Rice. “There are some areas out there that need masons and blacksmiths, and we can send students in that direction. People in the trades need networking, communication, and educational resources, and SoBA offers all of that in one school ” In the fall of 2005, SoBA will provide the building arts industry with even more resources when it begins operating as a fully licensed, four-year college. At that time SoBA will offer two- and four-year degrees in six fields: masonry, stone carving, plaster work, timber framework, carpentry, and ornamental ironwork. “SoBA will produce trade masters,” says SoBA’s Executive Director David AvRutick. “Degree programs will include general education courses but will focus on guilding master craftsmen. Specific classes will teach students how to promote themselves.” AvRutick offers Charleston’s campus March-April 2004 n Fabricator

We Do.

since 1944.

Preserving the Integrity of our Industry.

1-800-258-4766 2025 York Ave. Memphis, TN 38104 (901) 725-1548 fax: (901) 725-5954 e-mail:


own business.” “This program will be a second career for some students, so that they can fulfill their artistic passion,” AvRutick says. “SoBA’s programs will also offer a way to retrain workers who’ve lost jobs to overseas; 50-year-old students may be very popular,” AvRutick adds. “Either way, the school will be highly competitive to get into and to get through.” According to AvRutick, SoBA will attract students from across the country. And in doing so, the school can support its goal to not saturate the local Charleston market by attracting only local students. “If students come from other places, we hope that upon graduation they will go back to their hometowns and take skills they learn here SoBA is modeled after the French guild program, Les Compagnons, with its developing fouryear degree program, partnerships, community outreach efforts, and youth programs. to share with their own hometown communities,” AvRutick explains. “Attracting students nationally is also another way of of Johnson and Wales University’s Culinary School as an increasing enrollment; news of the school analogy for understanding how SoBA will prepare students will spread as graduates return home.” for careers in the building arts. “After two years at Johnson Huguley also stresses the importance of not saturating the and Wales students become great cooks and can get jobs Charleston area with SoBA students. In an effort to help in any restaurant. In four years they can own their own students find work in communities outside of Charleston, restaurant. Similarly, with SoBA’s two-year degree students Huguley says SoBA will have satellite offices and partnership will be qualified to work on a trade crew or for a shop. But relationships all over the U.S . “Students can study in areas with their four-year degree, students will be able to run their known for producing specialty-type building work,” Huguley says. “We’ll make use of what’s already out there.” SoBA is not a franchise. Instead, it is building relationships with institutions already known for doing specialty work. For example, SoBA is buliding a relationship in Birmingham that is known for cast furnace work. The school also plans to partner with institutions in D.C. and New England known for Brownstone work. “SoBA students will even be able to work on St. John the Divine’s Cathedral in New York City for an apprenticeship in stonework,” Huguley says. SoBA already has a relationship with Les Compagnons, France’s centuries old trades apprenticeship program. In fact, according to Huguley, with its partnerships, community outreach efforts, youth programs, and developing four-year degree program, SoBA is modeled after Les Compagnons. (For more on Les Compagnons, see Fabricator May-June 2003, p. 39 and July-August 2001, p. 22). Led by a team of renown artists, artisans, and preservationists, SoBA may become a tremendous resource for members of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA) since NOMMA also recognizes a great need for trades education, as the recent development of the NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) suggests. If nothing else, SoBA’s campus and satellite offices will offer members of the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry other much needed alternatives for scouting potential employees.


Fabricator n March-April 2004

Job Profile

A venture into the highly ornate This project taught Powell’s Custom Metal Fabrication a few things about their firm’s creative abilities: they hadn’t realized what they could do and neither had the client.


By Sally Powell Powell’s Custom Metal Fab. Inc.

The3/4inchcurvedverticalmemberswereheatedandfree-formedsectionbysectionfromoutside to inside on each gate panel. Short, straight verticals with rosette centers were fabricated and added. Then 1/4 inch rod was heated and wrapped randomly along with the leaves and scrolls throughout the panels.

For your information


March-April 2004 n Fabricator

Photo :

Many of us at Powell’s Custom Metal Fabrication, myself included, often describe our shop as the “meatloaf and beer” type rather than the “lobster and champagne” type shop. Our standard product line reflects good quality work with sturdy, defined structured styles that are neither unique nor highly decorative. We fabricate quite a bit of plain-Jane balcony rail, fence, and gates, occasionally crossing the tracks to the ornate side. When the opportunity comes along to show our artistic abilities, the whole shop really gets into it, and we thoroughly enjoy the ride. This project is the new residence of a client with whom we have an elevenyear history, mostly commercial projects. We’ve completed a small amount of work on his previous residence as well as some work for other members of his family. But even with our history, there was some hesitation on the client’s part in regards to our “artistic” capabilities. And I have to give credit to a salesman, who unfortunately is no longer with us, for closing the deal. The first thing we learned with this project is that we had not fully educated our client as to our creative abilities. The question we then asked ourselves was how many other opportunities had we let go by? As conversations with our client continued he stated that he and his wife were looking for something different. They wanted an appealing design, something more than simple but not overly ornate. They showed us a photograph from a magazine, some hand sketches on a piece of paper, and told us their likes and dislikes. And interestingly enough, the entire

Member: Powell’s Custom Metal Fab. Inc., Jacksonville, FL Problem: Even if a shop focuses primarily on commercial work, the firm should never undersell its creative and custom work capabilities. Solution: Consider what your clients know about you. Keep them informed of all of your

services. Implication: Of course, don’t oversell your shop. But if you’ve got creative talent on board, and most likely you do, use it!



fun began. The lower horizontal panels were filled in first (they seemed like a piece of cake compared to the rest) and were created by modifying several component pieces to appear as one. We were having fun but our biggest challenge was next, the main panels. The 3/4 inch curved vertical members were heated and free-formed section by section from outside to inside on each gate panel. The short, straight verticals with the rosette centers were fabricated and added. Then the 1/4 inch rod was heated and wrapped randomly along with the addition of a mixture of leaves and Because of the uniqueness of the design the fabricator scrolls throughout the panels. built simultaneously to accurately mirror the pattern. Early on, we learned that we had a few “art critics” working one individual does not necessarily for us, and the reviews started conjure up the same picture in another coming in. We were still having fun, individual’s mind. Referring back to just not as much. Chatter focused the original sketches and Jason’s hand on the two main, center sections as sketches and notes from previous well as the top scrolls and finials. The conversations, we realized this project original sketches of the top scrolls had now become “a work in progress.” looked like an S scroll with a “fish It did not take the client long to realize head.” The center sections appeared that the sharp pointed finials had to to be “roosters,” and the finials were go. They were replaced with a combidefinitely sharp and pointed. nation of three separate finals, cut and It became clear that at some point in welded to form the “acorn” likeness. time none of us remembered the acThis decision was easily reached. tual conversations we’d had with our After fabricating a scroll pattern with a client word-for-word. It also became fish head we discovered we really had clear that a verbal description from a shop full of art critics as well as an uncertain client. While they liked the look of the “fish” on paper they were certain they did not like the look in reality. Mrs. Client preferred a simple scroll pattern with a few leaves and vines, while Mr. Client wanted something a little more substantial, not sure what, just more substantial. From the picture you can see, yet another choice was made. The center sections were jokingly dubbed in our shop as the “fighting cocks,” and it just kind of caught on. To provide balance with the symmetrical design of the gate the fabricator split the existing pointed vertical member, making it lead into the belly of each rooster. With this final modification, the gate was ready to clean and paint, and Jason was ready to move on Fabricator n March-April 2004

Photo :

process was completed pretty much in the same manner, with hand sketches, verbal exchanges, and trial and error samples. From the beginning, the fabricator, Jason Pidcock, was involved in the process. Ideas were passed back and forth among the client, the salesman, and Jason. Jason would work on hand sketches at home in the evening, presenting new ideas the next day. The ideas would be passed on to the client, who was continuing to look at options. In hind site I can say that I’m glad all the changes and modifications were done by hand sketches because erasers are cheap and the rapid changes in details would have added a lot of gray hairs to members of our drafting department. You would think that when the final design had been determined we would have breathed a sigh of relief and looked forward to the actual fabrication. I think externally we did, but internally we were still churning. You know that knot you get in the pit of your stomach when you are ready to begin certain projects? We experienced that. We were anxious to get started yet hesitant because we hadn’t yet heard the “fat lady sing.” Because of the uniqueness of the design we determined the gates should be built simultaneously to accurately mirror the pattern. The two by two inch frames were built and erected on the outside of our building. Then the

to a matching but modified design for the fence. The client had asked for a “black finish blotched with streaks of gold.” After cleaning, priming, and giving the gate a “basic black” finish we were ready to hand brush the gold streaks. Knowing from experience that gold never looks the same to two people, and it is always easier to add than to take away, we kept the highlights to a minimum. At this point, the clients were happy. The gates were hung; we were happy, and it was almost business as usual. We looked back and realized we actually did have a lot of fun working on this project. We were amazed that it was completed without the benefit of detailed approved shop drawings. Instead it was totally created by talking with each other, by sharing rough hand sketches on napkins and yellow pieces of paper, and by applying talent laced with good imagination. I know that my employees, and especially myself, learned a lot from the fabrication of this gate: first, humor is absolutely necessary, teamwork is essential, and clear communication among all parties involved is a priority. We also learned that it’s necessary to continually educate our oldest clients as well as our new clients about our capabilities. And perhaps most of all, we learned we should never be afraid to tackle something new. Sometimes you just have to go with it. Ironically, several months after this project had been completed, installed, and paid for, the client and his wife wanted to know if we could change the center “fighting cocks” to match a “medallion” they had found and were using on their front door. Fortunately, we were able to accommodate their most recent desire, and that taught us that it may only be in opera that “the fat lady sings.” And by the way, we did hand brush on “more gold streaks” in the field.

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Job Profile

Metals shop makes stupendous spiders Metalsmith Richard Prazen fashions two spiders and a fly for a theme park ride.


left: The menacing Black Widow spider hisses and drools at the lined up riders. The spider is mounted on two concretebases,highenoughto preventchildrenfromclimbing up its legs. Patrons line up for the ride between and in front of the spider’s legs. Legs are attached to a circular metal ring that becomes the support for the body. Fangs are welded onto the head.

If Mother Nature had designed a spider like metalworker Richard Prazen’s we might all be as extinct as the dinosaur. There was good reason for Prazen to become an almost instant arachnid expert. He and his associates at Pioneer Manufacturing and Blacksmiths Inc. of West Valley, UT, designed and created a fearful 14-foot high, 27-foot diameter, Black Widow spider weighing 2,200 pounds. It’s so big Prazen can drive his truck beneath it and not tickle a single hair of its eight jointed legs. Why attempt what nature never meant to be? It’s all in a days work—rather six weeks of work. Prazen accepted the challenge of the city’s Lagoon Theme Park to create the huge, menacing, hungry looking spider as the entry to the park’s new three million dollar roller coaster. The spider coaster ride is designed to make circles, twists, and turns much as a spider would as it spins its web. “Fortunately, we 60

didn’t have to create the roller coaster but we did have to spin the web,” said Prazen, a mild mannered, husky blacksmith, who wouldn’t hurt a fly. “We did have to study the shape of the Black Widow spider, how it moves, the length of its legs, and proportions of head to the body and the body to the legs,” Prazen says. The $50,000 sculpture’s stylized spider head has two sharp looking fangs and anger in its eyes. Creating and assembling parts

The Lagoon’s art director had envisioned what the spider should look like. Using the conceptual drawings, Prazen’s engineers designed the piece so it could be broken down, powder coated, transported, and then reassembled at the park. The team of Pioneer’s artisans began assembling the legs from 3-inch pipe. Then at each joint a larger size pipe was used, 4-inch, then 5-inch pipe for the middle and upper segments. Prazen relied on a Utah glassmaker, Jenkyn Powell, to help make the threatening, flaring eyes. Powell created the eyes with a light

For your information


By Dona Z. Meilach                                                          

Member: Pioneer Mfg. and Blacksmiths Inc., West Valley City, UT. Outsourced work: The powdercoating, liquid coating, and epoxy fiberglass work was done by Walt, Ray, and Jo Bloomfield of Powder-works. Utah Glassmaker Jenkyn Powell helped make the eyes and belly. Project: Two spiders and a web for Lagoon Theme Park. About the author: Dona Z. Meilach writes frequently about the metals industry. She is the author of Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork, The Contemporary Blacksmith, and more.

Fabricator n March-April 2004

set beneath so they would light up. A glass belly that would light up was also made. The body, made of Epoxy resin like that used for airplanes, was reinforced with steel and expanding foam. Two 30-inch hemispheres were fabricated and assembled to make the head. It was modified and stylized to look ravenous. The teeth-like fangs were forged. Creating additional embellishments was irresistible, Prazen said. “We wanted hissing noises and drool. We put a speaker in the mouth that made hissing noises every 20 seconds. That was generated by an air tank in the belly controlled by a solenoid with a timer,” Prazen explained. “For the drool, we put a water line in the head that carries water to the two fangs. The kids in line for the ride love to pass under it in the summer to cool off.” It was almost like an assembly line once all the parts were drawn and created, said Prazen. At a careful pace of one section at a time, each leg was formed with the 3-inch pipe for the longest segments and then graduated in length with heavier pipes for each segment as necessary. “Our studies revealed that the spider’s front legs are the longest, the back legs are the next longest, and the middle four legs are the shortest,” said Prazen. “There were additional considerations besides the size and realistic look to the piece,” said Prazen. “Designing it to be broken down was essential so it could be powdercoated, transported, and reassembled at the park. It had to withstand 100 mile per hour winds, rain, and extreme weather conditions in that part of Utah.” Prazen’s team was experienced in big projects, but this Black Widow could have attacked many of the horse sculptures that Prazen often fashioned. This spider isn’t so eeensy-weensy and will never crawl up a water spout. During construction, the body was suspended from the roof and the legs were fabricated to the necessary lengths. When the body was dropped onto the legs, its weight added the necessary strength and stability to the piece. The roundness of the body provided the aerodynamics to thwart March-April 2004 n Fabricator

heavy winds. Fortunately, Prazen’s shop was large enough to accommodate this aberration of nature. On delivery day, it was disassembled, transported to the amusement park, and then reassembled at the entrance to the roller coaster ride. People had to walk through or around the legs to enter the ride’s ramp. There were no sightings of people overcome by arachnophobia, and Lagoon Park’s president, David Freed, was ecstatic. Prazen’s team of artisans and welders did such

Two 30-inch hemispheres were fabricated to make the head.

For Positioning Only


The main spider is 14-foot high, 27 feet around, and weighs 2,200 pounds

Richard Prazen with the baby Black Widow spider. It stands 8-feet high, is 13 feet around, and weighs 800 pounds.

The fly is 2-feet high, 5-feet long, and 100 pounds.

a fabulous job, Freed soon ordered another smaller spider to be installed within the ride.

2-feet high, 5-feet long, and weighs 100 pounds. It’s not going anywhere with baby spider keeping its eye on it and while mother spider keeps tabs on everything.

climb up its legs.” It had to have a finish that would be weather resistant and still be consistent with the spider’s coloration. Prazen settled on a powdercoat. The spiders’ finish is black with a blue pearl essence that sparkles in the sun. The wire and mesh fly has a glittery green powder coat.

Making baby spider

This baby black widow spider is a mere 8-feet high, 13-feet diameter, and weighs 800 pounds. Not a small cuddly child’s toy by any stretch of the imagination. “We had to use a crane to position it in the center of the ride poised as though it would attack the riders coming down the first drop. But the designers wanted more. So we spun a web of metal around the spider connected to uprights from the ride.” Nor was that the end of the job. “Baby” spider had to have something in its web. So Josh Prazen, Richard’s son, created a fly from metal with mesh wings and six jointed legs. It is


Other entanglements

In addition to the engineering, there were other factors that had to be addressed, emphasized Prazen. “First, our shop was already producing to capacity, so the spider was an afterhour project accomplished mostly in the evenings,” Prazen said. “We thought of it as ‘playing with toys after work.’ There were also liability considerations that we worked out with the park’s engineers. For example, a cement base was built for the installation that would lift the spider high enough so children wouldn’t be tempted to

How the spider ride works

How did the public react to the spider? With not nearly as much fright as when they take the ride itself. A first of its kind in North America, this spinning coaster propels riders to a new extreme. Four passengers are in each car: two facing forward and two facing back. The car remains in this locked position as it descends an initial drop and comes face to face with baby spider. As the car ascends the first hill it then unlocks, allowing free horizontal spin, up to 20 rotations per minute depending on weight and gravity! With unique track configurations, including an 82-degree embankment called the Immelmann, a stretch of slalom track, and a 360-degree carousel turn, riders are given a screech producing unique, exciting experience. It all begins with a walk through the legs of an unlikely drooling, hissing, giant steel Black Widow spider created with the artistry, brain, and brawn of the dedicated team of blacksmiths at Pioneer Mfg. and Blacksmiths Inc.

Fabricator n March-April 2004

Biz Side

FISHING FOR BUSINESS It’s not big enough...

But we need it!


What you’ll learn!

n If you favor mass mailings and fear the phone, all you’re going to catch is debris and maybe a minnow or two. Consultant and author Kim DeMotte says you need to adjust your fishing line and get back to the basics of selling.



The SS Fa

How do you look for new business? If you’re like many companies, you buy a massive mailing list, send out an expensive, glossy, four-color brochure, prop your feet on the desk, and wait for the barrage of phone calls. Or, if you’re feeling high-tech, you mass email a Web newsletter and wait for the leads to pour into your website. Either way, you’re probably not too thrilled with the results. That’s because you’re trying to fish for leads with a net whose mesh is just too small, and your passive, non-discriminating approach is inherently flawed. Think about what happens when you literally fish this way. You get old tires, rusty cans, and maybe a few fish of varying size and quality mixed in with the debris. Then you feel compelled to keep the fish you scooped up, whether or not they’re really the kind you wanted. The same thing happens when you drag a small-meshed net through the marketplace. It’s just not a good method for finding appropriate leads. What you really need is no-nonsense, straight-forward, phone-based prospecting. There are two reasons salespeople avoid honest conversations with potential March-April 2004 n Fabricator

clients. First, it’s hard work. Waiting for people to call you is a lot easier than calling them. Calling the people you already know is more comfortable. The second and probably most pervasive reason is fear; they’re afraid of hearing the n-word: no. Many companies build a culture around avoiding rejection. The irony is that no is not a four-letter word; it’s a powerful, time-saving, profit-generating business tool. When companies realize this truth, they invariably switch their small-meshed net for a custom-designed one and start putting themselves in front of potential clients. Then they find they don’t catch just any fish that happens to swim by at the right time. Minnows and small fish actually pass right through the mesh, conserving time and valuable resources. The fish caught in the appropriate mesh will be big, fat, profitable ones. So how can you get rid of your anything goes net and start catching fish that are actually good for your business? Explore the psychology of why you fear hearing or saying “no.” First things first. Before you can start reshaping the culture of your company, you need to understand how it has reached its current modus operandi. If you or your sales team (or whoever is in charge of seeking new business) have designed a system of 63


By Kim DeMotte

For your information

About the Author: Kim DeMotte is the founder and managing partner of Power of NO™, a St. Louisbased firm specializing in improving corporate sales and management effectiveness. He works with companies developing strategies for saying “NO” when and where it is appropriate. Contact: DeMotte, Ph: (877) 245-8250; Web: www.

About the Book: The Positive Power of NO: how that little word you love to hate can make or break your business, written by Kim DeMotte. Published 2003, Facts on Demand Press, ISBN: 1-889150-401 Cost: $17.95; To order, call: (800) 929-3811.

“Being prepared to hear no is not enough. You also must be able to

say it to prospects that aren’t right for you.” no avoidance, you need to delve into the reasons why this is the case. Do you take no as a personal rejection, a value judgment on who you are as a human being? Are you afraid that business is so scarce that you can’t tell a potential client no? Such soulsearching can help you reject faulty psychological assumptions and more clearly define what strengths you have and which markets you’re really suited

to serve. Pick up the phone

If your company is sending brochures to hundreds or thousands of names on a broadly general mailing list and then passively waiting for calls, you’re probably wasting a lot of money on printing and postage. But more to the point, you’re wasting time and energy. Your sales force needs to

bite the bullet, get on the phone, and have real conversations with potential clients. Think of it as the business version of the famous Nike “Just do it” slogan. These conversations need to be honest, in-depth, and aimed at quickly getting at the truth about whether the prospect needs your products or services. Either someone needs what you’re selling or they don’t. Period. Trying to manipulate prospects into saying yes or convince them that they need you when they really don’t is terribly inefficient. If you’re destined to hear a no, get it fast and move on. Define your company’s “red ring”

Being prepared to hear no is not enough. You also must be able to say it to prospects that aren’t right for you. (You can’t be everything to everyone, nor should you try.) Set limits. Like an archer’s target, the yellow bull’s eye in the center represents those customers to whom you say yes. What’s more critical, however, is the red ring encircling your bull’s eye. It represents no. In an ideal target, the red line is clearly defined and sharply delineated. It should not be paperthin, like an “Anything Goes Target,” and it should bleed into the bull’s eye like “Big Fuzzy Target.” On the other end of the spectrum, the line shouldn’t be overly thick, surrounding a pinpoint of yellow, such as the “Anal Target.” The Positive Power of NO details how to set the limits that make up your Ideal Target, but understanding the necessity for doing so is the first and most important step. Disqualifying prospects

Don’t qualify prospects; DISqualify them. Prospecting is sifting; it is the process of sorting out what is useful or valuable. It’s ironic that we often hear the term “qualify” associated with prospecting. A person prospecting cannot qualify anyone or any company, any more than you can force a minnow to become a fullygrown rainbow trout. Sales managers do their sales process a gross injustice when they implore their charges to qualify prospects. In its zeal to do so, the sales force may ask such questions as, “Do you think you will ever, ever, need our widgets?” Then the prospect 64

Fabricator n March-April 2004

decides there is just no cost in saying maybe, or even yes. And the salesperson’s heart grows lighter as he drives back to the office. “YES!” he tells himself. “I’ve got one!” You can avoid this scenario by having a filtering process based on a sharply-defined target. A prospect is either a bull’s eye or she’s not a bull’s eye. The salesperson hasn’t qualified a prospect; he’s failed to disqualify her! See the difference? Logical and emotional

Logical qualification is a measurement of how much you or your company will have to bend (expand your bull’s eye) in order to do business with this prospect. It involves questions like, “Do you ever buy widgets? Any plans to ever buy widgets?” Emotional qualification is a measurement of how far your prospect has to bend (expand his bull’s eye) in order to do business with you. Perhaps he’s satisfied with his current source, or he buys from his brother-in-law, or he just doesn’t like you. If prospects don’t have LQ and EQ ratings within your present numbers, they are disqualified. Forget them and move on. When you find prospects who fail to disqualify themselves on both scales, voila! These are the ones you are looking for! These are the ones worth investing your sales resources in. No one is saying that putting yourself in front of customers, and more to the point, turning down the ones who are wrong for you will be easy. It won’t. But in a cynical sort of way, “phone fear” could turn out to be your biggest advantage. It’s a safe guess that most of your competitors are still relying on more passive forms of prospecting. When you resolve to take the more courageous route, you’re already a step ahead of them. By immediately establishing an open dialogue with prospects and disqualifying those who aren’t right for you, your team frees up its time and energy to concentrate on the ones who will really benefit your company. Let your competitors have the minnows. After all, you now have bigger fish to fry.

March-April 2004 n Fabricator



Biz Side

Fighting the identity thieves Not without a fight!

What you’ll learn!

n More than 750,000 people fall victim to identity theft each year. Unfortunately, small business owners make easy targets. Find out how to protect yourself and what to do if you discover you’ve been duped. By William J. Lynott The identity thieves are looking for you. They love small business owners because they make such profitable victims. If they catch up with you, they can destroy your financial life, even your business. Like all predators, identity thieves stalk their targets, strike without warning, and then disappear into the night with their bounty. Their sneak attacks produce delayed reactions. It may be months, even years before their victims become aware of their plight. Then, the painful road to financial recovery can take many more months or years to travel. The end result is often a financial and emotional catastrophe. Identity thieves would like to make you their next victim, and national statistics suggest that they have a good chance of doing so. According to the latest government figures, these criminals now strike 750,000 victims each year, and that number is growing fast.

How identity theft works

Unfortunately, identity theft is an easy crime 66

to commit. Using personal information about you, the thief assumes your identity, obtains false ID, and sets out to purchase huge amounts of merchandise in the name of you or your business. It wasn’t you who bought all those products and services—tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars worth—but now it’s up to you to prove that. And that job often turns out to be far more difficult than you could ever imagine. Carl Williams of Trenton, NJ says that the identity thieves hit his elderly aunt in Philadelphia. She’s not sure how it happened, but she remembers receiving a call from a man who claimed to be updating the bank’s records. She thinks she may have given him her Social Security number. If that happened, it was a major mistake. No legitimate bank or firm of any kind is going to ask you to provide that kind of personal information over the phone. Once an identity thief has your Social Security number, you can count on some big trouble. Mr. Williams says his aunt has been confused and frightened by the bills she’s

For your information


S S oci Nu ecu al m rity be r

Small business owners are a favorite target of electronic thieves who are after your credit and everything else.

Problem: The growing threat of identity theft. Solution: Protect yourself, especially your Social Security number. Never give it out unless you initiate the call to a legitimate bank or firm. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your purse or wallet, and carefully dispose of all mail, letters, etc, that contain the number. Implication: It may already be too late. If you discover someone has stolen your identity and unlawfully purchased items or taken out loans or credit cards in your name, file a police report. Then attach it to the letters you’ll need to send to banks and credit card issuers to clear your identity. About the author: William J. Lynott is a freelance business writer for the manufacturing and construction industry.

Fabricator n March-April 2004

been receiving. She’s housebound and doesn’t even have a credit card of her own. Did you buy a jeep?

John T. Stevens, Jr. provides another example of the devastation wreaked by identity thieves. Stevens was at his Maryland home on a day he remembers well. The phone rang. When he picked it up, his nightmare began. The call was from an investigator for

NationsBank asking why Stevens, a retired Air Force colonel and university physicist, was “delinquent” on payments for a $27,000 Jeep Cherokee, bought in Dallas a year earlier. “I don’t have a Jeep Cherokee,” Stevens protested. “And I haven’t set foot in Texas in over 30 years.” Maybe so, but his name was on the contract, and so was his Social Security number. Before long, Stevens and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, learned that someone

If you find that you are a victim of

and report that your identity has

identity theft, you can still protect yourself. Here are five things you should do: n If you learn that your identity has been stolen, it’s important that you act quickly. Start by calling the police and asking for a crime report. You’ll need that to attach to letters you’ll send to banks and credit card issuers. n File a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline by telephone: toll-free 1-877438-4338, or by mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. For online help, log on to n Contact the fraud departments of one of the three major credit bureaus

been stolen. (It’s no longer necessary to call all three). Ask that a “fraud alert” be placed on your file and that no new credit be granted without your approval. n For any accounts that have been fraudulently accessed or opened, contact the security departments of the appropriate creditors or financial institutions. Close these accounts. Put passwords (not your mother’s maiden name) on any new accounts you open. n You may want to run a background check on yourself, since crimes committed in your name will wreak havoc on your credit standing. You can run a check on yourself at for $40.

Tips for identity theft victims


had bought four more cars and other items worth more than $113,000, in their names. Their excellent credit had been destroyed. “After a lifetime of integrity,” says Stevens, “all of a sudden I was being essentially accused of embezzlement and treated like a deadbeat.” It took three years of paper work and $6,000 in legal fees for Stevens to clear up the mess. In the meantime, he was denied a loan to build a vacation home, harassed by debt collectors, and forced to pay cash for everything he bought. The crowning blow came when their home was put under surveillance by investigators looking for the missing Jeep. Other identity theft victims have had their drivers’ licenses suspended, been turned down for jobs, even jailed for offenses committed by total strangers. Uncovering the crime

How do victims first learn that their identities have been stolen? It varies, of course, but the FTC reports that many people don’t discover their plight for more than a year—some for as long as five years. Aileen Gallagher of New York City will never forget how she found out. “In January 2001, a woman from Chase bank called and asked if I had been to Canada recently. When I said no, she replied, ‘Well, your credit card has.’” Jeanine Guilfoyle of Bergen County became a victim of identity theft nearly two years ago. She says she will never forget the experience. “I received letters from several department stores. When I opened them, I found new credit cards with my name on them that I had not applied for. “When I called to cancel the cards, I was told they had already been maxed out. Apparently the thieves applied for ‘instant credit’ at the stores and immediately spent the limit. This happened at Sears, Victoria’s Secret, Bloomingdale’s, J. Crew, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s. They also opened two cell phone accounts in my name.” Ms. Guilfoyle says that she is still paying the price for her identity theft. “I had to call each of the stores’ credit departments in an effort to straighten things out. I had to call all the credit Fabricator n March-April 2004

bureaus, get a new driver’s license, and contact Social Security. It took months of paperwork, phone calls and correspondence. I finally got things straightened out, but not before I was stressed to the point that I broke down.” How can this happen? How can a criminal you have probably never met assume your identity and cause you so much grief? The magic key that allows a thief to open the door to your life is probably somewhere in your purse or wallet right now; it’s your Social Security number. Of all the tools coveted by identity thieves—driver’s licenses, credit cards, etc.—your Social Security number is the most sought after prize. It’s astonishingly simple to steal a person’s identity starting with nothing more than a Social Security number. With that information, the thief can easily apply for and obtain credit cards and driver’s licenses. From there, the rest is easy. Six ways to protect yourself

So what can you do to protect yourself? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers these tips: Give your Social Security number only when legally necessary.

March 3–6, 2004

Your Social Security number may be listed in many places; even some unexpected places! Make sure you take steps to protect it. Since the federal government issued the first Social Security numbers in 1936, they have become the most official form of personal identification in America. Here are a few of the places where your number might appear: 2 Driver’s license 2 Fishing license 2 Bank and brokerage state- ments 2 Medicare cards 2 Health insurance cards 2 Payroll checks 2 Employee ID cards 2 Student ID cards 2 Medical records

Insist on using other types of identifiers whenever possible. Some experts go further, suggesting that you refuse to divulge your Social Security number to anyone other than government agencies and companies such as banks, brokerage houses, and tip employers. (These companies are required to report their dealings with you to the federal government and must have your Social Security number in order to comply.)


Be picky when giving out your personal information

Before revealing personal identifying information, find out how it will be used and if it will be shared with others. Ask if you have a choice about the use of your information: can you choose to have it kept confidential?

A special thanks to our METALfab 2004 sponsors Sacramento, CA

Who has your S.S. number?

Pay close attention

Lawler Foundry Corp. R & B Wagner Inc. J.G. Braun Co. Julius Blum & Co. Inc. Carell Corp. Colorado Waterjet Co. Decorative Iron D.J.A. Imports Ltd. Eagle Bending Machines Inc. Innovative Hinge Products Inc. Lavi Industries Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Regency Railings Indiana Gratings Inc. Ohio Gratings Inc. Rogers Mfg. Inc. Yavus Ferforje A.S.

March-April 2004 n Fabricator




to your billing cycles

Follow up with creditors if bills do not arrive on time.

Keep your wallet thin

Minimize the identification information and the number of credit cards tip you carry to what you actually need. If your I.D. or credit cards are lost or stolen, notify the creditors by phone immediately, and call the credit bureaus to ask that a “fraud alert” be placed in tip your file.



Regularly monitor your credit report

Order a copy of your credit report from the three credit reporting agencies every year. Make sure it’s accurate and includes only those activities you’ve authorized. Report any problems you find. Be careful what you do with tip your trash


Keep items with personal information in a safe place; tear them up or shred them when you don’t need them anymore. Make sure charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards, and credit offers you get in the mail


are disposed of appropriately. Some fraud experts state flatly: “Never carry your SSN in your wallet or purse. Be careful how you dispose of documents that contain your SSN; shred them, if possible.” Crime experts agree that it’s difficult to stop a professional identity thief who singles you out as a victim. The most you can do is make it more difficult by following common sense in protecting personal information.


Be proactive

Here’s a little trick that will make life a bit easier if you ever find yourself in that position: Take everything that contains personal information out of your wallet or purse now—driver’s license, credit cards, everything. Then make a photocopy of both sides of each item. Put the copies away in a secure place so you’ll have phone numbers and addresses of the people and agencies that you need to notify in the event of trouble. Modern technology, the Internet, and our ability to gather and store huge amounts of personal data on individuals have all contributed to the evolution of identity theft. Several people interviewed for this article report receiving e-mails designed to look like messages from legitimate companies and government agencies. Using a ploy such as “updating our records,” e-mail predators usually ask for

sensitive information such as Social Security number, credit card numbers, even your mother’s maiden name. You should remember that no legitimate company or agency will ever ask you to send that kind of personal information to them in an e-mail. If you respond to such a request, you almost surely will be targeted as an identity theft victim. The best solution: hit the delete key or forward the message to the Federal Trade Commission. Take the most important step needed to keep you out of trouble. Get in the habit of protecting your Social Security number and other personal information as if your financial life depends on it. It does.

Threemajorcredit bureaus Equifax P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Order credit report: (800) 6851111 Report fraud: (800) 525-6285 Experian P.O. Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013 Order credit report: (888) 3973742 Report fraud: (888) 397-3742 Trans Union 760 Sproul Road P.O. Box 390 Springfield, PA 19064-0390 Order credit report: (800) 9168800 Report fraud: (800) 680-7289


Fabricator n March-April 2004

Biz Side

Tax Time Tips

Uncle Sam wants YOU to stimulate the economy

n Before

doing your taxes, make sure you know about the various tax cuts available. Aimed at helping the economy, some of the cuts can provide a substantial tax break. By Mark E. Battersby The year 2003 was more one of promises

made than promises kept, at least insofar as our lawmakers were concerned. Although a major tax cut bill was passed only last spring, in the fall of 2003, Congress found itself debating further change to provisions in the U.S. tax law that the World Trade Organization labeled as an illegal trade subsidy. Facing $4 billion in sanctions on U.S. exports to the European Union if the tax break was not repealed, Congress was also pressing hard for more aid to U.S. manufacturers—or at least for U.S. corporations involved in manufacturing. Fortunately, the proposed changes to

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

our tax rules are not limited to manufacturers. Taxes on small businesses would also be cut, beginning in 2004—if the proposals become a reality. In fact, more than 30 percent of all businesses would, at least according to lawmakers, see their top tax rate fall from 35 percent to 32 percent. But what about those ornamental and miscellaneous metal fabricating businesses that are not strictly manufacturers or whose profits rarely reach the levels affected by the top corporate tax rate? The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA), signed into law early in 2003 contained, as mentioned, a number of tax breaks that many small business owners—including many metal fabricators­— ­­ are already benefit71

Two 2003 Tax Changes 4 Equipment expensing write-off has been doubled from $200,000 to $400,000. 4 “Bonus” depreciation allowance is up to 50 percent, from 30 percent, for the cost of qualifying business property.

For your information


What you’ll learn!

About the author: Mark E. Battersby is a longtime freelance writer for Fabricator. He is also a columnist, lecturer, and author of five books. Mr. Battersby resides in Ardmore, PA., a suburb of Philadelphia.

ing from. 2003 tax law changes

a few metal fabricating operations. The owners and managers of a few small fabricating businesses have discovered that they can achieve the maximum benefit by using Section 179 expensing first on purchases of used assets and assets with lengthier depreciable lives, while saving the bonus depreciation for any qualifying purchases not picked up by Section 179. While the so-called “bonus” depreciation, both the former, yet-to-expire 30-percent as well as the more recent 50-percent bonus depreciation allowance, is generally limited to property with a recovery period of less than 20 years, a notable exception exists. Tenants who fix up, remodel or adapt their business premises to better suit their operations have long been able to deduct those expenses. Under the “bonus” depreciation rules, however, a special exception exists for so-called “leasehold improvements.” Thus, despite their longer recovery periods, 30- or 50-percent of expenditures made for “leasehold improvements” will qualify just as will shorter-lived equipment and software.

Although the recent law changes were focused largely on tax breaks for individuals, last spring’s tax law changes did include several provisions that were specifically designed to benefit small businesses such as fabricators. Under those new—but temporary rules—every metal fabricating operation, whether incorporated or operating as a pass-through business entity such as a partnership or even as a sole proprietorship, will benefit. Many metal fabricators, for instance, are already benefiting from a significant increase in the amount allowed to be expensed or immediately writtenoff under the Section 179 expensing election from the present $25,000 level to $100,000. The doubling of the amount of equipment purchases, from $200,000 to $400,000 eligible to be expensed under Section 179, before a phase-out occurs, will help although many metal fabricating businesses often acquire far more than that amount of equipment in the course of a tax year. An increase in the firstTax Break year “bonus” deprecia4 Compensation will tion allowance created continue to be taxed as only a couple of years high as 35 percent, while ago, from 30 percent to dividends will now only be taxed at 15 percent. 50 percent of the cost of qualifying business property, is also helping

Extracting profits economically

In another area, many metal fabricators and other owners of closely held small businesses have traditionally tried to extract funds in the

form of compensation, rather than as dividends. They now have a new option to plan for: compensation will still receive a corporate-level tax deduction while dividends will not. Compensation, however, will continue to be taxed at rates as high as 35 percent at the individual level while dividends will now be taxed only at 15 percent. Under the new tax law, dividends received by an individual shareholder from either domestic or qualified foreign corporations generally are taxed at the same rates that apply to capital gains. According to our tax rules, the term “dividend” applies to any distribution made by any corporation to its shareholders out of earnings and profits—either accumulated over its years in business or its profits for the current tax year. Many of the distributions made by an incorporated ornamental metal fabricating business fall within that definition. This unique provision reduces the top tax rate on both dividends and capital gains. Under this legislation, the top tax rate on both dividends and capital gains will fall to 15 percent this year. Any fabricator who is considered to be a low-income taxpayer will pay five percent, falling to zero in 2008. Barring further congressional action, the current higher rates will return in 2009. Of course, distributions of cash or property by a metal fabricating business operating as an S corporation will still be taxed according to a priority system that depends upon whether the S corporation has earnings and profits. Since the S corporation is, in essence, a corporation that has chosen to be treated as a partnership, it passes all of its income, deductions, credits, profits, and losses to its shareholders. Thus, an S corporation can have no earnings and profits unless these are attributable to tax years when the business was not an S corporation (or to S corporation years beginning before 1983). An S corporation may also succeed to the earnings and profits of an acquired or merged corporation. Alternative minimum tax

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) rules were designed to ensure that at 72

Fabricator n March-April 2004

least a minimum amount of tax is paid by both high-income and corporate taxpayers who reap large tax savings by making generous use of certain tax deductions and exemptions. Without the AMT, some of these taxpayers might be able to escape income taxation entirely. In essence, the AMT functions as a recapture mechanism, reclaiming some of the tax breaks primarily available to high-income taxpayers and represents an attempt by our lawmakers to maintain tax equality. Unfortunately, more and more taxpayers each year find themselves elevated to the ranks of “high-income” taxpayers. Several years ago, the Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act of 2001 increased the amounts that are exempt from the AMT for individuals for the years 2001 through 2004. The new 2003 tax law increases those exemption amounts, raising the $49,000 exemption amount for married individuals filing a joint return to $58,000 for 2003 and 2004. The former $35,750 exemption for single taxpayers has been temporarily increased to $40,250 for tax years 2003 and 2004. Tax planning strategy

One of the more common tax planning strategies employed by many fabricators often involves finding some method other than compensation to reduce the incorporated metalworking operation’s tax bill–-retirement plan contributions and interest deductions are two options frequently considered. With the new tax rules in place, this simple strategy, combined with a return to paying dividends to shareholders of the fabricating business might offer the best of both worlds. And, yes, such strategies are legal. Unfortunately, the new 15-percent tax rate cap on dividends and capital gains will benefit only those with incorporated—and profitable— ornamental metal fabricating operations.

tax bracket and the measures that will costs of removing certain architectural prevent more taxpayers from paying and transportation barriers for handithe dreaded alternative minimum tax. capped or elderly persons in the year Many of the tax breaks earmarked for paid or incurred instead of capitalizing individuals will significantly impact and depreciating such costs. on the personal tax bills of fabricators Today is the best time for every and metalworking business owners as ornamental metal fabrication operawell. tion to use the tax rules, especially last On the business front, as mentioned, spring’s JGTRRA changes, to stimutwo new, temporary tax breaks were late both the economy as well as that specifically designed by our lawmakof their businesses. Remember, howers to encourage investment in small, ever, that further changes to our tax closely-held businesses. Small busilaws are almost inevitable in the 2004 nesses can expense up to $100,000 in election year. Every metal fabricating new equipment investments through business owner or manager should 2005, as well as depreciate more of remain alert to tax law changes that their assets through 2004. could be included as part of any of the However, in order to qualify for the legislation soon to be considered. new 50-percent additional depreciation deduction, the property must be acquired after May 5, 2003, and before January 1, 2005. Naturally, property for which the 50-percent additional first-year depreciation deduction is claimed is not eligible for the 30-percent additional first-year Tax Breaks depreciation deduction. 4 Find ways other than Obviously, no fabricacompensation to lower the company’s tax bill, tor should overlook or such as retirement plan neglect any of the breaks contributions, interest that existed in the tax deductions, and paying rules prior to JGTRRA. dividends. 4 Modifying your business For example, among for Americans With Disthe current deductions abilities Act? You can still available are such things deduct up to $15,000. as barrier removal costs. Companies may deduct up to $15,000 of the

Enjoy new rules while you can

Among last year’s tax cuts that every fabricator and small business owner can now benefit from are a reduced tax rate for married couples, the expanded availability of the lowest March-April 2004 n Fabricator


NE NOMMA Education Foundation F

In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

The NEF Page provides the latest news and activities of the NOMMA Education Foundation.


NEF Intro

Newest Video Release

Now Available

NEF Provides Quality Education Resources For the Industry

The NOMMA Education Foundation is pleased to offer valuable educational resources to help you, your staff, and your business. Available from NEF are books, CD’s, sales aides, and videos specifically targeted to the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. We are particularly excited about our continually growing series of NEF Education Videos, which are ideal for training both new and existing employees. Each video is made by a professional production crew. Details are well lit and the sound is clear, making the videos easy to follow. For a detailed listing, images, and prices, visit www. nomma. org. From the website, you can also download a catalog and

“Curved Stair Fabrication”

The NOMMA Education Foundation is proud to introduce its latest educational video, which was unveiled at METALfab 2004. Ideal for training employees, the video covers the importance of proper site inspection and field dimensioning. The presentation also covers detailing and making adjustments, stringer layout, floor and pan layout, stringer rolling/forming, shop assembly and fixtures, and bracing for transport. Presenter: Chris

top: Chris reviews techniques with viewers while resting on a completed stair.

Laying out a curved stair system.


Support NEF today with your tax-deductible gift.... q I will help the NOMMA Education Foundation deliver quality education programs and services for the industry. Name:__________________________________________________________________________ Company:_______________________________________________________________________ Address:________________________________________________________________________ City:_________________________________State:___________Zip:________________________ Phone:_______________________ Fax:____________________ E-mail:_____________________

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If paying by check or credit card please include this form, along with remittance, and send to:

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Fabricator n March-April 2004

NE NOMMA Education Foundation F

In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

Business Resources Markup & Profit: A Contractor’s Guide At last, a book on how to figure the right markup for your company. Markup & Profit Guide to Advertising That Works! Learn about what it takes to have a continual flow of new and repeat business. Employee Manual A well-written and legal employee manual that can be adapted for your own use. Fast Track Proposal Writer Fast Track Proposal Writer will write detailed contracts for any construction job. Markup Calculator Software An easy-to-use computer program for determining markup. History & Design Books 1100 Decorative French Ironwork Designs Invaluable source of information for art historians, craftspeople, dealers, collectors, and preservationists. Art Nouveau Decorative Ironwork A full range of Art Nouveau ironwork, a turn-of-the-century art style that mimics nature. Colonial Ironwork in Old Philadelphia This tribute to Philadelphia’s ironwork features 182 black-andwhite photos and 41 drawings. Decorative Antique Ironwork This rare volume illustrates the history of European decorative ironwork from Roman times to the 19th century. Decorative French Ironwork Designs Over 1,500 handsome black-andwhite illustrations. Decorative Iron and Metalwork: Great Examples from English Sources This magnificent study of decorative English iron and metalwork provides a spirited introduction to the age-old craft.

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

For more detailed descriptions, images, pricing, and ordering, please visit the NOMMA website: From the website you can also download a free catalog.

Decorative Ironwork of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance Over 400 magnificent designs, from 12th to 17th centuries. English Ironwork of the XVIIth & XVIIIth Centuries One of the most brilliant phases in the history of English craftsmanship occurred during the 1600s and 1700s. Historic Ornaments & Designs Features 623 illustrations spanning many design traditions. Includes CD. Ornamental Designs from Architectural Sheet Metal A must for metalwork designers: over 1,000 late Victorian-era designs. Ornamental Ironwork Over 675 finely detailed illustrations, selected from rare turn-ofthe-century sources. A Pictorial Encyclopedia of Decorative Ironwork Over 450 black-and-white photographs, copyright-free, show ironwork masterpieces from all over Europe. Spanish Decorative Ironwork Over 300 outstanding illustrations depict ornate altar screens, doors, chandeliers, and more. Treasury of Ironwork Designs Superb examples of the ironworker’s art—469 elaborately wrought designs for gates, fences, etc. Wrought Iron and Its Decorative Use A superb treasury of decorative wrought iron. Wrought Iron in Architecture This exceptional volume documents the many uses of wrought iron in architecture. Education & Sales Aids

Glossary of Arch. Metal Terms for Stairs and Railings Provides 200+ standard definitions of industry terms. A Guide to the Development of the Iron­work­er’s Skills A 9-page guide on fabricating, tools, terms, and stair lay­out. Driveway Gates Brochure Four-page full-color, glossy brochure that highlights 15 drive­way gate designs. Guideline 1: Joint Finishes Vol­un­tary guide for weld joint finishes. Includes tubing, piping, and solid bar. Interior Railings Brochure This full-col­or brochure shows a wide spectrum of rail­ing de­signs available to home own­ers. Walkway Gates Brochure A pre­sen­ta­tion of 14 pedestrian gate designs. Code Comparison Guide Chart and reference section for the three model codes, plus ADA, and overview of code pro­cess. Corrosion Protection Of Ferrous Met­als This booklet covers paint sys­ tems, sur­face preparation, main­ te­nance, and reference sources. NEF Educational Video Series Curved Stair Fabrication Covers everything from field dimensioning to final installation. Straight Steel Stair Construction Takes you through the complete fabrication of a straight stair system. Garden Gates Follow all the steps for measuring, fabricating, and assembling a walkway gate.

Ideas in Ornamental Metal An “idea book” for showing customers.

Curved Stair Rail Fabrication Curved railings may be more complex, but this video makes it look easy.

NEF Ornamental Ironwork A 21-page bro­chure featuring sketches of practical or­na­men­tal metal applications.

Almost the Last Word In Finishes Learn how to apply over 12 different finishes using a variety of


chemicals and materials. Straight Stair Railing A client requests a straight rail for exterior steps. Now, the work begins. Past Convention Videos Special Finishes Begins by covering faux finishes, surface prep, and recommended books. Basics of Forging Learn the fun­da­men­tals of hot metal forging using a power hammer. Aluminum & Brass Forming Covers proper alloy selection, working with a pyramid roller, and understanding temperature ranges. Spiral Stairs Dem­on­stra­tion of spiral stair systems built both vertically and horizontally. Pipe Rail Fabrication Features short cuts, pitfalls, code issues, joint cleaning techniques, and installations. Forging Aluminum, Bronze, and Brass Forging alu­mi­num, brass, and bronze using a gas forge and torch. Practical Jig Making Jigs, cus­tom tooling and other tricks to make shop work more efficient. Installations Tips and tricks for organizing your truck and managing your crews. Forming Brass/Bronze Cap Rail Two noted fabricators lead a discussion on forming cap rail, using both hot and cold tech­niques. Stair Layout and Planning Spiral, circular, and railing stringers.

Nationwide Supplier Members Action Ornamental Iron 901-795-2200 Advanced Measuring Systems 888-289-9432 Allen Architectural Metals Inc. 800-204-3858 American Punch Co. 800-243-1492 American Stair Corp. 800-872-7824 Apollo Gate Operators 210-545-2900 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. 800-784-7444 Armstrong-Blum Mfg. Co. 800-472-9464 Arteferro Miami LLC 305-836-9232 Artezzi 800-718-6661 Atlas Metal Sales 800-662-0143 Aztec Castings Inc. 800-631-0018 Walid Al Baker Trading Est. 011-974-460-3303 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.R. Laurence Co. Inc. 800-421-6144 The Cable Connection 775-885-1443 California Tool & Die 626-969-1821 Carell Corp. 251-937-0947 Chamberlain Industries 800-282-6225 George Ciocher 201-861-3150 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 Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. 800-535-9842 Custom Ornamental Iron Works Ltd. 604-273-6435 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. 800-716-0888 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. 800-933-5993 DAC Industries Inc. 800-888-9768 Decorative Iron 888-380-9278 DécorCable Innovations 312-474-1100 DKS, DoorKing Systems 800-826-7493 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 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 The G-S Co. 410-284-9549 Gates and Controls 206-767-6224 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 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 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. 800-423-4494 Justin R.P.G Corp. 310-532-3441 King Architectural Metals 800-542-2379 76

As of February 20, 2004 Bold denotes new members.

Lavi Industries 800-624-6225 Lawler Foundry Corp. 800-624-9512 Lecky Metal Ornaments LLC 760-598-4118 Liberty Brass Turning Co. 800-345-5939 Mac Metals Inc. 800-631-9510 Marks U.S.A. 631-225-5400 Master-Halco 888-643-3623 Matthews International Corp. 412-571-5548 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool 800-467-2464 Frank Morrow Co. 800-556-7688 Multi Sales 562-803-3552 New Metals Inc. 888-639-6382 Ohio Gratings Inc. 800-321-9800 Omega Coating Corp. 888-386-6342 Orange Steel & Orn. Supply 305-805-6000 Overseas Supply Inc. 800-724-1018 Polished Metals Ltd. 908-688-1188 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 Robinson Iron Corp. 256-329-8486 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Prod. Co. 216-291-2303 Rogers Mfg. Inc. 940-325-7806 Sahinler Form Metal San. Ve Tic. 011-90-224-4700158 Scotchman Industries 605-859-2542 SEA USA Inc. 305-594-1151 SECO South 888-535-7326 Sharpe Products 800-879-4418 Signon USA 866-744-6661 Sparky Abrasives Co. 800-328-4560 Stairways Inc. 800-231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. 602-243-5245 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 Tennessee Fabricating Co. 800-258-4766 Texas Metal Industries 800-222-6033 Texas Stairs & Rails Inc. 281-987-2115 Transpacific Industrial Supply Co. 909-390-8885 Triebenbacher Bavarian Iron 800-522-4766 Triple-S Chemical Chemical Prod. 800-862-5958 Tri-State Shearing & Bending 718-485-2200 Tubo Decorado SA de CV 800-345-5939 Tubular Spec. Mfg. Inc. (TSM) 800-421-2961 Universal Entry Systems Inc. 800-837-4283 Universal Mfg. Co. Inc. 800-821-1414 Valley Bronze of Oregon 541-432-7551 West Tennessee Ornamental Door 901-346-0662 Wrought Iron Concepts 877-370-8000 Wrought Iron Handicrafts Inc. 800-456-7738 XCEL Distribution Inc. 909-392-0808 Yavuz Ferforje A.S. 011-90-258-2691664 *Join NOMMA 404-363-4009

Fabricator n March-April 2004

What’s Hot? Coming Events March–May 2004

Architectural Theory and Technique

April 6-8, 2004

AWS Welding Show 2004

The American Welding Society holds its annual welding show at McCormick Place, Lakeside Center Chicago, IL. The show features over 400 exhibitors and various education seminars on welding technologies. Contact: AWS, Ph: (800) 4439353; Web: April 16–June 27, 2004 Weekend seminars

Six different welding and sculpture classes with various themes will be held on select weekends from the middle of April to the end of June 2004 at Snow Farm The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, MA. Classes are taught by taught by Pat Bennett and Alison Safford. Contact: Snow Farm, Ph: (413) 268-3101; Web: April 9-11, May 7-9, June 11-13, and July 23–25, 2004 Blacksmithing Class

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

Biz Briefs 77 Coming Events 77 People 83 Products 86

New Members 90 Chapter Contacts 91

NAM’s coalition to boost U.S. manufacturing lands in D.C. At a recent meeting in Washington, D.C. proponents of the National Association of Manufacturing’s (NAM) Coalition for the Future of Manufacturing urged participants to consider innovative ways to strengthen the hurting U.S. manufacturing base. More than 200 manufacturers traveled to the nation’s capital for the Coalition Fly-In on Feb. 10, 2004. Attendees included various senators and state representatives. Presentations included such topics as Cost Pressures Dampening the U.S. Manufacturing Outlook; Offshore Manufacturing: A Paradigm for Decision Making; Public Policies to Strengthen Manufacturing Research and Innovation; and Manufacturing: Making America’s Future. Presentations called for out-of-the box thinking. Similar to the philosophy of the ornamental metals industry,

Leo Reddy, CEO and founder of

Photo: NAM

One-, three-, and four-day classes on theories and techniques of architecture led by various artists and notable architects at The Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America in New York, NY. Courses include Principles of the Classical Interior, Neoclassical French Interior, Perspective Drawing and Rendering, and Figure Drawing for architects. Contact: The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America, Ph: (212) 924-9686; Web: www.


NAM Executive Vice President Mike Baroody challenged each manufacturing company to hold a plant tour where lawmakers can see manufacturing first hand.

NACFAM, stressed the importance of quality and customization as ways to position the U.S. more competitively in the global market.

LincolnElectrichosts Secretary of Commerce The Lincoln Electric Co. recently hosted U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans. The secretary presented the Bush administration’s manufac- Donald Evans unveils Manufact-uring in turing report, Manufacturing America. in America to Lincoln employees and representatives from various Ohio-based manufactures. According to Lincoln, the secretary spoke of creating an even playing field for American exports in the worldwide market.

“I can understand painters painting themselves into corners, Joe, but I thought iron workers were smarter.” 77

What’s Hot n? Coming Events Veteran blacksmith Gordon Williams of Arizona leads a hands-on three-day class focused on beginning blacksmithing techniques at Bill Pieh Resource for Metalwork School in Camp Verde, AZ. Class size is limited to six students for more individual attention. All materials are provided. Contact: Amy Pieh, Pieh Tool Co., Ph: (888) 743-4866; Web: April 24 & 25, 2004

Blacksmith Jigs & Other Handy Tools

Ray Spiller leads a blacksmithing class at The Appalachian Center for Crafts (near Smithville, TN). The class takes a broad look at simple, shop-built tools. MetalContinued on page 79.


Online code resource from ICC There is now an online source for electronic codes from the International Code Council at Users can have access to the complete set of International Codes, coordinated state codes, and others. According to the lCC, eCode is an exact digital copy of the code available for purchase in book form. The codes are accessible through Adobe

Acrobat 6.0 Reader. Users can search through the complete code or standard using the advanced search feature, then copy and paste important sections or print out pages to use as examples, along with to a machine, users never many more options. need to access the IntereCodes are sold as a single user license for one net again. computer at a time. Once an eCode is downloaded

Hypertherm announces three-year warranty Hypertherm, a plasma arc cutting equipment and service provider, has just released a three-year warranty on their HyperthermÂŽ Powermax190c, Powermax380, and Power-

max600. The warranty extension applies to sales of these systems on or after January 1, 2002. Existing customers of those models will receive the extended coverage auto-

matically; no additional arrangements need to be made. For more info, contact: Hypertherm, Ph: (603)643-3441; Web:

Fabricator n March-April 2004

Anotheroptionfororderingmetalsupplies in small quantities Need another source for ordering supplies in small quantities? Metal Supermarkets, a franchise operation, may help. Metal Supermarkets specializes in meeting demands for small quantities of metal products because of its franchise design. To see if there is a Metal Supermarkets distributor near you, visit their website and go to their store finder. “With locations nationwide, Metal Supermarkets has positioned itself as the “convenience store” of the industry since the company sells virtually all types and forms of metals, custom cut to size, delivered fast at any time day or night,” says Andrew Arminin, Vice President of Franchise Sales. “Metal Supermarkets is able to provide individuals with many types of metal from sheet metal of any gauge to piping of any width. If local owners do not have the type or piece you need in stock, they will locate the metal to fill the order. Metal

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

Coming Events, cont. . . smiths who make hooks, scrolls, or staircases can make their work more accurate, fast, and profitable. Demonstrations include jigs for scrolls, collars, hooks, and hoops. Students will also learn about tools for bending, veining, and repoussé as well as fullering and tenoning. Intended for beginning-intermediate students. Contact: Ray Spiller, Ph: (615) 382-1464, E-mail:

May 17–20, 2004

Supermarkets allows companies to reduce their inventory costs by being able to provide any type of metal for maintenance.” To find out more about ordering supplies from Metal Supermarkets or about becoming a franchise, call (905) 459-0466, or visit: www.

ASTM meetings are open to all interested individuals. The following May meetings will be held in Salt Lake City, UT: May 17–20, 2004, ASTM Committee A01 on Steel, Stainless Steel, and Related Alloys. Contact: George Luciw, Ph: (610) 8329710; E-mail: May

ASTM Committee Meetings

Continued on page 80.


What’s Hot n? Coming Events, cont. . . 17–18, 2004, ASTM Committee A06 on Magnetic Properties. Contact: Nancy Morrissey, Ph: (610) 832-9736; E-mail: May 19 - 20, 2004, ASTM Committee A04 on Iron Castings. Contact: Diane Rehiel, Ph: (610) 832-9717; E-mail: drehiel@ May 16–18, 2004, ASTM Committee A05 on Metallic-Coated Iron and Steel Products. Contact: Kevin Shanahan, Ph: (610) 8329737; E-mail: July 7–11 Design & Build 2004

The Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America holds its semiannual national conference on the Campus of Eastern Ken-


Web Spotlight

New online resource allows users to design and order custom parts A new online service is available to members of the metals industry. Visitors to can design and order custom metal parts using eMachineShop’s free CAD software. The software gives users immediate feedback on the machinability of the design. By changing variables such as dimensions, materials, quantity, and turn around time, users can receive various pricing options. The software also tells users what kind of machine is necessary to create the custom part. According to eMachineShop president James Lewis, users can download a test and start using the software within five to 10 minutes. Custom parts can be ordered in quantities from one to a million. While eMachineShop does not promote having the fastest turn around times, it does offer competitive pricing

Users design custom parts using free online CAD software.

along with its many online resources. The website also offers tips on how to save money when designing and ordering custom parts. For more info, visit:

Fabricator n March-April 2004

Event spotlight

Coming Events

AbarbequeontheblufftohonorMetalMuseum’s 25 years Sunday, April 18, 2004 On Sunday, April 18, 2004 the National Ornamental Metal Museum turns 25. To commemorate its anniversary the Museum will host a special barbeque open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a blacksmith band composed of past Top Job winners with Tim Brogdon on acoustic guitar and John Medwedeff on violin. Museum staff metal artist Adam Hawk and possibly John Argroves of Tennessee Fabricating will play drums, according to Linda Raiteri, public relations contact at the Museum. During the event, the Museum will bless the opening of the new Lawler Foundry and honor the new landscaping work on the bluff—its terracing and planting of jasmine and holly. Also in celebration of the Museum’s 25th anniversary, director Jim Wal-

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

tucky University in Richmond, KY. Keynote speaker is Melvin Rose of Melvin Rose Industries. Other presenters include Albert Paley, Wendel Broussard, Mindy Garnder, Doug Wilson, and more. Contact: ABANA, Ph: (706) 3100323; E-mail: conference@; Web: Interested in volunteering? Contact: Bob Fredell, Ph: (763) 389-5119; E-mail:

lace curates a Mecca for Metalsmiths by the American Craft Council. The exhibition features the work of metal artists who have honed their skills while working at the Museum and runs through May 9, 2004. “Of the 26 employees who have been involved in studio operations over the years,” Museum Director Jim Wallace states, “twenty-five are currently earning their living in the metals field.” Michael Guthrie of Oden Marketing and Design has created a catalogue for the event and exhibition titled A Work in Progress: 25 years. It’s available for sale at the Museum’s gift shop. Contact: Linda Raiteri, National Ornamental Metal Museum, Ph: (901) 774-6380; Web:


We heard it online—Fabricators get deals on auctioned equipment

Recently on NOMMA’s ListServ, Tom Zuzik of Artistic Railings Inc., Garfield, NJ, shared his good luck in finding and buying quality, used equipment through auctions. “I do both online and onsite. If I see an auction that has more than one or two items I like, then I take the time to go. Otherwise, I will do a proxy bid,” explained Zuzik. “I fax the auctioneer with my max bid, and if no one bids over my max then it is mine.” Recently he purchased a 22 foot 1986 Volvo box truck with 185,000 miles for $650.00 in perfect working condition. “It passed inspection on the first shot with nothing more than adding two tires and new batteries, which cost more than the truck ($725),” Zuzik said. Zuzik also picked up a couple of two-ton jib cranes for $100 each, a Bridgeport milling machine for $300, a skid load of large Kee clamps for $75, and other


good deals. Zuzik spends about thirty minutes twice a week looking at information sent to him about up coming auctions. He finds out about current auctions by searching for “machinery auctions” and then looking in local newspapers for auctioneers with websites. “I have been put on mailing lists and e-mail lists,” Zuzik said, “and have built up a local library of auctioneers that I review.” Kim Boyer of Masterguard Ornamental Iron, Seattle, WA, commented about buying used equipment through auctions. “I’ve looked on eBay a couple of times for tools, but I don’t think it’s too good,” Boyer said. “Zuzik’s auction sites sound more specific and MUCH more reasonable cost-wise.” Greg Terrill of Division 5 Metalworks, Kalamazoo, MI, says he’s also made a few equipment purchases at auctions with good results. “I go into it

knowing that the equipment is not in brand new condition yet will probably get me through until I can purchase better in the future,” Terrill said. “Sometimes I pass on what seem to be great deals if I am not familiar with the particular type of equipment.” However, according to Terrill, buying auctioned equipment over the Internet can be more risky than buying in person. He shared a recent experience where an online bidder, viewing a photograph on the Internet got burned. The online bidder out bid another bidder, who was attending the auction, over $100 for a torch cart that had both wheels “literally falling off,” Terrill said. “Obviously the online bidder couldn’t see what he was buying very well by the online photo. Those of us in attendance who saw the actual cart couldn’t believe it.” Based on this experience, Terrill recommends attending auctions in person in order to inspect potential purchases.

Fabricator n March-April 2004

What’s Hot n?

TheFrankMorrowCo.celebrates 75th anniversary Fabricator: Who is Frank Morrow and what inspired him to establish Frank Morrow Co. in 1929?

left to right: Gregg Morrow, President, Karen Morrow, Designer, and Robert Morrow, Chairman.

Robert Morrow and his son Gregg explain how the Morrow Co. got started and how it remains successful in a changing industry.

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

Bob Morrow: My father is Frank Morrow, company founder. He had to start working at 12, kicking a foot press at a jewelry factory. Then from the age of 16 to 27 he worked as a toolmaker for various companies. He and my godfather also made tools at home in the garage after hours. My father just wanted to be on his own, like the typical American inspiration. He became very skilled at making rolled materials, particularly for the interior of ladies’ handbags. Back then they had very ornate frames with locks. So in 1929 he started Frank Morrow Co. and specialized in roll making, putting decorative patterns on metal strip and perforation of the same. Fabricator: When did you begin

working at Frank Morrow Co.?

Bob Morrow: I worked for my father before and after my Navy experience and after graduate school. But my father was of the old school and wanted to run things strictly his way. So I moved on to other things. In 1965 when he died I was running a non-profit foundation. For six to seven months I worked between the factory and the foundation, but it got too hectic. So I gave up my own work to run Frank Morrow Co. full time. My oldest son Gregg took over as president of the company six years ago, after he completed a number of years with the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service officer in Poland, Zimbabwe, and Washington. I’m the old one now. Fabricator: What changes in the ornamental metals industry have affected Continued on page 84.


The real changes in our industry began about 25 years ago when

the ceiling fan industry went overseas to China . . .

the way you do business? Bob Morrow: The real changes in our industry began about 25 years ago when the ceiling fan industry went overseas to China. That country was able to put out fans for about $20 apiece. The perforated metal bands that are used to vent the heat away from the fan motors were then made in China using our designs. Only a few companies make a small number of custom ceiling fans in America now. Then our bath and boutique items, like tissue boxes and jewelry accessories, went over to Taiwan and Hong Kong. Now lighting fixtures, iron furniture, and garden accessory manufacturing is moving overseas. We’ve just always tried to stay one step ahead. Fabricator: What are the goals for the company’s next 75 years? Bob Morrow: Well, number one is survival. And two, we are moving


more into manufacturing materials for residential and commercial décor, such as decorative metal strips between tile. We’re making decorative materials for restaurants, hotel and casino décor, office and reception area décor, temporary and permanent fixtures, and metalwork for residential applications such as metal cornices, mouldings, and framing materials. We have an excellent design staff and a very strong toolroom. Fabricator: How will Frank Morrow Co. celebrate its 75th anniversary? Bob Morrow: Like our 70th anniversary, we’ll hold an open house. The anniversary was in February, but we’ll hold the open house in May. We’ll invite our fellow manufacturers and customers, although most of our customers are outside of Rhode Island. Fabricator: How has NOMMA affected your business?

Bob Morrow: NOMMA has given us great distributors, like King Architectural Metals, Architectural Iron Designs, and more recently MidCarolina Steel. It’s hard for us to help people who want less than 250 pieces. So using suppliers like King helps us grow our business. They can help clients who need smaller quantities. And then as those businesses grow, they can order directly from us. As the times have required, NOMMA distributors have also helped us convert a lot of our tools to heavier 16-gauge steel. Gregg Morrow: We’ve been exhibiting at NOMMA’s trade shows for about six or seven years. It helps to pump up our distributor business. And it’s always nice to deal with NOMMA people because they are so knowledgeable and always willing to share their knowledge. METALfab is the friendliest show that I do all year.

Fabricator n March-April 2004

BlacksmithTomJoycereceivesMacArthur Fellowship The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded master artist blacksmith Tom Joyce of Santa Fe, NM with a $500,000 fellowship. The MacArthur Fellows program distributes its award with “no strings attached” over five years, encouraging recipients “to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society” in whatever capacity they choose. Joyce’s contributions to the blacksmithing craft have already brought him wide recognition. He has lectured on the metal arts at universities and art institutions in Europe and across the U.S. and Canada. His work has been featured in various museums including the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, TN, and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. In 1998, Joyce was also recognized for implementing a

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

What’s Hot n?

People ESAB’s two new V.P.’s ESAB Welding & Cutting Products announces the appointment of two Senior Vice Presidents. Jeff Hoffart, newly appointed Sr. Vice President of Marketing for ESAB North America, now oversees product management, communication, training, and pricing administration for ESAB’s North American operations. Bill Johnson is now Sr. Vice President and General Manager of ESAB’s Florence, SC, location, responsible for managing ESAB’s Cutting Machine and Steel Industry Products. Both Johnson and Hoffart are based in Florence.

Joyce recently completed this public art project,LightingCenterpiece,forthePhoenixMuseum of History in Phoenix, AZ. It commemorates the Hohokam people, who cultivated the area prior to 1150 AD. The swirling forms and fire colors recall the myth of the Phoenix, for which the city is named.

blacksmithing mentorship program for young adults at risk.


What’s Hot n? Products & Services AGA releases 2nd interactive CD American Galvanizers Association (AGA) recently released its second interactive CD, Designing with Hot-Dip Galvanized Steel, Version 2. The CD is free and offers an interactive information database that architects, engineers, and specifiers can use as a reference tool to better understand the benefits of using hot-dip galvanized steel for corrosion protection. The CD also includes technical information, details, new animations, photographs, charts. Contact: AGA, Ph: (800) 468-7732, E-mail: marketing@ galvanizeit. org, Web: AWS publishes latest edition


Product Spotlight

Dent filler Alvin Products

Lab-metal withstands temperatures up to 1,000°F. The material is available in containers ranging from 12 ounces to five gallons. Lab-solvent is also available to extend the shelf-life and thin Lab-metal and Hi-Temp Lab-metal. It can also be used to clean the application surface and enhance spreadability. Contact: Alvin Products Inc., Ph: (978) 975-4580; Web: Portable electric hacksaw

Alvin Products announces the release of Lab-Metal, an aluminum-filled repair compound that patches dents in metal. It spreads like a paste and hardens into metal when exposed to air. The rust resistant metal putty seals patches and smoothes dents, cracks, pinholes, and welded seams and can withstand temperatures between –40°F and 350°F. Hi-Temp

CS Unitec CS Unitec’s portable electric hacksaw is designed for fast on-site cutting of pipe and structural steel, including pipe repair and demolition applications. This Hacksaw, Model 5 1215 0070, has a stroke of 23/8 inch and variable speed control, 100 to 350 strokes per minute. It will cut pipe up to 24 inch OD in one pass and can be used manually or with a variety of

Fabricator n March-April 2004

New Products & Services

clamps for pipe or profiles. Cutting with a clamp provides five times more leverage than freehand cutting. The compact design of this hacksaw, like all CS Unitec Hacksaws, makes it easy to use in confined spaces. At only 13 pounds it is easy to handle and operate. Contact: CS Unitec, Ph: (800) 7005919, Web: Soak Cleaners

Houghton International Inc. Houghton International’s Surface Finishing division now offers two heavy-duty immersion cleaners for both ferrous and non-ferrous alloys. Houghto-Clean 8001 and HoughtoClean 8011 are soluble, stable, liquid concentrates that contain alkaline,

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

of welding code The American Welding Society (AWS) has just published the newly revised and expanded D1.1/ D1.1M Structural Welding CodeSteel in print and in CD-ROM formats. The 2004 edition offers several enhancements such as clarification as to when an engineer’s approval is needed; details on newest allowable stress range formulae; tough-weathering steel additions to the pre-qualified steel lists, and latest restrictions on pre-qualified FCAW and GMAW power sources. For the print edition prices are: $344 for non-members, and $258 for members. The CD-Rom version is $375 for non-members and $281 for members. Contact: AWS, Ph: (800) 8547179, or Web:

heavy-duty detergents and emulsifiers that rapidly dissolve most industrial oils, as well as particulate and carbonaceous smut. HoughtoClean 8001 is formulated to clean steel and stainless steel surfaces, while Houghto-Clean 8011 is formulated to clean non-ferrous and mixed metal production loads including brass, copper, aluminum, and steel. These cleaners are typically used as the first step in multi-stage, in-line cleaning processes to prepare metal surfaces for mang-anese phosphating, heavy zinc phosphating, pre-paint phosphating, or plating. Contact: Houghton International Inc., Ph: (610) 666-4000; Web: www. Power hammer tongs


Pieh Tool Co. Inc. New power hammer tongs are now

various sized box-jaws. Tools are designed by Amy Pieh, president of Pieh Tool Company Inc. Contact: Amy Pieh, Pieh Tool Co., Ph: (888) 743-4866; Web: Grinding wheels

available from the Pieh Legacy Collection. These V-Bit Bolt Billy Tongs are available in heavy or lightweight stock and come with 14-18 inch reins. The line includes two scrolling tongs and

Rex-Cut Products Inc. Rex-Cut Products Inc. introduces an addition to their line of abrasive grinding wheels. Rex-Cut速 Sigma Green 60-Grit Grinding Wheels are thin and flexible to provide better operator control. They also feature a proprietary blend of zirconia/ ceramic grain. The wheels are suit-

New Products & Services Full-line tooling catalog

The Cleveland Steel Tool Co. The Cleveland Steel Tool Co. announces the availability of its new, 88-page, full line tooling catalog. Use the catalog to find just the right tooling needed for specific ironworker and metalworking machines. Featured in the catalog is a Machine Tooling Chart that lists the major ironworker and metalworking machinery manufacturers, specific models, and the punches and dies needed for those models. Plus get information about additional tooling for shear blades, oversize tooling, coupling nuts, and other various tooling. Stock sizes, punch and die option, miscellaneous tooling, and industry reference charts are included for user convenience. Contact: The Cleveland Steel Tool Co., Ph: (800) 446-4402; Web: Expanded line of fittings


Kee Industrial Products Inc. Kee Industrial Products Inc. just published a new eight-page, color catalog describing its line of Kee Lite速 aluminum fittings for railings and other tubular pipe structures. The catalog includes four new swivel socket and member fittings, one new Size 9 combination socket tee and crossover fitting, four other fittings in Size 9, and 12 new fittings in Size 6. The catalog features product and application photos, schematic diagrams, product descriptions, and complete specifications. Contact: Kee Industrial Products Inc., Ph: (800) 851-5181; Web:

Fabricator n March-April 2004

able for light weld removal and finishing applications on stainless steel and aluminum. According to the firm, these bonded grinding wheels work faster and outlast flap discs. They come in 41/2 inch by 7/8 inch and 41/2 inch by 5/8 inch sizes. Contact: Rex-Cut Products Inc., Robert B. Costa, Ph: (800) 2258182; Web: Mechanical vacuum lifter

Anver Corp. The Anver Mechanical Lifter is a self-contained and selfpowered vacuum lifter. It handles all types of metal plate and sheet, including aluminum and stainless steel, without leaving marks thanks to its rubber vacuum pad. The Lifter features a self-cycling valve and piston to create a powerful suction when lowered from a crane onto a load until the chain slackens completely and is raised again. According to Anver, the Lifter is safe to use around CNC equipment because there are no electromagnetic fields. It’s available in

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

What’s Hot n? single- and multiple-pad configurations with capacities up to 15,000 pounds. Contact: Anver Corp., Scott Dillon, Ph: (800) 564-3500, Web: Plasma cutting system

Thermal Dynamics Thermal Dynamics just added CUTMASTER™ 51 air plasma cutting system to its CUTMASTER Series™. The CUTMASTER 51 allows the operator to switch torches quickly between hand and machine torch applications, replace damaged equipment quickly, and add or remove lead extensions to match job requirements. It’s rated for a 5 /8 inch maximum cut capacity and is suitable for cutting materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel. CUTMASTER 51 runs on 40 amps, making it ideal for metal fabricators with high-volume production cutting work. Contact: Thermal Dynamics, Ph: (800) 752-7621; Web:


What’s Hot n?

New NOMMA Members as of 2–13–04 *Denotes returning member.

Accent Iron & Aluminum Inc. New Smyrna Beach, FL Mark Wessler Fabricator AGH Dixon Dixon, CA Tony Hargiss Fabricator AmericanIndustrialMillwrights Inc. Manchester, PA Kenneth Sloat Fabricator Artistic Metals* Spokane, WA Bill R. Obernolte, Jr. Fabricator Association Metals Sultan, WA Al Wirta Fabricator

Edward Burak Fabricator

W.T. Barkley Boyne City, MI Walter Barkley Fabricator

Gates & Controls Seattle, WA Loren Tomlinson Nationwide Supplier

G.L. Biggs & Co. Evergreen Park, IL George Biggs Fabricator

Glory Forge & Ironworks Decatur, TX Geoffrey Isbell Fabricator

Crusader Fence Co. Inc.* Rancho Cordova, CA Brent Henderson Fabricator

Highland Ornamental Iron Works Sterling, VA Christopher Stewart Fabricator

Elm Grove Forge Holicong, PA Christine Soderman Fabricator G.L. Biggs & Co. Evergreen Park, IL George Biggs Fabricator

Horst Around the House Lagrangeville, NY Werner Horst Fabricator

Lafayette Iron Works* Livermore, CA David Ritchie Fabricator Metal Designs Erode, India S. Chandrasekaran Fabricator

Hudson Awning & Sign Co. Inc. Bayonne, NJ

Moore Metals Inc. North Charleston, SC

Innovative Iron Inc. Minneapolis, MN David McCullough Fabricator Krogmann Iron & Sculptures Inc. Pinellas Park, FL Terry Krogmann Fabricator

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:


Fabricator n March-April 2004

Peyton Moore Fabricator Morris Tick Co. Bloomington, IL James Shaffer Fabricator Orna-Metals Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Leonardo Perez Local Supplier PDG Enterprises Mammoth Lakes, CA Dustin del Giudice Fabricator Perma Iron Craft Long Island City, NY Luis Peredo Fabricator PrairieRailing&Polishing Behtune, SK, Canada Jerry Lipp Fabricator Richardson Fence & Patio Inc.*

March-April 2004 n Fabricator

Texarkana, TX Michael Richardson Fabricator F.M. Russell Co. Ringgold, GA Ariel Russell Fabricator ShanghaiLoyalOrnamental Wrought Iron Works Co. Ltd. Jiading District, Shanghai, China Qing Zhao Fabricator Sigma Metals Inc. Colorado Springs, CO Bradley Bunk Fabricator

Nuevo Leon, Mexico Ramiro Garza Gayton Nationwide Supplier

Chapter contacts Florida Rick Holloway Sunmaster of Naples Naples, FL Ph: (239) 261-3581

Valley Bronze of Oregon Joseph, OR David Jackman Nationwide Supplier

Northeast Tom Zuzik Artistic Railings Garfield, NJ Ph: (973) 772-8540

XCEL Distribution Inc. La Verne, CA Dave Bowman Nationwide Supplier

Southern California Hans Duus Hans Duus Blacksmith Buellton, CA Ph: (805) 688-9731

Sterling Fence Co. Ltd.* Richmond, BC, Canada Chu Wu Fabricator

Upper Midwest Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC Peoria, IL Ph: (309) 697-9870

Tubo Decorado SA de CV San Nicolas De Los Garza,


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 Directory, edu-

cational 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. • Make checks 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: 9/03


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 Tay-

lor. Call toll free (800) 545-5900, or (214) 741-3014. Fax: (214) 741-3019. Shop Wanted Successful miscellaneous/ structural contractor seeks to purchase miscellaneous or ornamental fabricating business in Southeast Florida. Would consider new “startup” with the right person. Call Arthur at (718) 344-2676 or fax to (718) 417-3797.

Advertiser’s index

Used Bender For Sale 1999 Hawke Industries Mk II made in California. Bends square and flat metal up to 2 inches. 110V. Costs new $4,200. Sell for $1,800.

To place a classified ad, contact Rachel Squires Bailey at (423) 413-6436, or Please note, classified ads promote a one-time sale or offer, or a job listing.

Firms in boldface are first-time advertisers.

Use this index as a handy guide to request information from advertisers. 64 Acme Metal Spinning 59 All-O-Matic Inc. 30 Antech Corporation 33 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. 37 Architectural Products by Outwater 90 Artist-Blacksmith’s Assoc.of North America Inc. www. 42 ARTMETAL 14 Atlas Metal Sales 45 Birchwood Casey 20 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. 21 Byan Systems Inc. 14 The Cable Connection 47 CAME 79 Classic Iron Supply 10 The Cleveland Steel Tool Co. 56 CML USA Inc. 18 Colorado Waterjet Co. 62 COMEQ Inc. 18 Crescent City Iron Supply (800) 535-9842 39 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. www.ddtechusa. com 15 D.J.A Imports Ltd. 83 Decorative Iron 23 DKS, DoorKing Systems 29 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. 48 Eberl Iron Works Inc. 12 Elite Access Systems Inc. div. of Chamberlain www. 86 Encon Electronics 4 FABCAD.USA 73 Federal Iron Works Co. (330) 482-5910 7 Feeney Wire Rope & Rigging 89 Glaser USA 9 Graham Manufacturing 72 The G-S Co. 78 Hawke Industries (909) 928-9453 45 Hebo GmbH 31 House of Forgings 88 International Gate Devices 49 Iron Craft (559) 688-4766 March-April 2004 n Fabricator

49 Iron Designs USA 100 The Iron Shop 88 Ironwood LLC/Brian Russell Designs 34 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. www.jansensupply. com 86 Jesco Industries Inc. WIPCO www.jescoonline. com 78 K Dahl Glass Studios 85 Kayne & Son Custom Hardware Inc. www.kayneandson. com 81 King Architectural Metals www.kingmetals. com 50 Lawler Foundry Corp. 51 Lawler Foundry Corp. 2 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. www.lewisbrass. com 58 Liberty Ornamental Products (800) 636-5470 80 Lindblade Metal Works 36 Marks U.S.A. 61 Master-Halco 91 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool www.mittlerbros. com 80 Pat Mooney Inc. 84 Multi Sales Inc. 17 New Metals Inc. 92 NOMMA Membership 82 Oak Hill Iron Works 82 Ol’ Joint Jigger Inc. 52 Operator Specialty Co. Inc. (OSCO) 91 Peters Valley Craft Education Center 67 PLASMA CAM Inc. 25 Production Machinery Inc. 22 R & B Wagner Inc., Div. of Wagner Companies www. 87 R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine Co. www. 35 Regency Railings 27 Rik-Fer USA (630) 350-0900 3 Sharpe Products 68 Simsolve (909) 737-2480 42 SkipJack Press Inc. 95 Sparky Abrasives Co. (800) 328-4560 93


Fabricator Poll

We’re being bid-shopped. Does this mean we need to develop a sales team? What’s the best way to do that?

Question submitted on NOMMA ListServ by John O’Reilly, MMF Architectural , Westmeath, Ireland Tom Zuzik, Jr. Artistic Railings Garfield, NJ I find my best estimators and sales people tend to be the company clown. They normally have good people skills and like the attention. However that person sometimes doesn’t have the knowledge or presentation skills to deal with clients. The first thing you would need to do is define the position down on paper. Then you need to look at who you will be doing estimates for. Then you should really look at where your work comes from. You will find your existing staff can probably handle your sales position fine if you get rid of some of the dead wood general contractors (GC). Here’s how you get rid of deadwood GC’s: If you find you are doing estimates for companies, and you don’t see them getting projects, then tell them you are running about five weeks for estimates. Then they will probably either go away or call you and wait. If you find that you have done three estimates for “Company A.” But Company A got the jobs and then never called you after getting the project, then tell them to take you off their bidders’ list. And you will also find you can target one new GC every other month with a bid market plan. That is if you see a bid come in that you would really like to do, then you put a “to die for” project proposal together for them to review.

Billy Pettigrew Pettigrew’s Custom Iron & Metals Dallas, TX

Tom McDonough Eagle Metal Fabricators Inc. Ft. Lauderdale, FL

First, establish your needs! Then evaluate your staff. I’m not sure if a separate sales staff will keep you from becoming a bid-shopping tool. The only way to stop that is to quit bidding, and you are not going to do that. But if you want to increase sales or expand market place, then hiring a sales person might be the way to go. If you decide to hire outside, ask yourself: Do you hire them on salary or commission only? Do they actually do the pricing? Do you raise your price to absorb the commission? What authority do they have to negotiate price with clients? How well do they know what they are selling? Also, consider your bidding system. If you have companies using you to check prices, stop bidding for them. If you continually get out-bid, maybe your prices are too high or your quality is too high. Constantly revaluate your pricing structure. If you already have people doing take offs, drawings, and bids, then have one take a half day each week to go on sales calls. Rotate it every week. Come up with a sales plan (target market and product), put it on paper, define how you accomplished it, and then revaluate it in a month. Then in three months, change it as necessary. If it were me, I’d do it inside. If you don’t think you have the right person for the job, maybe you have the right two or three people that can do it.

We went through the same problem of being shopped. Let’s face it, we all don’t need practice bidding. So I decided to take a bold stand. I told the GC’s that were bidding us that we did not want to bid them anymore and to take us off their bid list; they were wasting our time. Several took us off their list, and we benefitted by having more time to concentrate on the GC’s that were giving us work. Another thing that happened was that we woke up a lot of GC’s and got some work. We all know certain GC’s have their favorites, and no matter what we do (unless we make a mistake) we will never get a job. Nobody needs to waste time with customers like that. Keep in mind, we’ve been in business for over 26 years, and there is no shortage of bidding in South Florida. Other markets might not be as busy. But weigh all the options before adding an additional expense to your company. With more business comes more overhead, problems, and more money to collect. If growth and volume is the path your company wants to take then go for it. A sales person should also be able to estimate and take off jobs. So when the person is not outside selling keep them inside bidding, following up on other quotes and even some minor project management.


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) 3661852 or e-mail your question to


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