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Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

November/December 2004 $6.00 US

Job Profiles

Modeling helps execute design page 64

Reconstruction Project: Facing the unexpected page 59

Tips & Tactics

Why not try laser technology?, pg. 11

Shop Talk

How do you find the right employees?, pg. 22

Biz Side

Looking for financing sources, pg. 69

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November/December 2004 Vol. 45, No. 6

A new life for an old tool. See pg. 34.

A moooving project. See pg. 61.

Tips & Tactics

Member Talk

Biz Side

10 ways to work out arguments at work 11 Discover ways to handle disagreements in a civil manner.

A Zahner Co.: A monumental member of our industry 42 A fourth generation firm achieves internationally acclaimed status.

Six lessons I learned from my sales manager 65 A mentor provides valuable career advice on how to motivate others.

South Carolina firm reflects area’s local heritage 49 An old blacksmith shop serves as a reminder of the company’s roots.

Selling your business? Unlock the secrets of a successful sale 70 A few tips for making the most important sale of your life a success.

A member shares his favorite anchoring device 13 The Simpson anchor literally “locks” into the surrounding material. Special Feature METALfab 2005: 15 Get Ready For New Orleans Shop Talk How to build a welding table 16 Expand your welding skills by following this easy project. Suppliers talk about the access industry’s current boom 26 The current trend toward more security is good news for the industry. Compiled by Rachel Squires Bailey

The English wheel: New life for an old tool 34 The simple machine can become a great asset for ornamental metalsmiths. By Walter Scadden

President’s Letter Understanding who we are.


By Rachel Squires Bailey

By Peter Hildebrandt

By Dave Kahle

By William J. Lynott

Job Profiles Tropical fish add the perfect touch 53 A client’s living room comes alive thanks to this aquatic creation. By Susan Dunsmoor

The Regent ‘flying saucer’ 57 With the help of cranes, a fork truck, and lifts, this saucer flies into place. By Rick Holloway

Creating a cemetery gate for posterity 61 A surrounding farm provide inspiration for this gate.

What’s Hot! New Members 77 A welcome to our newest members. Biz Briefs 79 Our members “in the news.” Literature 82 A new business book for fabricators. Coming Events 83 A listing of upcoming conferences. NOMMA News 85 Foundation launches new e-newsletter. People 86 A noted artist is honored. Products 88 No more wasted trips to the mailbox.

By Thomas Sleeper

Editor’s Letter 8 A tribute to NOMMA’s great visionaries.

Reader’s Letters 9 ADA pipe size confusion is finally cleared.

Favorite Shop Tool 94 A new ironworking machine

Cover photo: This all aluminum freestanding structure is 24 ft. in diameter and stands 12 ft. in height. The structure serves as the 4th floor pool deck bar shelter at a beachfront condominium complex. The frame weighs 5,600 lbs. and was finished with a high performance waterborne satin industrial enamel. Approx. labor time: 405 hrs. Fabricator: Sunmaster, Naples, FL.


President’s Letter

Dedicated to the success of our members and industry. NOMMA Officers President Curt Witter Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX President-Elect Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks Tulsa, OK

DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. South Easton, MA Immediate Past President Chris Maitner Christopher Metal Fab. Inc. Grand Rapids, MI

Vice Pres./Treasurer Chris Connelly

Fabricator Directors Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC Peoria, IL 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 Don Walsh Pro-Fusion Ornamental Iron Inc. San Carlos, CA

Supplier Directors David T. Donnell Eagle Bending Machines Inc. Stapleton, AL Bob Borsh House of Forgings Houston, TX Gene Garrett

Regency Railings Inc. Dallas, TX

Technical Consultant Tim Moss Managing Editor Rachel Squires Bailey

2004 Advisory Council Jay Holeman Mountain Iron Fabrications Tom McDonough Master Metal Services Inc. Rob Rolves Foreman Fabricators Inc. Lee Rodrigue Virginia Architectural


Your Association continues to work diligently to provide and improve all of its services. Most recently, your Board, staff, and other volunteers have completed an update to NOMMA’s Strategic Plan. Many of the action items in the plan are already being implemented, but more focus is needed. As I write this, we are preparing for a follow-up planning session that will be held in conjunction with the Fall Board Meeting. The main goal of our planning meeting is to prioritize all our goals and strategies. We will then develop action plans that include an assessment of the various resources needed. If this planning session goes like other meetings we have had, we will want to do much more than time or money permits. This is the point where difficult decisions are necessary. We must decide which items can or cannot get done. I will commit to you that each of our resources will be used at or beyond capacity.

Foundation needs everyone’s support

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

NOMMA continues to focus on improvements

In the previous Fabricator publication I wrote about the NOMMA Education Foundation and reiterated the basis on which the Foundation was formed: “To add focus and funding to our education programs.” I have been involved with the Foundation since before its inception. From the beginning we have struggled with the dilemma of how to improve existing

Metals Nancy Hayden Tesko Enterprises

Attention Members

Contributing Writers

John L. Campbell William J. Lynott

programs and introduce new ones with limited funding. Rest assured, we are all striving to not only meet everyone’s expectations but exceed them, but the money just is not there for the long term. Not too long ago each member received a letter from the Foundation written by trustee James Minter, Jr. that asks you to join the “Dollar-ADay” campaign. I would also like to challenge each member for the sake of your industry, for the sake of your association, and for the sake of your business to make such a gift. Please consider making the “DollarA-Day” idea the base- Curt Witter is line for your annual president of the National or monthly giving. A donation form ap- Ornamental and Miscellaneous pears on page 75. Metals AssociaA time to reflect


During this season of Thanksgiving take time to reflect on the progress you have made and the challenges you faced yet triumphed over. Always remember that, “Success is not about the destination but the journey.” Enjoy and be thankful for the journey.

Getting to the Member Resources area of the NOMMA website just got easier. Simply type: If you don’t have your user name and password, go to the main NOMMA site and click on “Forgot?” It will then be e-mailed to you. Fabricator n November/December 2004

2005 New Orleans, LA March 2-4, 2005

“The Key to Your

New Products • Networking Special Offers • And MORE!

FREE Trade Show Admission March 2-4, 2005 • New Orleans, LA

Wed. 2:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Thurs. 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., Fri. 8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Hall B-2

Note that the trade show now runs Wednesday through Friday and is NOT open on Saturday. Don’t Miss This Event!

n n See See cutting-edge cutting-edge technologies technologies and and the latest products. the latest products. n n Meet Meet innovative innovative suppliers suppliers from from around around the the world. world. n n Take Take advantage advantage of of on-site on-site show show spespecials cials and and promotions. promotions. n n Enjoy a walk through the Top Job Gallery and see entries for the 2005 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest.

FREE TRADE SHOW  TICKET New Orleans, LA - Mar. 2-4, 2005 Complete this form and mail to METALfab, 535 Lakemont Ct., Ste. 200, Roswell, GA 30075, or fax: (770) 518-1292.

To pre-register for the FREE trade show ticket, simply fill out the form and mail or fax to the address below.* There is no limit to the nu mber of attendees from your compan y, so please dupli cate this form. Questions? Call the National Orna mental & Miscellaneous Metals As sociation at (404) 363-4009. And for the latest conv ention information , visit: www.

* Your badge wil l be waiting in the registration area of Hall B-2. in front

List three products you hope to purchase at METALfab 2005: 1. __________________________________________________________ 2. __________________________________________________________ 3. __________________________________________________________

First Name _________________________________________________________ Last Name _________________________________________________________ Company __________________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________________________ City _____________________________ State _________ Zip _________________ Phone ______________________________ Fax ___________________________

1) Primary type of business: q Fabricator q General Supplier q Contractor q Other________________ 2) Annual gross sales: q Below $500,000 q $500,000 - $1 million q $1 million - $2.5 million q $2.5 million - $5 million q Over $5 million

3) Your role in purchasing: q Final Say q Recommend q Specify 4) Job description: q Owner q Manager/Foreman q Other_______________

Check here q if you are not involved in the business.

E-mail _____________________________________________________________

Children under 14 are not allowed on the trade show floor. Young persons 14-17 must be accompanied by an adult. Cameras and video equipment not permitted.

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


Send story ideas, letters, press releases, and product news to: Fabricator at address above. (404) 363-4009. Fax: (404) 3661852. E-mail:


Ads are due on the first Friday of the month preceding the cover date. Send ads on CD to: Fabricator at address above. E-mail ads to: (max. 5 megs by e-mail). Visit our website for a downloadable media kit:


In addition to the magazine, you’ll enjoy many more benefits as a NOMMA member. To join, call the headquarters office at (404) 363-4009. For a complete list of benefits, refer to the membership ad in this issue.


$25 for up to 35 words, $38 for 36–55 words, $50 for 56–70 words. Send items to: Rachel Bailey, Fabricator, at address above. Ads may be faxed with credit card information to: (404) 366-1852. Deadline: 2nd Fri­day of the month prior to pub­li­ca­tion.


Subscription questions? Call (404) 363-4009 Send address changes to: Fabricator Subscriptions, 532 Forest Pkwy., Suite A, Forest Park, GA 30297. Fax: (404) 366-1852. E-mail: 1-year: U.S., Canada, Mexico — $30; 2-year: U.S., Canada, Mex­i­co — $50; 1-year: all other countries — $44; 2-year: all other countries — $78. Pay­ment in U.S. dol­lars by check drawn on U.S. bank or money order. For NOMMA mem­bers, a year’s sub­scrip­tion is a part of membership dues.

Supplier Directory

Published each December as a separate issue. Space reservation deadline is Sept. 30. Deadline for all advertising materials is August 31. For info, contact Rachel Bailey at (423) 413-6436 or


Reprints of articles are available. For a quote, contact Rachel Squires Bailey at (423) 413-6436 or


How to reach us

Editor’s Letter

Jerry Grice represented the industry’s best Just as this issue of Fabricator was go-

ing to press we learned of the passing of Jerry Grice of Jerry Grice Welding Inc., Tallahassee, FL. A NOMMA member for over 25 years, Jerry will be remembered for his incredible passion for NOMMA, the industry, and most importantly, for the metal. To me, Jerry represented the quintessential NOMMA member. After serving in the Navy and working at several metal-related jobs, he started his own business in the 1970s with only $500 and a box of tools. Starting out as a small welding shop, he fabricated everything from sign frames to motorcycle accessories. One day, a local contractor came to his shop and gave him his first ornamental metal job. The project propelled his career into an exciting new direction and over the following years both his business and shop grew. While his main shop was located on an acre of land in Tallahassee, in 1992 he constructed a second workshop on a large wooded lot behind his home. He used the home shop to focus on more artistic projects, which Jerry especially loved. In more recent years, he developed an interest in knifemaking and he created incredible Damascusstyle knives, which he sold at shows.

Lasting memories

I first met Jerry at the 1992 NOMMA

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.

Board meeting in Atlanta. What impressed me most about him was his enthusiasm and energy. Over the years, he provided regular input into the magazine, including a great series of “tips and tricks.” He often encouraged me and I can remember one time when he even defended me. Jerry was also a candid person and would point out the things I did wrong in the magazine, but it was always in a caring, positive manner. Industry inspiration

Todd Daniel is editor of Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator.

No words or article could capture the greatness of Jerry Grice. There are so many times at conventions when I saw him helping other fabricators and answering questions. And while he loved helping others, he also had a zeal to continually learn. He was a strong believer in education and even after chairing the Education Committee for three years he regularly led education sessions at NOMMA conventions. In addition to his love for learning and sharing, Jerry will also be remembered for his belief in honesty, his desire to always treat people right, and his commitment to always give back to not only NOMMA and the trade, but various local causes. Without question, it was the strong qualities on the inside that produced the great work on the outside. Jerry represented our industry’s very best, and I appreciate the wonderful example he set for all of us. Thank you, Jerry Grice.

Editor Todd Daniel with Jerry Grice. 8

Fabricator n November/December 2004


Reader’s Letters to meet fellow member John O’Reilly and see his shop. Justin L. Pigott Emerald Iron Works Inc. Woodbridge, VA

Mike Pigott of Emerald Ironworks Inc. in Woodbridge, VA visits with international member John O’Reilly of MMF Architectural, Mullingar, Ireland.

Two NOMMA members unite My father, Michael Pigott, owner of Emerald Ironworks (long-time NOMMA member) wanted me to submit the attached picture for your consideration for inclusion in Fabricator. He recently visited MMF Architectural in Ireland and had a chance

Homeowner needs help Can you help me find suppliers who can plasma process finish brass? I am a homeowner with two brass bathroom faucets and a tub faucet, all with lever handles. I will be removing all the hardware to restore the underside plumbing, gaskets, and attachments and will be replacing corroded drain/pop-up assemblies with Delta RP28653BB in their “Brilliance” finish. The original manufacturer of my faucets, I believe, was Artistic Brass who has been purchased by Delta and the line discontinued. I would like to restore the faucets, protect the surface from tarnish, andhave them (roughly) match the Delta color. I believe that Delta uses a plasma process or chemical vapor deposition

(CVD) process for their “Brilliance” finish. Do you know members of your organization who could take my brass faucet and handle pieces and give them a similar processing? Ralph E. Grabowski Andover, MA If anyone can help this homeowner, please contact the magazine (see info below). Question on tread length As per IBC requirements, does tread length run from riser to nose tread or nose of tread to nose of trade? Billy Pettigrew Pettigrew’s Custom Iron & Metals Inc. Dallas, TX NOMMA Technical Consultant Tim Moss responds: The actual wording from the International Building Code reads, “The tread depth shall be measured horizontally between the vertical planes of the foremost projection of adjacent treads and at right angle to the tread’s leading edge. In plain English, this means, “nose of tread to nose of tread.” Thanks for the article! Thanks for the great article on our firm in the September/October Fabricator. We were delighted to receive the award from Crain’s New York, and we appreciate the recognition in your magazine as well. Please send us some extra copies! Peter Zuckerwise Liberty Brass Turning Co. Inc. Long Island City, NY


Tell us what you think

Mail Letter to the Editor, c/o Fabricator, 532 Forest Pkwy., Ste. A, Forest Park, GA 30297 E-mail fabricator@nomma. org 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.

November/December 2004 n Fabricator


Tips& Tactics 

Ask our expert Contact: Jerusha Myrick, Laser Precision Cutting Ph: (800)-514-8065 Web: www.laser

Why not try laser technology? Recent advancements in technology and greater compatibility among CNC programs makes laser cutting a more viable process for ornamental fabricators. Laser Advantages

By Tom Taylor Laser Precision Cutting

Offers reliable, Thanks to features such as repeatafast, very highbility, unsurpassed precision, and quality cut. quick turnaround time, says Jerusha High repeatabiliMyrick of Laser Precision Cutting, ty due to no wear laser cutting technology is an parts. increasingly invaluable process for No deformation ornamental fabricators. of material. (Laser Just as a child uses a magnifier is closer to and the sun to burn leaves, the laser machining than uses a beam of light and a lens to plasma.) burn through steel. Accuracy of cut The beam of light, which is less can be maintained than 1/1000 of an inch in diameter in very thin and at the focal point, is combined with a pliable materials. stream of oxygen to create a fine cutCuts up to 3/4” ting torch. steel, 1/4” stainless, Since a laser beam creates a very and 1/8” aluminum. narrow heat effected zone, there is Fabricators can no material deformation from the assemble their fincutting process. Unlike other cutting ished products, processes, laser cutting produces a instead of cutting very clean cut, free of burs or other parts. unwanted jagged edges. This allows fabricators to use their newly-cut pieces immediately, without having to smooth out imperfections on their own. Because laser light cutting is extremely precise, more so than plasma and waterjet systems, lasers can achieve very ornate cuts. Almost any design that can be drawn can be cut precisely with laser technology. Laser cutting technology can produce countless identical cuts thanks to its computer-controlled system. This repeatability works perfectly with lasers because there is virtually no wear and tear on the laser apparatus, Myrick says. “One of Laser Precision Cutting’s specialties is a lot size of one,” Myrick says. “Whether you need one piece or one thousand, LPC can provide you with a solution.” November/December 2004


Laser technology cuts up to 3/4” steel, 1/4” stainless, and 1/8” aluminum.

Depending on how specialized a job is and the material to be cut, sending work out for laser cutting may be the most cost-effective and satisfying solution for fabricators. “As soon as they have all the information and specifications for a project,” Myrick says, “Laser Precision Cutting can deliver a finished product to the client in 7–10 days.” For more on laser and other cutting technologies see the August 2003 issue of Fabricator’s Journal, available to NOMMA members at 11

Tips& Tactics 

Guest column American Subcontractors Association Inc.

Want a better contract? You’ve got to make your case The American Subcontractors Association offers tips on how to negotiate better contracts. As every experienced subcontractor knows, good subcontract agreements do not appear out of thin air. They are crafted and negotiated. This may not be “the best of all possible worlds,” but with skill, subcontractors can stand up for themselves and get better deals. But how? When a subcontractor is involved in contract negotiation, it will need people with strong persuasive skills to obtain the best possible subcontract terms. The ability to persuade is a “soft skill,” i.e., a skill that is more art than it is science, but it is a critical skill you need to identify in your firm so that you can negotiate the best subcontract agreements. The ability to persuade may not seem that important to your business at first glance. Doesn’t the economic leverage of the general contractor trump any of your ideas that the general contractor doesn’t like? The answer is “No.” While a general contractor has an economic advantage over a prospective subcontractor because the general contractor controls the award of work, this inequality does not automatically give the general contractor the “final say” over the specific subcontract terms with a specific subcontractor. On the contrary, the subcontract is subject to mutual agreement, whether that agreement comes in the form of the general contractor’s acceptance of your bid, your acceptance of the general contractor’s counter-offer, or a negotiated solution such as a mutually agreedupon subcontract rider. The process of convincing the genNovember/December 2004


eral contractor to accept your proposal with terms your firm wants begins well before any actual conversation or correspondence with the general contractor. It starts with customer research and preparation of the bid package, including supporting documents such as a scope of work letter. Your bid package communicates your expectations to the general contractor about the work your firm is prepared to perform, and under what conditions. From the point of view of a negotiator, the strategic objective of the bid package is to convince the general contractor that your firm can perform the work at the promised price, or at least that your firm is worthy of approaching with a counter-offer or a negotiation process. Thus, when bidding, the question your team should ask is not, “How do we obtain this work?” It is: “How can we convince the general contractor to accept our proposal for the work at the most favorable terms to us that the general contractor will accept, make a counter-offer to, or negotiate?” You want a strong starting-point for negotiation in case your bid is not accepted as-is, and you do not accept the general contractor’s counter-offer. Your bidding strategy should anticipate what kind of negotiating room your firm will have if the bidding process takes your firm to the negotiation phase. Will the bid package, if not accepted as-is, leave your firm the room it needs to seek the terms that are most important while giving your firm the ability to compromise on less important terms? For example, the

general contractor may like your price but dislike your specific description of the work in the scope of work letter. That’s something you may be able to work out through negotiation. Allowing for negotiating room will give you the best persuasive tool of all: Making the other party feel that it is gaining a real benefit through changes to your proposal. Choosing a negotiator

Finally, but certainly not least important, is selection of the person who will conduct the negotiations on your behalf. When the negotiation phase begins, you’ll benefit if your negotiator is someone who: Is capable of persuading others effectively, including possessing necessary writing and verbal skills. Understands what subcontract terms are important to your firm, and what terms are less important. Has the authority and ability to make negotiation decisions “on the spot.” Can put himself or herself “in the shoes” of the general contractor. Knows the history of your company’s relationship with the general contractor. With the background and skills necessary to persuade others, and with sufficient room to negotiate subcontract terms different from the original bid package, your negotiator can stand up for your company in negotiations and achieve a better subcontract agreement. Learn more about empowering your company to advocate the best possible subcontract terms through ASA’s Stand Up! web page at www. This article is reprinted from the fourth quarter 2004 issue of The Contractor’s Compass, the quarterly educational journal of the American Subcontractors Association Inc. ( 13

Tips& Tactics 

Guest column Contact: John O’Reilly MMF Architectural, Mullingar Business Park Ireland joreilly@MMFLTD.COM

A work in progress: Thoughts on hiring a production manager John O’Reilly shares his experience in debating whether to hire a production manager and how best to do it. promotion, and I would recommend to others an external interviewer if at all possible.

By John O’Reilly MMF Architectural

Hire an external candidate

As owners and managers of our own companies, the issue of production management is key to our success or failure. Usually the most obvious person for the production manager’s job is ourselves, and why not? We have usually grown with the company and developed it. We understand the employees, and we command respect from customers and employees alike. But herein lies the problem. The company is growing, and your expertise is required elsewhere: meeting the customers, visiting sites, attending courses, etc. Currently, I am in the process of hiring a production manager. I have 25 people working for me and believe that I should be able to walk away from the production area and concentrate on marketing. The secret is to get the right person and the systems in place to back them up. I’ve found that the most difficult thing for an ownermanager to do is let go of the production manager’s position because it is such a key role. But in my case it needs to be done. If you are considering whether to give up the position to another capable person, you should ask yourself some key questions: Can my company afford one? Can it afford not to have one? As the owner what do I require from the person (these must be measurable)? What lead in time can I give him, what probation period can I give him? How can I tie him into the company? I’ve answered these questions for myself. But now I need to decide whether to hire from within or without. Internal promotion

This has many advantages. Inside people know the systems and know what is expected. But this also has downsides. First, these people have learned my bad habits. Second, they may have problems commanding respect from fellow workers. Plus, if the position does not work out, I may have problems moving them back to their original position. I realize that it is vitally important that there is a fair interview system in place for the position if it is an internal November/December 2004


This person will be difficult to find. Unless obtained through a head hunter, the person will have little experience in our specific field. They will also command large money, which will have to be performance related. The advantages are their new thinking and their different perspective. They will usually bring knowledge on scheduling and quality systems. However, they will require field work and hands-on experience and loads of support (and patience) from the owner. Make it a team position

Fellow NOMMA member Tom Zuzik, Artistic Railings Inc., suggests promoting a person from my shop and teaming that person up with a personal office assistant that already understands my organization. Zuzik believes this allows the shop person to work best in his or her environment while having a competent office person to keep track of the progress and produce reports, follow calls, messages, and reminders. Zuzik likes this scenario because if one side of the team leaves, one half of the team will have to be trained again, not the complete key position. Zuzik has learned that in time the office person can do the job without the shop person, but that each person keeps the other in check and makes him or her liable as a team. I plan to try this out. Implement a job contract

We have used a standard contract for our production manager, and every month we sit down and review each section. Whether you hire within, without, or make it a team position, I highly recommend developing and implementing one. But, I must stress the importance of each section being measurable. For example, my idea of a tidy workshop might be unique, so I drew up a “tidy workshop agreement.” It basically states: “The workshop is tidy when: 1, there are no off cuts on the saw; 2, the bins are empty and in position, etc. 15

Beautiful New Orleans Awaits You! 2005 “The Key to Your Business Success” Enjoy the magic and enchantment of the historic Crescent City during METALfab 2005, March 2-5. While scheduled tours are available, you may want to plan for extra time before and after the convention to explore the many sights!

Beautiful ornamental metalwork abounds throughout the city.

By Lisl M. Spangenberg Jazz streams out into the moonlight, French doors open to the night breezes, sweet olive scents the air. Nearby there is laughter, a cork popping and café brûlot aflame. Welcome to New Orleans. Here, in this little corner of Europe and the Caribbean in the American South, the history is as colorful as the local architecture; the food is the stuff of legend. Haitian and African Creoles developed an exotic, spicy cuisine and were instrumental in creating jazz and Zydeco. Spanish style and Creole builders gave us St. Louis Cathedral, named for a French king. We were drinking café au lait 250 years before Seattle poured its first lait or Starbucks roasted its first bean. Our street names are French and Spanish, our Creole architecture comes in a carnival of tropical colors, and our voodoo is a Caribbean import. The magic is irresistible. A cultural gumbo, we celebrate our differences. In fact, we celebrate almost anything in the Big Easy. “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (Let the good times roll) is more than Catch the Mardi Gras spirit! a reminder of our French heritage, it’s a way of life that began three centuries ago.

While in the French Quarter take a ride on one of the famous street cars.

A quick history

The party didn’t start right away. Like good wine, it took a while to mature after the initial fermentation. When the Sieur de la Salle explored the Mississippi in 1682, he claimed all lands drained by the river for France and named the territory for the reigning royals, King Louis XIV and Queen Anne. The Louisiana Terri16

Get ready for some exotic, spicy cuisine. Fabricator n November/December 2004

tory of 828,000 square miles extended from the Mississippi to the Rockies, and the Gulf of Mexico to Canada. Eventually, French, Spanish, English, Independent, Confederate, and Union flags would all fly over Louisiana. In 1718, when the Sieurs d’Iberville and de Bienville founded a strategic port city 15 feet below sea level near the juncture of the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico, it had to be reclaimed from a swamp. The new city, or ville, was named La Nouvelle Orléans for Philippe, Duc d’Orléans and centered around the Place d’Armes (later known as Jackson Square). It was confined to the area we now call the French Quarter or Vieux Carré (Old Square). The society that settled on the bend of the Mississippi was French in origin and at heart. Even so, in 1762, either because he lost a bet or the royal coffers were exhausted, Louis XIV gave Louisiana to his Spanish cousin, King Charles III. Spanish rule was relatively short— lasting until 1800—but Spain left its imprint. In 1788, the Quarter went up in flames that incinerated over 850 buildings. The city was still recovering when a second fire in 1794 destroyed another 200 structures. Much of the original French architecture was destroyed and replaced by Spanish styles. Those wrought iron balconies and charming courtyards? Spanish. From Spain, Louisiana was ceded back to France (Pingpong, anyone?) and was finally sold by Napoleon to the U.S. (nearly doubling its size) in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. At $15 million it was one of the greatest real estate bargains in history. (The Napoleon House on Chartres was built for Bonaparte, who planned a stay in New Orleans but was too busy losing to the English to make the trip.) After the sale, Americans arrived en masse. Unwelcome in the Creole enclave of the Ville (French Quarter), they settled across Canal Street in the Central Business and Garden Districts. The two factions skirmished often, and Canal Street became the “neutral ground,” now the name for all medians here. Capital of the Caribbean

November/December 2004 n Fabricator


Riverboats and the Mississippi River make up an essential part of New Orleans culture.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, New Orleans dominated the Caribbean as the most active port city and trade destination for island crops like sugar cane, rum, tobacco, and fruit. English ships visiting their Caribbean colonies paid official visits here. Free people of color (gens de couleur libres) arrived from the Caribbean following the Haitian Revolution of 1791 to 1804. Most were originally from Nigeria and the Republic of Benin. The new Paris

By the mid 1800s, the city in the bend of the river became the fourth-largest in the U.S. and one of the richest, dazzling visitors with chic Parisian couture, fabulous restaurants, and sophisticated culture. Society centered around the French Opera House, where professional opera and theater companies played to full houses. Some things never change in The City Care Forgot. It’s still a magnet for performing artists, master craftsmen and athletes. As for Paris, New Orleans even has a West Bank. Just call us the Croissant CitÊ. Cultural gumbo

Under French, Spanish, and American flags, Creole society coalesced as Islanders, West Africans, slaves, free people of color, and indentured servants poured into the city along with a mix of French aristocrats, merchants, farmers, soldiers, freed prisoners, and nuns. New Orleans was, for its time, a permissive society where educated gens de couleur libres were master builders who developed elegant Creole

The St. Louis Cathedral with the Andrew Jackson statue in the foreground. 18

Fabricator n November/December 2004

Learn the Local Lingo

When visiting the Crescent City, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local language: Bayou: Choctaw for “small stream.” It’s a creek with a slow current, flowing from a river or lowland lake, often through swamp areas, usually in a delta region. Among its many nicknames, Louisiana is called “The Bayou State” for its beautiful wetland regions. Cajun: Nickname for Acadians, the French-speaking people who migrated to Louisiana from Nova Scotia, starting in 1755. Cities of the Dead: New Orleans cemeteries. Because of the high water table, we spend the afterlife buried above ground instead of six feet under it. Elaborate monuments cluster together like small communities. Directions: There is no East, West, North, or South in New Orleans. We head uptown, downtown, lakeside and riverside. And anywhere the music is. Fais-do-do (FAY-doe-doe): It means, “Put the kids to sleep.” And party hearty. In the old days, when Cajuns would celebrate, they brought the kids with their blankies so the little ones could snooze while adults would eat, drink, and dance their way through the night. Gris-gris (GREE-gree): “X” marks the spot. Voodoo spells, often indicated by X’s, are still found on tombs.

architecture and chefs who developed the city’s sophisticated Creole cuisine. European aristocrats and rich Creoles often had mistresses, sometimes the famed quadroons (1/4 black) or octaroons (1/8 black). Native author Anne Rice set one of her early novels, The Feast of All Saints, in 19th century Creole society. Creole is a chameleon term. It’s a variety of tomato, an exotic cuisine, or poetic architectural style. It also refers to people, but the definition varies, depending on where and who you are. One thing is true of Creoles everywhere: they have always been colonials (vs. Europeans). New Orleans Creoles were originally divided into two separate groups: one of French and Spanish parentage and another of either French or Spanish ancestry mixed with African or West Indies parentage. Cajuns, on the other hand, are descended from a specific group of Catholic, French speaking trappers and farmers exiled from Nova Scotia by the ruling English Protestants in 1755. About 10,000 eventually settled in Southwest Louisiana in what is now Acadiana. Some later came to New Orleans neighborhoods like Westwego. Over a million people of Cajun descent live in Louisiana. Longfellow immortalized their story of loss and exile in his epic poem, “Evangeline.” But Canada’s expulsion was Louisiana’s gain; Cajuns brought us their exuberance and joie de vivre, their lively music and down-home cuisine.

Photos and article courtesy of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc.


Fabricator n November/December 2004


Shop Talk

How do you find the right employees? TEST them! n A simple welding test and a few basic observations can reveal tremendous information

about a job applicant. Note that the techniques shared here are specifically for smaller shops that cannot afford a human resources department.

left: The testing station is set up for the job applicant. right: Grading the test simply requires a few hits with the hammer. When striking the metal, make SURE the work area is clear and that you and observers are wearing proper safety equipment.

As a general rule small shops have a dif-

ficult time competing with large corporations for good workers because established corporations have more resources to attract and retain employees. If you check the want ads you will see positions advertised requiring five to seven years experience, special skills, high educational requirements, and an offer of good benefits. These ads are not from your average metalworking shop; they’re from the large corporations that have the money to make such demands and offers. Before hiring a person, wouldn’t you like to run a credit check on him, check his references for the past five years, give a written test, require a physical exam, drug test, and psychiatric evaluation? And then wouldn’t you like to offer a health and dental plan, matching 401K, and provide yearly bonuses and profit sharing? Well, large corporations do this routinely. Despite their handicaps, however, small shops/businesses play a significant role in employing the workforce. Small business creates 90 percent of the new jobs in this country. But since small businesses are often stepping stones to larger corpora22

tions, many of these new jobs merely serve as a training ground. If you have a rapid employee turnover you are only guilty of two things: trying to survive with limited resources and employing individuals who are passed over by large companies. The less qualified individuals work wherever they can find jobs, creating turnover as they move around.

For your information


By Bob Heath

Selecting personnel

One of the most important tasks at your company is selecting the right personnel for your shop. Screening people to a select few requires some thought, a plan, and a method of progression to achieve favorable results. I offer here some insight as to “how we did it” in my shop for 25 years. You are welcome to adapt any of these ideas for your own shop. Advice is free! Acquiring personnel

Need people? How do you hire them, what do you look for? How can you test them? How can you be sure you’ve got the right one? Try to develop a system of events that lead up to hiring.

About the Author: Bob Heath is a retired NOMMA member and former owner of Bellevue Iron Works Inc., Bellevue, KY. An inventor and writer, he is a regular contributor to Fabricator and was a presenter at METALfab 2003. His wellreceived session at METALfab was on anchoring and fastening techniques.

Finding personnel

There are many sources that can be tapped Fabricator n November/December 2004

As applicants walk into the shop, observe their body language. Do

they walk proudly with self-confidence, or do they slouch?

to find personnel. There are help wanted newspaper ads (the best in my area, but you must pay for them). You have daily, weekly, regional newspapers, employment offices, veterans, state and private placement agencies, vocational school counselors, high school co-op, parole officers from half-way houses, your employees’ friends and relatives, bulletin boards at stores/supermarkets, church pastors and, of course, a help wanted sign on the front of your shop. We used all of these sources. Our local newspaper worked best with simple ads such as, “MIG welder, entry level position, (phone number).” It costs less and provides more response. More experienced welders still call when they see the ad and ask about pay, etc. When we answered the phone we informed them that they had to take a welding test before we discussed the particulars about salary and ben-


efits, and then we’d schedule them for a time. Prior to applicant’s arrival

We bought job application forms from our local office supplier. We made up a short multiple choice test that covered areas like how to read a ruler, simple math, decimal points, fractions, reading pressure gauges, what gas for MIG, and what type of rod to use on mild steel for heavy penetration. We always made two answers out of four choices obviously wrong. Once the test was prepared, we printed off 25 copies at a time. The ruler question is very important since, if the applicant can’t read one, he can’t cut materials, check measurements, or do layouts. It’s better to find this out before he is hired rather than afterwards. We kept a log by the shop phone and could provide job seekers with a time for their interview and testing. Other-

wise we would call them back, and this return call can provide more information about the applicant. When you have been in business awhile you will get job seekers calling as a routine matter. Most distasteful are the mothers who are seeking jobs for their sons! Body language speaks volumes

As applicants walk into the shop, observe their body language. Do they walk proudly with self-confidence, or do they slouch? Do they drag their feet and shuffle along? If so, this is a bad sign! What about appearance? Did the applicant shave and change his clothes? Is he or she observing personal hygiene? Remember that this person is going to be seen as a representative of your company, and a good image is important. Testing and interview

After the applicants arrived we gave them the application and employment questionnaire, and asked them to print the information. Once completed, we looked it over and asked for clarifica-

Fabricator n November/December 2004

tion on anything we didn’t understand. Ask the applicants to tell you about their experience — this provides an opportunity for them to talk about themselves. Sometimes this is the “diesel” time where an applicant rambles on and on, similar to an old Chevy six cylinder engine that continues to run after the ignition is turned off. You will find out what the applicant really knows after the welding test. Actions speak louder than words. The welding test Materials required

One piece of 5/8 inch sq. mild steel (hot rolled), 14 to 16 inches long, usually obtained from our scrap pile. (Saw in half to make two pieces 7–8 inch pieces). Equipment needed

• Steel workbench with strong vise mounted securely to bench, capable of withstanding heavy hammer blows during the testing procedure. • MIG welder set up to weld. • Two clamps to hold work to bench if desired. • Two 41/2 grinders, one with grinding


wheel, one with sandpaper. • Welding hood, gloves, wire brush. • One 4 pound hammer (to be used by person giving test to applicant).

­­­­­Explain test to applicant This is how we explained the test: “This test is a task that you might be required to do while working in our shop. We would like you to take these two pieces of 5/8 inch square and weld them together, making one long piece by splicing them together on the ends. Then we want you to grind them to make the splice invisible (smooth on all four sides) so it looks like it has never been cut and welded. Once you are finished with the task I will place your work in the vise approximately 1 inch below the welded area and strike it with a 4 pound hammer to try to break your weld. When I am finished the piece of iron will be either bent over or broken at the weld. This gives us an idea of your experience and welding ability.” ­­­Analysis of test

In reality the test tells you many things about the applicant.

If he can think. (Common sense) Did he prepare the steel for welding? Did he sharpen the ends of the steel to a point or V them out? Did he clamp the work to the bench to keep it straight? Did he rotate the work as he welded it? Did he grind off the weld so there was no strength left in the weld? Did it end up looking like a dog’s bone because of under cut where it was ground? If he can weld. The hammer can answer that question in about three blows. Seeing is believing! If he can grind. A good grinder can be taught how to weld. He already knows how to use his hands which tells you he has good hand and eye coordination and motor skills. Since most of the grinding is on the finished product, he will be able to assist you with little additional training. A welder who cannot grind can be a problem if you have to touch up wherever he grinds before the product goes out to the customer. Been there, done that! Pass­­— ­ If an applicant takes the test and you cannot break the weld after hitting it with the hammer, he is a rare

Fabricator n November/December 2004

In 25 years I had four people who passed the test, of which two were

hired. All the rest failed (try it yourself).

bird indeed. He will be smiling because you just showed him how good he is. You just made his day. Now he wants to talk to you about starting pay. That’s the problem with success: it costs you! And if you start someone out at a higher salary than the guys in the shop, you won’t keep your help long. There’s no such thing as keeping payroll a secret. One way or another they find out.

Fail—After the test, critique him. If you break the weld, the applicant will not be as cocky as before the test. All his hopes are dashed, so you make some kind of encouraging comment, about him showing potential and a willingness to learn. Then ask if he would be interested in learning more about the trade by working in your shop; say that you might take a chance on him. He is surprised and grateful

when you offer to train him at a lower pay scale than a person who passed. Follow that up with, “After the 90 day probationary period is over we can add another $$$ on the hour.” That should cinch the deal. Just make sure if you promise something that you live up to it or you will hear those famous words, “I’m outta here.” That comes after the bad mouthing about you to anybody who will listen, or getting “even” in one way or another. After 90 days you will know whether or not he is going to work out. This method helps in finding the “keepers.” In 25 years I had four people who passed the test, of which two were hired. All the rest failed (try it yourself). Once a person has failed the test, he’s much smarter and wants to take it over, so don’t bother testing him again. A word of caution: when testing the weld with the hammer make sure that you have an open area in front of the vise in the direction of the hammer strike because sometimes it’s much like teeing off at the golf course. After observing the work, my foreman was known to shout “fore” before he struck the first blow, which frequently sent the top piece sailing across the shop. The other employees usually managed to be nearby to observe the hammer part of the test, remembering their own test with a smile. Hiring the applicant

We made it a policy that when we needed to hire help we would interview at least four applicants for the position and test them. Depending on the job market and response to our ads, we would interview more if possible. If the applicant was a “no show” we would call the next person on the list until the list was exhausted or someone showed up. We used temps on some larger jobs where labor was more important than skill, and we also tried part timers. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when all else failed we called parole officers to see if they had any personnel to send for job interviews. I usually worked as a team with my foreman so the new person hired would be based on a consensus of opinion. Since the foreman runs the shop his input is essential for harmony 28

Fabricator n November/December 2004

or you will hear, “I don’t know why the boss hired this dud!” With a joint effort it’s “Boss, I think we made a mistake.” We told the applicants that they could be dismissed at any time without reason or cause during the probationary period. We could tell who was interested in keeping their job because a “new broom sweeps clean” and I noticed that when we started running the “help wanted” ads, the shop ran as smooth as a new Rolex watch. Nobody

A little side advice: Turn competitors into friends

was late for work or tardy after lunch. Was it just a coincidence? Don’t be disappointed if your new hire doesn’t show up after you call him. Many times he has put in applications at several firms and he opted to take the other job for unknown reasons. Occasionally he came back after trying the other place for a couple of weeks and wanted to take the test again. We kept records that prevented that. We devoted a file drawer to the applications and time cards. We filed the

Always make an effort to make friends with your competitors. One day, you might need a couple spear points to finish a job. You know your friend has them and he would be glad to help you out. Great feeling, isn’t it? Always return more than you borrowed; he’ll note the difference, that you’re not cheap, and respect you for it. Your friendship will help both shops. My dad had a saying about it, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”… still good advice. If your competition is not a good businessperson, or lacks the capital to succeed, you will discover it when you see a newspaper ad with his name on it in the auction column, and the caption “DBA (doing business as) Sloppy Ironworks, Inc., sale by order of secured creditors…” It’s the Great American Way.

applications in alphabetical order, so all we had to do was check to know whether he had previously been tested. The time cards proved even more important because they gave us the days, hours worked, his signature saying he agreed with the amount of hours he was paid for that week, and all the days he was absent, tardy, or left early. Over time they allowed us to win every contested hearing for unemployment compensation which was in dispute. Records, records, records. Don’t you just love them when they save you money?

Letting people go (termination)

When our employees were not working out, we would counsel them on their shortcomings well before their departure. Once in a while they would quit, realizing they should move on to another place. I feel that being honest about this subject is the best policy. A person should put himself in their position and ask, “If that was me, would I like to have my situation handled that way?” Firing without notice, handing him his check, and providing an escort off the premises, is, in my opinion,

1638 NW 108th Ave. Miami FL 33172 • (305) 593-8798 • (877) 503-CAME • 30

Fabricator n November/December 2004

Firing without notice, handing him his check, and providing an

escort off the premises, is, in my opinion, like a stab in the back. like a stab in the back and the prime reason we sometimes read about those terminations in the newspapers. We tried to assist those people during their transition by counseling them, finding out their interests, hobbies, special skills, and goals in life. Sometimes we would find that they really liked to cook, do landscaping, work on cars, or had an interest in sales. We set up appointments at the State

Employment Offices for aptitude tests (for their natural abilities), and made recommendations toward a vocation where they could use those skills. If they had a good attendance record, and did as they were told in a willing manner, we would try to help them find another job. These are good qualities that other employers look for. Occasionally we could help them out. Other times, no luck at all, but the fact

that the employees knew we made an effort to help before they left us was usually appreciated. At times we would tell a person to look for another job, and he could have the time off if necessary. However, if he did not find one within two weeks, his time was up. Most potential employers feel that since the person is employed he is a better quality to hire. To those deserving individuals, we gave good references if the new employer called and we acted surprised that he was leaving. The individuals being terminated for disciplinary reasons were dealt with differently. Most of those were due to: excessive absenteeism or tardiness, poor job performance due to bad attitude, insubordination, damage to property, and theft (very difficult to prove). We normally waited until the offender had repeated the infraction several times before they were counseled verbally about it, warning, “Next time it will be in writing.” After that, a shape-up letter was given with instructions to read the letter, sign the carbon copy saying that the contents of the letter were acknowledged and understood, and return the copy to us. If the same offenses continued, the “pink slip” was personally delivered (in a private setting) by myself at 8 a.m. with his paycheck, along with a verbal “thank you” for the work he did for the company during his stay. I offered a handshake, occasionally turned down, and the wish of good luck in the future. Then we removed the nametag from his locker. Aftermath of termination

Since the person let go is out of work, he or she often signs up for unemployment benefits. His reason for not working is usually that he was “wronged” in some way. In a few weeks the letter from the unemployment office arrives with the date of your hearing before a judge. This is when your records, coupled with your side of the story, saves you money because he will be denied unemployment benefits. You proved your case of misconduct, beyond a doubt, thanks to your records. Training future competitors 32

Fabricator n November/December 2004

Once he secures financial backing, he will start to be noticed. He will have the ability to take jobs away from you. If he happened to be your foreman, he already knows your customers.

You should remember that any competent person who comes into your shop and learns the trade from you could leave your shop and become a competitor (the Great American Way). Once he secures financial backing, he will start to be noticed. He will have the ability to take jobs away from you. If he happened to be your foreman, he already knows your customers and is friendly with most of them. They always told you how sharp he was, and maybe looking back now, they might have been comparing you to him. The new telephone book now has his listing, nearer the top, and his ad is bigger than yours and in color! He knows all your prices, too. He knows how to drop the total a couple dollars, so he wins the job and your bid loses. That one job which really makes you easy money and bolsters your bottom line will be profitable for him too. This can all happen, and more. It’s called “free enterprise.” Let’s hope that the competition you have is not from your own shop, and what could happen never does.


Fabricator n November/December 2004

Finishing Options

Shop Talk

In-house powder coating: To be or not to be? n One NOMMA member enjoys great success with in-house powder coating, while another finds that outsourcing to a nearby coater is the best arrangement for his firm. This article covers the advantages, and potential drawbacks, of both options.

By John L. Campbell

In-house or outsource?

The question arises regarding the cost effectiveness of bringing this technology inNovember/December 2004 n Fabricator

This drying rack system was designed by Earl Burkett of New Market Iron Works.

house to compliment and/or replace solvent base painting. Is a basic patch operation for powder painting worth $60,000 to $80,000 investment in equipment and space? That depends on whom you ask. One powder painting consultant in Chicago said there was a dearth of used equipment on the market because businesses were closing their in-house powder painting systems. He felt that in many captive operations the inhouse systems weren’t cost-effective. Barry Finegold, president of O’Donohue Industries Inc. in Milwaukee concurs that used equipment is available; but he doesn’t believe it’s because in-house systems were not cost-effective. His company sells and installs complete powder coating systems. “A lot of manufacturers have closed their domestic plants and outsourced their work to overseas suppliers. In Wisconsin, for example, manufacturers of lawn and garden equipment have switched to injection molded plastics rather than using steel stampings. The cab on a John Deere 35

For your information


Over the past fifty years coating metal parts with plastic has grown from a hot metal dipping process in a fluidized bed of thermoplastic powder to a major industry challenging solvent based paint business with plastic clearcoats and metallics in a variety of textures and gloss levels. With today’s technology finely-ground, electrostatically-charged thermoset resins and pigment are sprayed onto electrostatically-charged surfaces, where they tightly adhere to the surface. Parts are being coated now that could not be heated and dipped in a fluidized bed. The coatings are thinner, and newer resins have been developed with hybrid plastics like polyester/urethanes and epoxy-polyesters. The volatility of solvent-based paints is eliminated, reducing the need for pollution control equipment. Unlike liquid paints, unused resins can be swept-up, collected, and recycled, using almost 100 percent of over-sprayed powder. A study by the Powder Coating Institute in 1990 indicated that conventional solvent painting costs 6.06 cents per square foot compared to 4.28 cents per square foot for powder coating. There’s no long drying time. When parts are coated and cured, they’re ready to be shipped and installed. Moreover, the finish doesn’t chip or scratch as easily as wet paints. Given these advantages, powder coating has captured about 15 percent of the commercial painting market.

About the author: Mr. Campbell was formerly selfemployed for 26 years with Castings Consultants Inc. and is now a highly regarded industry author and senior writer for Fabricator. More information on powder coatCO NT AC T ing: Powder Coating Institute, 2121 Eisenhower Ave., Suite 401, Alexandria, VA 22314, Ph: (703) 684-1770 Fax: (703) 684-1771. Web:

We’ve had a rash of people around here who got out of the (powder

painting) business because they didn’t clean their steel well. combine is plastic, injection molded, the die as big as this room. Steel parts have to be painted; plastics do not. In addition, the increased cost of steel as a raw material has benefited the plastics industry.” Earl Burkett, president of New Market Iron Works in Huntsville, AL, installed a batch type powder painting facility and he said, “It’s been a God-

send to my business. We can’t beat people off with a stick around here. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or anything, but we got a lot of business because of it.” Burkett said his company earns another $5,000 a month in profits since they installed their own powder painting equipment. New Market Iron Works is only seven years old. They

fabricate steel assemblies regularly for a manufacturer of car wash equipment along with customized handrails and ornamental ironwork. Even before he graduated from high school, Burkett had a good business going as a farrier, work as physical as being an NFL inside lineman. Eighteen years of shoeing horses ruined his back and propelled him into his current business. Now, at age 42, Burkett finds himself trying to make new things happen with his company. “We’ve had a rash of people around here who got out of the (powder painting) business because they didn’t clean their steel well,” said Burkett. “Our customers expect a year’s guarantee on our coatings. We’ve had a few callbacks, but not many, where someone touched a piece with a greasy glove.” An extra incentive

For Burkett the initial reason for bringing his powder coating system in-house was purely economic. Paint solvents are hazardous and highly flammable. He was being pressured by his insurance carrier to install an expensive overhead sprinkler system in case of fire. “In addition to our solvent painting in-house, we were spending $3,000 to $8,000 every month, sometimes as much as $15K, with a powder coating supplier 60 miles away,” explained Burkett. “We were burning the wheels off a truck with one man in it all the time.” Using colorful metaphors dressed in the ankle length jargon of the South, Earl enumerates his costs and his breakeven point in the paint department. Asked what volume he needed to justify the cost of his powder painting equipment, Earl said a minimum of 1,000 linear feet a month. “Right now, we’re running about 2,500 feet.” “We were spending about $3,000 a month on liquid paint plus the wages of three men, one of whom works in the sandblast department,” said Earl. “We spend as much as $30 a gallon for quality paint. Today, my cost for powder paint, gas to run the oven, and a substantial payment on my equipment doesn’t exceed my previous paint costs.” In addition, he attracted enough new work for powder paint36

Fabricator n November/December 2004

Don’t fret over the Faraday Cage

One of the peculiar challenges of powder coating is the “Faraday Cage” effect. This is a physics phenonomen that causes problems with inside corners or complex geometries. Essentially, the corners create an invisible electrical shield that prevents the charged powder particles from reaching the internal corners and recesses. If the powder cannot get to these areas, then corrosion may result. For strategies on how to overcome this challenge, there is a helpful on-line article at: ing to pay for his employees in that department. Burkett is not an impetuous buyer. “Ask Gil Cook, the salesman for CNC Industrial. I was a hard sell.” The initial impetus that caused Burkett to investigate powder painting came from his insurance carrier’s insistence that he install a $50,000 overhead sprinkler system because of the solvent paint department. He always wanted to do larger work, so in addition to adding 9,000 square feet to his plant for powder painting, he constructed a shed 14 by 30 feet. When the outside jobbing source lost New Market’s work, they laid off an employee. Burkett turned around and hired the man, which solved his problem of training someone.


“We’re running 8 hours a day, powder painting everything from motorcycle gas tanks to hot rod frames and outdoor furniture. All we have is a batch oven and an electrostatic paint gun. We can change colors in 5 minutes. For our type of business, I wouldn’t recommend anything except a batch type oven.” For paint preparation Burkett relies on sand blasting plus a spray of phosphate. He plans to spend another $20,000 for a recycling phosphate rinse system. Unfortunately, he is not allowed to dump into a municipal sewer. If he could, the cost of his rinse system would drop to about $4,500. With the mild Alabama weather Burkett says all he needs is a concrete slab for his phosphate rinse installation.

“The operator dresses in a raincoat anyway.” “Two ornamental metal shops outside our immediate area bring their work here,” said Burkett, “One has already decided to buy their own system.” Two problems Burkett had to contend with were establishing cycle controls on his oven, and overcoming the “Faraday effect” that occurs with powder painting inside corners. SherwinWilliams, one of his paint suppliers, helped overcome that phenomenon. “One of the hidden benefits of powder coating,” said Burkett, “is the cost savings at the time of inspection after handrail installations. I bet we save 20 percent on installations. We shrink wrap say, 200 feet of rail on the truck, ship it, install it, and touch-up won’t take more than 5 minutes of our time, which in this business is unheard of.” Thermoplastic powder coatings take more abuse than metal finished with solvent paints. “There’s a second benefit to that,” Burkett added. “When powder coated rail comes out of the oven and cools, it’s ready to ship. Whereas, solvent based paint takes

Fabricator n November/December 2004

Jack Henricks, president of Carrara Industries Inc., places great

emphasis on the chemical pre-treatment of steel before powder coating.

sometimes 24 to 48 hours before it dries and hardens enough to ship. Powder coating may not be the answer for a lot of paint shops, but it fits right in for us.” In talking with other fabricators three reasons pop up for installing their own powder painting systems: cost, control, and convenience. Sometimes to get a special color, jobbing sources

will charge a fee of $100 for color changing. Small jobs won’t take that extra cost. Process lead times may be inconvenient if you have to wait a week to get parts painted and returned. In addition, transportation and handling costs become a factor. A different perspective

1-888-MH-FENCE Corporate Office: Master-Halco, Inc. 4000 W. Metropolitan Dr., Suite 400 Orange, CA 92868 e-mail:


Mofab Inc. in Anderson, IN uses an outside powder coating firm called Carrara Custom Powder Coatings. Max Hains at Mofab says he’s never thought about bringing that work in-house because he gets good service and his supplier is local. For solvent painting Mofab designed a system they called Flo-coat. Contained in a 9 by 24 foot paint tunnel they recycle their paint using a non-sparking brass pump. Jack Henricks, president of Carrara Industries Inc., places great emphasis on the chemical pre-treatment of steel before powder coating. Without their phosphoric acid system of pre-treatment their resin-coated parts would never pass a 600 to 800 hour salt spray test. The adherence of powder coating depends on a clean, grease-free substrate; and there are three basic preparations used. By far, the most common is the iron phosphate-etch using phosphoric acid. One supplier of pre-cleaning chemicals cautions the use of iron phosphate-rinsing on aluminum. Iron on aluminum will cause minute galvanic corrosion cells that blister over time. Despite this possibility, iron phosphate treatments are being used on aluminum prior to powder painting. Another pre-treatment is zinc phosphate; and a third, used only with aluminum extrusions, is a chromatic conversion coating. Check with your municipal sewage authority on their regulations before installing a powder painting system. Most municipalities frown on the dumping of heavy metal chromates into sewer systems. To neutralize the potential problems of using an iron phosphate rinse on aluminum, Barry Finegold recommends applying a non-chromate sealer prior to painting. “They’ve made big improvements in the past eight to ten years on non-chromate sealers,” explained Finegold. When asked what information a company like O’Donohue Industries would need to provide an estimate for a powder painting installation, Finegold recited these factors: • Metals being painted. • Maximum size of the fabrications, which can determine the type of preheat and curing ovens required Fabricator n November/December 2004

• How the parts are being used. • Where the parts are installed (interior, exterior environment, etc.) • Estimated number of colors involved. • Anticipated production, parts required per day, per shift. To further investigate the economical aspects of powder coating, contact the

Powder Coating Institute (see page 35).

NOMMA’s Upper Midwest Chapter recently received a first-class education on powder coating by touring Carrara Industries Inc. of Anderson, IN. For pretreatment, the company offers a five-stage iron phosphate immersion system, a three-stage iron phosphate spray wand, acid pickle, and an abrasive blast. left: Carrara president Jack Henricks leads a tour of the grounds. right: Attendees walk through the production area, which provides both conveyor and booth processing.


















Fabricator n November/December 2004

Finish Prep

Shop Talk

Dry ice blasting: Cleaning metal without the mess n Sandblasting with dry ice leaves no mess — the CO2 pellets simply sublimate into the atmo-

sphere. While the process may sound like a dream, it does have limitations.

Hi-tech containers can greatly minimize the sublimation of the dry ice. Dry ice begins to sublimate at temperatures above -109o F.

By John L. Campbell Grit blasting is a common way to clean

metal surfaces, whether it’s for paint preparation or routine maintenance cleaning. Blasting media varies from ground-up walnut shells to silica sand, steel shot, and glass beads. The process is fast and relatively inexpensive. If you’re doing it outside on site, one of the added costs is the cleanup. Both the blasting particles and the contaminant removed have to be swept-up and hauled away. Landfills are getting more picky on what they’ll take. There’s also the hazard of having people exposed to the dust and toxicity of the process. November/December 2004 n Fabricator

For your information

Dry ice blasting machines come in various models and sizes. The system is environmentally friendly and can allow many items to be cleaned “in place,” which saves time and money.


Photos co u nental C rtesy of Contiarbonic P roducts Inc.

For more information on cryogenic cleaning systems:

Earl Burkett, president of New Market Iron Works, a NOMMA member in Huntsville, AL, tells about a business acquaintance who paints the inside of water storage tanks. To prepare the metal surfaces for painting, they sandblast the inside surfaces. The amount of sand generated is so large it requires the painter to cut a hole in the side of the tank to remove the waste. Where they dump the sand, especially if it’s considered toxic waste, is another costly problem. Now, imagine cleaning that same metal surface inside the tank where the blasting medium “sublimates.” That’s a big word that means a solid substance changes to a gas without going to a liquid first. We all know that the liquid to gas trans43

Continental Carbonic Products Inc., 3985 East Harrison Ave., Decatur, IL 62526, Ph: (217) 428-2068, Fax: (217) 424-2325. Web: CryoBlast, a div. of O’Donohue Industries Inc., 6651 N. Sidney Pl., Milwaukee, WI 53209, Ph: (800) 236-4205, Fax: (414) 3710610. Note: CryoBlast has a great resource area on dry ice sandblasting on their website. Visit:


Photo: Continental Carbonic Products Inc.

Dry ice comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and packages.

formation is called evaporation. In blasting with dry ice pellets, the blasting media sublimates leaving only the contaminant to be removed. The process is not new, but few people in our industry know about it. Solid CO2 pellets have a temperature of minus -109° F. Upon impact the pellets expand 800 times their solid volume into carbon dioxide gas. That thermal-shock causes the bond between the surface being cleaned and the dirt, paint, or grime to weaken, taking off the contaminant in the process. It is frequently called cryogenic cleaning, a method of cleaning metallic surfaces without any grit or water residue. The technology has limitations, but it’s a tool every fabricator should know about. The equipment for dry ice blasting uses compressed air of 80 psi to 265 psi, depending on the manufacturer and the type of equipment. Most machines use a 1-inch diameter air line with a reach as much as 17 feet. The differences in the machines are in how they pick up and deliver the pellets. Dry ice blasting is used to strip surfaces of unwanted residues, including grease, oil, paint, ink, glue, food or rubber. Here’s a process that meets EPA, USDA, and FDA guidelines. There are several companies like Continental Carbonic Products Inc. with headquarters in Decatur, IL, who manufacture and supply dry ice pellets and distribute the equipment for cryogenic blasting. The pellets are available in three sizes—1/2 inch, 1 /4 and 1/8 inch diameters at a price of about 16 cents a pound. They supply special containers to prevent moisture contamination, although there’s a 3 to 5 percent sublimation loss over a 24 hour period. Continental has six manufacturing sites in predominately Eastern states and over a dozen branch facilities throughout the Midwest. “Dry ice blasting isn’t as aggressive as sand,” cautioned Jeffrey Johnston, vice

The major benefits may be in

eliminating secondary clean up waste and protecting public exposure to hazardous chemical agents and dangerous cleaning methods.


Fabricator n November/December 2004

president of sales and marketing for Continental. “The major benefits may be in eliminating secondary clean up waste and protecting public exposure to hazardous chemical agents and dangerous cleaning methods. The process is more applicable to on-site cleaning and painting projects where tents and covers are required to shield adjacent areas from blasting with sand or water.” The equipment sold and leased by Continental Carbonic is manufactured by Cold Jet in Loveland, OH. Machines are as small and compact as a mobile dishwasher. Costs range from $10,800 to $30,000 with flexible leasing arrangements. In some cities companies will purchase the equipment to provide this cleaning service to select clients. Applications in the metal casting industry include cleaning resin-coated molds and dies without taking them off the machines, cleaning printing equipment in place, cleaning bake ovens, conveyors and mixers, electrical equipment, automotive parts manufacturing, and general maintenance.

November/December 2004 n Fabricator

Cleaning metal with dry ice

The CryoBlast website provides information on cleaning aluminum, brass, copper, and steel. You can also obtain data on paint removal and mold cleaning. The system is ideal for removing rust, oxidation, paint, scale, and oil from metals. However, note that the cleaning process is nonabrasive and cannot normally remove “stains” in the substrate. For more info, visit Premier Aluminum Inc., a permanent molder of aluminum with plants in Wisconsin, uses the process to clean steel dies without taking the heavy molds off automatic machines. They claim to save 80 percent in downtime using equipment manufactured by Artimpex N.V. of Belgium. Some foundries use the process for removing baked-on resins from cast iron core boxes. The dry ice is nonabrasive, so it doesn’t affect tooling tolerances. Artimpex manufactures the Cryomonic® Portable Dry Ice Blasting machine, which is distributed in the U.S. by the CryoBlast div. of O’Donohue Industries Inc. in Milwaukee, WI. Barry Finegold, president of Cryo-

Blast, has written several articles on the subject of dry ice blasting. He doesn’t oversell the process, admitting that dry ice isn’t as fast or aggressive as grit blasting. Brittle substances like thin glass might shatter. Wood and some soft plastics could be damaged. The pellets literally bounce off powder painted surfaces. It works well in cleaning electrical equipment because it’s non-conductive and leaves no dust or wetness. In the electronics industry it’s used to remove flux from circuit boards. The cost of dry ice blasting is more expensive than using a sand grit until the cleanup time is factored into the total cost. The price of pellets has gone


The operator of dry ice blasting

equipment should wear coveralls, gloves, and safety glasses or a face shield as well as hearing protection.

down over the past few years. Prices have declined from 22 to 16 cents a pound. The equipment costs, depending on the units and the manufacturer, range from $10 to $30 thousand. Essential backup equipment includes an air compressor of at least 50 h.p. and normal electrical outlets. The operator of dry ice blasting equipment should wear coveralls, gloves, and safety glasses or a face shield as well as hearing protection. According to Barry Finegold, the noise level depends on the operating pressure and air volume giving a decibel level of 90 dB to 125 dB. A half percent (0.5) by volume of CO2 in the work environment is considered maximum; so in confined spaces dedicated to dry ice blasting, ventilation should be considered. Availability of dry ice pellets should not be a problem. Special containers that hold as much as 500 lbs. are used for shipping to keep the sublimation process as low as possible. In addition to CryoBlast div. of O’Donohue Industries and Continental Carbonic Products Inc., other companies in the business include FQS Environmental Services, Jacksonville, FL; Kinetics ThermalSystems, Stone Ridge, NY; World Energy Supply Co., Houston, TX; and Alpheus – Dry Ice Blasting, Cucamonga, CA.

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Fabricator n November/December 2004

Member Talk

Starting up: McDonough makes it look easy

McDonou gh in his new hom away fro e m home.

A seasoned fabrictor gives good perspective to starting up a new shop. His credo: Keep it simple, be flexible, and don’t accept ‘ASAP’ as a time frame. By Rachel Bailey Managing Editor This summer between the onslaughts of Hurricane Francis and Hurricane Ivan I caught up with Tom McDonough, owner of the new Master Metal Services Inc. in Davie, FL. McDonough has been a dependable editorial resource for the past few years, quickly responding to technical questions with enough information to fill a whole issue of Fabricator magazine. So in June 2004 when he told me he planned to leave Eagle Metal Fabricators Inc. and start his own shop, I thought maybe he could offer Fabricator readers a few words on starting up a new business. I decided to travel down to South Florida and check out his new digs for myself. By that time, mid-September 2004, McDonough said he’d lost about five days of business to the storms. But from the November/December 2004


number of calls that came in during our interview and from the look of confidence in McDonough’s eye, I’d say Master Metal Services is fairing well the trials that test any startup, including natural disasters. McDonough currently runs Master Metal Services as a one-man shop, focusing primarily on architectural metal accents in homes and restaurants. “So far I’m doing just what I set out to do,” McDonough says. “Aluminum tread plate, aluminum and stainless steel trim work, accents on kitchens and bathrooms for homes and restaurants, and tables and other pieces of furniture for mid to highend residential—not just rails.” Keeping it simple

It seems McDonough plans to keep his shop simple. Currently, he fabricates and installs his work. But ideally he would like to just manufacture and avoid installation.

For your information

Master Metal Services fabricated, finished, and installed this ornamental curved railing made of steel panels for a school in South Florida.

NOMMA member: Tom McDonough, Master Metal Services Inc., Davie, FL.

Tips for a start up fab shop: Avoid buying expensive equipment at first, instead outsource. Hire initial employees through staff leasing companies. Don’t limit yourelf to just fabrication. Stand up to overdemanding contractors.


“When you just manufacture, there’s a lot less liability and less headache,” McDonough says. McDonough has other ideas for running a tight and light ship. He plans to buy equipment only as he needs it. However, he would prefer to shop out work when possible and then assemble the final pieces himself. By letting other shops purchase and fabricate material, he won’t have to store it, buy expensive fabricating equipment, or hire a lot of fabricators to work at his shop. When he does get ready to hire employees, McDonough plans to do it through staff leasing agencies, and thereby minimize human resource work. “They take care of workman’s comp, liability insurance, and health insurance,” McDonough explains. “It’s the way to go for small businesses. McDonough’s background

McDonough speaks of the industry and strategies for his business like a seasoned professional. That’s because he is. Although Master Metal Services

This aluminum angle and flat bar table fits perfectly in a kitchen with limited space. The client requested a clean industrial look.

is a new business, McDonough has worked in the industry since he was a kid. His father started Eagle Metal Fabricators Inc. in 1977. McDonough learned the trade and the industry by working for his dad. “Since I was ten I worked at the shop during summers, doing clean up,” McDonough recalls. “I went to

college in Gainesville to earn a degree in business management. But I kind of stayed in the college mode for a few years, even when I came back home to South Florida. For a while I installed car stereos and cell phones. Eventually, my, then, long-time girlfriend and I decided we were ready to settle down and get married. So I asked my dad if

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I could come work for him. He put me to work in the shop. And I learned the business from the shop up.” Similarly, McDonough is developing his new business from the shop up. “It’s a big difference working as foreman of a 25-plus-employee-shop to working as project manager, salesperson, purchasing agent, office manager, fabricator, and installer for a oneman shop,” McDonough says with a laugh. “I used to meet with clients and homeowners in business attire. But now I show up in my dickeys and a Tshirt,” McDonough explains. “People treat you differently when you’re wearing workman’s clothes.” Adjusting to his more demanding schedule also takes some getting used to. When I got to his shop, McDonough admitted that he’d worked the past 11 days straight. However, he believes that by streamlining his business, without limiting it, he’ll eventually get back to a 60-hour work week. Plus, within a year, he plans to hire one full-time fabricator/ installer.

Master Metal Services fabricated and installed these easily maintainable stainless steel counter tops for a chain of paint stores.

Establishing a name

Choosing a name for his new business was not something that McDonough took lightly. “I didn’t want to limit myself to steel,” McDonough says. “I also didn’t want to suggest that I was just a welder.” Another consideration had to do

with subbing work out. The name Master Metal Services doesn’t limit McDonough to just fabrication. Choosing a location

At first McDonough ran a mobile shop, using only a trailer outfitted with his company name and logo. But

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This aluminum kitchen trim is made of 1/8” tread plate. Cabinet doors were sheared and drilled, and backsplash was laser cut.

then his storage facility, a 1,000 square foot bay in a warehouse complex, turned out to be a great place to accommodate his office too. “It’s cheap, close to everything, nobody bothers you, and everybody looks out for each other,” McDonough says. “There’s always someone around.” When he needs more space, McDonough can simply expand to another bay. Until then, McDonough seems to make the most of his space, using a loft area to store materials. He keeps a set of equipment in the warehouse bay and an extra set of portable equipment on the trailer. Getting work

Master Metal Services already operates under a steady flow of work. McDonough has a network of friends who also work in the construction industry. His father-in-law is a handyman and refers McDonough to clients looking for architectural metal accents. Another friend has a welding shop and sends a lot of ornamental repair work his way. “If I got everything I bid I’d be in trouble,” McDonough says. Plus, McDonough has a strong reputation as a dependable subcontractor in the area. Pulling from experience

McDonough shared a little from his past experiences at Eagle Metal Services, particularly one lesson he learned about dealing with contractors. “I learned about four years ago to not accept ‘ASAP’ as a 50


November/December 2004

time frame. I tell contractors to give me a date,” McDonough says. McDonough says he used to be stressed out a lot and would do everything that his contractors demanded, immediately. But then he realized that often when people say they need something done right away, they are bluffing. “A contractor kept calling me and asking when we’d have the job ready to install. He kept calling. So I finally pulled guys off of the jobs they were working on to finish up this rail that the contractor was on me about. When we got there to install it, the contractor wasn’t even ready for it.” McDonough says that was a turning point for him that helped put him in back in control of his projects. Balancing family and business

No matter what kind of experience a fabricator brings to the table, starting a new business is tough. One of the hardest parts can be balancing work and personal affairs. “We really changed our lives by doing this,” McDonough says, referring

November/December 2004


to himself and his wife, Jeannine. “I never worked weekends before. I would work 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and then a couple more hours at night at home after the kids went to bed. Now I have to work when the work comes in. I see the kids every night and in the morning, but there’s not much time in the evenings or on the weekends.” Despite missing time with his kids, McDonough keeps After an unsuccessful attempt, the homeowner hired their spirit around the office. McDonough to assemble, finish, and install this rail. Artwork by Courtney, age 9, and Thomas, 11, decorate the walls. rolling the dice just like everyone else.” Handling insurance

No pressure

Another difficult issue for new business owners is handling health insurance for themselves and their dependents. “I got private health insurance for my family,” McDonough says. “Most of my friends own their own businesses too, so they helped me find a good agent. But we’re living on a budget. I’m

He may be rolling the dice, but despite the risks, starting Master Metal Services should prove a rewarding venture for Tom McDonough and his family. I wish him nothing but the best. Oh yeah, and a request that he get a wireless laptop so he can continue to help Todd and me with technical articles from the field. No pressure, of course.


Member Talk

Hans Duus Blacksmith Inc. fabricated 101 light fixtures for Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas.

Innovation in Ironwork

Finding a niche in contract lighting and growing with it!

California-based Hans Duus Blacksmith Inc. has hammered out a solid reputation for handcraftsmanship in hospitality and residential applications. Here, the founder talks about the company’s history, accomplishments, and its future. Q: How did you become interested in blacksmithing? Duus: When I was 10-years-old, my father bought me a very small anvil as a gift. I would heat nails and other small pieces of iron in a BBQ pit and pound on them. A few years later, as a high school freshman, I enrolled in a welding class, much to my mother’s dismay. That was all it took for me to become hooked on 52

welding and metalworking. Needing a summer job as a teenager, I was fortunate enough to find employment at Old World Metal Craft, a lighting manufacturer in my hometown of Solvang, CA. The company was owned by a gentleman who had learned the trade in Europe in the 1920s and ‘30s. I continued to work there through college, eventually becoming shop foreman. Over my 15-year tenure, I also had the opportunity to get involved with design. Q: When did you start your own business? Duus: I founded my own company in 1982. As a one-man shop I took in almost

For your information

Find out how a one-person shop opened in 1982 became a manufacturing facility of 15–20 employees. The following article featuring NOMMA member Hans Duus Blacksmith Inc., Buellton, CA, appeared in the July-August issue, page 14, of Contract Lighting.

Hans and Carla Duus NOMMA member: Hans Duus Blacksmith Inc., Buellton, CA. Niche: Lighting fixtures, 65% for contract/hospitality and 35% for residential.


November/December 2004

Hans Duus Blacksmith Inc. spent 18 months working with the design team on ideas for the 101 fixtures specified. They had five months to build them all.

anything that came my way in order to make ends meet, but my specialty was ornamental ironwork. I built quite a reputation locally over the years for forging and fabricating high-quality gates, railings, grilles, grates, and other objets d’art in iron for architects, contractors, interior and landscape designers, and homeowners. Since I had a background in lighting from my

years at Old World Metal Craft, I also dabbled in that market. In 1988, my wife, Carla, joined the company. With her encouragement and help, things really started to take off. She ran the office, as I was never very good at paying bills and organizing paperwork. Carla was also an essential “third hand” in the shop and on job sites. The daughter of a carpen-

ter, she is quite accomplished with a grinder and drill and can even do some forging. In 1992, Old World Metal Craft closed its doors and a former coworker asked if I needed help. Like myself, Don DeMeyer had also “grown up” in lighting manufacturing (he now has spent 40 years in the industry). I gladly took him on board, and with his arrival we started to get serious about lighting again. Over time, the shop and the projects we handled grew in size and number, which necessitated hiring more employees. Our sales manager, Marv Newton, arrived in 1997, bringing along not only sales skills but construction expertise. In late 1999, we decided to pursue the lighting market exclusively and to expand our reach nationally. Our facility consists of two adjacent buildings covering approximately 12,000 square feet. We have 15–20 people on staff, depending on the amount of projects underway. Right now we have 16 employees, several of

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After establishing the lighting theme in the lobby, the firm carried it through to the casino, public lounges, and convention center space.

whom have been here for more than 10 years. Q: What are your company’s greatest strengths? Duus: I feel we have two. The first is customer relations; we strive to deliver all of our projects within reasonable budget and time constraints. The second is our ability and willingness to customize any of our “stock” designs, plus create new fixtures in collaboration with designers and architects to meet their needs. We consistently produce well-made fixtures that are truly handcrafted and represent the heirloom quality of years ago. Our clients tell us they appreciate our ability to bring their specific design vision into reality. They comment on our willingness to solve problems rather than create them. Price is also a consideration; therefore, we consistently work within budget. We also hear that a lot of electricians feel confident installing our products. This isn’t so surprising since we actually spend a lot of time with electricians, asking them what would make it easier for them during the installation process, inquiring about the challenges they face, and addressing maintenance issues such as making the fixtures simple to re-lamp. For example, on one job site electricians asked me how to assemble another lighting manufacturer’s fixture. I sat down with them for an hour and a half November/December 2004



trying to figure out how to put it together. It was a big lesson in that it made me even more adamant that I would not send out a fixture that was so complicated to assemble without either highly detailed instructions or someone from our staff on-site to help. Q: How did contract work come about?

The fixtures typically range in size from 4 to 12 feet square.

W agner II To come from Heidi

Duus: Our foray into casino/hospitality work was a sheer stroke of luck, a day when our stars apparently lined up. A gentleman who had been in lighting for a long time had retired and moved to Solvang. After several years of blissful retirement, he became bored and yearned to see some of his colleagues in the hospitality design arena. Familiar with our company and our capabilities, he approached us with a proposition of representing us in this market. I quickly accepted his offer and the rest is history. He opened some tremendous doors for us. Many of our hospitality clients are now handled in-house by Marc (Newton); however, we have several reps who call on commercial accounts. I personally enjoy the hospitality work we’ve done. I find it exciting and challenging—you go through a whole range of emotions over the course of a project. Our work is approximately 65 percent contract/hospitality and 35 percent residential, which typically is comprised of high-end estates utilizing a mix of stock and custom pieces. Q: How did you become involved with Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino? Duus: We had already worked with Dougall Design Associates in Pasadena on probably seven or eight Las Vegas properties (i.e. the Venetian, Luxor, Monte Carlo, and Excalibur, among others). They were the design team handling Mandalay Bay and contacted us regarding the project. We enjoy collaborating with them because they know what they want and have as much confidence in our abilities as they do their own. They understand our field of expertise and defer to us on how to accomplish the engineering to bring their concepts to



November/December 2004

life. The Mandalay Bay Development Group was also very hands-on and served as the general contractor. We spent 18 months working with the design team on ideas for the 101 fixtures specified, and we had five months to build them all. What made this project go as smoothly as it did was the degree of professionalism, communication, and planning all around—that’s the only way we could pull off something as big as this project in that time frame. Everybody had their act together. Q: What was the thought process behind these fixtures? Duus: We wanted a signature piece that would be adapted in various ways throughout the property for continuity and for all of them to relate, but to also have a sense of uniqueness. We didn’t want it to look as if the casino had gotten a really good deal on 100 fixtures. We established the lighting theme in the lobby and carried it through to the casino, public lounges, and convention center space. (Other areas, such as the food court and the elevator banks, were given a different aesthetic.) The style and dimensions varied, depending upon where the luminaries are placed. To make a statement in a particular setting, some models feature two tiers while others have octagonal frames or other shapes. We brought the crystal direct from Austria and relied on subcontractors to produce the stained glass panels that we incorporated into the designs. The fixtures typically range in size from 4 to 12 feet square.

Hans Duus Blacksmith relied on subcontractors to produce stained glass panels that were incorporated into the fixtures’ designs.

Decorative Iron

Q: How do you get the word out about your company? Duus: We invest a tremendous amount of energy and resources in promotion, advertising in many trade publications and periodicals as well as exhibiting at three or four trade shows per year. We also have a growing dealer network around the country that we spend a lot of time with. In 2002, Carla and I went on a cross-country promotional tour, where we loaded a small blacksmith shop into the back of November/December 2004



& Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA). The first was in 1998 for a torchiere we did for a casino in Tunica, MS. The second was for a pendant I developed in 2001 that has become one of our best sellers. With almost 200 entries received each year and only a handful of awards given out, it is quite an honor to receive such distinction in design and execution from a jury of our peers. Q: How do you find good employees?

The fabricator purchased the crystal for the light fixtures directly from Austria.

our van and did demonstrations at 15 select dealers. We were on the road for almost two months, weathering the remnants of two hurricanes as well as the infamous sniper attacks in Washington, D.C. In addition, our

new Web site (www.hansduusblacksmith. com) provides information about our company. There has been industry recognition as well. We won two design awards from the National Ornamental

Duus: It is always a challenge. What I look for is someone with some very basic metalworking or welding experience but, most importantly, a good attitude and work ethic. It is easier to train in-house rather than to find experienced help. I have been on an industry advisory board at a local community college for over a decade. Through this involvement we have established an ornamental metals curriculum. I am currently teaching blacksmithing at the college one night a week, which allows me to evaluate these students as potential employees. The art of blacksmithing has seen a resurgence in the last 30 years. There are now thousands of men and women practicing the craft in varying degrees. Some, like myself, are working professionally as blacksmiths or metalsmiths while many others are interested in it as a hobby. Q: What are your plans for the future?

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Duus: Over the next five years, our company will see growth and expansion. We are continually developing new designs within our niche of artistic blacksmithing and have recently started working with stainless steel to address corrosion-protection issues. We have also been exploring whether to open another manufacturing facility in a more centrally located area—a place that would allow us to significantly lower production costs in a business-friendly environment. We will, however, always be mindful of producing the high-quality of exceptional value that our clientele expects. Fabricator

November/December 2004

Job Profile

Battling bidder’s remorse on a reconstruction project For your information

NOMMA member: Royal Iron & Aluminum, West Palm Beach, FL. Specialty: Elegant, handcrafted rails, gates, doors, and grilles in aluminum, bronze, and steel. Featured job: A remodeling project of an historic home located along South Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway required corroded iron window grilles be replaced with bronze grilles of the same design. Biggest challenge: The grills’ designs were significantly more difficult to fabricate in bronze than in steel.


A South Florida fabricator experiences bidder’s remorse as a project’s unsuspected challenges emerge. Taking advantage of time and labor saving strategies, however, like modifying shop equipment, creating jigs, and casting intricate elements, helps turn it around. By Terry Barrett Royal Iron & Aluminum Sometimes, when an individual’s offering price for a new home is accepted, they experience “buyer’s remorse”—wondering if they offered the right price, or picked the right home. We have found the same is true in our business—only we call it “bidder’s remorse”—wondering if we bid November/December 2004


the right price, or if we really know how we’re going to get the job done. Such was the case with this project. We had worked hard to win an opportunity to work with a respected contractor in our area—so we were delighted when they asked us to bid on a contract for twenty-nine bronze window grills for a huge reconstruction of a mansion in the town of Palm Beach, FL. This residence had been

The completed grille, original grille, and a closeup. The original grille was made of steel. But to combat corrosion, Royal reconstructed it out of bronze.

previously declared to have “Landmark Status”—meaning the town of Palm Beach had deemed the structure’s architecture to be historically significant. Once a structure is “landmarked” many restrictions are placed on changing the appearance during remodeling or reconstruction. In this case, they declared that the original window grills were part of the historical architecture, and they need59

To attach the bronze bars Royal modified their mill by building a fixture to hold lengths of bar in position, and then they tilted the mill head 45 degrees before making notches.

ed to go on the new home (albeit one with many more windows than the original). The home spans a sliver of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway. The original grills were made of iron, and years of salt, water, and sun had wreaked havoc. In many places, the metal was almost completely corroded through. Due to this, the homeowner and architects had decided to use bronze on all exterior metal on the home.

Problem: Same design, different metal

After a look at the original remaining grills and an educated guess (more guess than educated) we put in our bid. Then came the “bidder’s remorse.” We were awarded the contract to fabricate twenty-nine bronze window grills of various sizes, ranging from two by four feet to six by eight feet. There were four different designs involved, with the most prevalent being the “grid” grill pictured and discussed in this article. The contractor supplied us with the best remaining grill to use as a template. Upon closer look, we determined that the level of detail in the original was going to be much more difficult in bronze than in iron. At the top of each grill were two horse heads, a twisted medallion in the middle, and overall bars had been pierced where they intersected. We also knew from our own experience and discussions with other NOMMA members that we should try to avoid welded joints as well as mixing castings and bar together due to the difficulty of getting consistent color when applying the patina finish. Solution 1: Cast most intricate elements

Our dilemma was that we had large quantities to complete and limited time to hand forge all the details. We compromised by using castings in two places, the horse heads and the center medallion. To provide a local artist foundry with a pattern, we cut off a horse head and center medallion from the original grill. They used clay to fill in the missing details caused by the corrosion and produced molds for the castings. With these components in the hands of the foundry we turned our attention to the pierced bars. Solution 2: Modify shop equipment

Knowing that pierced bronze bars were not practical, we began brainstorming ideas to achieve a similar look. One thought was to produce a casting of either each intersection or a series of intersections to imitate the 60


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pierced look. This was quickly rejected due to the number of welds involved and the potential for color problems. Using 385 Alloy Architectural Bronze, we then provided the architects with a sample where we overlapped the bars instead of piercing. After seeing the sample they agreed the look was good. The first step in the process was to twist the two vertical bars on each end. We then built a fixture for our mill that held a length of bar in position with one of the cross section points facing up. The mill head was tilted at a 45-degree angle and notches were milled where each horizontal bar would intersect the vertical bars. The horizontal bars were cut to length and bent in a “U� shape to form the legs of the grill. On each grill, the legs on three horizontal bars were cut four inches longer to allow us to embed them into the wall to hold the grill in place.


After welding the horsehead medallians in place, each grill was sandblasted and patinated using a premixed Antique Black commercial blend.

Solution 3: Implement jigs

A jig was used to hold the vertical bars in place while the horizontal bars were positioned in the milled notches. Still avoiding welding where we could, we used a step drill to drill and counterbore a hole through the horizontal bar perpendicular to the flat of the bar. This allowed us to intersect each vertical bar at a 45-degree angle and perpendicular to the milled notch. Once this was completed, a hole was drilled and tapped in the vertical bar to accept a screw. After all the bars were mechanically fastened together, a plug made from round bronze, slightly longer than the counterbore depth, was pressed into each hole and filed smooth to completely hide where the screws were located. The horse heads and center medallions were welded in place and cleaned. Each grill was sandblasted and patinated using a premixed Antique Black commercial chemical. We had to redo the first one several times to learn the best process of hand spraying the chemical to get the color right and to keep the chemical from pooling in all the corners. In order to keep the color as consistent as possiNovember/December 2004



ble, we controlled the time separately between those portions that were cast and bar. While nearly all of our employees were involved in some stage of working on all the grill designs, Eduardo Suarez was dedicated to the fabrication of the majority of the grills.

Solution 4: Create templates

Since these grills were close to 300 pounds each, the next issue we faced was how to lift them into position, and hold them in position long enough for them to be securely fastened to the walls. We decided to fabricate a plywood template for each grill to match the location of the longer legs. The template was used to mark the site for the holes that were core drilled into the stucco and concrete wall. The grill was then hoisted into place and a high strength, quick curing epoxy was inserted into the hole to hold the grills. The epoxy had a set time of less than five minutes, so we were able to just hold the grill in place for a few minutes instead of building a rigid support. Once the legs were cured, the contractor then stuccoed around all them making it look like each leg was embedded. Special thanks to lead fabricator

While nearly all of our employees were involved in some stage of working on all the grill designs, Eduardo Suarez was dedicated to the fabrication of the majority of the grills. After months of fabricating he was happy to see the stacks of grills begin to go on the trucks for installation. Overall, we spent 1,600 hours on the project, including installation, and an unrecorded number of “head-scratching” hours. All’s well that ends well

Two of the first grills installed went on windows on either side of the main entrance. We immediately began hearing how the owners, architects, and contractor were delighted with the final result. We were delighted that the project was a success—the customer was happy, the contractor used us for other projects, and we made a little money. “Bidder’s remorse” disappeared! (At least until next time.) 62


November/December 2004

Job Profile

Models help execute design Medwedeff Forge & Design creates another beautiful fountain. INSET: Front view.

This well-known NOMMA sculptor uses models to design and fabricate his monumental fountains. By John Medwedeff Medwedeff Forge & Design When I was commissioned to design a sculptural fountain, later titled “Oasis,” that would serve as a landmark for William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, IL, the project presented a wonderful opportunity to create a sculpture of greater scale than any of my previous works. To fulfill the vision set forth by the college president, it was clear from the beginning that this had to be a dramatic piece in scale and form. Conceptualizing the sculpture’s design, I spent hours considering its proportions and imagining how the space surrounding its intended site would appear in three years with a new Performing Arts Center and additional landscaping. After leaving the school one day, I drove to Indiana Dunes State Park on the south eastern shore of Lake Michigan. I found the visual impact and energy of the park’s environment to be tremendously inspiring, especially the roaring sound of the gravelly surf whipped up by the brisk March winds. More than 30 miles away, the spectacular Chicago skyline was visible, starkly isolated between sky and water. I drove home that night already feeling that I had established a conceptual foundation for the design of the piece and an appropriate sense of scale. I desired a form that NOMMA member: John would suggest the kinetic Medwedeff, Medwedeff Forge energy I observed in Lake & Design, Murphysboro, IL. Michigan. Additionally, I Project: A fountain for Harper considered the northern College in Palatine, IL. Illinois climate and realized Biggest challenge: Designing that for five or six months a fountain that fits by scale every year, the water feature and style to the site’s surof the sculpture would be roundings. dormant. The piece would Solution: Study the surroundhave to be sculpture first, a ing area for inspiration. fountain second. The proAward: The Illinois Capital portions of the site called Development Board recognized the work as the most for a height between 25 feet successful Art-in-Architecture and 30 feet above street project of 2002. level, which could be

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November/December 2004

achieved by a combination of sculpture and landscaping. After about thirty sketches, I started constructing 3D models with paper and hot glue. Although some designs come to me quickly, this was not one of them. I was designing this piece just as I was preparing to start the full-scale construction of “Whirl,” a sculptural shade structure that some of you may remember from the cover of the spring 2002 issue of Fabricator. “Whirl” has two canopies made of three staggered layers of 1/4 inch thick steel plates spaced about two inches apart. In several of my sketches for “Oasis,” I had imagined a very large surface area constructed in a similar fashion but without the spaces, positioned at an angle that would allow the water to flow across in a sheeting manner. My breakthrough moment came when I realized that a vessel could be created by joining two such surfaces back-to-back. The practical side of this arrangement would be threefold: the layers would add rigidity; the edges would create lines that give added visual definition to the form, and fabrication could be accomplished with a minimum amount of welding and finishing. My experimenting continued, trying one form and then another, always keeping in mind that within my aesthetic parameters, I would have to conceal copious amounts of plumbing and lighting equipment. Plus, I was thinking about built-in component sections that could be transported independently and quickly reassembled on site. The end result was an asymmetrical composition of two vessels, one standing straight, 25 feet tall, and another smaller one leaning past center, both enveloped in a huge multilayered scroll form. Five separate water features would enhance the sculpture, with water flowing over the sides of the vessels, forming powerful geysers within the vertical sections of each vessel, and more water spraying from between the layers of the scroll. I envisioned a sculpture that suggests movement and delicate balance. The volume of water (1800 GPM) required to create the desired visual effects would also offer a maximum acoustic effect. Lighting would be November/December 2004


Medwedeff’s assistants Jenny Schuler and Jeremy Crawford helped him construct a 1/4scale machinist’s model to use as a road map for the duration of the project. Through this process they could make minor refinements as necessary.

placed in the reflecting pool surrounding the piece and in each vessel. Modeling makes execution easier

I then constructed a 30 inch tall maquette for presentation to the selection committee. In an effort to further

clarify my vision for the clients, I temporarily inserted about ten feet of aquarium tubing into the piece, connected it to a garden hose and created, at least in principle, a surprisingly accurate representation of the water features. I documented this event with

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The two bronze vessels, one 25 feet tall, had to be constructed to exact specifications, insuring that water would flow evenly over them.

a short video that had every bit of the realism of the old 1960’s Godzilla movies. I cleaned up the maquette and hit the road for Chicago. After the design was approved, I started to work out the complex matrix of details. Rob Keeler of Keeler Iron Works in Memphis advised me on structural issues. Next stop was Hydro Dramatics in St. Louis, where I worked with Mike Perkowski to develop detailed plumbing and wiring schematics for the interior of the sculpture and the infrastructure of the reflecting pool. In Chicago, I met with landscape architect Randy Machelski of SmithGroup JJR. He was developing the site plan, construction documents for the 40 foot diameter reflecting pool, engineering, infrastructure details, and final choices for surrounding plantings. It was critical to the success of the project that all of our individual efforts coalesce well, both aesthetically and mechanically. Machelski’s site plan called for three diagonally radiating and elegantly curving walkways leading up a gentle burm to a wide path circling the round pool. The slope would add an extra 3 feet of height to the sculpture as well as create visual crescendo of flowers leading up to the water. I wanted the sculpture’s pedestal to be submerged to give the appearance of the piece rising from the surface of the pool. The elevated perimeter of the pool would help maintain that illusion, even during the winter months, when viewed from a car or the surrounding sidewalks. The circular pool would have a concave interior with an 18 inch tall by 10 foot diameter cast concrete pedestal at the center. The pedestal exterior would be sheathed with a 24 inch tall cylinder of 3/16 inch thick bronze. After installation, the top of the pedestal and the pool floor would be covered with 6 inches of granite river stones to conceal the base plates and concrete. A 10 foot by 8 foot by 8 foot subterranean vault would house all of the electronics to control lighting, wind sensors, water level sensors, filtration equipment, 10 HP feature pump, and the control valve system. Developing a fabrication strategy

In the studio, my assistants Jenny Schuler and Jeremy Crawford and I 66


November/December 2004

constructed a 1/4-scale machinist’s model that would be our road map for the duration of the project. Through this process we also were able to make note of minor refinements needed in the digital patterns. After checking and rechecking every detail, I called L.E. Sauer Machine Co. in St. Louis and asked them to start laser cutting the 21/2 tons of 3/16 inch silicon bronze plate for full scale construction. The process of building the 1 /4-scale maquette helped us develop a strategy for fabrication. After the bronze (now cut into 74 pieces of primary parts) and the drop (which would yield secondary parts) was delivered to my studio, the vessels had to be constructed to exact specifications in order to insure that all the parts fit together properly and that the water flowed evenly over the weirs. The plates in the scrolls could be formed with initial pinch rolls and presses, but for the tight construction of the vessels, that would not be practical. When building the model, we constructed steel armatures and welded the steel directly to the form as it was bent into shape. At full scale, we modified the process because we needed to be able to remove the armature. The armatures were constructed with wood and the metal attached to the surface with selfdrilling screws. The first layers were fastened on with the armature positioned upright and bolted to a platen table because it was absolutely critical that that the trajectory of these first pieces was perfect. Bronze does not have as much memory as steel, but it did take substantial force to pull the pieces around the forms. The holes in the platen offered purchase for our pry bars. We welded the seam of the two layers on the tall end and started working the metal around, driving in the screws every few inches. At the other end we welded on some temporary flanges and used several pieces of threaded 5/8 inch rod and nuts to draw the two sides completely together. A large electric drill with a modified socket in the chuck made short work of tightening the nuts. When the ends were drawn together the seam was welded and we were ready for the next layer. The second November/December 2004




tions of the vessels were constructed separately on a large jig. A laser was used to line up the upper and lower sections for final welding. The bottoms of the vessels were welded into place before the armatures were pulled out and the screw holes welded. The tension locked into the structure created by pulling the two sides together acted to keep the vessels quite rigid. A second floor made of ¼ inch stainless is bolted into each vessel 18 inches below the weir. This was done as a safety precaution in case anyone ever climbs up into the sculpture. A dozen 7/8 inch bolts passing through 5/8 inch stainless plates sandwiched the bronze bottoms to the 1 The sculpture took eleven hours to assemble inch stainless base plates. The larger and two more days to complete all plumbing, vessel had to accommodate 6-inch, wiring, and testing. 3-inch, and 2-inch water lines while the smaller vessel concealed 4-inch and third layers were done with the and 3-inch lines. Electricity for interpieces lying on their sides. Bending the nal lighting in each vessel required pieces in this position required two of space for conduit. The vessels’ footus to sit on the metal and another perprints were tiny. There was no wiggle son to drill in the screws. The tall secroom, which meant that the pipes set


into the concrete had to match the orifices in the sculpture perfectly. The two vessels were nested and the base plates connected by another piece of stainless steel for registration. Twelve, 1-inch by 36-inch stainless anchor bolts were fabricated to match the pattern of the two base plates. To this we added a plywood template that located all of the orifices, and the bolt pattern’s position relative to the center of the pool. I delivered this unit to the jobsite before concrete was poured. Final assembly and thereafter

When fabrication was complete The sculpture was then disassembled and temporarily installed on a specially constructed platform outside my studio where Jones Hydro Blast of Royalton, IL sandblasted it to prepare the surface for natural patination. Then the city allowed us to connect the sculpture’s water features to a fire hydrant as we tested and adjusted nozzles. Bost Trucking of Murphysboro provided a 45-foot flatbed truck to deliver the work to the site. After two days of loading, on a beautiful Sunday morning, I climbed up on the truck and signed (engraved) the piece. That afternoon, Nicole Klinge, Andrew Rieckenberg, Jeremy Waak, and I headed for Chicago. Even though this project was one of the most physically demanding installations we have done, it went quite smoothly. A 35-ton crane lifted the parts from the flatbed to the pedestal, and we had a JLG with a 60-foot boom to get us where we needed to be. The sculpture was assembled in eleven hours. It took two more days to complete all the plumbing, wiring, and testing. After nine months of fabrication, at last we were able to stand back and enjoy the full spectacle of the water features for the first time. It was wonderful to see the vision of the piece realized. The clients were thrilled and the Illinois Capital Development Board recognized the work as the most successful Art-in-Architecture project of 2002 with the Thomas A. Madigan Certificate of Recognition for Art-In-Architecture.


November/December 2004

Biz Side

Looking for sources of financing What you’ll learn!

n You’ve survived the recession and are now ready to expand again. Find out how to get that money while taking minimal risks.

You may already be feeling it in your busi-

ness. After a long period of less than robust growth, the economy is showing signs that it’s ready to climb out of a three-year recession. To some shop owners, an improving economy sparks thoughts of expansion, an additional profit center, even the acquisition of a competitor. If you’ve been thinking about expanding your operations, you already know that the first hurdle to overcome is finding the money. That often turns out to be a tough job for small business owners, but for those in the know, there are enough options available to make the task a little easier. If you’re looking for expansion financing, here are some choices along with hints on how to improve your chances of coming away with the money you need. Banks

The first place that many fabricators turn to when they need a business loan is their local bank. That’s why it’s essential to build a solid business relationship with your bank November/December 2004 n Fabricator

well before you need to ask them for money. Allowing your bank to become familiar with your business and how it is progressing sets the stage for the time when you need to ask for a loan. For relatively new businesses, most experts like the time-honored system for establishing good credit. “Take out a relatively small loan—say $10,000 or $15,000. Put that money in the bank where it will draw a little interest. Then, a few months later, pay off the loan in full, plus interest. Now the bank knows you, and you have a solid credit history,” says CPA Tom Normoyle, Huntingdon Valley, PA. Even after establishing a relationship, some business owners meet with frustration when the bank turns down their loan application. Most bankers agree that this is usually because the owner has failed to come prepared with the information a lender needs to make a positive decision. “How to find the money to finance an expansion or acquisition is the last thing that many business owners think about when they plan a project,” says James G. Marshall, Vice-President, Premier Bank, Abington, PA. “It’s best to have a team lined up behind you when you begin to plan a major financial move—and 69

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By William J. Lynott

Best strategy: Be proactive. Build a relationship with your bank, and make it positive. Also show your attention to detail by presenting the calculated worth of your projected business assets. What to avoid: Although the options may be tempting, be wary of using credit card loans or borrowing from family. What you should know: Don’t lose hope; there are other good options out there if your bank says no. About the author: William J. Lynott is a freelance business writer for the manufacturing and construction industries.

Before going to a lender, you should count, confirm, and value

every single hard asset you are able to identify.

your bank should be a member of that team.” How should you prepare for a meeting with a bank loan officer? Marshall suggests that you come armed with: • Financial statements for your existing business. • Accountant-prepared financial projections and cash flow analysis. • Marketing feasibility study for the project. • Owner’s personal financial statements and tax returns.

• Information on the background and experience of owner(s). “With this information,” says Marshall, “the bank can give proper consideration to your loan application.” If you’re thinking about acquiring a competitor, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the value of every asset in your acquisition target. Banks or commercial lenders are more likely to look favorably on a deal that has already been inventoried and valued by individual asset. Before

going to a lender, you should count, confirm, and value every single hard asset you are able to identify, including all operating equipment, furniture and fixtures, raw materials, and finished inventory. Attention to details such as this will emphasize your knowledge of what the assets of the target business are worth in the market and why someone should lend you the money to buy those assets. What happens when the bank says no?

When your best efforts fall on deaf ears at your local banks, all is not lost. Here are some alternate sources of business financing that may meet your needs: State government programs

Most states have loan programs designed to provide small business financing. “Some of these programs provide loans at lower than market interest rates provided the business will create jobs in the state,” says Donna A. Holmes, Director of the Small Business Development Center, Pennsylvania State University. “Some state programs will take a subordinate position to the bank, giving the bank a better collateral position and an incentive to make a loan that they may have otherwise rejected.” For information on small business financing programs in your state, contact the office of your state representative or state senator. Federal government programs

The federal government also has loan programs available to assist small business owners. The most popular

Catch the Energy METALfab 2005 New Orleans, LA March 2-5, 2005 “The Key To Your Business Sucess”


Fabricator n November/December 2004

When you find an “angel” investor, you’ll probably find that this

option is more flexible than a bank loan or government program. of these is the Small Business Administration’s guaranteed loan program that guarantees as much as 80 percent of the loan principal. “This program gives your bank an incentive to lend to a borrower who does not otherwise meet the bank’s lending guidelines,” says Holmes. Among other SBA loan programs available to small business owners is the 504 loan. Established in 1980, the 504 Loan Program provides long-term, fixed-rate financing for major fixed assets, such as real estate, facilities construction or expansion, or other fixed-asset needs. If you decide to seek an SBA loan, your best bet is to work through a certified or preferred lender. The SBA’s guaranteed loan process is rather complex, so you want a lender who has experience working with them. To find certified or preferred lenders, visit the SBA web site or call your local SBA office for guidance. The SBA has local and regional offices in every state. You’ll find their phone number in the federal government section of your local phone directory. Or, for detailed information on all SBA programs, log on to:

Holmes recommends that you begin by contacting the director of your local Chamber of Commerce to see what help might be available for the specific purpose you have in mind. Angel investors

When conventional financing options seem out of reach, many small business owners find success by seeking out individuals or commercial lenders

willing to invest in a business expansion, either with debt financing or by taking an equity position in the business. When you find an “angel” investor, you’ll probably find that this option is more flexible than a bank loan or government program. If you don’t know anyone with the economic firepower to fund your expansion, don’t give up. There is an entire industry of professional investors looking for opportunities to invest in growing small businesses. For more information on how to match up with an investor who might be interested in

Investment companies

Small business investment companies (SBICs) are private investment firms licensed by the SBA to provide investment financing and long-term loans to small businesses. Some SBICs make only equity loans, others provide debt loans, and some provide both. As a rule, SBICs require the same level of collateral and credit ratings as banks. For information on how to contact an SBIC, check with your local SBA office or log on to: Local development groups

“Your local Chamber of Commerce or other business group may have some revolving loan funds available to businesses specific to your community,” says Holmes. Generally, these funds come from a variety of local resources and have specific guidelines for their use.” November/December 2004 n Fabricator


your situation, log on to,4621,300807,00. html. Be advised, though, that unless you’re willing to give up an equity position in your business, working with a professional investor is not for you.

You may have credit cards with lines of credit substantial enough to fund all or part of your expansion plans. While it can be tempting to simply charge everything, this is arguably the riskiest and least desirable of all financing methods. The burdensome interest rates charged by credit card issuers can become impossible to meet if your business hits even a minor bump in the road. The result could be a severely damaged credit rating—or even the loss of your business.

When all else fails

Depending on the size and economic health of your existing business, the only source of expansion money available to you may be what you can dig up on your own. Be advised, though, that each of the following money sources carries special risks. Friends and family members

If you have a friend or family member able to help finance your expansion, you may find this to be the easiest type of loan to obtain. Use caution, however. Most financial experts agree that mixing business and personal relationships can lead to destructive problems in both your business and personal life, especially if you aren’t aware of the pitfalls. If you do take a loan from a friend or family


member, make sure that all details are carefully spelled out in a written contract. Home equity financing

If you have enough equity in your home, a second mortgage may provide all the money you need. While the interest rate on this type of loan may be among the most favorable, keep in mind that it also puts you at risk of losing your home if your business falters.


When you need to raise money for your business, say most experts, a thorough and detailed business plan is the key to the safest and most desirable types of financing. While otherthan-conventional sources of money may seem the easiest to find, they are seldom the wisest choice.

Credit card financing

Fabricator n November/December 2004

In Memoriam Jerry Grice, past NOMMA president and long-time volunteer Jerry Grice, a past NOMMA president and long-time volunteer, died October 26, 2004 at age 61. An energetic and passionate member of NOMMA for over 25 years, he was known throughout the trade and highly respected as an instructor and craftsman. His service with NOMMA is vast and includes holding the posts of president, president-elect, first vice president, and treasurer. He also chaired the Education and Bylaws committees and cochaired the Auction Committee with his wife Tycee. In addition, he was active with NOMMA’s Florida Chapter. Throughout his years with NOMMA, Jerry always had a strong interest in education. Even after chairing the Education Committee for three years, he continued to help NOMMA’s education efforts by giving presentations at METALfab conventions and chapter meetings. A nationally renowned artist and fabricator, his company has won over 20 awards in the Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition. In 1990, his firm received a Small Business of the Year Award by the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. More recently, in 1999 he received NOMMA’s Frank A. Kozik Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. In presenting the award, Lloyd K. Hughes said, “He leads by example. Even after giving so much he continues to share his knowledge.” Jerry was also a member of the the Artist-Blacksmith Association of North America (ABANA) and the Florida Artist-Blacksmith Association (FABA). In recent years, he had discovered a love for crafting knives and was rapidly making a name for himself in the bladesmithing trade. He had won several knifemaking awards and was featured in a major knifemaking magazine. His sculptures and beautiful ornamental work can be seen throughout Tallahassee and other cities and serves as a testament to his love for metalworking. He is survived by his wife and business partner Tycee, daughter Tonya Asbell, son Keith Grice, five grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

Jerry and Tycee are shown with their 2004 gold Top Job award.

Jerry regularly gave demonstrations at NOMMA events. Here, he gives a copper forming demo at a Florida Chapter meeting.

Having fun at the 2004 METALfab theme dinner.

November/December 2004 n Fabricator

No one messed with this cowboy at the 1995 METALfab theme dinner.

Jerry works in his home shop.


NOMMA Education Foundation In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

The latest news and activities of the NOMMA Education Foundation.

Consider a “dollar-a-day” investment

Your donation helps to strengthen the industry through education and various programs Dear NOMMA Members and Industry: I’m new to NOMMA, but I see that my membership works on two levels. The first level is selfish, for I want to take what the association has to offer, and use it to make my business better. Isn’t this something we all want — to make our businesses better? The second level, however, is just the opposite. It asks me to give something back to our organization and to help our industry grow and prosper. At a recent board meeting of the Foundation trustees, James Minter, Jr., Charlie Mercer of Hallmark Iron asked me if it was worth Foundation Trustee a dollar-a-day to support NOMMA’s training and education efforts. In other words, is the knowledge I receive and the lessons I learn through NOMMA, which I put to use in my business to make it better, worth $250? My answer to Charlie was to send a check for my “dollar-a-day” to the foundation. Will you also support our association in this way? There are others who have made much larger contributions than $250 (Stan Lawler is giving $100,000 over just four years!), and you may be able to give two or five or ten dollars a day. If 1,000 firms give a “dollar-a-day” for 250 working days, we can really step up our efforts to develop and fund long-term training and education programs. Now I know you work more than 250 days a year if you own a business, so please feel free to cover your actual work days if you wish. This has the potential to make OUR industry, OUR NOMMA, and OUR own businesses better and stronger. Thank you for considering a gift to the NOMMA Education Foundation. Think of it as casting bread on the water — whatever you give shall be returned to you (and your business) many times over. Sincerely,

James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

Auction Update - You Might Win A Prize! The NOMMA Education Foundation is pleased to announce a new contest. If your auction item receives the highest winning bid you receive a free full registration at METALfab 2006 in beautiful Savannah, GA. Also, the exhibitor whose auction item receives the highest winning bid receives a free booth for METALfab 2006.


By supporting the NOMMA Education Foundation, you are supporting our exciting and ambitious goals. Some of these objectives include: F Online Knowledge Base —

Imagine a massive online resource where you can sit down and quickly find answers to thousands of questions. From building codes to stainless steel, our goal is to create a groundbreaking web-based system that quickly provides the information you need. F Virtual Education — Picture you and your employees taking on-line classes, participating in live video conferences, or discussing problems in various on-line forums. Our goal is to use the newest technologies to make quality education convenient and affordable for the industry. F DVD Productions — Visualize a series of educational DVDs that you and your staff can view from home or work. Picture a monitor or TV in your work area that allows an employee to replay and follow a procedure. Our goal is to create easy-to-follow, professional quality DVDs that allow you and your staff to quickly reach maximum productivity. There’s More — Additional programs and ideas under study include scholarships, certification, worker exchanges, and partnerships with other organizations. As funding becomes available we also envision bringing in master craftspersons and noted presenters to lead education sessions, both during METALfab and through varous regional education programs.

Fabricator n November/December 2004

n Educatio NOMMA uces... d o tr In n o Foundati

Now Ava ilab le

Four New Metalworking Titles

The NOMMA Education Foundation is pleased to announce the availability of our new titles. These publications may be ordered from the NOMMA website ( or by calling (404) 363-4009.

Decorative Ironwork: Wrought Iron Gratings, Gates & Railings, by Margarete Baur-Heinhold What artists in iron have wrought over the centuries in ornaments and decorations is shown in this book through hundreds of captivating photographs. Thorough attention is paid to the restoration of wrought iron through discussions of techniques and various materials. The ironwork examples are organized according to the uses of ironwork. Balconies and stairways, arbors, fencing, and church gratings provide exceptional opportunities for beautiful wrought iron artistry. Decorative & Sculptural Ironwork: Tools, Techniques & Inspiration, by Dona Z. Meilach With the help of this unique book, all the fascinating properties of iron and other metals can be creatively explored. 52 color plates and 717 b/w photos and drawings present the ideas and examples visually. After a short history of ironwork, the author discusses the ironworking shop, forge and tools, including anvils, vises, hammers, tongs, punches, centrifugal blowers and machine tools. She presents information on building, lighting, and maintaining a fire. Forging procedures are explicitly shown including drawing out, flattening, bending, upsetting, twisting, splitting, and more. The Contemporary Blacksmith, by Dona Z. Meilach This book tackles the burgeoning revival of the blacksmith’s art. The author has brought together over 500 works by nearly 200 artist-craftsmen from 16 countries to illustrate the unprecedented activity in modern ironwork that has led to its blossoming into a serious art form. You’ll learn several techniques using hot and cold forming with the results clearly shown. You’ll be able to recognize how a fence, railing, grille, table, chair, knife, and other items evolve, and better appreciate their design and workmanship. Each chapter provides background for the type of objects shown-- architectural ironwork, sculpture, furniture, containers and vessels, lighting fixtures and candleholders, fireplace accessories, wind vanes, household and liturgical items, and the incredible knives made of Damascus steel. Architectural Ironwork, by Dona Z. Meilach This book showcases a vast array of ironwork commissioned for new commercial and residential building projects. Traditional styles in modern settings and designs that reach for new visual impact help to redefine ironwork’s status in our current society. There are over 375 spectacular examples from more than 100 of today’s top blacksmiths, supplemented with historical works from 15 countries, some derived from old French and English ironwork. These include doors and hardware, staircases and railings, and gates and fences. This book will inspire architects, builders, homeowners, and artist-blacksmiths with the wealth of beautiful ideas it contains.

Support the NOMMA Education Foundation....

Your tax-deductible gift is an investment in our industry.

The foundation provides a wide assortment of educational resources for the industry. Technique video series

Custom publications

Professional business speakers

History & design books

Hands-on continuing education

q Yes! I want to help the NOMMA Education Foundation provide quality programs for the industry ... Name:__________________________________________________________________________ Company:_______________________________________________________________________ Address:________________________________________________________________________ City:_________________________________State:___________Zip:________________________ Phone:_______________________ Fax:____________________ E-mail:_____________________

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

I would like to pledge: q $250 q $500 q $1,000 q Other $_______

NOMMA Education Foundation

Type of donation: q Individual q Company Check One: q Check (payable to NOMMA Education Foundation, drawn on U.S. bank in U.S. funds) 532 Forest Pkwy., Ste. A q Visa q MasterCard q Discover q American Express Forest Park, GA 30297 Phone: 404-363-4009 Card Number: ______________________________________________________Exp. Date: ____/_____ Fax: 404-366-1852 Name on Card:__________________________________Signature:______________________________

November/December 2004 n Fabricator


NOMMA Nationwide Supplier Members As of October 29, 2004; Bold denotes new members A Cut Above Distributing Action Ornamental Iron Advanced Measuring Systems Allen Architectural Metals Inc. Alloy Casting Co. Inc. American Punch Co. American Stair Corp. Ameristar Fence Products Apollo Gate Operators Architectural Iron Designs Inc. Arteferro Miami LLC Artezzi Artist Supplies & Products Atlas Metal Sales Aztec Castings Inc. Julius Blum & Co. Inc. J. G. Braun Co. Builders Fence Co. Inc. Byan Systems Inc. C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. The Cable Connection California Tool & Die Carell Corp. Chamberlain Classic Iron Supply Cleveland Steel Tool Co. CML USA Inc. Colorado Waterjet Co. Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd. D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. D.J.A. Imports Ltd. DAC Industries Inc. Decorative Iron DécorCable Innovations DKS, DoorKing Systems Robert J. Donaldson Co. Eagle Bending Machines Inc. Eastern Metal Supply Inc. Eastern Ornamental Supply Inc. Elegant Aluminum Products Inc. Encon Electronics EURO-FER SRL Euro Forgings Inc. FABCAD.COM FabTrol Systems Inc. Feeney Wire Rope & Rigging Inc.

800-444-2999 901-795-2200 888-289-9432 800-204-3858 800-527-1318 800-243-1492 800-872-7824 888-333-3422 210-545-2900 800-784-7444 305-836-9232 800-718-6661 262-797-8101 800-662-0143 800-631-0018 800-526-6293 800-323-4072 800-767-0367 800-223-2926 800-421-6144 775-885-1443 626-969-1821 251-937-0947 800-282-6225 800-367-2639 800-446-4402 563-391-7700 970-532-5404 800-535-9842 604-273-6435 800-716-0888 800-933-5993 800-888-9768 888-380-9278 312-474-1100 800-826-7493 856-629-2737 251-937-0947 800-343-8154 800-590-7111 810-293-1020 800-782-5598 011-39-044 5440033 800-465-7143 800-255-9032 541-485-4719 510-893-9473

The G-S Co. Gates and Controls Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. Glaser USA Glasswerks LA Inc. GTO Inc. Hartford Standard Co. Inc. Hayn Enterprises LLC Hebo / Stratford Gate Systems House of Forgings Indiana Gratings Inc. Innovative Hinge Products Inc. Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. The Iron Shop ITW Industrial Finishing Jamieson Mfg. Co. Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Justin R.P.G Corp. King Architectural Metals Krieger eK Wrought Iron Systems Lavi Industries Lawler Foundry Corp. Lewis Brass & Copper Inc. Liberty Brass Turning Co. Logical Decisions Inc. Mac Metals Inc. Marks U.S.A. Master-Halco Matthews International Corp. Metal Amoré Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Frank Morrow Co. Multi Sales Inc. New Metals Inc. Ohio Gratings Inc. Omega Coating Corp. Orange Steel & Orn. Supply Overseas Supply Inc. Polished Metals Ltd. Production Machinery Inc. R & B Wagner Inc. R & S Automation Inc. Regency Railings Inc. Rik-Fer USA Robertson Grating Products Inc. Robinson Iron Corp. Rockite, Div. of Hartline Prod. Co.

410-284-9549 206-767-6224 800-663-6356 888-668-8427 323-789-7800 800-543-4283 270-298-3227 860-257-0680 503-658-2881 281-443-4848 800-634-1988 817-284-3326 603-863-4855 800-523-7427 630-237-5159 214-339-8384 800-423-4494 310-532-3441 800-542-2379 011-49-64-258-1890 800-624-6225 800-624-9512 800-221-5579 800-345-5939 800-676-5537 800-631-9510 631-225-5400 888-643-3623 412-571-5548 760-747-7200 800-467-2464 800-556-7688 562-803-3552 888-639-6382 800-321-9800 888-386-6342 305-805-6000 800-724-1018 908-688-1188 410-574-2110 800-786-2111 510-357-4110 214-742-9408 877-838-0900 877-638-6365 256-329-8486 216-291-2303

Rogers Mfg. Inc. Sahinler Form Metal San. Ve Tic. Scotchman Industries Inc. SECO South Sequoia Brass and Copper Sharpe Products Sparky Abrasives Stairways Inc. Steel Masters Inc. Stephens Pipe and Steel LLC Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd. Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. Sumter Coatings Inc. Tennessee Fabricating Co. Texas Metal Industries

940-325-7806 011-90-224-455-5465 605-859-2542 888-535-7326 800-362-5255 800-879-4418 800-328-4560 800-231-0793 602-243-5245 800-451-2612 800-461-0060 916-374-8296 888-471-3400 800-258-4766 800-222-6033

Texas Stairs & Rails Inc. Transpacific Industrial Supply Co. Tri-State Shearing & Bending Triebenbacher Bavarian Iron Triple-S Chemical Chemical Prod. Tubo Decorado SA de CV Universal Entry Systems Inc. Universal Mfg. Co. Inc. Valley Bronze of Oregon W.G.F. Ironwork Products Center Inc. West Tennessee Ornamental Door Wrought Iron Concepts Inc. XCEL Distribution Yavuz Ferforje A.S. *Join NOMMA

281-987-2115 909-390-8885 718-485-2200 800-522-4766 800-862-5958 800-345-5939 800-837-4283 800-821-1414 541-432-7551 510-483-5900 901-346-0662 877-370-8000 909-392-0808 011-90-258-2691664 404-363-4009

New NOMMA Members As of October 29, 2004; Asterisk denotes returning members A-1 Wrought Iron Fencing & Furniture Prairieville, LA James P. Martin Fabricator

Creative Gate Factory Redwood City, CA Jose Moreno Fabricator

Lost City Ironworks Inc. Los Angeles, CA Philip Rohan Fabricator

Residential Iron Work Ellisville, MS Sid P. Strickland Fabricator

ABC Ornamental Ironworks LLC Hyattsville, MD Antonio Martinez Fabricator

Decorative Iron Inc. Bothell, WA Keith Dickie Fabricator

Jamie MacDonald Blacksmithing Woodside, CA Jamie MacDonald Fabricator

RK Reseda, CA Roger Kukuczka Fabricator

Ameristar Fence Products Tulsa, OK Vona Cox Nationwide Supplier Austin Ornamental Inc. Pflugerville, TX Connie Gossard Fabricator Blue Metal Works LLC Indianapolis, IN Jim Welsh Fabricator Brace Point Railings* Seattle, WA Marty Lyons Fabricator

Gulf Coast Metal Works Inc. Cape Coral, FL Barry Crumpler Fabricator Iron Beauty Feasterville, PA Roman Klyachkivsky Fabricator Jones Valley Iron Works* Birmingham, AL Ray White Fabricator Logical Decisions Inc. Baton Rouge, LA Patty Krake Nationwide Supplier

Metals World Co.* Safat, Kuwait Hratch Berberian Fabricator

Smith’s Ornamental Spokane, WA Jacob Smith Fabricator

Lance Olson Custom Orn. Iron Parma, MI Lance Olson Fabricator

Spiral Stairs of America* Erie, PA Jon Whaley Fabricator

Old World Wrought Iron Co. Paducah, KY LaDonna Stamper Fabricator

Tin Roof Unlimited Inc. Marietta, GA Andy Fogarty Fabricator

Ornamental Décor Valencia, CA Shemon Baharouzi Fabricator

Trinity Stairs Inc. Frisco, TX Richard Bush Fabricator

What’s Hot?  Biz Briefs Get handouts from ASA’s Leadership Forum Presentations and handouts from the educational sessions at ASA Leadership Forum 2004, held October 2–4, 2004 are now available in the Contractors’ Knowledge Bank, ASA’s online searchable database. To access these Adobe PDF downloadable documents, visit and click on the Knowledge Bank link. Enter “Leadership Forum 2004” in the search field and search by document description. Some documents are viewable only to ASA members.


Inside Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78 Coming Events . . . . . . . . .80 NOMMA News . . . . . .82 Chapter Contacts . . . . . .83

People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 Literature . . . . . . . . . . .86 Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87

State public policies fail construction subcontractors A report recently issued by the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) reveals how state public policies deny basic rights, such as getting paid for work performed, to construction subcontractors and supplies. ASA found that public policies on payment assurance, subcontracts, risk transfer issues, and bid shopping “create a riskladen and low profit-margin business environment” for construction subcontractors and suppliers. The report is called “The ASA Report: The Policy Environment in the States,” and it shows that all states scored an F, except New Mexico, which scored a D, on a multi-tiered

assessment. ASA calculated the overall grade for each state by scoring key state public policy areas, such as prompt payment protections; treatment of pay-if-paid clauses; and mechanic’s lien protections. The overall low-performers were the District of Columbia and Wyoming. “State laws simply do not make the grade for subcontractors,” said 200405 ASA President Mat Glover, president of Glover Masonry Associates Inc., Arvada, CO. “‘The ASA Report’ demonstrates that no state public policies adequately address the needs of the construction industry. The issues that matter to construction subcon-


November/December 2004

tractors and suppliers remain distant from the minds of many legislators and other public officials, and ‘The ASA Report’ serves as a call to arms to the construction industry to change that fact.” To promote “The ASA Report’s” findings, ASA is contacting the media, legislators, and other public officials

across the country. ASA has also kicked off a publicity campaign to warn subcontractors of deficits in their state laws, to provide advocacy information to help change laws, and to educate subcontractors about the need to remain vigilant when negotiating contracts in a harsh public policy environment.

“So far, the only ones applying have been robots.”

November/December 2004


Biz Briefs ASA identifies design disclaimers as a threat Problem: There are documented cases in which a 20- or 30word phrase buried in the subcontract agreement or the specifications have cost subcontractors tens of thousands of dollars by removing risk and responsibility from the owner and general contractor and shifting it to the subcontractor. Solution: Safeguard against such a catastrophe by assigning a staff person with a good eye for detail and knowledge of contract terms to go over contracts. To learn more about disclaimers see the American Subcontractors Association’s (ASA) Stand Up! white paper, “Design Risk: Disclaimers of Plans and Information,” available on the ASA web site. Contact: ASA, Ph: (703) 6843450; Web: Web/StandUp.htm.


What’s Hot?  Coming Events November 23, 2004– February 27, 2005 Kettles: Japanese Artistry and American Artists

The National Ornamental Metal Museum presents Kettles: Japanese Artistry and American Artists, celebrating the Japanese tea ceremony kettle as a living tradition and source of inspiration to American artists. The exhibition features four Japanese kettle artists and two American metalworkers: Suzuki Morihisa Shiko, Eda Kei'ichi, Miya Nobuho, Timothy Lloyd, Nagano Retsu, Wayne Potratz. Contact: National Ornamental Metal Museum, Ph: (901) 7746380; Web:

FABTECH and AWS combine next year for one big show Organizers of FABTECH and the American Welding Society (AWS) show will combine efforts to present one big show next year. Attendees from both shows suggested interest in an all encompassing show that features all welding and fabricating processes used by metalworking manufacturers. So the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA) have agreed to host FABTECH International in conjunction with AWS. The new show is called FABTECH International and The AWS Welding Show and debuts November 14–16, 2005 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. “This alliance is a highly effective way to serve manufacturing companies even better than we have in the past. Our customers have asked for expanded access to metalworking and fabri-

cating technologies and we are pleased to have been able to respond while at the same time consolidating two good shows to help reduce exhibitor costs,” said Nancy Berg, SME executive director and general manager. FABTECH and AWS will conduct independent professional conferences and educational programs during the 2005 show. While AWS focuses its technical programming on welding and allied processes, FABTECH features manufacturing technologies. “This is a good move for the industry,” Gerald M. Shankel, FMA president and CEO said. “The AWS Welding Show brings an in-depth level of welding and cutting technologies and, together with FABTECH’s unmatched quality of fabricating machinery, will offer a first-rate venue." Contact: FMA, Web:

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November/December 2004

Free galvanizing seminar upon request The American Galvanizers Association (AGA) announces the availability of its free Galvanize It! seminar. The seminar educates architects, engineers, and other members of the specifying community on hotdip galvanizing for corrosion protection. The accredited seminar is available at your location upon request, and it is free. Available in one-, two-, and fourhour formats, Galvanize It! seminar attendees earn continuing education

credits from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and/or professional development hours from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Topics include: corrosion theory, design of steel products for quality galvanizing, the galvanizing process, pertinent ASTM specification, inspection, and painting over the galvanized coating. Contact: AGA, Ph: (800) 468-7732; Web:; E-mail:

Classes for machining and grinding employees TechSolve Inc., based in Cincinnati, OH, announces spring 2005 dates for its public training classes on grinding and machining. Seven different courses are offered in December 2004 and in April and June 2005, such as Decision Tools for a Lean Machining Environment; Practical Machining Principles for Shop Application; Introduction to High Performance /

November/December 2004


High Speed Machining, and Grinding Principles & Practice. According to TechSolve all classes are offered from a non-commercial, unbiased approach. On-site training is also available for companies with 10 or more participants. Contact: TechSolve Inc., Ph: (800) 345-4482; Web: events_training.htm.

Coming Events March 2–5, 2005 METALfab 2005

Don’t miss the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association’s annual trade show and convention in New Orleans March 2–5, 2005. Join hundreds of fabricators from around the world for four days of learning, networking, and seeing the latest products. The trade show will be held during select hours at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The Hotel Monteleone is accepting reservations for METALfab 2005 guests at a special group rate. Reservation deadline is January 28, 2005. Contact: NOMMA, Ph: (404) 363-4009; Web:


What’s Hot?  Biz Briefs Papp Iron Works wins subcontractor of the year Papp Iron Works Inc., a NOMMA member founded in 1948, has been selected by the American Subcontractors Association of New Jersey (ASA-NJ) as Subcontractor of the Year. “We are extremely pleased to be named Subcontractor of the Year by the ASA-NJ,” said Allan Papp, President of Papp Iron Works. “It is an honor to be recognized for outstanding performance by our peers in the subcontracting community.”


NOMMA News Auction items needed for NOMMA Education Foundation Auction items are needed for METALfab 2005. Whether it’s equipment or a hand-crafted item, please consider contributing. All proceeds benefit the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA) Education Foundation. Contact: NOMMA, Ph: (404) 3634009; E-mail:; Web:

New download available for free to NOMMA members NOMMA has added a new publication to its Member Resources web site area, “The Best of Fabricator Tips & Tricks.” The 13-page booklet contains 40 of the most popular tips ever published in Fabricator, and they are writ-

ten by some of the industry’s top experts like Don Walsh, Jerry Grice, Brent Nichols, and Phil Heermance. Note that the booklet is electronic only and must be downloaded from the NOMMA website ( using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Top Job reminder All NOMMA members are encouraged to enter the 2005 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest. An entry booklet was sent to all members in early September. A downloadable booklet is also available from the Member Resources Area of the NOMMA web site ( Note that the deadline is December 20, 2004, and late deadline is January 3, 2005 (postmark). Be sure to take entry photos early so that work won't be covered in snow or holiday decorations. All entrants must be NOMMA members.


November/December 2004

NOMMA Chapters

Upper Midwest Chapter sells shirts for METALfab 2005

NOMMA Chapter Updates Florida Chapter, President: John Wilkinson, Sunmaster of Naples Inc., Naples, FL Ph: (239) 261-3581 Their last meeting: November 13, 2004 at Unlimited Welding in Winter Springs, FL. Program: Water jet and stainless steel welding and polishing demonstrations. Northeast Chapter, President: Tom Zuzik, Jr. Artistic Railings Inc., Garfield, NJ Ph: (973) 772-8540 Southern California Chapter, President: Hans Duus, Hans Duus Blacksmith, Buellton, CA Ph: (805) 688-9731

Upper Midwest Chapter sell shirts for $25.

Buy a longsleeve Upper Midwest Chapter METALfab 2005 shirt for just $25. Shirts are longsleeve, button-down style, 100 percent cotton in black with a generous cut. They have double-needle coverstitching, a left chest patch pocket, no center back pleat, two button adjustable cuffs, and single button sleeve plackets with woodtone buttons. Contact: Upper Midwest Chapter President Lynn Parquette, Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc., Ph: (847) 758-9941.

November/December 2004


Upper Midwest Chapter, President: Lynn Parquette, Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc.; Elk Grove Village, IL; Ph: (847) 758-9941 Next meeting: December 4, 2004 at Builders Ironworks in Crete, IL. Program: Members will fabricate several items to be donated to the NOMMA Education Foundation’s auction during METALfab 2005 in New Orleans, March 2–5, 2005.


What’s Hot?  People

People Spotlight

Industry veteran retires Interview by Rachel Bailey Managing Editor

GTO Inc.

GTO Inc., makers of the GTO/PRO professional series of swing and slide gate openers has named Cecil Lanter southwest regional sales manager. “Cecil’s more than 25 years of experience in the swing and slide gate opener industry is ideal for our line of professional products for commercial and industrial use,” said Brad Hollis, GTO/PRO director of sales. Lanter has worked with gate operator products in all stages of development including concept, design, manufacturing, distribution, and installation.

The Wagner Companies’ Henry Bills, nephew to Adolf Wagner, retired this September. Bills worked for Wagner since 1965 and had been an active member of NOMMA since 1968. He served on the NOMMA Board of Directors five times and on various committees. Fabricator: How did you get started in the ornamental metals industry? Henry Bills: My uncle, Adolf Wagner, asked me to work for him in 1965. Before then I had worked for another company owned by my family, a brewery. When I started at Wagner, the company employed five people full time, including my cousin Bob, and three people part time. I did all the

traveling and public relations for Wagner until about 26 or 27 years ago when Steve Engebregsten was hired. It was Henry Bills began working for R & B easy working Wagner in 1965 with Steve; he’s a fine and loyal person. Working in this industry has been extremely fulfilling and exciting. Fabricator: What is your history with NOMMA? Bills: I got involved with NOMMA in 1968 when Carl Neuman was president, and I’ve been to every trade

Lincoln Electric

Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has elected John M. Stropki as Chairman of the Board. Stropki, named President and Chief Executive Officer in June, succeeds Anthony A. Massaro, who will be retiring at the end of the month after serving as chair for over 11 years. “We are very pleased to name John as Chairman,” said Harold Adams, a Lincoln director who chairs the Board’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. “John is only the seventh chairman to be named in the history of this great company.” Stropki began his Lincoln Continued on page 85 . . .



Tel. 480-357-2836 Fax -354-4524


November/December 2004

show since. I’ve served on the NOMMA board several times and have been involved with a number of committees. I’ve met some great people through NOMMA. It’s been very satisfying. I enjoy how real the people are who work in this industry; they’re wonderful to talk business with. And people really help each other. I remember one time at a committee meeting Leon York literally gave a job to a fellow NOMMA fabricator whose shop was slow at the time. But I’ve also spent as many years with NAAMM (National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers). For 30 years I worked on those NAAMM manuals, which are now being revised by NOMMA and NAAMM. I’m glad to see their preservation. Fabricator: How did your involvement with NOMMA help The Wagner Companies and the industry? Bills: Being involved with NOMMA and helping the organization grow has

People Continued from page 84 . . .

career 35 years ago, working in the firm’s Cleveland factory. Hypertherm Inc.

Henry Bills won NOMMA’s Julius Blum award in 1993 for his contributions to the industry.

helped Wagner because through it we’ve helped the industry to grow. Fabricator: What are your retirement plans? Bills: Well, I think it’s time I enjoy some of the fruits of my labor. My wife and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary this year. We’ve got four children and six grandchildren to help us celebrate. And we plan to do some traveling.

Hypertherm Inc. has appointed Kris Scherm to District Sales Manager for Southern California. Scherm has over 20 years of sales and program management experience, qualifying him to drive end-user awareness for Hypertherm systems. With new sales strategies to implement, Scherm may offer the position a unique perspective. Scherm holds two engineering degrees (mechanical and welding engineering) and currently persues an MBA at Pepperdine University.

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November/December 2004



What’s Hot?  Literature Engineering specifications

CSRF The Construction Sciences Research Foundation Inc. (CSRF), developers of SPECTEXT® Master Guide Specifications, has introduced a new Structural Engineering Specifications Library. The new library consists of over 120 full-length, shortform, and outline specification sections. According to CSRF, SPECTEXT provides an accepted industry standard framework for writing technically accurate specifications that follow the standard formats. Contact: CSRF, Ph: (877) 7732898; Web:

Literature Spotlight

Get help from the Powder Coating Institute’s updated handbook “While it may not top the best seller charts like Bill Clinton’s biography or the 9/11 Commission Report, the new edition of the PCI (Powder Coating Institute) handbook will provide current and potential powder coaters with everything they need to know to set up, operate, and improve a successful powder coating operation,” said PCI Executive Director Greg Bocchi. The revised and expanded third edition of Powder Coating: The Complete Finisher’s Handbook debuted at Powder Coating 2004, held September 21–23 in Charlotte, NC. It is now available for purchase by the Powder Coating Institute. This edition features extensive revision, a glossary of powder coating terms, and an expanded troubleshoot-

ing guide. The handbook covers information on powder materials, pretreatment, booth design, application equipment, conveyors, New handbook from PCI. dry-off methods, curing, and more. Contact: The Powder Coating Institute, Ph: (703) 684-1770; Web: For more on powder coating, see “Inhouse powder coating: To be or not to be?” on page 35.

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November/December 2004

Product Spotlight

What’s Hot?  Products: - Catalogs Supplier’s Guide

NOMMA The National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA) will publish the NOMMA 2005 Supplier Directory in December. All NOMMA members receive a complimentary copy with their December issues of The Business Owner, Fabricator’s Journal, and TechNotes. Nonmebers may purchase the book for $10. A limited supply is available. However, an online version of the printed edition will appear on the NOMMA web site ( as well. Contact: Rachel Bailey, NOMMA, Ph: (423) 413-6436; Web:

November/December 2004


Driveway probe GTO/PRO Inc. GTO Inc. has come up with an automatic gate opener exit wand, or driveway probe that works with any brand of automatic gate opener with voltage ranges from 8-32VDC and 8-26VAC. “Exit wands are generally used to allow free exit from a gated property such as residential communities, commercial sites, and individual gates homes and ranches,” explains Brad Hollis, director of GTO/PRO sales. “They operate similarly to a traditional loop detector but are easier to install and more economical. Instead of having to cut holes into asphalt, an installer

digs a 12-inch deep trench alongside the driveway and directly buries the wand at the proper location.” End users can change the magnetic sensitivity range from a radius of 3 to 12 feet. The wand’s sensitivity can also be adjusted to avoid detecting movement of other metal objects, such as bicycles or other moving gates. The GTO/PRO wand has very low power consumption (1.5 mA), intended for


What’s Hot?  Products - Catalogs Products guides

Chamberlain Along with its new Sentex Telephone Entry Systems product line, which makes previous product options now standard, Chamberlain Professional Products also offers an Elite™ and Sentex® Telephone Entry System Product Selector Guide. The interactive Selector Guide helps dealers determine appropriate telephone entry systems and accessories. An updated Product Reference Guide and onepage Quick Reference Guide are also available. Contact: Chamberlain, Ph: (630) 279-3600; Web:

traditional AC powered operators, battery powered operators, and solar applications. “The wand has been the subject of extensive testing in all environmental applications where gate operators are installed,” Hollis said. GTO offers a two-year limited warranty with this product. Contact: GTO/PRO, Ph: (800) 5434283; Web: Welder

ESAB The new CaddyArc 150 from ESAB is specifically designed for rough field conditions. Its design includes handgrips that also serve as a protective shield. An impact-resistant plastic case allows the machine to be used in outdoor environments and bad weather. The CaddyArc 150 also has automatic hot start, and its Arc Plus™ feature

produces an intense, yet stable and easy-to-control, arc, which improves weld characteristics, according to the manufacturer. A versatile DC operation allows the CaddyArc 150 to be used to weld most metals to alloy and non alloy steel, stainless, and cast iron. Adding a TIG torch and gas allows the operator to easily TIG weld with the Lift Arc™ feature. With a TIG torch, the operator can weld thin mild steel plate or stainless, with or without filler metal. Contact: ESAB, Ph: (800) 372-2123; Web:

Press brake support

Cincinnati Inc. Cincinnati Inc. offers setup support for press brake jobs with the new Fast Setup Work Support. The system features quick-clamping adjustment handles for each axis, allowing left/right, in/out, and up/down positioning without wrenches. It’s available for retrofit on Cincinnati press brakes and as an option on new

NE NOMMA Education Foundation F

In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

The NOMMA Education Foundation is committed to providing quality education resources for the industry.

Books • Videos • Sales Aids • CDs

We are proud of our collection of 16 history and design books, which provide thousands of ornamental design ideas. Check out our NEF Education Videos, which are ideal for training employees.

Obtain our catalog for a listing of nearly 50 books, videos, CD’s, and sales aids.

To see a complete listing and to download a free catalog, visit: or to request a catalog by phone, call (404) 363-4009. 88


November/December 2004

machines. The system also has two 15-inch support arms and modular 12-inch steel stack sections that attach to the front of the bed. Contact: Todd Kirchoff, Cincinnati Inc., Ph: (513) 367-7100; Web:

material is flexible, abrasion resistant, chemically inert, non-flammable, and operates over a 450°F–500°F range. Installation requires no tools. Cable wrap is available from stock on spools or cut to length. Contact: Charles F. Loutrel, M.M. Newman Corp., Ph: (800) 777-6309; Web:

Right-angle sander/grinder

Parts washer

T.C. Service Co.

JENFAB® JENFAB introduces the JENFAB Oscillating Basket Washer, a front loading spray washer that removes machining oils, lubricants, and chips

from machined parts, castings, and stampings. The operator places work pieces onto a carrier and starts the 60second cycle. The carrier moves back and forth as sprays located above and below the parts clean all interior and exterior surfaces. After washing is complete, a blower removes excess water. Filters can be added to meet higher cleaning specifications. The unit takes up a 3foot by 5-foot space and is designed as a “cellular work station for Lean Manufacturing,” according to JENFAB. Contact: Jensen Fabricating Engineers Inc., Ph: (860) 828-6516; Web:

T.C. Service Co. has a new Top Cat® right-angle sander/grinder intended for tight work spaces. The 4101 RA Series is powered by a new generation 1.2 horse power motor through a right-angle head (that is smaller in size than a U.S. dime) at 12,000 to 15,000 rotations per minute on an air consumption of 30 cubic feet per minute. The longest tool in the series is 10.5 inches with a 1.5 inch diameter. Available in a steel version, 2.8 pounds, or with an aluminum case material, 2.3 pounds, the 4101 RA series performs finishing and refinishing/revitalizing of turbine blades and other metal removal cleaning applications. Contact: T.C. Service Co., Ph: (800) 321-6876; Web: PTFE spiral cable wrap

M.M. Newman Corp. A full line of spirally cut, expandable PTFE (polytetrafluroethylene) cable wrap from M.M. Newman Corp. protects wiring on welding, laser, and other cutting equipment from sparks. Heli-Tube® PTFE Spiral Wrap applies like tape and is available in seven sizes from 1/16 inch to 11/2 inch OD. The November/December 2004



Classifieds Detailer wanted Chicago Architectural Metals Inc. is seeking an experienced miscellaneous steel detailer/checker, parttime or full-time. Must be proficient in AutoCAD. Excellent salary and benefits. Forward resume to: or fax: (773) 275-0900. Business for sale Well established iron fabricating business, located on the beautiful California Central Coast. Small town atmosphere, but plenty of work. Specializing in entrance gates, fencing, and railing. Selling with, or without, real estate and equipment. Adjusted net for 2003—$160,000 plus. Owner retiring. Call Ken at (805) 239-2995 Field superintendent Custom metal fabrication company in Dallas, TX has immediate


Contact Rachel Bailey at (423) 413-6436, or

Please note, classified ads promote a one-time sale or offer, or a job listing.

opening for field superintendent. Minimum five years experience. Oversee 8-16 employees. Duties: installation scheduling, daily job scheduling, quality control, shop and field coordination, final inspection, daily logs, truck maintenance. Benefits: competitive salary, health insurance, paid vacations and holidays, company vehicle. Please send resumes by e-mail: lchung@ or fax: (469) 272-7242.

Box 9381, Greenville, SC 29604.

Shop supervisor Join a rapidly growing ornamental iron company in upstate South Carolina as a shop supervisor. Position requires experience in supervision, layout and fabrication of steel and aluminum gates, fencing, and handrails. AutoCAD and a BS degree a plus. Competitive compensation package. Send resume to: Paps Ironworks & Fabrication Inc., P.O.

For sale Metal fabrication shop specializing in high-end spiral and circular stairs. Complete machinery, tools, forms, templates, castings, etc. Call for details or to receive list (617) 889-0007. Shop foreman Custom metal fabrication company in Dallas, TX has immediate opening for shop foreman, minimum five years experience. Oversee up to 30 employees. Duties include: general production, quality control, material purchasing, job tracking, daily work schedule, administer safety program. Benefits include: competitive salary, health insurance, paid vacations and holidays. Please send resumes by email: or fax: (469) 272-7242.


November/December 2004

Business for sale Well established high-end spiral stair business for 30 years with great repeat and referral customer base is selling name, phone numbers, brochures, marketing artwork, machinery, and assorted assets. Willing to sell machinery separately. Call for details (617) 889-0007. Estimator / Project manager Custom metal fabrication company in Dallas, TX is currently seeking qualified individual to review ITB’s


for scope, determine project fit, estimate, and manage projects as they are being fabricated and installed. Successful candidate will have minimum five years experience in estimating custom metal fabrication and be proficient with AutoCAD. Excellent salary and benefits for the right individual. Send resumes by email: or fax: to (469) 272.7212. Recruiter Employment nationwide in

structural/miscellaneous steel fabrication. ProCounsel is in communication with over 3,000 structural/ miscellaneous and ornamental steel fabricators. We can market your skills (estimator, project manager, detailer, shop manager) to the city or state of your choice without identifying you. Employer pays fee. The right location, the right job, at the right money. ProCounsel: Buzz Taylor. Call toll free (800) 545-5900, or (214) 741-3014. Fax: (214) 7413019.


November/December 2004

Working smarter—not harder Five ways to cut insurance costs Reviewing your insurance program regularly helps you find ways to reduce costs without reducing your coverage. By Joe Romeo Sr. Industrial Coverage Corp. Insurance premiums paid by your business directly impact bottom line profits. The question frequently asked by clients and friends is: “How can I control the spiraling cost of my insurance programs?” Here are just a few ways to help your business reduce costs while not dramatically reducing coverages.

Update deductible


Far too often we see auto and property deductible at levels that were the standard 20 years ago. Having the insurance company responsible for claims down to $250 or $500 not only increases your premiums but also puts you at risk of being cancelled for claim frequency.

Workers compensation


Without question, workers compensation insurance is the most overlooked segment of any business insurance program. Many insurance agents and accountants recommend to their clients, “just go to the state fund.” Great solution; when was the last time you got a call from any government agency inquiring how they can help you cut costs for your business? It’s overlooked, you’re over paying, and here is why. Workers comp is sometimes hard to place, and the agent doesn’t make the same level of commission that are standard on other products. Consequently you never get to explore safety programs, trusts, dividends, or premium discount programs. If you currently do have a handle on your workers comp, let me offer some additional areas to look at. Many times

November/December 2004


your company’s class codes (the specific job duty that formulates the rate) are incorrect, or there is a new code that is lower in cost that better describes what the worker is doing. Review each class code on your comp policy and isolate payroll for each employee class and enjoy substantial savings.

3Health insurance

Companies offering health insurance to their employees know that over the past several years the premiums on this coverage has been volatile. If your employees are not currently contributing toward the cost of coverage, you’re business is the exception to the rule. Companies are still purchasing POS (in and out of network coverage) programs and offering it as their standard plan. Keep in mind that you and your employees are paying a high premium for the ability to go “out of network,” and the majority of the time this benefit is never used; some employees don’t even realize it’s there! How about offering two plans to your employees: one low cost, network only plan that the company subsidies; make this your standard. The other, high option, in and out of network plan, for employees who need the emotional security of going out of network if needed. Let the company contribution be the same for both plans and that way you can fix your cost. If the employee picks the more expensive plan, it will cost them more. In the end the only one getting less money is the insurance carrier.

4Review values

I can’t tell you the number of times that our office reviews the existing policies of prospective clients and the

Insurance tips Industrial Coverage Corp. offers insurance programs designed for NOMMA members. Contact: Mike Donato, Industrial Coverage Corp. Ph: 800 242-9872; Fax: 631 736-7619; Web:

values are incorrect. At the very least you and your agent should be reviewing, once a year, the values stated in your policies. Just because you are insuring the contents and property for a certain amount, this automatically does not obligate the insurance carrier to pay that amount in the case of a loss. If you’ve overstated your values all you have done is give the insurance carrier extra premiums. Conversely, if you understate values to lower premiums, your policy may have a co-insurance penalty, which will cause dramatic reduction in claim payment. The important thing is to base your values correctly and account for new major equipment or stock purchases made during the policy year.

5Association programs

If your business belongs to an association, ask the directors of the association to provide you with details on any insurance programs offered through the association. Ask your agent for an unbiased review of the offering and how it compares with what programs you currently have. Many times association programs are not substantially lower in cost, BUT they include enhanced coverage specific to your business operation, which are built in at no additional cost. I hope that these tips will help save premium dollars for you and your business. Naturally you should seek professional advice when making any changes. Seek help from someone competent, that has your interest uppermost in mind. Make your decisions and make changes without delay. The premium meter keeps running daily and the insurers keep collecting each day. 93

What’s your favorite shop tool? 


Fab Feedback Fabricator: Marty Martin, Fred Martin Welding Co., Atlanta,GA. Favorite tools: Edwards 55 Ton Ironworker and Dave Filippi’s FABCAD software. Why: I can build a rail faster and it fits!

Trusty ironworker and AutoCAD


Edwards 55 ton ironworker plus FABCAD equals a happy Marty and Kelly Martin, owners of Fred Martin Welding Co. Inc.

Ironworker and CAD, fast and reliable By Rachel Bailey Managing Editor Recently I visited Marty Martin, of Fred Martin Welding Co. Inc. in Atlanta, GA, to inquire about his favorite shop tool. At first Martin said his favorite tool would have to be his only real sizeable piece of equipment, an Edwards 55 ton ironworker. “Before the ironworker, we used only our chop saw and our portable band saw,” Martin explained. “I inherited the shop from my uncle who was really old school. He cut everything with a torch.” Martin leased his ironworker for

about two years before he bought it outright from Industrial Metals. “It used to take us an hour to cut with a torch and then clean. Now with the ironworker it takes ten minutes.” Martin mainly uses his ironworker to shear, punch, and notch and is happy with the machine’s capacity. “It seems the right size for now. Sometimes I wish we had more pieces for it. But I believe in letting others do what they do better than me, so we’ll outsource work when necessary.” That sort of thinking has helped Martin learn a lot about the metal fabrication industry in a relatively short amount of time. Although as a teenager he worked at the shop during summers, Martin studied the trumpet at Berklee College of Music and had originally planned to be a

professional musician. “About nine years ago my uncle was getting ready to retire and asked me if I wanted the business. My wife and I thought it would be a good idea to go for it. Soon after I took over, my uncle took off for retirement and left me to learn the business for myself,” Martin recalled. “And quickly I learned that just because you’re busy, doesn’t mean you are successful. We had to figure out what our niche was and what it wasn’t.” Previously, Martin’s uncle and grandfather ran the business as a job shop, Martin said. “I wanted to run more of a light structural/ light ornamental fabrication shop,” Martin explained. Purchasing the ironworker helped him do that. Another tool that has allowed Martin to run a more streamlined shop is AutoCAD. Although he realized it as an afterthought during our conversation, Martin assured me that AutoCAD has helped his shop run more efficiently than even the ironworker. “Now I can build a rail that fits,” he said with a laugh. “I just punch in the measurements, print up the job output, and give it to the guys in the shop.” Kelly, Martin’s wife, remembered when he purchased the FABCAD software from Dave Filippi at the NOMMA convention in Covington, KY. “He bought it before we even had a computer at the shop,” she said. Fortunately it was a good impulse buy. The Martin’s appreciate their investment in technology and plan to also buy FABCAD’s AutoRail once their rail business increases.


Share your metal tidbits. Do you have a favorite tool you’d like to tell other fabricators about? Or do you have a question you’d like to ask our readers? Simply telephone the Editor at (404) 363-4009; Fax (404) 366-1852, or e-mail the Editor at



November/December 2004

2004 11 fab  
2004 11 fab