Published by the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (www.nomma.org).
Tips and Tactics
Fabrication: Mechanical joinery, pg. 12
Finishing: Blackening steel, pg. 42
July/August 2005 $6.00
Comparison: Residential and commercial, pg. 73
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QUESTIONS? National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 404.363.4009 Fax: 404.366.1852 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.nomma.org
July/August 2005 Vol. 46, No. 4
This table by La Bella Ferro Designs won the gold award in the Furniture and Accessory Fabrication—Forged category in the 2005 Top Job contest.
Tips & Tactics
NEF Special Feature
Good practices for a common mechanical joint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 By Rob Mueller
Protect your shop’s investments with effective use of payment assurances . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Provided by ASA
Study suggests another reason to hot-dip galvanize . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Provided by AGA
Shop Talk Shop analysis: Reduce your waste and increase profits . . . . 18 Be sure to audit your shop.
NOMMA Education Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 New continuing education classes available. Member Talk
Job Profiles Speculating metalwork ............68 A self-taught fabricator showcases the value of ornamental metalwork. By Guido Mattei
Every trade association needs dedicated people . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 A tribute to NOMMA’s first executive director.
Residental or commercial? . . . . 73 Fabricators may think the grass is greener until they get to the other side.
Building on three generations of excellence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 The Boyler brothers continue their grandfather’s tradition.
How much is your time worth? ..........................................................76 It’s not a matter of should you charge for design time, but how to charge.
By Todd Daniel
By Rob Rolves
By Mark Hoerner
By Amanda L. Southall
Survey says, “Marine grade castings!”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 The pictures prove it! By Jon McGraw
Truck gallery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 More great shoop trucks. By Todd Daniel
Get the cool look of blackened steel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Compare hot and cold processes.
Emulating nature has its rewards ......................................................58 LaBella Ferro’s gold award wining table breaks the laws of nature. By Rachel Bailey
Fabricating with 3D modeling ..................................................64 Wieman Ironworks changes the way it does business. By Rachel Bailey
By JJohn L. Campbell
President’s Letter . . . . . . . 6 Bracken praises NOMMA for its teamwork mentality.
Editor’s Letters . . . . . . . . . . 8 This issue st-have equipment.
Nationwide Suppliers . . . . . . . 80 New Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Coming Events Literature
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Classifieds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Working Smarter
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Reader’s Letters. . . . . 10 NOMMA member thanks others for their support.
Cover photo: This aluminum, bronze, and steel belvedere was fabricated by Wiemann Ironwroks, with a little help from 3D modeling. May/June 2005
Benefits of teamwork Dedicated to the success of our members and industry. NOMMA OFFICERS President Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks Tulsa, OK President-Elect Chris Connelly DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. South Easton, MA
Vice Pres./Treasurer Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC, Peoria, IL Immediate Past President Curt Witter Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX
FABRICATOR DIRECTORS Rob Mueller Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL
Don Walsh Pro-Fusion Ornamental Iron Inc. San Carlos, CA
Sally Powell Powell’s Custom Metal Fab Inc. Jacksonville, FL
Terry Barrett Royal Iron & Aluminum West Palm Beach, FL
Fred Michael Colonial Iron Works Inc. Petersburg, VA
Bob Foust Bob’s Ornamental Iron Studio Kansas City, KS
SUPPLIER DIRECTORS David T. Donnell Eagle Bending Machines Inc. Stapleton, AL
Gene Garrett Regency Railings Inc. Dallas, TX
Bob Borsh House of Forgings Houston, TX
NOMMA STAFF Executive Director Barbara H. Cook Meetings & Exposition Manager Martha Pennington Communications Mgr. J. Todd Daniel
Administrative Assistant Liz Ware Technical Consultant Tim Moss Editor Rachel Bailey
2005 ADVISORY COUNCIL Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks
Rob Rolves Foreman Fabricators Inc.
Jay Holeman Mountain Iron Fabrications
Lee Rodrigue Zion Metal Works
Tom McDonough Master Metal Services Inc.
Nancy Hayden Tesko Enterprises Contributing Writers John Campbell Mark Hoernel Amanda L. Southall
To often I hear people quip, “That team would be nothing without so and so.” I also see reporters and authors herald the presence of superstar players, managers, or executives saying, “So and So is the reason this company (team, division, battalion, event, etc.,) is so successful.” While sometimes it is true for the moment, this kind of recognition only helps promote the misconception that in order to succeed, you must have at least one or two superstars on your “team.” Any seasoned leader will attest that this is simply not the case. Although I have employed them in the past, I have never subscribed to the superstar theory myself because I can never build a team around them, usually due to their super-sized egos. In fact, the longer I remain in business, the more convinced I am that the superstar will do more harm than good for any company in the long run. NOMMA is a team whether we realize it or not: a group of individuals who come together with the same interests and concerns trying to further the industry that provides them a livelihood, sharing their own knowledge and helping others to improve along the way. This is why NOMMA appeals to me. Like most volunteer organizations, there is really no encouragement or place for a “superstar” to shine. Instead, because of its volunteer nature, a volunteer organization fosters true teamwork, uncomplicated by egos and personal agendas. This is also the very reason you should join NOMMA if you are not already a member, or get more involved in NOMMA if you are. How far would the Apollo 11 mission have gone if the entire project was left up to just Neil Armstrong? How would the World Series have looked if Sammy Sosa were the only player on the field? How far would your company go if you had to per-
form every operation in the business as well as mine, smelt, and form the steel bars for your projects yourself! I bet shop owners often overlook their suppliers as part of the “team” that makes their daily business possible. Make NOMMA part of your team
In the same light, do not overlook NOMMA as part of your team. The work of the NOMMA staff, board of directors, task force chairs, and committees is a team effort, accomplishing tasks and building a knowledge base everyday that would be impossible for the individual or smaller group to perform. NOMMA is growing up, offering business advocacy on a national level at code hearings, offering searchable business and fabrication Doug Bracken knowledge that is is president of searchable, in a time- the National ly and more effective Ornamental and Miscellaneous manor. NOMMA Metals offers a network of Association. nearly 1,000 kind and humble, dare I say “superstar free,” members who are willing to share their experience and knowledge. The NOMMA Education Foundation offers education for fabricators of all levels, and as always NOMMA offers you opportunities to gain even more knowledge and confidence by becoming more involved as a volunteer. One of the best teams in the country is at your fingertips everyday., Please get involved to make this a better industry for all, and in the process make yours a more rewarding and more profitable business enterprise. Respectfully submitted,
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Tell us what you think
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Fax (404) 366-1852. Include your name and contact information. Letters are subject to editing.
Mail Letter to the Editor, c/o Fabricator, 532 Forest Pkwy., Ste. A, Forest Park, GA 30297
To all of our friends and extended family of NOMMA: Our family wants to say thank you for your thoughts and prayers during Jerry’s final months. As all of you know, he was not one to want to be sick for an extended length of time, so our family has been able to accept his actual short length of illness (less than three weeks). He fortunately had no sings of cancer when originally found, advanced as it was. As doctors would ask him what type of symptoms he was having, there were none, and this amazed them. But Jerry was a strong person. As you may now be discovering, due to his death (we had already downsized to only ourselves) our metal business technically is no more. Due to the expenses involved, our shop number and fax number have been disconnected. If needed, I am including both my cell phone and home phone numbers for those that want to keep in touch. Some of our NOMMA members have been helping me finish the committed jobs. And I personally want to thank them all: Iron Images, David Watson Crosby Welding, David and Susan Crosby
Recruiting the editor At the recent Southeastern Blacksmith Conference, I saw a left-handed female at the teaching station, learning basic blacksmithing. I asked how long she had been blacksmithing. She said she had just started and that she was a writer for NOMMA. Obviously, she was modest about her profession and did not tell me that she was the editor of Fabricator. Since I am active in the education efforts of the Blacksmith
Tallahassee Welding, Kenny Small Bettinger Welding, Mike Bettinger Klahm & Sons, Jack Klahm Mudge Metalcraft, Jay Mudge Four of the shops above are here in Tallahassee (I know that Jerry was looking down from heaven, proud that he had finally convinced all of them to join NOMMA). I believe they have all discovered what a bond we share, and although we are all competitors, we are able to help ad work together. As I start bringing myself back into focus, there are items that will be available for sale. However, with five grandchildren, there had been interest in their participation with metalwork (particularly in knife making), so his knives and certain pieces of equipment will remain in our home shop. I will try to post the items for sale in the near future. Again, thanks to everyone, and I do plan to attend next year’s NOMMA convention! Tycee Grice P.O. Box 1295 Woodville, FL 32362 Ph: (850) 421-4788; Cell: (850) 556-2805
Fabricator’s editor learns some basics and wears out left arm.
Association of Missouri (BAM), I like to watch the teaching style of other associations and also recruit for BAM. I was not successful in recruiting Rachel, but I concluded that she does have potential as a blacksmith, and we would be glad to have her as a BAM member. Perhaps she will attend the next BAM annual conference in Missouri and further improve her blacksmith skills. Ned Digh, Fulton, MO
Our Corrections Indsutry awards for two dedicated NOMMA members These two dedicated NOMMA members have done so much for NOMMA and won so many industry awards it’s difficult, obviously, for us to keep their awards straight. In the MayJune 2005 issue we listed Jan Allen Smith as the recipient of the 2005 Kozik award and Henry Bills as recipient of the 2005 Blum award. It’s exactly opposite. Smith already recieved the Kozik award in 2003 and Bills was previously presented with the Blum award in 1993. Here we restate who won what this year. Our sincerest apologies for the misrepresentation. 10
Jan Allen Smith of Allen Iron Works & Supply Inc., Birmingham, AL is the 2005 recipient of the Julius Blum Award. It is presented to individuals who make major contributions toward the betterment of the industry.
Henry Bills, recently retired from The Wagner Companies after 40 years of service to the industry, received the Frank A. Kozik Award. It is presented to individuals who consistently show an outstanding spirit of volunteerism.
Step-By-Step Contact: Rob Mueller, Mueller Ornametnal Iron Works Inc., Elk Grove, IL Mueller is also on the NOMMA Board of Directors. Ph: (847) 758-9941
Good practice for a common mechanical joint—in six steps
The amount of permissable gappages offers a source of debate among fabricators, contractors, architects, and homeowners. Don’t let it be a mystery for you. The following five steps offer a set of good practices for mechanically assmebling brass cap over a steel channel. By Rob Mueller Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc. Gappage can be tricky, particularly because it is an aesthetic rather than structural issue. Often the tightness of a joint depends on the material used and its finish. There are several processes for assembling rails mechanically depending on the type of rail, whether it’s tubing, pipe, flat bar, or cap rail over a steel channel. When attaching a bronze or brass cap rail to a steel channel fabricators need to first realize that the joints on the cap rail need to be offset from the joints on the channel by about 12 inches. Also, be sure to use a thick cap so that you can blind tap into it. If you are using bronze, 5848 or 5853 is good to ensure that you don’t drill all the way through. Particularly with brass and aluminum, the seams need to be as tight as they can be. One trick you can use to ensure that the cap rail seams are tight and still cover the channel completely is to cut the handrail 1/8 inch longer than it’s supposed to be. By leaving yourselves this little margin of error room, you can still get a tight fit on the job site. You do so by taking a handsaw to the slightly too long cap rail, and sawing just the thickness of the blade through it until the fit is tight. Of course with pipe or tubing rail this freehand method is harder to do because you’ll cut through your interior sleeve. Now for assembly. 12
The above pictures illustrate a cap rail mounted over a steel channel. In the top and bottom pictures, notice the offset of the cap rail’s seam from the channel’s seam. The middle picture offers a top view and the butt-tight splice joint of the cap rail.
Be sure to pre-drill holes in the channel for its attachment to the cap rail so that you can mark where you’ll need to later blind tap the cap rail.
nd Clamp in place
Then clamp channel sections together butt end to end and attach the channel to the pickets and posts with bolts and brackets.
rd Mount cap rail
Mount the cap rail over the channel with the seams offset.
4th Mark holes
Take a pencil and mark up through the holes in the channel.
5th Blind tap
Next take the cap rail off again and blind tap into the cap rail. Drill and tap about 3/8 inch into the cap rail, stopping only about 1/8 inch of drilling through the top of the cap.
6th Secure with screws
Finally, re-mount the cap rail, clamp in place, and then secure it with the appropriate screws. Fabricator
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Problem/Solution Contact: American Subcontractor’s Association (ASA) Ph: (703) 684-3450 Web: www.asaonline.com (click on “Stand Up! for Subcontractors”)
Protect your shop’s investments with effective use of payment assurances Increase your chances of getting paid by gaining access to funding arrangement information, even on private projects. A fabricator can do everything right in terms of negotiating a good contract and running a project smoothly, but still lose out if project funds run out without warning. The situation is not unlike a bank that issues a credit card and manages a cardholder account well, only to find out that it won’t receive payments because the cardholder unexpectedly goes into bankruptcy. The financial risks of underfunded projects cannot be eliminated on private construction, but there are steps fabricators can take to limit their losses in case they find themselves working for clients that cannot pay. Find out funding arrangements early on
Early knowledge of project funding arrangements is critical because once a fabricator has performed work, the fabricator has incurred the costs of providing labor, materials, and equipment. A white paper published by the American Subcontractors Association, Inc. (ASA), “Payment Terms: Adequate Assurances of Payment,” describes how subcontractors can avoid being taken by surprise by lack of project funding. It explains how inadequate project funding most impacts fabriators and other subcontractors by reducing or stopping progress payments or payments for extra work. By having the earliest possible knowledge that progress payments or extra work payments will not be made, fabricators can choose to save themselves from the grief of performing work and then trying to collect 14
from a client that doesn’t have any money. Beware of prevailing payment practices
Problem: Financial risks of underfunded private projects.
ASA’s white paper circumvents this problem by contractually ensuring a fabricator can get project financing information and has the right to demand payment assurance. The white paper notes that industry model prime contract forms increasingly contain terms allowing prime contractors to obtain project financing information, and, ASA argues, subcontractors should expect no less.
Under the contract law of most states, a subconSolution: tractor has the right to demand assurance that a Find out client will be able to pay, funding and if such assurance is arrangements not provided, can susup front by pend work. The protecwriting such tions provided by conaccess into tract law are, however, contracts. limited by prevailing Use the right contractural practices in the construcImplication: language tion industry. Don’t rely on In particular, ASA’s ASA has developed model white paper notes, the use “paid” clauses. subcontract language in its of pay-when-paid and “Addendum to Subcontract” pay-if-paid clauses creates uncertainty (2005 ed.) at Paragraph A.2.2.6: about what kind of assurances of paySubcontractor shall be provided, ment fabricators can obtain if they are upon written request, with the legal not entitled to payment at a particular description of the property, the name, time (pay-when-paid), or at all (payaddress, and representative of the if-paid) : Owner, and evidence of adequate owner [E]ven subcontractors who do agree project financing. The Contractor shall to pay-if-paid contract language must promptly notify Subcontractor of matestill have some right to demand aderial changes in the Owner’s identity or quate assurances and concurrently susfinancial arrangements. Subcontractor pend performance because the purpose shall not be obligated to commence or of progress payments is to enable concontinue Subcontract Work unless adetinued performance. Clearly, however, a quate assurance of payment is received. subcontractor could not pursue such a Including this statment in contracts course without tremendous risk. and following up on the statement may help assure payment for your Be firm: demand payment services by allowing you access to assurance project funding information, even on private projects. Another approach outlined in Fabricator
Industry issues Contact: American Galvanizers Association Ph: (800) 468-7732, Web: www.galvanizeit.org
Study suggests another reason to hot-dip galvanize Hot-dip galvanizing, and its use of zinc, offers an environmentally friendly system for metal fabrication finishing.
Figure 1: Systems for Comparison. This chart illustrates the benefits of a hot-dip galvanized finishing system.
Figure 2: Life Cycle Environmental Impacts—Selected Indicators. This graph suggests hot-dip galvanizing systems impact the environment less than even low VOC paint systems.
A recent study suggests that hot-dip galvanizing proves an environmentally AND economically sound choice for metal fabricators and their customers. “With the initial cost of a hot-dip galvanized coating being equal to and often less than many paint systems utilized for architectural applications and corrosion protection, and the long-term cost often being far less, a hot-dip galvanized coating often makes a good economic choice for finishing,” says Marketing Communications Manager Madison Sterling of the American Galvanizers Association (AGA). Additionally, two components of hot-dip galvanized finishes make the process good for the environment too. First, low maintenance means less opportunities for exposing the environment to harsh or toxic pollutants. Second, the metal used in hot-dip galvanizing, zinc, is considered healthy, abundant, and recyclable. “New legislation in Washington now requires leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) ratings to be used to evaluate proposals on government construction projects,” Sterling says. The assumption that more states and Canadian provinces may follow suit led the AGA to consult with the International Zinc Association (IZA) who had commissioned a pilot study to measure the life-cycle impacts of hot-dip galvanized coatings in a typical architectural application, focusing in particularly on its use of zinc. The pilot study compared the principal environmental impacts of a galvanized steel balcony with a painted balcony. Among the environmental issues considered, the efficiency and durability of the galvanized balcony allow it to impact the environment less. The environmental issues assessed included the use of energy, use of natural resources, and the impacts of air emissions on global warming potential, acidification, and photochemical ozone creation. The study was completed in April of 2004 by VTT Technical Research. Figures and parts of the article are reprinted with the permission and courtesy of the Galvanizers Association, West Midlands, UK. Fabricator
Shop analysis: Reduce your waste and increase profits
Make the most of your resources by disposing, recycling, and reducing the waste produced in your shop.
By Amanda L Southall Itâ€™s ironic that waste can cost so much money. From start to finish, the process of manufacturing and fabricating metal products generates various types of waste. These waste products have the potential to be classified as hazardous under federal or state laws, and the cost of treating and disposing of such waste can be high. Even non-hazardous waste poses a threat to the environment, the public in general, and worker health if not handled properly. And all of that costs money in the long run too. Besides, any kind of waste represents a loss of resources, and wasted resources signify a loss of profit. So whatâ€™s 18
the solution? Reduce waste. Reducing waste benefits all aspects of your business in a variety of ways and can be easily accomplished. The good news is that is can often happen at little to no cost. Since even the cleanest shops with the most conscientious employees produce preventable waste, auditing the waste your shop produces and then examining individual production practices will likely reveal room for improvement. Go above and beyond
Government regulations control the disposal and handling of many waste products, but the benefits of going above and beyond what is required should moti-
For your information
Minimizing waste in your shop reduces costs and increases profits. If you already run a clean shop, a few more adjustments can go a long way. If your shop needs a good spring cleaning, you might as well take it one step further and set up waste reducing practices too.
Problem: Disposing of waste legally and safely can be costly in the short term. Solution: Reduce the amount of waste your shop produces and save money in the longterm. Tip: Audit shop practices to determine areas where preventable waste is produced. Tip: Invest in machinery that that cuts efficiently. Tip: Substitute less toxic materials wherever possible. Tip: Consider an alternative painting system. Tip: Conserve water.
vate shop owners and managers to implement a customized waste reduction program. “Complying with county regulations is a start, but there’s always a lot more that can be done,” says Gessie Tassone, president of A&T Iron Works. Principally, operating and disposal costs quickly decrease as waste is minimized. If a shop is producing excess, it is wasting resources, labor, and therefore, money. “The motivation to run an effective business that doesn’t waste money should convince every manager to cut waste,” said David Hall of Dave’s Welding and Repairs. “We work too hard to throw away labor and resources.” Reducing waste also reduces longterm liability and enhances a firm’s public image when firms publicize their shop’s commitment to waste reduction. Customers often feel good about doing business with a company that is environmentally savvy. Most importantly, reducing waste helps sustain environmental quality and improves workplace safety and health conditions. Perform a self-audit
In order to implement an effective waste reduction strategy it is necessary to first identify practices that commonly produce waste by performing a comprehensive waste audit. Start out by listing and categorizing the type and amount of all wastes being generated. Use these records to identify problems and be sure to track improvement. Be specific in identifying the composition and source of each waste. Consider potential options to reduce the generation of these substances, especially those that are potentially hazardous. Once you can accurately identify problem sources you can begin to effectively prevent waste, reuse materials when possible, and recycle what cannot be reduced. Solutions to decrease waste
The best way to minimize losses associated with waste is to avoid producing waste in the first place. Sometimes this can be accomplished May/June 2005
by just making small, inexpensive adjustments in your shop. Improve Procedures
Clean and organize storage and work areas. Keep all containers labeled. Adopt a “first in, first out” policy by keeping dates on containers so that older materials are used up before new ones are opened. Inspect all materials upon delivery and immediately return unacceptable deliveries to the supplier.
Practice preventative maintenance by periodically inspecting operating equipment and repairing all malfunctions as soon as they are discovered. Reduce metal scraps
Because metal is often the greatest source of waste, minimizing scrap metal can significantly reduce costs. “We always try to prevent waste metal because we buy and sell steel by the pound and when we spend about 50-60 cents purchasing it and then junkyard only gives us two cents back
we’re obviously losing money,” says Joseph Zaffino, shop manager at A&T Iron Works. According to Zaffino, much of their metal waste is also prevented when they: Order the correct size for each job when possible. Invest in machinery that effectively cuts metal and makes the most of each piece. Reuse scraps for future projects. Control metal dust and shavings
Metal shavings are inevitable, but proper handling and disposal will enhance your shop’s environment and employee safety. To ensure employee safety make sure employees always wear personal protective clothing and respirator when working around metal dust. Store shavings and dust in a bucket for recycling. Reinforce drains with mesh screens to prevent clogs from metal shavings and other small materials. Consider material substitution
Replacing hazardous materials with less hazardous substitutes can reduce the toxicity of waste. Talk to your suppliers about possible alternative materials that are less toxic and more readily recyclable. Use process chemistries that are treatable or recyclable on site. Use de-ionized water instead of tap water for process baths and rinsing operations to reduce the amount of sludge generated. Replace cyanide and barium salt baths in metals heat-treating processes with alternative treatment methods, including the use of sulfate or chloride baths. Use less toxic plating solutions, such as zinc instead of cadmium and trivalent chromium instead of hexavalent chromium. Minimize paint wastes
Metal fabricating can lead to paint waste in the forms of cans containing residual paint, waste paint from overspray or failure of paint to reach its target, and waste generated by cleanup after a painting operation. “We always make sure to check and 20
“We always make sure to check and set our [paint spraying]
guns for each specific project. Selecting the right painting tip can make a big difference, too.” ~Belk Null, general manager of Berger Iron Works Inc. set our guns for each specific project,” says Belk Null, general manager of Berger Iron Works Inc. “Selecting the right painting tip can make a big difference, too.” Purchase paint in bulk in order to reduce the number of paint cans requiring disposal, or purchase paint
in the smallest amount required in order to minimize the amount of residual remaining in the can. Consider alternative application methods: roller and flow coating machines and electro coating systems are more efficient than conventional spray systems.
Organize paint operations. Reduce clean-up waste by carefully scheduling paint operations. Schedule all batches of the same color to be done all at once. When multiple colors will be used, apply light colors first then move progressively to darker colors to reduce the number of clean-ups required. Conserve water
Efficient rinsing techniques not only minimize water usage; they can also improve the quality of the product. Reuse rinse water for metal working processes. Dry wipe or brush pieces before rinsing to prolong the life of your rinse water. Use dry clean up when possible to reduce the volume of wastewater. Keep waste streams separate for reuse, recycling, or treatment to keep non-hazardous materials from becoming contaminated. Remember to never put wastewater down a storm drain or septic system, and follow the recommendations of your local water authority. Manage clean up
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Clean up should always be a top priority, especially when hazardous materials are involved. But be aware of the handling and disposal of clean up supplies to keep them from becoming a hazard or source of waste. Remember that absorbents such as sawdust, kitty litter, etc., used for hazardous materials become hazardous and should be disposed of accordingly. Use splashguards, drip trays, and pans to contain spills and leaks. Avoid disposable shop rags and use a shop towel recycling service. Wring out shop towels to reclaim solvents and other products. Avoid chemicals that may prevent the laundering of shop towels (perchloreothylene, toluene, etc.). Keep clean and dirty shop towels separate. Reuse and recycle
Though eliminating waste is ideal, it is not always possible. What cannot be reduced could be recycled. Though most shops do consistently reuse, recyFabricator
“Management monitors the procedures, but we have a foreman to keep employees on their toes. Employees are the ones who utilize the materials and really make a difference.” ~Joseph Zaffino, shop manager at A&T Iron Works cle, or sell scrap metal, additional materials can be reused and recycled as well. Reuse or recycle excess, off-specification materials, and samples taken for quality control testing. Segregate and reuse dust emissions in the production process.
Distill waste solvents and regenerate catalysts. Reuse paper (as notepads, poster paper, etc.), and then recycle. Recycle the company’s waste materials, including cardboard, computer, and office paper, aluminum, ferrous metals, and glass
and plastic bottles. Get every employee involved
A waste reduction program takes commitment. It won’t be successful unless you have the cooperation of every employee. “Management monitors the procedures, but we have a foreman to keep employees on their toes,” says Zaffino. “Employees are the ones who utilize the materials and really make a difference.” Provide employees with training in waste reduction techniques and practices to increase their awareness of the importance of waste reduction. Involve employees in designing and implementing waste reduction measures. Establish incentives to encourage workers to use waste reduction techniques. Keep waste program current
As long as waste is being produced there is potential for reduction. Because less-polluting materials, equipment, and procedures are constantly being developed and updated, it is important to stay aware of changes. In order to keep your waste reduction program current, reassess the company’s operations and waste handling practices periodically, and when buying new equipment look for items that will minimize both the amount of toxic materials used and the amount of waste produced. Get help from these resources
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While these tactics will help improve a shop’s environmental integrity, this is not a comprehensive list of every technique that could potentially reduce waste. Each fabricating shop is a unique facility with its own challenges and opportunities for minimizing waste; therefore each reduction program will be unique. The Environment Protection Agency (www.eqa.gov) and Operational Safety and Health Administration (www.osha.gov) are excellent resources for identifying federal, state, and county regulations and for help developing effective reduction programs. Fabricator
Shear, bend, punch, notch.
More shearing, bending, punching, coping, and notching.
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More online resources for construction debris reuse and recylce Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts donations of new
building professionals dedicated to maximizing the reuse of building materials.
the environmental impacts of deconstruction. www.deconstruction institute.com
and used building materials and fixtures in 100 percent working condition and resells them at bargain prices.
The Deconstruction Institute
The Institute for Local Selfreliance (ILSR) has a Building
The Building Deconstruction Consortium (BDC) is a group of
provides educational materials, tools and techniques, networking, case studies, and articles about
Deconstruction web page including publications and information on its deconstruction projects. www.ilsr.org/recycling/ indexdeconstruction.html The Reuse Development Organization (ReDO) is a
nonprofit organization promoting reuse of numerous materials, including building products. www.redo.org The Smart Growth Network is a
coalition of organizations, including EPA, that promote sustainable community development. Among the many topics covered on this web site are debris management and other aspects of the environmental impact of buildings including deconstruction. www.smartgrowth.org
Where you want something special, consider a cable railing. It is attractive, economical, low maintenance and easy to install.
Contact us today to learn how easy it is to fabricate a beautiful cable railing. Manufactured in the U.S. by:
The Cable Connection The Wagner Companies 888-243-6914 414-214-0450 fax email@example.com www.wagnercompanies.com
membership-based association that represents companies and organizations involved in the acquisition and/or redistribution of used building materials. www.ubma.org
CABLE RAILING SYSTEM
Distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada by:
Building Material Recycling Association is a nonprofit,
Ultra-tec Cable Railings 800-851-2961 775-885-2734 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.ultra-tecrailings.com
The Powell Center for Construction and the Environment of the University of
Florida is conducting several projects on deconstruction. www.cce.ufl.edu International and National Materials Exchanges direct users
to markets for buying and selling reusable and recyclable commodities www.epa.gov/jtr/comm/ exchnat.htm Fabricator
The survey says, . . .
These spear points illustrate the coherent coating of marine grade castings in excellent condition after one year on the beach.
â€œMarine grade castings!â€?
By Jon McGraw Alloy Castings Co. Inc. There are many steps necessary to providing a good, hard, coherent coating to aluminum castings. These steps include proper cleaning and rinsing, degassing, and proper curing of the coating. However, even if these steps are followed and the powder coater does the best possible job, sufficient evidence from on-site inspections and field reports suggests that another step is necessary on your part: using marine grade base material. The marine grade approach offers added pro28
tection that makes your job look better for a longer period of time. And that reduces call backs, which makes all of us happier. The rapid flaking and peeling of coatings from aluminum castings in a severe weather environment or the normal long term slow deterioration in a mild environment can be resisted with the proper selection of marine grade base metal because marine grade aluminum castings resist corrosion and improve coating performance.
For your information
A pictorial survey of eight case studies suggests that using marine grade castings and a modified powder coating application to avoid degassing results in long lasting beautiful aluminum castings, even in harsh salt water environments.
Poor finish: Non-marine grade castings and subpar powder coating application (page 30). Better finish: Marine grade coastings and subpar powder coating application (page 32). Best finish: Marine grade castings and good powder coating application including a modified degassing prebake cycle (page 34). Contact: Jon McGraw, Alloy Castings Co. Inc., Ph: (800) 527-1318.
This scroll casting is not marine grade. It shows severe white corrosion after only 18 months in its ocean environment in Sarasota, FL. No coatings remains.
This 12-year-old aluminum furniture in Dallas, TX, is also not marine grade. Even though it is not in a harsh marine environment, its powder coat is peeling and corrosion appears.
Corrosion on aluminum
Flaking and peeling occur on regular aluminum because air penetrates through the coating and corrodes the base metal. The devastation of the coating can occur rapidly when the job site is next to the ocean. Or it can take a much longer period of time in a more temperate climate. Either way, however, the castings will eventually show signs of corrosion. The scroll casting pictured at the top of this page has been on the ocean only 18 months and shows May/June 2005
less harsh environment the aluminum held off significant corrosion for 10 years. The furniture has now been in the weather 12 years.
oor: Corrosion on non-marine grade castings with
sub-par powder coating application
Typical corrosion of non-marine aluminum castings is shown at left. The ball cap has been near the ocean for four years and shows the corrosion on the corner edges where only a thin layer of coating might have been applied. This edge with a thin coating enables the salt air to penetrate here first and begin the corrosion peeling action. The root cause of the white chalk aluminum corrosion is the residual amounts of copper that create a galvanic reaction with the aluminum base material.
etter: Corrosion on marine grade casting with poor
powder coating application
This 2” ball cap is not marine grade. It shows chalk corrosion and flakging (starting at corners) after four years on the Indian River in Vero Beach, FL.
almost complete disintegration; whereas the aluminum furniture (pictured below it, bottom of page 29) is located in the more moderate environment of Dallas, TX. In this
Even the use of virgin metal with the correct marine grade chemistry, however, cannot cure the faults of a poor coating application. Pictured at the top of page 32 is a handrail installed near the ocean in Palm Beach, FL. For eight years the castings have been directly exposed to the wind and spray of the ocean. Howeve,r they are still shiny and coherent. This shiny and coherent surface indicates no galvanic corrosion has occurred as the marine metal has successfully resisted the salt air. But because of the
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This flower panel in West Palm Beach, FL, shows flaking because of a poor coating job. But its marine grade castings are still shiny and coherent after eight years.
poor powder coating application, the net effect is still a poor looking rail.Compare this picture at left with the non-marine grade aluminum castings that have been on the ocean only 18 months (top of page 29). Marine grade castings on the ocean eight years with no corrosion pictured at left show the value of the proper base metal. Again, however, even the marine grade metal could do nothing to improve the original poor powder coating.
est: Corrosion on marine grade
castings with good coating application
A recent on-site survey of many copper-free marine grade castings that have been on the ocean between one and 3Â˝ years shows the excellent results of combining marine grade castings with good powder coating applications. Shown below and on page 34, the castings are coherent and show no signs of corrosion or flaking. When I visited one fabricator in Jupiter, FL and asked to visit job sites that have had marine grade metal for
This aluminum rail with marine grade aluminum cast collars also shows a coherent coating in excellent condition after three years on Floridaâ€™s Intracoastal waterway. 32
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Best This marine grade and well powder coated spear and ball cap located just 100 yards from the ocean is in excellent, coherent condition after 31/2 years.
This marine grade large, heavy seashell aluminum casting adorning an exterior fence located between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic ocean shows a cohernt coating in excellent condition after two years.
several years, he said, “I don’t know where they are. I only know I have had no call backs because of poor performance.” Caution: Avoid out gassing during the powder coat cycle when using marine grade castings
The above comment shows the overall value of using marine grade aluminum. However, the value of marine grade castings can be undermined if certain precautions are not taken to prevent out gassing during the powder coat cycle. The chemistry of the marine grade metal demands the foundry pour at a higher temperature into the sand molds. This higher temperature in contact with the moisture inherent in the sand causes more than a normal amount of steam. This moisture becomes trapped in the aluminum casting. During the heating and curing powder coat cycle, the moisture is pushed out of the casting and causes a bully surface in the powder coat. For this reason, it is recommended that the powder coater operate a degassing step. This includes (1) running a prebake degassing cycle at 50–100 degrees higher than normal, and (2) running the pre-bake cycle at least 100 percent longer than the normal powder coat curing time. On heavier aluminum castings a much longer pre-bake cycle may be necessary. 34
Excerpted from Fabricator, July-August 2003, page 56.
Prepare for powder coating: Five preliminary steps
2nd: Degas the metal
Avoid degassing, flaking, and peeling by properly preparing your aluminum castings before they go to the powder coater. Also, be sure your coater’s ovens are ready for your castings.
life. Alkaline decontamination removes organic oils, waxes, and lubricants, while acidic cleaners remove inorganic rust, scale, and welding smut.
Running a pre-heat cycle to degas the castings is also necessary, expecially when with marine grade aluminum. The preheating expels the contained hydrogen that was entrapped as a natural result of the casting process. During the powder coat heating cycle, the hydrogen is expelled and shows up as a bubbly surface. This problem can be eliminated by first using a preheat cycle that is 50° to 100°F higher than the normal powder curing temperature and for a time cycle 30 to 100 percent as long as the powder curing time.
st: Use a better base metal
White corrosion on aluminum alloy castings in salt water environments is caused by salt air penetrating the castings’ powder coating, allowing galvanic battery action between aluminum and dissimilar metals, such as copper and zinc. The cause of the problem can be eliminated by using a marine grade aluminum alloy, which has magnesium as a major component. Even under the most severe conditions, the marine grade alloy stays shiny and coherent under the powder coat and eliminates white corrosion.
4th: Rinse with deionized water
After cleaning and etching the surface of aluminum castings, it must be rinsed with deionized water to ensure it is free of powder or streaking resudues left from cleaning fluids.
5th: Check the oven
Proper curing of the powder coat is also critical for coherency and longevity. A weak, soft coating will not stand up to harsh environmental elements. To avoid contamination which can affect adhesion and dry times, be sure your coater’s ovens are clean.
3rd: Thoroughly clean and etch
Cleaning and etching the surface frees it of contaminates and moisture, which can implicate powder adhesion, leading to a poor coating
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Get the cool look of blackened steel without the hot problems
This blackened interior steel rail was fabricated by Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX, and blackened using BirchwoodCasey's TruTemper System.
Blackened steel is beautiful. But the hot process may not be cost effective for all fabricators. Cold processes provide an aesthetically appealing alternative, but without a protective coating, sometimes making a clear lacquer application necessary.
Have you ever picked up a piece of steel that’s been partially buried in mud, where the end exposed to the air is rusty-red and the other end, the buried end, is black? That’s an example of the various iron oxide compositions naturally available. The black end is coated with ferrous oxide, also called magnetite (Fe3 O4). The red, rusty end is coated with ferric oxide (Fe2 O3), commercially known as jeweler’s rouge, a polishing medium. What nature accomplishes in her good old time, man tries to duplicate faster and better, if possible. Companies involved in black oxide finishing are often heat treating firms. They immerse carbon and low alloy steels into a viscous caustic soda solution heated to its boiling point. Whenever six to seven 42
For your information
By John L. Campbell
What is blackened steel? It’s a ferrous oxide coating on steel that occurs when carbon or low alloy steels are immersed in a hot caustic soda solution for just a few minutes. Benefits of black oxide coatings: They provide a protective, non-reflective surface against further corrosion (for interior use) and improve lubricity. Note: Only hot processes form black oxide coating.
The Tru-Temp® process used by BIg D Metalworks on this rail involvess a primer coat allowing the magnetite finish to develop at a lower temperature without salt blooms.
pounds of caustic soda is mixed with a gallon of water, the solution’s boiling point increases to about 290°F. At that temperature ferrous alloys immersed in the solution for just a few minutes, then rinsed, exhibit a beautiful black satin finish. To enhance and protect the finish, oil, wax, chromic seals, or various kinds of lacquers are applied. (Despite the universal availability of water based lacquers, even people who sell them admit that solvent based lacquers produce more lasting results.) Benefits of blackened steel finishes
For years it’s been known that a thin black oxide coating on steel is a protective surface against further corrosion. While black oxide finishes are generally not recommended for outdoor exposure, they provide several benefits to interior metal parts. The finish improves lubricity and antigalling characteristics. The black surface is non-reflective. Treated parts don’t change dimensionally. The finish won’t chip, flake or peel, although some dark-colored, powdery residue May/June 2005
called smut will rub off on the hands if a secondary finish is not applied. Aside from these physical attributes, blackened steel is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Hot problems: Cost, safety, and salt blooms
There are downsides to blackened steel as the hot caustic systems are more suitable for continuous production of steel parts, not customized, short run work. The hot caustic process can be hazardous and the capital expenditure necessary to install the tanks and the equipment to dispose of the residues under today’s environmental regulations can be high. Although the hot caustic process complies with a Mil-C-13924C Class 1 specification (applied to the black oxide finish on aircraft parts) and will withstand 100 to 300 hours of salt spray depending upon the sealant used, for NOMMA members doing architectural finishing it’s not recommended, nor is it practical. In addition, wherever recesses and porosity exist, salt penetrates. About the time your customer receives their
O N E FA M I LY
120 Glasgow Avenue, Inglewood, California 90301 U.S.A.
Tel: 310-645-0023 1-800-826-7493 FAX: 310-641-1586 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.doorking.com
order tiny salt blooms like cauliflower ears are growing out of these recesses where salts have been trapped. Anyone who has ever tried to blacken iron or steel castings can recall the cost of shipping back and forth before all the salt blooms were harvested. For production immersion of parts under less hazardous conditions Birchwood Laboratories Inc. located in Eden Prairie, MN, offers their TruTemp® system. The main advantage to Tru-Temp® is that parts can be processed at 190°F, a hundred degrees cooler. The Tru-Temp® process applies a primer coat so that the magnetite finish develops at a lower temperature without the ugly salt blooms. Birchwood’s system also complies with the Mil-C-13924C, Class 1, specification. But despite the low temperature benefit of the Tru-Temp® process, it too requires a sizeable capital investment for tanks and equipment. A cold solution (without protective coating)
Chemical finishers learned years ago that selenic acid, made by mixing selenium dioxide and water, turns certain iron base alloys (with the exception of stainless steels) dark blue to black. For really small jobs or for trial and error experimenting with these selenium compounds, gun-bluing finishes are sold in sports shops under the Birchwood-Casey® trade mark. However, the finish is not an oxide of iron like the hot processes produce. It’s copper selenide, the same black stuff used to print in your copy machine. The finish is less than a micron thick (.000010” to 000020”) For commercial applications, like handrails, selenic acid blackeners are available under a wide range of trade names (i.e Jax Iron-Steel-Nickel Blackener, Insta-Blak®, Presto-Black®, TriBlack F®, E-Z Black®). None of these finishes pretend to comply with Mil-C-13924C Class 1 specifications. They don’t produce the same black oxide finish called magnetite, which results from hot caustic processes. So, when working with architects and general contractors, the difference is worth explaining before accepting a Fabricator
The rail above, fabricated for a private residence in University Park, TX, was chemical blackened after being sandblasted. It was finished with a clear chemical lacquer. Fabricator: Pettigrew’s Custom Iron & Metals, Dallas, TX.
The rail pictured below was fabricated for a private residence in Plano, TX. It was chemical blackened over a rust chemical after being sandblasted and then finished with a clear chemical lacquer. Fabricator: Pettigrew’s Custom Iron & Metals, Dallas, TX.
ENTRY FOR HUNDREDS
120 Glasgow Avenue, Inglewood, California 90301 U.S.A.
Tel: 310-645-0023 1-800-826-7493 FAX: 310-641-1586 E-mail: email@example.com www.doorking.com May/June 2005
“The most important advice I’ll give you is to make sure all parties, the architects, general contractors, and owners, understand that chemical finishes are not uniform in appearance.” ~Billy Pettigrew, Pettigrew’s Custom Iron & Metals project requiring blackened steel. The artist applying these chemicals with sponge, swab, brush, or spray can create a variety of effects on the appearance of the final product. For interior ornamentation the darkness of the black and the look will be as stylistic as the individual artist using them.
Tips on applying cold solution blackeners
The preparation of the surface to be blackened is one of the key concerns in obtaining a good uniform finish. Pettigrew’s Custom Iron & Metals in Dallas has had some experience with blackening a steel handrail. They
soda blasted the steel to remove the mill finish. Billy Pettigrew says they used Presto-Black® to do the blackening. To construct an inexpensive immersion trough for long balusters Pettigrew cut PVC tubing in longitudinal halves. Using a spray bottle, they applied the acid mixture to sections they couldn’t dip. “The most important advice I’ll give you,” said Billy Pettigrew, “is to make sure all parties, the architects, general contractors, and owners, understand that chemical finishes are not uniform in appearance.” Billy Pettigrew continued with another sound tip learned from experience, reminding those who might have a handrail similar to the one they made, that clear lacquers sprayed on cold metal tend to turn yellow. Get the metal up to 70°F or the temperature recommended by the lacquer manufacturer. Lloyd Hughes at Lloyd Hughes Metalsmithing likes to finish blackened steel with a water soluble wax product called Satin-Shield®, also made by Birchwood Laboratories. “Often, the blackened finish will have a brown hue,” explained Hughes, who also uses the Presto-Black®. “But once the wax finish is applied it darkens up and looks blacker.” To dip steel balusters in the liquid blackener Hughes buys wallpaper trays. “If they’re not long enough, I cut the ends off two trays and tape them together with a plastic liner inside.” Blackening applications made easier
Mark Ruhland, Vice President of the Metal Finishes Div. of Birchwood Laboratories, has fielded complaints about the tricky nature of applying his company’s Presto-Black® liquid, which is a watery consistency. Responding to a question about ease of application, Ruhland said, “Some people like that mottled appearance, that antique look, as though the piece has been sitting in someone’s barn for a year.” Listening to the needs of their customers, Birchwood introduced PrestoBlack® in a gel form a few years ago. The gel acts slower than the liquid, taking several minutes to achieve 46
color. There’s not the running streaks and the dripping on the floor with the gel, giving the finisher better control on vertical surfaces. Slower reacting time allows the user more control over the darkening process. This is important where large fabrications can’t be immersed in a liquid. Eric Olander, President of Electrochemical Products Inc., New Berlin, WI, produces blackening steel chemicals under their Insta-Blak® trademark. The company also produces a swab-on finish called InstaBlak S-334® for quick touch-up of scratched or damaged black oxide. “The price of selenium has skyrocketed,” said Olander, whose company produces a variety of chemicals for the plating industry. Olander estimates that the total cost of preperation, application, rinsing, and applying a finish wax has gone up from $.08 or $.09 to $.10 or $.12 cents per square foot in the last few years. “Now selenium is in such short supply that we’re on allocation.” (Although these selenic acid products will not blacken alloys like stainless
steels, zinc, cadmium, or aluminum, suppliers of blackening steel products have other chemicals that will.) Suppliers of blackening steel products consulted for this article:
Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. E-Z Black® Ph: (800) 282-3533 Web: www.patinausa.com Electrochemical Products Inc., Insta-Blak® Ph: (262) 786-9330 Web: www.epi.com Jax Chemical Co. , Jax Iron-SteelNickel Blackener® Ph: (718) 347-0057 Web: www.jaxchemical.com Birchwood Laboratories Inc., Presto-Black® Ph: (800) 328-6156 Web: www.birchwoodcasey.com Triple-S Chemical Products, TriBlack-F® Ph: (800) 862-5958 Web: www.ssschemical.com
Blackening steel the old fashioned way Back in the days when frontier fur trappers left their steel traps on the banks of lakes and streams, sometimes in the water up against a muddy bank, rusting was a major problem. When and where no one remembers, but someone noticed how the yellow-staining juices of walnut husks turned the inside of a metal pail black. And, the metal under the black coating didn’t rust. Perhaps that was the beginning of blackening steel, because the trappers, who just about decimated the beaver population in their quest for furs, started blackening their traps by boiling them in a solution of water and black walnut husks. Mike Caswell of Caswell Inc., Palmyra, NY, sells a kit for black oxide coating. In a plating manual, Caswell describes the old fashioned process as related to him by someone in the trapping community: Pioneer trappers removed rust from their traps by boiling them in water with wood ashes, which formed a mild lye solution when mixed in a 4 to 1 ratio of water to wood-ash. To give their traps added rust protection they blackened them. A 55 gallon drum was filled with 40 to 45 gallons of water suspended over a hot fire and brought to a boil. Walnut husks, approximately a 5 gallon pail full, were added to the water. After the mix began to simmer, as many as ten traps were hung inside the drum with heavy wire. The first batch might take as long as 30 minutes. The longer the time, the darker the metal became. When the color started to lighten, the old husks were dipped out and new ones added. The color would last several weeks if not waxed, and longer, if a good waxing were applied. May/June 2005
ENTRY FOR THOUSANDS
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Tel: 310-645-0023 1-800-826-7493 FAX: 310-641-1586 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.doorking.com
Forges at Touchstone
NOMMA Education Foundation In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association
NEF offers forging classes for fabricators The NOMMA Education Foundation hosts classes this fall featuring Roger Carlsen and Jim Wallace Typical Forge Station
Bradley Power Hammer
Kuhn Air Hammer
Class des c r ipt ions: Hot Forged Scrolls, October 7–9, 2005 Instructor: Roger Carlsen, Ephiram Forge Class will include, but not be limited to: the basics of hot forged scrolls and design theory and drawing of spirals transforming the spirals into iron scrolls forging basics jig making forged scroll terminals free formed scrolls. Course level: Some blacksmithing experience would be helpful but is not necessary. Beginning to intermediate level. Location: Touchstone Craft School – Farmington. PA Fee: $500 members/$700 nonmembers – limited to 12 participants Fee includes: Instruction, Use of forge, Supplies for class. Accommodations (double room in dorm—provide own linens). Meals (Friday/dinner, Saturday/ 3 meals, Sunday/ breakfast, lunch). Basic Blacksmithing Workshop, November 19 & 20, 2005 Instructor: Jim Wallace, The Metal Museum Lectures and demos will cover: Basic forge practice interspersed with short lectures and demonstrations covering forging procedures for nonferrous metals and the evolution of design styles. Discussion of history of metals with emphasis on iron and important technologies throughout the ages. Methods of forming metals and their applications and limitations. Hand tooling for forging operations including demonstration of heat sources. Basic forging operations of drawing tapers, bending (or scrolling), punching and cutting. Traditional fabrications techniques (riveting, collaring, mortise, and tennon). Silver soldering, forge brazing, and pewtersmithing Finishing options burnt oil, wax, chemical blueing and paint Intro to power hammer and sand casting Course level: Some blacksmithing experience would be helpful but is not necessary. Beginning to intermediate level. Location: The Metal Museum, Memphis, TN Fee: $500 members/$700 nonmembers – limited to 5 participants Fee includes: Instruction, Use of forge, Supplies for class, and Meals (Lunch/Saturday, Sunday).
The lodge and cabins at Touchstone
NOMMA Education Foundation Continuing Education Program 2005 October 7–9, 2005 — Hot Forged Scrolls Location: Touchstone Craft School, Farmington, PA Instructor: Roger Carlsen, Ephriam Forge Fee: $500 members/$700 nonmembers, limited to 12 participants Fee includes: Instruction, use of forge, supplies for class, accommodations (double room in dorm—provide own linens), and meals (Fri/dinner, Sat /3 meals, Sun/ breakfast, lunch). November 19 & 20, 2005 –— Basic Blacksmithing Workshop Location: The Metal Museum, Memphis, TN Instructor: Jim Wallace, The Metal Museum Fee: $500 members/$700 nonmembers, limited to 5 participants Fee includes: Instruction, use of forge, supplies for class, and meals (Lunch/Saturday and Sunday). Visit www.nomma.org for additional information. Please register me for the following:
Oct. 7–9, 2005
Nov. 19–20, 2005
Name Company Address City
Method of payment: Check payable to NOMMA Education Foundation (US dollars on US bank) Credit Card :
Events sponsored by the NOMMA Education Foundation, 532 Forest Parkway, Suite A, Forest Park, GA 30297 Fax completed form to 404-366-1852 or email to email@example.com
Every trade association needs dedicated people
In Memory of Blanche Blackwell Ballew, Former NOMMA Executive Director We recently learned of the passing of Blanche Blackwell Ballew, NOMMA’s past executive director, who died March 27. Ms. Ballew, who served with the association from 1972 to 1988, held the positions of Fabricator editor, executive secretary, and executive director. During her 16 years with the association she edited the association’s magazine and newsletter, and served on many committees including Executive, Budget, Long-Range Planning, and Policy & Procedures. She was named an honorary member of NOMMA in 1985, and in 1986 she was presented with the prestigious Julius Blum Award. Other honors she received include a Distinguished Service Award in 1975 and an Appreciation Award from the National Ornamental Metal Museum. Funeral services were held March 30 in Spartanburg, SC. Some kind words from NOMMA members and staff
“It was not NOMMA that I thought of it was Blanche Blackwell. She was a respected figurehead and a good saleslady, who offered great support to the participants involved in organizing the executive structure of NOMMA in the early 1970’s.” ~Bill Durrett, Choestoe Forge Inc. Durrett was a member of NOMMA from 1968–1975 and then returned in 1999 after a career in crane manufacturing. 50
“Blanche was not the guiding force behind the eary days of NOMMA. She was the working mule who made it possible for those early leaders to get something done. Blanche wrote their letters, answered the phone, edited and produced Fabricator, and made conventions happen—all by herself. She was untiring and completely dedicated to the organization and without any hesitation put her shoulder alongside any one else who shared the vision of what NOMMA could do. The early survival of NOMMA rests clearly on the nuturing and support Blanche so freely gave.” ~Jim Wallace, Director, National Ornamental Metal Musuem and NOMMA member “When I first went in to talk to Blanche about taking a job at NOMMA so many years ago, I could never have imagined that this kind and patient woman would give me an opportunity to do things that one can never experience in the every day corporate world of business. I will be forever thankful to her for believing in me. She had the commitment and loyalty that is essential in order to hang on during the ups and downs of a membership organization. Blanche knew that the key was not always dollars and cents, but rather, the individuals and the members who care and work toward common goals for the betterment of all.” ~Barabar Cook, Executive Director, NOMMA
NOMMA’s executive director from 1972–1988 Blanche Blackwell Ballew helped turn an annual business meeting into a trade association. She passed away this year, and several members called the NOMMA office to offer their condolences. We thank you. Below, NOMMA members and staff express their appreciation of Blanche’s dedication to our industry.
NOMMA’s First President: Frank A. Kozik, Scranton Craftsmen Inc., 1958–1959 First publication of Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator: 1958 (Then called Ornamental Iron) First Julius Blum Award Recipient: Georgia Institute of Technology, 1965 First Mitch Heitler Award Recipient: Unique Metals Inc., 1977 (Then called Gold Star Award) First Frank A. Kozik Award Recipient: Lloyd Hughes, 1998 First Clifford Brown Award: Ed Powell, 2002
Gold award: Furniture and Accessory Fabrication—Forged
The Ramo Tavolino coffee table won a fold award in the furniture category of this year’s Top Job contest. Approximate labor time: 147 hours.
Emulating nature has its rewards I think this needs work.??
By Rachel Bailey, Editor Emulating nature has its challenges, particularly when using steel for what might be more readily achieved with wood. Bill Masterpool, owner of NOMMA member shop La Bella Ferro, a metal art studio located in Fallen, NV, learned that first hand. But he obviously overcame the challenge. His granite and steel table designed to look like tree branches supporting a stone slab won a 2005 Top Job gold award in this year’s furniture category. “Steel simply doesn’t offer the cushion that wood naturally provides,” Masterpool says. And that is what made this otherwise 58
simple concept difficult to achieve. The table measures roughly 46 inches wide, 32 inches deep, and 17 inches high. The steel legs are made of 21/2-inch and 2inch schedule 40 pipe. “That gave me a big enough base to get the depth and dimension I wanted for the tree trunk table legs,” Masterpool explains. He then welded 11/4 inch and 1/2 inch round stock to the pipe and tapered and drew out to get the fine branch tips. The leaves on the branches were each drawn separately and cut from 14 gauge steel plate. Special dies helped vein each leaf uniquely. Custom dies and jigs were also used,
For your information
It also has its challenges. Thanks to the ingenuity of its ornamental fabricator, this granite and steel table suggests that the game rules for rock, paper, scissors may need rewriting as a hidden subframe and cushion were needed to protect a granite slab from its steel base.
NOMMA Member: Bill Masterpool, La Bella Ferro Designs LLC, Fallen, NV Project: Steel and granite table. Specs: The table is 46” wide, 32” deep, and 17” high. The steel legs are made of 21/2” and 2” schedule 40 pipe and 11/2“ and 1/2“ round stock; 1/4”thick granite slab weighs 125 pounds. BIggest challenge: Laying granite on steel. Special technique: Masterpool combines TIG, MIG, and stick welding to acheive his textured tree branch look.
Fabricator BIll Masterpool has mastered a welding process that produces the detailed and realistic texturing shown above. ABOVE: Masterpool at work. TOP RIGHT: A steel California poppy.
along with Masterpool’s unique welding process which combines TIG, MIG, and stick welding, to emulate the texture of tree branches. To complete the look, Masterpool used a mix of acids to make a bark colored finish of various earth tones and hues. Masterpool calls it a rainbow patina. First he sandblasted the steel, then applied the acids to create the desired patina, and stopped the action by rinsing with water. Then Masterpool finished drying the material with compressed air and applied three coats of clear lacquer and black wax. But that just accounts for the table’s legs. The 3/4 inch thick granite top, which weighs about 125 pounds, actually proved to be the most challenging element of this project. Because granite is so brittle, it has to rest on an absolutely flat and slightly cushioned surface. Although the table gives the appearance that the steel branches hold the granite table top in place, it is actually held there by a 1 inch by 1 inch steel square tube sub frame with angle iron cross tubing. Between the steel sub frame and the granite is a 3/32 inch poly rubber matting, which cushions the granite and keeps it from sliding. “I knew I wanted to use granite as the table top, but I’d never worked with granite before,” Masterpool says. “So I forged a sample of one of the branch legs to show the granite shop. May/June 2005
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The highly detailed free-from branches were fabricated from plumbing pipe and round stock, then tapered and textured with homemade hammers, punches, dies, and by the use of three different welding processes. Leaves in various sizes were plasma cut from 14 gauge steel plate then shaped, formed, and textured. The piece was sandblasted and then finished with a rainbow patina, three coats of clear lacquer, and four coats of black wax.
They explained how much more delicate and heavy granite is compared to glass and said the tiniest weld bead would be enough to make the granite vulnerable to cracks and fissures.” The granite supplier suggested precautions Masterpool should take to cushion and support the granite. But this compromised the natural look he desired. “Until then I had envisioned the steel branch legs holding the granite slab. But after speaking with the granite supplier, I realized I needed a sub frame and would have to completely conceal it in order to achieve the look I wanted.” To make the sub frame required absolute accuracy since it had to be perfectly square and flat. So Masterpool built a temporary jig for it to hold the height and level off the fabrication table. Then he fabricated and forged all of the legs up to that point and carefully arranged the May/June 2005
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“I’ve been a foreman with several other companies and learned what I want to avoid.”
branches to hide the frame. While Masterpool took great care to prevent the granite from cracking as it rests on its steel sub frame, he carefully and purposely took a rosebud (oxy-acetyline torch) to the top to pop and roughen the granite’s polished smooth top surface finish. “I actually found out later that you can buy the granite with a rough surface rather than a polished surface. But this definitely adds to the custom look of the table,” Masterpool says. To further enhance the table’s natural look Masterpool also had the granite slab broken rather than cut to its 48 inch by 36 inch oval shape, giving its edges a rough look. Finally, to prevent the stone from staining, he sealed it with a special stone sealer. Design inspiration
The table’s deceivingly difficult concept actually began as a simple vision, Masterpool explains. He has spent many hours crafting the welding style described above, making various tree and moss like textures and decided this time to test it out on a table. “I sometimes just get these epiphanies,” Masterpool says. “I thought it would be neat to forge a table resembling what the forces of nature might otherwise create out of stone and wood.” When he shared the idea with his wife Dana, she began sketching out the table’s design. “She does most of our design work,” explains Masterpool. “And then I turn it into physical reality.” The table remains available for sale while temporarily adorning the Masterpool’s own home. But it may not be available long, as the Masterpools do a lot of ornamental work in Lake Tahoe for high-end homes. One-man, two-shops
In addition to operating La Bella Ferro, Materpool also owns Stillwater 62
“Joining NOMMA and
marrying my wife are the best decisions I ever made.” Welding and Fabrication Co., a light and structural fabrication shop, also located in Fallen, NV. The couple has lived in Nevada for 18 years. Ranching work initially attracted Bill to the area, but he learned his welding skills in the Marine Corps. After completing his service he found work on ranches doing repair welding. Eventually he went to work for larger fabrication shops. Now, Masterpool works for himself. He has no employees and likes it that way. “I’ve been a foreman with several other companies and learned what I want to avoid,” says Masterpool. With no employees to manage Masterpool finds it easier to guarantee the quality of his work. But about three years ago, however, Masterpool suffered a shattered right hand from a four-wheeling accident, and that is what led him to ornamental fabrication. “I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to work with my hands again,” Masterpool says. So he began creating metal art at night to help rehabilitate his hand. And that led to the opening of his La Bella Ferro studio. Now he would like to do even more ornamental metalwork, and to help him do that he has joined NOMMA, the American craft Council and the Furniture Society. Recently, in addition to winning a Top Job gold award, Masterpool was invited to submit a piece for the Southwest Design Conference in Santa Fe, NM. Last year he won honorable mention for his entry. These awards and the support of networking through associations like NOMMA help Masterpool extend his market beyond Lake Tahoe and tip the scale toward favoring more ornamental work and less dependence on structural fabrication commissions. To that end, Bill credits two important assessments: “Joining NOMMA and marrying my wife are the best decisions I ever made.” May/June 2005
Fabricating with 3D modeling
Fabricating the challenging shape of this structure was made simler with the aid of 3D modeling software. BELOW: The 3D modeling software allows users to fabricate and assemble projects virtually..
Three-dimensional modeling software helped make this project a success and has changed the way Wiemann Ironworks does business.
soon became apparent that 3-dimensional modeling would be necessary to effectively work out the structure’s subtle geometries. We are certain that the modeling software we utilized for this project reduced our fabrication time significantly while increasing overall quality.” An engineered structure designed to withstand exposure to water, birds, wind, and ice, as well as future plant growth, the belvedere was conceived by Bracken’s client, designed by landscape architect Claudia Levy, and brought into reality through with the help of 3D modeling software. It has a13 foot diameter and consists of 743 pounds of aluminum, bronze, and steel. Because of its size and because the fabricator had to transport it across country to deliver and install it, all connections are mechanically fastened except for the rings. Three of the five rings are welded together,
For your information
The structure featured above does as a belvedere should. It commands a view and shelters a sitting area, in this case, on the Navesink River near Redbank, NJ. Wiemann Ironworks entered this aluminum belvedere structure along with several other entries in the 2005 Top Job contest. Although stunning in its own right, the belvedere appears less ornate than typical top job projects. But when given the opportunity to feature one of his entries as a job profile in NOMMA’s Fabricator magazine, owner Doug Bracken chose the belvedere project because of the impact this minimal yet deceivingly complicated project had on Bracken and his firm. “The belvedere’s geometry is quite challenging yet it appears deceptively simple. Often, the simpler a structure is in appearance, the more difficult it is to fabricate,” Bracken says. “After several attempts at at conventional 2-dimensional drawings it
NOMMA Member: Wiemann Ironworks, Tulsa, OK. Project: Aluminum, bronze, and steel belvedere. Biggest challenge: Structure’s simple geometry. Solution: 3D modeling software. Get more information: For more on the 3D modeling software used by the fabricator featured in this article, contact NOMMA member Dimitri Galatzine, Design Development Associates LLC, Ph: (914) 522-5336; Web: www.desdev.net. Also see the May-June 2004 issue of Fabricator, page 11.
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and the two largest rings screw together with custom machined gussets. Steel posts hidden in the wood columns help support the ringsstructure, while bronze ball and spike finials on top and bands around where each ringthe largest ring meets the arch springing from the post, meets add subtle ornament. The aluminum rings were finished with a dark bronze epoxy urethane paint to match the patina bronze collars and finials. The total project took 400 hours. “This was my first experience using 3D modeling,” Bracken says. “Before buying any software, I sought assistance from NOMMA member Dimitri Galtzine (Design Development Associates LLC). I met Dimitri through NOMMA’s e-mail discussion list, where he’s answered various fabricator questions about 3D modeling. Galatzine is also a licensed distributor of Solid Edge 3D computer modeling software. He actually did the drafting of this project for us.” “After one glance at the earliest design drawing Dimitri sent back to us I said, ‘Wow! We have to have this! This is going to change our business!’ It is basically all the same lines we are drawing in 2D AutoCAD but with 100 times more information because we can now associate properties with the shapes. After seeing how powerful this tool is I’m now convinced that 3D modeling will do to 2D CAD what 2D CAD did to drafting,” Bracken says. “In fact, I predict that 2D CAD drafting will eventually be displaced by 3D CAD modeling, and drafting may eventually become a precursory step to 3D, for drafters.” In addition to answering questions for fellow NOMMA members on NOMMA’s e-mail discussion list, Galatzine has also written articles for NOMMA’s Fabricator magazine about the benefits this tool offers, particularly with the sales end of fabrication (see “Discover the perks of solid modeling design technology,” May-June 2004, Fabricator, page 11). However, Bracken sees many other applications as well. “Dimitri often promotes 3D modeling as a sales tool,” Bracken says. “But I’m not going to giveI rarely offer a client this detailed of a drawing until I’ve already sold the job. However, after I’ve sold it, I’ll use the drawings to show clients exactly what they are getting. And my shop employees can see exactly what a project is supposed to look like when it’s finished before they start working on it.” The software makes the fabrication process go smoother May/June 2005
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Modeling software reduced fabrication time significantly while increasing the overall quality of this project, according to its fabricator. Still it took 400 hours to fabricate the belvedere.
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in various other ways as well. For example, after virtual assembly on the computer, Bracken’s firm sent the necessary component specifications electronically to outside firms for waterjet cutting and machining services and studied the overall configuration to determine the best way to knock it down for transport. “Because we know the volume and weight of the fabrication in parts and as a whole, we can make decisions in the office which we used to make in the shop as we tried to load the truck,” Brack says. “We also now use the software to make patterns for foundry work with the help of a rapid prototype manufacturer.” The 3D modeling software also aided in rolling the belvedere’s rings, drilling and tapping its connections, and even previewing how installation would go. The software even helps determine costs for fabrication projects. For example, in drawing mode, users can look at their structure from different angles and determine costs of the materials they’ll need to buy, including costs for shipping. Bracken says he is currently working with Galatzine to propel the software to another level, by providing even more complicated tools for fabricators. “We have barely scratched the surface of the potential for this technology, and it is already paying back good dividends. Ernest was always interested in staying ahead of the curve. He invested in CAD drafting before most ornamental shops did, so I guess we are just continuing his tradition.” As mentioned, in addition to the belvedere, Wiemann Ironworks entered three other projects in the 2005 Top Job contest. An interior stair and balcony rail and a restored gate, featured here as well, won gold awards in their categories. These jobs are beautiful and no doubt were completed with their own set of challenges and interesting fabrication anecdotes. However, the precedence the belvedere job has set for Wiemann Ironworks, as the firm now incorporates 3D modeling into its business practice, earmarks it as a pivotal project in the firm’s long history. Fabricator
More of Wiemann Ironworksâ€™ 2005 Top Job Entries
This monumental drive gate was originally fabricated in 1928 for a private mansion. Off-site restoration and finishing tokk 240 hours.
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A hand-rubbed finish was applied to accentuate the texture of the hand forged surfacesof this fireplace screen. Fabrication and finishing took 65 hours.
This projects included 95' of stair and balcony rail, five hinged elevator grills to match, and a room divider measuring 8' x 10'. The finish is a hand-applied patina with clear lacquer top coat. Total fabrication and finishing took 1,300 hours.
By Guido Mattei Mattei Inc. Metal Works This railing was fabricated for a 14,000 square foot Tuscan-style mansion. A local builder of high-end houses, whom I’d worked with before, asked for a bid based on a railing the client saw in a magazine. I obliged but modified the price because forged work is generally unknown in this area, and its cost makes it difficult to sell. The house is a showpiece, intended to promote additional work. I hoped it would also promote forged metalwork for my own potential clients. Drawings
I made major changes in the design but kept the line of running scrolls under the rail. The provisional sketch submitted for approval showed only a small section of rail. I don't charge directly for designing, so 68
I only do detailed drawings when the down payment is in hand. I did the final drawings full scale, as I typically prefer to do. Templates
While I have built a few railings previously, I am mostly self-taught, and I’ve learned that alterations on a completed rail can be difficult. So to reduce the chances of fit-up problems, I made a template of the stairway. When I began the project, the rough stairs were in place but the finished treads and risers were not installed. On site, I built a stud wall of lumber along side the stair and the landing. I then laid 3/4 inch plywood strips (height of finished treads) on each tread and landing edge and fastened these to my wall. Additionally I ran a piece of plywood from my wall up and along the existing wall and scribed that line so I would get a good fit where the railing end fastened to the wall on the landing. I also
The fabrictor used a coke forge to heat each bar for this rail. Curves were formed at t the anvil and then finished on a scroll form.
For your information
See what you can learn from this self-proclaimed novice fabricator, as he gives a detailed breakdown of his experience fabricatintg a rail for a local high-end spec house.
NOMMA Member: Mattei Inc. Metal Work, Harlingen, TX. Project: Steel stair rail for showcase house. Material: All material was hot rolled mild steel of various square stock sizes: 1” square bar for the posts, 3/8” by 11/2” for the railings, 3/4” bar for the scroll work infill, and 1/4” by 1” for the running scrolls. Finish: All metal pieces was first acid pickled to remove scale. The frame members were pickled, rinsed in lime water,and wire brushed, and given a light oil coating before assembly.
ABOVE AND TOP RIGHT: The scrolls on this steel rail were all hand forged using a variety of techniques, old and new.
scribed lines where the finished risers and nosing would be. It was a tight fit, but I was able to take these models (one for the first flight and landing, one for second flight, one for larger upper landing) back to the shop. I fastened the models securely to my shop floor using concrete anchors, cross bracing, and leveling as necessary. Estimating
To bid for materials, I used a number based on the railâ€™s linear footage. The job was mostly labor, and material costs were less than 10 percent. I calculated materials from the drawings, guesstimating on the amount for the scroll work. All the metal was hot rolled mild steel. I ordered 1 inch square bar for the posts, 3/8 by 11/2 for the railings, 3 /4 inch bar for the scroll work infill, and 1/4 by 1 for the running scrolls. Fabricating and forging the rails
All stock for the rails and posts were forged down using a 125 # air hammer with a set of radius dies (11inch radius). This left a regular series of dished hammer marks. For long straight bars, I used a gas forge and heated three or four bars at a time. All the bars were run through the hammer as one or two light passes. I chamfered the corners and kept the bars reasonably square. I have a 2 inch May/June 2005
to reduce the chances of fit-up problems, Mattei made a template of the stairway and each of the three landings.
by 29 inch by 24 inch piece of plate fastened long edge up on a stand, which I used as a straightening anvil on this project. As with this project, I typically move fast, not looking for perfection at first, and then later I sight the cold bars on a true surface, straightening them using a hammer and a screw press as needed. Any wind is corrected with a vise. (Note: this isn’t machine
Mattei used a 4-inch disc to check for 4-inch sphere rule compliance and modified scrolls as necessary.
work.) When the iron comes off the hammer, there is some tapering through the length of the bar and some loss of square to “straighten,” as I’m trying to make an imaginary center line straight. The forged post flanges (1/4 by 3 by 3) were drilled for the mounting screws and then welded on to the posts with a full penetration weld. Using a laser level projecting a vertical
plane, the posts were aligned, screwed down to the treads, and plumbed using temporary cross bracing. The finished rail height was to be 42 inches. Allowing for the wood rail thickness (installed by others), each post was scribed to mark the position of top and bottom rails. The bottom rail sections were cut to length, notched, and welded in place. The two top rails were fitted and welded. The
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volute rail sections were formed using a stock wooden volute as a pattern. I spent considerable time getting these aligned. A newel post made from a piece of pipe hand-hammered over a mandrel and fitted with a large flange had already been fastened in place. Drawing, fabricating, and forging the panels
Next I cut 16 gauge cold rolled panels to fit all the openings. When slightly rusty these panels take chalk well. My sister Karina, a longtime custom jeweler from Boston, was visiting at this time and volunteered to help draw the cartoons. We quickly developed a technique: I would draw a few major elements generally sweeping diagonally across the entire panel. Then Karina would take over. When she had most of the panel filled, we made some changes. Then I used a set of nine progressively sized scroll patterns to adjust the sketched scroll lines. Spirals and other shapes were drawn free hand. Using chalk, the lines were built up to the desired width and tapers. A 4-inch disc was used to check for conformance to the 4-inch sphere rule. In areas of non-compliance, existing scrolls were modified or additional small scrolls added. Then we put the panels on the rail frame and went over the design again making additional changes. All the panels were different except on the upper landing where we mirrored the two largest panels. The cartoon for the volute panel was done on a piece of heavy paper, cut and shaped to fit, and then laid flat. Collaborating on the design was both educational and a surprising amount of fun over a three-day stretch. Prior to making the scroll panels, I spent time on tooling, making up a set of scroll forms to match the patterns. On the smallest scrolls I didn’t use a form since they can be made quickly by eye. To tweak the scrolls into final shape, I made a hydraulic press powered by a two-speed hand pump. This has two fixed fingers and one central moving finger and will bend quite heavy bar stock cold. It also gives good control. I set up a 1 inch piece of steel plate, slightly larger than the largest May/June 2005
panel, as a work table. Each panel was assembled on a sheet metal cartoon that was tack welded to the table top. This works, but if I had transferred the design, which would have allowed me to use a torch, it would have been better. Each individual scroll was measured on the centerline, using some lead solder wire, and numbered in order of size. To calculate the blank length needed for forging out each scroll, I used a table based on the results of my preliminary attempts. The larger scrolls were close to a full 3/4 inch in the central area and tapered over the last 15
inches or so. Smaller scrolls were reduced some in the center area. The blanks were forged out using the gas forge and power hammer, straightened and adjusted to length. With all the blanks forged, I started forming the scrolls. Using a coke forge, each bar was heated. Curves were formed at t the anvil and then finished on the scroll form. With both ends completed, I roughly fit the piece to the cartoon while hot. Final fitting was done cold using bending forks and the press. When all the scrolls were fitted and made flat, they were fixed in place with clamps and bars.
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The scrolls are plug welded together with a wire welder where they abut. The hole for the welds is made with a cone drill run about 3/4 through from each side. The welds were then ground flat using an assortment of abrasive tools. (A note to the purists: This is not a traditional piece, and I use a variety of techniques old and new). Sections of running scrolls were welded with a fillet weld between copper chills. This allowed sufficient build up without over heating and kept the weld puddle in place. The curved part of the volute panel was done in place on the rail, the scrolls first formed to fit the flat cartoon. Then using a torch and bending forks, I twisted it to fit the bend of the volute. Finish
The finish is an oil/wax coating. All the iron was first acid pickled to remove the scale. The frame members were pickled, rinsed in lime water, wire brushed with a knotted wire cup brush, and given a light oil coating before assembly. The panels were treated upon completion before installation into the frames. To make the dipping vats, I laid heavy plastic (billboard material) on the ground and used pieces of lumber under the edges to form a shallow tank. It was filled with water to which I added a gallon or two of muriatic acid. Depending on the acid concentration and thickness of the scale, I find it takes from 1–24 hours to remove the scale. Acid is hazardous and proper safety precautions need to be taken when using it. With a small submersible pump, I transferred the used acid back into sealable plastic 55 gallon drums for reuse. Before the panels were installed in the frame, all the iron received two to three coats of a paste mixture of linseed oil, beeswax, turpentine, and Japan drier. The iron was wire brushed again to remove any rust that might have formed after the pickling. Then it was heated with a propane weed burner to approximately 400° F. I applied the wax with cotton rags and wiped off the excess after the iron began cooling. The panels were than installed and welded in place. An additional coat of wax was applied to the completed rail. Before installation a coat of liquid auto wax was also applied. Installation
It took five people to lift the railing sections into place in the house. To avoid welding during installation, the upper landing section was fastened with screws so the pieces could be handled separately. The landing section alone was heavy and awkward, so getting it up the steps without damaging the house was difficult. But the rest of the installation went smoothly. Stainless steel lags were used to fasten everything in place. After 600 hours of labor, it was a great relief that it all fit. Two-fold satisfaction
Although the owners were in Europe at the time of the installation, they were ecstatic when they returned and saw the piece. The railing has already generated a number of job leads. As I hoped, the house is also generating local interest in hand forged work! Fabricator
Residential or Commercial? Is the grass greener on the other side? Fabricators may think the grass is greener working in residential or commercial. But a brief look at the pro’s and con’s of each market profile shows that it depends on how you structure your business or on your own preference.
For your information
About the author: Rob Rob’s Rolvesis mug. project manager at NOMMA member shop Foreman Fabricator Inc., in St. Louis, MO. He has worked for them 10 years. About 70% of the firm’s work is commercial; 30% residential. Contact: Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators Inc., Ph: (314) 7711717 x12; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web: www.foremanfab.com
Catagory Size of order Repeat orders Lead times Installation Paperwork Payment Professional purchaser Satisfying the customer
Res/Com Commercial Commercial Residentail Residentail Residentail Residentail Commercial Residentail
By Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators Inc. Of the many conversations I have with NOMMA members at events such as METAlfab one of the most prevalent is which type of work is less of a hassle, commercial or residential. I feel I can discuss the topic as we do a small amount of residential work and a considerable amount of commercial work in the construction industry. By no means is this the end of the discussion or an exhaustive work, but it offers food for thought for the next time you run into me… Size of order – Rob prefers commercial work
It has been our experience that the construction industry can provide much larger orders than most individuals. This of course means more dollars in the sales column, and it is usually a goal for most companies to build up those sales. However, a larger sale usually results from larger costs. You want to make sure you leave a little room for profit no matter what size job you’re running. Repeat orders – Rob prefers commercial work
Generally companies in the construction May/June 2005
Why Larger orders More orders More flexibility No union/nonunion issue Usually less Less burocracy Client’s knowledge Less people to satisfy
industry are going to have a repetitive need for metal fabrications. Residential customers may also have a need time and again, but if they order a section of railing their need is taken care of for a long time. A commercial customer is going to have one project after another, and each project offers an opportunity of some type for their metal fabricator. This is critical for those who have built themselves a large shop, and then need to keep it busy. I believe I’ve heard Terry Driscoll use the phrase “feed the beast” to describe this scenario. Lead times – Rob prefers residential work
Although residential customers often have immovable deadlines such as a party date that they simply don’t want to miss, general contractors’ reputations and schedules hinge heavily on all work being done on time and in sequence. They will often forego the lowest bid for the metal fabricator that they can rely on to get products to the site on time. We have found that most of our customers in the commercial world give us false lead times because they are continually pushed back by other subcontractors and just assume all subs are unconcerned with deadlines. We’ve found we’ve had to prove ourselves 73
over and over before we start getting accurate install dates. Installation – Rob prefers residential work
The majority of residential customers don’t have a preference for either union or non-union installation. They are concerned only with having the items installed properly at the best price available. Many commercial construction sites have union concerns as far as which union is to perform what work and all the rules that particular union has in regards to installing your work. Some union rules require more personnel or will charge a higher rate due to time of day or jobsite conditions that a non-union company will not necessarily be as concerned about. In St. Louis having the wrong union put in something claimed by another union can bring the whole site to a standstill and cause you untold headaches as you try to explain things and mend the peace. This can be an issue if you like to use in-house crew to install work and you have an open shop. Paperwork – Rob prefers residential work
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Although some paperwork is a necessity to make sure all parties know what is expected of everyone, residential work is usually less involved. In either marketplace it often depends on the scope of the work since larger dollar amounts entail more paperwork. Many commercial construction projects require a contract with the general contractor (GC) which will be full of things you won’t like as a subcontractor, things you can’t or won’t live with. This is usually sent before the commencement of work, but we’ve had a signed quote with a notice to proceed on it only to be followed by a contract well after the project is complete and installed. Outside of the contract there are usually partial and final lien waivers that the GC would like you to sign and send back before they release the check. There are also warranty letters, as-built drawings, and certificates of insurance with special conditions. Sometimes we deal with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: www.usgbc.org) documentation to show how much material is recycled and that the work is being done as environmentally conscious as possible. Fully detailed shop drawings and documented material submittals are part of the process as well. In an effort not to overstate the levels of documentation called for I emphasize that the size of the project usually determines how much formal paperwork a contractor will require from subcontractors. Payment – Rob prefers residential work
We typically have residential customers pay some money at the start of the project and collect the rest at completion. Our general contractor customers have open accounts and use them to their fullest benefit. “Pay when paid” is the operative phrase, meaning that when the owner pays them they will in turn pay you. You can still negotiate different terms with a contractor, but we’ve found it difficult to get them to move off what has been an industry norm. There is also retention to deal with, where the general contractor holds back a certain percentage of the invoiced amount, typically 5–10 percent. The theory is that by holdFabricator
ing back your funds the contractor and owner will have assurance that you will perform your work properly and handle all the issues that arise. It’s a prevalent practice and some states are allowing items such as retention bonds to be put in place so that the contractor must release the cash, but it’s still a concern in the construction industry. In this same category, some general contractors require that requests for payment are filed on AIA forms and will not accept other formats. This requires learning the AIA forms (there are some software programs available) and how the contractors use them to forward their pay requests on to the owner. On some occasions a completely new request has to be made to obtain the retainage that has been held out of all previous payment requests—a strange situation in my opinion.
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Professional purchaser – Rob prefers commercial work
One of the largest differences between residential work and commercial work is the knowledge of the consumer. Due to the fact that contractor personnel are working with many projects and buying metal fabrications time and again, they gain enough knowledge to know what to expect in a finished product. They know how to read and interpret a drawing you send them so that you can produce the product with confidence knowing they are going to accept it. And since it’s not the purchaser’s personal money they tend to view the sale as a business arrangement and don’t expect levels of quality they weren’t willing to pay for during the estimation phase. When we run into a residential customer who can’t make up their mind or changes it after a product is complete, we discuss how glad we are that we typically work with GC’s. Satisfying the customer – Rob prefers residential work
With residential customers there is usually the one person (or sometimes a couple, but even then one person seems to exhibit more influence) you have to satisfy. In the commercial market we continually run into an issue we call the ACO Conflict. You have to satisfy three entities: the Architect, the Contractor, and the Owner. Many times there are several people inside each entity that all need their opinions heard. When we get into the middle of one of these is when we talk about getting into residential work only. Sometimes our troubles are caused by friction between two of these parties, and the battle lines get drawn at our product. Other times the expectations and experience in metal fabrication differs among the entities and is the root of the trouble. Handling these crises in a professional manner is a tricky matter but essential if you’d like repeat work from any or all of the parties involved. Sometimes you just have to decide which part of the ACO Conflict is most important to your company, and move through the clash with that in mind. Conclusion
In the end what matters is what type of client you enjoy working with. As in most things in life there is an upside and downside to both types of customers. If you’re considering a move from one market into another, hopefully this article gives you some thoughts to consider so that you make your move with your eyes wide open, aware of potential pitfalls. May/June 2005
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How much is your time worth? Fabricators speak out on charging for design services It’s come up before, and it will come up again: how should fabricators charge for their design time without alienating themselves to potential clients. First, realize your time is valuable, whether or not you get the bid. Also, think of your designs as intellectual property—don’t give your property away. Below, some of your colleagues share their experiences with the issue.
Artists, as a general rule, are far more concerned with the quality and creativity of their work than the final price. Glassblowers, for example, spend years apprenticing to learn how to transform a shapeless molten blob into a dramatic sculpture. Painters labor over a canvas, seeking out just the right color combinations to convey the message of their vision. The end result of almost all artwork is a piece containing sincere mental, physical, and commercial investment. The item will be priced not just at what the market will bear but at a cost commensurate with the artist’s experience, technical skill, and notoriety. Fabricators are artists of an age-old medium, whether they create simple gates and railings or build spectacularly ornate wrought iron scrollwork. Metalwork is steeped in a heritage of family-run companies that go back generations. Fabricators, however, set themselves apart through the typically commercial bent of their work. Installations are usually custom operations that require considerable pre-fabrication hours and specific shop drawings. Based on the uniqueness and complexity of what fabricators create, shouldn’t charging for design consultations be the normal mode of doing business? 76
The answer is a firm and resounding “maybe,” depending on who you talk to. Be leary of repeat customers
Many companies seem to have a couple of ways of doing business that are common. The first seemingly universal aspect among fabricators is that they are very trusting with repeat customers such as builders, architects, and designers. Fabricators tend to provide designs or detailed schematics to these repeat customers before “sealing the deal” for the job. These fabricators count these clients as the bread and butter of their business. The downside of that relationship is that it can backfire, as it did for Brian Dumond of Victor Metals in Stillwater, PA. “We had this architect who we had worked with before,” he says. “He contacted us about a very ornate railing, about 22 feet in length that was going to have a brass top rail—the works. We were under the impression from the very beginning that we essentially had this job. We priced it out, made all the drawings, and then faxed all the details to the client. We never heard from them again, and we’re not completely sure, but we believe that another fabricator took the job at a lower price.” Dumond’s experience brings to light an issue that rears an ugly head from time to time in custom work businesses. Even
For your information
By Mark Hoerrner
Tip: Don’t be too trusting with repeat customers. Tip: Some fabricators fold design time into the main quote. Tip: Identify people who are asking for a quote versus a report. Tip: Document all conversations from the very first meeting. Tip: Don’t use your impressive deisng work as a deal closer. Tip: Demand a retainer before showing any deisng work. Tip: Put copyright notices on everything. Tip: Don’t let customers leave with detailed drawings in hand. Tip: If clients back out after designs have been made, then deduct design time from their deposit.
About the author: Mark Hoerner is a contributing writer who lives in Atlanta, GA.
“Often, contractors get very comfortable in a relationship and are willing to provide a builder or designer with a lot up front for no fees, assuming they have the job.” ~Michael Stone Construction Programs and Results
long-term relationships in business need to be kept on a wholly professional level at all times. While it seems that “keeping things contractual” may distance business associates, it actually provides both sides with peace of mind. One price fits all
The other commonality among fabricators is the use of a single cash quote on a job, whether it’s a custom railing in a home or standard railings for installation in a public building. “I almost always fold it over into the main quote,” says A.J. Guaspari, co-owner of Fable Inc. in San Carlos, CA. Guaspari says he actually sits down and considers the design time and folds it over on top of other categories like materials, labor, client meetings, and more. From there, he creates the overall bid price and presents that to the client. His clients generally don’t get an itemized bill, so designtime formulas are kept in-house. He holds drawings and other design work close to the vest, preferring to let customers buy his design time rather than simply give away hours of work. “I can usually weed out the ‘tire-kickers’ quickly,” he says. “Early in the business, it was a little different. We’d take just about any job. But once we matured in the business, I became very familiar with general costs of just about everything we do. It’s very easy for me to say to a customer, ‘this is a 100-foot railing, and it’s going to be $100 per foot.’ If they don’t pass out from sticker shock, then I’ll send them a more complete and accurate estimate for the work.”
Wrought Iron Machines Automatic Multi-Purpose Iron Twister GDM 50-3 27 ton hydraulic pressing bed and cylinder
Treat designs as property—Intellectual property
Michael Stone is the owner of Construction Programs and Results in Camas, WA, and a previous presenter at METALfab, the annual trade show and convention of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal’s Association (NOMMA). Stone has decades of experience in all types of building construction and contracting and has authored an upcoming book on sales techniques. He says that stories like Dumond’s are all too common in the construction industry. “It’s so easy to prevent that,” Stone says. “I find that most contractors think more like mechanics than businessmen, meaning that they are so focused on the creation side of the house that the business side goes lacking.” He says businesses need to have a way to identify people who are asking for a quote versus a report. Documentation, from the very first meeting, is important, he says, and falls under the heading of intellectual property, which he sees as a valuable commodity. “Often, these contractors get very comfortable in a relationship and are willing to provide a builder or designer May/June 2005
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with a lot up front for no fees, assuming they have the job. These contractors labor under this misconception that when they show these great designs and ideas that it will impress the clients, but that almost never works. In the large majority of the cases, they are going to just use your stuff and not pay for it. Let customers know up front—impress upon them that you’ll be looking for a retainer or that your design work is valued at whatever fee the contractor wants to charge—say $50 an hour. And if they don’t want to pay you that shows they don’t value the work you will be doing for them. At that point, it’s time to walk away.” Stone adds that any situation in which a client won’t initially sign a contract or agree to a design fee should be left alone. “At that point, you’re just begging them to rob you,” he says. “You’ll never see an architect work for free. And if architects get paid for what they do, fabricators should be no different. They face considerable health risks on jobs—fumes, welding burns, heavy lifting—and need to get paid for what they do.” Stone suggests that fabricators put copyright notices on everything they create, even preliminary sketches. This can be done by simply using the “©” symbol, followed by the year and the name of the business or individual doing the work. This way, fabricators have some legal recourse if their designs are pirated. Guaspari takes it one step further. His company adds a large “Fable Inc.” logo stamp right over the central drawing so that it almost obscures the design. This alerts other local fabricators that the design concepts are from Fable and are being shopped around. It helps that the fabricators in his area are part of a tight network. He suggests that other businesses get to know their fellow fabricators. “This works out well since we’re a primarily ornamental shop,” he says, “so we send the simpler jobs to smaller shops, and they refer the real custom stuff to us. That helps our business and their business, so they are less likely to work against us and will give Fabricator
us a call if someone sends them our designs.”
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Keep the clients coming to you
Mueller Ornamental Iron Works takes a different tact, holding their clients “captive.” The Elk Grove, IL third-generation company invites customers to their office to come and view drawings, sketches, and design ideas, but won’t let clients leave with anything if they don’t have a signed contract at the end of the meeting. “We don’t usually charge for design, but we won’t let them have the drawings,” says Rob Mueller, who handles most of the firm’s client interaction. Like Guaspari, Mueller has also been in the business long enough to be able to provide pretty close general estimates based on measurements. It’s possible, as well, that even a client who has signed a contract may seek to back out the deal for a variety of reasons and want a deposit or partial payment back. In those cases, fabricators should be careful to ensure they don’t lose money on the time and materials invested. “We had an instance where a client backed out and wanted his deposit returned,” says Breck Nelson of Kelley Ornamental Iron in Peoria, IL. “I figured up the time we had spent on design and in consultation. Also, we had already ordered some of the materials for the job, so I came up with a price and backed that out of the deposit and then sent the remainder to the client.”
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It all comes down to business
Businesses need to have a way to protect against losing payment for the time put into a job. This goes beyond protecting shop drawings and into managing time spent with clients, time spent surveying and prepping a job, and organizing an implementation schedule. Further, businesses need to ensure that they manage the physical components of the design—photos, overlays, samples, and drawings— effectively and have a set, consistent program in place to handle all clients in the same manner. Then the business side will allow the artist to create and continue creating. May/June 2005
New NOMMA members As of June 17 2005; Asterisk denotes returning members.
Amadeus Metalworks * Dallas, TX Mr. Lee Trautmann Fabricator Andrew Michael Lee Corp. Old Hickory, TN Mr. William Furr Fabricator Brobo-USA Ventura, CA Mr. Paul Deneen Nationwide Continental Bronze Pawtucket, RI Mr. James Eldridge Fabricator Core Detailing LLC Londonderry, NH Mr. Christopher Aubrey Fabricator Equus Metals Inc. Tulsa, OK Mr. Timothy Morris Fabricator Evolution Ironworks Sandgate, VT Mr. Andrew VanSchoick Fabricator Ferro Artistico Inc. Venezia Iron Works * Brooklyn, NY Mr. Pat Parella Fabricator Fortin Iron Works * Columbus, OH Mr. Dan Fortin Fabricator C. Sherman Johnson Co. Inc. East Haddam, CT Mr. Curt Johnson Nationwide 80
NOMMA Nationwide Supplier Members A Cut Above Distributing 800-444-2999 Action Ornamental Iron 901-795-2200 Advanced Measuring Systems 888-289-9432 Allen Architectural Metals Inc. 800-204-3858 Alloy Casting Co. Inc. 800-527-1318 American Punch Co. 800-243-1492 American Stair Corp. 800-872-7824 Ameristar Fence Products 888-333-3422 Apollo Gate Operators 210-545-2900 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. 800-784-7444 Arteferro Miami 305-836-9232 Artezzi 800-718-6661 Artist Supplies & Products 800-825-0029 Atlas Metal Sales 800-662-0143 Auciello Iron Works Inc. 978-568-8382 Aztec Castings Inc. 800-631-0018 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. 800-526-6293 Brobo-USA 800-247 9333 Builders Fence Co. Inc. 800-767-0367 Byan Systems Inc. 800-223-2926 C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. 800-421-6144 The Cable Connection 800-851-2961 Carell Corporation 251-937-0948 Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations 800-444-6271 Chamberlain 800-282-6225 Classic Iron Supply 800-367-2639 Cleveland Steel Tool Co. 800-446-4402 CML USA Inc. 563-391-7700 Colorado Waterjet Co. 866-532-5404 Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. 800-535-9842 Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd. 866-464-4766
As of June 17, 2005; Bold denotes new members.
D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. 800-716-0888 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. 888-933-5993 DAC Industries Inc. 800-888-9768 Decorative Iron 888-380-9278 DKS, DoorKing Systems 800-826-7493 Robert J. Donaldson Co. 856-629-2737 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. 251-937-0947 Eastern Metal Supply Inc. 800-343-8154 Eastern Ornamental Supply Inc. 800-590-7111 Elegant Aluminum Products Inc. 800-546-3362 Encon Electronics 800-782-5598 Euro Forgings Inc. 800-465-7143 EURO-FER SRL. 011-39-044-544-0033 FABCAD.COM 800-255-9032 FabTrol Systems Inc. 888-FABTROL Feeney Wire Rope & Rigging 800-888-2418 Gates and Controls 206-767-6224 Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. 800-663-6356 Glaser USA 888-668-8427 Glasswerks LA Inc. 800-350-4527 The G-S Co. 410-284-9549 GTO Inc. 800-543-4283 Hartford Standard Co. Inc. 270-298-3227 Hayn Enterprises LLC 800-346-4296 Hebo / Stratford Gate Systems 503-658-2881 House of Forgings 281-443-4848 Illinois Engineered Products Inc. 312-850-3710 Indiana Gratings Inc. 800-634-1988 Innovative Hinge Products Inc. 817-598-4846 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. 800-667-9101 The Iron Shop 800-523-7427
ITW Industrial Finishing 630-237-5169 Jamieson Mfg. Co. 214-339-8384 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Inc. 800-4-JANSEN C. Sherman Johnson Co. Inc. 860-873-8697 Justin R.P.G. Corp. 310-532-3441 King Architectural Metals 800-542-2379 Joachim Krieger eK Wrought Iron 011-49-64-258-1890 Lavi Industries 800-624-6225 Lawler Foundry Corp. 800-624-9512 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. 800-221-5579 Liberty Brass Turning Co. 800-345-5939 Logical Decisions Inc. 800-676-5537 Loyal Wrought Iron Co. Ltd. 011-86-208-469-0306 Mac Metals Inc. 800-631-9510 Marks U.S.A. 800-526-0233 Master Halco 800-883-8384 Matthews Intl. Corp., Bronze Div. 800-628-8439 Metal Amore’ 760-747-7200 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool 800-467-2464 Frank Morrow Co. 800-556-7688 Multi Sales Inc. 800-421-3575 Mylen Stairs Inc. 877-303-9422 New Metals Inc. 888-639-6382 Ohio Gratings Inc. 800-321-9800 Omega Coating Corp. 888-386-6342 Orange Steel & Ornamental Supply 305-805-6000 Overseas Supply Inc. 866-985-9885 Polished Metals Ltd. 800-526-7051 Precision Glass Bending Corp. 800-543-8796 Pro Access Systems 813-664-0606 Production Machinery Inc. 410-574-2110 R & S Automation Inc. 800-543-6001 Regency Railings Inc. 214-742-9408 Rik-Fer USA 877-838-0900 May/June 2005
Robertson Grating Products Inc. 877-638-6365 Robinson Iron Corp. 800-824-2157 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products 800-841-8457 Rogers Mfg. Inc. 940-325-7806 Sahinler Form Metal San. Ve Tic. 011-90-224-245-5465 Scotchman Industries Inc. 800-843-8844 SECO South 888-535-SECO Sequoia Brass and Copper 800-362-5255 Sharpe Products 800-879-4418 Signon USA 866-744-6661 Sparky Abrasives 800-553-7224 Stairways Inc. 800-231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. 602-243-5245 Stephens Pipe and Steel LLC 800-451-2612 Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd. 800-461-0060 Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. 866-290-1263 Sumter Coatings Inc. 888-471-3400 Tennessee Fabricating Co. 800-258-4766 Texas Metal Industries 800-222-6033 Texas Stairs & Rails Inc. 800-633-6874 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. 909-581-3058 Triebenbacher Bavarian Iron Works 800-522-4766 Triple-S Chemical Products 800-862-5958 Tri-State Shearing & Bending 718-485-2200 Tusa Metals Inc. 800-995-8872 Universal Entry Systems Inc. 800-837-4283 Universal Mfg. Co. Inc. 800-821-1414 Valley Bronze of Oregon 541-432-7551 The Wagner Companies 888-243-6914 Wasatch Steel Inc. 888-496-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door 866-790-3667 Wrought Iron Concepts Inc. 877-370-8000 YAVUZ FERFORJE A.S. 011-90-258-269-1664 Join NOMMA 404-363-4009
New NOMMA members continued . . . Kervin Bros. Ornamental Iron Inc. * Portland, OR Mr. Tom Kervin Fabricator MTH Industries Hillside, IL Mr. Ludek Cerny Fabricator Mylen Stairs Inc. Peekskill, NY Mr. Robert J. Maiaro Nationwide P.J.’s Welding Prosser, WA Mr. Phil Philip Fabricator Precision Glass Bending Corp. Greenwood, AR Mr. Russell Alder Nationwide Warren Rinehart Charlotte, VT Mr. Warren Rinehart Fabricator Sentry Construction Inc. Louisville, KY Mr. Martin Thieneman Fabricator St. Eligius Studio Lubbock, TX Mr. Steve Teeters Fabricator SWS Fabrication Specialist Charlotte Hall, MD Mr. William E. Shughart Fabricator Tin Man Design Corp. Naples, FL Mr. Ryan Paige Fabricator 81
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with capacities of up to 4.5 inch OD, smaller roll bending, and support cutting. Contact: The Wagner Companies, Ph: (414) 214-8382; Web: www.wagnercompanies.com. Tooling system
Mate Precision Tooling Mate Precision Tooling’s introduces QuickLock™ tooling system. The system is designed to eliminate the need for alignment fixtures for tooling setup. The new Mate tool system features a keyed alignment ring that engages the alignment key in the punch for fast tool alignment, which the press operator can do by hand. To reduce setup time and maximize machine productivity, the tool components snap together. The tooling is available in eleven standard shapes including round, rectangle, oval, square, and triangle. Contact: Mate Precision Tooling, Ph: (800) 328-4492; Web: www.mate.com. Hydraulic magnetic drill
CS Unitec Developed by CS Unitec, the HB-4400, a hydraulic magnetic drill, is intended for applications in the marine, construction, mining, and petrochemical industries. The machine has a 1.5 HP motor and oil flow of 6.5 gpm at 2,000 PSI and is used for drilling structural steel and other metals. With a cutter stroke of 33/4 inch, the HB-4400 drills holes up to 21/16 inch in diameter and 3-inch deep in steel. A 3/4 inch geared chuck converts the HB-4400 into a standard drill press with a stroke of 63/4 inch for solid twist drills for up to 1/2 inch diameter in steel. Contact: CS Unitec, Ph: (800) 700-5919; Web: www.csunitec.com. Antique brass patina
Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. announces the development of antique brass patina. The antique brass patina look finish is for steel and iron and can be used on lighting fixtures, lamps, metal furniture, hardware, metal products, sculp88
Want info on Sur-Fin’s blackening steel products? See page 42.
What’s Hot? tures, gift accessories, and architectural metal items. Products are available in 1, 5, 15, 30, and 55 gallon sizes as well as drums. Contact: Sur-Fin Chemcial Corp., Ph: (800) 282-3533; Web: www.patinausa.com.
Precision Built 0°- 60° Mitre Cuts Phoenix • 8" x 10"
Anver Corporation The new vacuum lifter attachment for the VPF-Series vacuum lifter grips large loads from the side for placement onto pallets or into large boxes. Introduced by the Anver Corporation, the lifter is a below-the-hook unit. It can be powered by air, electricity, or battery and has an ergonomic handlebar with controls that can be integrated with most hoists. Suitable for enclosures, cabinets, sinks, furniture, and related equipment, the Anver VPF Series Vacuum Lifer may eliminate the need for other lifting aids. Contact: Anver Corporation, Ph: (800) 654-3500; Web: www.anver.com.
• 9 1⁄2" x 14"
Pegasus G • 12 1⁄2" x 20"
FMB Phoenix Series from $3,690 FMB Titan Series from $6,650 FMB Pegasus Series from 8,875 ®
Direct Drive Saws
888-421-4362 www.patmooneysaws.com email@example.com Fax 630-543-5584
Walls & Forms Inc. The Concept™ 21 system is new from Walls & Forms Inc. Its modular panels, shelves, and accessories are intended to be be tailored to any job while providing tools and parts storage within easy reach of workers. The workstation utilizes vertical storage and there is a variety of interchangeable shelves, hooks, brackets, and bins. Shelves hook into any panel groove and lock securely. Contact: Walls & Forms Inc., Ph: (972) 745-0800; Web: www.wallsforms.com. BinVac smoking parts hood
Great Lakes Air Systems The new RoboVent BinVac Smoking Parts Hood is an air filtration system that captures smoke, debris, and contaminants in the air from smoking parts and returns clean air to the plant. According to the manufacturer, Great Lakes Air Systems, the BinVac has a curtained design that traps and purifies 100 percent of the smoke from parts that are still smoking after being welded. It removes airMay/June 2005
2414 2414 W. W. Skelly Skelly Dr. Dr. Tulsa, Tulsa, OK OK 74107 74107
INGS T S I TW M O T CUS
What’s Hot? borne contaminants before they can settle on the plant’s floors, walls, and machinery. The selfcontained design enables it to be moved around the plant with ease, while the BinVac’s filter system requires minimal maintenance and filter changes. Contact: Great Lakes Air Systems, Ph: (614) 866-9800. Long range gate trigger
ROGERS HIGH PRODUCTION MECHANICAL POWER IRONWORKERS
Cuts flats, squares, rounds, angles & square tubing Punches Notches Spear Points Bends
10 Ton to 30 Ton Made in USA
FASTER THAN HYDRAULIC ROGERS MANUFACTURING, INC.
Formerly Lehman, Inc. since 1953 P.O. Box 518 • Mineral Wells, TX 76068 Tel: 940-325-7806 • Fax: 940-325-7156 Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org • www.rogers-mfg-inc.com VISA and Mastercard Accepted
SOS (Siren-Operated Sensor) New from SOS is a long range gate trigger intended to compliment, not replace, the standard garage type receivers. The trigger is compatible with all gate operators. The trigger device is mounted in a weather proof enclosure and comes prewired with a 4-conductor cable and simple instructions attached under the lid. It operates as a companion product with any 22/38 dual-coded FRS home base station. Contact: SOS, Ph: (800) 767-4283; Web: www.gatebird.com. Protective UV tapes
PolyMask Corporation New protective UV tapes from PolyMask Corporation adhere to and provide temporary protection on a variety of surfaces, including glass, metal, and plastic. The UV resistant film backing and adhesive can be used on construction sites or during product transit that involves exposure to sunlight and resists the effects of UV for two to five months. The tape is available in two colors—clear and translucent blue. The blue film is readily detectable on glass surfaces. Contact: Polymask Corporation, Ph: (877) 567-1639, ext. 5025; Web: www.3m.com/protectivetape. Brochure on filtration systems
Transor Filter USA Transor Filter USA has released a new full-color brochure on grinding applications. The brochure explains the benefits of Transor’s patented One Micron Filtration (OMF) process in a variety of grinding, honing, lapping, and finishing applications where oil is used as a coolant. The brochure also features diagrams showing the Transor Concept. Contact: Irv Kaage, Transor Filter USA, Ph: (847) 6400273; Web: www.transorfilter.com. Fabricator
Classifieds Work wanted Will blacksmith or fabricator for food. Ph: (770) 775-5298. Web: www.springforgega.com. Recruiter Employment nationwide in structural/miscellaneous steel fabrication. ProCounsel is in communication
Contact Rachel Bailey at (423) 413-6436, or email@example.com. Please note, classified ads promote a one-time sale or offer, or a job listing.
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.
Advertiserâ€™s index Pg 71 19 93 24 11 84 85 29 61 88 65 59 26 35 70 35 60 25 74 86 78 83 61 57 04 78 66 43 45 47 35 86 54 07 77 77 57 72 78 21 79 69 83 86 96
COMPANY ................................................................................WEBPAGE Acme Metal Spinning ..................www.acmemetalspinning.com All-O-Matic Inc. ......................................................www.allomatic.net AFA ..........................................www.americanfenceassociation.com Architectural Iron Designs Inc. ............www.archirondesign.com Architectural Products by Outwater ..............www.outwater.com ABANA ..........................................................................www.abana.org Atlas Metal Sales..............................................www.atlasmetal.com Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Co. ....................www.bigbluhammer.com Birchwood Casey ..................................www.birchwoodcasey.com Blacksmiths Depot / Kayne ............www.blacksmithsdepot.com Julius Blum & Co. Inc. ....................................www.juliusblum.com Brobo-USA ..................................................www.brobo-usa.com The Cable Connection ..................www.thecableconnection.com Cable Rail by Feeney ..........................................www.cablerail.com CAME (America) LCC ................................www.cameamerica.com Carell Corporation ............................................www.carellcorp.com Classic Iron Supply ..............................www.classicirononline.com Cleveland Steel Tool Co...................www.clevelandsteeltool.com CML USA Inc. ................................................www.ercolina-usa.com COLE-TUVE Inc. ......................................................www.coletuve.com Colorado Waterjet Co. ........................www.coloradowaterjet.com COMEQ Inc. ..............................................................www.comeq.com Crescent City Iron Supply ......................................(800) 535-9842 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. ....................www.ddtechusa.com D.J.A Imports Ltd. ............................................www.djaimports.com DAC Industries Inc. ....................................www.dacindustries.com Decorative Iron ..........................................www.decorativeiron.com DKS, DoorKing Systems ....................................www.doorking.com DKS, DoorKing Systems ....................................www.doorking.com DKS, DoorKing Systems ....................................www.doorking.com Eagle Bending ........................www.eaglebendingmachines.com Eberl Iron Works Inc. ..........................................www.eberliron.com Encon Electronics..................................www.enconelectronics.com FABCAD.com..............................................................www.fabcad.com Gatekeepers Inc. ............................................www.gatekeepers.net Glaser USA......................................................................www.glaser.de Graham Manufacturing / Anyang ............www.anyangusa.com Graham Manufacturing / Anyang ............www.anyangusa.com The G-S Co. ..................................................................www.g-sco.com GTO Inc.........................................................................www.gtoinc.com Hawke Industries ......................................................(909) 928-9453 Hebo GmbH ..............................................................www.heboe.com International Gate Devices ................................www.intlgate.com Iron Craft ....................................................www.chucksimonian.com The Iron Shop ................................................www.theironshop.com
Call toll free (800) 545-5900, or (214) 741-3014. Fax: (214) 741-3019. Mailbox@procounsel.net. For Sale Custom ornamental railing and gate manufacturer. Great location. Well established. Call Joe. Ph: (908) 352-0722.
Use this index as a handy guide for contacting suppliers. Firms in boldface are first-time advertisers. 40 75 67 36 79 39 02 88 30 34 53 62 89 62 74 33 85 54 67 37 88 55 31 56 90 22 57 95 17 69 46 88 32 20 44 63 41 89 84 75 72 90 09 23 15
Jansen Ornamental Supply Co...............www.jansensupply.com Jesco Industries Inc. WIPCO div. ................www.jescoonline.com K Dahl Glass Studios ......................................www.kdahlglass.com King Architectural Metals..............................www.kingmetals.com Krieger eK Wrought Iron ..........www.wrought-iron-systems.com Lawler Foundry Corp. ..............................www.lawlerfoundry.com Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. ....................www.lewisbrass.com Lindblade Metal Works ..............www.lindblademetalworks.com Marks U.S.A. ........................................................www.marksusa.com Master Halco ..................................................www.fenceonline.com MB Software Solutions ......www.mbsoftwaresolutions.com Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool........................www.mittlerbros.com Pat Mooney Inc. ....................................www.patmooneysaws.com Frank Morrow Co. ........................................www.frankmorrow.com Multi Sales Inc. ............................................www.multisalesinc.com New Metals Inc.................................................www.newmetals.com Ol' Joint Jigger Inc.............................................www.jointjigger.com Ornamental DĂŠcor ..............................www.ornamentaldecor.com Patina Finishes & Copper Coatings Inc. ............(800) 882-7004 Production Machinery Inc.................................www.promaco.com R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine Co. ..................www.rdhs.com Red Pup Productions ..............................www.ornamentalpro.com Regency Railings ....................................www.regencyrailings.com Rik-Fer USA ................................................................(630) 350-0900 Rogers Mfg. Inc.........................................www.rogers-mfg-inc.com Salter Industries ............................www.salterspiralstair.com Simsolve ......................................................................(951) 737-2480 Sparky Abrasives Co. ..............................................(800) 328-4560 Stairways Inc. ................................................www.stairwaysinc.com Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd. ......................www.steptoewife.com Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. ............................www.strikertools.com Striker Tool II ....................................................www.strikertools.com Sumter Coatings Inc...............................www.sumtercoatings.com Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. ..................................www.patinausa.com Tennessee Fabricating Co. ......................................www.tnfab.com Tennessee Fabricating Co. ......................................www.tnfab.com Texas Metal Industries ..........................................www.txmetal.com Tornado Supply..........................................................www.owi-inc.net Traditional Building ........................www.traditional-building.com Triple-S Chemical Products ........................www.ssschemical.com Tri-State Shearing & Bending ..............................(718) 485-2200 Universal Entry Systems Inc. ..................................(800) 837-4283 The Wagner Companies..................................www.rbwagner.com Wrought Iron Concepts Inc.......www.wroughtironconcepts.com YAVUZ FERFORJE VE DEMIR TIC.SAN. A.S.........www.fatih.com.tr
Working smarter—not harder
Don’t let purchasing undermine profits
About the author: Jeff Thull is president and CEO of Prime Resource Group, a firm that deigns and implements professional development programs for companies. Ph: (800) 876-0378 Web: www.primemotivation alspeaker.com
Help your purchaisng department make cost- and value-effective decisions by following the tips below. Get more tips from Jeff Thull in The Prime Solution
About his book: The Prime Solution: Close the Value Gap, Increase Margins, and Win the Complex Sale Dearborn Trade Publishing; 2005; ISBN: 0-7931-9522-5
By Jeff Thull Shortsighted decisions by commodity-minded purchasing departments are not uncommon. Purchasing is often a key culprit (though by no means the only one) in what I call “cross-functional dysfunction”—the phenomenon in which departments operate in conflict with each other. I have two big concerns with today’s purchasing departments. Most obviously, purchasing has incentive to save dollars of cost, a mandate that too often means dollars of value are lost. And the other problem—which is interconnected with the first one—is that purchasing often operates by obsolete and counter-productive rules. I am speaking specifically of the “x number of bids required” or “create a level playing field” rules that pit vendors against each other with the intent to drive prices downward. It certainly does, but the net effect of creating a level playing field is that solutions at the high value side are systematically eliminated from consideration. So what can companies do to ensure that purchasing is not undermining other departments by diluting value and ultimately bringing down profits? Here are some tips: Don’t let procurement incentives overpower other functional interests.
In other words, purchasing should not be making complex buying decisions. Period. It should operate in an administrative capacity, orchestrating a quality decision process that ensures a complete value impact is reviewed. A purchasing department with too much power will gravitate to the lowest common denominator: price. Worse, it will generally not be held accountable for the value a solution delivers in business performance terms. A department that has to live with the outcome of a purchasing decision will almost always have a better grasp on the big picture and an eye on revenue as well as the bottom line. End the “five bids” charade. It may dilute value as it lowers prices.
Somewhere along the line, companies came to believe that in order to purchase properly they must get a certain number of bids and pit multiple vendors against each other. Many corporations do this even when they already 92
know which vendor they want to use. By forcing their preferred vendor to compete with others, they believe they can drive the price downward. Sometimes it works. Usually, it backfires. If it (a vendor relationship) isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
If you have a superb relationship with a vendor who understands your business, is well equipped to do the job, and has a successful track record with you, hang on tight. Don’t bid out your next project to someone who might be a few dollars cheaper, or worse, ask your vendor to match a competitor’s price. Not only do you risk losing a valuable business partner, you end up delaying projects and squandering your own time and resources, or force your valuable business resource to take out some of the value you require. Give your vendors the access they require.
Strong business relationships and the value-laden solutions that come from them don’t happen magically. They develop over time. And they cannot develop until you allow suppliers to diagnose your problems—problems that you probably don’t even know you have—and work closely with your team to develop solutions. That means you must allow vendors access to the inner workings of your company and to knowledgeable people in the appropriate departments. It’s amazing how many companies allow vendors only a single point of contact. This is a major weakness in the purchasing process. This last thought brings me to my final point: strong buyer/supplier relationships are a two-way street. What looks like an incompetent purchasing department may actually be the result of incompetent salespeople on the vendor end. Salespeople need to do a better job of helping their customers understand the value of their solutions. If they are selling on price, purchasing agents can hardly be blamed for buying on price. The key is for you and your vendors to work together to discover where your processes and products are falling short and design solutions that optimize your business performance. Fabricator
sign up today!
AFA Field Training School New Date! New Location! October 28 – November 4, 2005
• Tulsa, OK
rain your staff at the fence industry’s leading educational opportunity for foremen, superintendents, and salespeople – now easier than ever to attend at its new, central location in Tulsa, OK! Easily accessible from the Tulsa airport, AFA Field Training School will be held at the Tulsa Technology Center and offers the most in-depth, hands-on instruction available on innovative installation techniques and new technologies, while also instilling pride in fencing in students. Attendees will learn about the eight critical areas of fencing in both the classroom and the field, including:
Sign up today – spaces fill quickly!
• • • •
PVC Fence Products Chain-Link Gate Operators Wood Fence
• Bias Cutting • Farm and Ranch • Welding • Ornamental Metals
One Voice. Many Benefits. The Power of AFA. For more information or for an application, visit www.FieldTrainingSchool.com or contact the American Fence Association at 800-822-4342 or 630-942-6598.
Topic: Welding Brass
Question: Why do I see white smoke when welding brass?
Welding brass: What’s with the white smoke?
Answer: Zinc melts faster than brass, and it is a component of brass alloy 464. Solution: Wear safety gear and follow some of the suggestions below.
QU ES TI ON :
I have a commission to make some forged and welded brass light sconces. I am using weldable naval brass alloy 464, which forges very well. The problem I am having is with the welding. I am using a TIG scratch start with pure argon. As soon as I get a little puddle there appears
Roger, ironically, you're not really doing anything wrong. When you weld brass, bronze, and other similar copper alloys, you melt ALL the metals in the alloy. One of the metals in brass and bronze is zinc, and the boiling point of zinc is around 1660 F. However, the MELTING point of brass is around 1650 F... so as soon as you melt the brass, the metals in the alloy separate and the zinc boils. Note that boiling will occur whether you have it adequately shielded or not... oxygen is not a factor. Once the zinc starts boiling (and goes into the gaseous state), it is free to move out of the shielded zone, at which point it oxidizes, forming white zinc oxide (the white smoke). Note that this is extremely toxic, and you should be wearing the best mask you can fit (3M #7502 with cartridges) under your hood. If you do get sick (the nausea usually hits you later, drinking a lot of milk will relieve the symptoms). The white residue is probably zinc oxide as well. If you want to SEE if you're doing it right, compare it to a video demo that's on a website I made for a former employer. Go to www.aametals.com, click on "Gallery," and watch
large billowing clouds of white smoke and a lot of popping and splattering, leaving a white residue. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for any insights. Roger Carlsen, Ephraim Forge Inc firstname.lastname@example.org
Video #1. This shows someone TIGwelding a brass frame. Note the alternating between pushing the rod in and pushing the ELECTRODE into the material. Yes, with brass, you can actually make contact with the tip of your electrode and the material. The guys in that shop did that to increase penetration. I didn't believe it until I saw it in action; it really worked! Lee Rodrigue Zion Metal Works email@example.com Response #2:
Roger, we use a standard welding process for all of our copper alloys (except silicon bronze), written by our welding supervisor Dennis Braga. Typically, when welding brass, we recommend that our customers use the TIG welding process. (Tungsten Inert Gas Welding, also referred to as heli-arc welding.) The rod to be used is described as low fuming bronze, which can be purchased at most welding product distribution outlets. Low fuming bronze rod can be purchased with a flux coating, or it can be purchased bare. You will want to use bare rod, not flux coated. Low fuming bronze rod is not
actually a TIG welding rod. It is considered to be a brazing rod by most people in the welding business. We have spent a lot of time researching many different rods for best results using TIG welding processes for strength and color match, and low fuming was the most versatile with numerous copper alloy pipe, tube, and copper alloy shapes. We chose to use this process on most copper alloy materials in the mid to late 1980's with the exception of our silicon bronze balls. We tell our customers to set their machines for Direct Current Straight Polarity (DCSP). We then suggest they use straight argon gas. This gives good results. We remind our customers to be sure to describe the rod as low fuming bronze. By doing so their welding supplier should know exactly what to send. To Recap: To weld all copper alloys, except silicon bronze Process: Tig Weld Settings: DC Straight Polarity Straight Argon Gas Filler: Oxy–Fuel Rod Low Fuming Bronze, Non Flux Coated Steve Engebregsten The Wagner Companies firstname.lastname@example.org
W RI TE !
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 email@example.com.
Metal Spirals from
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Installation Video featuring “The Furniture Guys”
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The best selection, quality, and prices! Since 1931, The Iron Shop has enjoyed a reputation for outstanding design and fabrication of custom built spiral stairs. Today, we utilize computer-aided technology throughout our production process to guarantee that each stair meets exacting standards—successfully mixing state-of-the-art manufacturing with Old World quality. Offering the largest selection, highest quality, and lowest prices in spiral stairs—we make sure that you get the right spiral to meet your needs. This has made The Iron Shop the
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Ask for Ext. FAB or visit our Web Site at www.TheIronShop.com/FAB Main Plant & Showroom: Dept. FAB, P.O. Box 547, 400 Reed Road, Broomall, PA 19008 Showrooms / Warehouses: Ontario, CA • Sarasota, FL • Houston, TX • Chicago, IL • Stamford, CT
Proud nationwide member of... “The Furniture Guys” is a registered trademark belonging to Ed Feldman and Joe L’Erario ©2003 The Iron Shop
Circle 11 on Reader Service Card
Published on Nov 12, 2012