Page 1

Make billing a breeze with shop management software, page 22.

Vol. 47, No. 4 Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator July/August 2006

Member Spotlight

Art’s Work Unlimited reveals the secrets to a successful partnership. See page 46.

Lewis Brass 4C Sent as a separate PDF


July/August 2006 Vol. 47, No. 4

This bronze and stainless steel 2006 Top Job Gold Award winning driveway gate spans 18 feet and is 12 feet tall at the center. See page 56.

Tips & Tactics

Biz Side

Member Talk

Unlimited talent at Art’s Work Standards project sparks lively discussions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 A South Florida firm shares its secrets. Creating NOMMA’s Standard Trade Practices manual gets members talking. By Rachel Bailey

Is it too late for affordable healthcare options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 New healthcare legislation may force small business owners to offer more. By Mark E. Battersby

By Todd Daniel

NEF Special Feature CAD grants your fabricator wishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 NOMMA Education Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 CAD speeds up design and layout and NEF chair challenges NOMMA leaders. guarantees a good fit. By Jock Dempsey

The need to feed aluminum: 5 Aluminum GMAW FAQs . . . . . . . . 18 Get answer to five common aluminum welding questions. By Chris Roehl

By Dave Kahle

Job Profiles Gating bronze for the summer ......................................................57 Continental Bronze finishes an oceanfront gate just in time. By James F. Eldridge

Shop Talk The e-management plunge: Don’t fear it—manage it! . . . . . . . 22 Find out how other shops do it.

Fabricating a Top Job for a special someone ..............................62 Germantown fabricates a pine and steel stair with Top Job appeal. By Dave Gutbrod

By Rachel Bailey

Corrosion protection: Hot-dip vs. Zinc-rich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 AGA study clarifies misnomers.

Cinderella gets a new carriage ......................................................66 Abroken horse-drawn carriage gets a makeover by Oscar’s Custom Iron.

By John Krzywicki

President’s Letter . . .6 More members means more for the industry.

Closing the sale: A realistic approach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Increase your sales-ability by developing a more credble strategy.

Editor’s Letter . . . . . . 8 Ornamental fabricators are smart.

By Norma Hernandez

What’s Hot! Nationwide Suppliers

. . . . . . . . . . 80

New Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 People. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 NOMMA News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Literature

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90

New Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Metal Moment Classifieds

Reader’s Letters . . . 10 Attending METALfab inspires returning member.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

Fab Feedback . . . . . 98 Fabricators like Miller’s portable welder.

Cover photo: This gate by Art’s Work Unlimited won a Gold Top Job 2006 Award in Driveway Gates—Forged. See page 46. July/August 2006



President’s Letter 3 Ways to do more with more Dedicated to the success of our members and industry. NOMMA OFFICERS President Chris Connelly DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. South Easton, MA President-elect Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC Peoria, IL

Vice President/ Treasurer Sally Powell Powell’s Custom Metal Fab Inc. Jacksonville, FL Immediate Past President Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks Tulsa, OK

FABRICATOR DIRECTORS Fred Michael Colonial Iron Works Inc. Petersburg, VA

Bob Foust Bob’s Ornamental Iron Studio Kansas City, KS

Don Walsh Pro-Fusion Ornamental Iron Inc. San Carlos, CA

Bruce Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA

Terry Barrett Royal Iron & Aluminum West Palm Beach, FL

Frank Finelli Finelli Ornamental Iron Co. Solon, OH

SUPPLIER DIRECTORS David T. Donnell Eagle Bending Machines Inc. Stapleton, AL

Wayne Haas Cleveland Steel Tool Co. Cleveland, OH

Gene Garrett Regency Railings Inc. Dallas, TX

Meetings & Exposition Manager Martha Pennington Communications Mgr. J. Todd Daniel

Administrative Assistant Liz Johnson Technical Consultant Tim Moss Editor Rachel Bailey

2006 ADVISORY COUNCIL Jay Holeman Mountain Iron Fabrications

Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks

Tom McDonough Master Metal Services Inc.

Nancy Hayden Tesko Enterprises

Rob Rolves Foreman Fabricators Inc.


One: More members = more leaders and volunteers

A membership drive would provide NOMMA with new people and their fresh ideas and energy. Two: More dues money = more benefits

NOMMA STAFF Executive Director Barbara H. Cook

In a world where corporate downsizing is the norm, we often hear the cliché: “do more with less.” Outsourcing services and importing materials become increasingly popular as firms struggle to reduce costs and increase their ability to be competitive (and maybe even— heaven forbid— profitable). While I truly believe NOMMA has succeeded in doing more with less over the last few years, I can’t help but look forward to doing more with more. The plain and simple truth is we need to grow the membership. I do not think adding members is the panacea for every challenge currently facing this association. As a matter of fact, I’m sure an influx of new members will create challenges related to staffing levels and, more specifically, the staff ’s ability to deliver the benefits of membership to a much larger pool of recipients. However, these challenges would be more than offset by the many positive aspects a larger membership makes possible.

Curt Witter Big D Metalworks

With more dues money NOMMA and NEF can allocate more resources to new and on-going initiatives related to monitoring and affecting change in code writing (via the NEF Lawler Research Program). Increased funding allows us to continue to improve and refine existing education programs on a regional and national level. Three: More members = greater legislative influence

A larger trade association can only help us as we continue to position ourselves as the voice of the industry and ultimately influence building codes and future legislation on local,

state, and federal levels. More members = greater influence. A recent review of the Census of Economic Activity by Whorton Marketing & Research suggests that NOMMA’s penetration into the pool of potential members is not as high as it could be. But attracting and retaining members takes effort. We must find potential members and make them aware of the many benefits NOMMA provides. We must also show all industry fabricators and suppliers how Chris Connelly their support of is president of NOMMA and NEF is the National Ornamental and absolutely necessary Miscellaneous to ensure the longMetals term viability of our Association. industry. I challenge this association to reach a membership of 1,500 by 2010. That gives us approximately four years to add an average of 125 member firms per year. It’ll be difficult, but it’s not impossible. With the combined efforts of our marketing partners and a sustained effort from fabricator and supplier members, I’m confident we can get there. We have shown many times in the past, when this association comes together and locks in on a common goal, there is a very strong likelihood of achieving that goal. Set aside the time to recruit one new member this year. Talk to your suppliers and other fabricators in your area. Have them call NOMMA headquarters (or log onto NOMMA’s website) and request a membership package. Better yet, request the information yourself and hand deliver it to them. Fifteen hundred members is an attainable goal, and if we can accomplish this objective, The benefits to our firms and the industry will be substantial. Thank you,

Read Chris Connelly's introduction to METLAfab 2007 on page 16.



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7731 Woodwind Drive, Huntington Beach, CA 92647 Tel: (800) 716-0888 Fax: (800) 464-6400 E-mail: Web:

How to reach us Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator (ISSN 0191-5940), is the official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA). O&MM Fabricator / NOMMA 1535 Pennsylvania Ave. McDonough, GA 30253

Editorial Send story ideas, letters, press releases, and product news to: Fabricator at address above. Ph: (423) 413-6436. Fax: (770) 2882006. E-mail:

Advertising For information, call Rachel Bailey, Ph: (423) 413-6436. Ads are due on the first Friday of the month preceding the cover date. Send ads on CD to: Fabricator at address above. E-mail ads to: (max. 5 megs by e-mail). Or upload ads to our website where a downloadable media kit is available:

Membership In addition to the magazine, enjoy more benefits as a NOMMA member. To join, call (888) 516-8585. For a complete list of benefits, see membership ad in this issue.

Classifieds $25 for up to 35 words, $38 for 36–55 words, $50 for 56–70 words. Send items to: Rachel Bailey, Fabricator, at address above, or E-mail: Ads may be faxed with credit card information to: (770) 288-2006. Deadline: 2nd Friday of the month prior to publication.

Subscriptions Subscription questions? Call (888) 5168585. Send subscription address changes to: Fabricator Subscriptions,1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253. Fax: (770) 288-2006, or E-mail: 1-year: 2-year: 1-year: 2-year:

U.S., Canada, Mexico — $30; U.S., Canada, Mexico — $50; all other countries — $44; all other countries — $78.

Payment in U.S. dollars by check drawn on U.S. bank or money order. For NOMMA members, a year's subscription is a part of membership dues.

Supplier Directory Published each December as a separate issue. Deadline for all advertising materials is August 31. For info, contact Todd Daniel at (888) 516-8585 or

Reprints For a quote, contact Rachel Bailey at (423) 413-6436 or Opinions expressed in Fabricator are not necessarily those of the editors or NOMMA. Articles appearing in Fabricator may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of NOMMA. Circulation: 9,000.


Editor’s Letter Reinventing what’s out there This issue Fabricator focuses on how computer software helps ornamental and miscellaneous metal fabricators stay competitive in the industry. But what emerged for me while compiling this issue and reviewing its articles is a renewed appreciation for the ingenuity of the people in this industry. We’re a niche market. Not much equipment, and that includes software (for the most part) is designed specifically for the special needs of our niche industry. That means ornamental fabricators must rely on their own ingenuity to modify what is out there to fit their specific needs. This concept applies across the board, from hand tools to business management software. Take the company FabCAD for example. Basically, Dave Filippi, a former fabrication shop owner, former president of NOMMA, realized how much he could improve his fabrication business by incorporating CAD software into his sales and drafting process. So Filippi adapted AutoCAD to fit the needs of our industry and brought us FabCAD. I constantly hear outstanding comments about this product and the positive impact it has on ornamental metal fabrication businesses. Filippi is a loyal educator of our industry who presents a session on how CAD assists fabrication shops nearly every year at NOMMA’s annual convention. This past year was no exception, and we’ve included a review of what Filippi covered starting on page 14. Just as software helps fabricators automate the design process, it also assists fabricators by automating shop management. Rob Rolves of Foreman Fabricators seems to have a pretty solid grip on working with computers in general, as past Fabricator articles suggest. So it may not be a surprise that Rolves and Foreman Fabricators utilize shop management software to increase the shop’s efficiency. On page 22 Rolves shares with us just how his shop takes an existing software product and modifies it to fit the needs of

Foreman Fabricators, a shop that does 50 percent custom and 50 percent commercial fabrication. The problem with migrating to shop management software for many fabricators is it takes you out of your comfort zone and away from the metal. As Bob Park of Columbia Wire & Iron Works said to me while being interviewed for that article, sometimes it’d be so much easier if he could just do whatever task he’s wanting to do on the back of an envelope rather than figure out how to make the software do it. But Park realizes the value of shop management software outweighs his frustration with it. His shop took the plunge in 1987. Speaking of a comfort zone, Art’s Work Unlimited is in Rachel Bailey is editor of it. Their shop is not Ornamental & only a tropical para- Miscellaneous dise, it’s an example Metal Fabricator. of how ornamental and miscellaneous metal fabricators have taken the tools and equipment available on the market and redefined them to meet the specific needs of high-end custom fabrication. One need is unquestionable quality. The modifications Art’s Work makes to their shop equipment and work flow are made to ensure the quality they are known for producing (see page 46). All of our job profiles this issue illustrate the incredible talent and quality of our industry. But Oscar Hernandez Sr. of Oscar’s Custom Iron Works once again drives home the point that ornamental and miscellaneous metal fabricators are particularly adept at inventiveness. Don’t miss the story of how he took a broken horse-draw carriage and turned it into an award winning Cinderella coach (page 66). I hope you enjoy reading this particularly informative issue,


July/August 2006

& Fabricator’s Corrections Readers’AmLetters upplier! erica’s #1 S Returning member gets inspired and gets coverage

Tell us what you think We need to hear from you. Please send us your article suggestions, editorial corrections, tips you’d like to share with other readers, and comments on new products and services. Your input makes our industry, association, and publications stronger. Mail: Letters to the Editor, c/o Fabricator, 1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253. E-mail:

Hi Rachel, It was good to meet you at METALfab 2006. In addition to rejoining NOMMA recently and attending METALfab I did a local home show. This has really helped me with exposure, landing several good jobs. Also a freelance reporter came by, became interested, and gave me some good press coverage (Roanoke Times, River Valley Section pg. 2, Sunday, April 23, 2006.) I am also going to

pursue a job quoted years ago on a cast iron post restoration (we briefly talked about it) for a local historic railroad station. If this comes through I'll collaborate with the same reporter and send copy for use in Fabricator if you wish. Hope you and the NOMMA family are doing well. Give my regards to everyone. ~Glenn Raulfs Raulfs Ornamental Iron Send it on, Glenn!

Fax: (770) 288-2006. Ph: (423) 413-6436 Please include your name, company, address, telephone number, and e-mail. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, grammar, and length.

Corrections On page 57 of the May-June issue of Fabricator I gave credit to Powell’s Custom Metal Fab. Inc. for the steel bases (lower left picture) donated for the NEF auctions. They were actually donated by the Wagner Companies

along with several other items. On page 88 of the May-June 2006 issue I gave incorrect contact information for the Bill Pieh Resource for Metalwork (not Campe Verde School). It is located in Campe Verde, AZ. And the phone is (888) 743-4866.

America’s #1 Supplier! Since 1959

Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. 10926 Schmidt Rd., El Monte, CA 91733

1-800-423-4494 10 Fabricator

July/August 2006

Please see Todd’s page 12 as separate PDF doc.



July/August 2006




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Problem & Solution

Tips & Tactics Contact: FabCAD Ph: (800) 255-9032 Web:

CAD grants your fabricator wishes Using computer aided design software can help you improve your business in ways you may not even know about. Find out how CAD can help make your sales and management dreams come true. By Jock Dempsey,

Fabricator wish list (typical shop problems) • Speed up design and layout out • Guarantee your fabrications fit before you install • Show your client how the design they’ve chosen will look before you begin Wishes granted (solutions)

As a design and management tool computer aided design (CAD) software has some very powerful features. Probably the most important feature of CAD is easily modifiable drawings. You can apply infinite updates to a CAD drawing, and the hard copy is always fresh and new without tell-tale erasures. Archival drawings are easy to store electronically and new “originals” can be made as needed. Portions of or complete existing CAD drawings can be reused as needed and stored as a design library. Another important feature of CAD, especially for fabricators is the ability to duplicate sections of a drawing. A long railing is usually composed of multiple identical panels. Once a panel or arrangement of components is drawn, it can be copied and pasted as many times as needed. A very complex looking drawing can be completed in relatively short order by using a library of standard components and duplicate panels. CAD drawings can also be overlaid over other CAD drawings, similar to using transparencies or tracing paper. This is called using layers. If an architect releases a drawing in CAD, the other contractors can fit their drawings to the original design. This reduces the 14

subcontractor’s cost as well as reducing the possibility of errors. Individual contractors can also make their own site layouts as necessary and remove that layer of the drawing. Learning to organize CAD drawings in layers is an important part of learning to use CAD properly. For example, you may not want the bill of materials and component names on a drawing you show the customer. If that information is stored in a layer, you can easily just remove that layer in the drawing you publish. The same goes for detail dimensions. You may want overall dimensions for the customer without shop details, which can complicate a drawing and make it look too busy. In that case you would store details in separate layers. CAD also allows you to pull out the detail and use it to start a new drawing. In some cases you may want to make the detail first and then use it like a library component. Either method works; each has an advantage. Using layers is also a powerful sales tool. CAD programs allow fabricators to use a digital photograph as an underlay, which can be stored as a separate layer. Using a photo of a customer’s house, you can overlay gates or railings so that the customer does not have to use their imagination. The

CAD drawing can be scaled, rotated, and skewed to give it perspective as needed. This works surprisingly well even in two dimensional (2D) CAD drawings. As long as the view is not completely on edge where the drawing has no depth, the 2D line work will look fine when overlaid on a photo. Combining the digital camera and a graphics package with CAD provides a powerful combination of tools. A digital photo or a montage of digital photos taken from a suitable vantage point can be used as a reference for a design layout. This requires some creative adjustments of the photo to remove perspective and distortion of scale. However, using a few reference points in the photo can make it possible to remove the photographic distortion. You can also plot triangles to determine if features in a layout site have true geometry, like a circle or ellipse. But you better watch out (implications)

There are many positive aspects of CAD software, as listed above, but investing in CAD does come with challenges. Fabricators considering incorporating CAD into their business process should realize that it will not revolutionize their business overnight. Learning CAD requires study, practice, and patience. You may need to use it daily for a year before becoming competent with it. Don’t expect your first CAD drawing to be what you expect or usable. Practice is a necessary component of CAD. Fortunately, programs like Dave Fabricator

July/August 2006


The EL2000 – the hot new look in telephone entry and access control systems. Beautifully engineered for gated communities, yet powerful and adaptable enough for use in apartment buildings, condo complexes, and commercial applications. Digital audio technology for the clearest voice and reduced background noise interference. Voice prompting provides audible assistance at the push of a button for ADA-compliant installations. Sharp backlit screen clearly displays up to 4 lines with 20 characters per line. Aluminum-alloy housing that is corrosion resistant for long-lasting beauty. Greater flexibility allows you to purchase the EL2000 as a base unit or order it with optional plug-in modules for customizable solutions right off the shelf. Simplified installation and easier programming combined with sleek, modern styling make the EL2000 the most versatile telephone entry and access control system in its class. Visit or call 1.800.323.2276 to learn more.





Much of the information in this column was obtained during Dave Filippi’s education session, “CAD as a management and sales tool” at METALfab 2006.

Filippi’s FabCAD can turn CAD into a more user friendly sales and management tool for ornamental and miscellaneous metal fabricators. It is designed specifically for the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry and provides on-line training movies, (some are free to all CAD users) which greatly speed up the learning process. Also available is FabCAD’s automated program AutoRail, which automatically draws rails, fences and gates with minimal knowledge of AutoCAD. FabCAD can be purchased bundled

with AutoCAD, or, for fabricators who already have AutoCAD, they can purchase FabCAD as an add-on. Component libraries are also addons and can be purchased, while some may be obtained for free from manufacturers. Individuals can also create their own component libraries. This is where a higher level of skill is required in order to produce a good clean scalable drawing with handles or anchor points. Remember that if you change software, old CAD files may not be compatible with your new software, so

save hard copies just in case. Often, they can be scanned in for use in your new software. Fabricators should know that the different design library packages vary greatly in quality. Some are highly detailed while others are basically student drawings of various parts. And again, there can be compatibility issues. Always check with your vendors about compatibility. It can be helpful to realize that although many may think of CAD as a drawing tool it is more of a numerical layout tool. Every critical point on a CAD drawing is input numerically or from a database. Two dimensional points are input as X and Y and 3D drawings have the added Z axis. The only time a mouse is used to actually draw in CAD is with free form shapes of curves. Otherwise it is a tool used to select and extend existing objects. CAD also does not replace basic drawing skills. The CAD operator must understand views, scale, and line types, and it can help if the CAD operator has some artistic skills before attempting to learn CAD.

METALfab 2007—Adding Value To Your Business NOMMA’s President and METALfab 2007 Convention Chair introduces the theme of METALfab’s 2007 Education Program— Adding Value. Dear Industry and NOMMA Members: Today more than ever, the business environment in which we all operate is constantly changing and evolving. We as fabricators and suppliers must continually improve not only the line of products and services that we provide, but we must also re-evaluate the means by which our products and services are provided. The term “value-added” is one that is often heard in today’s corporate circles. Simply stated, modern-day, savvy consumers are looking for more. They want better products faster. Likewise, a fabricating shop that will handle a project from “soup-to-nuts” is becoming increasingly popular in a world where time is at a premium and general contractors, owners, and design professionals need to “just get it done.” One simple way to approach the concept of adding value would be to review the list of standard exclusions that we typically list on our proposals. Are there one or two things 16

we currently exclude that our customers would gladly pay for us to do? If so, try it out. The value we can add will differ from fabricator to fabricator as well as from supplier to supplier. This year’s education program was created with the idea of providing added value to our existing client bases. Whether it’s subcontracting a particular service out to a fellow fabricator or supplier or gaining the expertise you need to perform an added service yourself, after attending METALfab 2007 you’ll be better equipped to offer clients more value. A customer base on the receiving end of value-added products and services can only help your business and the industry as a whole. I look forward to seeing you at METALfab 2007 at San Destin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, FL. Be sure to put the dates for METALfab 2007 on your calendar, February 28–March 3. The details of the convention program will be included in the September/October issues of Fabricator magazine and on NOMMA’s website: Thank you, Chris Connelly NOMMA President, Convention Chair METALfab 2007 Fabricator

July/August 2006

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Tips & Tactics Contact: Chris Roehl Miller Electric Mfg. Co. Ph: (920) 734-9821 Web:

The need to feed aluminum: 5 Aluminum GMAW FAQs Get the answers to five questions welders frequently ask when deciding how best to weld aluminum. By Chris Roehl Miller Electric Mfg. Co. Aluminum, especially thin-gauge, presents unique welding obstacles. Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) in particular presents challenges in wire feeding and selecting the right type of filler metal and equipment. However, several options can aid in effective aluminum welding.

should I think about before I choose a filler metal? 1What

While filler metal for steel typically is chosen by matching the tensile strengths, strength is only one consideration in choosing an aluminum filler metal. Usually several different aluminum-alloy filler metals can be used with any of the aluminum-alloy base metals or when welding dissimilar aluminum alloys. In choosing filler metal, consider the following: Base metal composition Welding ease Joint design Dilution (when the filler wire and base metal combine in the weld puddle to create a different chemical makeup in the weld) Weld strength Cracking tendencies Ductility Corrosion in service Color matching if the material is anodized Different filler metals address these considerations to varying degrees. In general, if strength is the primary concern, the filler metal should match the 18

Aluminum Alloys In its pure form aluminum is a relatively soft metal that has many uses but requires adding one or more metals to increase its strength and add qualities that make it suitable for different applications. Common aluminum alloys contain copper, magnesium, silicon, manganese, and zinc. They are identified by their series numbers: Series Alloy Group

1xxx 2xxx 3xxx 4xxx 5xxx 6xxx 7xxx 8xxx

99 percent minimum aluminum purity Copper Manganese Silicon Magnesium Magnesium-silicon Zinc Other

base metal closely in tensile, yield, and ductility. Most consumables manufacturers, as well as the American Welding Society (AWS), offer information listing the relative values of these qualities of their filler metals for each base alloy.

Are there general-purpose alufiller metals? 2minum

While no aluminum filler metal fits all needs, 4043 and 5356 are the two most common and make up the majority of aluminum filler metal sales. They can be used with most widely used aluminum-alloy base metals. The 4043 filler metal often is a favorite among welders because its silicon alloy can increase welding ease and offer good puddle control. It can be used with a variety of base alloys

with relatively high marks in all categories. It’s forgiving in terms of weld parameters, is clean, and can provide a nice appearance. Generally, 5356 is used most widely. Another general-purpose filler metal, 5356 gets slightly lower marks or welding ease, but usually offers higher tensile strength than 4043. Its higher columnar strength means it can feed more easily than 4043. It also has a faster melt-off rate, so it requires a faster wire feed speed for the same wire diameter. Although these two wires comprise the majority of uses, it’s important to check a metal wire manufacturer’s data sheets to ensure their suitability for your application. More information can be found in the AWS book Specifications for Bare Aluminum and Aluminum Alloy Welding Rods and Bare Electrodes, AWS A5.10 Fabricator

July/August 2006

The most commonly used aluminum filler metals are 4043 and 5356.

special storage necessary for alufiller metal wire? 3Isminum

Yes. As a filler metal, aluminum has the same oxidation problems as all aluminum. When left open, either on the shelf or installed in a welding machine, aluminum filler wire will oxidize, which can lead to an erratic arc. Oxidation adds resistance, can produce soot, and can change the wire’s ability to feed smoothly. Many operators spend a lot of time adjusting tension settings, changing contact tips, or checking the shielding gas trying to fix the problem when the oxidized wire typically is at fault.

feeding options are available for aluminum wire? 4What

Because aluminum wire has low columnar strength, feeding it has been likened to pushing a wet noodle through a straw. Birdnesting, or the tangling of the wire between the drive roll and the liner, is a common, timeconsuming, and costly problem. Cleaning it requires the operator to stop welding, cut the wire, discard the wire in the gun, and refeed new wire through the liner. It also may require cleaning or changing the contact tip because of the burnback caused when the wire stops feeding. Several types of systems can feed aluminum wire: Push only. Feeding aluminum wire 20

through a push-only system can be difficult, but it can be done on a limited basis. It requires U-groove drive rolls to provide more surface contact with the wire, a Teflon® liner, adequate drive-roll pressure, the ability to keep the gun cable straight, and a high tolerance for pain. Any resistance in the line likely will cause the wire to misfeed. Thicker wire, such as 1/16 inch, can be fed consistently in a push-feed system. However, push feeding isn’t very dependable for thinner gauges, such as 0.030-inch wire. Spool gun. A spool gun helps eliminate birdnesting by putting a 4inch (1-pound) spool on the gun so the wire feeds only a few inches. Spool guns can accommodate aluminum wire diameters from 0.023 to 1 /16 inch and allow the operator to use longer cables, generally from 15 feet to 50 feet. The roll in a spool gun needs to be changed after every pound of wire is used. In tight spaces, the spool may limit access, requiring the operator to use a longer stickout. If the operator uses several pounds of aluminum per day, the few minutes needed to change spools can add up. Also, burnback is a possibility when the end of a spool is reached, so many operators stop even though a few turns are left on the spool. Push-pull gun. On a push-pull gun, a motor in the gun pulls the wire through the liner, while the motor in the welding machine or feeder control becomes an assist motor. By maintaining consistent tension on the wire, the push-pull system helps eliminate birdnesting. Because the weight of the spool isn’t in the operator’s hands, a push-pull gun can offer ergonomic benefits. With a push-pull gun, the spool needs to be changed less often than a spool gun, and larger spools can be used. Cables up to 50 feet long can be used with a push-pull gun. A pushpull system can be more expansive than other types of systems, but it can offer increased productivity and the ability to buy larger spools. Continuous-feed push system. This system is relatively new. Its drive sys-

tem maintains continuous contact with the wire and helps eliminate birdnesting by removing the gap between the drive rolls and the liner. It’s limited to pushing wire 15 feet, but the gun is lighter than a spool gun or a push-pull gun and requires no additional maintenance.

transfer mode should I use with aluminum wire? 5Which

Short-circuit transfer mode isn’t recommended for aluminum. It’s almost impossible to obtain good fusion, and the weld will be prone to breaking or cracking. It shouldn’t be used when good appearance or high strength is a requirement. In spray transfer mode, molten droplets transfer smoothly from the electrode to the puddle. The arc is smooth and stable and produces a nice appearance with good fusion at the sides. Since it involves high heat, burnthrough can be a problem on this (1/8inch or thinner) material, so it requires a faster travel speed and a thin-gauge (0.030-inch) filler wire to keep heat input down. It’s not suitable for out-of-position welds. For that, pulsed welding is recommended. With pulsed welding or pulsed GMAW, the operator always is in spray transfer mode. The wire transfers across the arc and then drops to a lower amperage, which allows the puddle to cool while maintaining the arc. This allows for out-of-position welding. Also, the pulse agitates the weld puddle, aiding the cleaning action. The heat input can be controlled more than in other modes, so it’s possible to weld thin-gauge material and use a large-diameter wire (up to 3 /64 inch) with a decreased chance of burn-through and increased deposition rates. Because you can use 3/64-inch filler wire to weld thin-gauge material, deposition is increased and wire feeding is aided through the use of a stiffer wire. Reprinted with permission from the March/April 2006 issue of Practical Welding Today, copyright 2006 by FMA Communications, Rockford, IL, Fabricator

July/August 2006

Multi Sales - sent as a separate PDF

Photo by Michelle Bellusci

The e-management plunge: Don’t fear it—manage it! Test the waters of shop management software and stay competitive in the fabrication industry. By Rachel Bailey, Editor When NOMMA last surveyed its membership in 2002, 37 percent of respondents said they use some kind of software for project management, 48 percent said they use software for estimating, while 94 percent said they use software for accounting. In technology years that was a long time ago. Today more of us realize the benefits of tracking and automating all of our workflow. But still, many of you may hesitate to implement technology as a means of managing more than your shop’s financial accounting. Maybe you’re afraid of losing production time while converting to a digital format. Or maybe you’re not aware of how much you stand to gain. It may be a big leap, especially for smaller shops. But it’s one you’ll most likely have to take, eventually. In this article, three NOMMA members share their experience with three different shop management software products: ShopTech’s E2, Exact Software’s JobBOSS, and FabTrol Systems’ FabTrol MRP. 22

Since 1996 NOMMA member firm Foreman Fabricators Inc., St. Louis, MO, has used ShopTech’s shop management software system E2 ( They currently use version “Basically we run our shop with E2 and Microsoft Outlook,” says Vice President of Foreman Fabricators Rob Rolves. “For most NOMMA shops, if they want to use a software program like ShopTech’s E2 system, it would work fine for them because the software can be tweaked to meet specific needs.” At Foreman Fabricators there are five people in the office and five people in shop. They all use the software and in different ways.

For your information

Front office use

The Itemizer by R&R Drummond Inc.

In the front office shop management software products can be used for estimating, purchasing, tracking inventory, scheduling, and billing. Some shops may choose to use all or none of these features. It depends on how you organize your business.

Find out more about shop management software products mentioned in this article: E2 by ShopTech JobBOSS by Exact Software FabTrol MRP by FabTrol Systems Inc. (NOMMA Member) Platform Symphony Adapter for Microsoft® Excel

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July/August 2006

Shop Talk “Our project managers use the software for preparing quotes and purchasing,” Rolves explains. “Our administrative assistant enters data into the system that the project managers use. She’ll enter invoices and purchase orders. She can also enter data related to time/material projects, like stock used or needed.” “I mostly use E2 to manage payables and receivables and as a general ledger because I do most of the billing,” Rolves says. “And the president of our company uses it in the

same ways I do.” “Some information can be blocked out for the different authority levels of the people utilizing the system,” Rolves says. “But you have to be careful what you exclude. You don’t want to keep individuals from being able to do their jobs.” Estimating

Estimating is a popular function of shop management software. Rolves appreciate the flexibility of utilizing the software to estimate material cost

without actually contacting a vendor. “For example, if the bid you’re preparing calls for schedule 40 pipe you can enter that part number in the system to pull up quotes on schedule 40 pipe from when past orders were placed,” Rolves says. “Then you can estimate what you’ll probably pay for materials this time. If you paid $22 a piece last year and $20 a piece four years earlier, you can see that it probably won’t cost too much more than $23 a piece this year.” Bear in mind this system gives fabricators an idea, not a hard quote.

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But it is good for quick turn around estimates when contractors want prices right away. Purchasing

each job through E2,” Rolves says. “We can go to “Quick View” and see what’s in and what’s been used for any job.” Inventory

To aid in purchasing decisions, software can coordinate data of a shop’s current inventory with what needs to be allocated for current and upcoming jobs. “We typically order material as needed and then split what we need for

Although shop management software products offer an inventory module, Foreman Fabricators does not utilize this feature on their system. Instead they choose to do a manual inventory once a month. “It would be difficult for special

sizes of sheet, etc, because of our high rate of use and also because we buy by the sheet and then sell it by the foot,” Rolves explains. “So for us, data entry for the inventory module seems like it would just be too much work to be worthwhile—at least for now. However, NOMMA member shops that do more standard subassemblies would probably be a better fit for the inventory module, whereas Foreman Fabricators takes on more custom rail jobs.” Scheduling

Scheduling is another attractive feature of shop management software, but Foreman Fabricators chooses not to use it on their system either. “The scheduling module is good too, but it would take someone to manage it everyday to make it work,” Rolves says. Billing

Automated billing is something shops in today’s competitive market should definitely at least investigate if they don’t already use it. “We used to bill once a month because it took so long to go over everything,” says Rolves. “Now we bill weekly. Rather than going through old purchase orders, we can search information by any piece of information we might have associated with a job, a contact name, even a part of a contact name.”

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Shop management software products can be set up to work seamlessly with QuickBooks for those who want to continue using QuickBooks ( Or some shops may choose to make the full leap and use the accounting modules that comes with their shop management software. According to Rolves, in some ways E2 may not offer as many options as QuickBooks because E2 does not have as many reports. “But if you want one, you can most likely have it made,” Rolves says. “For example, we wanted a report that would tell us which customers have not used us in a certain amount of time. Apparently that was a Fabricator

July/August 2006

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“All of our shop personnel use the software as a means

of clocking in and out daily, and clocking on and off of a particular phase of fabrication.” pretty simple report to program, and we were only charged $75 for it. More complex reports can cost more.” “There have been some requests I’ve made that ShopTech was not able to fulfill. But I don’t remember what they were at this point, so we either found another solution or it wasn’t as necessary as I thought,” says Rolves. Shop use

In the shop, Foreman Fabricators mostly uses the software for labor tracking. “All of our shop personnel use the software as a means of clocking in and out daily, and clocking on and off of a particular phase of fabrication, like grinding, cutting, bending, etc.,” Rolves says. “Our shop supervisor uses the software to monitor the status of various projects and the per-


sonnel working on them. He works mainly as a read-only user and does not enter data into the software. He reads information and reports to project managers who enter any changes.” Labor estimates

Although shop manegement software makes labor estimating easier, fabricators still must have a good understanding about their business to gauge and set peramters for labor costs. “Before E2 we’d write labor estimates on work sheets,” Rolves says. “Now we have it more organized. Everyone clocks on to their job through the software’s job router which routes a job through its various phases in the shop. A manager can look and see what everybody is doing at anytime.”

“But you’ve got to know your own business to judge the time allotments for the different processes. For example the software won’t realize that it takes longer to make bends on small material, etc.,” Rolves says. According to Rolves, the E2 software is really designed for making widgets all day— where you can average older jobs to estimate labor. “But when we’ve got a glass rail job where you sometimes just don’t know how long labor will take due to its custom nature, relying on the software’s labor estimates won’t do you much good,” Rolves says. “Also, if one guy is not on the router, say he forgot to clock in, zero hours will be applied as cost against the job. But you can go back and modify ‘Time Tickets’ and input the correct labor hours so that the cost is where it belongs.” Conversion process

Of course, switching from paper to a digital management system or even converting from another digital system


July/August 2006

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“A lot of construction projects require using the American

Institute of Architecture (AIA) format for billing. Quantum is software that generates these forms for you.” takes some re-adjusting, but it can be done with minimal if any loss in production. “We started with E2 in October 1996, and by the end of November we were using it,” Rolves says. “We didn’t

lose any production during the conversion process; everybody just worked a little harder and longer until we got through the transition. Of course as far as tracking, that year’s data is no good because we entered

everything wrong. But set up didn’t stop us from getting work out the door or from answering the phone. If we were a two-person shop, it might have been more difficult.” As for long-term technical support Rolves also has positive things to say about ShopTech. “They are real nice guys,” says Rolves. “They hire good people that have been in the fabrication industry. When I have any issues, I call and they hook me up with who I need to talk to depending on the complexity of my problem.” Other shop software

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Although some shop management software products can manage nearly all of your shop activities, some of you may choose to use it in conjunction with other software products as well. According to Rolves, Foreman Fabricators basically runs its business with Microsoft Outlook and ShopTech’s E2 and then a few other ancillary products. “We use a nesting software called The Itemizer for cutting bar lengths (, although it does not integrate with E2. We also use a product called Quantum Project Manager made by Quantum ( A lot of construction projects require using a certain format or forms in the American Institute of Architecture (AIA) format for billing. You can print the forms from the AIA website ( and then fill them in by hand or a typewriter. But that is a pain. Quantum is software that does this for you. It does integrate with E2 or QuickBooks and fills in all of the fields and then prints out the necessary forms.” Foreman Fabricators also uses AutoCAD, but they outsource it because “we know someone who knows it like the back of his hand,” Rolves says. At this time, E2 does not integrate with AutoCAD. Compared to similar products

There are other products similar to E2. For example, NOMMA member firm Big D Metalworks of Dallas, TX uses a product called JobBOSS by Exact Fabricator

July/August 2006



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“From their research Big D concluded that there was no

prepackaged software that would meet all of their needs right out of the box.” Software (www.exactamerica. com). Big D employs 37 people, and Vice President of Big D Metalworks Curt Witter seems to feel as positively about JobBOSS as Rolves does about E2 “In the early 1990s we were trying to develop a system to help manage our company, primarily track our


costs,” says Witter. “We had a variety of systems on paper plus Excel (check out Platform Symphony Adapter for Microsoft® Excel at to help manage our business. We knew there had to be an easier way. So we began a search for a packaged program with one primary

goal—accurate job costing. After about six months of research, we decided on JobBOSS.” From their research Big D concluded that there was no prepackaged software that would meet all of their needs right out of the box. Although the JobBOSS software was and is targeted for machine shops, Witter feels the software is flexible enough to meet most of Big D’s needs. “Back when we started using JobBOSS, the program was DOS based,” Witter explains. After setting up the software and getting the appropriate people trained on its operation, Big D utilized all the components that revolved around accurate cost accounting, purchase orders, and labor tracking. Once that goal was achieved they started using the program’s shop floor controls. “That allowed us to load in estimates for each purchase and for each labor function, which allowed us to measure shop floor production more effectively,” says Witter. “We then set up and began using the accounting component. We thought this would be one of the more difficult operations, but it ended up being one of the simplest. We asked our accountant to look at the program before we started using it. His opinion of the software was that it was well written and would be easy to set up and use. He was right.” Overall Big D was impressed and satisfied with JobBOSS. But software technology evolves quickly. Eventually, Big D had to make the switch from DOS to Windows. This is when they met with some obstacles. But Witter says his firm was further impressed with the makers of JobBOSS as that company followed through in overcoming those obstacles. “We were concerned about the switch so we went to JobBOSS’ headquarters and got trained to perform the migration,” Witter says. “We got back to the office all excited to do it. But after a week of various technical failures we went back to DOS. “We shared all of our problems with JobBOSS support. They reluctantly admitted that the migration program had significant glitches. Six Fabricator

July/August 2006

months later, however, they said the problems were all worked out. We waited another year just to make sure, and then we took the plunge again. They did get it right. It took about four hours, and we were up and running.” Witter feels the bad experience with the migration from DOS to windows ended up being a trust-building opportunity between his firm and the makers of JobBOSS. “They proved their integrity,” says Witter. “They had a problem, they admitted it, stuck to

there goal to fix it, and they eventually did.” Now Big D uses almost every feature in JobBOSS’s system and remains pleased with the program. “We get approached by other software vendors trying to get us to switch,” says Witter. “We listen and see what they have to offer, but when the day is done, JobBOSS ends up a clear winner in our eyes.” “If we did not already have JobBOSS, and we were doing research

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on which product to purchase, we would need to look at what our goals are for the software, then what kind of company is behind the software,” Witter says. “Shops looking for software products should ask: Does the manufacturer provide updates once or twice a year? Do they have good customer feedback and support? Are they financially stable with a good history and balance sheet?” Bob Park of Columbia Wire & Iron Works Inc. of Portland, OR is one of NOMMA’s larger shops, employing 80 people. They began using shop management software in 1987. But it also was a DOS based system and not compatible with the Windows platform. In 2002 the firm began using FabTrol MRP by FabTrol Systems Inc. (, a Microsoft certified partner and a NOMMA supplier member. “We went to FabTrol because they are in Eugene, OR, and we are in Portland,” Park explains. “We really didn’t look at anything else. But they are a good company and have good technical support. The software does what we want it to, and it could also do more if we spent more time figuring it out.” “Honestly though, I don’t like any of this software,” says Park. “It takes a lot of time, energy, and money to train everybody to use it. And then there are yearly expenses and maintenance agreements. Smaller shops may struggle with it and spend more time and money than they think.” “FabTrol is a fine company, and they know what they’re doing,” says Park. “But it takes a huge commitment.” There’s no denying that switching to a digital shop management system takes time, energy, and training. But then again, so does fine metal craftsmanship. And in today’s increasingly digital world, the question isn’t really if you need shop management software, but when will it be most costeffective to start using it. Like any big commitment, it takes planning. The more you put into preparing yourself and your business for the experience, the more successful it will be. Fabricator

July/August 2006




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Corrosion protection: Hot-dip vs. Zinc-rich Rising costs of zinc aside, a recenty study by the American Galvanizers Association consistently finds hot-dip galvanizing a more dependable form of corrosion protection over zinc-rich paint finishes.

These beams are being removed from a zinc bath, a process of hot-dip galvanizing.

By John Krzywicki American Galvanizers Association The performance of hot-dip galvanizing and comparison, and finally ten characteristics zinc-rich paint is often viewed as equivalent that distinguish the two corrosion protecdue to the false perception that all zinc tion systems. coatings are ‘galvanizing’ (e.g. zinc-rich History of zinc as corrosion paints are commonly referred to as “cold protection for steel galvanizing”). The interchangeable use of the word ‘galvanizing,’ to represent a family Zinc was first demonstrated to protect of coatings that use zinc as a steel from corrosion in 1742 means of corrosion protection, during a demonstration by a Cold galvanizing is a has falsely portrayed all zinc French chemist named P.J. misnomer, as the term galvanizing by coatings as being equal with Malouin. The first patents for definition means regard to their corrosion perusing zinc as steel corrosion there is a metallurgiformance. This article will protection were filed in France cal reaction between examine the basis of the compar- steel and zinc, which and Britain in the early 1800s, ison of zinc-rich paints to hotciting a process that cleaned does not take place when zinc-rich paints dip galvanizing, specifically the steel in large tanks followed by are applied to steel. testing applied to support the dipping the steel in a bath con34

For your information The magic of zinc: Zinc coatings provide two types of corrosion protection for steel: barrier and cathodic. Barrier protection protects steel by means of a semiimpermeable barrier to the elements that cause corrosion. This is the main mechanism by which paint operates. Cathodic protection is provided to steel when metallic zinc is included in coatings. Zinc is more electronegative than steel, thus when the two are in contact in the presence of an electrolyte, it interrupts the normal corrosion process of steel by donating its electrons to prevent steel from losing its electrons.


July/August 2006

Shop Talk taining pure liquid zinc. This is commonly known today as batch hot-dip galvanizing. Over 200 years later, the inherently simple hot-dip galvanizing process has changed little and is one of the most widely used forms of protecting steel from corrosion. The use of zinc in hot-dip galvanizing has spawned numerous other processes that utilize elemental zinc as a means of corrosion protection, such as zincrich paints. Zinc-rich paints were first devel-

July/August 2006


Editor’s Note: According to Chet Dinkins of NOMMA member firm Sumter Coatings (, painting over galvanized systems further protects the substrate. Keep in mind too that hot-dip galvanizing is not always cost effective for ornamental and miscellaneous metal fabricators. For more information on painting over galvanzined finishes, see, “Duplexing: The Beauty of a Two-Part Finish,” from the March-April 2002 issue of NOMMA’s Fabricator. Available for download at fabricator/fabricator.cfm. Also see “Duplex Systems: Painting Over Hot Dip Galvanized Steel” (2005), 12 pages, PT-DS-05. Available for download at


oped in Australia during the 1930s. Over the years, the formulations of the paint have changed and currently there are various grades of zinc-rich paint available on the market. Each of these paints differs in concentration of zinc dust, binder material (organic or inorganic), and application method. It is important to note the performance of zinc-rich paints are not all equivalent. Specific formulations and application methods can significantly alter the performance from one type of zinc-rich paint to the next. All zinc coatings are portrayed as providing two types of corrosion protection for steel: barrier and cathodic. Barrier protection protects steel by means of a semi-impermeable barrier to the elements that cause corrosion. This is the main mechanism by which paint operates. However, by including metallic zinc in coatings, cathodic protection is also theoretically provided to the steel. Zinc is more electronegative than steel, thus when the two are in contact in the presence of an electrolyte, it interrupts the normal corrosion process of steel by donating its electrons to prevent steel from losing its electrons. Thus, zinc sacrifices itself in order to protect steel from corroding. Batch hot-dip galvanizing Zinc-rich paints are usually applied by brushing or spraying onto steel cleaned by sand blasting and can be applied in a shop or in the field.


Batch, or after-fabrication, hot-dip galvanizing is used in a variety of industries to protect a myriad of steel prod-


July/August 2006

速LFC 7/2006 All Rights Reserved

Service Life Chart for Hot-dip Galvanized Coatings 100 90

Service Life* (years)

80 Key






Tropical Marine




ASTM A123 Minimum Coating Thickness

Temperate Marine

20 10 0 1. 0









Average Thickness of Zinc (mils) *Service life is defined as the time to 5% rusting of the steel surface.

1 mil = 25.4µm = 0.56oz/ft2

The above chart shows the service-life for hot-dip galvanized coatings in various environments.

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“It is important to note the paint must be constantly agitated to

ensure a homogenous mixture of zinc dust and the binder material, whether it is organic or inorganic.”

ucts. As a factory-controlled process, hot-dip galvanizing produces a coating resulting from a metallurgical reaction between liquid zinc and iron in steel. The coating consists of four layers; three of which are zinc-iron

alloy, and the fourth is a top layer of pure zinc. As a result of this reaction, a tightly adherent, abrasion resistant coating is formed. Typical coatings on structural steel will be in excess of 4 mils, but can vary based on the thick-

ness and type of steel. Unlike most coatings where a thickness is specified, the galvanizer must provide a minimum coating thicknesses depending on which coating specification is used (e.g. ASTM A123, Standard Specification for Zinc [HotDip Galvanized] Coatings on Iron and Steel Products is the most common). Bridge, highway, electrical utility, industrial, and marine construction projects have all realized the benefits of hot-dip galvanizing. Hot-dip galvanizing is relatively maintenancefree and commonly prevents any corrosion of the substrate steel for 50–80 years in most atmospheric environments (industrial, urban, marine, and rural), with millions of data points established over the past 85 years to support that position. The service-life chart on pae 38 shows the estimated service-life of hot-dip galvanized coatings in a variety of environments. Zinc-rich paints

Zinc-rich paints are usually applied by brushing or spraying onto steel cleaned by sand blasting. Organic or inorganic zinc-rich paints are usually applied to a dry film thickness of 2.5 to 3.5 mils (.06 to .09 mm) and can be applied in a shop or in the field. It is important to note the paint must be constantly agitated to ensure a homogenous mixture of zinc dust and the binder material, whether it is organic or inorganic. Organic zinc paints consist of epoxies, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and other polymers that act as the ‘glue’ to hold the zinc dust particles together and promote adhesion to the substrate steel. Inorganic zinc paints are based largely on alkyl silicates that perform the same function. With either binder, the zinc dust concentration must be high enough to promote electrical conductivity in the dry film. Otherwise, cathodic protection will not be provided to the substrate steel. Even so, there is some question as to whether cathodic protection is possible at all due to the encapsulation of the zinc dust parti40


July/August 2006

“Zinc-rich paints are commonly used to touch-up or repair

hot-dip galvanized steel. It’s easy; in-field application makes it a very suitable repair material.”

galvanized due to size limitations or where on-site coating application is required. Testing

cles in the binder. Zinc-rich paints are commonly used to touch-up or repair hot-dip galvanized steel. It’s easy; in-field application makes it a very suitable repair material approved for use

according to ASTM A780, Standard Practice for Repair of Damaged and Uncoated Areas of Hot-Dip Galvanized Coatings. Other uses of zinc-rich paints include interior or exterior items that cannot be hot-dip

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Some manufacturers and distributors of zinc-rich paints or cold galvanizing compounds, make claims to project specifiers that their products are “equivalent to hot-dip galvanizing,” or “as good as galvanizing.” These claims are based on the performance of their products and hotdip galvanized steel in accelerated salt spray or salt fog tests, as defined by ASTM B117, Standard Practice for Operating Salt Spray (Fog) Apparatus. Although appropriate to test paints and other organic/non-organic coatings, ASTM B117 tests do not allow the pure zinc coating applied via the hot-dip galvanizing process to experience the typical, real-world, wet and dry cycles that occur in exterior use. The wet-dry cycles allow the pure zinc to develop its patina of zinc corrosion products–zinc oxide, zinc hydroxide, and zinc carbonate–which form sequentially over time. The final zinc carbonate patina is what gives hot-dip galvanized steel its long-term corrosion protection. Depending on the level of corrosive elements in the atmosphere, the patina and underlying zinc may protect the substrate steel for 50–80 years or more without the need for maintenance.

The primary criterion of comparison of zinc-rich paints to hot-dip galvanizing is durability in use. This durability results primarily because: The metallurgical reaction between the iron in steel and the liquid zinc used in the galvanizing process results in zinc-iron metallic alloy layers that are a metallic barrier, impervious to corrosive elements. Zinc is anodic to steel and thus the zinc preferentially corrodes very slowly over decades to protect the substrate steel. The galvanizing process coats all exterior and interior surfaces, difficult-to-reach corners and recesses, and edges and corners with cathodic and Fabricator

July/August 2006

“Zinc-rich paint does not deliver the consistent coating

thickness over all surfaces and is not 100 percent metallic and impervious to moisture and other electrolytes that initiate corrosion.”

barrier protecting zinc. Specifically, there are at least ten characteristics to compare hot-dip galvanizing to zinc-rich paints. Eight of the characteristics were researched by the independent South African Bureau of Standards (Visit www.galvanizeit.

org/zincpaint.pdf for the full research report.) One: Coating thickness

Hot-dip galvanizing has of uniform thickness, even at edges and corners. The zinc-rich paint is typically not of uniform thickness and thus protection

is variable along the surface. The corners and edges are particularly susceptible to corrosion because there is usually less bonding of paint at those locations. Two: Salt Fog test (simulating a marine environment)

Hot-dip galvanizing exhibited zero base steel corrosion after 1,500 hours, at which time the test was stopped. Significant base steel attack was observed on the zinc-rich painted coupons after 1,000 hours. Three: Damp Sulphur Dioxide test (simulating an industrial environment)

Hot-dip galvanized steel samples exhibited no signs of base steel corrosion after 40 cycles of the test. The zinc-rich painted samples showed base steel corrosion and severe edge corrosion after nine cycles. Four: Cathodic protection (vee cuts of 10mm x 115mm)

Hot-dip galvanized steel showed no signs of corrosion after 1,500 hours exposure in the salt fog test. The zincrich painted steel samples exhibited red rust on the exposed area after only 24 hours and after 550 hours, red rust was evident over the entire exposed surface. Five: Immersion tests (2000 hours in corrosive mine water)

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There was no base steel corrosion, as the hot-dip galvanized steel samples formed the stable surface deposits (zinc salts). A substantial increase in nominal thickness of the zinc-rich paint coating indicated swelling due to water absorption, resulting in the formation of voluminous corrosion products (iron-oxide) within the coating. Six: UV exposure

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Hot-dip galvanized coatings are not affected by UV light. UV attack on the zinc-rich paint was not severe. Seve: Abrasion tests

Hot-dip galvanizing’s zinc-iron Fabricator

July/August 2006

alloy layers have a DPN5 hardness ranging from 179–250, all harder than the base steel. Data indicated the zinc-rich paint has one-third the abrasion resistance of the hot-dip galvanized coating. Eight: Temperature test

In a 15-minute exposure in temperatures up to 350 C, hot-dip galvanized coatings did not change appearance or performance traits. The zincrich paint deteriorated at 250 C and became powdery at 350 C, even when cooled to room temperature. Nine: Bond strength

The bond of the zinc to steel produced by hot-dip galvanizing is approximately 3600 psi, making it difficult to scratch or abrade. The bond strength of zinc-rich paints is on the order of 600 psi. Ten: Weather conditions

Galvanizing is factory controlled and can be done 24/7, 365 days each year. Zinc-rich paints have specific



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temperature and humidity imitations. Summary Zinc-rich is not equivealent to hot-dip galvanizing

While it is true ASTM A780 allows for zinc-rich paints to be used, it is not equivalent to hot-dip galvanizing. Zinc-rich paint does not deliver the consistent coating thickness over all surfaces and is not 100 percent metallic and impervious to moisture and other electrolytes that initiate corrosion. Zinc-rich paint may or may not be a cathodic protection system, depending on the zinc percentage in the dry film. Hot-dip galvanizing provides cathodic protection by nature of zinc being anodic to steel. Zinc-rich paint is not bonded to the substrate steel like hot-dip galvanized coatings. Zinc-rich paints cannot be applied in any weather condition. Hot-dip galvanizing is a factory controlled process and as such is independent of weather. Zinc-rich paints do not perform in the temperature

extremes that hot-dip galvanized coatings can and do. A claim made on the Canadian website for one zinc-rich paint manufacturer says, “For outdoor use ZINGA should be applied in two layers with a total thickness of approximately 80 microns. An application such as this has been shown to last 14 years even in polluted areas.” © 2006 American Galvanizers Association. The material provided herein has been developed to provide accurate and authoritative information about after-fabrication hot-dip galvanized steel. This material provides general information only and is not intended as a substitute for competent professional examination and verification as to suitability and applicability. The information provided herein is not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of the AGA. Anyone making use of this information assumes all liability arising from such use.





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Ballard (left) and Heermance (right) enjoyed lots of freedom on the design and function of this driveway gate for a nearby estate.

Unlimited talent at Art’s Work Unlimited The duo from down south raked in the Top Job awards again this year. Below they share what they’ve learned after over 30 years in the industry. By Rachel Bailey, Editor South of south, south of Miami, FL, hidden among groves of avocado trees and saw palmettos, stands a nearly incon46

spicuous aluminum gate, muted with oxidation. This must be it, I thought to myself as I pulled my rental car up to the call box. In seconds the sliding gate revealed a tropical paradise, the Fantasy Island Fabrication Shop also known as Art’s Work Unlimited. Just beyond the gate, a winding drive-

For your information Fabricator: Art’s Work Unlimited Miami, FL Owners: Art Ballard and Phil Heermance


July/August 2006

Member Talk way, lined with lush vegetation lead me to a covered outdoor work area and a quaint office. To the left of that and further nestled among the landscape I could see the outlines of Art Ballard’s estate home and swimming pool. Then I thought to myself, I should have brought my suit. But there was no time for lying in the sun. This shop is so packed full of fabrication technique tips and tricks, I spent nearly three hours recording as much as I could from co-owner Phil Heermance. I already knew that Art’s Work Unlimited is a longtime NOMMA member and a strong member of NOMMA’s Florida Chapter. They’ve won various Top Job awards, including two Mitch Heitlers, and in the 2006 contest they won three gold awards. But what I learned while visiting this shop is that over the years Heermance and Ballard have accrued enough trade tips to fill their own section of the Lawler Library at the National Ornamental Metal Museum. Subjects could include: adapting machinery to the specific uses of our industry, designing efficient work flow, and how to make an ornamental metal partnership thrive for over 30 years.


This patinated aluminum driveway gate marks the entrance to Art’s Work Unlimited. OPPOSITE PAGE LOWER RIGHT: The call box for the above driveway illustrates the detail Art’s Work puts in to every project.

“The secret is to start,” Heermance said. “Sometimes you have to just start before you can go the rest of the way. But we do a lot of planning in the beginning to make the process smooth.” At the time, Heermance was referring specifically to jig making, but as the day passed I felt this motto could apply to several aspects of the fabrication business he and Ballard share. Adapting machinery

One big challenge to the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry is that equipment is generally built for other industries, like industrial fabri-

cation. So like most successful fabricators, Heermance and Ballard have adapted much of their machinery for their specific uses. “The original Pullmax is not made for what we use it for,” Heermance said as he showed me around the shop. “Although it comes with dies for texturing metal, we made up many of our own dies for creating various surfaces of our designs, like fish scales.” Heermance also showed me custom dies for the shop’s Treadle Hammer and Big BLU Hammer (an older model with a two-bolt system). To help organize all the dies, they hang

This gate (also shown on page 46) won a gold award for for Driveway-Gates, Forged in the 2006 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest. July/August 2006



This forged interior rail also won a gold award in the 2006 Top Job contest. The rail was tested on site and proved to be twice as strong as necessary. The components were hot worked, forged, with some hand chiseling and repousse. The fabricators collected flowers and plants from the owner’s neighborhood for their accurate representation in the rail.

These aluminum doors were cut from two sheets of 5/8” aluminum measuring 10’ tall by 10 wide to minimize welding and increase strength. To keep the doors square and flat, Art’s Work used numerous machining techniques and drilled and tapped much of the outer frame. The bottom leaves were forged from 1” square.



July/August 2006

each one with a corresponding sample to illustrate the shape or texture that die yields. On their drill press, Heermance and Ballard have a foot pedal that starts and stops the press, a simple but helpful modification that frees their hands. On their punch press Heermance showed me how they modified it with a wedge so that the operator doesn’t have to readjust the hold-down bar for material thickness. As the sweltering heat continued to bear down, Heermance showed me other tools they’ve made, like a rotating magnetic table for cutting circles with a torch. It has a speed adjustable motor with a round magnetic plate on top. An arm is attached that can be used as a rest if cutting with a handheld torch, or the arm can hold the torch or plasma cutter. The spinning magnetic plate and motor are grounded so that an operator can also weld the work piece as it spins. Then there’s a ratcheting scroll die to scroll material. The scroll jig is welded to a plate which rests on a ratcheted plate. This allows the fabricator to stand stationary while forming scrolls. It’s particularly helpful on long pieces. Another great tool Heermance and Ballard use is a gate jack, modified from an old screw type car jack. I can only imagine how difficult it is to level a gate, let alone match that to its pair. Heermance and Ballard use jacks to hold the gates into place and then raise and lower the gate by the jack until they are level. They even use a little two-wheeled trolley or roller for moving gates around. To aid in door installation they made and use a hinge alignment jig. And for indoor core drilling they’ve made modifications for cleaner and safer drilling. A side plate allows the fabricator to secure the drill with his or her weight. And an extra receptacle receives the drill as a vacuum hose attaches and sucks up the excess water. Improving work flow

To enhance their shop’s work flow Heermance and Ballard have implemented several simple but effective July/August 2006



Heermance was featured in a televised show for this gate (top right). That little worm in the momma bird’s mouth (above) wiggles. How’s that for detail!

Art’s Work won a bronze award for Gate/Doors, Forged in the 2005 Top Job contest with this aluminum screen door.

practices. First and foremost, Phil Heermance said to me, “I can’t say enough about how great it is to have equipment on wheels.” And it seems very true. Art’s Work enjoys an open air work space. Much of their equipment, when not in use, is covered with custom-made covers and then stored underneath the overhead roof of the open air shop. So having the equipment on wheels helps make tight storage possible. But it also makes using the equipment easier since the equipment and supporting rollers can be adjusted to material length and angled for any given project. Art’s Work also color codes their tools to coordinate tools with the work table they belong to. It makes it easy to tell which tool is missing. Then, on each table there’s a spot for vices and clamps. And on each corner of each work table is a receiver bar that protrudes from underneath the table. On tools like grinders and portable band saws there’s a bar that fits inside the table’s bar so that such tools can easily be attached and secured for use. Plus, at every large piece of free standing equipment, like the drill press, and at each work table is a holder holding a full container of WD40. What a time saver to have that handy every time you need it. Maintaining a strong partnership

As veterans of the industry, Ballard and Heermance also shared with me what they’ve learned on the business 50

side of things. “Now it’s become so complicated,” Heermance said. “Napkin drawings don’t cut it when you’re meeting with designers and architects.” “Our best customer is someone who knows what they want,” added Ballard. “We really haven’t started engineering gates yet, but fences and rails are all engineered.” When asked how their small shop has been able to accomplish so much, particularly in the last few years, Ballard and Heermance explained, “We’re small, but some of the work we’ve pulled off is because we’re so organized.” Ballard says that Art’s Work is constantly reorganizing, and along with that they reorganize their pricing too. “We’re able to give more realistic prices now,” Ballard said. “We tell our customers, ‘We’ll fit you in if you want the quality we do.’ My advice to newer shops is to get out of that bid game. It’s like a dog catching its tail. Some people just care about price, and you don’t really want those people as customers.” “But you do have to start somewhere,” Ballard added. “If I were starting out today, I’d spend money on high-end advertising in Architectural Digest and other highend home design magazines. Obviously, you need to first be capable of doing the more intricate work before putting yourself out there. But it’s important to create a serious portfolio, and don’t limit yourself to Fabricator

July/August 2006

your region. We don’t like to travel, but we’ll factor time and travel into our price. Again, if people want to pay for our quality, they’ll take our price.” “We also get help from other shops,” said Heermance. “You can’t have all the control. We coordinate with them. And we’re careful with who we coordinate with because ultimately we are responsible for the work we have others do for us.” “Right,” said Ballard. “We’re constantly making sure they’re work is up to our quality. In order to be successful you’ve got to keep trying harder, set goals higher than what you can reach. But Phil and I never keep secrets from our competition. If we all share the knowledge, it helps the industry, and then in turn that helps our individual businesses. I have to admit, I was overwhelmed observing first-hand all the beautiful work Art’s Work creates and learning about all the tools and modifications Heermance and Ballard have developed in the process of producing such amazing work. But for me, the most touching part of this story was realizing how a business relationship between two men seems to have brought out the best in each of them. Ballard, son of a well-established South Florida farmer, found his artistic freedom in metal fabrication in the early 1970s. Then, at the age of 26, Ballard met the young, lanky, and quiet Phil Heermance, then only 15. Heermance initially gained his experience from his own dad, who’d been a welder for Eastern Airlines, and while working in a friend’s metal shop, while at night he worked at Ballard’s shop. Over the years Ballard recognized in Heermance the passion, integrity, and skill he was looking for in a business partner. As the years passed Ballard continued to entrust more responsibility in Heermance. Eventually, they started Art’s Work Unlimited as a new company together in 1995. Now their shop seems to work with Ballard slowly handing off more of the administrative and sales work to Heermance, as other shop personnel become adept in producing the highly detailed aquatic and organic scenes for which Art’s Work is known. Susan Dunsmoor draws, sculpts, and fabricates along with Duane Foster and Brian Baker, who is the shop’s master welder and jig maker. “And Alyse Avins makes it possible for us to do all this stuff,” says Heermance, who feels the front office position is one of the most important positions in any business. Although I’m sure Heermance and Ballard miss the days when they produced most of their shop’s work from start to finish, they both winced a little when they admitted to still doing a lot of physical work, like installations. “Installation is the most important part of a job,” explained Ballard. “It’s the last impression the client has of you and the last chance you have to make sure everything looks right.” I gathered from their muffled responses that Ballard and Heermance are getting involved in more than just metal fabrication these days. Real estate tycoons, they joked on our way to lunch. Whatever they get into, I’ve no doubt they’ll remain successful. I’ve also no doubt they’ll remain partners; like a wise uncle and his trusty nephew, they just work well together. As if on cue, one picks up where the other leaves off, and so on. See modified tools and jigs on page 52. July/August 2006



Modified tools and jigs from Art’s Work This gate roller helps move gates and doors around the shop. It also also aids in installation, as does the gate jack stand.

Art’s Work uses this channel jig on their drill press for tapping holes in a top cap (to be mounted to a channel).

This extending rod mounted to a band saw (or any free standing equipment) helps support long pieces of material.

For inside use, the drill goes through the aluminum receptacle while a vacuum hose sucks up water.

This jig aids in drawing circles and ovals.

This modified core drill allows the fabricator added control.

Art’s Work has used this presentation of aluminum top cap to demonstrate the forging of a lamb’s tongue as a step-by-step process. 52


July/August 2006

See membership application on the next page!

NOMMA Member Benefits and Application Form Technical Affairs Division — By supporting NOMMA, you promote the work of our technical team. Our volunteers and professional consultant continually represent industry interests with ASTM, ANSI, ICC, NFPA, UL, and ADA. This advocacy work is essential to ensure that our industry has a voice in building codes, standards, and government regulations.

bers around the world via e-mail. The ListServ works by “bouncing” each person’s e-mail to all others on the list, and in that way conversations take place. Top Job Awards Competition — All members are eligible for the annual Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest. Enter your best work in any of 16 categories that covers sculpture, gates, rails, furniture, structural, and more. All entries are displayed in a gallery during the METALfab convention and the winners are announced at a special awards banquet on the last night of the event. Winners receive a plaque and the “best of the best” winner is awarded the Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence.

NOMMA Education Foundation — The NOMMA Education Foundation works to advance the educational mission of NOMMA. The Foundation provides resources ranging from training videos to continuing education programs. Plus, the Foundation continually evaluates innovative learning programs to keep pace with new industry technologies and trends.

Member Discounts — Members receive discounts on all publications, videos, educational seminars, METALfab (our annual convention and trade show), and on display advertising in Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator.

E-Mail Discussion List — Get quick answers to your question by joining our on-line "ListServ." The systems connects you to a community of fellow NOMMA mem-

Membership Categories

Please Check One: Fabricator $365.00 - Metal fabricating shops, blacksmiths, artists or other firms and individuals in the industry whose products or services are sold directly to the consumer or the consumer's immediate agent or contractor. National Supplier $560.00 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services on a nationwide or international basis. Regional Supplier $430.00 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services only within a 500-mile radius. Local Supplier $340.00 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services only within a 150-mile radius.

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Affiliate $275.00 - Individuals, firms, & organizations which do not engage in the fabrication of ornamental or miscellaneous metal products and do not provide products or services to the industry but which have a special interest in the industry. Please note: The membership year runs from July 1 to June 30. Membership dues payments are not deductible as charitable contribution, but may be deducted as an ordinary and necessary business expense. By signing this application, you agree to abide by NOMMA’s Bylaws and Code of Ethics upon acceptance. Checks should be made payable to NOMMA (U.S. dollars, check drawn on U.S. bank).

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Return to: NOMMA, 1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253 (888) 516-8585 Fax: (770) 288-2006 Or join online at

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

Be a leader and follow the example of leaders in our industry The following letter was sent to NOMMA’s Board of Directors and NEF Trustees a few days before their last board and trustee meetings on June 22 and 23, 2006 in Atlanta, GA. It received immediate response by several members. The total response from NOMMA Board and NEF Trustee members will be announced at METALfab 2007 in Destin, FL. Dear NOMMA Board Members and NEF Trustees: You are a leader. Whether in your business, community, or trade association, you demonstrate your leadership everyday. You constantly make decisions designed to move organizations forward. When you have a great idea, and others in your organization are agreement, you move forward to carry it out. But sometimes you find out that no one is following you. That’s discouraging, isn’t it? Stan Lawler of Lawler Foundry Corp. has demonstrated his leadership to the ornamental metals industry with his $150,000 donation. to NOMMA (through NEF). We are all thankful for Stan’s generosity, we all agree that his donation is wonderful, and we applaud his desire to fund industry advancement and education. However, we are not following him. He has taken a leadership position, but very few of us have supported him with contributions of our own. If you were Stan, how would this make you feel? Would you want to continue to make donations? As leaders in NOMMA, we have an opportunity to affirm Stan Lawler’s faith in our

For your information

association. Stan’s most recent gift of $50,000 over five years can be matched by this group. This is not as daunting as it seems, as it averages $500 per year from each of the 20 NOMMA Board Members and NEF Trustees for the five year period. This will also send a message to our NOMMA membership. There is a saying among fundraisers: “You can’t sell soap if you don’t take a bath.” By making a personal financial contribution to NOMMA, and publicizing our joint effort, we will set an example for our members. We will make it easier to ask for contributions because we are contributing. We will show our belief in our association by putting our money where our mouths are. Please think this opportunity over and be generous. Think of the impact your gift will have on NOMMA. Also, think of the smile it this will bring to Stan Lawler. It will affirm to him that others in NOMMA think as he does, and that you too want to lead our industry forward.

Contact: NOMMA / NEF 1535 Pennsylvania Ave. McDonough, GA 30253 Ph: (888) 516-8585 Fax: (770) 288-2006 Web: To order Videos/DVDs:

July/August 2006


Sincerely, James W. Minter Jr. NEF Board of Trustees Chairman

James Minter NEF Board of Trustee Chairman


This set of driveway gates features a pair of silicon bronze-clad stainless steel tubing with custom bronze castings and appliqués. The two leafs and their support columns span 18’, range in height from 9’ on the hinge side to 12’ at the center, and weigh 1,500 lbs each. Virtually every component was custom fabricated or cast including the stainless steel operators that were installed in hermetically sealed “vaults.” The only sign of each operator is the 3” shaft rising from the vault lids to grip the underside of each leaf. The castings were first modeled in clay by an outside studio. From molds created by the foundry, each blossom, leaf, stem, fish, shell, arrow, and rope was cast and finished. Prior to shipping, components were blasted, oxidized, lacquered, and waxed. Electronics were wired and programmed, the mechanicals were tweaked, and a satisfied customer was left with a beautiful set of gates. Approximate labor time: 700 hours. 56


July/August 2006

Job Profile

2006 Top Job Gold Award Winner—Driveway Gates

Gating bronze for the summer Despite harsh winter conditions challenging fabrication, this oceanfront bronze gate was completed in time for the summer season. By James F. Eldridge, Continental Bronze A Division of Offenhauser Company

For your information Project: Oceanfront bronze gates with hidden stainless steel hydraulic operators. Shop: NOMMA member Continental Bronze, Pawtucket, RI President: James F. Eldridge

July/August 2006


Shortly after completing an architectural metalwork package for an extraordinary city house we were asked by Parker Thompson, a high-end general contractor based in Rhode Island, to quote on some similar work for the same owner’s summer residence. We of course jumped at the opportunity which stretched over several months and wound up just in time for the 2005 summer season. During those months Tupelo Gardenworks, also based in Rhode Island and involved with the owner‘s same two projects, broached the subject of new entrance gates to replace the aging steel gates that had taken a beating at their ocean-front location. Following a successful lobbying effort by Tupelo’s principal landscape architect the owner gave the project his blessing and design drawings were sent to us. After conferring with a structural engineer, and in concert with the general contractor and the architect, shop drawings were generated, budget pricing was discussed, and we were directed to proceed. Gate fabrication

It was early November 2004, and there was much to be done. Fabrication began

with 3 inch by 4 inch by .25 inch wall and 6 inch by 10 inch by .375 inch wall stainless steel tubing, which would become the sub-frames for the gate leafs, and the piers to which they would be hinged. The piers were welded to 11/2 inch thick by 18 inch square base plates. Inasmuch as this was not a “cut to suit in field” type of project it was suggested that we go beyond the normal setting plates for the 1 inch diameter anchor bolts. Two templates were waterjet cut from 1/2 inch thick steel plates. One of the 24 inch by 19 foot templates spanned the entire gate opening and was pre-drilled to accept the anchor bolts and other components, thus assuring perfect positioning. It was set approximately 12 inches below finished grade and was incorporated into the reinforced concrete footings which also spanned the 19 foot opening to avoid uneven settling over time. The duplicate template was shipped to our plant for use in pre-assembling and pre-erecting the finished gate for testing prior to shipping. With the tubular frames fabricated and ready to hang on the hinges we hit our first obstacle: we could stand up the piers and hang the gate leafs inside the plant but, because of the pitches in the roof we would not be able to swing them. What to do? Since it was November in New England we wouldn’t have the luxury of moving everything outside and working without 57

The architect working with Continental Bronze helped a local artist interpret sketches into clay models of flowers, stems, buds, fish, conch shells, arrows, and roping components that were then used to make castings for the foundry.

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July/August 2006

cover. It gets a little cold in December, January, and February, and welding in a snowstorm is generally discouraged. But during a brainstorming session our foreman suggested building a 4 foot by 20 foot steel platform on 12 inch high screw jacks out in the yard. We could weld the duplicate template to the level platform and use it as an assembly table. We decided to move ahead with his idea. The platform was built, the piers bolted in place and plumbed, and the gate leafs hung. The platform was then ringed with scaffolding to a height of 18 feet and with a footprint large enough to enable full operation of the leafs. The scaffolding was then encased in poly (including the “roof ”), a small propane heater was installed, and fabrication resumed undeterred by the several snowstorms which were to come. While the dirty old welding and grinding was going on the architect was working with an artist who was interpreting her sketches into clay models of the numerous flowers, stems, buds, fish, conch shells, arrows, roping, etc. Molds were made for casting the details in bronze, and everything was then packed off to the foundry. The closest color match to C65500 or silicon bronze for casting is architectural or statuary bronze (C38500). Locating the 1/8 inch thick sheets for cladding the stainless steel sub-frames and piers was relatively easy. The other components such as pickets, balusters, frame components, etc., had to be waterjet cut from 1 inch and 11/2 inch thick silicon bronze plates into 1 inch by 3/4 inch and 1 inch by 11/2 inch bars and other shapes. The first bronze material to appear at our shop was the 1/8 inch thick sheets which had been sheared and waterjet cut to the various widths and shapes. Our foreman set himself up in the “new building” with the heater, welder, hand tools, radio, and, of course, the requisite coffee pot. For the next couple of months he would fit, shape, weld, and grind until all stainless steel surfaces had been clad. As the castings and bars filtered in he would build sub-assemblies for incorporation July/August 2006


“The closest color match to C65500 or silicon bronze for casting

is architectural bronze (C38500). Components such as pickets and balusters were waterjet cut from silicon bronze plate.” into the larger components. Gate operation

Paralleling these phases was the design of hydraulic operators that could be buried out of sight. We had

spoken to several manufacturers, none of whom were very enthusiastic about an installation where their unit would be subjected to an oceanfront environment complete with sand, salt, freezing temperatures, and what-


“If I had to name one thing that made this project a success

I would have to say that it was the team effort that everyone involved put forth.” ever else Mother Nature could throw at it. With that we decided to use one firm’s electronics while building the mechanicals in house. We first built two vaults from 1/4 inch stainless steel plate with double-gasketed removable lids. A bronze plate was attached to each lid for aesthetics. Each vault contained a heavy-duty hydraulic

cylinder and the necessary shaft (3 inch diameter stainless steel) to penetrate the lid and grip the bottom of each gate leaf. There was certainly some trial and error involved here, but the finished unit would be completely buried, with the only visible parts being the bronze lid and the shaft which fit neatly into the 5 inch-

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es of space between the pavement and the bottom gate rail. Gate finish

OK, now we had a beautiful pair of fully-functioning bronze gates standing in our yard. Life was good. Countdown to installation was T minus 48 hours, and it was time to apply the “makeup,” if you will. We had arranged with the foundry to have two of their men apply the patina to the bronze. With the gates still in our “new building” they brought in a portable sandblast unit and blasted everything with a very fine sugar sand. Following that they applied (sprayed) a liquid “witches brew” to all surfaces and let it “cook” overnight. The following day another coat was applied with a brush while simultaneously heating the areas with a torch (very carefully, I might add). The bronze took on a warm brownish color and was ready for the finishing touch: green-tinted paste wax stippled on with a well-worn brush. The problem was, though, we had run out of time. A crane and a 40 foot lowbed was due at our yard at 8 a.m. the following morning for loading and delivery to the site. Could the wax be applied in the field ? The answer was yes, so we packed up and called it a night. Gate installation

Bright and early the next morning we (with tears in our eyes) disassembled our “building” and loaded two piers, two gate leafs, the operators, and appurtenances onto the lowbed, cradled in blanket-covered sandbags, and drove to the jobsite. When we arrived the first order of business was to set and plumb the two piers. Once this was accomplished each gate leaf was picked and flawlessly guided onto their hinges by two ironworkers. The two operator vaults were bolted to the embedded steel plate template (remember the predrilled holes ?) and made ready for the electrician to wire them the following day. The installation had actually taken less time than the loading of the Fabricator

July/August 2006

The final touch on the gate’s finish was a green-tinted paste wax stippled on wilt a well-worn brush, applied on site.

truck. We all know how rare that is, so please indulge me while I sit here for a moment with a smile as my thoughts drift back to that day . . .OK, I’m back. Gate complete

If I had to name one thing that made this project a success I would have to say that it was the team effort that everyone involved put forth. I cannot think of one instance where anyone would not make themselves available for a phone consultation, a site visit, a shop visit, or any other need that came up. I can even remember the day that one of the architects spent the greater part of a day working with our foreman to place several of the trickier castings onto the gates for welding. We all have to agree that that kind of cooperation is priceless. So, as we all donned our celebratory white caps with “THE GATE” embroidered in gold thread we smiled with satisfaction and with the knowledge that we had all participated in a very special project. July/August 2006



The rail’s large pine newel posts were designed to emulate newel posts found in an old industrial building that was being demolished in nearby Milwaukee.

Fabricating a Top Job for a special someone Certain liberating project requests you just can’t refuse, as long as you get them done, eventually . . . By Dave Gutbrod Germantown Iron & Steel Corp. When given the opportunity to work on any significant project, we often ask ourselves the question, “Does this job have the potential to be a Top Job?” For most of the day to day projects we work on, the answer is “No.” However, every once in a while we have the opportunity to work on a job that 62

gives our team aspirations of a potential Top Job Award. It is very exciting and everyone involved at Germantown Iron & Steel feels an extra sense of enthusiasm. The Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest celebrates all the wonderful things that can be done with metals. The desire to win the competition inspires fabricators to create a showcase of works that others within the industry will admire. The competition also pro-

For your information Project: 2006 Top Job Gold Award winning interior railing. Shop: Germantown Iron & Steel, Richfield, WI Owner: Dave Gutbrod


July/August 2006

Job Profile

2006 Top Job Gold Award Winner—Interior railings—Ferrous

This Art Nouveau style railing for a private residence was completely designed by the fabricator including the wood elements. The panels were cut from 3/4“ steel plate. Each of the 300 plus purchased leaves was modified to lose the cookie cutter appearance and the vines were cold formed into the panels. The rails were test fitted successfully without modification prior to powder coating satin black. Approximate labor time: 35 hours drafting, 12 hours fabricating, and 12 hours installation.

vides marvelous exposure to our future customers. In addition, it helps market our industry on a national level and as a result compels architects, designers, and owners to seriously consider using ornamental metals in their projects. An added benefit is the pride our customers must feel to own such fantastic works. Every year entries inspire people and a customer of ours was one of them. After marveling at the photos of previous competition winners, she wanted something that was one of a kind and would add significant value to her home. She also said how awesome it would be if some day her railings were to win one of those Top Jobs. What a great way to start a job, feeling we really had a connection with the customer. From the very beginning, our goal was to make this job worthy of such recognition. Designing for Top Job appeal

The house was post and beam construction with everything literally being made of solid wood, including July/August 2006


the heavy stair treads. In order to maintain consistency, we felt we needed to incorporate wood into the railing components. By doing so, we believed the wood would provide warmth and balance adjacent to the decorative steel panels. Our customer agreed. Large pine newel posts were designed to emulate newel posts found in an old industrial building that was being demolished in Milwaukee. The next step was to come up with a pattern for the steel infill panels that would impress our customer. Careful field dimensions were taken and several “to scale” hand sketches were made for our customer to consider. It was a challenging task to fit an interesting pattern up and over the steps and to harmonize with the flat sections at the second floor level. In any creative design work, even more challenging is “knowing when you are done.” Our attempt to come up with a railing that might be a Top Job worthy design was no exception. The attention we paid to the details really impressed our cus-

tomer, so much so, that we were beginning to think, “If only all customers were this easy to please.” After our customer made her selection from the sketches, drawings were made in CAD. Most of the time spent on this project was in the preparation of the CAD files. In fact, these CAD files took roughly 40 hours to create. The hand sketch was scanned onto the computer and imported into CAD. Once in CAD, new lines were roughly traced over the scanned image and refined. Every line entity must start and end at the precise location of the next line entity or the computer aided laser will not work. We have experimented with drawing scrolls in previous jobs and the old CAD files came in handy. The finished CAD file was then used to laser cut the railing panels from half inch thick steel sheet plate. The vines and leaves were not shown on the drawings and left to the creativity of our artisan. Vines of varying diameters of steel rod were cold formed into the panels. Each of the 300 plus purchased leaves were resized 63

Germantown Iron & Steel was able to use CAD files from previous jobs to aid in creating the final layout of the stair. The finished CAD file was used to laser cut the railing panels from half inch thick steel sheet plate. The above CAD file details the rail panels. The CAD file below details the stairâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frame.



July/August 2006

and reshaped to lose the cookie cutter appearance. At this point in the process, the customer was invited into the shop to assess the progress made and to give her approval of the “look” we were trying to create. She was thrilled and couldn’t wait to have the railings complete and installed. When the finished railing sections were ready to be test fit on the job site—they fit superbly! They were then taken to be powder coated and finished wrought iron black. The final installation only required 12 man hours. Doesn’t this job sound like such a wonderful success? One major problem however, was that the job took 12 months to complete from start to finish. Thank God our customer was understanding. I guess she had to be, she’s my wife! Every fabricator knows that when you are doing a project for yourself it must go on the back burner while you take care of other customers. After the job was complete, we had hopes that it could compete for the Top Job Award at the 2006 NOMMA

Most of the time spent on this project was in the preparation of the CAD files, which took roughly 40 hours to create.

Convention in Savannah Georgia. People from our team at Germantown Iron & Steel have attended the NOMMA Convention for the past eight years. However, my wife had never attended. Because we entered

our railing into the Top Job competition she was excited to go to see how the railing would stack up against all of the other entries. What a thrill when our name was called as the winner of the Gold Top Job Award.


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July/August 2006



The frame of the carriage lights up at night for an extra magical touch.

Cinderella gets a new carriage A San Antonio fabricator turns a broken horsedrawn carriage into a Cinderella Pumpkin Coach —with surround sound stereo and golden rims! By Norma Hernandez, Oscar’s Custom Iron Works, and Rachel Bailey, Editor Oscar’s Custom Iron Works is a small family owned ornamental iron business in San Antonio, TX. Currently, Oscar Hernandez Sr. overseas the shop, while his wife Norma handles the bookkeeping. Their sons Oscar Jr. and Michael assist in designing, estimat66

ing, scheduling, and installing. The shop also employs ten full-time employees who assist Oscar Sr. and his family with the fabrication and installation of custom made ironwork for numerous contractors, designers, architects, and homebuilders. A Real Cinderella Story is the theme of the shop’s 2006 Top Job Bronze Award winning entry for the Unusual Ornamental

For your information Project: 2006 Top Job Bronze Award for Unusual Ornamental Fabrication—A Cinderella Pumpkin Carriage. Shop: NOMMA member Oscar’s Custom Iron Works, San Antonio, TX Owner: Oscar Hernandez Sr. and family.


July/August 2006

Job Profile

2006 Top Job Bronze Award Winner—Unusual Ornamental Fabrication

Fabrication category. Oscar Sr. turned a broken, single horse-drawn carriage into a golden Cinderella pumpkin coach for San Antonio’s 2005 and 2006 Fiesta Flambeau Parade. And just like the fairy tale, the final touches were put on the carriage just in the nick of time. “It was a request from my wife. She’s my Cinderella,” Oscar Sr. said as he told the story of San Antonio’s only horse-drawn Cinderella carriage. One day, as a stress reducing exercise, Norma began baking cakes during her spare time from the family’s metal fabrication shop. To showcase her cakes, Oscar Sr. built her several elaborate wrought iron cake stands. Eventually several people in their community started to recognize Norma’s cake stands and wanted them for their daughters’ quinceañeras. (These are elaborate birthday parties thrown for girls from Hispanic cultures when they turn 15.) Quinceañeras typically have themes, and as word spread about Norma’s cakes and the elaborate cake stands, someone soon requested that her husband build a “Cinderella” cake stand. As the Cinderella theme grew popular, Oscar built a carriage big enough for the birthday girl to sit in and be pulled inside a ballroom by a young boy. “I made a couple of these for people,” Oscar said. “Then one day my wife informed me that she had entered the ballroom sized carriage in the Fiesta Flambeau Parade ‘Through the eyes of a child’—to be pulled by horses. But I told my wife, July/August 2006


The Cinderella Carriage won three awards in the 2005–2006 San Antonio Fiesta Flambeau Parade fittingly titled, “Through the eyes of a child.”

The presence of the Cinderella Carriage, Cinderella, and her Fairy Godmother (Oscar’s daughter and wife) was requested for the 20th birthday celebration of the Ronald McDonald House of San Antonio.


you can’t use that. It’s too small. It’s meant to be pulled by a person, not a horse.” So Oscar decided to build a bigger, more realistic carriage, or at least adapt an existing horse-drawn carriage into a Cinderella pumpkin coach. But, none of San Antonio’s horse-drawn carriage companies would rent him a carriage to modify. “The carriages come with a top that is attached by four bolts. I told the carriage people I could build a new top and attach it to the bolts and then put the original top back when we were done with the parade. But they said no. So I asked if they would sell me a carriage, and they agreed only to sell me a carriage that had been damaged.” So Oscar ended up buying a broken carriage at a discounted price. He took it apart and built a stronger, new frame out of 2-inch square tube with 1/8-inch wall thickness. He spent several hours in CAD designing the pumpkin shape and the outlines for the windows and carriage doors. Although the carriage came painted white, Oscar felt a golden colored frame went along better with the actual Cinderella story. But his wife remembered that Cinderella’s carriage is white. To satisfy them both, he painted it a gold color and attached two sets of lights. At night the carriage glows white with the white lights on and golden with the yellow lights on. In addition, the coach has a few features that Cinderella’s carriage didn’t, like a surround sound system and a DVD player with LCD screens run by a generator. “We tried batteries to power the music and the lights, but they wouldn’t last long enough for the two-hour parade. So we installed a generator,” Oscar Sr. explained. It took Oscar Sr., his sons Michael, Oscar Jr., and a few other employees three weeks, working several hours each night after the shop had closed for business in order to meet the deadline for the Fiesta Flambeau Parade (total labor: 81 hours). “It was a nightmare up until the very last day,” said Oscar Sr. “The carriage was initially made for one horse, and I had reattached the original hooks up for the one horse. I kept telling the carriage company people, to come check it out to make sure it was what they needed. They said, ‘oh no, it will be fine.’ Then two days before the parade they finally came to see it, and that’s when they said they thought it was too big and would need to be pulled by two horses. They told me not to worry because they had the two-horse set up to fit the carriage. Then an hour before the parade the hookups wouldn’t fit the carriage. So I had to run to the shop to modify the hook ups to fit the carriage as soon as possible in order to be in time for the parade. We made it with 10 or 15 minutes to spare. Then afterward, the guy who drove the carriage said it pulled so easily, that one horse would have pulled the carriage alone.” The carriage ended up winning three awards in the parade: two director awards and the best equestrian award. “Right after the parade, we got a call from the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House of San Antonio, which is a home for the families of seriously ill children at all San Antonio area hospitals. She requested the presence of the carriage along with 68


July/August 2006

Oscar Sr. started with a broken carriage from a local horse-drawn carriage company and rebuilt it with a stronger frame (2” square tube with 1/8” wall thickness). He spent several hours in CAD designing the pumpkin shape and the outlines for the windows and carriage door. The CAD file above illustrates his design process.

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The design was cut from 1/4”x 14” flat bar and 2”x 4”x 3/16” tube; pickets are 5/8” square, bottom member is a 2”x 1/2” channel. Design is 3/8” round and 3/16” plate. Scrolls are purchased components.


Cinderella (my daughter) and her fairy Godmother (my wife) at their 20th birthday party celebration. We accepted her invitation, and happily attended the event. The children were excited about not only getting the opportunity to meet Cinderella, but the chance to sit inside the carriage and take pictures with Cinderella and Ronald McDonald. This was a memorable event and rewarding experience, not only for the children but for us as well.” Since then Oscar has had many requests for the carriage, for weddings and other special events. But he can’t have horses pull the carriage downtown because there aren’t enough horse permits. The other carriage companies have used up the allotment. So, he has pulled it with a white Hummer (for a wedding) and figures he could also pull it with a couple of Harley Davidsons. “Or maybe I’ll just build a whole new one with all custom parts and its own engine and have it pull itself and just play the sounds of horses trotting


July/August 2006

through the sound system,” Oscar Sr. said. “I haven’t had time to argue with the city about permits. But it would make a nice attraction for the downtown. We’ll come up with a legal way to use the carriage. If not we’ll just keep doing parades.” But of course they’ll also keep making beautiful metal fabrications. In fact next year, Oscar’s Custom Iron Works will commemorate its 25th year in business with a big celebration for its dedicated employees and customers. The story of Oscar’s Custom Iron Works Oscar Hernandez Sr. began his career in the ornamental metal trade at age 13, working for his father, Elias Hernandez. Elias ran a wrought iron business behind his home. At 16, Oscar Sr. took over his father’s business, formerly known as Monterrey Iron Works. He began with ordinary jobs such as iron fences, gates, burglar bars, security doors, and staircases. When his father decided to close Monterrey Iron Works in 1978, he took all the machinery and tools. In 1981, at age 23, Oscar Sr. reopened the shop and established Oscar’s Custom Iron Works. He initially took on several small jobs for the residents of the neighborhood and invested his money into more machinery and tools. Oscar’s wife, Norma, was involved with the front office end of the business. Their two young boys, Oscar Jr. and Michael, spent every day after school and summers helping out in the shop as well. With a lot of hard work and determination, Oscar Sr. eventually bought the property next door to his mom’s house and expanded his working shop, as well as his ability to produce bigger jobs based on a solid reputation for quality work. In time Oscar Sr. continued to enhance his shop with work trucks, roll/bending machines, punch/shear hydraulic iron-workers, power hammers, gas forge, and CAD software, computers, and plotters. Together Oscar Sr., his family, and his employees continue to provide the quality work and service expected from their wide range of customers. July/August 2006



Oscar Jr., Michael, Norma, and Oscar Sr., stand on a rail drawn in CAD by Oscar Jr. The clients wanted the style of the handrails to be unique and modern to fit in with their newly renovated home. The panel design was fabricated in 3/4” square solid bar, and the top cap is nickel silver. The design incorporates several joints rail, giving it a two dimensional effect. The rail was powder coated in silver metallic.


Is it too late for affordable healthcare options? The threat of enforced healthcare insurance for everyone may force employers to provide coverage or pay a penalty. For your information

By Mark E. Battersby The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently passed legislation making health insurance mandatory for every state resident. One controversial provision of that bill would fine any business that failed to provide health insurance to its employees. The Massachusetts plan aims to make both individuals and businesses more responsible for covering the state’s citizens. Individuals will face tax penalties if they choose not to buy insurance. When, as expected, state lawmakers overturn the Governor’s veto of this provision, companies that do not offer health insurance to their employees will be required to pay a $295-a-year fee for each worker. The cost of universal coverage

State officials in Massachusetts are confident that they can bring down the 72

cost of insurance by adding to the number of people in the insurance pool and by allowing insurers to offer less expensive plans with less extensive coverage. Massachusetts’ universal health care plan also calls for combining the markets for small business and individuals, a move state lawmakers say that should lower the cost of individual policies by nearly 25 percent. The good news for many metals fabricating businesses is that Massachusetts’ goal is to expand coverage to an additional 515,000 of the state’s 6.4 million residents during the next three years sidesteps some smaller employers, generally those with ten or fewer employees. The bad news is that an increasing number of states—23 at last count—are also considering bills that would force employers to either provide

What: A new Massachusetts law makes health insurance mandatory for every state resident. Who: The law makes individuals and businesses more responsible for covering everyone. Why: By adding more people to the insurance pool, the cost of insurance should come down. Where: Other states may follow suit. When: Learn what your affordable healthcare options are under current conditions and what they will be if your state follows Massachusetts’ lead.


July/August 2006

some health insurance coverage for workers or pay a penalty. While there are loopholes, exemptions and a great deal of controversy connected with this bold universal health care initiative, it raises an interesting question: can your ornamental metals fabricating business afford to offer health insurance to its employees? Insuring the masses

Soaring premiums have placed health insurance in the category of a luxury that an estimated 43 million individuals cannot afford. Health insurance is also rapidly becoming far too expensive for many large employers that traditionally provided coverage for their employees. What chance does the average metal fabricating business have of being able to afford coverage for its employees, let alone its owner? According to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Menlo Park, CA, small businesses (defined as those with three to 199 employees) experienced a 9.8 percent increase in health insurance premiums in 2005. The average small business now pays $4,032 a year for individual coverage and $10,584 for a family. Facing competition with larger businesses in attracting workers, small business owners may, according to many experts, be better off finding ways to reduce the cost of health care insurance rather than not offering it. In many cases, metal fabricating business owners can lower premiums by increasing deductible levels or raising the co-payment amounts for certain services, such as office visits and medications. Another key to affordability is to shop around from carrier to carrier. Another is to share the cost with employees. And, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget our federal tax laws: the tax deduction by â&#x20AC;&#x153;self-employedâ&#x20AC;? metals fabricators is 100 percent of the cost subtracted from adjusted gross income. The self-employed

Under our federal tax laws, selfemployed shop owners or metal fabJuly/August 2006



“Although high deductible plans can be difficult for employees,

a metal fabricating business may contribute part of the money saved on premiums into Health Savings Accounts for each worker.” ricators may deduct from their gross income 100 percent of amounts paid during the year for health insurance for themselves, spouses and dependents. The deduction is limited to the individual’s net annual income derived from that self-employment, minus the deduction for 50 percent

of the self-employment tax and/or the deduction for contributions to Keogh, self-employed SEP or SIMPLE plans. Amounts eligible for the deduction do not include amounts paid during any tax period when the self-employed individual was able to participate in a subsidized health plan

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maintained by their employer or their spouse’s employer. High deductible plans

Although such plans may require the assistance of a professional to establish, as mentioned, the biggest savings often result from so-called “high deductible” health insurance plans. On average, premiums decrease by 10-percent to 30-percent when the deductible jumps from $500 to $2,000, according to Emily Fox, spokesperson for, an online insurance referral service. Although a high deductible plan can be difficult for many employees to stomach, a metals fabricating business offering to contribute part of the money saved on premiums into a Health Savings Account (HSA) for each worker can help ease the financial burden. The Internal Revenue Service allows both employers and individuals to set aside pre-tax dollars into an HSA to help pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, including those steep deductibles. Any amount paid out of a HSA, and used exclusively to pay the qualified medical expenses, is not included in the worker’s gross income. Contributions made to such plans by an employer are, of course, tax deductible. Much like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), pre-tax contributions to a HSA plan are limited. HSA contributions cannot exceed the lesser of the annual deductible or $2,650 for self-coverage or $5,250 for families in 2005. Distributions or withdrawals from HSA accounts that are not used to pay medical expenses must be included in income and are subject to a 10 percent penalty. With an HSA, however, any money that is not used in a given year can be rolled over into the next for future medical expenses. Medical savings accounts

Employees of small businesses as well as self-employed fabricators can take advantage of Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) to pay health care expenses—provided, of course, that accounts are held in conFabricator

July/August 2006

junction with “high deductible” health insurance. Archer MSAs, similar to IRAs, are created solely to defray unreimbursed health care expenses on a tax-favored basis. The MSA concept originally was to be tested over a four-year period or until the number of accounts reached a specific threshold level (750,000). Since the number of MSAs established is still significantly less than the 750,000 numerical limits, Congress extended the ability to establish a MSA through 2006—or the time when the numerical limit is achieved, whichever comes first. Contributions to MSAs are made with pre-tax dollars and distributions are not included in gross income if used to pay for qualified medical expenses. Who is an employee of whom

Under our tax rules, contributions by an employer to provide (through insurance or otherwise) accident and health benefits are not taxable to the

What are some options for small business owners and self-employed fabricators? High Deductible Health Insurance Plans

Pro: Premiums decrease significantly when deductibles are higher. Con: High deductibles are difficult on employees. Heath Savings Account

Pro: Contributions to HSA are tax deductible for employer and employee. Con: Pre-tax contributions to HSAs are limited. Medical Savings Account

Pro: Contribution to MSA are tax deductible for self-employed fabricators. Con: Must be held in conjunction with high deductibles. Medical Reimbursement Plans

Pro: Employers skirt the risk of rising premiums. Con: May not be adequate for long, pending new health coverage laws.

employee. The employer’s contributions are, of course, deductible expenses. When it comes to health insurance or any fringe benefit paid to employ-

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ees of a metalworking business operating as an S corporation, the tax treatment is different for employee-shareholders than for other employees. Fringe benefits paid to S corporation


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“For health insurance paid to employees of a metalworking

business operating as an S corporation, the tax treatment is different for employee-shareholders than for other employees.” employees who are not shareholders, or who own two-percent or less of the outstanding S corporation stock, are tax-free. Those payments may be excluded from the employee’s taxable income and are deductible as fringe benefits by the S corporation. However, an

owner-employee who owns more than two percent of the S corporation stock can deduct 100 percent of the amount paid for medical insurance for him, his spouse, and dependents. For purposes of this deduction, a more than two percent shareholder’s wages from the S corporation are treat-


ed as the shareholder’s earned income derived from the trade or business for which the plan is established. The payment of premiums by a partnership for a partner’s health or accident insurance is generally deductible by the partnership and included in the partner’s gross income. The partner can of course, deduct 100 percent of the cost of health insurance premiums paid on his or her behalf. Medical reimbursement plans

Offering health insurance coverage for employees remains an expensive option for most fabricating shops and manufacturers; for others it is simply unaffordable. Under our tax laws, the IRS allows small businesses to reimburse their employee for medical expenses. The metalworking business sets the amount of money it is willing to lay out every year and the employee then goes out and purchases health insurance on the individual market. Payments from a Medical Reimbursement Plan are tax-free for the employee and tax deductible for the metal fabricating business. One of the nicest features of these plans is that it allows employers to offer some type of medical benefit without the headaches of worrying about rising premiums. The ever-rising costs of medical care are largely an issue sidestepped with Medical Reimbursement Plans, although those ever-escalating costs remain an important consideration for both employees and the fabricating businesses that employ them— not to mention the owners of those businesses. Fortunately, health insurance is not yet mandatory and unlikely to become so anytime soon. However, the Massachusetts plan and universal coverage plans under consideration in other states may be an indication of things to come. What better time to investigate health care insurance, options for the employees of your metalworking business, and the tax deductions that just might help make it an affordable option for the business —and you, its owner? Fabricator

July/August 2006

Biz Side

Closing the sale: A realistic approach Following these four sales tenants and become far more important to your customers than your competitors. By Dave Kahle There is not a salesperson in existence who hasn’t repeatedly heard of the need to “close the sale.” Every new sales manager must view the process of encouraging his/her sales force to close the sale as an initiation into the profession. If you’re going to be a sales manager, you, therefore, must improve everyone’s ability to close. Doesn’t it come with the job? The sales training literature is awash with advice. Some of it tedious and trivial: “If he says this, you say that.” Other advice is grandiose: “35 new sure-fire closing techniques.” Still other is harmful: “Overcome that objection,” as if selling is a contest between you and the customer, with one of you winning (overcoming) and the other losing (being overcome). That’s an attitude that won’t get you far.

Don’t rely on closing tactics if you don’t have an effective 1 opening. The above advice shares one common element: it’s incredibly overdone.

Not that there is no need to close. Every project must come to a conclusion, every offer be resolved one way or the other. It’s just that, in my experience, closing has never been the result of verbal gymnastics on my part. It’s not my clever refrains, my slick tactics, my memorized objection over-comers nor my manipulative perseverance that has brought me business. Instead, it was the suitability of my offer to the needs/desires/values of the customer. On those occasions where my offer precisely met the customer’s combination of desires, values, and preferences, I got the business. Where my offer was off, and some competitor’s offer was a closer match (which often is a lower bid), I didn’t get the business. I don’t mean to imply that every sales opportunity is that black and white. Clearly there is a lot of gray area in the process. But, from my perspective, the gray area tipping point was most often the personal factors of rapport, relationship, and trust, and almost never the tactical manipulations of the salespeople involved. I learned early on in

For your information

salespeople to be more successful in the Information Age economy. He is the author of over 500 articles, a monthly e-zine, and six books.

About the author: Dave Kahle is a consultant and trainer who helps his clients increase their sales and improve their sales productivity. Dave has trained thousands of

Recent publications: Ten Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople was recently released by Career Press. Join Dave’s e-zine at

July/August 2006


my sales career that it was far more important and profitable to open the sale precisely than it was to close strongly. If I spend a lot of time, energy, and mental acuity on learning the precise dimensions of the customer’s needs, and if I crafted an offer that matched those precisely, there was very little need for concern about closing. I realize that I am tramping all over the hallowed ground of a vast number of sales managers, sales trainers, and sales consultants. I am, however, reflecting thoughtfully on my 30-plus years of selling all kinds of things, and my 18-plus years of training and developing salespeople. I believe that most thoughtful salespeople will line up on my side of the issue.

about closing the sale. Instead, resolve the next step. 2Forget

All that said, there are some principles and simple rules that can give us direction on the issue of sales. Let’s start with our language. Instead of “closing the sale,” let’s first call it “resolving the next step.” Not only should the project in general have a Contact: The DaCo Corp., 3736 West River Dr., Comstock Park, MI 49321; Ph: (800) 331-1287 E-mail: Web:


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resolution, but also every sales interaction (a conversation with a prospect or customer), should have as its goal, the identification of a next step in the sales process and the natural and logical commitment to that step. So, for example, when you are seeing a prospect for the first time, the ideal next step is to get a commitment from the prospect for a second meeting. Without that you have no hope of getting the ultimate commission. To walk away from the sales call without resolving what happens next is to leave the sales call incomplete and relatively worthless. The ideal next step for a meeting when you are collecting information about the customer’s needs is the customer’s commitment to view your presentation of your solution. The ideal next step following a sales call in which you present your solution is for the customer to identify the next step in his/her buying process, and commit to that.

every sales interaction with an action. 3Resolve

On and on we go. Every sales call should end in some resolution of the next step in the process, even if the resolution is that there is no next step with you. Notice that in each of these occasions, the definition of the next step is a commitment on the part of the prospect or customer to do something that moves the project forward. Acquiring that commitment, in each and every sales interaction, is one of the habits of the most successful salespeople. It’s what I term resolving the next step. If the goal is to successfully arrive at the ultimate resolution, the perceptive salesperson understands that the means to that is a step-by-step process. Every sales call is an investment of time and energy on the part of the customer. And every investment of time and energy should result in some kind of an action step. Unless you are so entertaining that the customer looks at his/her time invested with you as a substitute for the movies this weekend, he/she probably doesn’t want to squander his time with you. He probably wants to accomplish something as a result of Fabricator

July/August 2006


his investment of time with you. The something will take the shape of a next step in his process. So, the thoughtful and effective salesperson recognizes that and merely asks the customer to identify the next step. And that is nailed down with a deadline. The project moves forward, the sales process continues, and you know exactly where you and the customer stand.

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All of that brings us to one the most powerful resolution strategies. I call it “alternate next steps.” The definition is this: an alternate next step is an offer made to the customer following the stated or implied rejection of a previous offer. It always involves a smaller risk on the part of the customer, like a plan B. If the customer agrees to the alternate offer, it always keeps you in the game and the project moving forward. Here’s an example: the client says the estimate you’ve given is way over his or her budget. Instead of confronting the issue, you resolve it. You offer plan B, an alternate next step. You suggest instead that you’ll fabricate the rail out of components instead of hand forged elements. Then you and the client set a date to view the estimate substituting bought components for hand-forged components. Does that offer represent less risk to the customer? Of course it does because it won’t cost them as much. If the customer agrees to that step, are you still in the game? Is the project still going forward? Yes to both. You see, the reason the customer didn’t say yes to your original offer has to do with his or her lack of knowledge about what is possible in ornamental metalwork. By offering an alternate next step, you reduce his risk, and provide a mutually acceptable way to resolve the next step. The reason he or she didn’t offer a positive solution to your original offer has more to do with you missing something in the customer, not realizing how little he or she knew about the cost of handforged work, than it did with your lack of verbal dexterity.

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New NOMMA members As of June 23, 2006. Asterisk denotes returning members.

Alumacart Inc.

Jupiter, FL Brad Knoebel Fabricator ARS Ferrum

Elmwood Park, NJ Adam Czekanski Fabricator Bridgeton Drafting Co. LLC

Vineland, NJ David Busarello Local Supplier Dashmesh Ornamentals

Ludhiana, India Tarsem Singh Nationwide Suplier Delve Metal Works

Los Angeles, CA Alfredo Delgadillo Fabricator Denver Ironworks

Commerce City, CO Brent Kercher Fabricator Industrial Coverage Corp.

Medford, LI, NY Joe Romeo Nationwide Supplier Innovative Metal Design LLC

Troutdale, OR Brad Carlson Fabricator


NOMMA Nationwide Supplier Members A Cut Above Distributing 800-444-2999 Alfa Technologies Inc. 714-550-9278 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 800-226-0178 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. 800-784-7444 Arteferro Miami 305-836-9232 Atlas Metal Sales 800-662-0143 Auciello Iron Works Inc. 978-568-8382 Aztec Castings Inc. 800-631-0018 Bavarian Iron Works Co. 800-522-4766 Big Blu Hammer Mfg. 828-437-5348 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. Sherman Johnson Co. Inc. 860-873-8697 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 Complex Industries Inc. 901-547-1198

Crescent City Iron Supply Inc. 800-535-9842 Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd. 866-464-4766 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. 800-716-0888 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. 888-933-5993 DAC Industries Inc. 800-888-9768 Dashmesh Ornamentals 011-911-61-250-2574 Decorative Iron 888-380-9278 DKS, DoorKing Systems 800-826-7493 Robert J. Donaldson Co. 856-629-2737 Eagle Access Control Systems Inc. 818-899-2777 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. 251-937-0947 Eastern Metal Supply 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.Inc 800-255-9032 FabTrol Systems Inc. 888-322-8765 Fatih Profil San. Tic. AS 011-90-258-269-1664 Feeney Wire Rope & Rigging CableRail by Feeney 800-888-2418 Frank Morrow Co. 800-556-7688 The G-S Co. 410-284-9549 Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. 800-663-6356 Glaser USA 888-668-8427 Glasswerks LA Inc. 800-350-4527 Greendale Railing Co. Inc. 804-266-2664 GTO Inc. 800-543-4283 Hartford Standard Co. Inc. 270-298-3227 Hayn Enterprises LLC 800-346-4296


July/August 2006

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 Industrial Coverage Corp. 800-242-9872 Industrial Metal Supply Co. 800-371-4404 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. 800-452-6736 Justin R.P.G. Corp. 310-532-3441 King Architectural Metals 800-542-2379 L.E. Sauer Machine Co. 800-745-4107 Laser Precision Cutting 800-514-8065 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 Mac Metals Inc. 800-631-9510 Marks U.S.A. 800-526-0233 Master Halco 800-883-8384 MB Software Solutions LLC 717-350-2759 McKey Perforating 800-345-7373 Metalform - Bulgaria 703-516-9756 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool 800-467-2464 Multi Sales Inc. 800-421-3575 Mylen Stairs Inc. 877-303-9422 New Metals Inc. 888-639-6382 Ohio Gratings Inc. 800-321-9800 Overseas Supply Inc. 866-985-9885 Precision Glass Bending Corp. 800-543-8796

July/August 2006


Pro Access Systems 813-664-0606 Production Machinery Inc. 410-574-2110 Regency Railings Inc. 214-742-9408 Rik-Fer USA 877-838-0900 Robertson Grating Products Inc. 877-638-6365 Robinson Iron Corp. 800-824-2157 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. 800-841-8457 Rogers Mfg. Inc. 940-325-7806 S & R Inc., Precision Cutting Specialist 615-382-8850 Sahinler Form Metal San. Ve Tic. Ltd. 011-90-224-245-5465 Scotchman Industries Inc. 800-843-8844 Sculpt Nouveau 760-432-8242 SECO South 888-535-SECO 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 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 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. 909-581-3058 Triple-S Chemical Products 800-862-5958 Tri-State Shearing & Bending 718-485-2200 Universal Entry Systems Inc. 800-837-4283 Universal Mfg. Co. Inc. 800-821-1414 Valley Bronze of Oregon 541-432-7551 Vogel Tool & Die 630-562-1400 The Wagner Companies 800-786-2111 Wasatch Steel Inc. 888-496-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door 866-790-3667 Wrought Iron Concepts Inc. 877-370-8000

New NOMMA members continued . . . J Mac Iron & Glass

New Lenox, IL Jeff McCastland Fabricator M R Metals Inc.

Frederick, MD Russell Radonovich Fabricator Mark Stover

Mt. Verde, FL Mark Stover Fabricator Prestige Aluminum Railings Inc.

Starke, FL Mike Cirbby Fabricator Rustic Metal Works

Fitchburg, WI Tony Gonzales Fabricator Sculpt Nouveau

Escondido, CA Ron Young Nationwide Supplier Vogel Tool & Die

West Chicago, IL Larry Siegal Nationwide Suplier Willow Brook Forge

Lebanon, NJ Richard Wettstein Fabricator


What’s Hot Metal manufacturing business conditions are looking up The monthly Business Conditions Report has been conducted by the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) since 1979. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 134 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada. As of an April 2006 survey, the report suggests that metalforming companies experienced a recent spike in shipping levels and should expect business conditions to remain steady during the next several months. When asked what they expect the trend in general economic activity to be over the next three months, 56 percent of participants reported that business conditions will remain the same (up from 45 percent in March), 38 percent believe conditions will improve (compared to 45 percent the previous month) and just six percent predict

economic activity will decrease (down from 10 percent in March). Metalforming companies also expect incoming orders to remain steady during the next three months. Forty-two percent of respondents anticipate no change (up from 34 percent in March), 48 percent predict an increase in orders (compared to 55 percent in March), and 10 percent forecast a decrease in orders (down from 11 percent last month). The number of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff dropped to eight percent in April-down from 10 percent in March. This is the lowest level since August of 2000 when metalformers reported that only seven percent of their workforce was on short time or layoff. Full report results are available at

Construction employment sets record Although many fab shops are hard pressed to find skilled labor (see this issue’s classified section), according to a recent monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction employment set a record for the 15th straight month in April. The report showed seasonally adjusted payroll employment in construction reached 7.51 million in April, a gain of 267,000, or 3.7 percent, from a year ago. The BLS data show that seasonally adjusted residential building employment grew by 3,000 in April and 43,000 over the past 12 months, while residential specialty contractors shed 2,000 jobs in April but added 98,000, or 4.3 percent, over 12 months. Nonresidential building contractors added 4,000 and 41,000, or 5.5 percent. Nonresidential 82

specialty contractors added 5,000 and 43,000, or 1.8 percent. Heavy and civil engineering employment fell by 200 for the month but was up 52,000, or 5.5 percent, since April 2005. “Construction labor costs have remained tame in spite of the big employment growth,” says Ken Simonson, chief economist of The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “The BLS report says the average wage in construction rose just 1.5 percent over the last 12 months, in contrast to the 3.8 percent gain for all private-sector production workers.” “But construction faces much higher materials cost increases than the economy as a whole, and availability of some materials may be a problem,” Simonson warns.

Biz Briefs

FMA and LIA purchase ALAW The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International (FMA) and the Laser Institute of America (LIA) have recently purchased the Automotive Laser Application Workshop (ALAW) from founder Frank DiPietro. “This will empower the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association to provide greater access to cuttingedge laser technology to our 1,500 members and 160,000 subscribers,” said FMA President and CEO Gerald Shankel. DoorKing’s new sales office DoorKing Inc. has announced the opening of the companies eighth regional sales office, DoorKing Southwest, in Tempe, AZ. DoorKing Southwest will be managed by Regional Sales Manager Jac Whitmire and will help serve the companies’ customers in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and southern Nevada. Contact: DoorKing Southwest, 6625 S. Rural Rd., Suite 103, Tempe, AZ, 85283; Ph: (480) 4132010; Fax: (480) 413-2001. FabCAD online tutorials Free tutorials are now available for all CAD users on FabCAD’s website (at Contact: FabCAD, Ph: (800) 255-9032; Web: Ultra-tec® Design award Goddard Specialty Construction of Peachtree City, FL and Nature Bridges of Tallahassee, FL are the recipients of the Ultra-tec Cable Railing design award for the design and fabrication of a wooden bridge at River Camp by St. Joe. The bridge


July/August 2006

What’s Hot

Biz Briefs

Can you guess who this is?

was built in 2005 in Panama City, FL using stainless steel cable as the railing in-fill. Contact: The Cable Connection, Ph: (800) 851-2961; Web: FMA Foundation funds manufacturing camps The Fabricators & Manufacturers Association® (FMA) Foundation will fund 10 manufacturing camps this summer across the country. The camps address local needs and are aimed at ensuring the future of manufacturing by changing the industry’s image for today’s youths. For more information on these camps or to make a contribution, visit Loken Forge in CraftsReport Ron and John Loken of NOMMA member shop Loken

Ernest Wiemann (for whom NOMMA’s annual Top Job contest is named) in his modernist showroom, circa 1950. July/August 2006


Continued on page 84.



What’s Hot

Lynn White, Crescent City Iron, passes

Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America


Forge, Omaha, NB, was recently featured in The Crafts Report June 2006 issue (page 22). The article showcases some of their work and explains how this father-son fabrication/blacksmith shop manages a successful family business.

served as a board member. Lynn was also an active supporter and involved with the creation of the Upper Midwest Chapter of NOMMA. Her firm, Crescent City Iron, is a full-service supplier to the ornamental metal and fencing industries, and operates facilities in Melrose Park, IL and Kenner, LA. She is survived by her husband, David White; three children, David White Jr., Diana Sanders, and Darla Cooke; and eight grandchildren. She is also survived by a sister and brother. Send your regards: In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in her name to the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 South First Ave., Maywood, IL 60153.

Lynn White, 67, co-owner of Crescent City Iron Supply Inc., passed away May 29, 2006 after a prolonged battle with cancer. A tireless industry advocate, Lynn will be remembered for her enthusiasm, energy, and great love that she showed for her customers, the industry, and NOMMA. A NOMMA member since 1986, Lynn had a strong interest in membership, and served as chair of the Membership Committee in 1991. In 2000, she and her husband David were presented with the Julius Blum Award for outstanding contributions to the industry. In presenting the award, Stan Lawler, a respected industry leader, said the couple had shown "a hundred percent commitment to honest, helpful, and fair dealings with their customers and suppliers." In the mid 1990s, she was instrumental in helping to rebuild the Greater Chicago Chapter of the American Fence Association, and

NBM speaks on copper National Bronze & Metals Inc. (NBM) President Michael Greathead, and Senior Vice President Norman Lazarus, served as featured speakers for Metal Bulletin’s 19th International Copper Conference held in June in Stockholm, Sweden. Their presentation, “Markets for Specialty Copper Alloys: Specification, Applications, and Growth Potential,” covered a variety of copper alloys and their use in today’s industries. It also touched on the copper market’s

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July/August 2006

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growth potential. Contact: Metal Bulletin, Web:; NBM, Web: Cozzi Partners purchases metal recycling business Cozzi Partners LLC, has acquired Glendale Iron & Metal, which specializes in providing metal recycling services to manufacturers, construction industry and trades, tool and die machine shops, and other companies that handle ferrous and non-ferrous materials. The purchase should help Glendale Iron & Metal to continue to grow as a leading scrap processor. Glendale Iron & Metal will continue to operate under its existing name and Keith Kosier will continue as general manager. Contact: Cozzi Partners, Web:

May/June 2006


Richard Chandler, Klahm & Sons Inc., leaves us at a young age Richard Chandler, 35, of Klahm & Sons Inc. passed away April 17, 2006 following a tragic accident. A regular attendee at NOMMA conventions, Richard often assisted his father Jack Klahm in demonstrations. He was an active member of the Florida Chapter of NOMMA and the Florida Artist Blacksmith Association. Klahm & Sons, which specializes in high-end ornamental work, is one of the most highly awarded companies in the industry. Last year, he completed his firm's in-house apprenticeship program to become a master metalsmith. He is survived by his parents, Jack and Rebecca Klahm; brothers Thomas Chandler and Jon Anderson; and two children, Richie and Genevieve. He is also survived by grandparents Ishma and Patty Chandler.

Send your regards: Two different funds have been set up in his memory. The first fund goes to a best friends' church, and will be used to support two ministries. Gifts can be sent to: Highest Praise Family Church, 1350 E. Lake Rd., Tarpon Springs, FL 34688. Phone: (727) 934-0058. Donations may also be given to support an education trust fund for his children. Gifts may be sent to: Klahm & Sons, Inc., c/o Chandler Trust Fund, 2151 NE Old Jacksonville Rd., Ocala, FL 34470. Phone: (352) 622-6565. Or: Thomas Chandler, 410 S. Albany Ave., Unit # 3, Tampa, FL 33606. Phone: (813) 323-3887.


Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hot


Gulf Coast network meeting The Gulf Coast Network held their most recent meeting May 20 at Imagine Ironworks in Brookhaven, MS. The program for the day was an aluminum welding demonstration. Presenter Phil Wickersham of ESAB demonstrated a MultiPower 460 Pulse system. Attendees also enjoyed a tour and a great lunch. Originally starting in Mississippi, the Gulf Coast group continues to expand, and the most recent meeting included members from Alabama and Louisiana. Their next meeting is scheduled for September 16, 2006 at Crescent City Supply Iron Supply in Kenner, LA.

The group enjoyed an aluminum welding demonstration featuring an ESAB Multi-Power 460 Pulse system.

The new Gulf Coast Network include (L TO R) Dee Warren, Sid Strickland, Sue Minter, Scott Colson, James Minter, Chris Pawlowicz, Gene Mulloy, Carol Perez, Charles Perez, John Koehler, Ashley Simmons, Ray White.



July/August 2006

What’s Hot


Upper Midwest Chapter

Florida Chapter

President Tom McDonough Master Metal Services Inc. Ph: (954) 584-4211 Gulf Coast NOMMA Network

President James Minter Imagine Ironworks Ph: (601) 833-3000 Northeast Chapter

President Keith Majka Majka Railing Co. Inc. Ph: (973) 247-7603 Southern California Chapter

President Sami Dahdal Sam’s Iron Works Ph: (818) 982-5343 Upper Midwest Chapter

President Lynn Parquette Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc. Ph: (847) 758-9941

The Upper Midwest Chapter of NOMMA held their spring meeting at the shops of L.E. Sauer Machine Co. and Eureka Forge, both in St. Louis, MO. The event, which took place May 20, enjoyed an impressive turnout of 33 NOMMA members and one guest. The day started at L.E. Sauer Machine where attendees toured their facility and learned about their many operations, which include laser cutting, machining, and The Upper Midwest Chapter meeting featured a heat-treating. A presentation forging demonstration by Claud Mette of Eureka was also given on how staff Forge. Mette is shown here working on a 300 lb members take a hand drawn Chambersburg Utility Hammer. sketch and turn it into a digiand showed the group how to produce tal file for laser cutting. The group then Damascus hammer. moved to nearby Eureka Forge, where Todd Kinnikin hosted lunch. Eureka The chapter’s next meeting takes Forge also hosted forging demonstraplace October 7 at O’Malley’s Welding tions. Claud Mette forged a large leaf & Fabricating Inc. in Yorkville, IL.


July/August 2006




What’s Hot

More NOMMA Chapter Updates September 17–30, 2006 2006 International Code Council Annual Conference

Northeast Chapter

The Florida Chapter

The ICC fall hearings take place at the Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL. NOMMA will be represented at this meeting. Contact: ICC, Ph: (888) 4227233; Web:

The Northeast Chapter held a meeting on April 29, 2006 at Architectural Iron Designs Inc. in Plainfield, NJ. Following a business meeting, members were treated to a sampling of craftsmanship by the great Samuel Yellin. Some of Samuel Yellin’s original creations were on hand to be admired. A particular highlight of the exhibits was an original forged steel bank table, which was recently acquired by Papp Iron Works Inc. After viewing the objects, noted blacksmith Tom Ryan gave a presentation. Ryan is currently a blacksmith from Long Island and a former employee of the Yellin shop. See the NOMMA website ( for information about the Northeast Chapter’s next meeting.

The Florida Chapter held their meeting July 15, 2006 at Dixie Metals in Ocala, FL. More details are available on the NOMMA website. The chapter’s fall meeting is scheduled for October 14. Look for location information and other details soon on the NOMMA website (

September 19–21, 2006 Powder Coating 2006

Powder Coating Institute holds Powder Coating 2006 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. Contact: PCI, Ph: (800) 988-2628; Web: October 6–9, 2006 2006 American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Meeting

The annual event takes place at


Southern California Chapter The Southern California Chapter held its annual Education Extravaganza on June 17, 2006.

Don’t miss METALfab 2007 in Destin, FL February 28–March 3


July/August 2006

What’s Hot


the Hilton Minneapolis Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, MN. Contact: ASLA, Ph: (202) 8981185; Web: October 5–7, 2006 The Traditional Building Show

The Washington Hilton Hotel & Towers in Washington, DC, hosts The Traditional Building Show. Contact: Traditional Building, Ph: (800) 982-6247; Web: October 31–November 2, 2006 FABTECH International and AWS Welding Show

The Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA) teams up with the American Welding Society (AWS) again. This year’s show is at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. NOMMA will be exhibiting. Contact: FMA, Ph: (800) 4322832; Web:


Encon collaborates with Chamberlain for gate operator seminars Access control products distributor Encon Electronics collaborated with The Chamberlain Corp. for a two-day technical seminar on May 10–11. This was the second of a series of seminars Encon is offering its dealers throughout the year. Encon transported their product walls to the site allowing the attendees to work directly with functioning Chamberlain product during the seminar. Chamberlain’s Technical Training Manager, Bill McCoy, provided a comprehensive overview of gate operators and telephone entry on both days of the seminar. McCoy began the seminar with a brief overview of slide and swing gate operators. He discussed the ideal placement for both operator types and explained the general rules of operator installation. “We strongly suggest you pay attention to wire gauge charts for proper

installation,” said McCoy. “Operators and phone systems each require their own unique power requirements and the voltage drops when the cycle begins.” McCoy also stressed the importance of grounding both telephone entry and gate operator systems. He gave specific guidelines for grounding methods. “Grounding is not just a lightning and surge issue,” McCoy said. “Electromagnetic and RF interference can also disrupt electronics.” On the topic of UL325 guidelines McCoy warned about the repercussions of ignoring UL325 guidelines, regardless of state mandates. “Since UL325 guidelines have been implemented, the number of gate related injuries have decreased significantly.” Check for more upcoming Encon seminars.

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What’s Hot Gate system safety brochure

FAAC International Inc. FAAC recently produced a brochure on gate system safety as a result of changes in U.S. safety standards, specifically the UL 325 Standards. Designed to better educate the consumer, the brochure outlines available safety devices and their functions. Fabricators can use the brochure to help educate their clients on gate operator safety and gate design. Contact: FAAC International Inc., Ph: (800) 221-8278; Web: On September 21, 2006 FAAC and Encon Electronica team up to offer a technical seminar on gate operators installation and safety. Visit:


A Blacksmithing Primer receives notable mention A Blacksmmithing Primer, by Randy McDaniel, was awarded a 2006 Notable Mention Reference Book by Writers Notes Magazine. Hobar Publications, a division of Finney Co., released the second edition of a Blacksmithing Primer in January 2004. The book includes over 400 detailed drawings. A review from Writers Notes Magazine states: “While most of our readers won’t be taking up the the blacksmith trade anytime soon, they might want to take a whack at McDaniel’s guide for the traditional metal forging trade. This book has everything we like to see in handbooks:

a useful table of contents, a thorough index, clean writing, crisp illustrations, and little fun along the way.” The book is available through A Blacksmithing www.chesterPrimer, By Randy McDaniel, and other wholesale distributors, or by calling (800) 846-7027. ISBN: 0-9662589-1-6; Cost: $25

ASTM updates electrical equipment standards ASTM International announces that the new, twelfth edition of ASTM Standards on Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers is now available. The volume, offered in

print or CD-ROM, includes 39 ASTM standards that can help fabricators choose the right tools, equipment, materials, and test methods to protect their employees

from electrical hazards. Print and electronic copies are available for $87. Contact: ASTM, Ph: (610) 832-9585; Web:


July/August 2006

What’s Hot

New Products

Product Spotlight

CAD catalog

Del-Tron Precision

Del-Tron Precision announces that 3D models are now available in computer-aided design (CAD) formats in an online catalog and on its web site. The online catalog helps users locate the desired component, configure, and view the 3D model, and download it for use in their own design. Customers can view, zoom, pan, and rotate 3D models by downloading a free viewer. Contact: Del-Tron Precision, Ph: (800) 245-5013; Web:

July/August 2006


Feed system Scotchman® Industries Scotchman® Industries announces their new Advanced Feed System. According to Scotchman, it allows companies to increase productivity, decrease set-up time, reduce operator error, and eliminate waste. Scotchman president, Jerry Kroetch, says, "We are really excited about this new product.

The Advanced Feed System, coupled with a Scotchman circular cold saw turns your semi-automatic machine into a fully automated production machine. It is really easy for any operator to enter cut lists into the controller. Next, secure the material in the indexing clamp and hit start. That's all there is to it. The Advanced Feed System automatically moves your material to position, automatically clamps the material, and cycles the machine with +/- 0.004" repeatable accuracy, cut after cut." Operators can manually enter dimensions into the controller or pull a cut list from the controller, powered by TigerStop; it stores up to 99 programs. Another option is downloading cut list information directly from your PC. For one-off cuts, fabricators just key in the desired cut length in inches,


New Products

Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hot Abrasive products catalog

Rex-Cut Products Inc. A new catalog of specialty abrasive products is being offered by Rex-Cut. The Specialty Abrasive Products Catalog describes a broad line of mounted points and wheels, cotton fiber quick change discs, Type 1 deburring wheels, stainless steel cut-off wheels, carbide burs, grinding wheels, and hand-held finishing sticks. Test kits that provide an assortment of products for users to evaluate their own application are featured. Specifications for each item are included. Contact: Rex-cut Products Inc., Ph: (800) 225-8182; Web:


fractions, or metric, and push start. The automatic stop moves to position. Kroetch says, "The Advanced Feed System will cut production time in half, virtually eliminating set-up time. Now, operators no longer need to use a tape measure or set and adjust manual stops." The Scotchman Advanced Feed System can be used as a programmable stop system or a fully automatic programmable push feed system with the optional material clamp. With the optional optimizing software, the system calculates how to best optimize material for the highest yield. Contact: Scotchman, Ph: (800) 8438844; Web: Saws

Pat Mooney Inc. Pat Mooneyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;The Saw Company introduces the Titan Model from the FMB Pro Mitre Series of Direct Drive Saws. The saws combine the speed of an abrasive saw, the precision of a

cold saw, and the versatility of a band saw in a small footprint. The FMB Titan precision mitre cuts 0 degrees to 60 degrees with a 14 inch cutting capacity. It features a hydraulic control downfeed and variable speed saw drive. The FMB Titan is designed for use on thin wall tubes and profiles, as well as heavy steel sections and hard solid material. The saw offers variable blade speeds of 62 to 310 FPM, 24 inch length stop, clamping vise with quick clamp action, infeed and outfeed roller supports, and recirculating flood coolant system. Contact: Pat Mooney Inc., Ph: (800) 323-7503; Web:


July/August 2006

What’s Hot

New Products

Glass Partitions

C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (CRL) CRL introduces the Stacking Partition System (SPS), an option for moveable allglass walls and partitions. The SPS features CRL’s IntelliTrack Roller to provide directional control and direct panels to the proper track. This system allows architects and specifiers to design stacking doors and parking configurations to many situations, including partitioning off interior spaces, providing all-glass doors for storefronts, and expanding indoor/outdoor seating space in sidewalk cafes. Glass panels can be stacked against an end wall or stored out of sight. In the system, glass panels are sus-


pended from an overhead track by two rollers per panel. Directional IntelliTrack Rollers work with manual and self-guided intersections on the track to provide directional control and allow for smooth panel movement. Rollers can be positioned on the inside or outside track, and the system is designed to prevent accidental panel rotation. Two styles of overhead tracks are available—standard and flanged, for drop ceiling applications. Tracks are available in mill aluminum and powder painted white; 120 inch (3.05 m) and 240 inch (6.10 m) stock lengths, with 10 matching intersections. Two rollers per panel support 470 pounds (213 kg). Contact: C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., Ph: at (800) 421-6144; Web: Door operators

Chamberlain® Chamberlain Professional Products’ line of LiftMaster Elite Series Logic 3.0 Commercial Door Operators features

four optional plug-in boards to provide product flexibility and convenience. The plug-in boards help facilitate system upgrades by forgoing the need for additional wiring. The Auxiliary Contact Option Board provides dry contact relays to operate other devices such as external heaters, security, or warning devices. The Red Green Warning Signal Option Board is designed for high traffic areas. A feature of this board is the down midstop, which allows an installer to program a stop position during the close cycle other than the close limit switch. The CP3 Option Board is a photo eye and failsafe edge reversing option board that supports a two or four wire


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New Products

What’s Hot fail-safe electrical edge and an additional set of photo eyes. The FDR Interface Option Board simplifies wiring when an operator is used in conjunction with Chamberlain’s fire release devices. The Logic 3.0 commercial door operators come with an on-board 3-channel radio receiver, an expanded Maintenance Alert System, and an enhanced timer. Contact: Chamberlain, Ph: (800) 323-2276; Web: Aluminum treads

Sure-Foot® Industries Corp. Sure-Foot Industries Corp. introduces the glow-in-the-dark Boldstep Aluminum Tread. The permanent tread can recharge in low light and emit glow protection for over twenty

hours. Treads are designed Cutting guide Air filters to repel oils and dirt in Hypertherm Inc. Binks order to reduce replacement Hypertherm has Binks announces its and maintenance costs. released a Mechanized new line of high efficient Treads are aluminumCutting Solutions spray booth air filters for extruded and epoxy filled. Guide featuring its industrial finishing. The They are available in 9 mechanized plasma Binks AF HE filters, approinch or 11 inch size and solutions. The guide priate for general industriare non-toxic, nonprovides a comparial applications, feature a radioactive, and rechargeson of plasma, oxyfu- backing behind two layers able from any light source. el, and laser technolo- to absorb 99.8 percent of Each plate is pre-drilled. gies, giving the errant spray emitted. This The product also meets advantages of each. compares with standard Occupational Safety and Contact: filter efficiency of only 98.1 Health Administration Hypertherm Inc., Ph: percent, and offers cost (OSHA) and Americans (603) 643-3441; Web: savings and a cleaner enviwith Disabilities Act ronment. (ADA) federal regulations. The AFHE filters also According to preliminary tests confeature ease of installation, compatiducted by The University of Georgia, bility with a wide range of coatings, the Boldstep Tread emits four times and three to five times more overspray the required amount of light set by the holding capacity than other filters. Panel sizes of 20 inches by 20 inches, American Society for Testing and 20 inches by 25 inches and blanket Materials. sizes of 3 feet by 30 feet are available. Contact: Sure-Foot Industries Contact: Binks, Ph: (800) 992-4657; Corp., Ph: (800) 522-6566; Web: Web:











July/August 2006

Metal Moment

An unofficial risk of gate installation—DOGS! A retired fabricator shares a field story he’ll never forget—close encounter with a kanine. By Bob Heath Bellevue Iron Works, retired As I reflect back on my 25-year career in the ornamental iron business I am still amused by some of the things that happened to me. Let me tell you about a job which I find unforgettable. I had a customer who purchased one of the nicest, if not the best sets of gates my shop ever did. The customer certainly had the means and wanted a top-notch job, which we gave them. The job went as planned; we were paid on time, and everyone was happy. Then the summer thunderstorms crossed the area, and I kept getting called back to replace the circuit board. I was lost as to why this was happening until a salesman who sold lighting suppressors told me to look for a double ground. He was right. However I spent many afternoons at the site looking for the answer. During this time I became familiar with the customer’s dog. The estate was large and had a wooden board fence around it. The gate’s side panels tied into the stone columns where the board fence ended. The columns were 7 feet tall and 30 inches square. The board fence was like climbing a ladder as the boards were spaced several inches apart horizontally. On one particular summer day I arrived at the estate in my service van, used the code to get in past the gate, and drove about 250 feet to the turn around area in front of the house. I halted at the sign that said “STOP STAY IN CAR SOUND HORN,” and waited. I knew this family had a guard dog which had bitten the UPS man July/August 2006


and another person. They would confine the dog in a pen whenever a visitor arrived. That dog was the biggest, meanest I have ever seen, dark black with a bit of brown and a cross between a Rottweiler and German Shepherd. It had a large head and a chest bigger than mine. He must have been 140 to 150 pounds and had been very fittingly named Kaiser. He would be penned up, but you could still hear him growling and snarling in his cage. He just didn’t like company, and he could smell or hear anyone on the premises. I waited and sounded the horn, and in a few minutes one of the family’s older sons came out and said he would put the dog away so I could work on the gate. I replied that I would appreciate it, and turned around and headed down the driveway to the gate site. We had placed the control panel on the side of one of the columns where the wood fence joins the iron to the gate. I opened my fold out toolbox at the foot of the stone column and knelt at the low control panel to check out the electrical components with my instruments. The control panel consists of many different parts, and it takes a long time to check them; the afternoon was dragging on. I was still at the foot of the column with my back to the house when “a feeling” came over me. Maybe it was a flashback to my platoon leader days in Viet Nam or my guardian angel telling me to turn around and look behind me. When I did I got the shock of my life. Kaiser was loose and about 75 feet away, moving towards me at the speed of light. I hit that board fence in one bound and was on the top of that 75-

foot column on the next. Kaiser went airborne, leaping into the air and snapping his jaws while I held on to an 18inch finial with a cast iron grip. He didn’t like me being out of his reach. He stood his ground and looked me in the eye. Then he dropped his head and began to trot around the base of the column. He stopped and looked up. Then he lifted his rear leg and in true dog fashion began to mark his territory. First it was the ground around the stone column, then the column itself, on to the open control panel. Now that really ticked me off. And then he got my toolbox. I shouted at him about his parentage to no avail. His water capacity was remarkable! What a bladder! As the sputter died out, he resorted to another tactic, scratching with his hind feet and throwing dirt all over, keeping his eye on me the whole time. Finally I realized I had my cell phone on me, so I called the house for help. “Oh no!” they replied. “We thought you had already left, we’ll come get him right away.” In about five minutes the ordeal was over, and the clean up began. Luckily I had rubber gloves in my van, and I used up all my shop rags drying out the control box. The control panel survived with an odor similar to a wet baby bed. Meanwhile, I found the original problem and fixed it. It was a double ground as the salesman suggested. When it was fixed it worked, and the system was trouble free for several years. All parties were happy that the gates were at last fixed. As for Kaiser, he’s retired now too. After his third bite victim and a court settlement he was relocated to a friend’s estate down south. 95

Classifieds Kent Grinder For Sale

A Kent surface grinder with roller bearings, 8 by 16 travel with 21 inch height, used less than 40 hours, a fine pole chuck. Flood coolant system, overhead wheel dresser, used less than 40 hours. Paid $11,000—will sell for $5,500. Contact: FCA (239) 948-2428; cell (239) 287-6286. Machine Shop For Sale $21,000

Tool shop for sale in great area: Bonita Springs, FL. I have been in the tool trade for 56 years, but I am 73 now and ready to retire. My machines are only three years old, except my Bridgeport, which is old but still does a good job. I have figured out a way for someone to buy my business with a small amount of cash. Total price: $21,000. Contact Bob Martin at Florida Custom Accessories, (239) 948-2428, cell (239) 287-6286. Fabrication Business For Sale $950,000

Long established (since1963) ornamental iron fabricating business located in Nashville, TN area. Many high-end clients. Assets include equipment, inventory, and vehicles. Owner retiring—available during transaction and as a consultant. Contact Walter or Evelyn (931) 358-2478. Blacksmith Wanted

Leading blacksmith shop in Northern, VA experienced blacksmith for architectural forge work; five to seven years experience preferred, will train with some experience. Good pay, benefits, work environment! Contact Patrick Cardine at (540) 4396460. Fax resume (540) 439-6462.


Contact Rachel Bailey at (423) 413-6436, or Please note, classified ads promote a one-time sale or offer, or an employment-related opportunity.

CAD Position Available

Management position for CAD department. Must have a minimum of five years experience with ornamental metal fabrication. Competitive salary and benefits. Go to for more information on our company. Contact Mike Valentine via e-mail: Miscellaneous Steel Layout Man

Leading New York City shop looking for lead layout man for stairs, railings, etc. Top pay and benefits, excellent working conditions with a lot of potential for growth. Barry Leistner c/o Koenig Iron Works, 8-14 37th Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101. Ph: (718) 433-0900, ext. 0; E-mail: Railing Fabricator Layout/Quality Control

High-end nonferrous fabricator specializing in aluminum, stainless steel, brass, bronze, and glass railings in central New Jersey looking to expand and grow. Company is a 20year-old, multi-million dollar operation of 50 employees in 30,000 square feet in Middlesex County, NJ. Applicant needs 10 years minimum experience in layouts, cut lists, and Q.C. in addition to supervising cutters, machinists, and welders. Field measuring and welding knowledge a plus. Eventually you would be the last word in Q.C. as well as helping maintain a safe environment and develop employees for advancement. We will reimburse relocation expenses and offer excellent pay, full benefits, including medical, dental, life, and disability insurance as well as a 401K match, profit sharing, and bonuses. Ultimately you set your own value on what you can earn. Fax resume and salary history to (732) 332-1924.

Now Hiring in New Orleans

Need ornamental iron and fence experienced people. WIlling to move to New Orleans, LA. Lots of work. Top pay. Security Iron Co. Ph: (504) 975-0450. Recruiter

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

See NOMMA’s website for listing of NOMMA member shops offering employment opportunities: Classified ad rates and information

Classified ads promote a one-time sale or offer or employment-related opportunities. Rates are as follows: 1–35 words = $25; 36–50 words = $38; 51–70 words = $50. Next closing date is Friday, June 9, 2006. For more information, contact Rachel Bailey, Ph: (423) 413-6436; E-mail:


July/August 2006

Advertiser’s index Access Control and Gate Operators/Hardware Pg 15 07 25 71 76 38 30 21 92

Company ......................................................................................Website Chamberlain D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. DKS, DoorKing Encon International Gate Marks U.S.A. Master Halco Multi Sales Inc. Universal Entry Systems Inc. ............................(800) 837-4283

Components, Panels, Hardware, Extrusions 33 31 90 70 68 24 27 03 79 60 39 44 35 76 10 75 36 37 93 02 59 29 13 09 83 49 73 45 42 69 19

Architectural Iron Designs Architectural Products by Outwater Atlas Metal Sales Bavarian Iron WorksCo. Julius Blum & Co. Inc. The Cable Connection Cable Rail by Feeney Cable Rail by Feeney Complex Industries Inc.......................................(901) 547-1198 Crescent City Iron Supply..................................(800) 535-9842 D.J.A Imports Ltd. Decorative Iron FATIH PROFIL The G-S Co. Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Jesco Industries Inc. WIPCO King Architectural Metals Lawler Foundry Corp. Lawler Foundry Corp. Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. National Bronze & Metals New Metals Oakley Steel Products ........................................(888) 625-5392 Regency Railings Rik-Fer USA ..........................................................(630) 350-0900 Tennessee Fabricating Co. Tennessee Fabricating Co. Texas Metal Industries The Wagner Companies The Wagner Companies Wrought Iron Concepts

Fabrication Equipment & Tools 51 65 61 17 85 69 74 61 58 23 78 65 75 11 41 92 99 26

Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Blacksmiths Carell Cleveland Steel Tool Co. Classic Iron Supply CML USA Inc. COMEQ Inc. Eagle Bending Glaser USA Hebo Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool NC Tool Co. ..........................................................(800) 446-6498 Pat Mooney Inc. PlasmaCAm Production Machinery Inc. R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine Co. Silver Mine Distribution Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc.

July/August 2006


Fabrication Equipment & Tools (continued) 90 89 93 91

Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. TP Vogel Tool & Zena Inc.

Fabrication Services 78 94

Colorado Waterjet Co. Tornado Supply

Finishing Products 59 94 32 40 58

Birchwood Casey Intercon Sumter Coatings Inc. Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. Triple-S Chemical

Professional Development 84 85 84 16 53 88 85 ARTMETAL Campbell Folk School NEF / NOMMA NOMMA NOMMA Traditional Building

Software 04 89 87

FabCad Inc. MB Software Solutions Red Pup Productions

Stairs & Treads 100 28 43 74 79

The Iron Shop Salter Industries Stairways Inc. Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd. Tri-State Shearing & Bending............................(718) 485-2200

Glass Services 78 91

K Dahl Glass Studios Lindblade Metal Works

Some suppliers listed here may offer products in more than one category. Check ads and websites (or phone numbers) for details. Bold denotes NOMMA Supplier Members. Want your company’s name listed here? Call Rachel Bailey (423) 413-6436.


Fab Feedback

Miller’s Maxstar 150: Does it get the job done? ®

Recently on the NOMMA member e-mail forum, a fabricator asked for feedback on the welding capabilities of Miller’s Maxstar 150. Here’s what some fellow NOMMA members had to say. Question: Does anyone have experience with the Miller MaxStar 150? It is a 14 pound, portable TIG/stick machine. I like the portability and the application would be mostly for joining caprails on interior residential rails. Does it get the job done? ~Justin L. Pigott Emerald Ironworks Response #1: Yes it does!

Great tool for the site and the shop. ~Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks

which comes with it does not really adequately describe all that it will do and how to get the most from the machine. You wind up doing a bit of “On the Job Training,” which I think could be reduced greatly with decent documentation. That said, Miller has a place on their web site for you to ask questions of their in-house experts. In my experience those folks respond promptly with specific recommendations and advice, which are spot-on. ~Robert Coley Redbird Forge Response #4: Yes, but keep a steady hand

Response #2: Yes, but watch the breaker

We use ours all the time and don’t know how we got along without it. We TIG everything inside. It sometimes blows the breaker and has a short duty cycle, but by and large it does the job. ~Patrick Cardine Cardine Studios

I have a Maxstar 150. I have one of the first ones out. They beat the hell out of dragging leads in a house and around back to a balcony. We work mostly on real high-end jobs. You really have to keep a good eye on it, it can walk off real quick. ~Raymond Liles Liles Welding

Response #3: Yes, but more info from Miller helps

Response #5: Yes, but again, watch your power draw

The machine is wonderfully capable and a good value. My one complaint, which I have expressed to Miller, is that the documentation

We run them on 110v and have no problems TIG welding unless a very long extension lead is needed to take power from the transformer to the

welder or if there are other large power users taking from the transformer. Also, the start button on the torch gave us lots of trouble, so we just switched over to lift arc with no button start. Arc welding often proves a problem unless we are using a generator or have sole use of a transformer close by. ~John O Reilly MMF Architectural Response #6: Yes, but not for welding aluminum

The only thing bad I can say about the Maxstar is you can’t weld aluminum with it. If you are just working on steel, stainless, or bronze it is a great little machine. We have one for just that reason. However we also have Dynasty units for welding aluminum. It needs 220v, not nearly as portable as the Maxstar. But it’s great for welding aluminum in the field. ~Thomas B. Zuzik Jr. Artistic Railings Inc.

See page 18 for tips from Miller on welding aluminum, or visit


Share your metal tidbits. On NOMMA’s Member’s Only e-mail discussion list, the ListServ, NOMMA members ask questions and get answers. You can join the list by joining NOMMA. Ph: (888) 516-8585; E-mail:; Web: 98


July/August 2006






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