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Get ready for METALfab 2007 • Feb. 28–Mar. 3 • Destin, FL

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

November/December 2006 $6.00 US

Job Profile

Stainless giraffe soars to the top page 57 Job Profile

Restoration: ‘A passion for old fashion’

page 49

Tips & Tactics

Copyrights and Copywrongs, pg. 12

Shop Talk

New furnace provides a pleasant shock, pg. 42

Biz Side

Converting old inventory into cash, pg. 75

Presidents Letter Guards remain a hot issue 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

NOMMA STAFF Executive Director Barbara H. Cook Meetings & Exposition Manager Martha Pennington

Administrative Assistant Liz Johnson Editor Helen K. Kelley

Communications Mgr. J. Todd Daniel

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.


Curt Witter Big D Metalworks

The NOMMA Board of Directors con-

History of NOMMA’s positions

tinues to focus on important issues related to Technical Affairs. At its October meeting, the Board voted to create a Code Advisory Council to ensure that the momentum we currently enjoy in the technical arena is maintained. This council will mainly be charged with two major functions:  Continued monitoring of existing codes and proposed changes.  Drafting and presentation of NOMMA endorsed proposed code changes that will enhance the ability of NOMMA members to better (and more safely) serve the industry. For those new to the code arena the following is a timeline and summary of NOMMA’s positions on guard safety:

NOMMA’s positions on guard safety have been expressed in a variety of formats over the years, and can be summarized as follows:  NOMMA embraces sensible guidelines for improving the safety and quality of railing products.  NOMMA disagrees with assertions that there are only two types of guardrail designs suitable to protect children under the age of three from climbing.  NOMMA feels Chris Connelly that falls from climb- is president of ing guards should be the National considered in context Ornamental & Miscellaneous with appropriate acMetals Association taken based on tion. the volume of annual accidents.  NOMMA has searched in vain to accurately document the number of falls by children climbing guards, but this is not recorded as a separate incident by organizations that track accident volume, presumably because there are too few incidents to warrant a separate line item.  NOMMA objects to the tactics of code change proponents, who rely heavily on emotion to advance their positions. NOMMA maintains that the data submitted by proponents overlooks many key factors and variables. NOMMA enjoys an unprecedented level of credibility with the ICC. For this to continue, I ask that anyone who is interested in helping with our building code work to contact Todd Daniel at the NOMMA office. Strength comes in numbers, and the more people that become involved, the more formidable NOMMA becomes in the eyes of the people responsible for overseeing building codes.

Timeline of guard regulations

As NOMMA notes in their recentpress release, guards have become an increasingly regulated product since the 1980s. The following timeline represents a reasonable summary for members and others unfamiliar with how the issue has progressed:  1988 — Articles by Elliott Stephenson, a proponent for more guard restrictions, begin to appear in building code publications.  1990 — Americans With Disabilities Act is passed.  1994 — The 4” spacing rule begins appearing in the building codes.  1999 — “Ladder Effect” clause approved for 2000 building codes.  2000 — NOMMA helps to get the “ladder effect” removed from the building codes and publishes a position paper on guard safety.  2001 — NOMMA publishes a response to Mr. Stephenson’s articles on “climbable” guards.  2002 — Proponents renew their attempts to insert “ladder effect” wording into the building codes.  2005 — The International Code Council appoints a special committee to study the climbable guard issue.

Fabricator  November/December 2006

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


Send story ideas, letters, press releases, and product news to: Fabricator at address above. Ph: (888) 516-8585. Fax: (770) 2882006. E-mail:


For information, call Todd Daniel, Ph: (770) 288-2004. 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:


In addition to the magazine, enjoy more benefits as a NOMMA member. To join, call (888) 516-8585, ext. 101. For a list of benefits, see membership ad in this issue.


$25 for up to 35 words, $38 for 36–55 words, $50 for 56–70 words. Send items to: Fabricator, at address above, or E-mail: Ads may be faxed with credit card information to: (770) 2882006. Deadline: 2nd Friday of the month prior to publication.


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Supplier Directory

Published each December as a separate issue. Deadline for all advertising materials is Dec. 15. For info, contact Todd Daniel at (888) 516-8585 or


For a quote, contact NOMMA at (770) 2882004 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: 10,000.


Editor’ s Letter Serendipity I’ve always loved words. In fact, I love words so much that I make my living from playing around with them! One of my favorite words is “serendipity” — a favorite both for the way it sounds when I say it and for what it means. Webster’s defines it this way: ser·en·dip·i·ty n: an apparent aptitude for making accidental fortunate discoveries Sometimes, I’m graced with that “fortunate aptitude,” as is the case now. I certainly was in the right place at the right time to discover and land this wonderful job opportunity as editor of Fabricator. Since this is a “getting to know you” column, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a farmer’s daughter, born, raised and schooled in Georgia, where my roots run deep. I have a strong and abiding love for books, music, dogs, chocolate and college football, among other things. My career as a journalist has been more-than-interesting and has allowed me to write about a wide variety of topics, from health care to the arts… and for a number of industries, from packaged ice to funeral service! And, although I have a good deal of editorial experience, this is my first foray into the world of metalworking and fabrication. So, I’ll be counting on your help, and will always welcome your input and suggestions for the magazine’s content and how we can better serve you. Now, it’s your turn. I want to know all about you; I want to hear your stories! I’m looking forward to meeting you — members, advertisers and suppliers — and learning about your companies and interests. Speaking of stories, we have some great ones in this issue. We’re featuring three outstanding Top Job winners — George Bandarra’s amazing life-size giraffe crafted from stainless steel;

Roger Carlsen’s repoussé restoration work on Chicago’s Lurie Mansion; and Carl A. Nielbock’s gazebo, an artful combination of Old World style and modern functionality. In Tips & Tactics, learn more about copyright law and how to protect your designs; plus, two NOMMA members share their personal experiences with using estimating software. Our Shop Talk contributors discuss today’s use of alloys, how utilizing the services of a structural engineer can be invaluable in protecting you from certain liability issues, and why an electric induction heater may be the wave of the future for blacksmiths (but maybe not for cooking hot dogs). Biz Side’s timely Helen Kelley is editor of financial articles Ornamental & focus on accounting, Miscellaneous tax law changes, and Metal Fabricator. how to make your obsolete inventory and leftover materials pay off. And, as usual, What’s Hot is packed with people, event and product news. If you haven’t already registered for METALfab 2007, now’s the time. Learn new ways to add value to your products and services for the benefit of both your customers and your business in METALfab’s lineup of informative presentations and education sessions. Marvel at the entries in the annual Top Job contest. Enjoy networking time with fellow NOMMA members and suppliers. Plus a whole lot more! See details on page 46. I’m honored to have this opportunity to serve as editor of such an established, award-winning publication, to work with the fine staff at NOMMA and serve its membership. Just call me serendipitous.


November/December 2006

Readers’ Letters 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: Fax: (770) 288-2006 Ph: (888) 516-8585 Please include your name, company, address, telephone number, and e-mail. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, grammar, and length.

Blacksmith’s Gazette discontinues publishing After publishing Blacksmith's Gazette as a Portable Document File and emailing the access information for two years, I find my subscription list has continued to shrink and the revenue is not sufficient to make it worthwhile for me to publish it. As a result, I have decided to stop publication of Blacksmith's Gazette with the December 2006 issue. As compensation for current subscribers, I will mail you a CD-ROM containing issues, beginning with January 1999 running through December 2006 with a comprehensive listing of contents of those issues. This is a $95.00 value. If you wish to receive this CD-ROM, please send your name and address to: I expect to

have the CD-ROM completed and ready to mail by mid-December. It pains me to stop publishing the Blacksmith’s Gazette, but economics must finally be taken into consideration. I plan to keep the website available for the blacksmithing community to share the information published there and will continue to sell the CD-ROM to interested parties. The November 2006 issue of Blacksmith’s Gazette can be accessed from the website: Blacksmithing. Fred Holder Blacksmith’s Gazette Thanks for the notice, Fred. The Blacksmith’s Gazette has been an invaluable resource to our industry for many years. We appreciate all your good work.

Are you passing up opportunities?

METALfab 2007 Feb. 28–Mar. 3 • Destin FL Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort Join us at METALfab 2007 for our best education program ever!

Theme: Adding Value To Your Business Learn how you can increase profits by finding clever ways to offer MORE to your clients. In today’s highly competitive and complex business environment it is essential that we find ways to maximize sales by providing value-added services to customers. For instance, your proposals likely contain a standard list of exclusions. Have you ever reviewed these exclusions to find a couple of more services you could provide to increase revenue? The METALfab 2007 education program is offering a variety of classes that will show you how to obtain added value from your existing client base. Can you do more subcontracting? Should you educate your shop so that you can take on more difficult tasks?

Maximize profits by offering clients more value! 10

National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 1535 Pennsylvania Ave. McDonough, GA 30253 (888) 516-8585 • Fax (770) 288-2006 •

Fabricator  November/December 2006

WHAT ALL THE FINEST ADDRESSES ARE WEARING THIS SEASON. Glass railing clarification needed There is a code issue that needs to be addressed by NOMMA and several other organizations, for that matter. The problem regards the IBC section on glass guardrails (2407.1.2), and specifically, balcony guardrails (not steps or ramps). We are seeing a few glass balcony guardrail projects being designed by architects and put out on the street for bids that do not have a caprail or handrail attached. We are taking the position that this is in violation of the code. What if someone was standing/leaning against a piece of glass and it broke? If there’s no cap or handrail attached, that person could fall through the rail system! We are in the middle of three school projects that have this very issue going on. Two of the schools agreed with our stance and are paying us to provide a caprail. However, the architect for the third school does not agree with our poisiton. There is some liability concern about this issue and I would be grateful for any clarification. Gene Curry Jerico Metal Specialties, Inc. Bloomington, IN

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.

Gene, this is a question that NOMMA Technical Affairs receives a lot. Please refer to page 98 for a clarification.

Voice prompting provides audible assistance at the push of a button for ADA-compliant installations.

Triangulars don’t make code? Achieving the spacing for the 6-inch triangular rule requires a highly accurate stair, since the bottom of the nosing must practically rest on the treads. So, what if your stair isn’t so accurate? This is a question that the NOMMA office reguarly receives. One option is to fasten a lateral “S” scroll along the bottom channel. Another option is to drop the vertical picket below the bottom piece. Members who would like more information on this issue can download TechNotes #21, February 2006, which is a free download in the NOMMA members only area. A thanks to Tom Zuzik, Artistic Railings Inc., for providing the A lateral “S” scroll is one way to meet the photo.

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.




6-inch sphere rule for triangular spacing.


Expert Opinion

Tips & Tactics

Copyrights and Copywrongs How do I protect my work? Is it legal to borrow elements from someone else’s design? Intellectual property attorney Jack Munday addresses these and other common questions related to copyright law. By John (Jack) Munday, Esquire

graph has originality because the selection of what is photographed is independently done. Yet, you could give the picture to someone and they would not be able to copy it. A photograph of a photograph is a copy. The second criteria is that the object you create must be a “work” as defined by the copyright law. What you produce at the forge using your creative skills is a work, a product of what you make. If the object is a nail, with solely functional characteristics, it may not be original. Thus, it may not have much protection, if any, under the law. Whether a work meets the third criteria, fixed in a medium, and the fourth as well, being something that is perceivable, should be easy for metalworkers to determine. Iron is really fixed, and it’s definitely readily perceived. When all four elements are present, one has a copyright.

Metalworking is an art form that

ranges from forging a nail to fabricating an abstract object for display in a gallery. Most metalworking falls in between these two extremes. The nail is almost exclusively functional and has no special ornate value, while an essentially ornate sculpture has no functionality. Sometimes the middle, gray area leads to problems. And problems lead to lawyers. Understanding some of the basics about copyright law may save you from any legal problems associated with it. What is a copyright?

The word “copyright” is almost a self-defining word. It means the right to copy. Copyright is defined by Title 17 of the United States Code. It is a federal matter, and therefore, the same in every state. Copyright protection is given for original works of authorship, fixed in any tangible medium of expression, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include writings, songs, and plays, pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works, such as those produced by a blacksmith. Let’s first redefine copyright as that which marks or protects from duplication any (1) original (2) works (3) which are fixed in a medium (4) we can perceive. This means if you create an original work, you can copyright it. More importantly, you have a copyright on it by the act of creation. The first criteria of originality is an 12

essential element of creation. By definition, if you copy something, it is not original, though there are shades of meaning here. If you make a copy of a nail you pulled from an old building, you are copying. Therefore, it isn’t What rights does one get? original. If, alternatively, you draw out some iron in the shape of a nail, and Section 106 of the Act says the flatten its head for the ease of driving owner has the exclusive right to do it into wood, you have used sufficient and authorize the making of copies, originality to satisfy the law. For examprepare derivative words based on the ple, if live photographers each took a copyrighted work, distribute copies to picture of a rose, each photograph the public by sale or other transfer would be original since methods of ownership, or by none of them copied the rental, lease, or lending, and work of the other. It to display in public in the may not be possible to case of graphic or sculptural This article concludes our two-part series on copydifferentiate the five works. right law. It was originally photos, and the value published in the July-AuWhat About Patents? would be negligible gust 2000 Fabricator, and since anyone else could One other area of the law is one of our most popuphotograph the rose at addressed by these examples lar articles. their leisure. A photois patent law, where limited


Fabricator  November/December 2006

Tips & Tactics monopolies are given for inventions of new, useful, and not obvious products, processes, machines, and compositions. Patents cover functional aspects and relate exclusively to utilitarian concerns. The question of functionality comes into play here because the object one produces, such as a Samuel Yellen iron gate, may be a beautiful example of functional metalworking and would fall within the definition of a copyrightable work. If a garden gate looks like every other gate in the neighborhood, it would be impossible to prevent others from making the same functional product for their garden. Moreover, the gate may be covered by a patent on the mechanical arrangements of hinges, pins, hooks, and so on. A patent is involved when you make something for its utility, like a nail or the first light bulb, etc. If a work has no use, it isn't covered by a patent. Nor would it be covered by a patent once the copyright expired, if, as in the case of the light bulb, the invention was made more than 20 years ago. What about infringement?

Copyright protection in the United States goes back to the 1790s. Copyrights stumbled along throughout the 1800s with court decisions and patchwork laws until the act of 1909. This Act formed the basis of all copyrights from July l, 1909 until January 1, 1978. Anything that happened before July 1, 1909 is ancient history, as the copyrights have expired. Between July l , 1909 and January 1, 1978, a lot happened that is still important and relevant. The Berne Convention Implementation Act became effective when the United States joined the international community at the Berne Convention in March 1989. Most copyright provisions remained the same. However, there were several major exceptions, like the release of the "©" marking requirements. Before 1978, publication of any work without proper copyright notice sent it into the public domain. Since 1978, publications without notice were correctable, and since March 1989, marking hasn't been required. 14

“The Mona Lisa is in the public domain, which is why they won’t let you bring a camera into a museum—because anything in the public domain may be copied by one and all, freely, and without concern.”

What defines ‘public domain?’

At this point I need to define another term. “Public Domain” is a word associated with art. It has legal meaning and makes up the body of copyrightable material that belongs to the public rather than to any private interests. Expired copyrights are in the public domain. The Mona Lisa is in the public domain, which is why they won’t let you bring a camera into a museum—because anything in the public domain may be copied by one and all, freely, and without concern. Once something goes into the public domain, it stays there. There are some famous and wellknown artistic creations in the metalworking industry. Can we copy them? Yes, if the copyright has expired or was never perfected under the old law. No, if a valid copyright still exists on it. Can we copy nature? Yes, if we take our inspiration from nature and not from the work of another artisan who created a forged or cast rose, for example. A common question is, can we use something we find in a home magazine or on the web? As always, the general rule applies: Copying is bad and originality is good. If you see something that suggests, for example, a garden gate with a forged rose vine, and you make one from the idea but use as your model an actual rosebush, you are fine. If you copy the object in the photograph, you are copying. Should I copyright my work?

Why not, if it’s an original work fixed in a medium we can perceive. How do I aquire a formal copyright? Just request an application and pay the

processing fee. For more info, visit: Copyright law observations

 Registering a copyrighted work is a separate activity from creating a copyrighted work because copyright accrues in the creation. Registration is a formality that becomes necessary in legal situations. Said another way: the author owns the copyright by creating the work. You need proof of registration when you intend to bring suit against a copier or want to sell the ownership.  Selling the original work does not transfer ownership of the copyright any more than buying a book gives you the right to copy it.  Photographs of copyrighted works are copies and can be prohibited by the owner of the copyright.  The law no longer requires a copyright notice, such as the “©” symbol and the year of creation. However, it’s still a good idea to mark your creations with your name, the “©” symbol, and the date, if it doesn’t mess up the work. But it is not necessary.  Under the present law, copyrights are in force for the life of the author, (or fabricator), plus 75 years.  If you create something for someone in certain employment situations, the work may be considered a “work for hire,” and the owner of the copyright could be the employer.  No “work for hire” covers independent contractors, unless a written agreement is signed prior to the work.  If the work is a work for hire, an anonymous work, etc., its life is also 75 years, from the date of creation and not of registration.  If the work was created before 1909, and you have legitimate access to it, you can copy it at will.  If a work was created between 1909 and 1986, you have to check to see if it was covered by a copyright. The Library of Congress is one place to start.  Infringement of a copyright involves unauthorized copying. To prove this one needs to prove substantial similarity and actual access to the copyrighted work. Fabricator  November/December 2006

Case Study

Tips & Tactics Contact: Amy McCann FabTrol Systems Inc. Ph: (888) FABTROL Email:

Today’s estimating software: All grown up Now that steel-specific estimating software has matured, the efficiency and advantages it offers is better than ever. By Josh Cochrane, FabTrol Systems Inc. Steel-specific estimating software has

been available for more than 20 years now. Many ornamental and miscellaneous fabricators have yet to make the leap, though, relying instead on yellow pads and calculators or their spreadsheet equivalents. A good spreadsheet could match a lot of the capabilities of the first generation of estimating software, but then, those tools have changed a lot since the DOS era. Is it time to take a fresh look at the options? In this article, two NOMMA members who were early adopters of estimating software and have grown with the tools over the years share their experiences and advice. Myers & Company ( is a midsized ornamental, structural and miscellaneous fabricator located near Aspen, CO. York Metal Fabricators ( of Oklahoma City is a custom fabricator specializing in ornamental handrail and other miscellaneous iron. Both companies use FabTrol software, a package developed specifically for the steel fabrication market. Leveraging industry knowledge

Grant York, an estimator at York Metal Fabricators, says that the software’s flexibility is the key to serving custom fabricators. “We save a ton of time in the estimating phase by reusing similar data from past bids,” he says. “We are custom fabricators, but in the end it’s all just cutting metal apart and welding it 16

Modern estimating software can improve your workflow and increase profits.

back together again. Over time, you see the same sorts of shipping pieces pretty frequently. Rather than reentering every one from scratch, the software enables us to set up a library of common assemblies, such as stair systems or handrail sections, each one fully estimated with the material and labor requirements.” The ability to leverage past data makes it easy to provide budgetary bids. York says, “We have done a series of schools in Vegas, and they tend to be very similar designs. Rather than doing a fresh takeoff for every one, I can just copy a past estimate, make some quick adjustments, and produce a reliable budgetary price—all within 15 minutes.” Fine-tuning the bottom line

What Gib Plimpton, chief estimator at Myers & Company, likes best about steel-smart estimating software is the

ability to see true hard costs and make detailed, accurate adjustments. “It is easy to adjust pricing to specific elements of a bid,” he explains, “rather than saying, ‘Aw, let’s just knock off 10 percent, because we really want this job.’ With an accurate job costing system in place, which begins with the estimate and the ability to categorize the different labor and material elements, a person is able to know where, specifically, to reduce the estimate, and then track the impact.” Benefits beyond estimating

Today’s estimating applications do not stop when the contract is awarded. They typically offer an integrated suite of functions for managing production jobs, from purchasing, automated material planning, drawing control, stock management and production control, all the way through shipping and accounting. Myers & Company has been Fabricator  November/December 2006

especially pleased with the ability to share data with other applications. “We are now able to import about 95 percent of our shop drawings from various detailing packages,� says Plimpton, “eliminating many hours of manual data entry and avoiding potentially inaccurate manual entries.�

5 I F / " . UB 0 M' JO TV lenges, but we’re very happy with the payoff for our smaller investment so far.�

An opportunity for competitive edge

Ultimately, Plimpton says, “I would not want to think of the alternative of not having a system in place that didn’t handle everything that A scalable investment FabTrol does for us.� Today’s steel estimating and management software allows you to get a Benefits aside, many York agrees: “Once you better view of the “big picture� of your company’s operations. NOMMA fabricators get used to working with don’t feel they can afford the cost or steel software, you can’t imagine going “Once you get used to the implementation time. It takes time, back.� working with steel energy and money to switch to a new Conclusion software, you can’t system, agrees Plimpton, and “it is easy to take on that challenge at more proTo learn more about the leading imagine going back.� gressive shops that are willing and able steel estimating packages, visit thought about yet. For our needs, to provide the necessary personnel and for FabTrol MRP though, we have been able to just buy training to fully utilize it.� software, for the modules we need to solve our realNevertheless, cautions York, the ShopTech’s E2 Shop System, or world problems, and the benefit is defsoftware challenge should not scare off visit for Strucinitely worth it. We may expand our smaller companies. “The software can tural Material Manager from EJE Inuse in the future to tackle other chaldo lots of things we haven’t even dustries.





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Fabricator  November/December 2006

Shop Talk

When in doubt, hire it out... to a professional engineer  Are you in compliance when it

comes to the structural integrity of your products? Retaining the services of a qualified engineer is the surest way to minimize your liability.

by Lee Rodrigue Author’s note: The author is not a licensed engineer, and makes no claims as to the structural integrity of any of the examples used in this article. As ornamental metal fabricators, we’ve all built items for customers that had requirements for load bearing. In general, the decision to use metals in

For your information In the U.S., structural engineers are licensed at the state level. In many states, a Structural Engineering license is conferred after several years experience, and the passage of multiple exams. A Civil Engineering (CE or PE for Professional Engineer) license is usually the first step, which in itself requires at least two years, and in most states four, practical experience and the passage of an exam. Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia Structural_engineer


the first place is guided primarily by load requirements and aesthetics. Few construction materials A typical balcony, subject to standard load available offer the requirements. Does this hold 100 pounds per foot strength-to-size ratio of combined live and dead load? Does the fabricator have metal products. On some documentation? level, when a customer ments throughout the fabricating walks in the door, they have already process, but to also ensure that all made the decision to trust us to delivproducts have been installed per the er strong materials and designs. engineer’s requirements. The question is, when can we trust “How many times have we gone to ourselves to know how strong our the field to install our products only to materials are or how sound our design find that the method of attachment is? It is easy to design items based on must be changed or will not ‘work as the “that oughta be strong enough” philosophy, using only prior experidesigned’ due to coordination issues ence as a guide. Unfortunately, prior with other trades? What was shown on experience only involves a limited the drawings as a block wall now has range of environmental factors. The 1½ inches of EIFS, or the block was truth is that very few fabricators have noted to be solid filled, but for some seen how their stairs or balconies have reason the mason missed that note. Where is the wood blocking for our performed under the extreme condihandrails? Many of the changes in the tions that most professional engineers field prior to our install are never (PE’s) take into account, such as heavy brought to our attention.” snow and wind loads. According to Matt Brady, former project manager In addition to not being able to for Hallmark Iron Works, “The liabiliaccount for extreme conditions, somety of the structural integrity falls upon times even simple designs have comthe fabricator the moment he is plex interactions that aren’t entirely awarded the project. Not only is it his obvious to the untrained fabricator. responsibility to meet these requireLittle “changes in the field” can result Fabricator 

November/December 2006

in disaster, even when sent through the proper approval channels. Consider the example of the collapse of the 2nd and 4th floor walkways of the Hyatt Regency Atrium in Kansas City, MO, which occurred during a tea-dance party on July 17, 1981. The original design by the engineers called for both walkways to be supported by a single hanger rod from the atrium framing above. This would have required each support tube assembly (made from double channels) to only carry the weight of the walkway to which it was attached. However, hanger rods weren’t easily available that were long enough to hang from the structural framing above to the second floor level, so the fabricator requested an alternate detail, where one set of hanger rods would hang from the framing to the 4th floor, and another set would hang from the 4th to the 2nd floor, offset to the center by 4 inches. He submitted the change in his shop drawings, and no exception was taken during approval. Unfortunately, neither the fabrica-


The original design intent at the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, and the “asbuilt” condition. The doublechannels failed at the outside nut on the upper level.

tor nor the approving employee at the engineering firm considered what effect this might have on the tube support. Now, instead of the tube at the 4th floor only supporting that specific walkway, it was forced to support the weight of that walkway plus the walkway at the 2nd floor. The end result was catastrophic, and has gone down in U.S. history as the “most devastating structural failure in terms of loss of life and injuries,” according to a

study performed by the Department of Engineering at Texas A&M University. The death toll was 114, with more than 200 people injured as a result of the collapse. What should be frightening about this example is that the “fix” proposed by the fabricator (and negligently approved by the engineer) probably looks a lot like the “fixes” that many fabricators might suggest. If faced with this issue on a canopy or balcony


November/December 2006





support, how would you solve it? Would you propose a fix to guide the engineer of record toward the most economical solution? Would you have your own engineer review your change before submitting it to the Engineer Of Record (EOR)?

The washer deformed as it ripped through the flanges of the boxed channels, killing 114 and injuring more than 200 people.


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The simple fact is that most ornamental fabricators are not licensed engineers, and in virtually every state in the U.S., this limits what you can or cannot claim about the work that you do. Although there are many cases in which simple calculations are available to calculate basic railing data, like post spacing and rail height, your state may not permit you to perform these calculations without carefully worded disclaimers. In the state of Oregon, for example, a person is considered to be “practicing engineering” if he or she “[applies] special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional services or creative work as consultation, investigation, testimony, evaluation, planning, design and services during construction, manufacture or fabrication for the purpose of ensuring compliance with specifications and design, in connection with any public or private utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, works or projects.” This definition is long winded, but part of a very specific legal framework that prevents a non-licensed person from performing any duties that require “special knowledge.” In essence, if an engineer has the knowledge to review it, and the owner or architect does not, then (in the state of Oregon) you must have it reviewed by a licensed engineer, even if you can do the calculation yourself. When you look at the formulas in the back of a catalog with railing data, does that constitute using “special knowledge?” As a business owner, the primary question driving your decision not to use a professional licensed engineer should be, “what would a jury think?” In most cases, requirements for engineering review vary from state to state. States may exclude certain types of buildings or projects, and it is your responsibility as a business owner to find out which classes of buildings are exempt from these requirements. Most states provide online access to their current statutes, and a quick search Fabricator 

November/December 2006

can help you determine how your state defines the act of “engineering” and what represents a “significant structure.” For most fabricators working in a residential-only environment, the responsibility to adhere to the prevailing building codes is what drives the need for engineering. The policeman in this case is the residential code inspector, whose goal is to ensure adherence to these codes. However, the inspector is not a “product tester,”


and it is not his responsibility to ensure that your product can withstand the required loads. If, in his opinion, your product falls grossly short of minimum requirements, he or she may demand that you replace the product, correct the shortcoming, or produce engineering certification that documents adherence to code requirements. According to Mike Rodrigue, owner of Virginia Architectural Metals, “With many inspectors, all you get is a quick grab

on the top rail and a shake. If it feels solid, that’s all that is done to verify general code adherence as far as loads are concerned.” This does not, however, absolve the fabricator of the responsibility to provide a product that meets code. If the product is a guardrail or handrail, then an engineer must certify that a specific design meets the minimum code requirements for point and distributed loading, both from the top and the side. Shops that do a good deal of repetitive railing designs can obtain certification on general designs and add additional features, as long as those features do not affect the basic calculations performed by the PE. Similarly, items that are to support people must be engineered for the loads required by code. These must include not only live loads (forces placed upon the structure by people, animals, furniture and other “temporary” stresses), but also dead loads (forces placed upon the structure by its own weight and the interaction of other materials like concrete, stud walls, adjacent surfaces, etc.) If you, as a fabricator, don’t know how to calculate what size materials, connections (welded or bolted), or anchors are required to meet these load criteria, then it is your legal responsibility to consult an engineer prior to completing such a project. If you do know how to calculate these factors, then you must tread very lightly in terms of how you present them, because in performing the mathematical operations, you are dangerously close to using “special knowledge” to derive this information. The third class of engineered products includes those that do not have to conform to any specific code, but because of their environment, represent a potential hazard to the public. Anything overhead falls into this category, like sign brackets, chandeliers, sconces and other architectural features. Generally, fabricators who only build these items and do not install them can find some shelter from liability. According to Doug Bracken, owner of Weimann Ironworks, “Many fabriFabricator 

November/December 2006

cators use the formulae from the back of the Julius Blum catalog.” Doug protects his interests by using a local engineer who is licensed in all 50 states on almost all new products. Because the National Society of Professional Engineer’s (NSPE’s) Code of Ethics specifies that “engineers’ designs, data, records, and notes referring exclusively to an employer’s work are the employer’s property,” Weimann Ironworks can reliably re-use railing designs from previous applications and know that they meet code requirements. Bracken notes that “most commercial contracts require engineering certification, and we build that into the cost of those jobs.” One thing that frequently causes trouble for subcontractors is in the area of residential construction, particularly in remodeling situations which may not have the external pressure of a building inspector. Generally, there are two basic scenarios surrounding the residential remodel that can result in significant exposure for the fabricator. The first is caused by


More than 20 feet of rail with no posts, only 1/2” pickets. What would your engineer say if you asked him to stamp this design?

an owner who comes with a design in hand (perhaps for a balcony from a second-story deck), with material sizes and connections specified, and asks the fabricator to build what he has drawn. In this case, it is imperative that the fabricator specifies that he or she will not build the item until it has been engineered and certified. If the the product is built and installed without certification, the obligation for code adherence falls solely on the fab-

ricator, even though the owner provided the design. Because load requirements are frequently part of the code, the fabricator bears all of the risk in the event of a failure, even when he was only “following the drawings.” The second scenario is the more likely one, in which an owner approaches the fabricator with a rough sketch or a picture from a magazine and asks for a replica or something similar. In this case, the fabricator designs the item, its connections to itself and to the rest of the building, and builds and installs it, sometimes without any formal drawings at all. In this case, there is no doubt that the only contributor to the soundness of the design is the fabricator himself. The owner relies solely on the fabricator’s expertise for choosing the connection methods and materials. An inherent legal expectation of that expertise is to know when engineering services are required. In the event of a failure, there is only one person at whom a finger can be pointed. In summary, the legal ramifications of doing simple calculations on your own varies from state to state, but in many locations, liability and civil penalties are severe. Responsibility for adherence to load requirements of the prevailing codes falls squarely on fabricators and installers, and the best way to minimize your liability is to retain the services of a professional engineer for each type of product that you provide. Consult your local engineer and/or legal counsel for advice on how the law might apply to you. Fabricator 

November/December 2006

Shop Talk

Alloy Uses, From A to Zinc  From joint replacements to metal-clad buildings, today’s alloys

offer strength, durability and flexibility By John L. Campbell If you’ve had a hip or knee replacement, you may have learned to allow extra time at the airport — because when the security buzzers go off, it’s due to the fact that the hardware you’re concealing is either highly polished titanium or a cobalt base alloy called Vitallium. Both alloys are more tissue tolerant than stainless steel — and both alloys will alert security guards. Or, perhaps, on the golf course, you (or someone in your foursome) boast of a titanium driver or a pricey sand wedge. These clubs promise to cut countless strokes from your game, provided you swing them right. While the two scenarios above demonstrate common uses for the metallic chemical element, today’s titanium producers and distributors are mining a larger market than just cueball size hip replacements and fist-size golf club heads, both of which require cast grades of the alloy. Having established markets in the medical, aerospace and petrochemical industries, the producers of titanium are now 30

wrapping entire buildings in their product. However, titanium producers are not alone in their efforts to establish architectural markets, and the idea of metal-clad buildings is not new. “Strong” buildings

During the mid-1800s, after the Civil War ended, architects experimented with ironclad buildings. Some are still standing — Philadelphia has a few, and the Iron Block Building in downtown Milwaukee was recently renovated. The thick cast iron panels used to build these structures are too heavy and too expensive to suit the current economy. Instead, thin metal sheets of stainless steel, titanium, and zinc are being attached to the outsides of public buildings worldwide today. For example, the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, opened in 1997. The building is one of Frank Gehry’s architectural marvels, with its 42,815 interlocking panels of 0.016’’ thick titanium sheet that covers 343,000 square feet of the building’s exterior. Each panel is 24” x

For your information Titanium and alloy resources: Timet is a large producer of titanium coil, sheet and tubing, with corporate headquarters in Denver, CO. Its Architectural Applications Group is located in Lawrence, KS. For more information, visit the company’s web site at www.architecture@timet. com. Thomas Register’s web site lists 25 distributors, manufacturers and service companies for titanium tubing as well as sheet, plate, bar, fittings and fasteners. Log on to nsearch.html and enter “titanium” into the search bar. Eastern Alloys Inc. posts the mechanical and physical properties of Kirksite on their web site: mold-base.htm. Fabricator 

November/December 2006

48” with an annealed and pickled finish. The alloy is Timetal® 35A, (ASTM B265) a commercially pure grade used in architectural applications, manufactured by Timet. In addition to its beneficial mechanical properties, titanium requires no corrosion preventive coating in its silver-gray natural color, making it an excellent choice for an exterior surface with a natural beauty and perfect for the Guggenheim Museum. The use of anodic oxidation

allows titanium to have coatings in a wide range of colors. A film of titanium dioxide protects the finish from the corrosive sulfur-containing atmosphere of urban environments. Light rays that travel through this oxide film are absorbed, refracted and reflected creating an interference that gives the surface its color. As the film thickness increases, the color changes from bronze to green to red-violet through the full range of spectral colors. Despite their cost, titanium clad

The new entry pavilion at the Indianapolis Museum of Art utilizes a combination of glass and weathered zinc panels. With a back coat developed by Contrarian Metal Resources, traditional venting behind the zinc sheets is eliminated. With zinc’s algaecidal and fungicidal properties, it is an ideal choice of structural facade in a climate where humidity produces mold and mildew staining.

buildings have found room in the budgets of not only wealthy individuals, but also non-profit organizations and municipal governments. In California, the Cerritos Public Library is said to be one of the first titaniumclad buildings in the United States. It’s a gorgeous piece of architecture, particularly with the sun’s reflection off its metal skin. Titanium’s versatile properties

Titanium possesses several properties that make it ideal for construction requiring strength and durability. With the equivalent strength of steel, titanium weighs half as much (available literature makes weight claims varying from 40 percent to 60 percent less than steel). It’s half the 32


November/December 2006

Completed in 2006, the $389 million Jamaica AirTran JFK Terminal links a new light rail system from JFK International Airport to the Long Island Railroad, New York City Transit subway lines and ground transportation. The terminal’s stainless steel roofing has a low-glare, uncoated texture, engineered and supplied by Contrarian Metal Resources and marketed under their trade name, InvariMatte .s Ž

weight of copper and 1.7 times the weight of aluminum. Compared to stainless steel, there is certainly a weight advantage. The coefficient of thermal expansion, always a consideration when fabricating structures exposed to the sun, is about equal to that of both glass and concrete. It’s half the expansion rate of stainless steel and copper and one-third the coefficient of thermal expansion for aluminum. These are major benefits where weight and thermal stresses are considerations. Titanium is extremely durable. Timet warrants its architectural titanium grade for 100 years against through-wall corrosion, even in marine environments. With its high affinity for oxygen, a damaged surface will restore itself with an oxide film instantly. That same hunger for oxygen is the reason titanium has to be melted under vacuum for casting and fabricated under inert gases for welding. Oxygen and hydrogen impurities cause titanium to become brittle. The high cost of raw materials and processing sets the price of titanium at a factor of four times the cost of 18-8, chromium-nickel, stainless steels. Commercially, there are five grades of titanium, ASTM Grades 1 through 4 and 7, depending upon the impurity content. These alloys can be grouped according to microstructure. The commercially pure (98 percent to 99.5 percent Ti) alloys are easily fusion welded. The single-phase, alpha alloys contain up to 7 percent aluminum with small amounts of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon. They can be fusion welded in the annealed condition. The 34


November/December 2006

two-phase, alpha-beta alloys have up to 6 percent aluminum with beta forming elements such as chromium, vanadium and molybdenum. These alloys with the beta phase are not easily welded. The commercially pure titanium available in sheet form is the easiest to weld, but it’s also the weakest. Tubing is often an alpha-beta alloy with up to 3 percent aluminum and 2.5 percent vanadium. An unalloyed filler metal of a lower strength is used

to obtain weld metal ductility (i.e.) an ERTi-2 filler rod. The most likely weld imperfections are porosity, embrittlement and cracking due to contamination. To eliminate the problem of porosity in welds, it is essential to degrease the surface areas with steam, solvent, alkaline or a vapor degreaser. Any surface oxide should then be removed by light grinding, scratch brushing with a clean stainless steel wire brush, or pickling with a hydrofluoric-nitric

acid solution. The joint area has to be smooth and dry. Embrittlement of a weld is caused by the absorption of gases or dissolved contaminants like iron dust. The oxygen level around welds should never exceed 20ppm, and the weld pool must be protected from oxidation by either an argon or helium gas shield. Iron dust dissolved in the weld will cause cracking and reduce the corrosion resistance at the joint. In order to avoid micro-cracking, titanium welds should be performed in a clean, reserved area away from all forms of steel fabrication. It’s good practice to cover titanium components to avoid airborne dust particles. Zinc alloys

If you’re buying galvanized steel, you know that zinc prices have doubled in the past 12 months. Jim Halliday, President of Contrarian Metal Resources in Cranberry Township, north of Pittsburgh, ranked the comparative costs of alloy sheet in this order: aluminum alloy is the lowest cost; stainless grade 304 is now slightly less than zinc sheet (710 alloy); next, comes copper; and, finally, the highest priced alloy sheet, titanium. “Titanium has tripled in cost over the last few years,” said Halliday. Contrarian Metal Resources sells zinc sheets as well as stainless steel and titanium for metal-clad buildings. Installations of zinc require an air space behind the sheeting. Halliday explained that his company has developed a backing material that eliminates that necessity. Halliday cited the Indianapolis Museum of Art as one example of a building utilizing weathered zinc panels. Since discovering that the oxides of zinc zap the growth of mold and fungus, roof vents are now being manufactured out of zinc sheets. These vents run the entire length of the roof ’s ridge. Great States Products, which manufactures Roof-Be-Clean®, a roof cleaning chemical, also markets ZincShield®, pure zinc strips that can be installed at the peak of the roof, where the run-off from rain will kill and inhibit fungus and mold. The 36


September/October 2006

These pins are made with InvariMatte®, a non-directional, low gloss, uniformly textured stainless steel finish designed for use in architectural applications by Contrarian Metal Resources. Its lower reflectivity lends itself to roofing applications, wall panels, coping, trim and more. Since it has no coatings to deteriorate, InvariMatte will last indefinitely with no maintenance.

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time to put these strips in place is with a new roof installation. Zinc sheet, touted in home and architectural magazines, is now used for prestigious bar tops, butler sinks, stove enclosures, decorative counters, cabinetry and kitchen cooking areas. It has the “old country” look that began in Europe and has become fashionable in North America. One of the leading proponents of zinc fabrications is Andrew Christie, who does business in the San Francisco area as Art Metal. Christie buys pre-finished 14-gauge zinc alloy sheet in Europe that he uses to fabricate table and bar tops, kitchen counters and butler-sinks. Soft metal sinks originated long before the days of dishwashers, when the wealthy employed a butler to do the dishes. With a forgiving sink, there was less risk of chipping crystal and good china. Today, zinc provides that “forgiveness,” and its patina fits right in with the “old country” design of Christie’s French kitchens. Kirksite

Because it’s a cast grade of zinc, few fabricators are familiar with Kirksite (ZA-2). The alloy has a small percentage of aluminum, copper and magnesium. Since its development for the aircraft industry to shape aluminum skins during WWII, the alloy has found limited markets for tool and die work. When automotive frames were manufactured in Milwaukee, Kirksite was poured to make forming dies for A. O. Smith’s automotive products division. The dies, some of which weighed as much as 3000 lbs., were used to press prototype steel frames for Detroit’s truck and automotive industries. The steel was typically 3/8” thick. With the compressive strength of Kirksite, the dies held up long enough to make prototyping steel frames economical. Broken dies were re-melted — another cost-saving benefit — although the scrap required additions of volatile elements like magnesium to meet the exact chemical specifications. With minimum shrinkage (0.14” Fabricator 

November/December 2006

per ft.) and a low casting temperature of 800° to 850°F Kirksite can be accurately cast in either sand or permanent molds. It is being used to make metal forming dies, tube bending tools, dies for injection molding and compression molding, as well as molds for ceramics and rubber. Cast in an open sand mold (drag half only), enough extra metal is allowed in the pouring process so that the bottom of the die (the top of the pour) can be milled flat to the desired die height.



The famous Oscar Awards statuettes are made by casting Britannia metal in permanent molds. For finishing, each Oscar is polished and gold plated. Each statuette weighs 8.5 pounds. Recipients are cautioned not to polish their Oscars too aggressively for fear they will wear off the gold.

From time to time, people inquire about pewter, another casting alloy. Concerned about bi-metal corrosion, one fabricator asked if pewter could be attached with stainless steel fasteners. The answer is yes. As a general rule, it’s always safe to use fasteners of a more noble metal like stainless to attach larger metal sheets or components made of less noble metals like tin, lead, zinc, aluminum or magnesium. Today’s pewter is lead-free, which wasn’t always the case. Lead-free pewter is an alloy of 91 percent tin, 7.5 percent antimony and 1.5 percent copper. The absence of lead makes it suitable for tableware and kitchen utensils. Old pewter had a high lead content — 30 percent lead and 70 percent tin. People called it “black metal,” because it darkened with age. Moreover, the lead leached out when used with acidic foods like spaghetti sauce and vinegar preservatives. In an antique shop, you might hear an honest dealer describe a heavy, white metal statue or a plated bronze as Britannia metal. The name makes it sound as old as the Mayflower, but Britannia metal is actually lead-free pewter with bismuth and zinc additions to make it harder. After the development of electroplating in 1846, Britannia metal became the base metal for silver-plated eating utensils. The designation EPBM on certain plated products stands for electro-platedBritannia-metal, which is not to be confused with Britannia silver, a highgrade alloy of silver. The applications for Britannia metal wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the famous Oscar statuettes that are handed out each year at Hollywood’s Academy Awards ceremony. R. S. Owens, a Chicago firm, makes about 50 of these statuettes every year by casting Britannia metal in permanent molds. Each statuette weighs 8.5 pounds. For finishing, each Oscar is polished and gold plated. Recipients are cautioned not to polish their Oscars too aggressively for fear they will wear off the gold.


November/December 2006

Shop Talk

When, Where and … Watt?

 Coal, coke, propane, and gas are all fuels for the blacksmith—

but what about electricity?

By Chris Holt Things were heating up in an unusual way for blacksmiths when the ASM International Heat Treating Society (ASM) Exhibition and Conference was held recently at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Thousands of individuals interested in all aspects of heat treating attended Photos by Jerry Wolfe and Chris Holt


this extensive conference and were treated to one of the most unique opportunities a blacksmith could dream of experiencing. In keeping with its “forefather” and historical symbol, the blacksmith, ASM wanted to include a demonstration of basic blacksmithing skills in the conference exhibition area. However, safety concerns and regulations prevented any demonstration involving traditional blacksmithing

For your information Helpful links: ASM International Ajax/TOCCO Pittsburgh Area ArtistBlacksmiths


November/December 2006

heating methods (propane or coal). So, PAABA (Pittsburgh Area Artist Blacksmith’s Association) member Jerry Wolfe stepped in and contacted Ajax/TOCCO, which volunteered to make an experimental electric induction heater for the conference. (Although Jerry’s retired from The Timken Company, his connections in the heat-treating industry are still hot!) Some of you may wonder, “Just what is an electric induction heater?” Expert Don Klesser gives the following definition: “Basically, when a conductive material is placed in a moving electrical field, the field ‘induces’ a current into the conductor. With sufficient electrical energy, the electric current in the conductor causes it to heat itself, causing the atoms in the conductor to vibrate and create heat. “For the induction heating system that you used, the heating coil pro-

November/December 2006 


vides the ‘moving electrical field’ through use of an alternating current (AC), and the steel part is the conductor placed within the electrical field. Frequency, voltage, coil size, etc., are important to the heating because they determine how effective the conductor (the part) interacts with the moving electrical field (the coil). “Because the coil is carrying an electrical current (its atoms are vibrat-

30 sec 1 min

1.5 min 2 min


ing as well), it also is being heated — therefore, it has to be water cooled so that it doesn’t overheat.” The output of the model electric induction heater was 5KW and 19 KHZ, and the input needed was 480 volts, 22 amps. The size of material that worked best for heating was ½” square. Smaller material did not heat to a good forging temperature and lost


30 sec


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1850F 2500F

1 min

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4 min

5 min




14500F 1760F




Could the electric induction heater be what the blacksmith will use in the future? its heat rapidly. With a quick push of a button to activate a remote foot petal, the ½” square material heated evenly and quickly, and was ready for forging in seconds! Since there were many vendors that deal with heat-treating present at the conference, it wasn’t difficult to find a willing company to measure the induction heater with an optical pyrometer. A Raytek Marathon pyrometer was used to measure temperatures at intervals, and the results were used to compare the induction heater’s performance with that of the small, 1 lb. propane forge also on site. As the days progressed, the induction heater continued to be an interesting experience. Its advantages are the rapid and uniform temperature it provides. It would be particularly good for heating metal in a specific area. And, it is very quiet, amazingly clean, small, produces no fumes, and requires no maintenance during use. As the final day of demonstration wound down, Jerry decided to experiment and find out if the heater could double as a hot dog grill. Lets just say, it “cooks up” metal a lot better than hot dogs! Could the electric induction heater be what the blacksmith will use in the future? Maybe so. The price of such a system may be futuristic in another way. It cost about $20,000 to manufacture and demonstrate this heater, but it was a priceless experience for those that 44


November/December 2006

the heating coil provides a ‘moving electrical field’ through use of an alternating current.


Jerry Wolfe’s “grand experiment:” can the induction heater double as a hot dog grill?


A crowd gathers to watch a demonstration of the experimental induction heater.


were able to give it a try at the conference. Many thanks to Jerry Wolfe and Ajax/TOCCO for their generosity and support of the blacksmith of the future. (Blacksmith demonstrators from PAABA were John Steel, Bob Rupert, Chris Holt, Jerry Wolfe, Gary Cooper and Nigel Tudor.)

Want to learn more about precision induction heating? Ameritherm Inc. has published technical notes on:  Coil design and fabrication  Precision induction heating with advanced solid state technology  Heat staking Log on to:

November/December 2006 



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

It’s all about value at

METALfab 2007 METALFab 2007 promises to give you all the tools you’ll need to add value — to your products, to your customer service practices, and to your business as a whole. Pleasing the customer (even the most demanding ones) without driving yourself (or your company) over the edge — it’s a fine line every fabricator and supplier walks. Keynote Speaker Glenn Shepard will share his insights and solutions with METALfab 2007 attendees in his speech entitled, “Customer Service and How to Keep Difficult Customers Without Giving Too Much.” e best-selling author of books on management and career success will also conduct three education sessions: Professional speaker, author • How to Get People to Pay and management consultant • Managing Problem Employees and Difficult Supervisory Positions Glenn Shepard • How to Supervise People and Lead a Team Learn how your business and your customers can benefit from Glenn’s advice in these outstanding presentations on ursday, March 1, 2007.

Learn how to increase the value of your products and services at METALfab 2007’s education sessions.

For your information


Additional highlights of METALfab 2007 include: • Welcome Reception & Supplier Showcase • Outstanding Education Sessions • Informative Shop Tours (Eagle Bending Machine Inc. and Carrell Corp.) • Code Updates • Top Job Jamboree • Fabricators in Paradise and NEF Auctions • Annual Awards Banquet • Networking Opportunities and much more! METALfab is the only event designed specifically for ornamental and miscellaneous metal fabricators and their suppliers. Contact: NOMMA / NEF 1535 Pennsylvania Ave. McDonough, GA 30253 Ph: (888) 516-8585 Fax: (770) 288-2006 Web:

Date & Location: METALfab 2007 takes place at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Destin, FL, February 28–March 3, 2007.

To order Videos/DVDs:

Visit the NOMMA website for more details: Fabricator 

November/December 2006

Member Talk

Phoenix firm operates with a touch of nature

some photos did not output - still trying to resolve this.

 Started in a living room in 1987, Grizzly

Welding has grown to become a high-end shop that produces a full range of beautiful ornamental products, including gates, railings, and art pieces. Originally joining NOMMA in 1996,

Grizzly Welding & Custom Fabrication is a high-end ornamental shop based in Phoenix, AZ. The shop’s owner, Roger “Grizz” LaBrash, is a noted metalsmith and artist, who has a particular love for crafting anything related to nature. We recently caught up with Roger to ask him a few questions about his fascinating company and work.


Tell us about your self and your interesting background.

I have been a blacksmith for approximately 12 years and a welder and business owner for 19 years. My artistic blacksmithing started when November/December 2006  Fabricator

replicating an antique gate from Paris about 12 years ago. Blacksmithing is part of my business and artwork is a sideline to enhance the everyday work I do. I also do copper repoussé and make domiciles out of various metals.


How did you get started in the ornamental metalworking business?


I started out as a journeyman carpenter as a young adult following in the footsteps of my father. I decided after several years that I could envision doing more with metal than I could with wood. I started building gates and fencing for my boss, who bought my first wire feed welder. During that

The work of Grizzly Welding covers the full gamet of ornamental iron, ranging from art pieces to grand star railings and driveway gates. The firm is especially fond of projects related to wildlife and plants.

time I decided to start my own business. It has continued to grow ever since. My wife Jami, who was an inspiration to my metalwork, died from breast cancer four years ago, leaving me a single parent. I spend most of my

For your information NOMMA member: Grizzly Welding & Custom Fabrication, 1329 West Lincoln St., Phoenix, AZ 85007. Ph: (602) 7169660; Fax: (602) 716-9546. Specialties: Driveway gates, walkway gates, railings, furniture, miscellaneous, restoration, repoussé, nature pieces.


free time with my son Jason, who, by the way, is an unending inspiration to me whether it is with artwork, normal everyday work, or at play. Then I give some of my spare time helping the Susan G. Komen breast cancer Race for the Cure. The bulk of my spare time is dedicated to the Boy Scouts of America. I am an Eagle Scout myself and so is my son. We spend most of our weekends with scouts or at scouting events. We also donate our welding ability to scout camps and the local YMCA to maintain and make improvements. I made a decision a few years ago (after numerous clients and friends said “you’re an artist”) to further my knowledge of moving metal. I now am dedicated to creating beautiful, inspiring pieces of metalwork.


How did you choose the name “Grizzly?”

I love bears, especially grizzlies. My interest in bears actually started-


What do you feel is the greatest challenge working in the ornamental and miscellaneous fabrication industry?


Quality employees, and dealing with their ????

A driveway gate featuring free-flowing elements.

when a black bear ripped my pack on a hiking trip as a Boy Scout in 1976.

How has NOMMA helped your business to become more successful?



Provide quality product and adhere to your promises. Also be on time to appointments.

Fabricator magazine is inspirational, the resources for DVD’s, videos, and publications is invaluable, (some jobs I might not of sold without the help of NOMMA’s brouchers), and the Member’s Discussion forum (Listserv) is so helpful.



Do you have a certain philosophy that guides you in your work?

What are your favorite types of jobs?

I have several, including forged metalwork, especially artwork, copper repoussé, and raising vessels.

What other related organizations are you involved with?

Arizona Artists Blacksmith Association, ABANA, BBB, NFIB, and the most important one, the Boy Scouts.

S TA I R C A S E S • R A I L I N G S • G AT E S • F E N C E S • A N D M O R E . . .

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Fabricator  November/December 2006

Job Profile

Restoration Top Job winner has a passion for “old” fashion  Roger Carlsen loves the professional and artistic challenge of

restoring historical pieces, but what do you do when the work comes to your shop in a hundred parts? Luckily, the piece Carlsen was restoring had a twin — that wasn’t in as much disrepair — to serve as a model. By Sheila Phinazee In 1996, NOMMA Member Roger Carlsen of Ephraim Forge in Frankfort, IL, received the Top Job Silver Award for his repoussé restoration work on the Lurie Mansion, in Chicago. Carlsen was brought into the restoration job by a friend who was re-roofing the structure and came upon repousséd panel ornaments on the gables of the mansion. After the roofers removed the damaged panel ornaments, they gladly handed them over to Carlsen for specialized treatment. “They were all in disrepair, “ says Carlsen. “I could see there had been a number of attempts to restore the panels. There was a lot of caulking, November/December 2006 


pop riveting, and screws holding parts together,” he says. Once all the parts arrived, Carlsen determined that they were made of sheet zinc and not copper or galvanized steel, as was once believed. “Sheet zinc is very malleable, so no annealing was necessary,” Carlsen says. Once the home of a prominent family in the early 20th century, Chicago’s Lurie Mansion had been sold and divided up into apartments. Eventually, after the passing of many years, a new owner decided to restore the three-story building back into a single-family residence, but its panels needed TLC. The central design consisted of a wreath on each panel — one Carlsen restored completely, the other required

complete reconstruction. “I was able to construct the basic form of 20 individual pieces of sheet zinc rolled or formed into a wreath, around a donut-half,” says Carlsen. “I then took individual leaves, each a parallelogram, and soldered each one, overlapping them.”

For your information Project: Repoussé restoration, Lurie Mansion, Chicago Shop: NOMMA member Ephraim Forge Inc., Frankfort, IL Owner: Roger D. Carlsen


One of the damaged repoussé panel ornaments from the Lurie Mansion roof.

For the repoussé, Carlsen used a sand bag and plasticine for his backing material. “Basic steel tools were used because sheet zinc is very soft, not unlike sheet lead,” he explains. To finish the panel ornaments, Carlsen sprayed the pieces with epoxy primer and two coats of acrylic enamel. Carlsen, who has been forging for more than 30 years, runs a two-man shop and frequently partners with other NOMMA members, depending on the job. This time, Ephraim Forge joined with EW Olsen’s shop, which completed the Lurie job by doing the framework. The job took Carlsen over 50 hours to complete.

Repoussé, meaning to “push back” in French, involves making a relief design by pushing the back side of a surface made of metal. Although used for making plate armour, silver and gold jewelry, as well as decorations for architectural panels, the most famous example of repoussé is probably New York Harbor’s Statue of Liberty. Although Carlsen currently spends about 20 percent of his time on blacksmith/restoration, 20 percent on sculpture, and 60 percent on high-end forge work commissioned from architects, designers, and clients, he is no stranger to restoration jobs. Over the years, Carlsen has accumulated plenty of historic pieces, particularly scrollwork. “I’m fortunate to have had access, over time, to a lot of scrolls in restoration work,” he says. “We can borrow from the old masters. They’re the people we use as guidelines to not only do our work, but to also judge our work.” As Carlsen demonstrates in the NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) DVD, “Scrolls: Theory & Production,” fabricators today can utilize old scrolls and other motifs by making a tracing directly on sheet steel with a permanent marker. “One of the advantages of using existing scrolls or other forms is not having to decide whether to make the 50


November/December 2006

line the inside or outside of the scroll,” notes Carlsen. “The positive and negative space is clearly defined. This makes creating jigs an easier process.” Often original ironwork is joined with only traditional techniques, but when the job is not a true historical restoration, Carlsen uses modern welding for final assembly. This was the case for another joint venture with Rick Wories of Builders Ironwork. Together, Carlsen and Wories recently completed a restoration job in which they worked an old piece into a pair of driveway gates — another great example of reusing old metalwork and business networking. This job, located on a 23-acre Italian estate established at the turn of the century, was particularly challenging, but the antique piece they incorporated into the gates was too beautiful to pass up. “The original old pieces were joined with only traditional techniques — mortise and tennon rivets, and forge welds,” states Carlsen. “Because this was not a true historical restoration, we were allowed to use modern welding for final assembly.” Not so, for a restoration job Carlsen just completed for Northwestern University. In contrast, this job, involving an older building’s porch with iron grillwork, needed to remain true to history. The porch’s railing needed a facelift, but only 12 of the 14 pieces of the original railing were present; the missing two had to be replicated. “The architects were very specific,” says Carlsen. “They wanted old techniques to be used with no visible welds; they wanted the scrollwork to be identical.” Upon seeing some of Carlsen’s other work, the architects asked him to bid on the project. After submitting samples, Carlsen was chosen for the job. It’s obvious that Carlsen finds restoration work to be fascinating and intriguing. “Once we get 20 layers of paint and rust off these pieces, we’re really exposing the craftsman’s work,” he says. “We can see the special alignment marks and see how things had to fit. Even when there are three pieces November/December 2006 


Carlsen painstakingly reconstructed all of the panels that had originally been mounted on the mansion’s gables.

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This piece combined old and new work as part of gate restoration at the Italian estate of Montefiori.


with the same components, each has to be individualized into its own space,” says Carlsen. The final assembly proves to be a challenge when restoring or replicating old work using traditional techniques, as Carlsen did on the Northwestern job. “In the original piece, there were a lot of scrolls that were to be joined with rivets and the outside frame was put together with rabbet joints,” says Carlsen. “Sequencing of the assembly was critical, due to having to be able to head the rivets and then fit all the assembled scrolls into the framework.” “One of the neatest restoration jobs I’ve had was a pair of Spanish doors that were heavy and made of carved wood,” says Carlsen. The job involved a conical-shaped pintel hinge. The owners and Carlsen wanted to maintain the integrity of the piece, so he avoided butt hinges, which are used more commonly today. “I forged the missing pieces

so that the hinge would function as its maker intended,” says Carlsen. Interestingly, the door also included a handmade lock whose key was missing after a hundred years. “I wound up disassembling the lock to look at the mechanism and made a key to throw the bolt,” says Carlsen. “I spent hours filing and notching the key until it worked.” The craftsmanship from a century ago was pure and simple and stood the test of time. “The wonderful thing about ironwork is its longevity — the really good ironwork lasts longer than its creators,” says Carlsen. “And with proper restoration techniques, I’m able to continue the craftsmen’s legacy of great work for maybe another century. Who knows?” Repoussé Facts

Repoussé, meaning to “push back” in French, involves making a relief design by pushing the back side of a surface made of metal. Although


November/December 2006

used for making plate armour, silver and gold jewelry, as well as decorations for architectural panels, the most famous example of repoussé is probably New York Harbor’s Statue of Liberty — repousséd pieces joined together in the round to produce sculpture. After sheet metal is supported by backing material or pitch, it is worked hot or cold, depending on the thickness and malleability of the metal. The fabricator relies on basic hammers, wooden hand tools, or power tools and machines to get the job done. Carlsen Demonstrates the Wide, Wide World of Restoration

The following examples show the wide spectrum of materials used in

restoration work—from sheet zinc to sheet steel to cast iron. Harriet Dean House—Cast Iron Restoration

The Harriet Dean House, of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL, required restoration of the cast iron fire surround mantel. This job included recasting of brass pieces, repair of broken pieces, replicating missing pieces, and a complete refinishing. Once it was disassembled, Carlsen discovered a part that had not been exposed to the air and had retained its original coloring. He asked a professional full-finisher to do an analysis of the colors and match the final piece to the original coloring. This job took 60 hours to complete.

LEFT: A forged replica of an old cast piece.

November/December 2006 


Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, IL

This job involved the restoration of the front canopy. The posts were Old cast iron post on no longer in left; new fabricated and production forged piece on right for and required restoration at forging a piece Woodstock Opera House to match the façade. The building was completed in 1889 using mostly local materials, including limestone, fieldstone, terra cotta, sandstone and white brick. A completely modern theatre today, the Woodstock Opera House didn’t want to sacrifice its “historical authenticity,” so Carlsen’s restoration had to remain true to the building’s original style — a blend of late Victorian, early American and Midwestern elements.


Job Profile

Gazebo with European flair takes the bronze  Old World artistry lends beauty and elegance to a home’s

modern amenities German-born Carl A. Nielbock began studying the art of architectural and ornamental metalwork and design as an apprentice at the age of 14. Over the years, he continued to refine his expertise, eventually earning the title of European Master Craftsman. Today, he utilizes his skills and knowledge of Old World artistry in designing and constructing projects through his company, C.A.N. Art Handworks Inc. in Detroit, MI. Nielbock’s knowledge of and ability to recreate the elegance and style of European artistry were the draw when a local architectural firm contacted him about fabricating custom railings for a client’s pool and balcony. The project was so successful that the client expanded the order to include complementary features, such as patio railings, garden and driveway gates, a trash port and a gazebo for the patio area. “I am always inspired by the fine detail and beauty of ornamental metal handcrafting,” says Nielbock. “And I 54

use this inspiration to design grand style projects on a large scale.” So, while the client’s architect and designer came up with the simple designs and ideas for the various elements, Nielbock brought his inspiration in the form of ornamental elements to the entire project, including the final concepts for the gazebo. It was his handiwork on the gazebo that resulted in a bronze award in the 2006 Top Job contest. Here are some of the project details: Materials used:

 The circles were made from 3/4’ bar stock and the “s” scrolls were made from both 3/4’ and 3/8’ bar stock.  The inner post was made from stainless steel, while the outer mantle was made with decorated aluminum.  Separating the 16 ornamental sections from the main frame (1’ x 2’ tubing) are 1’ brass balls, creating a floating frame.  Horizontal members are 3’ x 1’

bent tubing separated by 3’ space rods, which create a pocket for the 3’ post. Fabrication techniques:

 Bar stock was bent in circles, scrolls, tubes and curves.

Finish techniques:

 The gazebo, as well as the other custom made home embellishments in the project, received hot-dip galvanizing, plus a patina and wax finish.

For your information Project: Construct a gazebo and other complementary features to match custom pool and balcony railing Shop: NOMMA member C.A.N. Art Handworks Inc., Detroit, MI Owner: Carl A. Nielbock


November/December 2006


P T' SZN 7 F JP4G RP M2 O 0 H O BOLG WX DJ SQ UD J7 T% C X " . 0 / F I 5Z UW \'V 1 M E S Installation techniques:

 The 16 ornamental sections

and the four frame sections were assembled on-site, where they were fitted and welded to the post and crane-lifted into place.

The view of blue sky is only enhanced when looking up through the gazebo’s dome.

Measurement and scope of project:

 The gazebo measured 17 ft. high and 17 ft. in diameter.

 The post is 12 inches from the outer circumference and is mounted so that the gazebo has the historical mushroom shape.


 The gazebo took several months and approximately 2,000 man-hours to complete.

Nielbock says that the project was both extremely challenging and rewarding. “Initially, it was difficult to justify the necessary costs of development to the client, simply because they did not understand the amount of time it takes to come up with the designs and produce samples, plus the price of materials and labor,� he said. “But ultimately, I enjoyed giving our apprentices some hands-on training on a complex project, as well as the appreciation expressed by the architects, designers, and last, but not least, the client.�


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November/December 2006

The gazebo, from start to finish

First, as with all of his custom fabrications, Nielbock had the gazebo drawn in life-size on paper to act as a guide and ensure the proper size and measurements. Once the gazebo was completed, it had to receive approval from the architect and undergo testing to be sure it would withstand the weight of its dome. Then, it was time to deliver the gazebo to the client’s home. The gazebo adds even more personality to the already elegant features of the home. Swimmers can look through the ceiling of the indoor pool enclosure and see details of the gazebo.

November/December 2006 



NOMMA Member Benefits and Application Form  Technical Affairs Division — By supporting NOMMA, you promote the work of our technical team. Our volunteers and staff 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 eligi-

ble 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.

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

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question by joining our on-line "ListServ." The systems connects you to a community of fellow NOMMA mem-

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Job Profile


stainless giraffe grabs gold  Working with

stainless steel is challenging, but the creative result filled a gallery’s tall order

By Sheila Phinazee Head and shoulders above the pack, George Bandarra’s 19-foot, full-bodied, hammered stainless steel giraffe took the gold award in the 2006 Top Job contest in the art/sculpture category. George Bandarra, of NOMMA member firm The Iron Hammer in Murray, KY, was approached by an art gallery owner that wanted to honor her deceased husband—who had loved giraffes—with a full-size sculpture. The gallery owner, who later placed the sculpture at the gallery entrance, gave Bandarra free reign, asking only that the finished product not look cartoonish. November/December 2006 


Observe first, design later

With this challenge in mind, Bandarra made a visit to the New Orleans Zoo while there, attending METALfab. After spending a few hours just watching giraffes, he made mental notes of how they move, how far they stick out their tongues, and how their body types differ. “In watching the giraffes, I discovered that, like people, they have different shapes,” says Bandarra. “Some are shorter, some have different slopes to their backs or longer necks.” In addition to making zoo observa-

For your information Project: Hammered stainless steel life-size giraffe Shop: NOMMA member The Iron Hammer, Murray, KY Owner: George Bandarra Winner: Gold Award, Art/Sculpture Category, 2006 Tob Job Contest What to do when your sculpture’s too tall: “I stood on scaffold, ladder, forklift, whatever it took.” — George Bandarra


tions, Bandarra had a small giraffe statue on hand to use as a visual aid, but he never made any actual drawings — relying only on his own mental pictures — when designing the sculpture. Head start

Once in his shop, Bandarra decided to start his sculpture of a giraffe with the head. “I figured if I could tackle the head, I could do the rest,” he explains. The head, like the body, is free

hand hammered from 304 stainless steel sheets — no molds were used for the sculpture. The sheets were formed by hammering, heating and rolling processed over an armature or metal frame of stainless tubing. After making the armature, Bandarra then hammered all the pieces together. The giraffe’s authentic-looking spots were done with heliarc welding a border around each spot, which was then polished to obtain a mirrored finish. Next, Bandarra applied heat with a torch to

“I had to build it with its head off; at 19 feet, it was too tall for my shop. Later, I had to move the sculpture outside to put the head on,” says Bandarra. “I stood on scaffold, ladder, forklift, whatever it took.”

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November/December 2006

The giraffe was too tall to be completed inside Bandarra’s shop, so it was moved create the iridescent color. outdoors, where the head was attached to the body. “It’s important to hammer, polish, and then heat it to create the desired color,” says Bandarra. The giraffe was made in sections. After completing the head, Bandarra did the giraffe’s tail. He then worked on the legs and upwards from there. Each piece was heated whole, annealed to work it soft, and then hammered into shape. Next, Bandarra applied each piece to 800-782-5598 the armature, added spots, polished the work, and heated the steel to produce color. Working with stainless steel is challenging on its own, but the giraffe itself Encon Electronics is a leader in the was also challenging due to its size. access control industry. We stock thousands “I had to build it with its head off; at of products from over 50 manufacturers 19 feet, it was too tall for my shop. including gate operators, telephone entry, card Later, I had to move the sculpture outaccess, keypads, security hardware and all related accessories. side to put the head on,” says Bandarra. “I stood on scaffold, ladder, forklift, For over 20 years , Encon has maintained a commitment to superior customer service . We whatever it took.” offer toll free access , same day shipping Since the giraffe would not be and an unrivaled training facility . exposed to chemicals, the stainless steel Encon’s respected sales team has over 150 years was left unfinished. Stainless is corroof combined industry experience . By providing sion resistant. “It will stay the same for exceptional technical support , free custom100 years,” says Bandarra. ized training and a huge inventory, The 700-pound, life-size giraffe was moved to its final destination on a trail-

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LEFT: After finishing the assembly outdoors, the giraffe was transported to the gallery on a trailer. RIGHT: The life-size stainless steel scupture weighs 700 pounds and stands nearly two-stories high.



November/December 2006

er, where Bandarra was assisted by two other men and a forklift to set the sculpture in place. The entire project took about a month to complete. The challenge of working with stainless steel

The giraffe’s head is free hand hammered from 304 stainless steel sheets

“Stainless steel is difficult to work with because it is stiff and contrary,” says Bandarra, who has more than 35 years of experience in working with stainless. “You can’t make mistakes. If you do, you must start over — you can’t put body filler in to cover mistakes. “What you see must be finished,” “It’s important to he continues. “The fabricator needs to hammer, polish, be meticulous. Stainless is a different and then heat it to world.” create the According to Bandarra, to have sucdesired color,” cess in forging stainless steel, the fabrisays Bandarra. cator must use a sequence of processes and two-to-three times more hammer blows to get the same results as with mild steel. Stainless is tough to work with, but Bandarra believes the variety of colors and textures produced is worth the extra effort. Bandarra, who usually uses the more forgeable 304, 309, or 316L stainless, prefers to forge at about 1,800°F. “At 1,800 to 2,000°F, stainless is annealed, then quenching to below 900°F.” He finds that this method keeps stainless steel’s original properties intact. Bandarra cautions, however, that this process of heating, annealing and reheating may need to be repeated, but stainless can only be annealed successfully about three times. One of stainless steel’s virtues is its ability to produce a variety of colors when heat is applied to it. This quality came in handy for the giraffe statue. Bandarra created the giraffe’s life-like, yellowish straw color by applying 700°F to it. Add-on commission

The gallery owner first called Bandarra with the giraffe commission after talking to other artisans that would only agree to do a giraffe silhouette instead of a full-bodied version. “Her other option was to do a lifesized bronze statue, which would have cost thousands of thousands of dollars,” says Bandarra. Pleased with the first giraffe, the owner has recently asked Bandarra to do a baby giraffe to accompany the larger one. In addition to receiving the Top Job gold award, this was the ultimate compliment.

November/December 2006 



How to construct a life-size giraffe sculpture:  Before he started work on his award-winning sculp-

ture, Bandarra did his homework. He visited the New Orleans Zoo (while in town for METALfab) and spent a few hours observing the giraffes. He made mental notes of their movements and structure, including how their body types differ.  Once in his shop, Bandarra decided to start with the giraffe’s head, which, like the rest of the body, was free hand hammered from stainless steel sheets. The sheets were formed by hammering, heating and rolling processed over an armature or metal frame of stainless tubing. After making the armature, Bandarra hammered all of the pieces together.  The giraffe’s authentic-looking spots were created by heli-arc welding a border around each spot, and then polishing them to achieve a mirrored finish. Heat applied with a torch created the iridescent color.  The giraffe was made in sections and then assembled, attaching the head last. The 700-pound, life-size giraffe was moved to its final destination on a trailer.


George Bandarra studied the structure and movements of real giraffes before making his stainless steel sculpture


November/December 2006

Biz Side

Tax Cuts... 2006 Style

By Mark E. Battersby When President Bush signed the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act at the White House on May 17, it capped more than six months of efforts by the Republicancontrolled Congress to bring tax relief to investors, corporations and middleincome taxpayers. The $70-billion reconciliation measure included provisions that will, according to GOP lawmakers, encourage the continuation of the nation’s economic growth through extended capital gains and dividend tax breaks for investors and tax incentives for businesses. To pay for some of the tax breaks extended or created, lawmakers included more than a dozen “revenue offsets,” counting one that removes restrictions on rollovers to Roth IRAs. Beginning in 2010, those ornamental and miscellaneous metals fabricating business owners who employ individual retirement accounts (IRAs) as savings vehicles will be able to roll over the IRA into a Roth IRA. The ability to make such a rollover is curNovember/December 2006 


 It’s an election year —

and you may think politicians have their eyes on the polls rather than enacting new legislation. Think again. Recent changes in tax laws have had an impact on your business, and subsequent changes in the coming months may affect you even more.

rently limited to taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of no more than $100,000. The amount being rolled over must be included in gross income — so taxes will be due, although they can be spread over a two-year period if the rollover is made in 2010. Qualified withdrawals from Roth IRAs are not taxable and Roth IRAs are not subject to the minimum distribution requirements of conventional IRAs and 401(k) plans. The new bill also ended a practice that allowed high-income families to lower their tax bills by transferring assets to minor children. The new rules require taxing unearned income at their parents’ rates until children reach age 18 rather than the former age 16 requirement. The Dreaded AMT The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is a separate method of determining income tax for both the metal fabrication operation and its owner. It was originally devised to ensure that at least a minimum amount of tax is paid by high-income corporate and

non-corporate taxpayers who reap large tax savings thanks to so-called “tax preferences.” In essence, the AMT functions as a recapture mechanism, reclaiming some of the tax breaks primarily available to high-income taxpayers such as

For your information Comprehensive tax information is readily available through a number of resources online. Check out TaxAlmanac, a free tax research resource and community: The site offers a library of articles on various tax laws and questions, as well as a forum for discussion goups. Current tax law changes for both businesses and individuals are listed on the Internal Revenue Service’s web site, Information on tax laws for 2006 and later can be found there, along with printable forms and publications.


certain tax deductions, exemptions, losses and tax credits. Unfortunately, because the amount of income exempted from the bite of the AMT is not indexed for inflation, increasing numbers of owners — and metal fabrication businesses — feel the pain each year. To calculate the tentative minimum tax, a metal fabricator must first determine alternative minimum taxable income (AMTI) and then subtract the AMTI exemption amount. The new

tax law provides an exemption amount (an amount that is phasedout for married couples filing jointly with AMTI [AMT income] of $150,000 or more or unmarried individuals with AMTI of $112,500 or more). While the $4,500 exemption amount in the new law will help, it is hardly a solution, and for many fabricators, and does not affect businesses. The exemption amount was scheduled to decrease from $58,000 to $45,000 (married filing jointly; from

$40,250 to $33,750 for unmarried individuals) for tax years beginning after December 31, 2005. Instead, under the new law, for taxpayer years beginning in 2006, the exemption amounts are increased to:  $62,250 in the case of married individuals filing a joint return and surviving spouses;  $42,500 in the case of unmarried individuals other than surviving spouses; and  $31,275 in the case of married individuals filing a separate return. Plus, don’t forget that the Energy Tax Incentive Act of 2005 enacted, effective for 2006, a nonrefundable tax credit for alternative fuel motor vehicles and alternative fuel motor vehicle refueling property. These tax credits, along with the credit for non-business energy property, the credit for residential energy-efficient property, and others qualify as nonrefundable personal credits. The new law extends the allowance for nonrefundable personal credits against both the regular tax and the AMT for one year, through 2006. Capital gains & dividends For metalworking business owners, this is probably the most important provision in the new tax law. The reduced tax rates on long-term capital gains and dividends were scheduled to expire at the end of 2008. Now, the owners of incorporated metalworking shops distributing profits in the form of dividends can safely make plans to benefit from those lower tax rates on all dividend payments received. What’s more, these lower tax rates are also extended for capital gains that result from the sale of business property — even the business itself. The new law extends the reduced rates of 0 percent, 5 percent and 15 percent on dividends and long-term capital gains to taxable years beginning on or before December 31, 2010. As under prior law, capital gains and dividends that would otherwise be taxed at a 5



November/December 2006

Today – and through 2009 – the maximum amount that a metal fabricating business may expense or immediately deduct is $100,000 of the cost of property, adjusted for inflation, of course. percent rate will be taxed at 0 percent for taxable years beginning after 2007. Equipment Expensing Since 2003, lawmakers have provided enhanced expensing or write-offs under the Tax Code’s Section 179. The new tax legislation extends this unique treatment through December 31, 2009, allowing larger, first year deductions for newly acquired metalworking business equipment. Today — and through 2009 the maximum amount that a metal fabricating business may expense or immediately deduct is $100,000 of the cost of property, adjusted for inflation, of course. While that $100,000 write-off must be reduced, dollar-for-dollar, by the amount of qualifying property acquisitions in excess of $400,000, inflation has increased the maximum

November/December 2006 


amount that can be expensed to $108,000 for 2006, with a $430,000 cap beyond which the first-year writeoff must be reduced. Without the extension, the expensing limit would drop to $25,000 on a $200,000 cap after 2007. Domestic Production Deduction Beginning last year, metalworkers could claim a deduction against their gross income equal to the applicable percentage of its qualified production activities income (QPAI) or its taxable income, whichever was less. The applicable percentage for 2005 and 2006 is three percent. Under Section 199, the tax law limits the so-called “manufacturers” deduction to 50 percent of the wages paid by the taxpayer in the same calendar year. Partners, shareholders or

others who are allocated part of QPAI from pass-through entities were treated as having been allocated their share of the partnership’s wages. The Tax Reconciliation Act modifies the wage limitation by restricting the deduction to 50 percent of the wages that are deducted in arriving at QPAI. Partners and shareholders will continue to be allocated their share of the partnership’s W-2 wages, but will include in their wage limit only wages paid to determine QPAI. Other provisions included in the new legislation address a variety of areas:

Tax Treatment for NewEnvironmental Cleanup Costs:

Under current law, income earned by certain environmental cleanup funds is taxable to the company that con-


tributed to the funds. This is the case even though the taxpayer has permanently surrendered all control and dominion over the money in the fund. Under the new law, special tax treatments for certain settlement funds established to resolve “Superfund” claims have been created. Funds created to resolve claims will no longer be taxed to the metals fabricator involved. These settlement funds will now be treated as if owned by the U.S. government and will not be subject to federal taxation — at

least until after December 31, 2010. Eliminating the tax surcharge will, it is hoped, encourage more companies to establish settlement funds devoted to environmental cleanup.

Bond Limits for Shop Higher Financing:

Those qualified small issue bonds, tax-exempt state and local bond issues that have been used to finance private business property or the acquisition of land and equipment by farmers have, in the past, had limits on the amount

of financing that could be provided to individual borrowers. In general, for bonds issued after September 30, 2009, the tax law permits up to $10 million of capital expenditures to be disregarded, in effect, increasing from $10 million to $20 million the maximum allowable amount of total capital expenditures by an eligible business in the same municipality or country. The new law accelerates the application of the $10 million capital expenditure limitation from bonds issued after September 30, 2009, to bonds issued after December 31, 2006. This higher limit on small issue bonds could enable some fabricators to obtain additional funding from local development agencies. Coming Attractions As mentioned, in order to reach agreement and keep within budget constraints, lawmakers removed some important provisions, many of which will likely appear in stand-alone legislation or a “trailer bill,” or could be tacked onto the pending pension reform bill. Included among the additional provisions likely to be included in any new legislation is the extension of the deduction for state and local sales tax, the teachers’ classroom expense deduction, R&D provisions, some employment tax credits and other popular, but temporary tax incentives. Although these are popular provisions, when added together, they total about $90 billion in one-year tax “relief ” at a time of significant budget deficits. Despite 2006 being an election year and, traditionally, a period during which not much tax legislation passes, the months ahead may see even more changes to our tax law — changes that could certainly have an impact on every metal fabrication business.

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November/December 2006

Biz Side

How to find the right accountant: Seven ways to avoid making a co$tly choice  Think of

your relationship with your accountant as a partnership – one that can affect your company’s growth, success, and bottom line.


Do a Careful Search for Prospects

By William J. Lynott The relationship between you and the person you choose to do your accounting and taxes is far more important than you may think. In a small business, the right accountant functions almost like a partner. Chances are that you look to your accountant for advice and help with business and management decisions, so it’s crucial that the relationship be comfortable and trusting. “CPAs are more than just individuals who do your yearly taxes,” says business consultant and author Maria Marsala, Poulsbo, WA. “The right accountant can advise you on a long list of other services, which may include advice on your accounting system, financial performance, estate/tax planning and retirement. CPAs are a crucial part of a business owner’s management team, along with a banker and a lawyer.” Here are seven tips that can assist you in finding a CPA who is the best fit for you and for your shop:

November/December 2006 


While you could get lucky by going with a recommendation from a friend or associate, you should do your homework first. “The best way to locate a compatible accountant is to ask around the community,” says CPA and tax advisor Genevia Gee Fulbright, Durham, NC. “Ask bankers, insurance agents, doctors, even companies in businesses similar to yours. If there is no direct conflict, consider using the same CPA. The information you share with your accountant is strictly confidential. Licensed accountants are bound to strict non-disclosure requirements.” Ellen Rogin, a CPA in Northfield, IL, agrees that referrals are valuable, but advises widening your search criteria. “Obtaining referrals from satisfied clients is certainly a good place to start,” she says. “However, when interviewing accountants it’s also important to find out what types of businesses the accountant works with. You don’t want to be the smallest fish in the pond, nor the largest. Of course,

it’s also important to understand how the accountant charges and to see whether he or she will provide an estimate of fees.” Another important factor in selecting an accountant is the level and quality of customer service he or she provides, according to Vincent G. DiAntonio, CPA, J.D., Hass & Co., Media, PA. “This [customer service] is reflected in everything the accountant

For your information The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers a variety of information and resources for the general public on topics such as finding a CPA in your area, antifraud, managing personal finances, finding qualified candidates for your board of directors and more. Log on to: Information/


does, from how quickly the client gets a return telephone call to the accuracy and reliability of the advice provided, he explains. “Sometimes a recommendation from a friend is the best way to find a good accountant since some do not advertise. Many, in fact, acquire new clients solely through word of mouth. That gives them a strong incentive to provide quality customer service.”

2Be sure you select an accountant with appropriate, Verify Your Prospect’s Credentials

current experience and credentials. “Some individuals working as bookkeepers or accountants have no formal license or education in accounting,” cautions Navin Sethi, CPA and tax manager with Rothstein Kass, Walnut Creek, CA. “That’s why you should do a thorough investigation before you hire an accountant. The best way to protect yourself is to hire a certified public accountant (CPA). “In order to earn the CPA credential, an applicant must meet the requirements of the state or jurisdiction in which they practice. The applicant must also pass the national CPA exam and, depending upon the state, have some actual practical work experience before receiving a license to practice. Finally, a CPA must adhere to requirements to take specified amounts of continuing professional education courses annually to retain his or her license. This guarantees that you will be working with a professional who is required to keep up-to-date on the latest and best accounting methods.”

3Checking an applicant’s references is one of the Be Sure To Check References

most important steps in the hiring process. While it may be rare, even professionals can misrepresent their backgrounds and credentials or simply leave out important information. Checking references takes a little time, but it’s a simple step that could save you from hiring someone who is woefully unqualified.


Find Out If You’re Comfortable with the Person

Fulbright emphasizes the importance of the chemistry between you and your accountant. “Make sure that you have clear goals for your business and that your prospective accountant understands them,” she says. “Go to lunch, have a conversation. That will help you to decide if you’re both on the same page.” Every expert interviewed for this story agrees with the need to have an at-length personal interview before hiring an accountant.

5Keep in mind that there is a wide range of specialties Use the 60 Percent Rule

open to CPAs, from individual taxes to large corporate clients, to small businesses, and everything in between. “Look for a CPA who has 60 percent of his or her 72


November/December 2006

business coming from small business owners like you,” says Marsala. “They’re more apt to keep up with the laws regarding clients they deal with most often. If your business is incorporated or is an LLC, make sure that the person specializes in corporate accounting, including financial statements and audits.”

6If you have, or are anticipating,

Consider Your Special Needs

unusual accounting problems in your business, you should look for an accountant with specialized training or experience. “If you are in need of an outside audit for your business, additional designations such as CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) would be helpful,” says Fulbright. “If you need a business appraisal/valuation, someone with an ABV (Accredited Business Valuation) designation or CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst) designation would be an advantage.” Perhaps you have limited experience in personal financial management and would like to explore the possibility of increasing your investment portfolio. “If you decide to use your accountant (or accounting firm) for this purpose it is important to understand how much time the firm spends on these issues,” explains Rogin. “Is this just a side business for the firm or is it a primary service they provide for a number of their clients? Depending upon the specific type of advice you are looking for, you may be better off with an advisor who specializes in financial planning and wealth management.” Fulbright agrees, “An accountant who is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) would be a good choice when you need investment/portfolio advice.” “The biggest problem many small business owners have is taking the time to evaluate their business,” says CPA Carol Katz, Baltimore, MD. “They are so busy running the business and keeping up with paperwork that they don’t allow enough time to plan ahead. You should always consult November/December 2006 


Is it wise to use your business accountant to do your personal taxes? Because some business owners feel that using the same accountant to do both business and personal tax work may not be appropriate, we asked our experts for their opinions. “I would certainly advise that only one accountant be used for both business and personal purposes,” says CPA Carol Katz. “This is because the two are invariably intertwined. Year-end planning for a business impacts personal tax situations and vice versa. In addition, as a practice grows, the accountant can advise and assist with additional services, such as pension planning, estate planning, and buy/sell planning.” “There are very real economies gained by having one professional serve as both the business accountant and the owners’ personal accountant, especially if the business is operated as a sole proprietorship, S corporation, partnership or LLC,” says CPA Vincent DiAntonio, Jr. “Since the income tax burden for these types of entities is usually borne solely by the entity owners, decisions made at the business entity level almost always have consequences (especially tax consequences) on the personal level. It is extremely important to coordinate such business decisions with the owner’s personal situations and having one accountant definitely simplifies this process.”

with your accountant before entering into any significant business or financial transaction. Undoing a poorly thought-out transaction or removing assets from an entity without causing unnecessary taxes can cost much, much more than the time spent on a planning meeting and document review.” Additionally, DiAntonio cautions that the very nature of small businesses requires owners to consider succes-

sion planning. “Generally, succession planning consists of either transferring the business to the next generation, selling the business outright to a third party, or, perhaps, to an employee,” he says. “This will often be one of the most significant life events of a business owner and should be planned appropriately by a trusted advisor. “Typically, a CPA who knows the business and its assets can bring additional value to a potential sale or


transfer. Also, once the business is converted into cash or a revenue stream, a financial planner can assist the client in maintaining and growing the client’s wealth.”


Don’t Be Afraid to Make a Change

Despite your best efforts, it’s always possible that you will find yourself working with an accountant who simply isn’t right for you and your business. If you find yourself in that posi-

tion, say our experts, you should not hesitate to look for a replacement. Your accountant is too important to your success for you to compromise. Business owners should continually review where they are in the life cycle of their professional careers. “They may need to change the business form of the entity as their company grows,” says Katz. Some shop owners may need taxsavvy ways to bring in family members to whom the business will eventually be transferred. If there is no succes-

sion planned, there probably should be a proposed structure for eventual sale of the business, including buy/sell agreements among partners. “If the accountant the business was using when it was small no longer seems effective, then it may be time to move to another with more expertise,” says Katz. Finding the right accountant for your business may take a special effort, but the time you spend on that job may well prove to be one of your most profitable investments.

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November/December 2006

Converting obsolete inventory into cash  Stop! Before you discard that “obsolete” inventory, leftover

materials or scrap, consider the possibility that it may still have value... either for you or someone else. By Charles R. McConnell Looking over his plant’s back lot, trying to decide where to stash an aging monster of a heat-treating oven that was being replaced, the production manager of a component manufacturing company shook his head and asked, “How did we ever accumulate so much stuff back here? And what are we ever going to do with all of it?” At about the same time, inside the factory, the production control supervisor was wondering how the main stockroom could be rearranged to accommodate material that would soon arrive in anticipation of an upcoming major order. Both individuals had long been aware of a shortage of decent storage space, and both were beginning to question the value of many of the items that had done nothing except take up space and collect dust for as long as they could recall. Many businesses have storage areas, back lots, sheds and other spaces filled with leftover material, extra parts, and old equipment. Manufacturing shops are November/December 2006 


especially prone to accumulating clutter, but few, if any, businesses are completely immune to the tendency to save old material and equipment. Ask a few people why this clutter is allowed to accumulate, and one answer you’ll hear is, “It cost good money; we just can’t sell it for peanuts or throw it away.” Paul Montelbano of Duke of Iron in Smithtown, NY explains: “Some people will resist letting an item that cost $50 go for, say, $25 or less, even though they have no use for it. But its original cost is money already spent; it’s long gone.” Concerning leftover material we also often hear, “Maybe we can use it someday.” But “someday” may never arrive. As Montelbano notes, “If this stuff just sits there for the next 20 years it does me no good. And it takes up space.” Some so-called obsolete inventory may indeed be useful for someone at some time, but much of it stays out of sight and out of mind, unknown to those who could use it. “A major problem in some shops is not having a good

For your information Effective inventory management is one key to a successful bottom line. Retaining unused or obsolete inventory can be costly if your company has no clear plan for recycling or disposing of it. Here’s why: The value of inventory diminishes over time, while the costs of maintaining it do not decrease. In the big picture, the cost of maintaining inventory includes: Labor: the cost of time spent placing the initial order, receiving the goods and stocking them, paying the invoice, and moving or cleaning the items as time goes on. Insurance: the cost of insuring materials against damage or loss. Taxes: the cost of annual taxes on inventory. Lost opportunity: the cost of how the inventory could have been better used, recycled or sold to someone who can use it.


Using vertical space is a step in the right direction, improving access and saving floor space.


way to track what you have,” notes Rob Rolves of Foreman Fabricators Inc., in St. Louis, MO. “If you don’t know it’s there when you need it, it doesn’t get used.” Unused and leftover material may have some absolute value in dollar terms, but its real value in the workplace lies in utility; i.e., usefulness. If it’s not useful, then, for all practical purposes it’s worthless. And most obsolete inventory is useless to the business in which it resides. A business comes by obsolete inventory through several legitimate means. There’s old equipment that has been replaced; there are old machine components such as motors, hydraulic cylinders, and conveyors. Another common source is over-buying of materials and made-to-order components. “Some over-ordering is common,” states Rolves. “There’s usually an allowance for scrap and waste, and it’s preferable to have some material left over upon completion rather than running short before the job’s done.” Sometimes, larger quantities are ordered to obtain favorable price breaks. It’s also not unusual to find that material was purchased for a job that was subsequently cancelled or perhaps bought in anticipation of a project that never materialized. Obsolete inventory may also result from customer returns and from the replacement of defective products or components. And let’s not forget just plain scrap — unusable output resulting from manufacturing errors or flaws in equipment or materials. Regardless of their source, however, there’s one immutable fact that all obsolete inventory items have in common — they are of no value just sitting in those storage areas, sheds, back yards and cubbyholes, taking up space that could be put to better use. Although this material may represent significant original cost, it’s likely that all of it has been charged off in previous periods, so even if it’s disposed of at a fraction of its original cost, you’re ahead monetarily. Why not, then, consider recovering what value there is to be recovered, while Fabricator 

November/December 2006

getting some unneeded material out of the way and regaining some useful space? And what about the benefits of a neater, cleaner shop? As Paul Montelbano notes, “A clean shop is a safer shop. Also, when it’s clean we spend less time looking for things.” The component manufacturing company referred to in the opening paragraph did something about obsolete inventory. The production manager and production control supervisor got together with an engineering representative and the company’s purchasing agent, forming a temporary committee to address the obsolete inventory situation. For several weeks these four individuals, with the offand-on assistance of other available personnel, scoured building and grounds for obsolete material and equipment. Anything small enough to be conveniently transported was moved to a central location. Items too large to move were tagged and their locations recorded. Eventually, every item rounded up or tagged was identified and listed. The committee’s next move was to consider the possible disposition of what had been listed. Each item was examined with the following questions in mind:

ers. Some suggestions: For fairly heavy equipment — say screw machines, heat-treating ovens, hydraulic presses, punch presses, etc. — listing with a used equipment broker might be productive. The broker lists the equipment in a regularly circulated catalog and receives a percentage of the sale for bringing buyer and seller together. For electric motors and hydraulic cylinders and the like, in any sizeable business community it’s possible to

Many times, supposedly obsolete material has accumulated to the extent that no one in the company is fully aware of what’s there. Sometimes an obsolete inventory cleanout will uncover materials needed for a current or upcoming job, thereby reducing purchasing requirements.

Do we have a known near-term use

for this and should it be stocked? If this material is useless to us, but good for some other use elsewhere, can we sell it back to the supplier? Or sell it to someone else? Failing a legitimate use or sale to a

potential user, can it be sold as scrap? Failing all of the foregoing, should it then be discarded?

Next: how to locate potential buyers of obsolete inventory. Chances are, whomever handles the company’s purchasing can readily come up with a few possible buyers for leftover materials and equipment. And there’s always the yellow page directory with its listings of used-equipment dealers, scrap dealers, and other potential buyNovember/December 2006 



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find businesses that buy and re-sell such assemblies, possibly rebuilding them as well. For materials of obvious value — for example, copper, brass, aluminum and other metals — it’s sometimes possible to sell them back to the original suppliers or return the material for credit against future purchases. Rob Rolves of Foreman Fabricators Inc., says, “We try to hang on to primary material if possible, but other stuff we look to sell to vendors who specialize in secondary material because this brings a better rate than selling it for scrap.” Components made of multiple materials can be disassembled for disposal as long as the scrap value of the materials exceeds the cost of disassembly labor. Items that fail to move after reasonable effort should be sold for scrap or discarded. At the very least, doing so will help recover space that can perhaps be put to good use. There’s another possible benefit to an obsolete inventory cleanout. Many times, supposedly obsolete material has accumulated to the extent that no one in the company is fully aware of what’s there. Sometimes an obsolete inventory cleanout will uncover materials needed for a current or upcoming job, thereby reducing purchasing requirements. One of the most productive — and totally unanticipated — results of the committee’s efforts was finding some stock that turned out to be exactly what was needed for an upcoming contract. A significant expenditure was avoided through the discovery of this material that had lain for years unnoticed and unidentified in an obscure location. When disposing of something that seems to represent a significant amount of original cost, in addition to remembering that its cost has already been written off, it also helps to remain aware of the concept of utility mentioned earlier. Value resides in utility, so no matter what the item’s original cost was, if it has no utility — that is, if there’s no known or anticipated use for it — it has no value to the company, and, in many instances, it takes up valuable space. In fact, a need for space can sometimes be the impetus behind a cleanout of obsolete inventory. Notes Rolves, “Demand creates a need for space. It’s when more space is needed that we begin to look for ways to reclaim some.” Thus, disposing of obsolete inventory can rid the facility of unwanted material and equipment, perhaps recover a significant amount of money, and vacate some space that can be put to legitimate use. The component manufacturing company’s obsolete inventory undertaking recovered in excess of $30,000, avoided a planned purchase of more than a thousand dollars, and opened up significant amounts of storage area. And the production manager and production control supervisor agreed that the back lot and main stock room hadn’t looked so neat in years. Fabricator 

November/December 2006

New NOMMA members As of October 13, 2006. Asterisk denotes returning members.

American Custom Fabricators Inc. Bayville, NJ Robert Schinder Fabricator American Fabricator Supply Naperville, IL Guy LaPore Local Supplier ATC Ironworks Roopville, GA Jim Huckeba Fabricator Authement’s Ornamental Iron Works Inc. Kenner, LA Ricky Authement Fabricator Countryside Wrought Iron Brockport, NY Michael J. Tuttle Fabricator Custom Covers & Rails Inc.* Fort Collins, CO Leslie Leflet Fabricator Devito Brothers & Son Inc. Ardmore, PA Sal Devito Fabricator Extreme Steel Inc. Manassas, VA Kevin Garrett Fabricator Fierro Iron Works Norristown, PA Jim Haggerty Fabricator Hayes Brothers Ornamental Iron* Toledo, OH Doug Hayes Fabricator Ironfab LLC Lancaster, OH Joey Stepleton Fabricator KAS Direct Building & Decorating Source dba DaVinci Iron Rocklin, CA Terri Louie Fabricator Kentex Spicewood, TX Eric M. Spille 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. (972) 286-2368 American Punch Co. (216) 731-4501 American Stair Corp. (800) 872-7824 Ameristar Fence Products (918) 835-0898 Apollo Gate Operators (210) 545-2900 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. (908) 757-2323 Arteferro Miami (305) 836-9232 Atlas Metal Sales (800) 662-0143 Auciello Iron Works Inc. (978) 568-8382 Bavarian Iron Works Co. (800) 522-4766 Big Blu Hammer Mfg. (828) 437-5348 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. (800) 526-6293 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 Corp. (251) 937-0948 Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations (800) 444-6271 Chamberlain (630) 279-3600 Classic Iron Supply (800) 367-2639 Cleveland Steel Tool Co. (800) 446-4402 CML USA Inc. (563) 391-7700 Colorado Waterjet Company (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. (714) 677-1300 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. (888) 933-5993 DAC Industries Inc. (616) 235-0140 Dashmesh Ornamentals (011) 91-161-250-2574 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. (541) 485-4719 Fatih Profil San. Tic. AS (011) 90-258-269-1664 Feeney Wire Rope & Rigging CableRail (800) 888-2418 Frank Morrow Co. (401) 941-3900 The G-S Co. (410) 284-9549 Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. (604) 299-5264 Glaser USA (888) 668-8427 Glasswerks LA Inc. (323) 789-7800 Greendale Railing Co. Inc. (804) 266-2664 GTO Inc. (800) 543-4283 Hartford Standard Co. Inc. (270) 298-3227 Hayn Enterprises LLC (860) 257-0680 Hebo - Stratford Gate Systems (503) 658-2881 Hendrick Mfg., Perforated Metals Div. (570) 267-1922 Fabricator 

November/December 2006

House of Forgings (281) 443-4848 Illinois Engineered Products Inc. (312) 850-3710 Indiana Gratings Inc. (800) 634-1988 Industrial Coverage Corp. (631) 736-7500 Industrial Metal Supply Co. (818) 729-3333 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 ITW Ransburg (419) 470-2000 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Inc. (800) 4-JANSEN Justin R.P.G. Corp. (310) 532-3441 King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379 L.E. Sauer Machine Co. (636) 225-5358 Laser Precision Cutting (828) 658-0644 Lavi Industries (800) 624-6225 Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. (718) 894-1442 Liberty Brass Turning Co. (718) 784-2911 Logical Decisions Inc. (800) 676-5537 Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510 Marks U.S.A. (631) 225-5400 Master Halco (714) 385-0091 MB Software Solutions LLC (717) 350-2759 McKey Perforating (262) 786-2700 Metalform - Bulgaria (703) 516-9756 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool (800) 467-2464 Multi Sales Inc. (800) 421-3575 Mylen Stairs Inc. (914) 739-8486 New Metals Inc. (956) 729-1184 Ohio Gratings Inc. (330) 477-6707 Overseas Supply Inc. (281) 776-9885 Paxton & Thau Artistic Supply (205) 290-2790

November/December 2006 


Precision Glass Bending Corp. (800) 543-8796 Pro Access Systems (813) 664-0606 Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408 Rik-Fer USA (305) 406-1577 Robertson Grating Products Inc. (877) 638-6365 Robinson Iron Corp. ( 800) 824-2157 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. (216) 291-2303 Rogers Mfg. Inc. (940) 325-7806 S & R Inc., Precision Cutting Specialist (615) 382-8850 Scotchman Industries Inc. (605) 859-2542 Sculpt Nouveau (760) 432-8242 SECO South (888) 535-SECO Sharpe Products (800) 879-4418 Signon USA (718) 485-8500 Sparky Abrasives (763) 535-0016 Stairways Inc. (713) 680-3110 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. (901) 725-1548 Texas Metal Industries (972) 427-9999 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058 Tri-State Shearing & Bending (718) 485-2200 Universal Entry Systems Inc. (800) 837-4283 Universal Mfg. Co. Inc. (901) 458-5881 Valley Bronze of Oregon Inc. (541) 432-7551 Vogel Tool & Die, Div. of TES Tube Equipment Inc. (630) 562-1400 The Wagner Companies (800) 786-2111 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 496-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door (901) 346-0662 Wrought Iron Concepts Inc. (877) 370-8000

New NOMMA members continued . . . Metal Creations & Design Inc. Clearwater, FL P. Dragoonis Fabricator New Market Iron Works Inc.* Huntsville, AL Earl Burkett Fabricator Newman’s Ornamental Ironworks Inc. Brielle, NJ Richard Newman Fabricator P & J Mfg. Co. Lima, OH Cindy Ricker Fabricator Padilla Designs LLC Kihei, HI Mary Jo Padilla Fabricator Paul Hill Sculpture Wilmington, NC Paul Hill Fabricator Precision Fence & Gate Deerfield Beach, FL Roger Mitchell Fabricator Republic Iron Works Inc. Chicopee, MA Gary Visconti Fabricator Robert Sarpy New Orleans, LA Robert Sarpy Fabricator Security Fence Systems Bronx, NY Gerald Copano Fabricator Steel Magnolia of NE Georgia LLC Bogart, GA Chuck Mize Fabricator The Ironworks at Buttermilk Creek* Mabletone, GA Andy Fogarty Fabricator White’s Quality Products Cedaredge, CO Larry White Fabricator YAC Equipment & Machinery Miami, FL Henry Castro Regional 81

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Texas Metal Industries opens new distribution center Texas Metal Industries (TMI) has opened a new, 5,000 square-foot distribution center in Fort Myers, FL. The new facility houses aluminum forgings, castings, hardware and the company’s full line of cast iron and steel products, all in stock and ready for delivery. The distribution center is located at 14261 Jetport Loop, Suite 8, Fort Myers, FL 33913.

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Powerway offers software for a variety of applications, including document control, quality solutions and factory floor performance.

Biz Briefs

Metalforming companies predict decline According to the Precision Metalforming Association’s (PMA) September ‘06 Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies are anticipating a slight decline in business conditions over the next few months. The monthly report samples 150+ metalforming companies in the U.S. and Canada, and serves as an economic indicator for manufacturing. When asked what they expect the trend in general economic activity to be over the next three months, 27 percent of participants reported that economic activity will decrease, 49 percent believed conditions will remain the same, and 24 percent anticipated that economic activity will improve. Most respondents also expected incoming orders to either dip or go unchanged during the same time period. However, current average daily shipping levels actually improved in September. Twenty-nine percent of companies reported that shipping levels are above those of three months ago, 45 percent reported no change, and 26 percent reported that September shipping levels were below those of the previous three months. The number of companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased to 13 percent in September, compared to 12 percent in August. While the September 2006 data represents the highest level this year, it is consistent with September 2005 data, when metalformers reported 14 percent of their workforce had been reduced to short time or laid off. Full report results are available at


November/December 2006

What’ s Hot

Biz Briefs

Producer price index drops, but cost of construction still on the rise “Inflation took a vacation in September for most of the economy but remains a problem for construction materials,” says Ken Simonson, Chief Economist for The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), in his comments on the October 17 producer price index (PPI) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Simonson cited plunging petroleum prices as the reason for the decline in the overall producer price index, but noted that the PPI for construction materials and components — including copper and brass mill shapes, steel mill products and aluminum mill shapes — had continued to rise moderately. “… two factors leave construction vulnerable to greater upward price pressure than the economy as a whole,” Simonson explained. “First, the industry must generally use a fixed quantity of materials, unlike manufacturers that can make products smaller and lighter, or service businesses that use few materials. These materials are often in high demand worldwide, with limited supplies. Second, materials must be physically delivered, making them subject to high freight and fuel costs, as well as transportation bottlenecks.” AGC’s recent Construction Inflation Alert documents the increases in construction materials costs for 2001-2005 and the 12 months through August 2006. The report is available at

November/December 2006 


Swing gate receives Handyman Seal of Approval GTO, Inc, manufacturer of the Mighty Mule E-Z Gate Opener automatic swing gate openers and accessories, has been awarded the Handyman Club Seal of Approval. The Seal is awarded, based on reports by club members who have installed and used the device. GTO’s Mighty Mule automatic swing gate openers and accessories are very popular for use on residential, farm, ranch and rural homes and offers home owners an affordable, do-

it-yourself, easy to install option for security and convenient access to their property. Contact: GTO, Inc., Ph: (800)543GATE; Web:

Companies donate $1 million for welder workforce development The American Welding Society (AWS) received a $1 million pledge from Miller Electric Mfg. Co. and Hobart Brothers Co. to provide initial funding for the American Welding Society Welder Workforce Development Program. The AWS Foundation will utilize the donation to fund increased training of entry-level welders and specialized training of existing welders to address the shortage of trained welders in the United States. According to AWS and other industry research, the average age of a welder is in the mid-fifties. Fewer graduates entering the profession, coupled with the projected retirement of half of the experienced welding workforce, has led to a shortage of skilled welders that could weaken U.S. manufacturing and the overall economy. Bruce Albrecht, a member of the AWS board of directors and a trustee

of the AWS Foundation, will represent Miller Electric and Hobart Brothers on the Foundation committee to help establish the workforce program. “It is the expectation of Miller and Hobart Brothers for this gift to serve as a catalyst for other welding-related companies to support this cause,” said Albrecht. Sam Gentry, executive director of the AWS Foundation, agreed. “We hope this unprecedented donation will encourage our other industry partners to join Miller and Hobart Brothers to help us build a stronger welding workforce for America,” he said. For more information, visit: • American Welding Society, • Miller Electric Mfg. Co., • Hobart Brothers Co.,



What’ s Hot

Nick Hitchcock named General Manager of MBSS MB Software Solutions (MBSS), manufacturer of FabMate customizable estimating and bidding software, recently named Nick Hitchcock to the position of General Manager. Hitchcock brings several years of technical and business expertise to his new position, where he will assist FabMate clients with their questions and needs. For more information about FabMate, log on to or Nick Hitchcock can be reached by phone, (717) 350-2759, or by email,


House of Forgings Inc. named 2006 Aggie 100 Honoree House of Forgings, Inc. of Houston is among the firms selected for the 2nd annual “Aggie 100” list of the fastestgrowing companies owned and operated by Texas A&M University former students. House of Forgings Inc. was recognized as number 16 on the list. The 100 companies with the highest compounded annual revenue growth from 2003 to 2005 were recognized at a formal luncheon at The Zone Club on the Texas A&M campus. The honorees are also featured in the November 2006 issue of Texas Aggie magazine published by The Association of Former Students. “We are pleased to honor our successful former students and highlight their accomplishments,” explained Richard M. Scruggs, Director, Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. “House of Forgings, Inc. has achieved a great deal in its history and

House of Forgings founder Bob Borsh

we’d like to think that has a lot to do with the work ethic, integrity and knowledge gained from their leader’s association with Texas A&M University.” A complete Aggie 100 list can be viewed at or at


November/December 2006

What’ s Hot


Florida Chapter October meeting in Jacksonville well attended The Florida Chapter’s October 21st meeting in Jacksonville, FL was well attended. Among the special guests for the day were members of the NOMMA Board of Directors, which had just completed its own meeting the previous day. Hosted by Wonderland Products Inc., the agenda featured a business

meeting, tour, demonstrations and more. Highlights of the day included: an aluminum castings demo given by Jon McGraw of Alloy Castings, a networking time and presentation by the American Welding Society, demos by the Wonderland Products staff, and a barbecue lunch followed by an afternoon oyster roast. RIGHT:

Jon McGraw of Alloy Castings talks about aluminum castings.

May/June 2006 


Florida Chapter members enjoyed networking and several presentations and demonstrations during their recent meeting in Jacksonville.


What’ s Hot


Upper Midwest Chapter holds successful fall meeting The Upper Midwest Chapter’s (UMWC) October meeting, held at O’Malley’s Welding and Fabrication in Yorkville, IL, had the largest attendance on record. The program, which was technology-focused, included presentations on topics such as 3D drawing programs, use of software from estimation to completion of a job, how to make dies to be used on a power hammer and more. Additionally, several vendors were on hand with product displays and demonstrations. UMWC’s next meeting is being planned for early January in the Chicago area. The day will focus on a hands-on workshop to benefit NOMMA’s National Education Foundation, and all

fabricated items will be auctioned off at METALfab ’07. Also, elections for chapter Board positions will be held at this meeting. Looking ahead, chapter members should mark their calendars for an UMWC-hosted CAD Class on January 27, 2007, to be taught by Mark O’Malley at O’Malley’s Welding and Fabricating in Yorkville, IL. If there is sufficient interest, both a morning beginning class and an afternoon intermediate class will be offered. To indicate your interest, send an email including your company name, address, phone number, names of people who wish to attend and which class(es) you desire to attend to:

UMWC members enjoyed a variety of technology-focused presentations and demonstrations at their October meeting.




November/December 2006

What’ s Hot


Gulf Coast Network tours Crescent City Iron The Gulf Coast Network met recently at Crescent City Iron Supply, in Kenner, LA, where Callie Capitano, David White, Sr., and David White, Jr. rolled out the red carpet and welcomed the 20+ visitors to their facility. In addition to a tour of Crescent City, the group enjoyed a presentation on the making of cast iron ornamental components from Lawler Foundry Corp., played with various “big boy toys” provided and demonstrated by Gary Esteves of Industrial Welding Supply, and were treated to a delicious lunch courtesy of Lawler Foundry Corp. Members also heard updates on NOMMA issues such as METALfab 2007, the NAAMM/ NOMMA finish manual, the Technical Committee’s work on code issues and more. The Gulf Coast Network’s next meeting will be in January 2007 at

Northshore Steel Fab in Slidell, LA, where items will be fabricated for the NEF auction at METALfab 2007.

Culf Coast Network members gather for a group photo in front of Crescent City Iron Supply, Kenner, LA.

Scott Colson and David White, Sr. spend a few minutes catching up.

Member gather around for Gary Estevez’ demo of “big boy toys.”

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What’ s Hot

FENCETECH and DECKTECH together for stronger product/demo line-up In its 45th year, FENCETECH’07, the American Fence Association’s annual convention and trade exhibition, will take place side-by-side with AFA’s DECKTECH’07 trade show in Orlando, FL, January 31 through February 2, 2007. Highlights of the event include demon-


strations of new techniques and 28 categories of products including vinyl and composites, accessories such as post caps and hardware, and gate and access control. In addition, deck installers will compete in a live demonstration on the show floor to construct the best deck and railing projects using the newest materials. The trade show combo also will offer educational opportunities in the form of industry-specific and motivational seminars on five tracks: business management, deck and railing, sales and marketing, perimeter security, and a general track featuring classes on improving customer and employee loyalty. Some examples of courses on the convention schedule include “Increasing Profits,” “Online Estimating,” “Federal & Security Markets” and “PVC Deck & Railing 101.” Perhaps some of the best strategies attendees will learn will come from legendary football coach Lou Holtz, the keynote speaker during the AFA Chapter Breakfast. The man who led a struggling Notre Dame team to the national championship will coach FENCETECH/ DECKTECH attendees in how to apply his winning strategies for success to their challenges in the business world. In addition to gaining valuable business advice and discover new technology and products from more than 400 exhibitors, fence and deck professionals can enter to win a new truck from Midway Ford during the convention. Only 500 tickets will be sold for $100 each. (More information and official rules are available by calling Gail Brooks at 1-800-822-4342.) FENCETECH/DECKTECH’07 will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Attendees who register before December 29 will receive special discounts. For more information and conference details, log on to www.; ph. (800) 822-4342.


November/December 2006

What’ s Hot


TPJ Symposium set for March 14-16, 2007 in Lake Buena Vista

Upcoming Events March 22-24, 2007

The TPJ Symposium, a multi-speaker conference exploring best practices and technology advancements in the areas of tube and pipe producing and fabricating, will be held March 14-16, 2007 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL. The event is sponsored by the Tube & Pipe Association, Intl. and its flagship magazine, TPJ – The Tube & Pipe Journal®. Presentations will cover tube cutting, washing, and deburring; tube packaging; stainless steel tube production; and quality control. Other highlights include a panel discussion will address integrating tube finishing, while a second panel will focus on

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

November/December 2006 


quick change for older tube mills. In addition, TPJ Senior Editor Eric Lundin will offer a perspective “From the Editor’s View.” The symposium will be co-located with Metal Matters, an annual conference for the metal fabricating industry, sponsored by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. Symposium attendees will have the option of attending sessions on management topics and networking opportunities offered in the Metal Matters program. Optional post-conference workshops will cover leadership and work force development. Details and registration are available online at; ph. (815) 399-8775. For information on corporate sponsorship opportunities, contact Audrey Perteete Long by e-mail:; ph. (815) 2278206.

American Subcontractors Association’s Business Forum

The American Subcontractors Association’s (ASA) Business Forum will take place at the Omni Tucson Golf Resort & Spa in Tucson, AZ. The foum aims to improve profitability. Contact: American Subcontractors Association, Ph: (703) 684-3450; Web: May 18 - May 19, 2007 Americas Glass Showcase

The annual trade show, convention and golf tournament will be held at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas, NV. Contact: Americas Glass Association, Ph: 877/ASK-AGA1 (877/275-2421); Web:


New Products

What’ s Hot Sawing machine selection

DoALL Sawing Products This eight-page brochure showcases 40 different band sawing and circular sawing machine tools is now available from DoALL Sawing Products. The brochure features photos and specifications of general-purpose saws, miter cutting saws, vertical contour saws and production power saws including circular carbide saws. Specifications include cutting capacity, saw blade size, band drive size and band speed ranges. Contact DoALL Sawing Products, Ph: 888-DoALLSAW; Web:

Product Spotlight Powder coated wrought iron elements

Architectural Products by Outwater Architectural Products by Outwater has introduced a new line of powder coated wrought iron elements for use

with wood railings, including balusters, newel posts, powder coated shoes and other related decorative and installation components. These elements are available in round and square plain formats, along with a large assortment of smooth, hand forged, edge or heavily hammered and ribbon twisted designs in flat or satin black, copper or silver vein, antique bronze or nickel, and oil rubbed copper. Additionally, Outwater also offers unfinished and ready-to-stain Red Oak turned and box newel posts in a variety styles. Suitable for both residential and commercial design applications, Outwater's powder coated wrought iron elements and Red Oak newel posts can be used in renovations or new construction alike. Contact: Architectural Products by Outwater, Ph. (800) 835-4400; Web:

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November/December 2006

What’ s Hot

New Products

Cordless Drill/Driver DeWALT

DeWALT’s new 9.6V cordless drill/driver offers several features for enhanced performance. Its rubber grip and a single sleeve ratcheting chuck provide the user with power and versatility, while the drill’s compact size allows access into tight spaces. Designed for electricians, trim carpenters, woodworkers, HVAC professionals and installers, the DC750KA is ideal for drilling and fastening on multiple jobs — small enough to use on a variety of projects, but tough enough to withstand harsh conditions on the job site. Contact: DeWALT, Web:

Mounted points leave smooth finish Rex-Cut Products, Inc.

Portable shear and rod cutter

A full line of cotton fiber mounted points that expose fresh abrasives as they work to deburr and finish in one step is available from Rex-Cut Products, Inc. Featuring multiple layers of non-woven cotton fiber and abrasive grains pressed and bonded together, Rex-Cut® Mounted Points come in barrel, bullet, conical, and round shapes with 1/8” and 1/4” shanks. They are ideal for deburring, blending, finishing and edge-breaking applications on stainless steel, inconel, titanium, and mild steel, and are non-loading on aluminum. Contact: Rex-Cut Products, Inc., Ph: (800) 225-8182; Web:

Henrich Company Heinrich Company’s lightweightportable shear and rod cutter has features that allow it to be easily mounted in a vise, making it readily moveable to different workstations or jobsites. The No. 1 Portable Shear’s special latch is hinged to allow vise mounting or bench mounting. The unit’s shear capacity is 1/8” mild steel; its rod-cutting capacity is 5/16” mild steel. Other features include a 24” handle mechanism designed to work in a compound fashion, providing easy cutting action; an offset frame constructed to permit shearing of wide sheets, straight cuts; or outside curves; and blades made of tool steel, which can easily be removed for sharpening. Contact: Henrich Company, Ph: (262) 634-4229; Web:


November/December 2006 



New Products

What’ s Hot

Corrosion treatment Rourke’s Anti Rust Rourke’s Anti Rust is a complex mixture of a vinyl acrylic copolymer and tannic acid for the treatment of corroded steel and iron surfaces. The product works well on ironwork, vehicle body work/chassis, boats, bridges, structural steel work and more. Anti Rust neutralizes the corrosion process by converting the rust into a removable blue-black metallo-organic complex, and then further protects the surface by forming a film with low permeability to water vapor and oxygen. (Anti Rust is self-priming, but for long-term protection it is advisable to overcoat with a suitable topcoat.) Contact: Architectural Iron Designs Inc., Ph. (800) 784-7444; Web:

Waterjet machining center

dimension. Additionally, the machine excels at cutting complex flat parts from a wide range of materials, includOMAX ing marble, granite, ceramics, porcelain, stone and metal. Based on the Windows® XP operating system, the 55100’s user-friendly controls simplify the programming of traditionally complex techniques. Operators can machine parts directly from pre-existing CAD drawings or easily create drawings in Layout, OMAX’s intuitive embedded software. OMAX’s 55100 JetMachining® Center was on display at Optional features FABTECH 2006 in Atlanta, GA. include the Tilt-A-Jet® cutOMAX’s Model 55100 ting head, which allows for virtually JetMachining® Center is one of three zero taper in finished parts, and the large-footprint abrasivejet machines Terrain Follower, which provides accuproduced by the company. Designed to rate and automatic cutting of materials accommodate the cutting of large with irregular, bent or wavy surfaces. parts, the 55100 is capable of handling Contact: OMAX Corp., Ph: 800-838sheets of material up to 5’ x 10’ in 0343; Web:



Ornamental Hardware • Custom Metal Parts Art Objects • Custom Grills • Signs and Letters Custom Bending and Fabrication


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November/December 2006

What’ s Hot

New Products

Pneumatic circuitry for marking system controllers Dell Marking Systems New one-piece circuitry is available in all next generation air supply controllers from Dell Marking Systems of Ferndale, Michigan. The solid-state pneumatic circuits provides improvements in ruggedness, reliability and maintenance, since the encapsulated design eliminates dust and debris problems that occur in other controllers. Also, the entire unit can be replaced in min-

utes, eliminating costly diagnostic downtime. Dell Marking Systems’ replacement program ensures that a spare unit is always on hand for each controller. Components, including air input and output ports, regulator and low pressure gauge, and power supply connector, are permanently attached to the base. Contact: Dell Marking Systems, Ph: 248 547 7750; Web:

materials that are cylindrical, such as billets, pipe, and castings, is available from Anver Corp. The Anver VPF-57 Vacuum Lifter features a suction pad with a foam seal and tough skin that is contoured to handle the “mill finish” surfaces of non-ferrous loads such as billet, pipe and castings. Available with optional spring-loaded parking stands to protect the foam pad when not in use, this vacuum lifter is offered with custom pads and capacities up to 2,000 lbs. The Anver VPF-57 is available in both compressed air and electric powered versions. Equipped with an ergonomic handle and fingertip controls that can be integrated with a hoist, standard features include front gauges and a vacuum guard system with check valve and reservoir. Contact: Anver Corp., Ph: (800) 654-3500; Web:

Vacuum Lifter Anver Corp. A compact, belowthe-hook vacuum lifter designed for handling nonferrous

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New Products

What’ s Hot

Two new styles of solid brass storm door hardware

Polymer cantilever roller guaranteed for life

Hickory Hardware Two new styles of decorative storm door hardware — “Garrison” and “Chateau” — are now available from Hickory Hardware. Crafted from solid brass, the pull handles, latches and levers are available in polished brass or satin nickel with matching interior and exterior finishes that complement existing home colors. The new styles are part of the company’s Accents line of decorative storm door hardware. Accents pull handles and latches are designed to replace most standard pushbutton varieties and offer a “no lock out” night-latch feature. Contact: Hickory Hardware, Ph: (877) 560-6100; Web:; E-mail: stormdoors@


International Gate Devices

Pictured are (top) the “Chateau” and (below) the “Garrison.”

International Gate Devices, an early pioneer of bolt-on internal slide track systems The E/Z Slide Polymer Cantilever Roller is strong and maintenance-free. for cantilever gates, introduces the E/Z both round and square gate Slide Polymer Cantilever frames, has an adjustable shaft Roller. mounted on a hot-dipped, galThis high-strength roller, vanized chassis, including 5⁄8 Uwith its graphite-impregnated nylon, incorporates the use of bolts and nylon insert lock heavy-duty, maintenance-free, nuts. The product offers a lifedouble sealed roller bearings to time warranty. ensure superior sliding perContact: International Gate formance. Devices, Ph: 800-557-4283; IGD’s roller, available for Web:


November/December 2006

Classifieds Recruiter

Employment nationwide in structural/miscellaneous steel fabrication. ProCounsel is in communication with over 3,000 structural/ miscellaneous and ornamental steel fabricators. We can market your skills (estimator, project manager, detailer, shop manager) to the city or state of your choice without identifying you. Employer pays fee. The right location, the right job, at the right money. ProCounsel: Buzz Taylor. Call toll free (800) 5455900, or (214) 741-3014. Fax: (214) 741-3019. Shop for sale

Aluminum railing manufacturer in north Jersey area, established 32 years, reputation for high quality aluminum pipe railings, etc. Shop is 3,800 square feet. Need qualified person to fabricate. Owner retiring. Established contracts of approximately $150,000. All tools included. Selling price: $75,000. Contact Don at (973) 838-2822. Sales agent/reps wanted

Sumter Coatings is seeking inde-


pendent sales agents/representatives for the Eastern U.S. to represent our Metal Master Brand Paints. Qualifications would include someone currently selling other type products to the ornamental and steel suppliers. Call, fax or email Chet Dinkins at the number below for more information. Any emails should be preempted with a phone call to Chet before sending. Ph: 888-471-3400. Fax: 803-4813776. Email:

work in a shop who will appreciate my talent. I have 20 years of experience in design, estimating, and fabrication. I have worked with architects, homeowners, and designers to create original works of art. I specialize in int/ext railing, sculpture, furniture, gates, etc. I have an extensive portfolio and can provide pictures of my work. I am willing to relocate. Please contact me via email: blksmithrtist@

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. Experienced blacksmith-artist seeks employment

I am a blacksmith artist looking for

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: Dec. 13, 2006.

Fabricator  November/December 2006

Advertisers index

A thanks to the following advertisers for their support of O&MM Fabricator magazine ...

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Company ......................................................................................Website AFA Apollo Gate Operators Architectural Iron Designs Inc. Architectural Products by Outwater ARTMETAL Atlas Metal Sales Bavarian Iron Works Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Co. Birchwood Casey Blacksmiths Depot Blue Moon Press Julius Blum & Co. Inc. The Cable Connection Cable Rail by Feeney Wire Rope John C. Campbell Folk School Carell Chamberlain Classic Iron Supply Cleveland Steel Tool CML USA Inc. Colorado Waterjet COMEQ Inc. CompLex Industries Inc. Crescent City Iron Supply ..................................(800) 535-9842 D & D Technologies (USA) D.J.A Imports Ltd. KAS Direct Billing dba DaVinci Iron Decorative Iron DKS, DoorKing Systems Eagle Bending Machines Encon FabCAD Inc. Glaser USA The G-S Co. Hawke Industries ................................................(951) 928-9453 Hebo Intercon Enterprises Inc. International Gate The Iron Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Jesco Industries Inc. WIPCO div. K Dahl Glass Studios

Advertise in NOMMA’s annual Supplier Directory Note: Closing Date for the 2007 NOMMA Supplier Directory has been extended to December 15

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King Architectural Metals Laser Precision Cutting Lawler Foundry Corp. Lawler Foundry Corp. Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. Mac Metals Inc. Marks U.S.A. Master MB Software Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool Pat Mooney Inc. Multi Sales Inc. National Bronze & Metal NC Tool Company New Metals Inc. NOMMA NOMMA Finishes Manual NOMMA Supplier Directory Oakley Steel Products Co. Paxton & Thou Artistic Supply PLASMA CAM Production Machinery Inc. R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine Red Pup Regency Railings Rik-Fer Salter Industries Scotchman Stairways Inc. Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd. Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. Striker Tool II Sumter Coatings Inc. Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. Tennessee Fabricating Co. Tennessee Fabricating Co. Texas Metal Industries TP Tools & Traditional Building Tri-State Shearing & Bending ............................(718) 485-2200 Universal Entry Systems Inc. ............................(800) 837-4283 Vogel Tool & Die Corp. The Wagner Companies Wrought Iron Concepts

Bold denotes NOMMA Supplier Members. Want your company’s name listed here? Call NOMMA at (888) 516-8585. Check out our online Supplier Directory to find detailed listings of supplier products. Visit:

Attention Advertisers ... The January/February issue of Fabricator is our biggest edition of the year. This is the issue that is distributed at METALfab. Don’t miss out! Contact Todd Daniel (, 888-516-8585, ext. 102).

November/December 2006  Fabricator

Jan/Feb 2007 Closing Date Dec. 8, 2006 Mar/Apr Closing: Feb. 2 97

Fab Feedback

Shattering the myths: Straight facts about glass codes The NOMMA Technical Affairs Division regularly receives questions on glass railing fabrication. We recently contacted the ICC for a “Staff Code Opinion” on two common questions related to cap rail and attached handrails. IBC Section 2407.1.2 states: “Each

handrail or guard section shall be supported by a minimum of three glass balusters or shall be otherwise supported to remain in place should one baluster panel fail. Glass balusters shall not be installed without an attached handrail or guard.” Question 1: Can a glass rail system be installed without a guard on top of the glass if there is a handrail attached to the glass? In other words, no cap, exposed top edge of glass at 42-inch height, with a handrail mounted on the side of the glass at handrail heights. ICC Staff Opinion: No. Question 2: Whether the system has an attached handrail or not, does the guard (piece on top of the glass), have to meet the loading requirements if one baluster panel fails? ICC Staff Opinion: Yes.

Additional comments from our members:

 One thing to note about the second part is that width of the glass plays an important part in this. When designing the size cap, you have to look at two scenarios. First, what if an intermediate piece of glass breaks. Now, you have a simple span. The cross sec-

tion of the “cap” will need to become this code reference in the next round larger as the span increases, or adto clarify this wording. We certainly have enough indication that there is versely, you must reduce the width of confusion out there. the glass lites in order to minimize the ~Tony Leto size of the cap. The Wagner Companies The second scenario is if the end lite of glass breaks. Now you have a  US Glass magazine published cantilever. The stress is much greater an article that illustrates glass that on the member. As a general rule, clearly does not meet this code, but make the end lite one half of the width claims a variance was granted because of the typical lites. the laminated glass they used was All of these things are no big deal to stronger. an engineer. The problem is convinc~Curt Witter ing the architect that he will have to Big D Metalworks have a 11/2 square, 3/16 thick wall tube sitting on top of his glass in order to handle the loads.  A museum recently built in ~Belk Null Davenport, IA has a couple Berger Iron Works Inc. For More hundred feet of glass guardrail protecting drops Information  This interpretation in excess of 20 feet. These A helpful article goes to show how inconsisguardrails have no top cap on this topic tenly this code is being apwith the bare edge of the can be downplied. I know that inspectors glass panels exposed. Anyloaded from are approving guards where where there are stairs, the The Wagner there is no caprail on top of same situation exists with Companies the glass at 42 inches, but the required inside handrail website. It is a there is a handrail attached as a single strand stainless reprint from an to the side of the glass at 38 rail with posts cored into the article appearinches. If you follow the desteps just inside the glass ing in US Glass. guardrails. Even though finations as laid out elsehttp://www.wagwhere in the code, you will they dug the foundation nercompanies.c see this should not be perwith a slip and mules, the om/site/Viewer. mitted, but the wording as project was strictly inaspx?iid=1554& spected within IBC 2003 noted does not direct the mname=Artireader to the other sections. codes. cle&rpid=634 NOMMA should con~Michael D. Boyler Boyler’s Orn. Iron Inc. sider a proposal to modify


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

Fabricator  November/December 2006

2006 11 fab  
2006 11 fab