Page 1

NOMMA history highlight: Ernest Wiemann and Top Job, pg. 36

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

September/October 2007 $6.00 US

Job Profile

The structural and architectural challenges of working on Boston’s “Big Dig” page 44

Latest abrasives produce improved surface finishes, pg. 12 Shop Talk

Remarkable copperbase alloys , pg. 24

Member Talk

Fabricating on the island of Maui, pg. 32

Biz Side

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September/October 2007 Vol. 48, No. 5

What’s it like to live and work on a tropical island? NOMMA member Larry Padilla tells you about his “difficult” life on Maui. See page 32.

Biz Side

Special Feature

Tips & Tactics The latest abrasives . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 New developments in products and techniques achieve improved surface finishes. By Chris Stone

Stainless steel finishes . . . . . . 16 Selecting the right finish is important in high-traffic areas.

Ernest Wiemann and the Top Job transformation . . . . . . . . . 36 The second in a series of articles highlighting our association’s history and achievements over the past 50 years focuses on the development of the Top Job competition and Ernest Wiemann’s contributions. By Mark Hoerrner

By James Halliday

Job Profiles

Shop Talk Copper-base alloys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 These alloys — both beautiful and functional — are ideal for a variety of architectural and outdoor uses.

Boston’s “Big Dig” ........................44 DeAngelis Iron Works participates in an engineering project of unprecedented scope, transforming a city’s highway system.

By John L. Campbell

Member Talk Aloha from Maui . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 NOMMA member Larry Padilla describes what it’s like to live and work in a tropical paradise.

President’s Letter . . .6 Don’t go it alone — use the resources available to you.

An elegant architectural centerpiece ............................................52 SRS Inc.’s stainless steel trellis will stand the tests of time and environment.

Editor’s Letter . . . . . . 8 What motivates you to face and conquer challenges?

By Peter Hildebrandt

Legal deductions for Web costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Your web site could save you money. By Mark E. Battersby

10 things you need to know about credit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 How to make credit work for you. By William J. Lynott

Cashing out your hidden assets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Know your company’s true worth. By Rhona Sacks, JD.

What’s Hot! New Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Nationwide Suppliers . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Chapter News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 New Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

Reader’s Letters . . . 10 A new lighting option for metalwork.

Biz Perspectives . . . 94 Does a handshake have any meaning these days?

Cover photo: DeAngeles Iron Works manufactured these beautiful galvanized steel pergolas, bronze grating, and a series of railings featuring cast bronze plaques for the North End Park portion of Boston’s Big Dig project. September/October 2007 



President’ s Letter Dedicated to the success of our members and industry. NOMMA OFFICERS President Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC Peoria, IL President-elect Terry Barrett Royal Iron Creations West Palm Beach, FL

Vice President/ Treasurer Bob Foust, III Bob’s Ornamental Iron Studio Kansas City, KS Immediate Past President Chris Connelly DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. South Easton, MA

FABRICATOR DIRECTORS Bruce Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA Douglas Bracken Wiemann Ironworks Tulsa, OK

James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS Curt Witter Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX

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

Gina Pietrocola D.J.A. Imports Ltd. Bronx, NY

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

2007 ADVISORY COUNCIL Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks

Rob Rolves Foreman Fabricators Inc.

Nancy Hayden Tesko Enterprises

Rob Webster Web Metal Fabricators, Ltd.

Tom McDonough Master Metal Services Inc.


Curt Witter Big D Metalworks

NOMMA members don’t have to “go it alone” A few Saturdays ago my wife and kids signed me up to run a 5K race during our town’s annual fair. My wife (the avid six-mile-a-day runner) thought it would be good for me (the avid potato-chip-eating non-runner). I thought, “3.1 miles isn’t too far, and besides, how hard could it really be?” The big day came. Runners from all over were wearing the latest high tech running shoes, GPS wrist gadgets, and iPods. I chose to run with my nine-year old-daughter, wearing my old sneakers, shorts, and T-shirt. Everything went well… for the first half-mile. But then, my daughter started to pull away, and it seemed like the entire race had passed me. By the first mile marker, my legs felt like they were on fire and breathing had become a chore. At one-and-a-half miles my daughter had started walking, so when I caught up to her, I thought the fatherly thing to do would be to stop and walk with her. With my heart racing and near collapse, we held hands and walked/ran the rest of the race (for her benefit, of course). I learned a lesson that day. You see, my wife had asked me to participate in the race with plenty of time for me to prepare. I could have run some weeks before the race to build up my endurance. I also had available to me everything I needed to run a good race, but I chose to “go it alone.” The result of that decision forced me to run an extra long and hard race. As I related this experience to work, I realized that I “go it alone” more often than not, thinking I can complete a project based on what I have learned from my past experiences or just going on blind faith at times. I now realize that if I would take advantage of the many resources I have available to me, maybe I

wouldn’t have to work so hard. Projects might go more smoothly, and, in the end, profits might just rise. Work doesn’t have to be hard if only we Breck Nelson is choose to stay prepared and “in president of the National shape.” Ornamental and One great Miscellaneous resource we have Metals Association. available to us is NOMMA. If you ever find yourself struggling with a project or business issue, try logging onto the NOMMA website, There, you will find a wide array of helpful articles, the ListServ, and even a schedule of events in which you can participate. Another excellent resource would be to attend the upcoming METALfab convention, April 1-5, 2008 in Memphis, TN. In the works are some great educational classes, equipment demos, and shop tours that will showcase the latest in fabrication and business techniques. NOMMA will be celebrating 50 years of educational excellence at this convention, so please consider joining us. I’ve got to go. My wife just got back from her run, and I have to hide the chips!


September/October 2007

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: (888) 516-8585, ext. 102. 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 email). 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.


1-35 words: $50 member, $65 nonmember; 36-50 words: $75 member, $90 nonmember; 51-70 words: $100 member, $115 nonmember; 71-100 words, $130 member, $145 nonmember. 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.


Subscription questions? Call (888) 516-8585. Send subscription address changes to: Fabricator Subscriptions,1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253. Fax: (770) 288-2006, or E-mail:

1-year: 2-year: 1-year: 2-year:

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

Buyer’s Guide Published each issue. Deadline is Sept. 30. For (888) 516-8585


December as a separate for all advertising materials info, contact Todd Daniel at 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 Of hogs, dogs, home cookin’... and no excuses “Be a tush hog, not a slop hog.” I remember sitting in Coach Nick Hyder’s geometry class in 10th grade, hearing those words come out of his mouth and wondering what on earth he meant. We students were most likely whining about something we didn’t understand (like how to do a proof), and Coach Nick was basically giving us a swift kick in the pants. A tush hog, he explained, was a go-getter... while a slop hog was lazy and, well, sloppy. Coach Nick would often draw on other little gems of wisdom to illustrate a point in class or to motivate our football team: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that counts. Nobody ever overdosed on roast beef and green beans. (Often coupled with: You are tomorrow what you eat today.) And my personal fave: If if ’s and but’s were candy and nuts, we’d ALL have a Merry Christmas. Coach Nick left our school not long after I graduated and became the head football coach at Valdosta High School in South Georgia. He went on to become a Georgia legend, considered by many to be the greatest high school football coach in state history. So, I figure he had a pretty good handle on how to face and handle challenges. I’m sure all of you face many challenges in both the day-to-day running of your businesses and the long-term planning for future success. What resources do you draw on from within when you need motivation, new ideas, answers to your questions? We, at NOMMA, sincerely hope that you think of this association as one of your primary resources. Throughout this issue, you’ll find evidence of members who have drawn on the support of NOMMA and fellow members when faced with new challenges or looking for creative solu-

tions. For example, NOMMA President Breck Nelson tells you of his revelation that he doesn’t have to “go it alone” in business when he can access the association’s website, ListServ, and more. See his comments on page 6. And Dan Bellware of SRS Inc., whose award-winning trellis project is featured on page 50, speaks of NOMMA members’ ability to troubleshoot and come up with workable solutions for other members’ how-to questions. Other highlights within the pages of this issue include our cover story on DeAngelis Iron Work Inc.’s participation in the city of Boston’s “Big Dig” community improvement project; Helen Kelley is editor John Campbell’s of Ornamental & informative article on Miscellaneous Metal copper alloys in Shop Fabricator. Talk; and the second installment of our series on NOMMA’s history, which focuses on long-time member Ernest Wiemann and the Top Job competition. We also turn our Member Spotlight toward Paradise, where we catch up with Larry Padilla of Padilla Designs — he’s lucky enough to live and work on the island of Maui! I’d also like to draw your attention to pages 74 and 75, where we have some very special information about NOMMA’s Education Foundation. And, as always, please make plans now to attend METALfab 2008, April 1-5, in Memphis, TN, where we’ll celebrate NOMMA’s 50th anniversary! So, thanks, Coach Nick, for the inspiration — now it’s time for me to be a “tush hog” and get this issue of Fabricator to print. I hope you all have a terrific Fall season, full of energy and success!


September/October 2007

September/October 2007 



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

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Fabricator 11

The latest abrasives

Tips & Tactics

Developments in abrasives and right angle grinders make for improved surface finishing. In the metal finishing arena, the right angle grinder is â&#x20AC;&#x153;kingâ&#x20AC;? of the hand-held power tools.

By Chris Stone Lehigh Valley Abrasives Over the last several years, there has

been an explosion of new abrasives and more powerful right angle grinders on the market. Many of these products are providing impressive results in cutting, grinding and finishing tasks for many industries, including metalworking. Additionally, these products, when chosen correctly for the task at hand, can reduce both costs and finishing time. User-friendly improvements to the right angle grinder The right angle grinder is generally the most widely used tool in any metalworking shop. New developments in the grinder itself include more powerful variable speed motors, improved ergonomics, and vibration dampening designs. 12

The newer grinders, when used to perform different tasks, allow the user to adjust the speed. This becomes especially critical when changing from grinding to polishing. Polishing at slower speeds allows the operator better control over the work piece and improves the aesthetics of the final surface finish. In addition, studies have shown that altering the speed of the grinder to the optimum level can double the working life of the abrasive in use. For individuals who use the grinder for a significant amount of time each day, new ergonomic vibration dampening designs from companies such as Metabo, Fein, and Makita reduce repetitive use injuries and worker downtime. This is because the vibration from the grinder is absorbed by the handle and not transferred to the workers themselves. Also, the newer designs make the grinder lighter, thereby reducing operator fatigue, and

For your information Some factors that affect how quickly a substance is abraded include:

 Difference in hardness between the two substances: a much harder abrasive will cut faster and deeper.

 Grain size (grit size): larger grains will cut faster as they also cut deeper.

 Adhesion between grains, between grains and backing, between grains and matrix: determines how quickly grains are lost from the abrasive and how soon fresh grains, if present, are exposed.  Contact force: more force will cause faster abrasion.

 Loading: worn abrasive and cast off work material tends to fill spaces between abrasive grains so reducing cutting efficiency while increasing friction.  Use of lubricant/coolant/metalworking fluid. Source: Wikipedia Fabricator 

September/October 2007

allow for optimum hand position while grinding. New abrasives for use with the right angle grinder Cut off wheels

When cutting with a right angle grinder, the latest advent of thinner slicing cut off wheels allows faster cutting with less material loss. The new, thinner designed, type 1 wheels minimize the surface area contact between the material and the wheel due to the reduced surface width of the wheel. The reduced surface cutting area provides the following benefits:  Requires less force for cutting  Reduces base material loss during the cutting operation  Generates less heat  Improves surface finish on the cut material These higher quality wheels use a mixture of aluminum oxide and zirconia grains to improve cutting life, along with reinforced layers of mesh, which provide added strength to the disc. When working with stainless steel or other high nickel alloys, the user should be sure that the cut off wheel is sulfur and chloride free, which will prevent contamination of the work piece. It is important to choose a wheel from a reputable manufacturer and use the proper guards and flanges when cutting, as an inferior wheel can easily blow apart in the thinner design and present a hazard to the operator. The new cut off wheels can be found in diameters ranging from 3 to 7 inches and thicknesses of .035 to .045 inches. Flap discs

For material removal, including weld grinding, blending, and deburring, again the angle grinder is still the workhorse of most metalworking shops. In most material removal operations, the old two-step process of grinding wheel and then fiber disc finishing has been replaced with the advent of the flap discs. Flap discs grind and finish in one step, thereby reducing both finishing time and finishing costs. In addition, by using a variable speed grinder and flap disc, the user can further extend by 50 percent the working life of the flap disc by keeping the rpm between 5000 and 8000. Advantages of the flap disc include:  Grinds and finishes at the same time, saving both time and money.  Removes material aggressively. Its removal power is equal to that of the depressed center wheel, but it works more safely and offers a better-finished surface.  Has a lightweight design to reduce operator fatigue.  Is easy to use and requires very little surface pressure. Its especially cool cutting permits light contouring and avoids burning the work piece by overheating.  Lasts up to 30 times longer than conventional fiber discs due to their overlapping flap construction. September/October 2007 


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 Assures consistent performance as new particles are continually exposed during the life of the product.  Due to its tough construction, allows for aggressive edge grinding. The quality of flap discs varies greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. When choosing a flap disc vendor, the purchaser should look for two distinctions: the type of coated abrasive; and the manufacturer of the coated abrasive flaps, which are glued to the backing of the flap disc. Type of coated abrasive Characteristics of different types are appropriate to different applications: Good — Aluminum oxide is suitable to most general purpose applications and is specified for use on wood and most metals. Better — Zirconia Alumina grains are both sharp and durable, providing fast stock removal and longer life. They are used to greatest advantage in coarse grits on heavy-duty metalworking stock removal applications. Zirconia will generally last twice as longs as Aluminum Oxide material. Best — Ceramic grain series are special products for aggressive and cool grinding. These abrasives ensure faster grinding while at the same instance offer better surface quality and excellent stock removal rates. The cool grinding properties ensure an extension of the service life and prevent surface discoloration. Ceramics are specifically applicable for grinding high alloyed steels, titanium, nickel alloys and all extremely hard materials. Ceramics will generally last 50 percent longer than Zirconia material. Coated abrasive flaps manufacturers For all intents and purposes, there are no longer any U.S. companies manufacturing coated abrasives. The best material is supplied by leading European companies such as Norton (French), VSM (German), and Klingspor (German). Caution is advised when purchasing coated abrasives, as there are inferior products being manufactured in the Far East 14

that might cost less, but will not last very long when put into use. Other factors that figure into the life of the flap disc include the durability of the backing (either fiberglass or nylon) and the number of flaps laid on the disc. Higher quality discs use extra layers of both fiberglass backing and coated abrasives flaps. Clean and strip discs, surface conditioning discs, unitized wheels Finally, due to the prevalence of right angle grinders in the workplace, a number of newer abrasive products tailored to cleaning and finishing have been adapted for use on the grinder. They include:  Clean and strip discs — These discs clean metallic surfaces without material removal. They are a safer alternative to wire brushes. The primary applications for clean and strip discs include: • Removal of paint and adhesives • Cleaning of weld seams • Removal of welding scale and discoloration • Surface preparation for auto body work  Surface conditioning discs / surface conditioning flap discs — Surface conditioning discs are composed of open nylon webbing, impregnated with abrasive grains. They offer a continuous and controlled finish with minimal material removal. Also, they are flexible in nature and allow polishing of contoured surfaces. Surface conditioning products are used heavily in the stainless steel fabrication industries for providing a satin finish to the base material and welds. Additional applications include: • gasket removal • coatings removal • cleaning weld splatter • removing heat discoloration  Graining stainless steel sheet Type 27 unitized wheels are an excellent choice for the final polishing step on stainless welds as they blend tool marks, remove surface imperfections and leave a bright clean finish on stainless steel, titanium, and aluminum. The unitized wheel is composed of layers of non-woven material, impregnated with abrasive grain


Clean and strip discs clean metallic surfaces without material removal.

and pressed together into its final shape. The unitized wheel design allows for edge grinding and access to weld joints that sometimes cannot be reached with a flap disc. The advent of new abrasives and changes to the right angle grinder allow the user to accomplish most finishing tasks with a single right angle grinder. Newer abrasive materials last longer, provide an improved surface finish, and get the job done faster and at a lower total cost. And finally, the newer angle grinders are more powerful and safer due to improved ergonomics. The latest developments and improvements allow the right angle grinder to maintain its role as the king of the hand held power tool in the metal finishing arena.

Lehigh Valley Abrasives originated in 1967 as a fabricator of stainless steel tanks, vessels, and hoppers for the food, pharmacuetical, and chemical industries. The demand from customers for improved surface finishes led to the company’s development and manufacturing of flap discs, belts, and cut-off wheels. Contact: Lehigh Valley Abrasives, Ph: (908) 892-2865; Web: Fabricator 

September/October 2007


Meet the LA400. Engineered to exceed expectations with maximum power and high performance features. Providing solid, reliable performance and a unique set of features, the LA400 is the perfect gate operator for just about any residential and rural application. POWERFUL.The 24V DC motor is packed with power and torque to effortlessly open and close gates up to 16 ft. in length and 550 lbs. FAST & EASY. With a simple touch of a button, the patented limit setting system allows for precise adjustment of both open and close limits. SMART. The LA400 features a manual disconnect to easily unlock and move the gate to any position without detaching the operator. Once re-locked, the operator will automatically resume normal operation with no loss of limits. Visit our website or call 1-800-323-2276 to learn more about this easier than ever to sell and install gate operator from LiftMaster®. Plug into the power of the sun with our solar panel kit. Our improved 20-watt solar panels and external battery are capable of storing energy – and delivering stored power – longer and more reliably than ever. When used with the LA400 and LiftMaster recommended 12V battery, it’s the dependable solution in environments where solar makes sense.



Tips & Tactics

Stainless steel finishes

When it comes to high traffic areas in commercial buildings, stainless steel is a popular component for functional beauty. Selecting the right stainless steel finish is an important consideration for both aesthetics and durability.

This stainless steel finish is an important part of the home for the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. (Photo courtesy of Contrarian Metal Resources) ABOVE:

By James Halliday Contrarian Metal Resources Durability and aesthetics are two top

considerations for specifying materials for many components of a construction project, but they assume a greater importance in high traffic areas, such as wall panels, door frames, store fronts, and the like. Anything architecturally prominent that receives high pedestrian traffic needs to offer strong abrasion resistance and require low maintenance. If, for example, the material is for a column cover in an airport terminal, it is likely to be noticed fleetingly as passengers rush from one gate to the next. For the interior of an elevator, however, the material captures the gaze of its audience considerably longer. It becomes a “calling card” for the entire building for each first-time visitor. Stainless steel — a beautiful, long lasting material — is being selected more and more often for these situa16

tions because it easily balances aesthetics with practicality for a wide range of architectural applications, both indoors and out. The choice of grade selection is simple for interior applications, but optimal results are achieved when specification writers and designers decide together which finish best meets the design objectives. Maintenance issues are usually tackled first because they have a direct impact on a building owner’s budget; after all, how often a material requires maintenance after it has been installed has a direct bearing on a building’s operational budget. Stainless steel finishes score highly in this regard — though it’s important to remember that different stainless steel finishes and their corresponding finishing methods weigh heavily on performance. It’s also worth pointing out that, ironically, the decision to apply maintenance to a high traffic material is often a value judgment based on appearance, so the two considerations can’t be parsed easily. They are joined

For your information The Specialty Steel Industry of North America has published a great deal of helpful information about stainless steel, including the following about standard finishes: “Standard” finishes are produced on an ongoing basis. They are generally available off the shelf or can be obtained with a short lead-time. They are the finishes that are used for most stainless steel applications. Standard finishes are categorized as either “Mill” or “Polished.”  Mill finishes, both hot- and coldrolled, are the least expensive finish option, and have dull to mirror-like reflectivity.

 Polished finishes, produced by mechanically abrading the surface, are buffed afterward to produce a mirror-like appearance.

“Special” finishes, generally used when aesthetic appearance is important or for specialized industrial applications, come in a variety of patterns. — For more information, visit


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at the hip, so to speak. Therefore, with the twin goals of aesthetics and maintenance in mind, the following information is a primer on stainless steel grade selection. The different stainless steel finishes — and their processing methods — affect the appearance of wall panels, elevator doors, and other metalwork in terms of the following:  Flatness – Sometimes a project design necessitates using a lighter gauge to accommodate a weight limit, but lighter gauge (and therefore lighter metalwork) can often result in panels that show signs of shape distortion. This kind of consideration has to be well thought out during the design process, not after the fact. In addition, the gauge of a metal isn’t the only issue that impacts flatness — different finishing methods also play a part.  Textures – Stainless steel is offered in a variety of surface finishes. Design team decisions can range from textures with dull finishes to bright ones. Processing methods that produce the desired texture include cold rolling, embossing, coining, abrasive polishing, media blasting and colorizing. Geometric finishes and colorized stainless steel are also available.  Visual uniformity – The design team should also take into account that finishing methods vary in visual uniformity. When large panels have to be installed side-by-side, especially in highly prominent locations, the choice of a finishing method is critical in terms of ensuring that the panels will dependably look the same. Beyond the inherent appearance of metalwork immediately after it has been processed, the different stainless steel finishes and their corresponding finishing methods have a direct impact on maintenance. A design team should weigh the following considerations: Abrasion resistance. Some stainless steel finishes offer excellent protection against abrasion resistance, including coining and embossing.



September/October 2007

Abrasion tolerance. Incidental scratches show themselves on certain finishes moreso than others. Mirror finishes and directional grit line finishes (such as #4) are among the worst at showing scratches. Fingerprint tolerance. As a rule, both dull and bright stainless steel finishes reveal the presence of fingerprints easily. Development of fingerprint “resistant” coatings show promise, but the jury is still out. For now at least, the most reliable option is an uncoated stainless steel that is not prone to revealing fingerprints. Cleanability. As you might suspect, the smoother the surface, the easier to clean. Certain rolled-in finishes, as well as buffed finishes (such as # 8 mirror), are prime examples. Repairability. Real-world experience teaches us that damaged metalwork is seldom repaired. Incidental damage is generally tolerated by building owners and severe damage usually prompts a decision to remove and replace the metalwork. The issue of repairability is most relevant where metal joinery in the fabrication process requires a considerable amount of welding in cosmetically sensitive locations. In general, for all metalwork, abrasive finishes are the easiest to repair because the operator need only to dress a weld or damaged area with an abrasive tool that replicates the method used to apply the finish to the sheet. An examination of each of the various methods used to make stainless steel finishes for a wide variety of high traffic applications demonstrates that each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Abrasive polishing – This is the most widely used technique for finishing stainless steel. Industry standard finishes in this category include the following two: #3 POLISH Stainless Steel (linear grit pattern, typically produced with a 100 grit abrasive belt), and #4 POLISH Stainless Steel (linear grit pattern, smoother than #3). September/October 2007 


Advantages: These finishes are readily available from a wide variety of sources—and they are economical. Weld areas can easily be repaired with hand-held abrasive equipment. Disadvantages: Finish uniformity is a concern because too many producers do not follow sufficiently restrictive process standards going from one batch to the next. In addition, common practices for belt replacement add to the lack of consistency. The safest approach is to specify a proprietary # 4 finish from a trustworthy supplier that will assure uniformity. Linear abrasive patterns are very sensitive to polishing direction. Any specification writer should consider requiring the fabricator/installer to maintain the same polishing direction on installed metalwork. Metal suppliers typically indicated directional markings on the protective vinyl film, which can be very helpful for everyone involved. As mentioned earlier, shape distortion is often an issue with abrasive polished finishes. This is especially true for 20 gauge and lighter material. The distortion is caused by heat generated in the polishing process. # 6 POLISH Stainless Steel – This finish is a variation of # 4, only smoother, with a less reflective surface, achieved by applying an additional brushing operation (usually using Tampico brushes). HAIRLINE Stainless Steel – This is

similar to a #6, but with elongated grit lines. Advantages: This type of finish, especially the HAIRLINE version, is easier to blend after weld repairs are made. Additionally, HAIRLINE is often a desirable design element because of its smoother surface and more linear appearance. Smoother also allows for easier cleaning and better corrosion resistance. Disadvantages: These finishes are incrementally more expensive than the more popular #3 / #4 alternatives, and flatness can be a problem, too. ANGEL HAIR Stainless Steel – This is a multidirectional abrasive finish with random grit lines. Advantages: Incidental scratches that occur over the life of the panel tend to blend into the random scratch pattern. Disadvantages: The processing for this finish is slow and labor intensive, which renders it expensive. The fine texture versions of Angel Hair usually require a bright annealed stainless steel substrate, which is more costly. Temper rolling – This technique involves rolling coiled sheet metal through a set of work rolls on a temper or skin mill to impart a texture. These finishes are commonly known as rolled-in finishes. Advantages: This finish is costeffective because temper mills run at


Contrarian Metal Resources’ InvariMatte® stainless steel finish highlights the new curved concourse of the Education and Conference Center at Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, VT.


the industry standard for a highly reflective, mirror-like, directional finish produced by buffing wheels with abrasive compounds. Advantages: Enables the creation of shatter-proof mirror panels. Disadvantages: A degree of visible buff lines in the material is typically left by the processing. When superb image clarity is required, non-directional or # 10 mirror remains an option. With all buffing finishes, scratches show easily. ABOVE:

Today, architects and contractors have a variety of stainless steel finishes from which to choose, such as these from Contrarian Metal Resources (clockwise from top left): Austenite 55, Camouflage, Micro Checker and Origara.

several hundred feet per minute, allowing for large quantities to be processed quickly. Also, uniformity of the surface pattern is excellent when comparing one batch to the next. Disadvantages: Small quantities are not practical for production-oriented temper mills, and deep, intricate textures are troublesome to accomplish. Coining and embossing – Both of these processes impart a texture into the metal through the use of work rolls under pressure. With coining, only one side of the sheet is textured. In embossing, the work rolls are a male and female set that impart a texture or pattern to both sides. Advantages: These processes are able to realize deeply defined, uniform patterns. They are also able to increase material hardness, adding a degree of abrasion resistance. Disadvantages: These processes are more costly. The benefit of material hardness has one drawback: severe forming is made very difficult for material that has been substantially hardened. In addition, deeply textured surfaces sometimes retain dirt and corrosives, such as salt residue. Buffing – This process, also known as metal polishing, involves smoothing metals and then polishing them to a bright, smooth mirror-like finish. # 8 Finish Stainless Steel – This is 20

Media blasting — A variety of tones and textures can be achieved through media blasting with air pressure. This is often done in the fabrication shop on finished panels. Glass bead is perhaps the most popular medium used in architecture. Advantages: Numerous finish aspects can be created for a custom look. Areas can be masked off, creating two different textures in the same panel. Disadvantages: Shape distortion usually occurs on panels that are media blasted (the higher the air pressure and mass of the medium, the greater the potential for distortion). This is also true of flat sheets that are blasted prior to fabrication. However, if the sheets are properly flattened after blasting, the fabricator has every opportunity to produce a distortionfree panel. Media blasting presents a certain degree of surface variability. The best opportunity to achieve visual uniformity is in pre-blasting sheets prior to fabrication. It is easier to limit the variables in a sheet-finishing environment as opposed to blasting the various surfaces of finished panels. While it is true that post-fabrication blasting affords an easy way to dress over weld repairs, the issue of shape distortion makes this unadvisable. It is better to address weld repairs through chemical means or use mechanical joinery in visually sensitive areas. Finishing metals in this method can be rather costly, given the labor component and consumption of media. Colorizing — Stainless steel can be

readily colorized through a variety of processes: Anodizing: Typically performed on aluminum to improve corrosion resistance, this process can also add color to stainless steel. Anodizing uses the combination of chemicals and electric current to produce a hardened surface coating that is integral to the base metal. Advantages: Corrosion resistance is improved. Colors are UV resistant and therefore long lasting. Disadvantages: The anodizing process is quite expensive. The colorized layer is not abrasion resistant. Colors choices are limited and have a translucent quality. Vapor Disposition: Often referred to as sputtering, this process involves coating stainless steel in a vacuum with inorganic material, typically ceramics like titanium nitrides. Advantages: Harder, more abrasion resistant layers can be achieved compared to those achieved by anodizing. These finishes are very resistant to ultraviolet light and can substantially outlast anodized systems. Disadvantages: This process is rather costly. Color matching is not perfect, but substantially better than that of anodized surfaces, although color choices are also limited and have a translucent quality. Stainless steel’s overall advantages extend beyond the dual considerations of durability and aesthetics. Depending on the finish selected, it can also offer low reflectivity. A low-glare stainless steel finish was recently installed in the roof of the new Jamaica AirTrain Terminal at New York’s JFK Airport. Overly Manufacturing’s Batten B Roof System allowed for the sweeping design of the terminal’s portal roof structure. The particular stainless steel finish used for the project is called InvariMatte®, a non-directional, low-gloss, uniformly textured finish designed for roofing applications, but which can also be applied to wall panels, coping and trim. The superb consistency of this finish results in excellent panel-topanel matching. Since InvariMatte has Fabricator 

September/October 2007


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Jim Mersich, manager of Overly Manufacturing. “InvariMatte’s lowglare finish and uniformity was the perfect solution.” The conclusion for any design team is that there are numerous stainless

steel finishes available to meet various design criteria. By spending the time necessary to select a suitable finish for a project, achieving both visual objectives (aesthetics and reflectivity) and maintenance goals, a design team can provide the building owner with the kind of cost-effective benefits that stainless steel offers. About Contrarian Metal Resources: Contrarian Metal Resources offers a wide selection of finishes in stainless steel, titanium, and solid zinc alloy designed for architectural applications, and custom finish solutions, including roofing and wall panel systems, composite panels, elevators, coping, trim, flashing, doors and countertops. The firm also offers application engineering assistance. Contact: Contrarian Metal Resources, Ph: (86) 360-5100; Web:

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September/October 2007

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Shop Talk

Copper-base alloys: The chameleons of color  The remarkable

properties of copper-base alloys make them a practical choice for a wide variety of architectural and outdoor uses. By John L. Campbell From both an aesthetic and architec-

tural viewpoint, few decorative metal finishes radiate greater warmth than those fabricated using copper-base alloys. However, choosing an alloy of brass or bronze is like scanning the sommelier’s six-page menu to select a glass of wine. There are more than 200 different alloys from which to choose. In addition to cost considerations, problems of selection arise when trying to match the colors of these alloys. The common ones, like commercial and architectural bronze, may not be available in the shapes necessary for a fabrication. For example, an alloy available in plate is not going to be extruded. Some alloys solder themselves to an extrusion die. By necessity, alloy chemistries are altered to fit the forming process. So, availability is a purchasing problem if you want to match the color of an extrusion with plate or cast hardware with rolled sheet. Likewise, some alloy chemistries that can be sand-cast cannot be cast using permanent molds. Solidification factors often determine an alloy’s suitability for a given process; but it’s the chemistry of the alloy that determines its color. 24

Adding to the color matching problem is the natural aging of copperbase alloys — the color changes they undergo over time. One architectural fabricator emphasizes that the alloys weather under ultra-violet light even when protective coatings are applied. Here is an example: if an existing entrance panel on a revolving door is damaged by accident and replaced, the newer bronze panel, even though it has the same composition, will be a lighter color than other parts of the door. Aging affects the color. That’s why copper-base alloys are called the chameleons of color. The bronzes By definition, a copper-base alloy with more than 2 percent tin is called bronze, whereas brasses are alloys of copper and zinc. Even though commercial bronze and architectural bronze are technically brass alloys, they’re called bronzes. Why? Because it’s an accepted industry practice, an old and established marketing strategy. Ask the man at the produce counter in your supermarket why he stacks the bigger strawberries on top of the carton. He’ll shrug and tell you: they sell faster that way.

Test your own biases. If you had to choose an alloy for your grave marker, would you select a brass or a bronze? You’d probably choose a bronze, right? Bronze is synonymous with antiquity. Brass is its second cousin, once removed. The important thing to remember is that the name has little to do with the chemistry. So, don’t be fooled. Commercial bronze is a brass alloy — 90 percent copper, 10 percent zinc. The pink-to-yellow colored alloys, like architectural bronze, are primarily influenced by larger percentages of zinc alloyed with copper. Architectural

For your information There are many online resources and tools that offer a wealth of information on different metals and alloys, including copper. Here are a few: properties/703_5/703_5.html copperprop.htm


September/October 2007

bronze is also a brass — an alloy of 57 percent copper and 40 percent zinc. Muntz metal, a 60 percent copper and 40 percent zinc, is very close in color to architectural bronze. The primary ingredient that determines the color of a brass or bronze is copper. The higher the copper content, the more red the finish. Therefore, commercial bronze has a reddish hue. Left to natural aging, a copper clad roof looks bright and shiny the first year after installation. Gradually, it turns brown. In 10 years it ages to

September/October 2007 


green, an oxidized surface that gives the roofing added protection. It’s unfortunate that only true bronzes — alloys with more than 2 percent tin — are casting alloys, not wrought mill products that can be rolled, forged, or extruded. For the purposes of discussing copper-base alloys, this article will use the Unified Numbering System (UNS) instead of the CDA (Copper Development Alloy) nomenclature. The CDA 385 alloy, which is marketed as architectural bronze (CU 57 percent

and Zn 40 percent) under the Unified System of coding becomes C38500. All they have done with the CDA number is add the C prefix with a double-0 suffix. The CDA alloy designations are still being used. (Insiders like us benefit from a feeling of superiority because we understand all this technical trivia, plus the difference between brass and bronze.) An additional group of copper-base alloys, stigmatized by bogus nomenclature, is the so-called white bronzes, also known as nickel-silvers. The trau-


LEFT: An example of why color-matching of copper base alloys is a problem: Consider this panic hardware for fire doors, where three different brass and/or bronze alloys are involved. The tubular panic bar is architectural bronze. Attached to each end of the bar are forged brass levers, which are a different chemistry than both architectural bronze and the cast housings supporting them. Each process modifies the alloy chemistry to suit its requirements.

ma of learning there’s no silver in nickel-silver is like discovering the identity of the tooth fairy. Again, these are alloys of copper and zinc, where the zinc content is well over 40 percent with about 10 percent nickel. When these alloys are polished, they take on an attractive silver-like finish often mistaken for stainless steel. Color matching Before manufacturers of panic door hardware switched to lower cost

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stampings, color matching bronze door components was a perennial problem. The door itself was a combination of bronze sheet and extruded trim. The panic bar was tubing, supported by forged levers and cast bronze housing supports. Some manufacturers used permanent molded housing supports, while others used sand castings — neither process used the same brass alloys. With five different processes being used, acquiring the components for a commercial bronze

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door color matching was an engineering challenge. Tony Leto at the Wagner Companies pointed out that domestic sources for architectural bronze tubing are back in production again. However, imported architectural bronze tubing is C38200 alloy, not C38500. Most bronze hollow bar, both squares and rounds, is now being imported — another example of the deterioration in our domestic manufacturing base. With the exception of the silicon bronzes (C65100/C65500), none of the copper-base alloys weld readily. Brazing and soldering are generally recommended methods of joining components. Alloying ingredients — like zinc, lead, and tin, that have some influence on color — vaporize from the heat of welding. The filler metal will likely turn a different color after it ages. It may take periodic polishing with a chemical such as Brasso® to remove an oxidized ring where two pieces of tubing were joined.

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Rather than struggle with color matching, A. Zahner Company, a firm specializing in architectural metals, takes advantage of the color differences, combining different alloys in a single fabrication. Bill Zahner, fourth generation owner of the Denver-based company, has written two books on the subjects of color matching and finishing fabricated assemblies. (Published by John Wiley & Sons, both books are available on the Internet.) The finish applied to a bronze assembly, whether it’s a wax or a lacquer, requires periodic maintenance. Here’s an amusing story that illustrates this fact. An installation of bronze handrail in a prominent bank began to show black pits a few years after installation. To handle the customer’s complaint, the fabricator sent one of their more experienced engineers to investigate. Upon interviewing the personnel responsible for maintenance of the handrail, he learned that one of the janitors was polishing the brass rail with a popular barbecue sauce. He claimed the sauce did a faster job than the conventional brass polish, and he demonstrated the difference. The faster action of the sauce did make the rail sparkle; on the downside, they discovered that the tomato base made the sauce highly acidic, which selectively leached the zinc out of the brass tubing. Whether the story is true or not, it’s a good example of the importance of maintenance as a fabricator in the appearance and longevity of bronze fabrications. The best advice on matching the colors of copper-base alloys is to look for similar chemistries with the primary focus on the copper content. The Copper Development Association has produced a chart that is a very helpful guide. It lists seven popular alloys and color matches for an equal number of manufacturing processes. They have even included the best color matches for fasteners. The UNS prefixes for casting alloys stand out. They fall under the numbers C800 and C900 followed by the double-0’s. (For reference, see chart on page 28.) Several years ago, Larry Wood, president of MetalReference, Inc., put together a reference book that compared the September/October 2007 





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Matching Architectural Copper Base Alloys Sheet & Plate

C1100 99.9 Cu C12200 99.9 Cu C22000 90 Cu 10 Zn Commercial bronze C23000 Red brass 85 Cu 15 Zn

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C23000 Red brass 85 Cu 15 Zn

C23000 Red brass 85 Cu 15 Zn

C26000 Cartridge brass 70 Cu 30 Zn

C26000 Cartridge brass 70 Cu 30 Zn

C68100 Low fuming bronze (poor match)

C23000 Red brass 85 Cu 15 Zn

C28000 Muntz metal 60 Cu 40 Zn

C68100 Low |fuming bronze

C38500 57 Cu 40 Zn Architectural bronze

C26000 Cartridge Brass 70 Cu 30 Zn

C28000 Muntz metal 60 Cu 40 Zn

C38500 Architectural bronze 57 Cu 40 Zn

C65500 High silicon bronze 97 Cu 3 Si

C65500 High silicon bronze 97 Cu 3 Si

C74500 Nickel-silver 65 Cu 25 Zn 10 Ni


The following data is from COA publications A4049-77/94. See COA Standards Handbook Alloy Data /2 & 7 for composition and mechanical properties.

C79600 Leaded nickel-silver

C85200 72 Cu 24 Zn 1 Sn 3 Pb C85300 70 Cu 30 Zn C85500 61 Cu 39 Zn C85700 63 Cu 34.7 Zn C87500 82 Cu 14 Zn 4 Si C97300 56 Cu 20 Zn 2 Sn 10 Pb 12 Ni

C65100 Low silicon bronze C65500 high |silicon bronze C74500 Nickel-silver

C11000 99.9 Cu electrolytic

C18900 89 Cu 9.1 Zn .8 SN .3 Pb .2 Mn C65500 97 Cu 3 Si High silicon bronze

C65500 High silicon bronze 97 Cu 3 Si


C65100 98.5 Cu 1.5 Si Low silicon bronze C65100 98.5 Cu 1.5 Si Low silicon bronze C65100 98.5 Cu 1.5 Si C28000 Muntz 60 Cu 40 Zn C26000 70 Cu C36000 61.5 Cu C46400 60 Cu C46500 60 Cu C65100 (fair) 98.5 Cu 1.5 Si C28000 Muntz metal

C65100 Low silicon bronze C65500 high silicon bronze

C65500 High silicon bronze

C65100 C65500

C74500 Nickel-silver

C77300 N Nickel-silver

C74500 Nickel-silver

The chemistry (%) given above are nominal amounts taken from COA Standards Handbooks Cu = copper; Zn = zinc; Sn = tin; Pb = lead; Si = silicon; Ni = nickel; Mn = manganese

September/October 2007 



An understanding of the color

changes predictable with copperbase alloys will help you avoid some surprises and customer complaints in years to come. colors of 40 different copper-base alloys. Each alloy was represented by a coin-sized disk. (The book was reviewed in the May/June 2003 issue of Fabricator.) At a price of $800, the book didn’t sell well (no doubt, the

prices curtailed its popularity). Nevertheless, the book and its comparative color chart are still available online at Aging and patination Artificial aging with patinas of sulfides and protective oxides is most common in finishing cast and fabricated sculptures — statuary such as Frederic Remington’s cowboy artwork.. The subject of patinas is a study in itself. Dark tones can be

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This bronze plaque at the base of a hospital flagpole shows how the metal naturally ages. The plaque has developed a beautiful green patina over time. (Photo by John L.



developed by applying a 2 to 10 percent aqueous solution of ammonium, sodium, or potassium sulfides (liver or sulfur) with or without applied heat from an open flame. An artistic flare and repeated coats can produce unique colors, masking the need for color matching underneath. Other coloring effects use sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride) sprayed or brushed. Cuprous chloride and hydrochloric acid is another common patina. This kind of work requires respiratory masks, good ventilation, and protective clothing. It’s especially hard on leather shoes. For clear coating bronze and brass alloys, many fabricators use Incralac, a clear lacquer developed by the International Copper Research Association. A less permanent protection against tarnishing is a polished coating of either carnauba or bees wax mixed with turpentine. Wax coatings have to be renewed often on handrails. An understanding of the color changes predictable with copper-base alloys will help you avoid some surprises and customer complaints in years to come. Fabricator 

September/October 2007

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Mamber Spotlight

Aloha! from Maui — Living and working in paradise  A NOMMA member’s passion for a tropical island leads to

establishing a family business there. By Larry Padilla Padilla Designs LLC Fabricator recently contacted NOMMA member Larry Padilla and asked him to tell us what it’s like to live and work in a real-life paradise. Here’s the story in his own words.

Maui is directly in the path of the star,

Hokule’a, known as “The Star of Happiness.” If you’re lost out in the middle of the Pacific, just follow this star as the ancient Polynesians did, and you will find Hawaii. Maui is the 32

second island in the chain from the south. When I first arrived on the island of Maui, the only way to get here was to catch a flight on a very small plane or boat. It is truly a paradise. I guess the only way I can explain to you the beauty of this island Maui is that no matter which direction you’re going, the magic of the island pulls you forward until, of course, you look left or right — and then it pulls you in that direction. If you turn around and look back, you may just turn around. In other words, you can get very confused here — kinda like

For your information Company: Padilla Designs LLC Location: Kihei, HI Specialization: Interior and exterior estate metal design. Materials used: Exotic hardwoods, architectural bronze, copper, brass, and stainless steel. Family motto: “We work hard and we play hard.’“ Contact info: Email: Ph: (808) 879-0938 Web:


September/October 2007

being a judge at a beauty pageant. It’s very inspiring no matter where you are on the island of Maui. Of course, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that you want to stay here. But earning a living here was the challenge back in 1970 — especially when sometimes it seemed I was the only one here.

RIGHT: This metal sculpture, done by Padilla, depicts the chain of Hawaiian islands.

You have to start somewhere My metal sculpting began after some very exciting attempts at other artistic mediums. One attempt was acrylics — but someone stole my self portrait. Then I began painting in wax. I really liked the effect, so I did about a dozen paintings and took them to an art show. They were all gone by noon — and not because they sold, but rather, they melted away in the sun. Soooo, metal here I come! I opened a small creative shop in Waikiki on the island of Oahu. I lived in Manoa Forest on a retreat, while developing my metal work. Most of my friends were graduating students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, so it was easy for me to “stow away” in a few art classes. I would exchange my class attendance [off the record in some cases], for some modeling for the art students. Later, I decided that the only way I could live on the island of Maui (and make a living) was if I started a mail order business of some sort. So, I returned to my home state Colorado and settled in Aspen, where I started the Aspen Branch Company. The sculptured Aspens I originated became one of the best selling craft items in the Rocky Mountains. Within five years, about 150 shops were carrying my designs. Leap of faith, perseverance, and family ties I was beginning to feel like I would never get back to the islands. That’s when I decided to go for bust on Maui. I returned to Maui with work in hand — I had a stack of orders from my jobber at the Denver Merchandise Mart. Unfortunately, not long after I September/October 2007 




Ian Padilla works on a project involving intricate leaves. An estate gate created by Padilla Designs.


arrived on Maui, he [the jobber] had a heart attack and died. So, here I was on Maui â&#x20AC;&#x201D; with copper Aspen leaves. This time, though, I was determined to stay. Through great perseverance, my wife, Mary Jo, and I made it with five children on our sleeve â&#x20AC;&#x201D; all born here, home birthed, and home schooled. Kaleo, our oldest son, graduated from Claremont Makena University. Janus, our second son, was home

schooled and scored fifth in the nation on his GE testing. He went on to Maui Community College. Paz, our third son, graduated from St. Anthonyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s High School and decided to stay here to surf, fish, and sculpt. Our fourth son, Ian, graduated from Maui High and has continued to develop his metal skills â&#x20AC;&#x201D; he is truly talented. Janus and Ian were featured with me on the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Modern Mastersâ&#x20AC;? series on HBO. Our daughter, Regina, will grad-

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uate from high school this year and, hopefully, will join us in the business. She has a lot of talent to offer, but for now, she loves to spend my money. My wife, of course, is the anchor to our team and keeps us together with so much love and patience. Humble beginnings, growth, and challenges We started the business in our carport and worked out of that for many years. Today, we have a 2,000 squarefoot metal shop on a 10,000-foot lot and own our own home. Most of my clients find me through word of mouth. They either live here, or are part-time residents. But, we have shipped our work to customers as far away as New York. The majority of our work is for customers here on the island of Maui, although we have done work on almost all of the islands. Even, though we live and work in paradise, we do encounter some challenges and obstacles. Our materials are not readily available, so timing to bring in supplies for my work is crucial. Also, the environment of salt air led me to work only in copper, brass, bronze, and stainless steel. These are the materials that work best for us. Since almost every project we take on is original and unique, they are all equally challenging. I would say the most challenging part of my work is to be accurate in deciphering what each client is asking for! Aloha from Maui, Larry Fabricator 

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Special Feature

Ernest Wiemann and the Top Job transformation  Each year, NOMMA hosts

ABOVE: This three-level circular monumental stair system, fabricated by Construction Services Inc., Decatur, AL, was a Gold award-winner in the 2007 Top Job Competition. The stairs, which feature stainless steel soffits and low iron glass guard rails, are self-supported from floor to floor.

Editor’s note: The following is the second in our series of articles highlighting NOMMA’s history and achievements of the past 50 years. By Mark Hoerrner For television, it’s the Emmys. For

movies, it’s the Oscars. But when judging the most outstanding fabrication in the ornamental metals industry, the decisive contest is the Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition offered at the annual NOMMA convention. For fabricators, there’s no greater honor as the competitors and judges are all professionals, all peers. From the days when ornamental metal was hammered out by muscled blacksmiths in outdoor forges to the present, fabricators have challenged one 36

its annual Top Job competition, open to all members for showcasing their best work in categories covering the entire gamut of our industry. Here’s a closer look at how these awards began and evolved into the prestigious honor they are today.

another – and thus improved the knowledge base – by pitting design against design. It’s a contest about form and function, with a variety of categories open for entry. The awards are given as gold, silver, or bronze, and signifying first, second, and third place. Only one shop, however, will win the Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence, which is chosen from among the gold winners. Though Heitler is no longer with us, his award is a tribute to his service to NOMMA over several decades. He was known as an extremely likeable individual and a talented practical joker, but most notably, he was a man who admired the creativity in others. It’s fitting, then, that the best of the Top Job winners is honored with the Heitler Award.

With success, however, comes obligation. Winners are challenged to discuss their designs and answer technical questions about everything from the conceptual process to end product.

For your information The annual Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition is open to all NOMMA members. Entrants provide a photo and description of their work, and entries are displayed during the annual METALfab convention. Don’t miss NOMMA’s 50th anniversary celebration at METALfab 2008! Make your plans now: Dates: April 1-5, 2008 Place: Memphis, TN Details: As they become available on NOMMA’s web site, Fabricator 

September/October 2007

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During the early 1960s when NOMMA was originally NOIMA (National Ornamental Iron Manufacturers Association), the Top Job Contest emerged as a key component of the national conventions, not to mention a favorite event for fabricators in attendance. While many of the founders and board members of NOMMA from then have passed on, some still recall those early days of the competition and how events played out. One of those pillars of NOMMA was Ernest Wiemann of Wiemann Iron Works in Tulsa, OK. Wiemann, a tough ironworker who learned his craft in Westphalia, Germany and who wrestled with iron projects for 73 years, helped direct the contest from the late 1960s. Wiemann Iron has won more than 160 Top Job awards since the contestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inception and continues to be a tough competitor in the annual contest. Wiemann has also been twice-awarded the coveted Mitch Heitler Award for his designs, as Ernest Wiemann well as multiple awards for work in Oklahoma, including the E.W. Marland Estate Commissionerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Award for his work in recreating the iron work of legendary iron worker Samuel Yellin. The installation was for Marland Mansion, a key landmark in Oklahoma. Wiemann, now 97 and happily retired, was rewarded for his participation and development of the contest when NOMMA leadership decided to name the contest in his honor. In 1996, then-president Bruce Witter presented Wiemann with a silver trophy and declared that the competition would now be called the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ernest Wiemann Top Job Awards Competition.â&#x20AC;? As he held the large silver trophy, Wiemann thanked the membership and expressed a wish that his wife, Hazel, who had passed away just prior to the 1996 convention, could not be there to see him receive the honor. That same evening, Wiemann also accepted three Top Job awards for his companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entries. Ernest Wiemannâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s foresight, candor, and objectivity have inspired generations of ironworkers throughout the U.S. When the contest was originally developed in Atlanta, Wiemann helped change and improve the rules of the competition to a point not too far from how they stand today. One of the key developments was to implement secret ballot judging, which, ultimately, worked to allow the best designs stand out. Today, NOMMA members spend hours studying the Top Job entry displays and giving careful thought to each one before they cast their votes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;After [changing the rules], we saw a lot more entries,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We also set up panels and allowed people to do question-and-answer sessions with the winners so that everybody could learn their techniques.â&#x20AC;? Fabricator 

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This ornate stair railing for a library at a private residence garnered a 2004 Gold Top Job award for Architectural Metalsmiths, Chester, NY.

Therein lies the true beauty of the Top Job competition. While modern machines, design software, tools, platens, and platen add-ons have made it so that almost any size shop can duplicate almost any effect, the ability to see new designs and completed jobs can act as mental jumper cables for any fabricator’s job portfolio. Imitation, it is said, is the sincerest form of flattery; in the ornamental metals industry, it’s much more than that. Further, the ability to question the Top Job designer about techniques is the core of NOMMA networking. Sharing technical fine-points with their peers allows fabricators a break from the sometimes-solitary vacuum of job design helps improve the industry. “I guess 90 percent of what we do is design,” Wiemann told a reporter about his business. “We have to know more about design than the architects do, so I guess we’re really in the business of iron designing. That’s why we hold the yearly competition so that people can be recognized for their one-of-a-kind designs.” More than just an award The Top Job competition has resulted not just in a point of pride or bragging rights for the winners, but has also increased shop revenues. One of the tactics taken by Doug Bracken of Wiemann Iron is to use the contest awards in a press release as a marketing tool for the shop. When these press releases are printed in local newspapers, the firm ends up with free advertising and, usually, additional business. This has been true since the beginning, however. In 1968, members were reporting that when their Top Job photos were run in local media, the pictures attracted a considerable amount of new business. Considering how tough new customers can be to cultivate, this is just one more benefit of being a part of an organization like NOMMA. The future of the Top Job Competition looks brighter than it ever has. Designs have become more and more complex, with stair rails that climb higher and incorporate more elements and entry gates that incorporate multiple types of metals and graphic elements. Technology continues to improve, and communication between fabricator and



September/October 2007


Wiemann Iron Works, Tulsa, OK, won a Gold award in the 1983 Top Job competition for this gate, composed of steel and copper.

shop designer are better than ever before. Design software currently enables a shop to see a three-dimensional color version of their product before the first rod is forged. All of these advancements come together to form hugely successful designs and each year, the designs of the fabricators who enter the Top Job Competition are reaching new levels of creativity in correlation to the improvements in technology.

Lloyd Hughes, a past president of NOMMA who has also been involved with the Top Job Contest for many years, shares the following observations about Top Job’s past, present, and future (and things didn’t always run quite smoothly): Ernest Wiemann used to tell me about how, at the early NOMMA conventions, they would stand tables on their ends and tape the contest entry photos to them. Later, we tried to keep from burning the photos while using an opaque projector to display them during the Top Job Jamboree. But the biggest change I have seen in the Top Job Contest in 25 years is how each year brings an increase in the number of outstanding entries. Not only are we seeing excellent examples of craftsmanship, but also of design and project management. Whereas in the past, a few entries would stand above the rest, today each and every category offers work worthy of the Mitch Heitler Award. Certainly, the Top Job Contest and the Jamboree are a big part of that, but I think many things about NOMMA deserve credit as well. People that are motivated to build their business are joining NOMMA because of offerings like the educational programs and networking that the association provides. Let’s not forget that the Top Job program is about a lot more than winning awards. Its biggest benefit is how it helps the industry through the sharing of knowledge gained while creating the work, whether it wins a award or not. September/October 2007 



Job Profile

Working on Boston’s “Big Dig”

 A NOMMA member reaps the benefits of

contributing to the city of Boston’s underground and underwater highway megaproject.

When NOMMA member firms like

DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. of South Easton, MA, take on huge, publicly funded projects, profit is often not the only driving force behind the decision to bid. In fact, working on highly visible contracts like Boston’s Big Dig Project often involves a lot of “red tape” — i.e. regular inspection visits from various state departments, acquiring and maintaining AISC certification, above-average levels of documentation across the board, etc. Still, Harry Dodakian and Chris Connelly of DeAngelis Iron Work, Inc. agree that despite the inspections, the lengthy sample approval process, and the $20,000 investment in new welding equipment, their part in Boston’s Big Dig Project will prove its value 44

indefinitely. Not only did they win the opportunity to be a part of an unprecedented public project, but meeting standards for the project also required DeAngelis to re-evaluate some of its production systems. As a result, the 52-year-old firm runs more efficiently than ever. “This project is the largest of its kind in the country,” said Connelly. “And DeAngelis is proud to have been a part of it — a highly visible part of it.” The “Big Dig” is actually the name of the construction project, which, now near completion, has allowed for the creation of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The project involved dismantling a six-lane elevated highway system built in 1959 that ran through

For your information Big Dig is the unofficial name of the Central Artery Tunnel Project (CA/T) to reroute the Central Artery (Interstate 93), the chief controlled-access highway through the heart of Boston, MA, into a 3.5 mile tunnel under the city. Shop: DeAngelis Iron Work Inc., South Easton, MA Project: Construction of steel pergolas, bronze grating, and railings featuring cast bronze plaques for the North End Park segment of the Big Dig Unexpected benefit: DeAngelis had to secure certification from the American Institute of Steel Construction in order to participate in the project. As a result, the company reviewed all of its systems and increased its levels of operating efficiency. Fabricator 

September/October 2007

the center of downtown Boston. There are now a series of tunnels that go under the city, its subway systems, and the Charles River. The goals of this project were to alleviate traffic congestion, enhance the economic development of Boston, improve the quality of life in Boston (by lowering levels of carbon monoxide and creating greenspace), and to reconnect neighborhoods severed by the elevated highway system without disturbing (too much) Boston’s economic viability. And that’s where DeAngelis comes in. They built three sets of steel pergolas, bronze grating, and a series of railings featuring cast bronze plaques for the North End Park, one of three parks that make up the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Materials and structural integrity were key to doing the job right While all of these elements for the North End Park are important parts of the construction, the main focus (and challenge) for DeAngelis was the pergolas. They consist of 87 mechanically fastened, galvanized and painted steel structures (purlins), grouped in sets of three, which serve as open air canopies over the sidewalk running along Cross St, (intersected by Hanover St.).

“Building bridge railing is ultra

competitive and not something most ornamental fabricators would want to get in to.”

The purlin legs or columns (double T members) range from 15 feet to 17 feet high, giving the pergolas a rolling look. The purlin arms or beams (single T member) range from 15 feet to 39 feet long. While this variation gives the canopies added dimension, it also added another layer of complexity to the fabrication and installation of the project. Every piece of the pergola structures was custom cut from continuous pieces of ½-inch plate A572 material. Supporting the pergolas are horizontal box beams, which range from 16 feet to 35 feet. These beams run perpendicular to (and above) the purlin arms so that the arms hang from the box beams. Round September/October 2007 



To build the pergolas, the shop divided fabrication into four stations for the arms, legs, box beams, and columns. the individual elements that make up each arm, leg, box beam, and column were fabricated from a specially constructed dual operating flux-cored welding system.

columns, ranging from 13 feet to19 feet high, hold up the box beams and allow the purlin arms to pitch upward. There is one such column located at every fourth purlin. The specifications of this statefunded project required that all material be domestic. Considering the material and its abnormally long lengths, meeting that requirement was difficult. But DeAngelis was able to meet the requirement by ordering their continuous pieces of A572 steel from Infra Metals ( 46

Getting AISC certified Certification was one of the more tedious steps in the process. Because of the structural nature of the pergolas, DeAngelis had to achieve “Simple Bridge” certification from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC / The process includes meeting a 94item, 10-page checklist. The checklist includes general management, organization of drafting and engineering, shop procedures, procurement, storage of materials, etc.

“If we didn’t get this job, we wouldn’t have gone through this process,” Connelly said. “Building bridge railing is ultra competitive and not something most ornamental fabricators would want to get in to. But the certification does open up a new market for us.” “An extra benefit for us is that getting certified made us re-evaluate our systems, from office procedures to welding tests,” said Connelly. “We now have more confidence in both the quality and efficiency of our entire operation.” Fabricator 

September/October 2007


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Simple appearance, complex design The CAD detailers at DeAngelis spent about three months transcribing the designs from the project’s contract drawings into metal reality. The overall design of the pergolas looks deceivingly simple. But as many fabricators agree, fabricating simple, minimalist designs in metal requires strict geometric strategy, making CAD software a necessity — especially in today’s world of tight deadlines. The complexity of the design coordination was compounded by the unique size and angles of each of the 87 purlins. The fabrication phase — divide and conquer After spending three months designing the pergolas and getting samples approved, DeAngelis proceeded with fabrication. In all, the shop spent about two months building the pergolas for North End Park. For three to four weeks of that time, all but two of

RIGHT: Meeting the AISC standards for welding the t-shape configurations that comprise each element required some ingenuity

DeAngelis’ shop personnel worked solely on the pergolas. The shop divided fabrication into four stations for the arms, legs, box beams, and columns. While these four structures are all mechanically fastened to each other to form the pergolas, the individual elements that make

up each arm, leg, box beam, and column were fabricated from a specially constructed dual operating flux-cored welding system. Meeting the AISC standards for welding the t-shape configurations that comprise each element — in a timely fashion — required some ingenuity on the part




September/October 2007

“Everyone can hang their

hat on the 30 acres of beautiful greenspace that have displaced the old elevated highway system.” of DeAngelis’s shop foreman, Glen Bemis. After scoping out new welding technology at the 2005 FabTech show, DeAngelis invested $20,000 on welding equipment to help streamline the fabrication process. Bemis configured an automated 15-foot welding system, where a crane suspends a wire-fed Bug-O machine operating two fluxcored welders. In one pass, moving about one foot every five minutes, the system welds both sides of the t-configurations. “There are no worries about operator variability,” explained Dodakian. “All that is required is a certified welder to walk down the beam with the machine. Of course, the machines all have to calibrated and tested several times a week as part of the AISC certification. And afterwards, all welds are ultra sonic tested to check for voids.” While this process yields a nearly flawless, consistent weld seam, crowning inevitably occurs. To uncrown the pergola arms, the team at DeAngelis then put the structures through a heat relieving process, which re-flattened them. But before welding could take place, each sub assembly (cleaning, straightening, and clamping) took up to four hours to prepare. The DeAngelis crew would complete enough sub assemblies over the weekend to keep the Bug-O double welder operating Monday through Friday. The team was able to produce two- to two-and-a-half perlins a day. Finding the right finish The finish on the pergolas presented another challenge. The structures had to be galvanized and then painted with a high quality Tnemec, metallic finish and clear coat (comparable to an automotive finish). Fortunately DeAngelis already had a good relationship with a nearby galvanizer, The 50


RIGHT: The structures were galvanized and then painted with a high quality metallic finish and clear coat, which could withstand the elements.


The finished pergolas are a beautiful addition to the North End Park portion of the Big Dig project. RIGHT:

Duncan Group in Everett, MA, that can paint over galvanizing. “Historically, it has been difficult to get paint to adhere to a newly galvanized surface” Connelly explained. “But Duncan Galvanizing has years of experience in the proper preparation of a galvanized surface in order to allow for the strong adhesion of the finish paint.” It was all worthwhile There’s no doubt that working on the North End Park provided a multipronged opportunity for DeAngelis Iron Work. In addition to the excitement of being a part of the Big Dig Project (and more specifically the Rose Kennedy Greenway), DeAngelis benefited from the AISC certification process.

While most worthwhile opportunities begin as challenges, Boston’s Big Dig Project itself is no exception. Although the end result is undeniably impressive, the project has taken some hits. Initially conceived of in the 1980s, it went over budget on time and money and incurred many challenges along the way. “That’s because it’s an unprecedented engineering accomplishment,” explained Connelly. “Now that the tunnels are built and the logistical nightmares are over, everyone can hang their hat on the 30 acres of beautiful greenspace that have displaced the eyesore of the old elevated highway system. DeAngelis Iron Work, Inc. is glad to have been be a part of that accomplishment.”


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Job Profile

An elegant architectural centerpiece  Structural

and environmental demands were important considerations in the building of this stainless steel trellis.

by Peter Hildebrandt

Dan Bellware, owner of Metuchen,

New Jersey’s SRS, Inc., recently completed a stainless steel trellis that forms an elegant architectural centerpiece for the common area at Atlas Park, an upscale commercial complex of stores and offices in Queens, NY. The project won a Bronze Award in the Structural category of the 2007 Top Job Competition. The impressive trellis — which wraps 120 degrees around a large fountain and is about 50 feet long — was the concept was a brainchild of the architect, TEK Architects, PC, and the general contractor for the entire development, Plaza Construction. SRS was brought into the project by a subcontractor, Maspeth Welding, Inc. 52

Environmental conditions were a key consideration Because the trellis would be in an environment that is subject to extreme winter weather conditions, the materials to construct it had to be chosen with care. “All components had to be made from Type 316 stainless steel, a far more expensive grade than others,” says Bellware. “Most specs for stainless steel specify Type 304. Type 316 has the addition of molybdenum to give added corrosion resistance, effective particularly in a salt atmosphere. This would have been useful at a shore environment however that was not the case at this location except possibly at the plaza in the winter for ice control.” Working from the architect’s concept drawings, SRS provided detail drawings showing how they proposed

For your information Glendale is a neighborhood in the west central portion of the borough of Queens in New York City. After World War I, the largest employer in Glendale was the Atlas Terminal, a vast industrial park consisting of 16 factory buildings. The terminal was demolished in 2004 and Atlas Park was build on the property. Project: Stainless steel trellis Shop: SRS Inc., Metuchen, NJ The curve: The 50-foot trellis wraps 120° around a large fountain Look for the union label: The job required that union electricians, ironworkers, and glazers be employed in the field.


September/October 2007


“The fact that everything

had to be welded, refinished, assembled, and welded again before refinishing on welded areas made this a challenge.”

to actually fabricate and install the structure. The trellis is constructed of 2-inch Schedule 40 pipe and ¾-inch diameter rods. It is supported 8’-6” above grade by five columns. The columns are 6-inch Schedule 80 pipe.

The trellis is pinned to each column and stabilized with ½-inch threaded rods attached near the top of each column with clevises and turnbuckles. The entire structure is polished to a No. 4 satin finish. The columns stand 14 ft. above grade and extend 1’-6” below grade. The bottom flanges are rectangular plates, 1”x12”x18”. Each is bolted to an anchor plate that is anchored in the concrete base using 1-in. diameter x 3ft long bent rods. Openings were provided near the top and the bottom of

the columns to allow access to electrical wiring for lighting. Accuracy during fabrication and installation had to be held to very close tolerances. Each course was a different bend radius, varying from 15’-6” to 23’-6”. Prior to fabrication, full scale CAD layouts were made for each of the four sections of trellis. The fabricated assemblies could then be checked by placing them directly on the paper layout. Total time for shop and engineering work was about 1200 hours.

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A template for the design of the trellis.

“The fact that everything had to be welded, refinished, assembled, and welded again before refinishing on welded areas made this a challenge,” says Bellware. “Having to work with the union electricians, ironworkers and glazers proved to be demanding as well.” Installation also had to be done with great accuracy. Spacing of the columns had to be precise so as to accommodate the exact dimensions of the trellis. Because union labor was required in the field, and because the columns contained wiring for lighting, the electricians insisted that setting the columns was their work. After the union electricians completed their work, the SRS crew had to remove the columns and then reset them so they were plumb and accurately spaced. Each of the four sections of trellis weighed almost 500 lbs. Lifting them into place was difficult because of the problems in getting equipment onto the stone plaza. To lift each section, the crew was able to maneuver two lulls into place, one at each end of the section being lifted. This allowed attaching the section to the columns, attaching the threaded rod hangers, tightening the turnbuckles, and welding to the adjacent section of trellis. After field welding, the welds were ground, polished, and blended to match the No. 4 finish of the rest of the structure. “And, of course, all this field work had to be accomplished with union ironworkers,” adds Bellware. “However, we are fortunate to have on our payroll some very capable fabricators, who are also union ironworkers.” Age is no reason to slow down The eye-catching appeal of the work surely has much to do with the fact that Bellware has had a career in metalworking stretching back for some four decades. He received a B.S. degree from Ohio State in welding engineering, going on to pick up a master’s degree in metallurgical engineering as well. In 1968, Bellware worked as a fabrication specialist in market development at The International Nickel Company. September/October 2007 


One of his projects was to develop a market for stainless steel handrails for industrial applications, particularly in waste treatment plants. “Designers and municipalities liked the concept but fabricators gave the impression they were not interested,” says Bellware. “I was convinced this could become a viable market so I started a company to fabricate these rails myself. “But as soon as projects began to come out for bids, many of the fabricators whom I had talked with decided to jump on the bandwagon and they became my competitors. Eventually the market became too crowded, so I branched out and established a niche in high-end architectural metals.” An octogenarian who is still going strong, Dan is not just proud of his past work — he’s ready for more projects. Much of his work still stands, especially in the Northeast. For example, in downtown Baltimore, MD, his company’s handiwork can be seen in the railings of the city’s many pedestrian bridges crossing the streets. Nearly all of the glass and stainless steel railings on those structures were made by SRS. In recent years, SRS has handled many high profile projects. These include renovations to the Statue of Liberty, the Everett Dirkson Senate Office Building, the Baltimore Convention Center, the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and the Jazz Theater at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, as well as many museums, major hotels, and office buildings. “There is great emotional satisfaction and pride in completing a key high-profile job, and collaborating with outstanding architects and designers is one of the perks of working at our level of craftsmanship,” says Bellware. “We’ve also furnished materials for overseas projects, but mostly we work in the U.S., particularly in the Northeast corridor (Boston to Washington, D.C.), plus Florida.” Not content to rest on his laurels, Bellware continues to seek out new challenges. He is particularly excited about a

RIGHT: A junction box cut-out. Union electricians were a requirement of the job.


SRS’s longevity can also be

attributed to the company’s ability to adapt and weather changes in the marketplace. project SRS is presently involved with at northern New Jersey’s Ramapo College. “We are just finishing up a striking huge stainless steel stairway,” he explains. “This one will be particularly stunning when completed.”

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NOMMA membership has its perks Over the years. Bellware has belonged to many organizations, but expresses a particular appreciation for NOMMA and its membership. “I’ve been around long enough that some organizations have made me a ‘life member’, meaning I no longer must pay dues,” adds Bellware. “But what I’d like to emphasize is how NOMMA is probably the friendliest and most helpful organization I’ve ever belonged to. Every member is willing and anxious to help everyone else solve ‘how-to-do-it’ problems. It’s no matter whether or not the member being helped may also be your competitor. NOMMA’s ListServ also is invaluable for solving individual as well as industry wide problems.” It’s a team effort Bellware says that cooperation and working hand-in-hand with others involved on the project is the main key to a successful outcome. “We don’t really design anything ourselves, but instead, take the architect’s concept and work with that,” says Bellware. “Frequently an architect draws some lines on a piece of paper and states this is what he wants, yet it may be something you cannot really build. We always end up having to make detailed drawings. Those show how we plan to do the construction and installation of a structure. The drawings must, in turn, be submitted to the architect for his approval before work begins. That is simply how this industry works.” Once all of the drawings and designs are approved, there is still a Fabricator 

September/October 2007

waiting period. And then, the work happens fast, says Bellware. “You can’t get into a project until the construction has progressed to a certain point. But at that time the client wants the work done immediately,” he notes. “You find yourself in that situation, which is more often than not typical of most types of construction work.” Changing with the times, growing into the future Although some of the basics of the business have not

changed, Bellware and SRS have continuously adapted over the years to accommodate new types of work. “I started this company all those years back, to do stainless steel railing — and we still do perhaps 75 percent of our work in the area of handrails,” says Bellware. “But we also specialize in the very high end product, such as hotel lobbies with big circular stairs. Over the years, we’ve broadened to include all types of architectural metal items such as the Atlas Park trellis.” SRS’s longevity can also be attributed to the company’s ability to adapt and weather changes in the marketplace. “The economy, which took a nose dive after 9/11, is now recovering, and it seems there are more projects than ever requiring our level of expertise and service,” Bellware relates. “I personally have no desire to retire, but age is requiring me to slow down a bit. Fortunately, SRS has exceptional personnel to continue carrying out the work that we’re sure is ahead.” For now, the word “retirement” isn’t even in Dan Bellware’s vocabulary. A vital presence at SRS, he is in his office each day and tries to stay on top of what everyone is doing. “This doesn’t give me any time to sit around and deteriorate, either,” adds Bellware. “I expect to be here at least 30 more years – or until my partner, Rich Blatman, takes over.”

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Biz Side

Legal deductions for Web costs  Could your company’s Web site save you money on your next tax

return? With no formal guidelines set forth by the IRS, it can be a bit tricky to determine this kind of deduction. By Mark E. Battersby A study by the General Accountability

Office (GAO), Congress’s watchdog agency, attributed the whopping number of errors discovered on almost every tax return prepared by the outlets of the major tax preparation firms checked, to the complexity of our tax rules. If even professionals find our tax laws complex, what chance does the owner or manager of an ornamental or miscellaneous metalworking business attempting to prepare their operation’s tax returns have of properly labeling – and deducting – expenses 60

that are not mentioned in our tax laws such as Web-related expenditures? Despite the increasing number of Web sites employed by metal fabricators, the Internal Revenue Service has not issued guidelines and there is nothing in our tax laws for treating Web site development or maintenance costs. Further complicating matters, every metalworking business owner/manager is faced with the question of whether claiming the maximum tax deduction possible is the best strategy for achieving consistently low tax bills, year-after-year. Would your metals fabricating

For your information There are many tax deductions out there that small businesses could use to their advantage. Don’t miss out on opportunities to reduce your tax burden, when possible. Here are a few recommended sites that have helpful information:


September/October 2007

operation be better off with an immediate tax deduction to offset taxable income or with deductions spread over a number of years, offsetting what hopefully, might prove to be higher income in those later years? The official position As mentioned, the IRS has not issued formal guidelines on the tax treatment of Web site development costs. However, informal internal IRS guidance suggests that one appropriate approach is to treat those costs like an

item of software and depreciate those amounts over three years. In reality, many taxpayers who pay large amounts to develop sophisticated sites have been allocating their costs to items such as software development (currently deductible as Section 174, research and development costs or currently deductible advertising expenses). In the absence of formal IRS guidelines, the strategies utilized by many metalworking businesses vary greatly, often depending on the financial sta-

tus of the operation. Would your business benefit more from an immediate deduction for those expenditures or would it be better-served by a smaller current tax deduction with similar smaller tax write-offs spread over future years? Web site software Software is usually an “intangible” business asset. Thus, software used to create a Web site is usually treated as either “purchased” or “self created.” The tax rules for purchased software

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are straightforward and may, in fact, qualify for an immediate deduction under the tax law’s Section 179, first-

year expensing rule, selfcreated software deductions are more questionable. Today, the expense of developing software (whether for a metal fabricator’s own use or for sale to others) may either be deducted currently or amortized over a five-year period — so long as such costs are treated consistently. Purchased software, other than an


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intangible asset acquired as part of a business acquisition, is usually depreciated using the straight-line method over three-years beginning in the month that it is placed in service. Are those Web-related expenditures really for software? After all, how can any metal fabricator differentiate between whether a cost is for software, whether it relates to graphics or whether it relates to content. It might even be considered an advertising expenditure. Advertising expenses — To Web or not to Web Advertising expenses are deductible if they are reasonable in amount and bear a reasonable relation to the metalworking business. The expenses may be for the purpose of developing goodwill as well as gaining immediate sales. The cost of advertising is tax deductible even though the advertising program extends over several years or is expected to result in benefits extending over a period of years. The U.S. Tax Court and the IRS require the cost of printing a catalog that is not replaced annually be amortized over the expected life of that catalog. However, other courts have ruled to the contrary, taking the view that catalog costs are in the nature of an advertising expense. It is easy to understand why many metal fabricators - as well as their tax professionals – consider the costs of developing and maintaining a Web site to be similar to advertising costs and, thus, deductible as an expense on the annual tax return. This position is further supported by another ruling by the Tax Court; a ruling in which packaging design costs were treated as a deductible advertising expense even though the design provided the company with “significant future benefits.” Research and experimentation There exists in our tax rules a credit for amounts spent on research and experimentation. Extremely regulated and very narrow in scope, the R&E tax credit is available, in some instances, for so-called “internal use software.” A metals fabricator can elect to currentFabricator 

September/October 2007

Join NOMMA Today! Increase your knowledge â&#x20AC;˘ Network and learn from peers â&#x20AC;˘ Enhance your companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exposure Join the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll receive.... Introductory Package - Upon joining you will receive a kit containing the Membership Directory, Buyerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Guide, logo slicks, and a sampling of our educational booklets and sales aids. Technical support on issues related to codes and standards. Email discussion forum - the perfect place to get your questions answered. NOMMA eWeb - This â&#x20AC;&#x153;members onlyâ&#x20AC;? area of our website contains technical support information on ADA, driveway gates, building codes, and more. Subscriptions to TechNotes, our bimonthly technical bulletin and Fabricatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Journal, our bimonthly â&#x20AC;&#x153;how toâ&#x20AC;? publication. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll receive O&MM Fabricator as well. Subscription to NOMMA Newswire, our biweekly email newsletter. Discounts to METALfab, our annual convention, continuing education programs, and other events. Discounts to the training DVDs and various publications provided by the NOMMA Education Foundation. Membership Categories Please Check One: â&#x2DC;? Fabricator $415 - Metal fabricating shops, blacksmiths, artists or other firms and individuals in the industry whose products or services are sold directly to the consumer or the consumerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s immediate agent or contractor. â&#x2DC;? Nationwide Supplier $585 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services on a nationwide or international basis.

Awards contest - A great way to get recognition for your work. Insurance program - participate in the NOMMA-endorsed insurance progam. Enjoy competitive rates and a unique program customized for our industry. AďŹ&#x192;liation and recognition - As a member you are encouraged to display the NOMMA logo on your company stationery, sales literature, building, vehicles, etc.. Industry support - Your dues advances the work of the NOMMA Technical AďŹ&#x20AC;airs Division, which represents industry interests with code bodies, government entities, and standards-setting organizations. This advocacy work is essential to ensure that our industry has a voice with organizations that can impact our industry and livelihoods. Member Locator - Obtain extra exposure with our online member locator. Our website receives over 15,000 visitors per month, including visits from architects, contractors, and consumers. Chapters - If there is a chapter in your area you can enjoy local education events, social activities, tours, and demos.

â&#x2DC;? Regional Supplier $455 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services only within a 500-mile radius. â&#x2DC;? Local Supplier $365.00 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services only within a 150-mile radius. â&#x2DC;? AďŹ&#x192;liate $300 - Individuals, firms, & organizations which do not engage in the fabrication of ornamental or miscellaneous metal products and do not provide products or services to the industry but which have a

special interest in the industry. Please note: The membership year runs from July 1 to June 30. Membership dues payments are not deductible as a charitable contribution, but may be deducted as an ordinary and necessary business expense. By signing this application, you agree to abide by NOMMAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bylaws and Code of Ethics upon acceptance. Checks should be made payable to NOMMA.


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ly, deduct certain expenditures for research and development by claiming the deduction on the annual tax return. However, only costs of research in the laboratory or experimental purposes sense qualify. This is true whether carried on by the metalworking business or on behalf of that business by a third party, are tax deductible. Market research and normal product testing costs are not legitimate research expenditures, although many taxpayers routinely label Web development costs as research and development to reap an immediate tax write-off. Remember, once made, the R&D election applies to all research costs incurred in the project for both the current and all subsequent years. Some Web site software clearly does not qualify as internal use software such as an on-line tax preparation program or an on-line game, both of which are intended primarily for customer use. Other Web site programs, such as an application devoted to network management or pure order processing software are likely to be considered to be for internal use.

A tax credit, such as that for R&D expenditures, is a direct reduction of the metalworking operation’s tax bill as opposed to a reduction in its taxable income. Unfortunately, until it expired on December 31, 2005, it existed for the incremental increase in research expenditures. Whether the research tax credit will be given a new – and retroactive life – by Congress remains up in the air. As an alternative, a metals fabricator can elect to capitalize research and experimental costs, amortizing (write-off or deduct) them ratably using a period of at least 60 months beginning in the month when the benefits are first realized from them. This assumes, of course, that the property created does not have a determinable useful life at the time of the deduction or writeoff. Costs associated with property that has a determinable useful life must, of course be amortized or depreciated over its useful life. The IRS recently proposed regulations that would, in the view of many experts, thwart Congressional intent and make it impossible for anyone to claim the tax credit for R&E. Some say that IRS field agents are already taking the position that nothing qualifies for the credit. Buying a Web site or business Today, the capitalized cost of goodwill and most other intangible assets are ratably amortized or writtenFabricator 

September/October 2007

off over a 15-year period generally beginning in the month of acquisition. Generally, self-created intangibles are not amortized under Code Section 197 unless created in connection with the acquisition of a trade or business. However, certain self-created intangibles without an ascertainable useful life may be amortized over 15 years. A unique 15-year safe harbor exists for self-created intangibles. A metals fabricator is permitted to amortize certain created intangibles that do not have readily ascertainable useful lives over a 15-year period using the straight-line depreciation method and no salvage value. Any metalworking business may use the 15-year amortization period for intangible assets other than one acquired from another person. But, is a 15-year write-off

period for the cost of developing and maintaining your operation’s Web site beneficial? Computer software costs Web-related costs aside, the cost of developing software (whether for the metalworking operation’s own use or for sale or lease to others) may be deducted currently or it may be amortized over a five-year period (or shorter if established as appropriate), so long as such costs are treated consistently. For today’s software purchases, computer software that is not amortizable over 15-years as a Section 197 intangible asset – is depreciated using the straight-line method over three years. The cost of computer software that is included as part of the cost of


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computer hardware and is not separately stated is treated as part of the cost of the hardware. Computer software with a useful life of less than one year is currently deductible. A deduction is allowed for rental payments made for software licensed for use in a trade or business. Obviously, immediately deductible expenses, whether for software or guideline-less Web costs, are far more beneficial in helping reduce out-ofpocket costs than a depreciation deduction that spreads those costs over a number of years. Although the IRS has not, as yet, outlined a specific tax treatment for Web development costs, clues exist elsewhere. Those areas where the IRS — or our lawmakers — have provided examples of the proper tax treatment of Web development “related” costs can produce substantial tax savings for your ornamental metal fabricating business — if handled properly.

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Biz Side

Ten things you need to know about business credit  Use these guidelines to make credit

work for you.

By William J. Lynott Like fire, business credit can be a

valuable friend or a dreadful foe. Used sensibly, credit can be a major asset in your business. Use it carelessly and it can become your worst enemy. Here are 10 ways to help you put credit to work for you and your business, not against you.

Know the importance of your credit report


If you are operating as a sole proprietor or partnership, it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t possible to separate your personal credit from your business credit. In this case, the three credit reporting agencies (CRAs), Equifax, Experian, and 66

TransUnion, have compiled a detailed report about you and your business. To learn more about how your credit score is calculated, see the Federal Trade Commissionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s information site at pubs/credit/scoring.htm. The CRAs are required by law to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. You can order your free report online at, or by calling 877-322-8228. If your business is incorporated, you should register with Dun & Bradstreet (877-753-1444) using your legal business name. Registration is free and will provide you with a DUNS number. The DUNS number is a unique nine-digit sequence recog-

For your information The U.S. Small Business Administration has publishes a wealth of information on its Web site about credit and financial management. Some of the topics covered include:  


Start-up basics Loan eligibility and loan programs Grants Surety bonds Equity capital

For more information, log on to: More information on credit can be found on: credit/ Fabricator 

September/October 2007

nized as a universal standard for identifying and keeping track of the over 100 million businesses in the D&B database.

2 Improve your credit score

A good credit score will make it easier for you to obtain credit when you need it and to qualify for business loans at advantageous interest rates. Ways to improve your score include:  Pay your bills on time. This is the smart way to handle credit. Late or missed payments are a sure way to lower your score.  Avoid large balances on your small business credit card. Outstanding balances larger than about 25 percent of your credit limit are a red flag to financial institutions.  Transferring balances won’t help. Closing out an account and transferring the balance to another credit card is likely to lower your score. Each time you close an account, you lower your overall credit limit, causing the same amount of debt to become a larger percentage of your credit limit.  Review your reports from the credit bureaus for accuracy once a year. When you find an error such as a payment wrongly labeled as late, notify the CRAs of the error at once.

A pocket full of credit cards can sweep you up in the illusion that you have more money than you actually have... and that’s where the trouble begins.

Use other people’s money to make your routine monthly purchases


Whenever possible, don’t charge more than you can pay off in full when your monthly bill arrives. When you pay the full balance on your credit card bill each month, you are taking advantage of an interest-free loan from the card issuer. That’s a plus for your cash flow. If you make only the minimum payments on a significant balance, it can take years, and sometimes decades, to pay off the full debt. Once you fall into the “minimum payment trap,” it can be difficult if not impossible to dig your way out. For a look at how minimum payments might work in your situation, log on to

4 Don’t carry a pocket full of credit cards

The more credit cards you have in your wallet or purse, the easier it will be for you to spend more money September/October 2007 


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than you can afford. A pocket full of credit cards, each with a spending limit of several thousand dollars, can sweep you up in the illusion that you have more money than you actually have, and that’s where trouble begins.

Beware of canceling unused credit card accounts all at once


If you have a number of credit card accounts but use only a few of them, you should close out the unused ones. However, be sure to keep the cards that you’ve had the longest and cancel the newest cards. The credit monitoring agencies like to see a long record of prompt payments. Too many new cards will tend to lower your credit score. If you have more than one or two unused cards, spread out the cancellations over a period of several months. A rash of card cancellations in quick succession is another red flag for the monitoring agencies.

Think twice before opening new 6credit card accounts Don’t apply for new credit card accounts unless it’s absolutely necessary. If your business doesn’t already have a long and favorable credit history, opening a new credit line will tend to lower your score since the business

doesn’t have a proven track record. New accounts lower the average age of your accounts. That, in turn, will affect your credit score.

Consolidating credit card balances won’t help


Chances are you’ve seen those advertisements on television and the Internet: “Consolidate all your credit cards debts into one low-payment loan.” Some debt consolidation companies also claim that they will negotiate with your creditors to reduce your debt. Debt consolidation comes in several varieties including debt-consolidation loans, balance transfers to a zeropercent credit card, and home equity loans or lines of credit. “However, these services are not a magic cure for crippling credit card debt,” says Chris Viale, C.E.O. of Cambridge Credit Corp., a nonprofit credit-counseling agency based in Agawam, Mass. “Once you allow yourself to get into unmanageable debt, there’s no easy way out. Debt consolidation may sound like an easy cure, but many business owners have discovered that this choice only led them down the road to an even more burdensome debt load.” According to Viale, one out of every three or four persons who take out a home equity loan to pay off

Credit bureau contact information Here’s how to get in touch with the three major credit bureaus: Equifax P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374 1-800-685-1111

Experian P.O. Box 2002 Allen, TX 75013 1 888 397 3742

Trans Union P.O. Box 1000 Chester, PA 19022 1-800-888-4213

credit cards finds themselves in the same (or higher) debt position after two years. Only then, they have the additional burden of the home equity loan to pay off. “The first step that anyone with unmanageable debt should take,” says Viale is to seek professional debt counseling.” Not surprising, since Viale heads a debt-counseling group. Still, other professionals agree with him. “Consolidating debts may be only digging yourself into a deeper hole,” says certified financial planner, Brent A. Neisner, Greenwood Village, CO. “Before you take that serious step, you should ask yourself how you got into debt trouble. Overspending almost always involves emotional and psychological issues that aren’t going to go away by treating the symptoms.”

Eliminate pre-approved credit card 8offers from your mailbox Those pre-approved credit offers that find their way into your mailbox represent a temptation for identity thieves who might try to open new credit accounts in the name of your business. Once they get their hands on 68


September/October 2007

such a piece of mail, they can complete the offer by listing a different address. Then they will have opened an account in your name or the name of your business without your knowledge. Fortunately, there is a way for you to opt-out of these credit offers. You can opt-out by visiting the official Credit Reporting Industry website at or by calling 888-567-8688 to opt-out via telephone.

9 Be aware of the differences

Chances are you’ve been reading and hearing a lot about debit cards lately. Card issuers have been promoting their use for several reasons, few of which work to your advantage. While there are many similarities between debit and credit cards, the differences can significantly affect the cash flow in your business. To begin with, it’s easier to qualify for a small business debit card than a credit card. That’s because there’s no credit involved. When you use a debit card, you must already have the money in your business account at the bank. Your purchase is debited to your account electronically as soon as you make your purchase. Debit cards, then, are almost like cash. Unlike writing a check, using a debit card saves you from having to show identification when you conduct a transaction. Having a debit card not only frees you from carrying cash, it will be more readily accepted than checks where you aren’t known. However, debit cards carry their own special set of disadvantages that you need to know about. Unlike credit cards, debit cards give you no grace period for paying your bill. The money is deducted from your account immediately each time you use it. Unless you and your accountant are fastidious record keepers, keeping your account in balance can be a problem. It’s easy to misplace a receipt and forget to notate the transaction in your check register. That can result in overdrawn accounts and financial penalties. September/October 2007 


While you get protection from liability due to fraud on both credit card and debit card purchases, debit cards do not offer the same protection as credit cards in the case of defective or unsatisfactory merchandise. With credit cards, you may dispute errors or unauthorized charges and withhold payment until the matter is resolved. This allows your business to use the money while the credit card issuer investigates the circumstances. With a debit card, your money is irrevocably spent the moment you complete the transaction. If you’re the type of business credit user who lacks the discipline to keep your debt load manageable, debit cards will restrict you to making only those purchases that you can pay for right now. For some people, this can be a powerful motivator to switch to debit cards. However, if you pay off your business credit card balances in full each month, the last thing you need is a debit card. You’re now enjoying up to 40 days of free use of someone else’s money. This is called “using the float,” the period between the purchase date and when the money is actually withdrawn from your account. In this case, you should congratulate yourself on your financial acumen and hang on to those credit cards.

Never co-mingle business and funds 10personal Not only is mixing your business and personal finances together an open invitation to problems with the

Internal Revenue Service, it complicates your recordkeeping and cash flow management. You should maintain separate business bank accounts and make all of your business purchases on a small business credit card. Credit in itself is not harmful. In fact, used skillfully credit can be a profitable tool for managing your business affairs. Observance of these tips will help to make credit one of your business assets, not one of your liabilities.

About the National Foundation for Credit Counseling Need help managing your credit? The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization providing education and counseling services on budgeting and credit with nearly 1,500 member agency locations across the United States and Puerto Rico. Many NFCC member agencies use the Consumer Credit Counseling Service trademark. To contact the NFCC member office nearest you, call toll-free from a touch-tone phone 1-800388-2227 or visit the NFCC Web site at


Biz Side

Cashing out your hidden business assets  Ready to sell

your company? It may be worth a lot more than you realize.

By Rhona Sacks, JD, MBA, CLU Legal Life Settlements Your successful fabrication business is more than just your most valuable capital asset — it represents the realization of your dream. During the start-up and growth stages, enhancing your firm’s productivity was your primary goal. Now that you’ve decided to sell your company and retire, your primary goal is to extract maximum value from the business you’ve worked hard to build. Unfortunately, too many exiting entrepreneurs (as well as their legal, financial, and business advisors) leave too much cash behind because they fail to recognize the enormous value hidden within one of their most overlooked and underutilized business assets.

“No gain is so certain as that which proceeds from the economical use of what you already have.” —Latin proverb Increasing competition to sell Due to the aging of the baby boomers, we are at the precipice of the 70

largest business transition in history, with millions of entrepreneurs seeking to monetize business equity for maximum value. Deloitte & Touche recently reported that, “Seventy-one percent of small and mid-sized enterprise owners plan to exit their busi1 nesses within the next ten years.” Because only 30 percent of family businesses survive to the second generation and just 15 percent survive to 2 the third , most companies are sold, and if a sale isn’t possible — closed. With so many companies up for sale at the same time, the increasing competition to sell demands innovative asset leveraging strategies to capture optimum value as well as create more cash with which to expedite a sale. Your hidden business assets Throughout the business cycle, companies purchase numerous business life insurance policies for risk management, employee benefit and investment purposes. Traditionally considered inflexible assets with little liquidity, business life contracts have long been viewed as necessary yet unrecoverable expenses.

Some examples are:  Policies funding buy/sell agreements.  Key-person policies.  Split-dollar policies.  Policies securing business loans.  Policies funding retirement and employee benefit plans.  Estate liquidity and equalization policies.

For your information A life settlement is a financial transaction in which a policyowner possessing an unneeded or unwanted life insurance policy sells the policy to a third party for more than the cash value offered by the life insurance company. The purchaser becomes the new beneficiary of the policy at maturation and is responsible for all subsequent premium payments. Life settlements are an important development in that they have opened a secondary market for life insurance in which policyowners can access fair market value for their policies, rather than accepting the lower cash surrender value from the issuing life insurance company. — Source: Wikipedia


September/October 2007

With a life settlement,

when your no longer needed term or cash value business life policies are sold for the highest quality institutional offer, you receive a lump-sum cash payment...

Although these business life policies provide valuable services, upon putting your company up for sale, some of these life contracts may become obsolete because the original reasons for which they were purchased are no longer relevant. In effect, these policies have outlived their usefulness. Furthermore, after your company is sold, there may be even more business life policies you no longer need to keep in force due to the original objectives becoming outdated. Historically, exiting entrepreneurs faced limited disposition options when their changing needs rendered

September/October 2007 


their business life policies unnecessary: allowing the policy to lapse, thereby forfeiting the value of all premiums paid or surrendering the policy to the original insurance carrier for its cash surrender value, an amount which doesn’t reflect its true value. But, an innovative asset optimization technique — a life settlement — can convert the hidden value in qualified business life insurance contracts into significant immediate cash, providing a much higher return on your investment. What is a life settlement? A life settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy to an institutional investor for a cash payment that is greater than the policy’s cash surrender value. The platform for the life settlement industry was created in 3 1911 by virtue of Grigsby v. Russell . In this seminal case, the US Supreme Court declared insurance policies to be personal property and freely assignable, thereby granting a policy-

holder the right to transfer ownership to others. With a life settlement, when your no longer needed term or cash value business life policies are sold for the highest quality institutional offer, you receive a lump-sum cash payment which can be used for any purpose, including facilitating the sale of your company for the desired price and on favorable terms. An entrepreneurial tale Three business partners, ages 69, 71 and 72 were the principals of a successful commercial fabrication company. To fund a cross-purchase buy/sell agreement, each partner owned two $3,000,000 term policies (no cash surrender value) on the lives of the other partners. Seeking to sell their firm, these entrepreneurs received no offers that they felt were adequate for achieving their retirement and legacy goals. Unfortunately, their legal, financial and business advisors were all


unaware of the enormous value hidden within these business term policies, believing that they were worthless due to having zero cash redemption value. Instead of lapsing the policies and receiving no return on the premiums they paid for many years, these three wise men sold their policies to institutional investors and received unexpected cash windfalls. By coordinating the sale of their company with the sale of their obsolete buy/sell business policies in the secondary life insurance market for approximately $600,000 each, these owners were able to quickly sell their company at a reduced all-cash price because the life settlement proceeds provided the extra money needed to fill the gap between the selling price and the buying offer. Life settlement basics Although life settlement viability is determined on a case-by-case basis, with all transactions subject to relevant legal requirements and underwriting authorization, the general purchasing parameters are: the insured is 65 or older, the policy’s death benefit is $250,000 or more, the issuing insurer is an “A”-rated company, and the policy is in force at least two years. Unlike applying for life insurance,

etc.) whereas a broker fields qualified life policies to multiple funders to create a competitive market. Last year, corporate money managers invested $10-$15 billion 4 in life settlements , which was more money than in the previous seven years combined, because they are increasingly interested in purchasing pools of life policies to diversify their portfolios into alternative investments.

no medical exams or extensive interviews are required. The underwriting process involves only paperwork, such as your life insurance policy and inforce ledger as well as your medical records, which are necessary to verify the specifics of your insurance and health. Furthermore, there are no appraisal, application or processing fees. Large portfolios of life policies are purchased by institutional investors seeking predictable non-market correlated returns based on the future value of policy proceeds. A funder purchases qualified life policies on behalf of these institutional investors (such as banks, hedge funds, pensions funds,



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End of a monopsony Imagine a world where you were only permitted to sell your house back to the builder, your automobile back to the dealer and your stocks back to the issuing corporation. This is what a world without secondary markets would look like, and this is the world that life insurance policyholders have traditionally encountered. Before the emergence of the secondary life insurance market in the late 1990s, the originating insurer was the only potential purchaser for your expendable business life insurance contracts, thereby restricting your policy disposition options to receiving an artificially low cash redemption value. Because the insurance companies set the re-purchase price, policyholders traditionally received little economic value from their superfluous life contracts, on average just 4 percent of the policy’s face value5. Fortunately, the life settlement industry has replaced this monopsony (an anti-competitive market situation in which a seller is only permitted to sell to one buyer) with a free market alternative wherein funders competitively bid to acquire the rights and obligations in your dispensable business life policies. This vibrant marketplace enables

Imagine a world where you

were only permitted to sell your house back to the builder, your automobile back to the dealer and your stocks back to the issuing corporation. Fabricator 

September/October 2007

you to retrieve the fair market value from these otherwise illiquid business assets. With the average life settlement payout today being 20-25 percent of the face value6, a life settlement can be an effective tool for liberating substantial liquidity hidden within a dormant business asset. Caveats Although selling your obsolete business life policies in the secondary life insurance market can be profitable, navigating the labyrinthine life settlement marketplace can be challenging. The nascent life settlement industry, in general, lacks ample due diligence and transparency as well as specialized knowledge of and services responsive to the unique needs of retiring entrepreneurs in the process of selling their companies. Working with a truly independent advisor who has expertise in both life settlements as well as exit planning is the key to securing the highest quality institutional offer, safeguarding your privacy and making the process of coordinating the sale of your unnecessary business life policies with the sale of your company as hassle-free and efficient as possible. Get your deal done Every day, retiring business owners, frustrated by inadequate purchasing offers for their firms, unknowingly discard valuable capital assets by cash surrendering and lapsing their no longer needed business life policies. Selling these hidden business assets in the secondary life insurance market can be the answer to easily getting your deal done. Endnotes 1. “Is Your Business Worth What You Think It Is?” Deloitte & Touche LLP – Canada, 2006 2. Small Business Administration, 2003 3. 222 U.S. 149 (1911) 4. A.M. Best Company, Inc., 2006 5. “Turn Unneeded Policies Into Cash: A Life Settlement Can Be A Better Alternative Than September/October 2007 


den business

Surrendering A Policy,” Journal of Accountancy, September 2005, James D. Warring 6. Maple Life Financial, June 2007 and Life Settlement Solutions, June 2007 Rhona Sacks, an attorney and business coach, is the founder and president of Legal Life Settlements, a mergers and acquisitions advisory company specializing in helping retiring business owners extract maximum value from their hid-

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assets. Legal Life Settlements is the only firm in the life settlement industry exclusively dedicated to serving the unique needs of exiting entrepreneurs. For more information or to receive a copy of the article, “10 Tips for Optimizing Your Life,” please call (650) 581-1596 or visit © 2007 Rhona Sacks. All rights reserved.


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New NOMMA members

NOMMA Nationwide Supplier Members

Andy’s Inc. Iron Shop Long Beach, MS Bob DeLooze, Fabricator

A Cut Above Distributing (800) 444-2999

D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. (714) 677-1300

Alloy Casting Co. Inc. (972) 286-2368

DAC Industries Inc. (616) 235-0140

As of August 10, 2007. Asterisk denotes returning members.

Black Diamond Enterprise Cleveland, OH Gary L. Kruse, Fabricator

Bower Welding* Casper, WY Tom Bower, Fabricator

Brace Point Railings* Seattle, WA Marty Lyons, Fabricator

Darling’s Blacksmithing* Tollhouse, CA Reuel Darling, Fabricator

Disilvestro Steelworks Athol, MA James DiSilvestro, Fabricator

Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC Elk Grove Village, IL Ms. Lynn Parquette, Nationwide Supplier Empire Ornamental Corp. Cleveland, OH William E. Moll, Fabricator

Eugene Ornamental Iron* Eugene, OR Doug Fawver, Fabricator Hiseco Allied* Honolulu, HI Frank Vyvoda, Fabricator

Industry Ornamental Iron Inc. Fallbrook, CA Todd Michael Jackson, Nationwide Supplier Intech Machine Yuba City, CA Kevin Lopes, Fabricator

M & S Custom Welding Inc. Hollywood, FL Steve Solomon, Fabricator

Martel Design & Fabrication* Brooklyn, NY Wesley Martel, Fabricator

Maysville Ornamental Iron Works* Maysville, KY Ronald Bennett, Fabricator Quality Welding LLC Bristol, CT Samuel A. Walters, Fabricator Sealife Sculpture Lemon Grove, CA Carl Glowienke, Fabricator

Stairway Manufacturer’s Association Westminister, MA David W. Cooper, Affiliate

Willow Ironworks Jersey City, NJ Mike Zaccaria, Local Supplier

Allen Architectural Metals Inc. (800) 204-3858 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

D.J.A. Imports Ltd. (888) 933-5993

Dashmesh Ornamentals (011) 911-61-250-2574 Decorative Iron (888) 380-9278

Decorative Ironworks Inc. (817) 236-6151

DKS, DoorKing Systems (800) 826-7493

Robert J. Donaldson Co. (856) 629-2737

Argent Ornamental Iron & Steel (678) 377-6788

Eagle Bending Machines Inc. (251) 937-0947

Auciello Iron Works Inc. (978) 568-8382

Eastern Ornamental Supply Inc. (800) 590-7111

Atlas Metal Sales (800) 662-0143

Bavarian Iron Works Co. (800) 522-4766

Big Blu Hammer Mfg. (828) 437-5348

Julius Blum & Co. Inc. (800) 526-6293

Eastern Metal Supply (800) 343-8154

Elegant Aluminum Products Inc. (800) 546-3362

Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC (547) 636-1233

Encon Electronics (800) 782-5598

Builders Fence Co. Inc. (800) 767-0367

Euro Forgings Inc. (905) 265-1093

The Cable Connection (800) 851-2961

FabCad Inc. (800) 255-9032

Byan Systems Inc. (800) 223-2926

Carell Corp. (251) 937-0948

Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations (800) 444-6271 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

EURO-FER SRL. (011) 390-44-544-0033 FabTrol Systems Inc. (541) 485-4719

Fatih Profil San. Tic. AS (011) 02-58-269-1664

Feeney Architectural Products, CableRail™ (800) 888-2418

Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. (604) 299-5264

Gerhard Glaser GmbH & Co. (011) 496-07-893-7137

Glasswerks LA Inc. (323) 789-7800

Grande Forge (Asia) Sdn Bhd (011) 656-235-9893 The G-S Co. (410) 284-9549

GTO Inc. (800) 543-4283

NOMMA Nationwide Supplier Members, continued Hartford Standard Co. Inc. (270) 298-3227

Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510

Hayn Enterprises LLC (860) 257-0680

Marks U.S.A. (631) 225-5400

Hendrick Mfg., Perforated Metals Div. (570) 282-1010

MB Software Solutions LLC (717) 350-2759

Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc. (503) 722-7700 House of Forgings (281) 443-4848

Illinois Engineered Products Inc. (312) 850-3710

Master Halco (714) 385-0091

McKey Perforating (262) 786-2700

Metalform - Bulgaria (703) 516-9756

Indiana Gratings Inc. (800) 634-1988

Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool (800) 467-2464

Industrial Metal Supply Co. (818) 729-3333

Multi Sales Inc. (800) 421-3575

Industrial Coverage Corp. (631) 736-7500

Industry Ornamental Iron Inc. (800) 915-6011

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

Frank Morrow Co. (401) 941-3900 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

ITW Ransburg (419) 470-2000

Precision Glass Bending Corp. (800) 543-8796

Justin R.P.G. Corp. (310) 532-3441

RedPup LLC (928) 422-1000

Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Inc. (800) 4-JANSEN King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379

Procounsel (214) 741-3014

Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408

King of the Ring (305) 819-2256

Riata Mfg. (915) 533-9929

C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (800) 421-6144

Robertson Grating Products Inc. (877) 638-6365

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

Rik-Fer USA (305) 406-1577

Robinson Iron Corp. (800) 824-2157

Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. (216) 291-2303 Rogers Mfg. Inc. (940) 325-7806

L.E. Sauer Machine Co. (636) 225-5358

Scotchman Industries Inc. (605) 859-2542

Sculpt Nouveau (760) 432-8242

SECO South (888) 535-SECO

Sharpe Products (800) 879-4418

Stairways Inc. (713) 680-3110

Steel Masters Inc. (602) 243-5245

Stephens Pipe & Steel LLC (800) 451-2612

Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. (866) 290-1263

Sumter Coatings Inc. (888) 471-3400

Taco Metals (800) 743-3803

Taurin Group USA (909) 476-8007

Tennessee Fabricating Co. (901) 725-1548

Texas Metal Industries (972) 427-9999

Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058

Triple-S Chemical Products (800) 862-5958

Tri-State Shearing & Bending (718) 485-2200

Universal Entry Systems Inc. (800) 837-4283

Universal Mfg. Co. Inc. (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 (888) 243-6914 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 496-4463

West Tennessee Ornamental Door (901) 346-0662 Wrought Iron Concepts Inc. (877) 370-8000

What’ s Hot Inside Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . .78 Chapter News . . . . . . .82 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . .84 People . . . . . . . . . . . . .86

Literature . . . . . . . . . . .87 New Products . . . . . . .88 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . .92

I-Codes adopted in all 50 states The International Code Council (ICC) recently announced that International Codes (I-Codes) have been adopted, in some form, in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. “ICC is proud to have achieved its original mission of providing a single set of codes for use across the country," says International Code Council President Wally Bailey. "I-Code adoptions in all 50 states make building design, construction and code enforcement easier for the entire building industry. Consumers are the big winners. The economic benefits of building to the latest codes can include improved safety, reduced maintenance costs, energy savings and lower insurance premiums.” Contact: International Code Council; Ph: (888) ICC-SAFE; Web:

LB Steel LLC assumes ownership of Topeka Metal Specialties LB Steel LLC, headquartered in Chicago, IL, has assumed ownership of Topeka Metal Specialties Inc. LB Steel is a market leader in both non-prime strip mill plate and steel counterweights with state-of-the-art engineering, processing, fabrication and finishing services. The firm has a 450,000 square foot plant and inventory of more than 200,000 tons of steel plate in Harvey, IL. Robert Richards, vice president of sales & marketing of LB Steel LLC said the Topeka facility will retain the Topeka Metal Specialties name and become a division of LB Steel Inc. The company will retain its current 70 employees and gradually add 130 positions over the next year or two, for a total of 200 jobs. “The Gerdes family has supported their employees, the community, and their clients for many years,” Mike Goich, president of LB Steel, says. “LB Steel looks forward to continuing the tradition of customer service and quality products in the years to come. We are pleased to be able to assume ownership of the company at a time when we are ready for growth. I know the Topeka employees will be able to help us grow and thrive in this marketplace.” Contact: LB Steel, Ph: (708) 331-2600; Web: 78

Biz Briefs

R&F Metals Inc. certified by National Housing Quality Program R&F Metals Inc. of Clinton, MD, is the first railing contractor in the state of Maryland to be certified through the NAHB Research Center’s prestigious National Housing Quality (NHQ) Certified Trade Contractor Program. The NAHB Research Center, a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), offers the certification program and provides independent, third-party evaluations of participating contractors. Achieving the first certification in the railings trade in Maryland is a laudable accomplishment, as it demonstrates that R&F Metals takes quality assurance and workmanship very seriously. R & F Metals is also the first NOMMA member in the country to become a NHQ Certified Trade Contractor. “NHQ Certified Trade Contractors are truly committed to quality, and are leaders in their fields,” says Research Center president Michael Luzier. “Contractors involved in the program have noted that they have experienced a reduction in callbacks, and that it has increased their job satisfaction and helped them take more pride in their work. Builders are wise to hire contractors participating in a program that is evaluated by a name they trust.” Certified Trade Contractor Program focuses the building industry on doing things right the first time. To achieve certification, R&F Metals was required to develop, document, implement, and maintain a quality management system that enables the company to consistently meet code and regulatory requirements, builder specifications, and homeowner expectations. Roger Flynn, Sr. president of R & F Metals says, “We had been talking about doing this kind of total evaluation of our operation for years and the certification process finally provided the impetus to actually do it, and the results far exceeded our expectations. The level of involvement from all of our employees during the certification process was extraordinary. There was no part of our business that was not changed for the better as a result of the self-evaluation and our employees feel more empowered than ever. They have a clearer understanding of our company goals, and their everyday actions are guided by the bigger picture – our mission and vision. The process was about much more than quality – it was about continually building a better business.” After achieving the initial certification, the company must pass a rigorous re-certification audit and sustain its certification status through annual audits. For more information on the National Housing Quality Certified Trade Contractor program, visit the NAHB Research Center online at Fabricator 

September/October 2007

What’ s Hot

Introducing In ntroducing


Biz Briefs

National ThreeDigit “Call Before You Dig” Telephone Number

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) has joined with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, the Federal Communications Commission, and representatives from national launch partners the Associated General Contractors of America, John Deere, The Travelers Companies, Inc., and Cox Communications, to connect 811, the new national “Call Before You Dig” number. “Knowing the approximate locations of where utility lines are buried before each digging project helps protect America’s pipelines, industry and people,” said CGA President Bob Kipp. “We believe the new 811 number will encourage more people to have their lines marked to protect themselves, their neighbors and their community.” Nationwide, risky assumptions about the location of underground utility lines, which are buried at various depths below the ground, lead to more than one unintentional hit per minute every day, every year. Even simple digging jobs can damage utility lines and disrupt vital services to an entire neighborhood, harm those who dig, and result in expensive fines and repair costs. Digging accidents can help be prevented with a call to the local One Call Center, a service that contacts appropriate utility companies who then visibly mark the approximate locations of their lines with paint or flags before a caller begins a digging project. Unfortunately, the current statistics on One Call Centers show that the majority of Americans are not using this service. According to a recent CGA study, while 46 percent of Americans are active diggers who have done or plan to do a digging project at home, only 33 percent of do-it-yourselfers plan on calling before they dig, which means they are taking a huge risk each time their shovel disturbs the dirt. Created to eliminate the confusion of multiple “Call Before You Dig” numbers across the country and to be an easy-to-remember resource, 811 will make it easier for Americans to call before attempting any digging project, whether it be something small like planting a tree or installing a mailbox or a larger project like building an addition or deck. This quick and efficient one call service notifies the appropriate local utilities, which then send locators or locate technicians to the requested site to mark the approximate location of underground lines. For more information about the 811 service, campaign, and a new national survey on consumer digging habits, visit September/October 2007 


ASA supports due process for California subcontractors The American Subcontractors Association (ASA) has asked the California Supreme Court to uphold the right of construction subcontractors that have worked on state projects to the due process of the law. “Subcontractors everywhere in this country depend on our courts to recognize the fundamental right of due process,” says 2006-07 ASA President Stephen Rohrbach, CPC, president of F. A. Rohrbach Inc., Allentown, PA. “ASA believes California’s subcontractors should be entitled to their full rights and any erosion of those rights sets a dangerous precedent.” In order to prevent illegal substitution of a listed subcontractor, the subcontractor must be given notice in writing and an opportunity to object to removal from the project in an administrative hearing. Any substitution or removal of the subcontractor is the decision of the awarding authority and “shall be based on the facts contained in the declarations submitted” during such a hearing. ASA argues that California subcontractors are entitled to a full court hearing of contractual issues, which was denied in this case. ASA also argues that the lower court decision ignores the fact that substitution hearings are limited in nature, is in conflict with a previous court decision, and demonstrates the need for the Supreme Court to clarify subcontractor due process rights. For more information, log on to and click on “Subcontractor Advocacy.”


Biz Briefs

What’ s Hot

New OSHA construction regulations The NEW 2007 OSHA Standards for the Construction Industry are available. The Office of National Safety Compliance offers publications for general industry and the construction industry. These books contain all of the 29 CFR 1926 plus special references to the 1904, 1903, 1910, and OSHA letters of interpretation. Contact: National Safety Compliance, Ph: (877)922-7233; Web:

AWS revises standard on welding symbols The American Welding Society (AWS) has announced their newly published standard, AWS A2.4:2007, Standard Symbols for Welding, Brazing, and Nondestructive Examination. This seventh edition of the standard was developed in response to industry demand for American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved standard symbols to streamline communication between fabrication, design, and inspection personnel as joining technology is increasingly advancing and expanding. In addition to aiding in communication, these symbols provide a means for placing welding, brazing, and nondestructive examination information on drawings. Contact: American Welding Society, Ph: (888)935-3464; Web:


American Spring Wire acquires J&L Wire Cloth Company American Spring Wire Corporation, an Ohio-based valve and wire manufacturing firm, recently acquired J&L Wire Cloth Company of St. Paul, MN. Known for its Boss Hog woven wire flooring and confinement panels, J&L Wire produces wire rack decking for warehouse storage, shelving, material handling, and logistics under the Galva-Deck brand name. American Spring Wire manufactures valve and commercial quality wire and high quality PC-strand. Contact: American Spring Wire, Ph: (800) 683-9473; Web:

Dawes moves to new location Dawes Rigging & Crane Rental Inc. has moved to a new 12-acre facility in Eau Claire, WI, from their former location in Chippewa Falls. The new, larger facility and location allows Dawes to better fill customers’ rental needs, from cranes—rough terrain, crawler, operated hydraulic truck, boom trucks, hi-reach, carrydeck, and static and self-erecting towers—to aerials and material handlers such as scissor lifts, telescopic booms, articulating booms, and rough terrain forklifts. Contact: Dawes, Ph: (800) 943-2277; Web:


September/October 2007

What’ s Hot

Biz Briefs

3-D Virtual Reality Trade Show The Powder Coating Institute is sponsoring CyberCoating 2007, an Internet-based trade show that will run live, 24 hours a day from October 15 to 26. The online event will be “housed” in a realistic virtual exhibition hall, complete with booths, banners and technical conferences. Attendees and exhibitors “walk” through the show using avatars, computer-modeled people, who can recognize their loyal customers and industry friends by the name badge that will appear over each avatar’s head. CyberCoating 2007 joins thousands of other virtual trade shows this year, which bring sellers and buyers together from other industries all over the world. “CyberCoating 2007 will offer attendees the invaluable opportunity of not only checking up on the latest technology, products and techniques from any computer with Internet access, but also reaching prospective customers all over the world. And, you don’t have to step foot outside of your office. In fact, you could attend, or even staff your booth from home,” said Greg Bocchi, executive director of The Powder Coating Institute. CyberCoating 2007, like other virtual trade shows, also will offer crucial on-demand features, such as customer profiles that make this type of marketing effort more measurable than traditional activities. The trade show will be available to almost everyone with a computer and Internet access. Companies with computers and systems that use

programs as old as Windows 98 can easily participate. Exhibitor sponsorship and marketing opportunities are available. The 12-day show will operate 24 hours a day. Contact: The Power Coating Institute, Ph: (800) 988COAT; Web:

Chamberlain acquires IEI The Chamberlain Group, Inc., Elmhurst, IL has acquired International Electronics Inc. (IEI) of Vancouver, WA, as a part of its ongoing growth plans in the access control industry. Established in 1985, IEI is a manufacturer of a diversified line of consumer and professional electronic products under such brands as Oracle and Reporter, and is known for their innovative use of wireless technologies for security and access control. “This acquisition gives Chamberlain the ability to leverage IEI’s existing array of wireless technologies throughout our residential and commercial access control product lines,” said Rolls. “The combination of Chamberlain’s worldwide resources with IEI’s unique technology capabilities will provide customers with even more integrated access solutions and innovation. We are impressed with their current product lines and the new, revolutionary products to follow.” Contact: The Chamberlain Group, Inc., Ph: (800) 2826225; Web:

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September/October 2007 



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Chapter News


September/October 2007

Chapter News



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


117 DAVID BIDDLE TRAIL, WEAVERVILLE, NC 28787 • FAX: 828-645-2128 TOLL FREE: 800-635-2596 September/October 2007 




What’ s Hot

Metal Arts Fall workshops The Center for Metal Arts will offer the following seminars and workshops featuring Uri Hofi: Comprehensive Fundamentals of Blacksmithing with Uri Hofi, Oct. 15-19. Learn about hammer control, fire management, quenching and tempering, forming and moving metals, metallurgy, tool making, power hammer forging, geometry, proportion and design, and the cultural history of blacksmithing. Power Hammer Forging with Uri Hofi, October 22-24. This class in free-form power hammer forging includes theory, demonstrations, hands-on time at the power hammer, and instruction on how to use Hofi’s signature dies and tooling at the power hammer for efficient and effective forging. Power Hammer Forging with Uri Hofi, October 24-26. This class features free-form power hammer forging in the Uri Hofi ergonomic technique. Contact: The Center for Metal Arts, Ph: (845) 651-7550; Web:

Upcoming Events Septemer 8-9, 15-16, 2007 22nd Autumn Crafts Festival

This annual event will be held at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Craft artists may apply for exhibit space for one or both weekends. Work must be original, handcrafted, and expertly executed. Contact: American Concern for Artistry and Craftsmanship; Ph: (973) 746-0091 Web: October 12-13, 2007 Florida Artist Blacksmith (FABA) Conference

The Florida Artist Blacksmith Association will hold a conference at The Pioneer Settlement in Barberville, FL. Events include demonstrations, blacksmithing classes, a gallery exhibit, and more. Contact: Florida Artist Blacksmith Association, Web: November 3-5, 2007 Expanded Metal Manufacturers Association (EMMA) Fall Conference

Take our word at face value. There’s a new look at Decorative Iron. Our new line of finished accent products are the very expression of uncompromised quality. Put the finishing touches to your home, garden, or patio with this endless selection of components. They are among over 4,700 items we have available online. Our products offer timeless beauty, strength, and the durability to last generations. Trust Decorative Iron with your next project and take our word at face value.


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EMMA will hold its Fall Conference at The Radisson Hotel, Chicago, IL. Industry experts will present opporrtunities for press conferences, group advertising, press releases, Web site exposure, trade shows, and exchanging information with peers. Contact: NAAMM Headquarters, Ph: (630) 942-6591 Web:


September/October 2007


What’ s Hot

GTO/PRO continues technical training outreach program

Gate operator installer school

GTO/PRO of Tallahassee, FL is offering technical training classes in major cities throughout the country. The training classes are designed for anyone involved in the gate operator industry including sales, service, or installation personnel from basic to advanced levels. There is no fee to attend a class; a deposit is required to reserve each seat, which is fully refundable upon successful completion of the class. “Our comprehensive technical class teaches professional installers and repair specialists everything they need to know to meet or exceed customer expectations by completing a job efficiently,” said Brad Hollis, GTO/PRO director of sales. “By holding the classes around the country, we’ve made it easier for students and trainers to get together.” Contact: GTO, Inc., Ph: (800) 543-GATE; Web:

Fitchburg Forge-In




The 4th Annual Fitchburg Forge-In Blacksmith Competition takes place on October 13, 2007. Cash prizes are awarded. Contact: Fitchburg Economic Development Office; Web:

The American Fence Association will offer a Gate Operator Installer School, October 21-26, 2007, at the Tulsa Technology Center in Tulsa, OK. The intensive course is geared for gate operator installers, both the novice and those with experience. Students will receive technical classroom training, followed by hands-on workshops. Class sizes will be limited to about seven students per instructor. Subjects to be covered include: • UL 325 Standard for gate operators • ASTM F-2200 Safe Gate Design Standard • Safety • Types of gates • Types of gate operators • Accessories used with gate operators • Installation • Electrical • Vehicle detectors Contact: American Fence Association, Ph: (800) 822-4342; Web:

Now Offering Precision Plasma Cutting Services

Let us handle your cutting needs with our new, state-of-the-art 5’ x 10’ computerized precision plasma and oxy fuel cutting system. Call or fax us for a quote today!

We Do Risers And Treads





Many Styles To Choose From • We Deliver Nationwide!

• Fire Escape Steps • 1” Bending Capabilities • Metal Pour Stops for the Industry • Stair Pans • Diamond Plate Steps • Shearing up to 1” by 12’ long


September/October 2007 


(718) 485-2200

Fax (718) 485-0994

366 Herzl St., Brooklyn, NY 11212 CALL OR FAX FOR QUOTE


What’ s Hot


Salmela joins Wagner Chad Salmela has joined The Wagner Companies as an estimator/customer service representative for Systems. Salmela will be responsible for estimating Wagnerail™ projects and serving the

needs of Lumenrail™ LED Lighted Railing Systems customers. In addition, Salmela will be involved with the development of new manufacturing processes to support railing systems business.

Chad Salmela



7AM - 5PM





of the leading manufacturers 800-782-5598

Call Encon Electronics at 800-782-5598 and take advantage of the nine technical sales

The LARGEST technical support team in the industry


GTO announces promotions GTO Inc. recently announced the following promotions: Ryan McDougald was promoted to GTO/PRO Technical Services Supervisor. He now oversees technical services for all GTO/PRO Operators & Ryan McDougald Accessories. Jonathan Clark was promoted to Mighty Mule Technical Support Supervisor. Clark now oversees technical Jonathan Clark services for all Mighty Mule Operators & Accessories. Contact: GTO Inc, Ph: (800) 543GATE; Web:

Chamberlain announces promotions/additions



Contact: Wagner, Ph: (414) 2148383; Web: www.wagnercompanies. com.

representatives available to assist you.

Chamberlain Group Inc. recently announced several key personnel additions and promotions in the company’s sales, marketing, and customer care divisions. The promotions and new personnel will help the company further its mission of providing innovative, high-quality garage door openers, commercial door operators, access control products, and gate operators for professional markets. Contact: The Chamberlain Group, Inc., Ph: (800) 282-6225; Web: Fabricator 

September/October 2007


SME releases leadership book

Diversico’s new brochure

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Dearborn, MI, has released Walking the Talk: Pathways to Leadership, a book for aspiring or experienced managers. Author Michael J. Termini utilizes case studies from actual companies to show the close-looped leadership principles discussed in the book. Topics include making the career choice and career transition, employment and labor laws, management skill-building, managing disciplinary problems, and employee selection. Contact: SME, Ph: (800) 733-4763; Web:

Diversico of Minneapolis, MN introduces a new brochure aimed at product designers of tubular components. Featuring descriptions and pictures with more than 50 different applications, Diversico’s new

brochure provides creative design and manufacturing that includes tube end forming, transitions from round to square, tapers, expansions, reductions, reshaping, flaring, beading, and weldless assembly of heavy-to-thin wall metal tubing. Contact: Diversico, Ph: (763) 537-5919; Web:

What You Want U.S.A. Made

Legal resource for contractors The Contractor’s Legal Kit by Gary Ransone helps contractors to stop “eating” the costs of bad designs, hidden conditions, and job surprises. Written in plain English, rather than “legalese,” the kit explains how to put exclusions in agreements, when insurance companies pay for legal defense, and how to avoid liability for injuries to subs and employees or damages they cause. The kit includes a computer disk with contracts and forms that can be customized. Contact: Contractor Resource, Ph: (916) 321-5557; Web:

Don’t miss out on NOMMA’s 50th anniversary celebration at METALfab 2008!

Join us where it all began... in Memphis, TN April 1-5, 2008. Details are available on NOMMA’s website: September/October 2007 


Custom Castings:

Steel, Iron, Alum., Bronze, Stainless, Nickel Silver

Newels & Pickets -

Cut & Twisted to Your Specs

Another addition to our ever-growing product line you’ve come to trust. Quality



Tennessee Fabricating Company 2025 York Ave. Memphis, TN 38104 1-800-258-4766


New Products

What’ s Hot Pliers have built-in crimper, tape pulling channel

Klein Tools Klein has added the new Journeyman™ J20009NECRTP side-cutting pliers with multiple design features to the Journeyman™ line. The pliers include a built-in crimper for use on noninsulated connectors, lugs, and terminals, and a built-in channel that pulls steel fish tape without damaging the tape. These multi-tasking pliers, with

heavy-duty cutting knives, cut ACSR, screws, nail,s and most hardened wire. Contact: Klein Tools, Ph: (800) 553-4676; Web: Corrosion fighting cleaner/degreaser

Cortec Cortec’s VpCI™-418LM is a nonfoaming, heavy-duty alkaline cleaner/degreaser for cleaning indus-

POW ERHAMMERS.COM Since 1990,the exclusive North Am erican dealerfor

SahinlerAirHam m ers featuring Baldorand GE m otors and Siem ensstarters ourwebsite now includesvideo ofworking dies, extensive FAQ and loadsofinfo aboutthe superior

HAMMERHEAD FORGING DIES m ade in USA form ostbrands ofham m ers sales@powerham m

callBrian at901.867.7300

Variable Speed Ultimate Tubing Notcher For A Great Piece Every Time

Model 400-VSUADJ w/ Adjustable Height Vise Shown

Notches from 3/4” to 2-1/2” OD


Perfect for Thin or Thick Walled Tubing Perfect Weld Fit Every Time Calibrated Swivel Vise Allows Almost Any Angle Fast Metal Removal 208/220/230 Volt Variable Speed 115 volt Single Speed Available CALL OR CLICK In Use by Over 80 NOMMA Shops Ideal for Prototype or Production Work

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trial equipment and parts while protecting metal parts from corrosion. The product is designed for use in power washing machinery, high agitation parts washers, and high-pressure spray washers. It is nitrite-free, nontoxic, silicate-free, and does not present disposal problems associated with most phosphate cleaners. VpCI™418LM leaves no residual film and will not affect paint adhesion. Contact: Cortec Corp., Ph: (800) 426-7832; Web: www.CortecVCI. com. Heavy-Duty drivers and wrenches; 36V cut-off tool

DeWalt DeWALT introduces its new line of heavy-duty, cordless impact drivers, and wrenches, providing users with a smaller, lighter, more powerful tool to meet the jobsite needs of professional contractors. These impact drivers and wrenches are ideal for steel framers, commercial electricians, cabinet installers, deck builders, HVAC, and wet-and-dry mechanical contractors who need a compact tool for self-drilling metal screws, setting wood and lag screws, spade bit drilling (up to 1”), and a wide range of nut/bolt combinations. The product’s frameless motor helps users complete a wide range of fastening applications. Additionally, DeWALT engineered the DC415KL cut-off tool with a 36V battery to provide professional users with increased levels of power and runtime, while maintaining a weight similar to corded and cordless cut-off tools. The tool can be used for maintenance and repair operations, and wherever users require corded metal cutting performance without a cord. The product can cut door hardware and locks, old anchors, tile, electrical cable, and rusted fasteners. The DC415KL can also be used to finish ornamental and handrail welds, and prepare for several applications such as rail cable repair, remote cutting and welding, and mounting tabs. Contact: DeWALT, Ph: (800) 4DEWALT; Web:


September/October 2007

New Products

What’ s Hot process can replace oiling, painting and plating processes, making the workplace safer and environmentally friendly. Contact: Egyptian Coatings, Ph: (615) 790-3881; Web: www.egyptcoat. com.

Circular carbide saw


Protective gloves without bulk

DoALL Sawing Products’ non-ferrous circular carbide saw is capable of cutting a 2” x 2” section of aluminum in two seconds with a 125 RMS finish. The saw’s actual capacity of 3-1/2” is designed to meet high-speed production requirements on non-ferrous bar stock and extrusions with a material feed rate ranging from 16.4 to 32.8ft./min. The carbide tipped 14-in. diameter blade is precision machined for uniform thickness to pass through the blade guides at speeds ranging from 1,535 to 4,100 rpm with a kerf of just over 1/16”. The touch screen control panel displays manual and automatic operations, as well as the job parameters, tool width, cut off length, and timing for the gearbox brake. It also has a help menu with error diagnostic descriptions. Contact: DoALL, Ph: (888) DoAllSaw; Web: www.doallsawing. com.

Ansell Ansell has introduced the Vantage series gloves with integrated cut pro-

tection. The new lightweight gloves also offer abrasion resistance, grip, and dexterity without the bulk associated with heavier aramid fiber hand protection products. There are four individual styles, each with its own distinct advantages and applications. All styles may be laundered for extended wear and lower replacement costs. Contact: Ansell, Ph: (800) 8000444; Web:

Thermadep OneStep Coating & Egyptian Coatings

Houghton International Inc. Houghton International Inc. has contracted with Egyptian Coatings Co. to sell and market Thermadep, a patented, one-step, water-based coating process for metal parts requiring short-term rust protection or other aesthetic properties. Thermadep protective coatings, available in clear and a variety of colors, are applied by dipping heated parts into a bath of low-VOC, waterbased polymer solution. Because Thermadep coatings contain low or no volatile organic compounds, the September/October 2007 



New Products

What’ s Hot Chip collector magnets

Electrodyne Plastalloy™ Chip Collector Magnets from The Electrodyne Co. Inc. capture metal filings, chips, and other ferrous materials which would otherwise damage downstream components. These magnets work in temperatures to 150°C, are oil resistant, and are suitable for metalworking applications including cutting fluid recirculation systems. Plastalloy™ can be bent, twisted, and flexed without the loss of magnetic energy and is available in magnet sheets, strips, or die-cut shapes, with options including pressure-sensitive adhesive, polarity identification, customized formulations, and special cutting techniques. Contact: Electrodyne, Ph: (513) 732-2822 Web:


Downdraft bench dust collector

UAS United Air Specialists (UAS) offers a new downdraft bench dust collector designed for applications where workers need an integrated collection area and work surface. The SDB helps companies comply with OSHA regulations by drawing particles and contaminants away from a worker’s breathing zone. With a downdraft velocity of up to 100 feet per minute and air volumes up to 2,500 CFM, the SDB captures the smoke, dust, and powders resulting from a variety of manufacturing operations including grinding, polishing, hand sanding, and dry buffing. The SDB’s 80” x 55” grated work surface can accommodate loads of up to 75 pounds per square foot. Hinged side wings open to accommodate larger work pieces and uniform air distri-

bution maintains dust control over the work area. Contact: United Air Specialists Inc., Ph: (800) 252-4647; Web: Automatic tube polisher

Wagner The Wagner Companies has added a long length automatic tube polisher to its manufacturing operation for circumferential finishing of stainless steel pipe, tube, or solid round bar. The machine has four heads and is capable of automatically feeding 21-ft. lengths of material with an outside diameter between 1” – 9” at a rate of approximately 4 feet per minute. Multiple polishing heads allow up to four different abrasive operations to


September/October 2007

New Products

What’ s Hot run in one pass. The desired finish can be specified by a belt finish designation — i.e., 180, 240, or 320-grit finishes – or by common mechanical finishing terms – i.e., #4 or #6 satin finish – to match other fittings and components. Contact: The Wagner Companies, Ph: (414) 214-8383; Web: Digital readout kit for ROUNDO Bending Rolls


assembled a kit to upgrade the outdated and possibly inaccurate mechanical readouts to the more reliable and more accurate digital readouts. The Digital Readout Kit consists of transducers, industrial-grade mounting box with magnetic base (housing the readouts), junction box, all the wiring, schematic drawing (which shows how to wire the kit into the existing electric cabinet), and the complete installation instructions for installing the transducers onto the machine. Contact: COMEQ Inc., Ph: (410) 933-8500; Web: Cable railing hardware

For customers with early model ROUNDO Angle and Plate Bending Rolls with Dial Indicators (clock scales) or Tape Scales, COMEQ has

Ultra-tec® A complete line of cable railing fittings that can be installed by hand is now available from Ultra-tec® Cable Railing Systems. No special equipment is required to attach cable tensioners and stop-ends (non-tensioning ends) to the cable right at the job site. The end user

John C. Campbell Folk School Since 1925 • Brasstown, North Carolina

Weeklong and weekend classes • Nationally-known instructors Friendly, supportive environment • On-campus housing Delicious meals served three times a day

orders the hardware and the approximate amount of cable needed for the job, then cuts the cables to length, pushes the cable into the fittings on both ends of the cable runs, and tensions the cables. These stainless steel fittings can be used with wood or metal framed railings, indoors or outside, on level runs or stairs. When installed, there are no acorn nuts or rough cable ends; often, the hardware is concealed inside the railing posts. Contact: Ultra-tec®, Ph: (800) 8512961; Web:

DEDQDRUJ DEDQD DRUJ ABANA A PO Bo Boxx 3425 25 Knoxville, TN 37927 27 Knoxville, 865.546.7733 33

To receive a free catalog, call or visit


September/October 2007 


$UWLVW%ODFNVPLWK–V $UWLVW%ODF FNVPLWK–V Association of North Norrth America, Inc. 91


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

Classified ad rates and information

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



September/October 2007

Advertiser’ s index Fabrication

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

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

Metal Moment 90Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. 89 TP 93 Vogel Tool & Fabrication Services 78 94

Colorado Waterjet Co. Tornado Supply

59 94 32 40 58

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

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

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

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

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

September/October 2007 


Professional Development 84 86 84 16 53 88 86 ARTMETAL Campbell Folk School NEF / NOMMA NOMMA NOMMA Traditional Building

Software 04 89 87

FabCAD Inc. MB Software Solutions Red Pup Productions

Stairs & Treads 100 28 43 74 79

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

Glass Services 78 91

K Dahl Glass Studios Lindblade Metal Works

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


Business Perspectives

Let’s shake on it...  Are the good ol’ days

of good, honest business gone forever?

By Doug Bracken Have you ever heard someone say,

“There is already too much paper work in my business,” or “My dad did business with a handshake and I want to keep doing the same”? Interesting that these same people also complain about how little money they make, how many hours they work, and how their clients don’t treat them fairly… sounding not at all like the “good ol’ days.” So, where have the good ol’ days of good, honest business gone? Well, for starters, they never left for those of us who set the rules of the game up front. But for those of us who are struggling in our businesses, we simply need to think about the business process. Reason out your contingencies first We all provide pricing based on a specific set of assumptions. Your price to your client may be based on what you assume is a standard workweek… and you probably did not allow for overtime. And what if your client asks for an accelerated schedule? Perhaps your proposal assumes that there will not be a lot of travel to and from the client’s office or jobsite for work coordination, but the situation changes and you find yourself having to attend weekly meetings, which costs you at least a couple of 94

hours each time. Or maybe you based your proposal on the cost of materials in June, but the client did not hire you until November, and meanwhile the cost of materials has skyrocketed. Last, who has not had the experience of offering a price to a contractor only to have them come back and ask for your price but on their terms? What are your terms? Terms and conditions can vary widely from business to business due to the nature of the business and the relative risks. But in general, a few of the issues your terms and conditions are pretty standard and should cover the following: payment terms, taxes, insurance, shipping, consultation time above and beyond that which is specified in the contract, proposal validity length, overtime, materials cost escalation, demolition, insurance, union labor costs, and what happens when the scope of the project changes. And don’t forget to mention that your price is based on your terms and that your offer may be withdrawn or changed if the other party wants you to agree to their terms instead. Get expert advice Consult with your insurance agent and your attorney to help draw up some terms that suit your particular business. On the flip side, do not hesitate to strike any language that other contractors ask you to sign if it is too

onerous. Your insurance agent should be more than happy to review your contracts for onerous language and prevent you from signing your life and business away. For those of you who have never asked for terms of contract and are concerned that your current clients will take their business elsewhere if they are asked to agree to some reasonable terms, ask yourself: do you really want them as clients? Last, and keep this in mind, a contract serves two primary purposes: 1. It should clearly define what the scope of work is; and 2. It provides the ground rules for when things change or worse when things go wrong. The handshake is a reassurance between two people (because business will always be conducted between people) that the job will get done. You will never get out of the handshake, so while you are at it, set the rules straight at the beginning and everyone will be happier and more prosperous.

Doug Bracken is a past president of NOMMA.


September/October 2007




Metal Spirals from



Features: •Steel Construction •Landing & Rails •All Required Hardware •Install Manual & Video

We make installing a spiral straightforward.

Options: •Any Floor-to-Floor Height •Diameters 3'6" to 7'0" •BOCA/UBC Code Models •Custom Welded Units •Aluminum Construction •Hot Dipped Galvanizing -- Many More Available --

Oak Spirals from



Features: •All Red Oak Construction •Landing & Rails •All Required Hardware •Install Manual & Video Options: •Any Floor-to-Floor Height •Diameters 4'0" to 6'0" •BOCA/UBC Code Models •Turned Spindles •Solid Oak Handrails •Finger Groove Rails -- Many More Available --

Victorian One ® from



Installation Video featuring “The Furniture Guys”

Features: •Cast Aluminum Construction •Landing & Rails •All Required Hardware •Installation Manual

Options: •Any Floor-to-Floor Height •Diameters 4'0" to 6'0" •BOCA/UBC Code Models •Brass Handrails •Cast Scroll Tread Ends •“Antique” Baked Finish -- Many More Available --

The best selection, quality, and prices! Since 1931, The Iron Shop has enjoyed a reputation for outstanding design and fabrication of custom built spiral stairs. Today, we utilize computer-aided technology throughout our production process to guarantee that each stair meets exacting standards—successfully mixing state-of-the-art manufacturing with Old World quality. Offering the largest selection, highest quality, and lowest prices in spiral stairs—we make sure that you get the right spiral to meet your needs. This has made The Iron Shop the

leading manufacturer of spiral stair kits, with over 100,000 satisfied customers worldwide. And our spirals are still made with pride in the U.S.A. Call for the FREE color Catalog & Price List:


Ask for Ext. FAB or visit our Web Site at Main Plant & Showroom: Dept. FAB, P.O. Box 547, 400 Reed Road, Broomall, PA 19008 Showrooms / Warehouses: Ontario, CA • Sarasota, FL • Houston, TX • Chicago, IL • Stamford, CT

Proud nationwide member of... “The Furniture Guys” is a registered trademark belonging to Ed Feldman and Joe L’Erario ©2003 The Iron Shop

Circle 11 on Reader Service Card

2007 09 fab  
2007 09 fab