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NOMMA partners with NAAMM to update three technical manuals, pg. 11 Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

September/October 2008 $6.00 US

Special Feature

A “floating� staircase garners Top Job gold award pg. 46 Tips & Tactics

Intelligent machining automation, pg. 14 Shop Talk

Make your own biodiesel, pg. 28 Member Talk

Siblings create artistic and functional metalwork, pg. 55

An acquisition requires effective management skills, pg. 18



September/October 2008 Vol. 49, No. 5

NOMMA member Flaherty Iron Works Inc. had an opportunity to restore a piece of American history — the White House gates. See page 38.

Tips & Tactics

Job Profiles

Online resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 New Literature & Resource Guides are now on NOMMA’s website.

Forging past and present........38 A NOMMA member’s gate restoration project wins the bronze.

By Todd Daniel

Machining automation . . . . . . 14 Speeding up CNC programming productivity increases workflow efficiency.

Biz Side

By Lisa Bakewell

Homegrown biodiesel . . . . . . . . . . 28 Majka Railing goes green by manufacturing its own fuel. Member Talk All in the family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 A sibling-owned shop creates artistic and functional metalwork. By Sheila Phinazee

President’s Letter . . .6 Are you getting all you can from NOMMA?

By Steve Selengut

By Peter Hilderbrandt

An imaginative staircase ........46 This award-winning stair required extensive planning and labor.

Planning for success . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 A sound business plan is crucial to long-term prosperity. By Jason Kay

By Lisa Bakewell

Shop Talk Anatomy of an acquisition . . . . 18 There are challenges in managing two separate-but-related companies.

Prevent investment mistakes . 64 Use these 10 risk minimizers to protect your investment.

Of Special Interest Increase your knowledge. Now, NOMMA member shops and chapters can apply for a NEF grant to offset the expense of an educational seminar through the NEF Education Resource Program. See page 78. Tell us what you think! Help us make Fabricator better by taking a few minutes to participate in our Readership Survey. All participants will be entered for a prize drawing. See page 94 for details.

Editor’s Letter . . . . . .8 Legacies and building things that last.

Improve your liquidity . . . . . . . . . . 74 Manage working capital to improve your cashflow. By Terry Cartwright

What’s Hot! New Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 Nationwide Suppliers . . . . . . . . . . 80 Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Chapter News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 New Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

Reader’s Letters . . . 10 Comments on cast iron, fabricating bronze, and more.

Biz Perspectives . . . 98 Get the customer’s perspective on ornamental iron.

Cover photo: Finelli Architectural Iron and Stairs brings a customer’s dream of a “floating” octagonal staircase to life. September/October 2008 !




President’s Letter Dedicated to the success of our members and industry. NOMMA OFFICERS President Terry Barrett Royal Iron Creations West Palm Beach, FL President-Elect Bob Foust Bob’s Ornamental Iron Studio Kansas City, KS

Vice President/ Treasurer Bruce Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA Immediate Past President Breck Nelson Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC Peoria, IL

FABRICATOR DIRECTORS Frank Finelli Finelli Architectural Ironworks Solon, OH

J.R. Molina Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX

Will Keeler Keeler Iron Works Memphis, TN

Mark O’Malley O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc. Yorkville, IL

James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

Greg Terrill Division 5 Metalworks Kalamazoo, MI

SUPPLIER DIRECTORS Wayne Haas Cleveland Steel Tool Co. Cleveland, OH

Cathee Speaks King Architectural Metals Dallas, TX

Gina Pietrocola D.J.A. Imports Ltd. Brooklyn, 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

2008 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

Are you getting all you can from NOMMA? “We have found the enemy and it is us.” —Pogo Are you busy in your business — talking

to customers…selling your product…making your product…installing your product? So busy that you don’t have time to make your business bet or learn what your customers need and want? No time to figure out how to offer better products and/or great pricing and still be profitable? And put it all together so your business survives the tough patches and thrives long-term? The NOMMA organization is similar to our businesses, except that we are our own customers. In NOMMA, we look for a product to help us solve our problems, make us more profitable, make our life easier or more enjoyable — then, we check out the product, assess the price, determine if it’s a good value, and then decide whether there are better alternatives. Every potential member (customer) — whether new to the industry, a longtime member, or a past member — goes through this critical decision process whenever it is time to join NOMMA for the first time, renew membership, or consider returning to the association after an absence. Sometimes, the decision to join is so clear, it doesn’t even seem like a conscious decision. Our goal as the NOMMA Board of Directors and staff is to make that clear decision happen more often and for more companies in our industry. So, despite the bustle in planning conventions, getting the magazine out, dealing with regulatory bodies, and all the other services we provide, we must take the time to make NOMMA better. In June, the Board approved hiring an experienced consultant to help us do a self-examination of NOMMA’s products, services, and offerings. The consultant is well into Phase I, which involves interviewing a diverse group of

fabricators and suppliers. The group consists of current members, members that have left NOMMA, and companies that have never been members. The purpose of these interviews is to determine what common “threads” exist among the group in order to ensure that NOMMA is current and up-todate. In August, the Executive Committee and staff commenced Phase II of the project by evaluating our cur- Terry Barrett is rent programs and president of services to determine the National those that are relevant Ornamental and to current and future Miscellaneous Metals Association. needs of the membership — and those that are dinosaurs and need to become extinct. Phase III begins in October, when the Board will meet to revise our Strategic Plan based on the knowledge acquired from the interviews and evaluations. This leads to the most important phase of all, Phase IV, in which we will align the programs and services, board agendas, staff directions, and evaluations to the evolving strategic plan. It seems like a lot to get done this year. But if done properly, it will bring to fruition the visions of past Boards and a distinct direction for the future. This process is all about understanding our customer – and that customer is YOU. So, if you have thoughts about what you want and need from this organization, both now and in the future, call one of your Board members. Or, go to NOMMA’s website and click on the “Contact Us” button, where you will find a direct link to send an email to the NOMMA Board. We welcome and encourage your input.

Fabricator !

September/October 2008

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 e-mail). Or upload ads to our website where a downloadable media kit is available:


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


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) 288-2006. Deadline: 2nd Friday of the month prior to publication.


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


For a quote, contact NOMMA at (770) 2882004 or Opinions expressed in Fabricator are not necessarily those of the editors or NOMMA. Articles appearing in Fabricator may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of NOMMA. Circulation: 9,000.



How to reach us

Editor’s Letter

Built to last... Leaving a proud legacy Not long ago, I watched a documen-

tary on state parks. A large portion of the show was devoted to the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which piqued my interest — my paternal grandfather had served as an officer in the CCC, overseeing work done on the site that eventually became known as Fort Mountain Park. (His CCC pin is pictured at right.) The CCC was a relief program established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with the purpose of providing work for young men from unemployed families during the Great Depression. The Corps were assigned a number of building and conservation projects between 1933 and 1942, including construction of many roads, buildings, and trails in city, state, and national parks. The results of their labors are still used today — almost 60 years later. They left a legacy of work that was built to last. I’ve noticed that this same work ethic is also present among NOMMA members. You’re constantly seeking out best practices, learning from established methods, discovering new and creative ways to do something better, and ensuring that the codes that regulate your work are fair and uphold the proper standards. You, too, are leaving behind a body of work, both in products and on paper, that is built to last. This is a proud legacy! Part of that legacy is the work that NOMMA members gather together to do on behalf of the Association. Currently, the Board of Directors and staff are conducting a multi-phase review process that will result in a comprehensive strategic plan to guide the Association in better serving you, its members. Please read President Terry Barrett’s letter on page 6 to learn more about this project and how your input can help.

This issue of Fabricator features several quality projects that are built to last. Our Job Profiles this month focus on two Top Job award-winning projects — Flaherty Iron Works’ historic White House gate restoration (page 36), and Finelli Architectural Iron Helen Kelley is editor and Stairs’ spectacu- of Ornamental & lar “floating” octago- Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator. nal staircase (see page 46). Also, some of the fine work produced by sister-and-brother team Rachel Miller and Timothy Miller of Spirit Ironworks is highlighted in our Member Talk feature, page 55. We were also excited to learn that one of our member shops, Majka Railing Co. Inc., has made a huge, ecofriendly step by manufacturing its own biodiesel fuel. Keith Majka, Jr. constructed the refinery, which turns used vegetable oil from the diner across the street into fuel that powers the company’s trucks. Read this fascinating story on page 28. In Tips and Tactics, Communications Manager Todd Daniel tells you about some helpful new resources that are now available to you on NOMMA’s website; see page 12 for details. And you can learn more about Intelligent Machining Automation, a process that speeds up CNC programming productivity, on page 14. To round out this issue, Biz Side offers three articles aimed at helping you protect your investments and ensure your company’s success. Oh, and one last thing — your input can ensure Fabricator’s own proud legacy. Please participate in our Reader Survey — it’s fast and easy, and you can do it online! Details can be found on page 94. Thank you! Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Reader’s Letters Some follow-up ideas for cast iron article I just read the The Language of Cast Irons by John Campbell and I was thrilled to see such a good article on the types of cast iron and important properties for ornamental fabrication. We frequently supply custom cast iron to fabricators and we do our best to help folks evaluate the economics of sand cast iron and ease the purchasing process of custom castings. While we try to do our best, I think it still can be difficult to get a straight answer from a foundry about costing, quality, and delivery. We're proud of our foundry heritage, but foundrymen can be a crusty bunch — not always the best marketers of a finished product. I would love to work with John on some follow-up articles about casting economics as compared to, say, plasma cutting and fabrication, foundry pattern-making costing (which is the single biggest economic hurdle for a casting project), welding cast irons to each other and steel, and purchasing strategies for decorative cast iron. With the cost of steel going through the roof, I believe there are many applications where the investment in a foundry pattern could pay for itself quickly, and casting purchasing knowledge could be a strateW RI TE !

Tell us what you thi nk Letters are welcomed and encouraged. Please note that letters may be edited for clarity, grammar, and length. Send to: Mail: Letters to the Editor, c/o Fabricator, 1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253. E-mail: Fax: (770) 2882006; Ph: (888) 516-8585. Please include your name, company, address, telephone number, and e-mail on all submissions. 10

gic benefit to NOMMA members. Please consider these suggestions and, if possible, I would like to contact John directly to discuss the potential of future projects. ~ James O’Neil O.K. Foundry Co. Richmond, VA

bending, and welding of bronze. Specifically, I need information on working with bronze alloy C38500. Do you have any information sources? ~ James Sharplin Sharpco Inc. Monroe, LA

Ed: Thanks for your kind letter. Mr. Campbell, our senior writer, is always searching for new article ideas, and I’m sure he’d be interested in talking with you.

Ed: We have a very popular article on this topic, which was written by Alex Klahm in 1993. To download it, visit the NOMMA website (, click on “Support,” and scroll down to the section called “Popular Articles from Fabricator Magazine.” The article covers hot forming, cold forming, attachment, welding, and finishing.

Need information for fabricating bronze A supplier told me that you had information on the fabrication,

Questions About LEED, the Green Building Standard Question: Contractors and architects are asking us if we are LEED certified. How do we go about this? Answer: LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a third-party certification program that has been accepted as a national green construction standard. Like buildings, professionals can also wear the LEED label by completing an accreditation program. After taking a study course, individuals may take the LEED exam at testing centers around the country. Classroom and online courses are available, but these are optional. For more info, visit: The Green Building Certification Institute ( Question: We’ve just taken on a green building project. How do we meet the LEED requirements? Answer: Typically, your client will provide you with the forms to fill out. In most cases, you need to document the amount of recycled content of your metal, so that your client can obtain credits for sections M4.1 and MR4.2 of the LEED standard. You’ll likely need to get this information from your supplier. At NOMMA we’ve heard concerns from both suppliers and fabricators about the arduous amount of paperwork needed. Fortunately, there is good news — both the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Steel Recycling Institute have set up LEED support areas on their websites. The resources on these sites can save you a lot of time. For more info visit: Steel Recycling Institute ( and the American Institute of Steel Construction ( Sources: U.S. Green Building Council, past ListServ discussions

Fabricator  September/October 2008

Technical Affairs News NAAMM and NOMMA to Begin Manual Update Project

The National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers (NAAMM) and the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA) are teaming up to update three of their manuals. The NAAMM Pipe Railing Systems and Metal Stairs manuals are being combined with the NOMMA Metal Rail Manual to create a brand new publication called the Metal Stair & Railing Manual. The three current publications are each in need of an update. The Metal Rail Manual was last published in 1986, the last edition of the Metal Stairs Manual came out in 1992, and the Pipe Railing System Manual was last produced in 1995. This is the second joint publishing venture between NAAMM and NOMMA. In 2006 the two associations published the NAAMM-NOMMA Metal Finishes Manual, which was an update of six NAAMM finishing booklets. Under the arrangement, NAAMM will provide the services of its staff engineer and NOMMA will handle production and coordination. A task force made up of both NOMMA and NAAMM members has been set up to review the editorial drafts and make decisions on incoming

NAAMM and NOMMA are joining forces to update and combine three of their technical manuals. This is the second joint publishing venture for the two associations — in 2006 they released a completely revised Metal Finishes Manual.

comments. As each section is updated, the memberships of both organizations will have the opportunity to provide feedback. The group also intends to request input from industry experts to ensure that all material is current. The first step in the project is to create an outline of how the three booklets will be integrated. Once the task force agrees on the initial organization of the publication, work will then proceed quickly. Plans are to roll out the new manual in January 2009. If you are a NOMMA or NAAMM member and would like to serve on the task force, please contact Todd Daniel (, 404-516-8585, ext. 102).

Join NOMMA Today! Two more reasons to join NOMMA: As a member you receive our member’s only publications: Fabricator’s Journal - Features exclusive “how to” articles. TechNotes - Focuses on building codes, standards, and government regulations. Both bulletins are published bimonthly. All back issues are available in the Member’s Only area.

or’s Jou Fabricat


TechNot es

All issues are 3-hole punched for easy storage in a notebook.

Join online a at: t: w or ccall all (888) 516-8585, e ext. xt. 101 September/October 2008  Fabricator


Tips& Tactics 

Case Study

Two New Online Resources

Contact: Todd Daniel NOMMA 1535 Pennsylvania Ave. McDonough, GA 30253 Ph: (888) 516-8585 Fax: (770) 288-2006 Web:

Web visitors may now quickly find a listing of literature, schools, and nonprofit organizations related to our industry. By Todd Daniel NOMMA Communications Mgr. Need information in a hurry? The

NOMMA website has two new areas loaded with valuable information — the online Literature Guide and Resource Guide. To access these areas, visit the NOMMA website ( and click “Support.” You’ll immediately see the new areas listed in the submenu.

RIGHT: The Resource Guide is primarily to list the free downloads available from related nonprofit organizations. In addition, we also include schools, government agencies, and some for-profits that provide free online material.

Literature Guide

There is a wealth of literature on our 1,000-year-old industry — the challenge is finding it. In the Literature Guide you’ll find a listing of books that have either been recommended by experts or reviewed in Fabricator magazine. So far, we have 155 books in this area that are divided into the following areas: Art, history, design, reference, technical manuals, and business management. The idea of the Literature Guide comes from an education session given at the 1997 METALfab convention in Birmingham, AL. During the session, presenters Lloyd Hughes and Ed Mack handed out a handout of literature resources that became a popular item at the convention. Even after the event, the NOMMA office received numerous requests for this information. Since that time, we’ve continually expanded the original list to contain a variety of manuals and books. To locate a book, you can either click on one of the six main categories, or click on “Search” and enter a keyword, title, or author. Should you decide to purchase a book, no problem. Most of the listings 12


The Literature Guide features a listing of books and technical manuals related to our industry. Publications are broken down into primary categories, such as art, history, and design.

include a Library of Congress ISBN number. Simply put this number into a search engine and you should quickly find merchants that carry the book. If you have a favorite book that you feel we’ve left out, certainly let us know by contacting me at the number above. Resource Guide

Many nonprofit associations provide free information on their websites — the trick is to access it in a hurry. We’ve tried to reduce a few steps in the search process by including nonprofits related to our industry and providing direct links to the free information they provide. For instance, the Specialty Steel Industry of North America (SSINA) provides a gold mine of information on stainless steel. Visit the

SSINA section and you’ll find links to 31 free, downloadable publications. If you need information on driveway gates, I encourage you to visit the listing for the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA). The association has some excellent Technical Data sheets on gate operators, and we’ve provided direct links to the most popular bulletins. Another great resource included in the guide is the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). The AISC also offers many free downloads, and one of the most popular is their Code of Standard Practice for Structural Steel Buildings and Bridges. Much of the information in this 80-page booklet can be used as a guide for our own industry. Fabricator  September/October 2008

Another gold mine of information (or should I say “copper mine?”) is the website for the Copper Development Association (CDA), which we also include. Once again, we pull from this massive website only the information that is relevant to our industry. For example, need information on how to weld copper alloys? We provide a link to where you can order a free 54-page booklet. While nonprofit associations is the main focus of the Resource Guide, we’ve also included categories for government agencies, schools, and forprofit organizations that provide free, online material. One example of the for-profit resources is Industrial Galvanizers of Australia, which provides a 39-chapter specifier’s manual that can be printed or viewed online. The company also has an excellent FAQ on galvanizing. Just like the Literature Guide, you can find an online resource either by category or by doing a search. You can search by keyword, organization name, or even the street name.

The Resource Guide has its roots from a booklet that NOMMA produced in 2000, called “Related Organizations.” The old document was on our website for many years and served as a

starting point for the current project. If you see a resource that’s missing, feel free to let us know and we’ll add it. Our goal is to make the Resource Guide as comprehensive as possible.

Update on the NOMMA Member Locator We now have over 50 NOMMA members participating in the new Member Locator program. If you haven’t sent your material in for the locator, we encourage you to do so soon. The locator is a valuable membership benefit that allows property owners, architects, and contractors to quickly find your shop. All members receive a basic listing, and you can enhance The Member Locator allows your free listing by sending us the following: potential customers to  Company Description - Provide a 250-word quickly connect with NOMMA members in their area. description in a Microsoft Word document.  Logo - Can be in any common format and size.  Picture - Provide five pictures for the gallery, preferably in JPEG format.  Keywords - Choose up to five keywords. For a list of available keywords, download the “NOMMA Member Locator” file from the NOMMA homepage ( Send all material to: Please allow approximately one week for your material to appear on the web.

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Tips& Tactics !

Increasing Efficiency

Intelligent machining automation By speeding up CNC programming productivity, this process helps reduce machine shop bottlenecks and increase efficiency.


Core/cavity machining is an excellent application for VX CAD/CAM’s Intelligent Machining Automation.

Editor’s note: The information in this article was furnished by VX Corporation.

Machining a block of steel into a finished part — whether it’s a mold core/cavity, electrode, or discrete part — usually involves several machining operations. These tool paths collectively define a comprehensive approach from the initial roughing to final finishing. Before the job can start, the programmer embarks on the time-con14

suming task of choosing all the required tool paths, correct cutting tools, parameters for roughing and finishing operations, proper feed rates and much more. Additionally, each shop has its own unique approach and rules for machining based on their operational strategies, age and condition of equipment, and the experiences and preferences of their machinists. Automation saves time, increases efficiency Lengthy programming times cause

production bottlenecks, limits capacity, or leads to compromises in quality. That problem — coupled with the declining number of experienced machinists in the workforce today — can result in operation inefficiencies and lost potential sales. So, what’s the answer? Shop owners need to select CAM software that actually helps solve their problems easily and efficiently by capturing the machinist’s manufacturing intent. This way, the operations and machining cycles that worked for one job can be applied to the next. Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Programming tailored to shop’s specific needs The right software makes machining automation possible by using a unique, whole-part approach. The user establishes “rules of engagement” that control and contain the tool path, which eliminates manual profiling, and boundaries and surface picking. This rules-based approach is extremely effective in rest-roughing operations, in which the machinist simply wants to remove material left by the previous operation. The automation results from the machinist storing his logic and experience in reusable templates of operations that serve as a knowledge base for intelligently automating machining for a vast array of parts. This process greatly reduces the time required for programming new

parts from a matter of days to a matter of minutes. Additionally, by capturing and retaining the knowledge and logic of an experienced machinist for future projects, machining automation helps shop owners cope with the difficulties in recruiting and retaining skilled machinists. “The value of Intelligent Machining Automation is that it can automate much of a shop’s programming so that it’s tailored to the shop’s specific needs and unique situation,” explains Bob Fischer, vice president of sales and marketing for VX Corporation, manufacturer of VX CAD/CAM software. “This is a much better approach than that employed by many other CAM products that rely solely on pre-programmed rules and feeds and speeds for developing tool paths.”

About VX Corp.:

VX Corporation is a developer of CAD/CAM solutions for industrial designers, engineers, and CNC programmers. VX enables speedy design with fully integrated, accurate manufacturing. Using a fast hybrid modeling engine, engineers can take advantage of the speed of solids with the flexibility of Class A surfaces. Designers can create, modify, visualize, document, and machine a vast array of parts and assemblies. VX formerly served the OEM CAD/CAM market as Varimetrix with products for the manufacturing marketplace. For more information

Contact: VX Corp., Ph: (800) 6839222; Web:


If you have an idea for a topic you’d like to see covered in Tips & Tactics, please let us know. For consideration, please contact the Editor at (888) 516-8585, E-mail

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September/October 2008

Shop Talk

When one becomes two: Anatomy of an acquisition Taking on an additional company requires effective management skills. A NOMMA member shares his strategies for streamlining workflow and balancing the management of two separate-but-related companies after an acquisition. !

Chronology of a businessman

By Lisa Bakewell Tom McDonough is a well-seasoned master at juggling

responsibilities, but his juggling act just got a whole lot more complicated. Tom is the current owner and president of two metal fabrication companies — one that he founded himself in June of 2004 and the second that he purchased from his father only three months ago (June 2008). You’d think that the new acquisition would make Tom a little frazzled and somewhat disorganized — maybe causing him to drop a plate or two in his juggling act — but it hasn’t. Tom has taken the extra responsibilities in stride, just like the pro that he is. With the systems that he currently has in place at Master Metal Services and the systems that he’s putting into place at Eagle Metal Fabricators, he’s making the job of running both businesses seem effortless.

For your information


Project Managing two separate-yet-related companies after an acquisition. Fabricator Tom McDonough, Master Metal Services Inc.


Tom McDonough (right), owner of Master Metal Services Inc., bought Eagle Metal Fabricators, the company his father started more than 30 years ago. Here, father and son are pictured on closing day.

Tom, a self-described family man, was born in Philadelphia in 1968, but moved to Florida as a small child. He still resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL with his high school sweetheart, Jeannine (whom he married 17 years ago), and his two children —Thomas (15), who loves sports cars and classic rock, and Courtney (13), who loves Hannah Montana. “My whole life is about my family,” says Tom. “I am in the office about 6:45 every morning and I stay until about 6 p.m. until the school year starts, then I’ll leave around 5 p.m. to be home with my children. I do take work home with me, so after dinner I can do quotes, but I try not to work Saturdays so we can do things as a family.” Tom’s newest acquisition, Eagle Metal Fabricators, was founded by his father, Fran McDonough, Sr., in 1977. Tom

Biggest challenge Keeping up with the different requirements for the two businesses (and keeping them straight). Words to live by “My philosophy in life is that I would rather have it and give it back than to never have had it. I am not afraid of hard work and most things in life are achieved with hard work and luck.” — Tom McDonough


Master Metal Services Inc. 2801 NW 55th Court, Unit 6E Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309 Ph: (954) 584-4211 Email: Web: Eagle Metal Fabricators 4300 SW 59th Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314 Ph: (954) 583-8353 Email: Web: Fabricator !

September/October 2008

worked for his dad in the summers while he was growing up and, after graduating from high school, he attended Santa Fe Community College and earned an associate’s degree in business management. “School wasn’t for me,” recalls Tom. “So, I came home and began installing cell phones in cars. After six months, I asked my dad if I could work for him. He said yes, but I had to start at the bottom in the shop.” From that day forward, Tom never looked back. He began working his way up the ladder and made his move into the office after seven years, where his dad allowed him to do small quotes and field measurements. Tom eventually moved his way up to Vice President and then began controlling virtually every aspect of the business. After 14 years of working for his father, Tom decided to try his hand at running his own business, and founded Master Metal Services in 2004.

Master Metal’s 7,000 square-foot shop features a wellorganized layout area.

Sister companies — separate, for now Master Metal currently has eight employees working in a 7,000 squarefoot shop that Tom leases. At Master Metal, they fabricate the “onesytwosy” type pieces, according to Tom. “Master Metal is basically a fullservice sheet metal job shop for the architectural work,” he explains. “We do mechanical and we do electrical — so, we’ll do electrical boxes and we’ll also make drip pans and flashing. We also do stuff for the roofing industry as far as drip edges, and then we’ll do the architectural stainless work. We will do the counter top, etc., too, so really it’s a one-stop-shop for my little niche.” And because Master Metal is able to do the small jobs, they can still make railings and stairs for their customers. At the end of June this year, Master Metal had already completed 389 jobs. Sister company Eagle Metal employs 80 people in a 25,000 squarefoot shop on three acres that the company owns. Eagle’s specialty is commercial fabrication and high-end residential pieces in large quantities. The September/October 2008 !



[Tom] believes that having all of these family members and a

familiar crew around him relieves him of trust issues he might otherwise have. company was responsible for more than $10 million in sales last year — and 200 jobs for the first half of this year. In the future, Tom says he may or may not combine the companies into one, but he plans to house the busi-

nesses in one building. “By combining the two companies, we can still offer both ends of the spectrum,” he says. “Yes, we still do the ‘onesy-twosy’ things at Eagle, but it interferes with the larger production work. So, now my goal is to have

Master Metal handle all the [smaller] jobs and Eagle can concentrate on the larger projects.” A family affair Tom’s office manager at Master Metal is his mother-in-law, Gerri Brauser, and his shop manager is his father-in-law, Ralph Brauser. As a matter of fact, Tom has a lot of family members involved in both businesses, as well as others he hired himself or worked for in his dad’s shop. “My sister, Donna Robertson, does my accounting,” says Tom, “and my brother is one of the draftsmen. My future sister-in-law is one of the secretaries. I hired the shop foreman eight years ago. I hired most of our employees, and I have worked under some of the people that now work for me.” Tom even has a cousin who works in the shop. He believes that having all of these family members, plus a familiar crew of additional employees, around him relieves him of trust issues he might otherwise have. Other key employees include Lester Hensley, Tom’s general manager, who’s been with Eagle since 1980; shop manager Charles Rodriguez; his steel department foreman, Rafael Fonseca; and his railing department foreman, Leroy Maxwell. Tom’s dad still comes into the shop, too. “He comes through, in and out, whenever he wants to,” says Tom. Making the transition from one to two Tom has big shoes to fill with the acquisition of Eagle Metal, which celebrated its 31st anniversary in March of this year. “My dad built a strong name in this industry,” states Tom. “And he built his reputation, basically, on quality and timing. If he said he was going to be there in two weeks, there would be somebody there in two weeks. Anybody can do a job in two months, he figured, so he said, ‘Let me do it in two weeks.’ And that’s kind of how he built this niche.” When asked if his dad has been resistant to any of the changes, Tom


Fabricator !

September/October 2008


Eagle Metal, founded by Fran McDonough, celebrated its 31st anniversary in March 2008. One of the first goals on Tom McDonough’s agenda after acquiring the company was to computerize all of its processes.


Detailer Frank Torres.


Eagle’s team of lead installers.

Lead installer Ron Phillips.

Some of Eagle Metal’s projects include two high-end residences and a rooftop structure on a high-rise development in Miami Beach. LEFT AND ABOVE:


Fabricator !

September/October 2008

says, “No not really. He eventually wanted to work his way out, anyway. But you know, he’s been here for 31 years. It’s hard — no matter what — to retire, and I don’t think he’ll ever fully retire.” Surprisingly, Tom hasn’t met with any resistance to the changes in the businesses that have already occurred or to those that will occur before the end of the year. “The transition is going quite well,” he says. “I took the key personnel at Eagle out to dinner to let them know I didn’t plan on being the ‘Grim Reaper.’ I let them know what I had planned and when to expect the changes to take place. I basically took over July 1, and said that, by Christmas, to expect everything to be in place. “Being familiar with the place made it definitely a lot easier [for me],” he adds. “I think it would have been a lot different if it was brand new people and a brand new company. There was actually a really good response.”

Using technology wisely is key to running two companies The biggest change for Tom and his employees will be the computerization of Eagle. “Eagle doesn’t have current software,” explains Tom. “So, implementing technology — even just changing older methods — where [technology] wasn’t used before will be the challenge. Eagle has no CAD program and no accounting program, so I am starting with a completely ‘pencil-andpaper’ large company and converting it all to an ‘up-to-date’ operation.” Fortunately for Tom, Master Metal is completely computerized — and always has been — so he knows how to implement the same system for

“Back when my dad started,

a handshake meant everything. When someone told you that you were doing a job, you were doing the job.”

Eagle. At Master Metal, Tom uses to communicate with all of the computers within the two companies, allowing him the ability to access all aspects of the businesses including scheduling. He also has a three-way call forwarding system that allows his secretary to feed him calls wherever he is. “I have a designated line at my desk at Eagle Metal, so when someone calls me, [my secretary] just forwards or rings it on my designated line — and I answer just as if I’m in the office. Nobody knows the difference.” Another helpful feature for Tom is his designated fax line at Eagle. “If there are any faxes that come through,” he says, “[my secretary] forwards those faxes to me.” Tom has also set up a billing and job fabrication fax sheet, so that his secretary can keep the businesses separate. “When I fax [paperwork] to my secretary with this cover sheet, she knows exactly what to do to put it in the shop.” “I really use technology to my advantage,” says Tom. “Between emailing, having call forwarding on the phones and the faxing, if you were a customer and you called my office, you would get me. If you were to fax over a request for a quote, it would come right to me, and I would be able to quote it. You would never know any different. And, to me, that’s the key.” Benefits of NOMMA membership Tom McDonough cites membership in NOMMA as helpful when it comes to gaining insight into running a company and finding solutions to problems, as well as forming friendships. “Building relationships with suppliers and meeting key people, which helps if there are issues, is a great perk of membership,” he says. “NOMMA members have the same problems that we do, so it’s good to know that we’re not alone. If you need a hand somewhere, you will be able to get it.”


Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Master Metal is basically a full-service sheet metal job shop for architectural work, but can also make railings and stairs for their customers. By the end of June this year, the company had already completed 389 jobs. ABOVE:


A railing job.

LEFT: A stainless steel railing. BELOW: Master Metal’s press brake.





120 Glasgow Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301 U.S.A. T: 310-645-0023 1-800-826-7493 F: 310-641-1586 E-mail:

ACCESS CONTROL SOLUTIONS For 60 Years – 1948-2008

September/October 2008 !



“I just keep reminding myself that I do have talented

people and they can do the job well. I can’t be involved in every aspect of the company.â€? Tom says that customer service is always the most important aspect of running a business. “Customer service is the biggest thing,â€? he notes. “There are probably eight or nine people in my county that do the same thing, and not necessarily the same thing‌but they do what we do, so we have to differentiate ourselves from them and give [our customers] something that the other people are not.â€? Currently, Tom is working on building the trust of past Eagle customers, so exemplary customer service is crucial. “They just know of me—they’ve heard of me,â€? he says. “But I still need to prove myself. Trust is a question [they have], and I try to address that to reassure them that we’re going to continue the quality to which they’re accustomed.â€? Meeting the challenges of managing two companies When you ask Tom what his biggest challenges are in running both companies, you expect that he’ll say the computerization of Eagle Metal. And while that is a tough challenge, it’s not the toughest. “I guess one thing that I underestimated was trying to keep [the two businesses] separate in my head, and trying to make sure that what I do for Eagle is for Eagle and what I do for Master is for Master,â€? he explains. Also, keeping up with the phone calls has been a challenge. “Usually I am on the phone, I have one call holding, and my cell phone rings,â€? he says. “It can get a bit overwhelming.â€? Another issue: Litigation and counsel. “Back when my dad started, a handshake meant everything. When someone told you that you were doing a job, you were doing the job. Nowadays, we use our attorney more than ever. It’s just a whole different world with the insurance and the legal aspects [of business]. The contract review is just ridiculous.â€? And Tom has had to learn to let go a little bit and delegate more. “I really found out how much more you have to rely on your people,â€? he states. “It’s a bit scary at this point because I really have a lot on the line. I just keep reminding myself that I do have talented people and they can do the job well. I can’t be involved in every aspect of the company. “I’ve made a decision to only get involved in new jobs — and only get involved with existing jobs when there is a specific reason,â€? he continues. “I have to trust that the system in place is working. I can oversee all of it, but I have to stand back and let them do the work.â€? Efficiency and refining processes are additional goals for Tom. “My biggest goal right now is to get myself a familiar, streamlined process. Get everything — and everybody —on the same page and don’t upset the apple cart. For 31 years, [Eagle] has been doing something right and I don’t want to necessarily change that. I can maintain what we are doing and just try to improve what we can. Of course, I’ll implement my own style and ideas as time goes on, but I can’t change too much too fast.â€? In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. September/October 2008 !


Simply More




120 Glasgow Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301 U.S.A. T: 310-645-0023 1-800-826-7493 F: 310-641-1586 E-mail:

ACCESS CONTROL SOLUTIONS For 60 Years – 1948-2008


Shop Talk

From oil to fuel — Homegrown biodiesel A NOMMA member goes green and saves a lot of money by manufacturing its own environmentally-friendly fuel.


Majka Railing Co. engineers its own biodiesel to fuel the company’s trucks.


How did the idea come about to engineer the biodiesel system for Majka Railings?

We have been interested in biodiesel for a while. A few years ago, we had met someone at a swap meet who was running his truck on straight vegetable 28

oil (SVO). He had a booth set up to tell people about it, and explained how diesel engines can be run using straight vegetable oil or biodiesel. The difference is that, to use SVO, modifications must be made to the truck to start on pump diesel and switch to SVO while in use. Using biodiesel, you modify the oil to use in a truck with no modifications. Last summer, I had time off from school and didn’t have a real job yet, so we decided to take the jump into seriously researching and producing biodiesel. Dad was very interested, but does not have the time to attend to this endeavor while running his railing business. So, the deal was that I was to do the research, build the refinery, and learn how to operate it, while he provided the funding and gave me some space. We cleared out a corner of the shop

For your information


Ed. note: NOMMA member shop Majka Railing Co. Inc. has made a transition to using a eco-friendly fuel that’s also very cost-effective. Keith Majka, Jr., engineer son of owner Keith Majka, constructed a biodiesel refinery at the shop. Utilizing waste vegetable oil from the diner across the street, Keith’s refinery manufactures a cleaner fuel that keeps the company’s trucks running. Fabricator asked Keith (Jr.) to share some details about the process and how Majka Railing has benefited from it. He does so in the following Q&A session.

Why biodiesel is significantly “cleaner” than regular diesel fuel: ! Biodiesel emits up to 100 percent less

sulfur dioxide, a major component of acid rain, and 80-100 percent less carbon dioxide than traditional diesel. ! Biodiesel reduces smoke particulates up

to 75 percent. ! Pure biodiesel is biodegradable and breaks down as fast as sugar. It breaks down four times faster than regular diesel. ! Biodiesel is safer to transport and han-

dle, because it has a higher flash point (greater than 150C) than traditional petroleum (77C), and is non-corrosive for human contact. ! Since biodiesel can be used in conven-

tional diesel engines, the renewable fuel can directly replace petroleum products, thereby reducing the country's dependence on imported oil. Fabricator !

September/October 2008

that was previously unused — it’s about the size of a one-car garage. We affectionately refer to it as my “pen.� Having a fabrication shop has made some of this very easy for me to do. While I was building the processor, I constantly asked Dad for technical advice.

explain how the process works. (And, do the folks at QthePlease diner mind giving up their oil?) We decided to use what is called an “Appleseed� style processor, which utilizes a hot water heater to heat the oil for the reaction. Once the oil is warm, a mixture of methanol and sodium hydroxide is mixed with the oil for a couple of hours. The amount of methanol used is about 20 percent by volume of the amount of oil being processed. The amount of sodium hydroxide needed is determined by performing a titration with a small sample of the oil to be processed. After mixing, the mixture is moved into a tank to settle overnight. A byproduct, glycerine, settles to the bottom and is drained off the next morning — this glycerine can be used to make soap, or can be burned as it is. The biodiesel is above the glycerine, and must be cleaned. We currently use a bubblewash technique. This entails putting water in with the biodiesel. The water settles down below the biodiesel, and an aerator from an aquarium is placed in the water to blow bubbles up through the biodiesel. The aerator is left on for about 16 hours (using a timer) and then settles until the next morning. At this point, the wash water is drained and another wash is performed. The oil that we use is pretty good and clean, so two or three washes will clean the biodiesel up well. After the washes, there is still some suspended water in the biodiesel, so the fuel has to be dried. To dry the fuel, an aerator is placed in the bottom of the fuel, blowing bubbles up through it.

Simply Everything




120 Glasgow Avenue, Inglewood, CA 90301 U.S.A. T: 310-645-0023 1-800-826-7493 F: 310-641-1586 E-mail:

ACCESS CONTROL SOLUTIONS Settled biodiesel: The upper portion is unwashed biodiesel and the darker portion is glycerine. September/October 2008 !


For 60 Years – 1948-2008


The biggest benefit of biodiesel is what

congratulates NOMMA on 50 years of service to the industry.

Happy Anniversary NOMMA!

prompted our interest in it... and that is the savings. It costs us less than $2 a gallon to produce the fuel. We started with a kit, purchased online, that consisted of a hot water heater and one 85-gallon conebottom tank. The one cone-bottom tank was used for the settling, washing, and drying stages of the process. After we decided we liked the results this way, we decided to expand the processor to include four cone-bottom tanks to have more of a production set up. The tank closest to the hot water heater is used for settling the glycerine from the biodiesel. The middle two tanks are used for performing bubble washes. The right-most tank is used for drying the fuel. The finished fuel is then pumped into a 250-gallon holding tank. We have a fuel pump (that came from a private filling station) plumbed to it with enough hose attached to it so that a truck can pull into the building and fuel up. I am currently in the process of researching dry wash methods in an effort to be more environmentally friendly, but I need to learn more first. The diner across the street has no problem with giving us their oil. We know the owners well, and go there for lunch at least a couple days a week or more. The current company that could take away their oil would not be charging them or paying them for the oil, so they would be just as happy to help us out. When we originally made this arrangement, they were paying to have their oil taken away. We laid a home heating oil tank on its side, cleaned it, and cut an opening on the top of it. This tank is taken over to the diner to collect the oil, and then brought back to the shop easily with a forklift.

What is the biodiesel used for (e.g., to power Qequipment or trucks)?



The biodiesel is being used for fuel in our diesel trucks. The trucks run as they would normally run on pump diesel. The only difference is that biodiesel gels at a higher temperature than pump diesel, starting at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. So, during the cold winter months, the biodiesel is mixed with pump diesel — the two fuels blend together and do not separate. Their gel points are essentially averaged out, thus lowering the gel point. A 50/50 blend seems to work down to outside temperatures in the 20s; lower than that, you would have to use more diesel than biodiesel. Fabricator !

September/October 2008

B20 seems to work well throughout most of the winter. B20 means that it is 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent pump diesel.

What are some of the Q benefits of using biodiesel? The biggest benefit of biodiesel is what prompted our interest in it... and that is the savings. It costs us less than $2 a gallon to produce the fuel, compared to pump fuel which is, at the time of this interview, around $4.70 a gallon. The system does give us a great savings in fuel. I designed the processor to produce about 250 gallons a week, and we require more oil to meet that need. We are currently working on securing more locations from which to get oil so that we can better meet our needs. Additionally, biodiesel is environmentally friendly to use, and it helps us reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Since most of the raw material being used by Majka Railing is made in the United States, our policy of utilizing local resources is of the utmost importance.

Majka Railing’s trucks now run on biodiesel, which not only costs less than traditional disel, but is also more eco-friendly.

you get any kind of a QtaxDorelief? I believe that there is a tax credit available, but we are not currently applying for credit for using it.

Have other related businesses shown an interest Q in learning what you do? I have received many questions regarding the biodiesel process from related businessSeptember/October 2008 !


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Company trucks are filled with biodiesel from a regular service stationstyle pump.

What other alternative fuel Q sources are you considering, if any?

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es. The major factors that keep people from trying it on their own are securing oil from restaurants, having the space to set up a processor, and having the time to devote to it. We have been very fortunate in having these problems solved. Through the hard work of Keith and Fred, Majka Railing has a large shop with the space to devote to this endeavor.

Starting this winter, we plan on using a waste oil heater to help heat the shop. It will not produce enough heat for the entire shop, but it will help to cut down on the gas heaters. The waste oil heater will burn used engine oil and transmission fluid, as well as the glycerine that’s a byproduct from producing biodiesel. We’ve also considered installing solar panels on the roof. But right now, the majority of research has been focused on biodiesel.

Q Will you expand this program? Currently, we do not have any plans to expand this program. We do plan to use the processor in its current state for at least a year before seriously considering any form of expansion. We are mostly trying to meet the demands of our own use for the trucks at Majka Railing and for the personal use for the owners. Expansion of this program would bring us to another level — having to sell large quantities for public use. Also, I would like to make sure that I have all the kinks worked out of this system before expanding. I have encountered difficulties expanding the processor to its current state. But I’ve been able to work most of them out hrough trial and error.

Proud NOMMA Member Fabricator !

September/October 2008

“These are the samples

of fuel that I kept outside last winter to learn about the gel point of biodiesel. Notice the darker color of the biodiesel when compared to pump diesel,” notes Keith.

“We are mostly trying to

meet the demands of our own use for the trucks at Majka Railing and for the personal use for the owners.” Can you explain the “dry wash” in a little more detail? Qmethod The dry wash method is a system of cleaning the biodiesel after being separated from the glycerine instead of 34

using water like in the bubblewash technique. The dry wash system that I am currently researching uses a resin held in a tower. The biodiesel flows slowly through the resin and removes the leftover lye and methanol from the biodiesel. Another method of washing the biodiesel is to run it through a centrifuge. The centrifuge spins the biodiesel at many times the normal force of gravity, thereby removing the heavier particles.

There are people who like to use the resin system, people that like to use the centrifuge, and people that like to use both. It comes down to finding out what other people prefer to use, and testing it on your own. I do the majority of my research online at This website is a forum of people sharing their experiences in producing and using biodiesel on their own, and learning what other people do and how it works for them.

Fabricator !

September/October 2008

LEFT: Majka Railings original biodiesel system consisted of a hot water heater (to heat the vegetable oil), one cone-bottom tank, the pump, and the manifold going in and out of the pump. This equipment was all part of the original kit that Keith purchased online.


Currently, the shop utilizes four cone-bottom tanks to settle, refine, and dry their biodiesel fuel. The expanded system allows for greater production capacity.

ABOVE: A corner of the shop, affectionately referred to as the “pen,” is set aside for Keith’s desk and the biodiesel refinery. The space is a little less than that of a one-car garage.


Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Please tell us about your Q qualitification, degree, college, etc. I graduated this May from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. I have a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering. Right now, I’m taking some time off to help Dad out and to get this processor up and running full time. Then, I’ll be starting my job search. I’m looking for an entry-level

job as a mechanical engineer. I enjoy working with my hands and am quite comfortable using machinery. I am experienced using Solidworks, along with other design software. Based on my experience from the past year, I would really like to have a job related to biodiesel. Obviously, this is something that I’m very interested in, have a lot of experience with, and am trying to learn more about on a daily basis.

About Majka Railing...

Majka Railing Co. Inc. is owned by brothers Keith Majka and Fred Majka, Jr., along with their mother, Mary Majka. The seed for the company was planted when Fred Majka, Sr. started making railings 54 years ago. Several years later, he started this business with his sons. Majka Railing now produce high-volume aluminum railings for mostly residential applications.

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Job Profile

Forging past with present: Restoring the White House gates ■A

piece of American history is painstakingly restored according to stringent preservation requirements.

For your information


Project Restoring a set of driveway gates (circa 1819).

By Peter Hildebrandt

Bronze Award in NOMMA’s 2008 Top Job competition. With his shop, Flaherty Iron Works Inc., situated in Alexandria, VA, Francis Flaherty is steeped in times gone by — and full of historical tidbits many people might not know, such as the fact that, up until the beginning of the Civil War, Alexandria and Arlington were actually part of Washington, D.C. Flaherty’s ancestors owned an iron

Francis Flaherty enjoys history almost as much as playing a part in making some history himself. So, when the opportunity arose to restore a set of gates that had once kept sentinel at our country’s most famous residence, he was eager to take on the project. The gates, which stood guard at the White House from 1819 to 1937, were discovered languishing in disThe gates, repair on the former northern which were Virginia farm of George found on George Washington. Flaherty and his Washington’s 10-employee shop brought the farm, were in gates back into top condition dire need of — and the project garnered a restoration. 38

Fabricator Flaherty Iron Works Inc. Restoration needs Repair broken elements, straighten bent gates, replace missing finials with custom hand-forged finials, re-rivet sections that had expanded, remove 13 layers of old paint, and refinish. Processes Forge welding, pinned tenons, tapped screws, and rivets. Finally, the gates were metalized and powder coated. Approximate labor time 440 hours. CO NTAC T

Francis Flaherty 5416 Vine St. Alexandria, VA 22310-1000 Ph: (703) 971-7653 Email: Web: Fabricator !

September/October 2008

The gates, newly restored and painted “Georgetown Green,” are prominently displayed at George Washington’s farm, where they were first discovered by members of the American Horticultural Society.

works shop in Northwest Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. His great uncle had an ironwork and sheet metal business, working mostly in tinsmithing in the Washington area from Civil War times up until 1913. This work featured a lot of ornamental work, including grave tombstones and fireplace equipment. The whole family was involved in construction of some type over the years. Flaherty’s father was a carpenter, who, along with his brothers, also started a sheet metal and screen shop back in 1924 that operated right up until 1970. Flaherty had an interest in ironwork since he was a teenager. He first learned about the iron working trade when he went to work in an iron shop; he also worked the shop’s foundry for a while. “When you do that, you pick the trade up — and if it’s for you, you 40

really start to like it,” he recalls. He opened Flaherty Iron Works in 1976, and has been sought after for his expertise in fabricating beautiful, oneof-a-kind projects and restoration work ever since. Restoring a piece of our nation’s history In 1813, architect James Hoban, who originally designed the White House, also designed the gates shortly after the British burned the White House, according to Flaherty. (However, historian William Seale states that Charles Bulfinch, the architect of the Capitol, may have designed the gates.) President James Monroe had requested the erection of these gates as well as the fence associated with them. The White House gates were brought to Flaherty in 2005, and an international architectural conserva-

tion group oversaw the restoration project. Perhaps the biggest challenge in working with the White House gates was trying to match up everything with the way the gates were originally constructed. “In the end it all worked out well, matching up different components,” says Flaherty. “During the course of the job, trying to save everything, coordinate the parts and then make the gate look right was a major task as well. There were a lot of deteriorated joints which we had to cut out and then reinsert wrought iron in the gate.” As Flaherty and his crew started work on the gates, it was clear there would be much repair work on deteriorated parts as well as replacement of other parts made of very old iron. They also knew that plans called for the gates to be kept outdoors. They’d first considered linseed oil, turpentine, Fabricator !

September/October 2008

and hot wax, but due to the fact that the gates would be exposed to the elements, it was decided to employ metalizing and powder-coating. The gates had been painted fourteen times over the years in various shades of green, black, dark blue, and black-green. According to Flaherty, all the layers of paint were removed by blasting them off, a process that required approval. “Even that work required a permit, because there was lead in the original paints,” he explains.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in working with the White House

gates was trying to match up everything with the way the gates were originally constructed. Recreating the gates’ original design took painstaking effort, as well. “There were bent and broken pieces, so we had to forge parts to look exactly like the original sections,” Flaherty states. “The bottom section had heavy, two-inch square handforged sections at the bottom, made years ago without machines. Those

sections also contained an in-ground hinge pin.” Flaherty’s crew had a huge advantage over the original craftsmen — they used singular hydraulic hammers on their work. Since several finials were missing, new ones had to be hand-forged. “Some of the work also involved re-

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September/October 2008 !



Today, the gates are viewed as “sculpture,” to some degree. They often play a part in weddings at the Washington Farm, where they serve as background for photos. The gates have also traveled to the Philadelphia Flower Show, where they were displayed at the show’s entrance.


Fabricator !

September/October 2008

riveting too,” notes Flaherty. “But after they were powder-coated and painted, you couldn’t even tell the difference in the gate. Crafting the finials was some of the toughest work on this project for Flaherty. But he’s quick to add that this kind of hand-forged work is a large part of his shop’s business. In fact, three of his workers do only forged work. They took extra steps to recreate the finials, doing forged work and

forged welds — unlike the MIG welds usually employed today. The gates are currently a “Georgetown Green,” or black-green, in color — a traditional choice after all those years of different paints. The restored gates have never gone back to their original home at the White House, although the columns where they were originally mounted are still there (but in a different location). According to Flaherty, the current gates that protect the White

If gates could speak – Francis Flaherty’s connection to the Mary Surratt story

As Francis Flaherty did his restoration work on the White House gates, one saga directly related to his family’s history fascinated him. Flaherty’s family connections from southern Maryland were related to Mary Surratt, whose Washington boarding house has the sad distinction of being the place where John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators plotted to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln. After the events of April 1865, Mary Surratt was arrested, and by the next July, she became the first woman to be executed by the U.S. government. “I have a great interest in all the history involved,” says Flaherty. “Just before Mary Surratt was hanged, her daughter, Anna, went to see President Andrew Johnson, to plead for her mother’s life (her mother claimed she was innocent of any crime). Johnson agreed to a pardon, but it’s a mystery why clemency was never granted — apparently the pardon never made it out of the White House. For me, it’s fascinating to know that my relative, Anna Surratt, passed through the same gates I later restored.” For those interested in learning more about this time in our nation’s history, two excellent books, each taking a different stance on Surratt’s innocence or guilt, are available: Mary Surratt: An American Tragedy by Elizabeth Steger Trindal and The Assassin’s Accomplice: Marry Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln, by Kate Clifford Larson. The books were published in 1996 and 2008, respectively. September/October 2008 !


House — which were fabricated by Gishner Iron Works sometime in the 1960s — are the same design as the old gates, only bigger. “They needed more room to get in there than with a horse and buggy,” he laughs. The restored gates remain at George Washington’s farm, where they were first discovered by perceptive members of the American Horticultural Society who knew their value. Today, the gates often play a part in weddings there, serving as a

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background when photos of the bridal party are taken. They are viewed as sculpture to some degree, according to Flaherty. Restoration work is a history lover’s dream Francis Flaherty’s appreciation for history has stood him in good stead when it comes to a project like restoring the old White House gates. “These gates were originally made by Paulus Hedl, a blacksmith in New York. He didn’t have the machinery

then that we do now. And though they’re not the best-looking gates in the world, they are rather heavy-duty by today’s standards,� he says. “You can just be amazed by all the incredible work people used to do without today’s big machinery.� Flaherty loves running across “found objects� that are perfect for restoration work, and Washington, D.C. has proved a rich resource for him. “So many things go down to the junkyard these days, it’s unbelievable,�

he notes. “I was in Washington one day, when I saw an old school being torn down. I looked inside and could not believe the ironwork in there — the old stairs. I asked if I could take some of it.� Another great find for Flaherty was some circular three-story staircases inside an old firehouse that was being torn down. Additionally, he cites the city’s cast iron-fronted buildings, many of which were torn down until recently. “They’re starting to be preserved



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Fabricator !

September/October 2008


The gates live on Recently, Flaherty received an award from the American September/October 2008 !


Francis Flaherty and wife, Mary, stand in front of the gates he so painstakingly restored.

Horticultural Society for restoring the old White House gates, which have done some “traveling.” The gates were shipped to the Philadelphia Flower Show, where they were displayed at the entrance to the show for a week. Flaherty constructed special racks

to hold and protect the gates so that they can travel safely to anyone who would like to showcase them. Thanks to an award-winning restoration project, the White House gates are good to go (or stay) for many years to come.


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now, as a tax incentive,” he explains. Using gas and coal forges, Flaherty Iron Works does quite a bit of restoration or millwork these days. A company will bring them an old lock, pool handles, horse troughs, shutter bracket, or hinges – anything old – and ask them to make a few dozen of those old parts. The shop’s crew will then go to work on duplicating those parts. They do some work for the National Park Service and a lot of work for churches, as well as many custom, high-end driveway gates and railings. “I don’t think I’ll ever lose my love of working on historical projects of any kind,” adds Flaherty, who enjoys the challenges. “In the 1960s, we tore things down. But now, everything, especially churches, seems to be returning to the gothic styles. Prior to the 1930s — before you had all the welding machines — everything was chiefly hand-worked using forged welding by blacksmiths all over the country. Today, designers and customers like such hand-forged work.” Flaherty likes what he can do with hand-forging. “You can pick a piece of metal off the floor and make it come alive, making crosses and all sorts of different things,” he explains. “We have a local blacksmith guild here on the Potomac. They have lots of hobbyists, professionals, and all sorts of people who get into this just by purchasing an anvil or other tools.” Flaherty recently received some old equipment from another iron shop that had been in business since the 1930s — the equipment actually dates all the way back to the 1800s. While attending METALfab 2008 in Memphis a few months ago, he showed photos of the machinery to the director of the Metal Museum, who indicated she’d be interested in adding it to the museum’s collection. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. has also shown an interest in an old Bliss punch press, one of the first ever made in 1888.




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Job Profile

A whimsical stair design captures the imagination Even with decades of experience under your belt, this NOMMA member says capturing a homeowner’s vision isn’t always easy. ■

Sometimes the best-laid plans — and

more than 45 years of experience — still don’t prevent project challenges, and Frank Finelli, president of Finelli Architectural Iron and Stairs, can attest to this reality first-hand. Finelli runs the ironworks business that his father, Michael A. Finelli, Sr. started back in 1961 after immigrating to the United States from Roseto Valfortore, Italy at age 18. Frank Finelli is his father’s oldest son and has worked in the family business 46

for more than 30 years — 25 years at its helm. “We started as kids,” he says, “sweeping the shop and stuff like that.” After attending engineering school and working a short stint in the engineering department (six months), Finelli took over for his father and has been there ever since. His father still comes into the shop for three months of the year in the summertime. “He’s 79 years old,” Finelli says of his father. “But he still slalom skis. He’s very young for his age.” Today, Finelli Architectural Iron and Stairs has 17 employees, including two

For your information


By Lisa Bakewell

Project “Floating” octagonal staircase. Fabricator Finelli Architectural Iron and Stairs Easier said... After field measure was completed, the structure was built in the shop. Of course, it was easier to build in the shop than to install onsite! Total project hours The stair had a total fabrication time of 300 hours and total installation time of 280 hours.

Fabricator !

September/October 2008

5/8” round hammered bar was used to create the railing pickets and branch-type design. A bamboo species wood handrail followed the “tricky” handrail configuration.

cousins and one brother of Finelli’s. The business has a sales department, a marketing department, an engineering department, fabricators, a finishing department, and a wood shop with its own facility. “That’s why ‘stairs’ was added to the name,” explains Finelli. The iron shop (15,000 sq. ft.) and the wood shop (5,000 sq. ft.) are where the creative magic happens. “Everything that we do is custom,” says Finelli. “We don’t do any produc48

tion work, and we market to the high end user.” The company’s one-of-a-kind pieces include staircases, railings, gates, and more — “Anything that has anything to do with combining wood and iron,” according to Finelli. Road to gold is paved with challenges Finelli Architectural Iron and Stairs was a recipient of a gold award in this

year’s Top Job competition in the Stairs (complete) category. The winning entry — a custom-made, semifree-floating staircase in an octagonal tower — is a stunning example of wood combined with iron. Built for a residential client on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, OH, this project was very difficult and time-consuming, though the staircase turned out to be a striking piece of which Finelli and his crew are extremely proud. Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Success! The homeowner’s vision was completely captured by all of the design elements.

“From start to finish — field measuring, drawings, and back and forth — it was probably a four-to-five month process,“ says Finelli. “There was just too much involved to rush the whole process, and it took us a little bit longer than it should have, but we did prepare for the worst in our bid.“ And that’s where Finelli’s experience paid off. “You have to make sure that you figure all of your costs, and that you don’t miss something,” he explains. The award-winning project took 300 hours to fabricate. It took another 280 hours to install due to the customer’s desire for the stair to have an open, floating, and whimsical style that wasn’t supported with any visual supports. “We were on the job site with the homeowner, designer and builder,” recalls Finelli, “and the first concern — when [the designer] started proposing the idea (and you know the designers always have these ideas that make you scratch your head to figure out how you’re going to make it work) — was the liability [factor].” Finelli was worried that without expert help, the stairway wouldn’t be safe. “There was no way I was going to assume that kind of liability without actually having a certified structural engineer design the drawings based on what they [the designer and homeowner] were looking for,” he explains. “We absolutely needed to establish who the boss was in this situation and, to me, that was the engineer.” Before Finelli could feel comfortable with the proposed project, he wanted the certified structural engineer to tell him, “You do it the way I tell you to do it and use the size materials that I tell you to use, and then this will work.” So, for that first step, he hired an engineer he’d worked with before and

“That’s when we realized that

sometimes even the best plans aren’t the ones that are going to work.” 50

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September/October 2008

trusted immensely. Once the engineer gave the go-ahead for the project, Finelli was satisfied, and he and his crew headed out to the job site to take the field dimensions. With the field dimensions in hand, the crew (headed by main fabricator Frank Finelli, Finelli’s first cousin from Roseto Valfortore, Italy) drew the octagonal tower on the floor of the shop and tried to simulate the conditions of all of the existing walls in the shop as well. “We took our starting point, and based on the [engineer’s] drawings, began developing our elevations, and started making our turns,” Finelli says. “The problem was, we were trying to create this floating system — building this thing up in the air — while trying to stabilize everything that was solid — without anything moving — and trying to hold our dimensions. That’s what made it so difficult. “There were just so many turns and compound cuts and miters and all of the different changes in elevation. That’s when we realized that sometimes

September/October 2008 !


The very difficult and timeconsuming project, built for a residential client on the shores of Lake Erie, is a stunning example of wood combined with iron.


“Even though we field-measured ahead

of time and tried to plan for an asimperfect a situation as we could, it became even more imperfect when we got out there.”

even the best plans aren’t the ones that are going to work.” Installation is no easier than fabrication Once all of the bugs were worked out and fabrication was complete, the crew was ready to install the staircase on site, but the challenges kept on coming. “Everything was in pieces: the stairs, the stair treads, and the center of the staircase—a 6” round heavy wall pipe. That’s where we had to do a lot of modifications because we actually had to support [the wall pipe] and build the staircase right on site,” states Finelli. “Even though we field-measured ahead of time and tried to plan for an as-imperfect of a situation as we could, it became even more imperfect when we got out there. “When you’re in an octagonal like that, you’d think that every corner would have the same degrees, but they didn’t,” he continues. “We were trying to build something in a perfect world that was really imperfect. We did [it] for the most part, but then, trying to do that same thing in the field, became very difficult because you start one way in the shop and you’re hoping that you’re going to start the same way out there in the field. Then you run into one snag. Then you start running into all kinds of snags. We started having to make all kinds of modifications.” Not only did Finelli’s crew have a difficult time with modifications during fabrication and installation, they also had special needs at the site. They required a secured area to work in and they needed to build temporary scaffolding since there was no flooring below them. “We actually had to start with the stair from the first floor to the second floor before the basement stair was put in,” said Finelli, “because we didn’t want to start burning everything below us. We were doing a tremendous amount of welding and grinding because, since this stair was structurally engineered, all of these joints, every cut, every weld — even though we precut in the shop — was done out there.” Additionally, because all of the grinding, welding and finishing were done out in the field, Finelli needed to make sure that he had a certified welder that could weld to the certified structural engineer’s specifications. September/October 2008 !


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Flotation accomplished The completed project is an astounding piece. “We did some things to tie the stairs back into the corner walls that were really somewhat hidden,” explains Finelli. “So, when someone comes into the house, all of the sudden you see this staircase just floating in the air.” The bottom line for Finelli: The homeowner’s vision was completely captured. “The customer was ecstatic,” he says. “It was everything that they wanted.” So, maybe the best-laid plans don’t always work out on their own…but an excess of 45 years experience can ensure that they do. About Finelli Architectural Iron and Stairs...

Since 1961, Finelli Architectural Iron and Stairs is a family-owned business with a rich tradition of European craftsmanship. The company has been a NOMMA member since 1974. CO NTAC T

Frank Finelli 30815 Solon Rd., Solon, OH 44139-3475 Ph: (440) 248-0050 Web:


Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Member Talk

All in the family: Sibling-owned shop creates artistic and functional metalwork Even with decades of experience under your belt, this NOMMA member says capturing a homeowner’s vision isn’t always easy. ■

Brother-and-sister team Timothy and Rachel Miller each bring different strengths to Spirit Ironworks, the company they own together.

By Sheila Phinazee

Located about 90 minutes from New

York City on the south shore of Long Island, Spirit Ironworks — led by Rachel and Timothy Miller —upholds the traditional craft of blacksmithing and ironwork. The sister-and-brother team started the company in 2003. “Before that, we had separate businesses, but they were small. It was me, plus a part-time helper — and Timothy had the same,” says Rachel. “We came together with a desire to grow.” Rachel’s business in New Mexico focused on artwork and small home furnishings. Timothy’s shop in New York concentrated on projects for September/October 2008 !


interior design clients, scroll work for railings, handmade tools, and traditional blacksmith work. Their 2,000-sq. ft. current shop is housed in a renovated corrugated tin sided barn that was part of a fuel depot. “It’s hard to find industrial space on Long Island. We’re near a railroad track where shop noise is not an issue,” says Rachel. Employees include Timothy, Rachel, and four other full-time employees. Rachel splits her time between the shop, the office (with a full-time office person), and in sales. Timothy, whose strengths are creating and building tools and solving technical problems, spends most of his time in the shop.

Seeds of creativity The Millers got their start in blacksmithing at the local Historical Society’s blacksmith shop, where they worked together as apprentices. At the time, Timothy was only 18 and just out of high school and Rachel had graduated from art school. Timothy had wanted to be a blacksmith since the age of 11, but did not get to use a forge until just after high school. He later went on to study metals at SUNY New Paltz and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Rachel started at age 20 while studying sculpture at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where they had a basic forge set up in the sculpture studio’s metal shop. 55

Timothy Miller at work in Spirit Ironworks’ blacksmith shop, which takes up half of the building. The other half houses Spirit’s fabrication processes.

Shop details Spirit Ironworks’ equipment is a mixture of new technology along with equipment many would consider obsolete. For example, the shop has two power hammers: one a self-contained 65 Kg Mak built in 2007 and the other a 75 lb. Dupont-Fairbanks from the turn of the last century. Timothy buys old equipment and renovates it in-house; then, they put it to use. “When he’s done, the old stuff often works better than the new. And


it’s more durable,” explains Rachel. Spirit was formerly in a very small space, which recently doubled in size from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet. Now, one-half of the building is for fabrication — cutting, welding, punching, and machining. The other half is a full blacksmith shop that consists of two power hammers, two presses (one hydraulic and one manual), blacksmithing tools, hammers, and anvils. Layout tables are located throughout the shop. “We have two on the forging side


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and three on the fabricating side. We find it convenient to have layout tables throughout the shop,” says Rachel. “Equipment layout constantly changes because we do custom work. We often end up moving equipment around, or in and out the shop. “We need to constantly adapt to make things work. We don’t build the same thing over and over again. We’re really artists and problem solvers,” she continues. “We enjoy the challenge of building something new and different.” Partnership strengths The siblings find that their differences create a good balance. “Because we’re different, we work well together. We look at things differently,” says Rachel. “Timothy thinks of things I don’t think of, and vice versa.” Rachel’s strengths lean more to the artistic side. She will often make a prototype and Timothy will design a tool to recreate it over and over again. Rachel used to weld airplane parts for a living and got experience in TIG welding stainless steel at that time. Steel, bronze, and copper are more frequently used in the shop. As a team, and keeping their motto, “Practical and Artistic Ironworks,” in Fabricator !

September/October 2008

mind, Spirit Ironworks has the ability to both create handmade metalwork and solve challenging, technical problems. “Designers, architects, and contractors come to us with ideas and drawings—Timothy is very skilled at creating tools and jigs to streamline the work. Working with clients, we have the ability to take a project from start to finish,” explains Rachel. “I can go to a client’s home and draw an idea for them, then come back to the shop to create it.” Like any business, though, Sprit Ironworks has had its challenges — difficult projects, in particular. One tough job involved a canopy that capped off a pergola, 21 feet by 16 feet by 4 feet. The sheer size of the project made it quite challenging. It required all hand-forged scrollwork created from 2” x ½” flat bar — bent the hard way — and large leaves forged from bar stock. Needless to say, it was heavy. “Usually, we work on railing jobs that are generally in 8 -12 ft. sections. We were able to break it down into five sections but they were extremely heavy and could only be moved by forklift,” says Timothy. “We also had to create special racks for the powder coater to hold and finish our work correctly. The final installation had to be installed by crane,” adds Rachel. “It was not the usual project for us.” The job took nearly four months to complete. Another project consisted of 150 feet of hand-forged fencing with custom columns and gates. “We were just starting out and had only had been in business for six months. A job of that scope was new to us. It turned out well. We were very proud of it,” says Rachel. “Sometimes builders forget to factor in ironwork until the last minute, and

then put a lot of pressure on us in a short time when they’re pressed to obtain a certificate of occupancy by a certain date.” Another challenging project involved a stainless steel staircase. “We pre-polished the stainless steel railing and textured it cold under a fullering die in the power hammer, then bent it cold with a Hossfeld bender,” recall the Millers, who add that the staircase was only connected to the wall in three or four places.

This large and heavy canopy, featuring all hand-forged scrollwork, took almost four months to complete.

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“Because we’re different,

we work well together. Timothy thinks of things I don’t think of, and vice versa.” September/October 2008 !



This stainless steel staircase presented a number of challenges, including design functionality, TIG welding, and achieving the desired finish. However, Spirit Ironworks was up to those challenges and a beautiful product resulted. “We figured how to compensate for warpage during TIG welding by pre-bending the stainless steel stair treads in the weld zone opposite the way it would distort,” explains Rachel.

“We were doubtful of the functionality of the design, so we made the architect sign off on it. It was tough polishing the stainless steel to get a desirable finish and there were some challenges TIG welding the stainless steel because of its tendency to warp,” they say. This job took two-and-a-half months to complete. 58

Clientele On the local level, Spirit’s main clients are high-end residential homeowners, contractors, and some interior designers. “Most of our customers have an appreciation for well crafted handmade work. They know the difference,” says Rachel. Spirit Ironworks sells furniture

nationally over the Internet. They also do trade and craft shows, and have travelled to Baltimore, Atlanta, Massachusetts, and New York. “Architectural jobs are generally more profitable than the handmade furniture. The challenge is to connect with people who appreciate the work and see the value in it,” notes Rachel. “And it’s fun meeting with clients and Fabricator !

September/October 2008

These garden gates consist of hand forged scrollwork, hand made spring latch and hinges.

designing something together. I really enjoy this aspect of our business.” Future business plans include expanding the market they already have and continuing to grow technically and artistically. “We are looking to expand and

streamline our custom furniture line, and take on interesting and profitable architectural metalwork,” Rachel adds. Learning from fellow craftspeople Rachel and Timothy have travelled

and learned from others, nationally and internationally. “A lot of what we’ve absorbed comes from books and picking other skilled craftsmen’s brains,” says Rachel. Rachel and Timothy have gained much from their local blacksmithing group, classes taken at Penland in NC, the ABANA conference in Seattle, from two trips overseas, and from NOMMA. Rachel and Timothy joined NOMMA last year — Timothy had brought Fabricator magazine to the shop, and then they discovered that there is an association behind the magazine. The Millers say that NOMMA’s ListServ has been especially beneficial to their business. “Through the ListServ, we’ve been able to get technical answers from other people that would have taken us

“I feel that NOMMA has

been helpful in showing people what good work is.” 60

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September/October 2008

much more time to figure out alone,” Rachel notes. “NOMMA is a very valuable technical resource. “I like talking with other fabricators and seeing how they do things. Sometimes you feel like you’re on an island without someone to bounce ideas off of. The association is really good for that,” she continues. “I especially like that it is geared for professionals and focuses on how to survive day-to-day in business.” The Millers attended their first METALfab convention this year and met a lot of people from their local chapter that they didn’t know prior to the event. “We went to a lot of workshops. It was a great experience,” says Rachel. Industry insights As much as he enjoys creating something from scratch, Timothy wants to be sure that the value of prefabricated components is not overlooked. “Components and prefabricated ironwork are a vital part of our industry. Many jobs would be hard — if not impossible — to do without them,” he says. “Also, if the client does not have the budget for handmade

This curved leaf balcony was a custom design, inspired by a tree on the client’s property. It was accompanied by about 80 feet of hand-forged railings.

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work, prefab helps them get what they need at a price they can afford. But I often feel like these components are oversold to us.” Like many in the industry, Timothy is concerned about maintaining the art of blacksmithing, due to the popularity of these same components and prefabricated ironwork. “The end result of this is that the craft of blacksmithing is at risk, once again, of disappearing, even after the hard work of an entire generation of smiths to revive it. Skills get lost and time-honored designs get simplified,” he says. “I have seen beautiful historic ironwork ruined because people didn’t know how to repair it. No one knew how to make that kind of scroll or finial. So, they bought whatever they could find and welded it in.” Often, people who have the budget and the home suitable for hand-forged ironwork will use prefabricated work because that’s all they’re familiar with, notes Timothy. “They will say to me, ‘We would

Timothy Miller had wanted to be a blacksmith since the age of 11. He finally got his start at age 18, when he and Rachel became apprentices in the local historical society’s blacksmith shop.

have come to you if we had known such a thing was possible,’” he says.

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“There is enough work for all of us. I feel that NOMMA has been helpful in showing people what good work is.” “There is a joy and passion behind this. It’s about business, but it’s also about the ability to please others and yourself with something that you find fulfilling,” adds Rachel. “It’s a balance — not just getting the work out, but also creating something of quality.”

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Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Biz Side

How can you prevent investment mistakes?

Use these 10 risk minimizers to protect and improve your long-term investment performance. â&#x2013;

Most investment mistakes are caused by basic misunderstandings of the securities markets and by invalid performance expectations. The markets move in totally unpredictable cyclical patterns of varying duration and amplitude. Evaluating the performance of the two major classes of investment securities needs to be done separately because they are owned for differing purposes. Stock market equity investments are expected to produce realized capital gains; incomeproducing investments are expected to generate cash flow. Losing money on an investment may not be the result of an investment 64

mistake, and not all mistakes result in monetary losses. But errors occur most frequently when judgment is unduly influenced by emotions such as fear and greed, hindsightful observations, and short-term market value comparisons with unrelated numbers. Your own misconceptions about how securities react to varying economic, political, and hysterical circumstances are your most vicious enemy. Master these 10 risk-minimizers to improve your long-term investment performance:



Develop an investment plan. Identify realistic goals that include considerations of time, risk-tolerance, and future

For your information


By Steve Selengut

To learn more about investing and minimizing investment risks, try these books, all available through bookstores and ! 101 Investment Lessons from the Wizards of Wall Street by Michael Sincere ! Personal Finance: Building and Protecting Your Wealth by Arthur J. Keown ! Wealth: Grow It, Protect It, Spend It, and Share It by Stuart E Lucas ! Wealth Shift: Profit Strategies for Investors as the Baby Boomers Approach Retirement by Christopher D. Brooke ! The Handbook of Inflation Hedging Investments by Robert J Greer

Fabricator !

September/October 2008

income requirements — think about where you are going before you start moving in the wrong direction. A well thought out plan will not need frequent adjustments. A well-managed plan will not be susceptible to the addition of trendy speculations. Learn to distinguish between asset allocation and diversification decisions. Asset allocation divides the portfolio between equity and income securities. Diversification is a strategy that limits the size of individual portfolio holdings in at least three different ways. Neither activity is a hedge, or a market timing device. Neither can be done precisely with mutual funds, and both are handled most efficiently by using a cost basis approach like the Working Capital Model.



Be patient with your plan. Although investing is always referred to as long-term, it is rarely dealt with as such by investors, the media, or financial advisors. Never change direction frequently, and always make gradual rather than drastic adjustments. Short-term market value movements must not be compared with un-portfolio related indices and averages. There is no index that compares with your portfolio, and calendar sub-divisions have no relationship whatever to market, interest rate, or economic cycles.



Never fall in love with a security, particularly when the company was once your employer. It’s alarming how often accounting and other professionals refuse to fix the resultant single-issue portfolios. Aside from the love issue, this becomes an unwilling-to-pay-the-taxes problem that often brings the unrealized gain to the Schedule D as a realized loss. No profit, in either class of securities, should ever go unrealized. A target profit must be established as part of your plan.



Prevent “analysis paralysis” from short-circuiting your decision-making powers. An overdose of information will cause confusion, hindsight, and an inability to distinguish between research and sales materials — quite often the same document. A somewhat narrow focus on information that supports a logical and well-documented investment strategy will be more productive in the long run. Avoid future predictors.


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Compounding the problems that investors

face managing their investment portfolios is the sensationalism that the media brings to the process. September/October 2008 !



Burn, delete, toss out the window any short cuts or gimmicks that are supposed to provide instant stock picking success with minimum effort. Don’t allow your portfolio to become a hodgepodge of mutual funds, index ETFs, partnerships, pennies, hedges, shorts, strips, metals, grains, options, currencies, etc. Consumers’ obsession with products underlines how Wall Street has made it impossible for financial professionals to survive without them. Remember: consumers buy products; investors select securities.



Attend a workshop on interest rate expectation (IRE) sensitive securities and learn how to deal appropriately with changes in their market value—- in either direction. The income portion of your portfolio must be looked at separately from the growth portion. Bottom line market value changes must be expected and understood, not reacted to with either fear or greed. Fixed income



does not mean fixed price. Few investors ever realize (in either sense) the full power of this portion of their portfolio.


Ignore Mother Nature’s evil twin daughters, speculation and pessimism. They’ll con you into buying at market peaks and panicking when prices fall, ignoring the cyclical opportunities provided by Momma. Never buy at all time high prices or overload the portfolio with current story stocks. Buy good companies, little by little, at lower prices and avoid the typical investor’s buy high, sell low frustration.


Step away from calendar year, market value thinking. Most investment errors involve unrealistic time horizon, and/or “apples to oranges” performance comparisons. The get rich slowly path is a more reliable investment road that Wall Street has allowed to become overgrown, if not abandoned.



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Portfolio growth is rarely a straight-up arrow and short-term comparisons with unrelated indices, averages or strategies simply produce detours that speed progress away from original portfolio goals.


Avoid the cheap, the easy, the confusing, the most popular, the future knowing, and the one-size-fits-all. There are no freebies or sure things on Wall Street, and the further you stray from conventional stocks and bonds, the more risk you are adding to your portfolio. When cheap is an investor’s primary concern, what he gets will generally be worth the price.


Compounding the problems that investors face managing their investment portfolios is the sensationalism that the media brings to the process. Step away from calendar year, market value thinking. Investing is a personal project where individual/family goals and objectives must dictate portfolio structure, management strategy, and performance evaluation techniques. Do most individual investors have difficulty in an environment that encourages instant gratification, supports all forms of speculation, and gets off on shortsighted reports, reactions, and achievements? Yup.

Steve Selengut is author of The Brainwashing of the American Investor: The Book that Wall Street Does Not Want YOU to Read, and A Millionaire’s Secret Investment Strategy. For more information, log on to or http://www.kiawahgolfinvestmentsemi

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Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Biz Side

Plan for success — by putting it on paper Whether starting a new company from scratch or expanding your present business, having a well-thought-out gameplan in place is vital to your success. These steps will show you exactly how to write a sound business plan.

By Jason Kay

Whether you are planning to start a

brand-new business, expand an existing company, or get financing for a business venture, you will need to write a business plan. A business plan not only lends your business a sense of credibility, but also helps you to cover all your bases, thereby increasing your chances of success. Although writing a business plan can be a lengthy, intimidating project, it is not necessarily difficult. Here’s an overview of how to write a successful business plan. What to include Your business plan should demonstrate that you have thoroughly considered all aspects of running your business. To that end, the standard business plan has nine major sections, 68

covering everything from your company’s mission statement to a detailed financial analysis. Executive summary The first – and most important – section of your business plan is the executive summary. This section is so important that it should literally be the first thing the reader sees – even before the table of contents. However, it should also be written last, as you’ll have a better understanding of the overall message of your business plan after you’ve researched and written the other sections. One of the most important parts of the executive summary is the mission statement. The mission statement is only three or four sentences long, but it should pack the most punch out of everything else in your business plan: Those four sentences are responsible for not only defining your business,

but also capturing the interest of your reader. The rest of your executive summary should fill in the important details that the mission statement glosses over. For instance, your executive summary should include a short history of the business, including founder profiles and start date; a current snapshot, listing locations, number of employees, and products or services offered; and a summary of future plans and goals. This section is a candidate for a bulleted format, which allows you to list main points in a manner that is easy to scan. Avoid using too much detail – remember, this section is a summary. A page or two is usually sufficient for an executive summary. Market analysis The next section of your business plan focuses on market analysis. In Fabricator !

September/October 2008

order to show that your business has a reasonable chance for success, you will need to thoroughly research the industry and the market you intend to sell to. No bank or investor is going to back a doomed venture, so this section is sure to fall under especially close scrutiny if you are looking for financing. Your market analysis should describe your industry, including the size, growth rate, and trends that could affect the industry. This section should also describe your target market â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that is, the type or group of customers that your company intends to serve. The description of your target market should include detail such as: ! Distinguishing characteristics. ! The needs your company or product line will meet. ! What media and/or marketing methods youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll use to reach them. ! What percentage of your target market you expect to be able to wrest away from your competitors.

In addition, your market analysis should include the results of any market tests you have done, and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Company description After your market analysis, your business plan will need to include a description of your company. This section should describe: ! The nature of your business. ! The needs of the market. ! How your business will meet these needs. ! Your target market, including specific individuals and/or organizations. ! The factors that set you apart from your competition and make you likely to succeed. Although some of these things overlap with the previous section, they

are still necessary parts of your company description. Each section of your business plan should have the ability to stand on its own if need be. In other words, the company description should thoroughly describe your company, even if certain aspects are covered in other sections. Organization and management Once you have described the nature and purpose of your company, you


September/October 2008 !



will need to explain your staff setup. This section should include:

employees. Long-term employees minimize human resource costs and increase a business’s chances for success, so banks and investors will want to see that you have an effective system in place for maintaining your staff.

! The division of labor – how company processes are divided among the staff. ! The management hierarchy. ! Profiles of the company’s owner(s), management personnel, and the Board of Directors. ! Employee incentives, such as salary, benefits packages, and bonuses.

Marketing and sales management The purpose of the marketing and sales section of your business plan is to outline your strategies for marketing your products or services. This section also plans for company growth by describing how the growth could take place.

The goal of this section is to demonstrate not only good organization within the company, but also the ability to create loyalty in your

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! Marketing methods. ! Distributions methods. ! Type of sales force. ! Sales activities. ! Growth strategies. Product or services Following the marketing section of your business plan, you will need a section focusing on the product or services your business offers. This is more than a simple description of your product or services, though. You will also need to include: ! The specific benefits your product or service offers customers. ! The specific needs of the market, and how your product will meet them. ! The advantages your product has over your competitors. ! Any copyright, trade secret, or patent information pertaining to your product. ! Where any new products or services are in the research and development process. ! Current industry research that you could use in the development of products and services.

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The section should describe your company’s:

Funding request Only once you have described your business from head to toe are you ready to detail your funding needs. This section should include everything a bank or investor needs in order to understand what type of funding you want:

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Think of your audience as only having fifteen minutes to spend on each business plan that comes across their desks.

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Our People... ! How long you will need funding. ! What type of funding you want (i.e. loans, investors, etc.). ! Any other terms you want the funding arrangement to include. Financials The financials section in your business plan supports your request for outside funding. This section provides an analysis of your company’s prospective financial success. The section also details your company’s financial track record for the past three to five years, unless you are seeking financing for a startup business. The financials section should include: ! Company income statements for prior years. ! Balance sheets for prior years. ! Cash flow statements for prior years. ! Forecasted company income statements. ! Forecasted balance sheets. ! Forecasted cash flow statements. ! Projections for the next five years – every month or quarter for the first year, with longer intervals for the remaining years. ! Collateral you can use to secure a loan. The financials section is a great place to include visuals such as graphs, particularly if you predict a positive trend in your projected financials. A graph allows the reader to quickly take in this information, and may do a better job of encouraging a bank or investor to finance your business. However, be sure that the amount of financing you are requesting is in keeping with your projected financials – no matter how impressive your projections are, if you are asking for more money than is warranted, no bank or investor will give it to you. Appendices The appendix is the final section in your business plan. Essentially, this is where you put all of the information that doesn’t fit in the other eight sections, but that someone – particularly a bank or investor – might need to see. For instance, the market analysis section of your business plan may list the results of market studies you have done as part of your market research. Rather than listing September/October 2008 !


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researched business plan, with an organized, easy-to-read format and clear, confident prose.

the details of the studies in that section, where they will appear cumbersome and detract from the flow of your business plan, you can provide this information in an appendix. Other information that should be relegated to an appendix includes: ! Credit histories for both you and your business. ! Letters of reference. ! References that have bearing on your company and your product or service, such as magazines or books on the topic. ! Company licenses and patents. ! Copies of contracts, leases, and other legal documents. ! Resumes of your top managers.

! Names of business consultants, such as your accountant and attorney. Writing a successful business plan Despite the quantity of information contained in your business plan, it should be laid out in a format that is easy to read. Just like with any piece of business writing, it is important to craft your business plan with your intended audience in mind â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the bankers, investors, and other busy professionals who will read your business plan almost certainly wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have time to read a tedious document with longwinded paragraphs and large blocks of text. Business plans for startup companies and company expansions are typically between 20 to 40 pages long, but formatting actually accounts for a lot of this length. A strong business plan uses bullet points throughout to break up long sections and highlight its main points. Visuals such as tables and charts

are also used to quickly relay specific information, such as trends in sales and other financial information. These techniques ensure that the reader can skim the business plan quickly and efficiently. Think of your audience as only having fifteen minutes to spend on each business plan that comes across their desks. In that fifteen minutes, you not only have to relay your most important points, but also convince the reader that your business venture merits a financial investment. Your best bet is a well-researched business plan, with an organized, easy-to-read format and clear, confident prose.

Jason Kay is a former professional business plan writer and provides business start up advice. He contributes to business magazines and websites such as http://BudgetBusiness, which provides business plan writing services and business plan samples. Copyright Š 2001-Present



Fabricator !

September/October 2008

Biz Side

Manage debtors and creditors to improve your company’s liquidity

Is your company able to pay its bills as they come due? Learn how to manage your working capital to provide the resources you need.

Sales turnover and net profits may follow a rollercoaster pattern familiar to most business, but when the cash flow dries up, the game is over. Urgent attention to the management of working capital can provide every business with the cash resources to exploit its potential. Most businesses will experience periods of lower sales and times when losses may be incurred as expenses exceed sales income. The situation is recoverable by producing higher sales and reducing costs and expenses. A business that runs out of cash resources is dead in the water. 74

Debtors and sales income management The objective is to obtain payment from customers as fast as possible, thereby improving cash flow and minimizing the risk of bad debts and not being paid at all. Payment terms offered to customers should be clearly stated and fixed as standard accounting figures according to the amount of funding the business is prepared to offer its clients — because that is exactly what credit terms to customers is: free cash funding in exchange for eventual sales income. Consideration should be given to using a cash discount system to

For your information


By Terry Cartwright

There are two main financial ratios used to measure a company’s liquidity ratio:


Current ratio equals current assets divided by current liabilities. This should have a target ratio of 2 to 3, which indicates you have adequate liquid funds to pay your current obligations.


Quick ratio equals current assets (less inventory) divided by current liabilities. This should have a target ratio of 1 to 2, which indicates your liquid funds without selling your inventory. You can find the balances of your current assets and liabilities on your balance sheet. Source: Fabricator !

September/October 2008

encourage customers to pay their invoices faster. In some businesses, it may be appropriate to obtain upfront deposits and scheduled payments. This practice can ensure that you obtain a greater proportion of payments faster to improve liquidity. New customers should be subjected to a strict credit check. All new customers, where credit check details are not available, should be invoiced by the accounting function on a pro forma basis. Any businesses that fail to meet the highest credit score required should remain on a pro forma invoice basis. The credit control function requires consideration from the first step of issuing customers with a sales invoice, producing customer statements of the debt owed, and a set procedure of credit control letters and telephone follow-ups that actually achieve the end result of getting the cash in. An essential process in the credit control procedure would be to ensure the accountant or bookkeeper always issues sales invoices and customer statements promptly. Incorporate into the terms of trade a set of rules to invoke interest payments for late payment and late payment debt recovery costs. You may also consider the possibility of factoring sales invoices due from debtors, either by selling the sales invoices to a third party or by raising

September/October 2008 !


cash on the value of those invoices pending payment. While factoring can be expensive, it does have the advantage of generating a regular stream of cash. Bad debts have a double impact on any business, and all possible steps should be taken to reduce the risk. A bad debt not only uses valuable resources in chasing the debt (with a negative impact on cash flow and liquidity), but also is a straight loss to the net profit and a strong indicator that the accounting function is failing the business. Creditors and expenditure management The objective here is to extend the


ment terms available for the payment of taxes. Take into consideration every possible opportunity to improve liquidity, including the frequency at which employee salaries and wages are paid. Although this is a sensitive issue, adopting a payment period that coincides with the receipt of cash from customers may, in some circumstances, balance liquidity. General creditors are a major area to be addressed, in terms of both the amount of credit received from suppliers and the time required to pay

time allowed-for payment of expenses the business incurs. Consider the frequency of all payments made to suppliers. For example, small business have alternative pay-

those creditor accounts. Larger orders on extended payments terms create risk if the goods are not used, but can greatly assist cash flow since the business is, in effect, borrowing free cash from its suppliers. Stock levels are crucial to financial management of the creditor total. High stock levels use valuable working capital, which is offset, in part, by the level of creditors. Higher levels of stock financed by free credit from creditors lowers the cash flow requirements from other parts of the business. Terry Cartwright designs accounting software for small-to-medium sized businesses — on Excel spreadsheets, providing complete bookkeeping solutions — at Copyright © 2001-Present

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Be a star at MetalFAB 2009! Think of how much you enjoy learning about your fellow NOMMA members and their work. They are just as curious about you! Volunteer to be a part of the Video Shop Tours at METALfab 2009. It’s easy to do, and it’s informative for all of NOMMA’s members. These virtual shop tours were a popular education session at this year’s convention in Memphis. For more information on how you can participate, contact: James Minter Jr. Imagine Ironworks 1380 Highway 51 North Brookhaven, MS 39601 Ph: 601-833-3000 Email: imagineironworks@

Fabricator !

September/October 2008

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

Introducing ...

The NEF Education Resource Program Now NOMMA member shops and chapters can apply for a NEF grant to offset the expense of an education seminar The purpose of the NEF Education Resource Program

(NEFERP) is to serve as a resource for education seminars that can be presented at chapter meetings or at member shops that do not have chapter affiliation. Currently, we are developing a list of presenters who are willing to travel to various parts of the country to deliver presentations. The actual arrangements would be made between the host(s) and the presenter. Local chapters already receive a rebate from NOMMA to help defray chapter expenses, and this rebate could be used to offset the cost of the presentations, along with the $500 grant from NEFERP. The cost of the presentations will be provided primarily by the hosting group and/or participants. These costs may consist of, but are not be limited to: travel expenses, lodging and food, shipping of special equipment, special supplies or tooling, and an honorarium for the presenter. A chapter may apply annually to NEF for a grant of $500. If no chapters exist for an area and two or more member shops are willing to pool together to host a presentation, they may also apply for the grant. There is a limited amount of money for grants each year so grants will be given until funds are depleted.

The May 10 meeting of the Gulf Coast NOMMA Network served as a trial run for the new NEF Education Resource Program. During the event, Roger Carlsen of Ephraim Forge, a NEF trustee, provided a demonstration on white metal casting.

At this time, we are asking for presenters interested in being part of this program to fill out the NEFERP Presenter Registration Form on the next page. Your information will be on the NEF website along with applications for interested groups to contact you about being a presenter at their meeting. We are excited about this program, and feel it is a great way to get quality education to shops and members. For questions about NEFERP, contact Martha Pennington (888-516-8585, ext. 104,

Just Announced: 2008 Power Hammer Workshop NEF Continuing Education class to take place Nov. 7–8, in Morganton, NC NEF is proud to announce the return

of the popular Power Hammer Continuing Education Class, which takes place November 7–8 at Oak Hill Iron Works in Morganton, NC. Like last year, you’ll have the opportunity to join instructor Dean Curfman for a two-day intensive workshop. Sessions will cover freehand forging with the power hammer, commercial applications, and creating custom compo-


nents. The main goal of the class is to help students achieve better quality, efficiency, and speed. Cost is $500 for NOMMA members; $700 for nonmembers. The fee covers all class materials and two meals a day — breakfast and lunch. For more information and to register visit the NEF area of the NOMMA website ( Or, call Liz Johnson at (888) 516-8585, ext. 101.

A scene from last year: Instructor Dean Curfman demonstrates a technique. Fabricator  September/October 2008

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

NEF Education Program Presenter Form

Do you have a specialty that you are willing to share with others? Please take a moment to fill out and submit this form. You name will be kept on the NEF website, and NOMMA chapters and shops may contact you to schedule a presentation.

Presenter Name __________________________________________________________

Presenter Company_______________________________________________________





Contact preference:  Phone  Email  Mail

Topic of presentation______________________________________________________

Description of presentation:

Honorarium Required: $________

Supplies Needed: Special equipment, supplies, tooling needed for presentation.

Travel Expenses: Expenses requested such as travel, hotel, shipping equipment, etc.

Submit this page by mail/fax/or email to: Martha Pennington, NOMMA Education Foundation, 1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253 • (888) 516-8585, ext. 104 • Fax: (404) 288-2006 • Email: September/October 2008  Fabricator


NOMMA Nationwide Supplier Members New NOMMA members As of August 22, 2008. Asterisk denotes returning members.

Acker Wrought Iron Doraville, GA Mike Acker, Fabricator Back Alley Ornamental Iron Louisville, KY Alex Langston, Fabricator Duraweld Metalworks* Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Bob Aspinwall, Fabricator Elsaforge Inc. Stuart, FL Elsa Fantino, Fabricator Iron Workers Local 506* Lakewood, WA Tony Butkovich, Affiliate Kehler Made St. Adolphe, MB Canada Shannon Kehler, Fabricator Paradise Valley Iron Works* Scottsdale, AZ Tim Steelman, Fabricator Rustic Steel Creations* Tampa, FL Dominique Martinez, Fabricator Sharpco Inc. Monroe, LA James Sharplin, Fabricator State Street Steel Co.* Chicago, IL Chris Wierz, Local Supplier Statements in Steel Inc. Tampa, FL Rob Brindley, Fabricator Townsend Steel Fab. Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Gary Townsend, Fabricator Universal Iron Doors Sun Valley, CA Marat Kapukchuyen, Fabricator

A Cut Above Distributing (800) 444-2999 Albina Pipe Bending Co. Inc. (503) 692-6010 Allen Architectural Metals Inc. (800) 204-3858 Alloy Casting Co. Inc. (972) 286-2368 American Punch Co. (216) 731-4501 Ameristar Fence Products (918) 835-0898 Apollo Gate Operators (210) 545-2900 Architectural Metal Sales (925) 216-1004 Atlas Metal Sales (800) 662-0143 Auciello Iron Works Inc. (978) 568-8382 Bavarian Iron Works Co. (800) 522-4766 Big Blu Hammer Mfg. (828) 437-5348 Builders Fence Co. Inc. (800) 767-0367 Byan Systems Inc. (800) 223-2926 C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (800) 421-6144 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 Co. (866) 532-5404 CompLex Industries Inc. (901) 547-1198 Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd. (866) 464-4766

D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. (714) 677-1300 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. (718) 324-6871 DAC Industries Inc. (616) 235-0140 Decorative Iron (888) 380-9278 DKS, DoorKing Systems (800) 826-7493 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. (251) 937-0947 Eastern Metal Supply (800) 343-8154 Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC (847) 636-1233 Encon Electronics (800) 782-5598 Euro Forgings Inc. (905) 265-1093 FabCad Inc. (800) 255-9032 FabTrol Systems Inc. (541) 485-4719 Feeney Architectural Products, CableRailâ&#x201E;˘ (800) 888-2418 Frank Morrow Co. (401) 941-3900 Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. (604) 299-5264 Gerhard Glaser GmbH & Co. (011) 49-607-893-7137 Glasswerks LA Inc. (323) 789-7800 GTO Inc. (800) 543-4283 Hartford Standard Co. Inc. (270) 298-3227 Hayn Enterprises LLC (860) 257-0680 Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc. (503) 722-7700

NOMMA Nationwide Supplier Members Hendrick Mfg., Perforated Metals Div. (570) 282-1010 House of Forgings (281) 443-4848 Illinois Engineered Products Inc. (312) 850-3710 Indiana Gratings Inc. (800) 634-1988 Industrial Coverage Corp. ( 631) 736-7500 Industrial Metal Supply Co. (818) 729-3333 Innovative Hinge Products Inc. (817) 598-4846 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. (800) 667-9101 Iron World (301) 776-7448 ITW Industrial Finishing (630) 237-5169 ITW Ransburg (419) 470-2000 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Inc. (800) 4-JANSEN Julius Blum & Co. Inc. (800) 526-6293 King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379 L.E. Sauer Machine Co. (636) 225-5358 Laser Precision Cutting (828) 658-0644 Lavi Industries (800) 624-6225 Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. (718) 894-1442 Logical Decisions Inc. (800) 676-5537 Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510 Marks U.S.A. (631) 225-5400

McKey Perforating (262) 786-2700 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool (800) 467-2464 Multi Sales Inc. (800) 421-3575 NC Tool Co. (336) 674-5654 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 Precision Glass Bending Corp. (800) 543-8796 Premium Home & Garden Co. Ltd. Xiamen (011) 86-592-588-7573 ProCounsel (214) 741-3014 RedPup LLC (928) 422-1000 Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408 Riata Mfg. (915) 533-9929 Robert J. Donaldson Co. (856) 629-2737 Robinson Iron Corp. (800) 824-2157 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. (216) 291-2303 Rogers Mfg. Inc. (940) 325-7806 Royal Forge Pte Ltd (011) 656-235-9893 Scotchman Industries Inc. (605) 859-2542 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 The Cable Connection (800) 851-2961 The G-S Co. (410) 284-9549 The Iron Shop (800) 523-7427 The Wagner Companies (888) 243-6914 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058 Triple-S Chemical Products (800) 862-5958 Tri-State Shearing & Bending (718) 485-2200 TS Distributors Inc. (832) 467-5400 Vogel Tool & Die, Div. of TES Tube Equipment Inc. (630) 562-1400 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 486-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door (901) 346-0662 Xycorp Inc. (760) 323-0333

What’s Hot!? Biz Briefs

Cleveland Steel Tool celebrates 100 y e a r s The Cleveland Steel Tool Company celebrated their 100th anniversary with a festive open house for customers, vendors, current and past employees and their families, and local digni- ABOVE: Dora Pruce from the office of Ohio's Senator taries. George V. Voinovich presMore than 200 people ents Mark Dawson, President of The Cleveland joined the festivities, Steel Tool Company, with a which included a heartproclamation in honor of the felt speech from compacompany's 100th anniverny president, Mark sary celebration. Dawson, and the presentation of proclamations from representatives of several levels of local and state governments. Contact: The Cleveland Steel Tool Company, Ph: (216) 681-7400; Web:

Steel imports up slightly, PMA reports Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) President William E. Gaskin recently said that steel users in the United States remain concerned about the supply and availability of steel and that any uptick in demand could mean higher prices and shortages in the fourth quarter for U.S. manufacturers. Overall steel imports rose a modest 4% in July, but are down 11% compared to 2007. Hot-rolled steel imports declined slightly in July, but are up 6% compared to the same period in 2007. Preliminary data issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce showed an increase in overall steel imports from 2.47 metric tons in June to 2.57 million metric tons in July. Imports of hot-rolled steel declined by 4% from June levels to 217,531 metric tons in July. Cold-rolled imports rose slightly in July, up 1% to 109,498 metric tons. Imports of hot- and cold-rolled sheets are down 8% for the year to date through July for 2008 versus 2007. Contact: Precision Metalforming Association; Ph: 216901-8800; Web: 82

Inside Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . .82 Chapter News . . . . . . .84 Literature . . . . . . . . . . .86 People . . . . . . . . . . . . .88

Events . . . . . . . . . . . . .89 New Products . . . . . . .90 Classifieds . . . . . . . . . .92

IMS launches new business division and services Industrial Metal Supply Co. (IMS) has announced the creation of a new business unit that will provide 3D laser cutting, and fabrication services to design and manufacturing firms, metal fabricators, welders, machine shops, and other businesses throughout Southern California and Arizona. The Laser Services Group will focus on providing fabrication and production services enabled by a new device from Mazak Optonics Corp. called the FabriGear 300. FabriGear employs a six-axis laser that cuts large sizes of tubes and pipes — round, square, rectangular, or triangular — up to 26 feet in length. It also processes I-beams, Hbeams, C-channel, angle iron, and other shapes as defined by the operator. Cuts can be made at a variety of angles. Contact: Industrial Metal Supply Co., Ph: (858) 2778200; Web: SBIC announces Beyond Green™ building awards program The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) is now accepting applications from the public and private sector for the 2008 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building Awards. The awards recognize initiatives that promote high-performance design and construction practices. Contact: SBIC, Ph: (202) 628-7400; Web:

AGA launches updated website The American Galvanizers Association’s (AGA) “search-centric” website gives visitors access to technical resources, publications, educational seminars, and archives. The reorganized site also features a “Members Only” section and new online services. Contact: American Galvanizers Association; Ph: (720) 554-0900; Web: Fabricator !

September/October 2008

What’s Hot? !

Biz Briefs AGC warns of additional increases for gypsum, aluminum Surging prices for diesel fuel, asphalt, steel, and other materials are “clobbering” construction budgets, Ken Simonson, Chief Economist for The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), said recently. Simonson was commenting on the producer price index (PPI) for June reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The PPI for inputs to construction industries—materials used in all types of construction plus items consumed by contractors, such as diesel fuel— surged 10.4 percent over the past 12 months. The index for highway and street construction leaped 18.9 percent.

“Bad as those figures sound, the increases in asphalt and steel costs have been even worse since these prices were collected in mid-June,” Simonson asserted. “In the first two weeks of July, asphalt prices have jumped by 40 percent in several parts of the country. Prices for rebar, steel used to reinforce concrete in highways, bridges and buildings, soared $200 per ton.” “Suppliers have been announcing price increases for many other products as well,” Simonson added. “Yesterday, two gypsum makers told contractors that wallboard prices would rise at double-digit rates in each of the next three months.” In the futures markets, aluminum has been setting records, while natural gas has doubled in price from a year

ago. That has triggered jumps in the cost of construction plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride pipe, insulation, and flooring that use natural gas as a feedstock. Contact: AGC, Ph: (703) 548-3118; Web: New ISO standard for longlasting structures The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published a new standard (ISO 13823:2008) to help engineers, builders, and regulators in designing structures that are safe and resistant to failure due to environmental and mechanical stresses and material degradation. Contact: ISO, Ph: +41 22 749 03 11; Web:

America’s #1 Supplier! Since 1959

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1-800-423-4494 September/October 2008 !

Fabricator 83

Chapter News

What’s Hot?  Chapter Contacts Florida Chapter

President: Pedro Vasquez Discount Ornamental Iron Ph: (813) 248-3348 Gulf Coast NOMMA Network

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

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

President: Tina Tennikait Superior Fence & Orn. Iron Ph: (618) 259-4184

Visit the “Chapters” area of the NOMMA website for more chapter information.

Upper Midwest Chapter review Members of the Upper Midwest Chapter gathered at Mofab Inc. in Anderson, IN on August 23 for a day of fun and learning. Following a morning social time and business meeting, attendees were treated to a tour and demonstration at Dillon Pattern Works, a nearby custom nonferrous foundry. After the Dillon foundry tour, everyone returned to Mofab Inc. to

hear a presentation titled “The Myth of the Ladder Effect,” which was given by Tony Leto of The Wagner Companies. Mr. Leto educated the audience on the misinformation surrounding the “ladder effect” and talked about other guardrail safety issues. The daylong event coincided with Mofab’s 50th anniversary and open house celebration, which featured a shop tour and delicious lunch.

NE Chapter to focus on forging The Northeast Chapter is holding their next meeting September 20 at Spirit Ironworks in Bayport, NY, starting at 10 a.m. Serving as hosts for the day are Rachel and Timothy Miller, a sibling team who are artist-blacksmiths and

owners of Spirit Ironworks. During the meeting, attendees will watch a blacksmithing demonstration. Lunch is being sponsored by Joe Romeo, president of Industrial Coverage Corp. in Medford, NY. To RSVP and for more info, call (973) 247-7604.

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Fabricator  September/October 2008

What’s Hot? 

Chapter News

Florida Chapter meeting features knife making demo The Florida Chapter enjoyed a wellattended meeting on June 28 at the shop of Klahm and Sons in Ocala, FL. In addition to the traditional shop tour, lunch, business meeting, and buck-in-a-bucket, attendees were treated to three excellent demos. The first presentation was by Steve Schwarzer, a world-renowned Damascus knife maker. He has been an ABS master bladesmith for 25 years, and winner of countless awards, including the WW Scagel Award (the highest honor bestowed by the ABS). Steve provided an entertaining presentation and education while demonstrating the forging of a damascas knife. The second presentation was by Phil Heermance of Art’s Work Unlimited, also winner of many Top Job awards, and this year’s winner of the

Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence. Phil provided a demonstration of the power hammer using a number of different custom made dies to produce texturing and shape to spindles, which, when twisted, gave unique shapes. Jack Klahm provided a final presentation – showing techniques for hammering (texturing) pipe (useful in lighting fixtures) and forging the end into a perfect flower.

The meeting was well attended. Jack gives a demo on hammering pipe. BELOW: An attendee holds a long blade knife. TOP:


Our wire mesh systems are pre-engineered for easy installation and provide an excellent method of defining work areas, storing tools and supplies and protecting aisle ways. The layout can be reconfigured to suit your changing needs with little or no waste. We manufacture both 2" x 1" rectangular and 1½" diamond mesh partitions using 10 gauge wire.

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September/October 2008  Fabricator


What’s Hot? !


Overview of latest QuickBooks version

Contractor’s Guide to QuickBooks Pro 2008 In the early 1990s, accounting software was harsh. Most packages were designed for accountants, not consumers, and forced users to follow classical accounting principles. But along came QuickBooks, which soon revolutionized the small business world. In the construction industry, the popular program has become a mainstay, but the software is still complex and requires a learning curve. To the rescue comes “Contractor’s Guide to QuickBooks Pro 2008,” a 340-page title that provides a “plain user quickly get rolling. English” overview of the latest The bonus CD that comes with the QuickBooks version. Specifically writbook contains some impressive goodten for the construction industry, the ies, including a pre-configured softbound book provides- dozens of QuickBooks file that is designed for TS Distributors BJ Harrington 832-467-5406 - screenshots and charts to help a new construction and features a pre-set NOMMA Fabricator - 1/4 page ad

chart of accounts. The CD also includes an estimating program, job cost wizard, and blank construction forms. Whether you are a new business or just now switching or upgrading to the latest version of QuickBooks, you will find the book helpful. It is written by actual contractors and uses little of that strange language used by accountants. In other words, you won’t hear a lot about “debits” and “credits,” but you will get precise information on writing checks and handling estimates, bills, timecards, purchase orders, deposit slips, etc. When you open the large book, the first thing you’ll notice is the lengthy list of things that QuickBooks Pro can do. In the book’s 19 chapters you’ll learn how to set up the software for payroll, customers, vendors, estimating, receivables, payables, reports, and MUCH more! Of particular interest is


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


117 DAVID BIDDLE TRAIL, WEAVERVILLE, NC 28787 DESIGN & SALES: 800-635-2596 FAX: 828-645-2128 OFFICE: 800-541-8065 • 86 Color Mock-Up

Fabricator !

September/October 2008

What’s Hot? !

Literature a chapter at the back of the book devoted to real estate development. While this section is designed for spec builders and developers, it can also come in handy should you ever decide to purchase land for your own shop. Also in the back of the book are two lengthy appendixes on estimating and job cost tracking. In regards to estimating, if you already use an estimating program the authors recommend that you to stick with it. From your existing program you can simply enter a few pieces of information into QuickBooks. However, if you don’t have an estimating program, the QuickBooks module can do the job and Appendix A will show you how to set it up. The tricky part is coming up with all the construction cost estimating data, which can take some time. Appendix B is the final gem at the back of the book. Unlike the rest of the book, this section gets quite technical on the topics of job cost tracking

and importing estimates. Before reading this section, take a swig of the strongest coffee that you can get your hands on — you’ll need it. Among other things, Appendix B will teach you how to install and use two of the modules on the bonus CD — the National Estimator and the Job Cost Wizard. To provide some anxiety relief, the appendix walks you through your first estimate, which shows you how to factor in all the material and labor costs for your job. One of the last sections is devoted to the Job Cost Wizard, and the book will show you how to control how much detail you want to appear on your bids and invoices. To order the title, contact: Contractor Resource Inc., 701 50th St., Sacramento, CA 95819. Phone: (916) 321-5557. Cost: $54.75, plus shipping (includes CD-ROM). —Todd Daniel


Literature Sustainable Solutions for Corrosion Protection AGA publication

The American Galvanizers Association’s (AGA) new brochure details how utilizing hot-dip galvanizing in biofuel, wind, hydroelectric, and solar structures will protect investment in alternative energy. Contact: AGA, Ph: (720) 5540900; Web: Architect’s Pocket Book Architectural Press

This new edition includes diagrams and tables, and covers a range of topics including planning permission, sustainability, and steelwork. Contact: Elsevier Inc., Ph: (800) 545-2522; Web: www.elsevierdirect. com.

ge d E ing

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800-323-7503 September/October 2008 !



What’s Hot? ! Miller elected to Aluminum Association Board

The Aluminum Association has announced that Jack Miller, president of Sapa North America Extrusions Inc., has been elected to its board of directors. Miller held various positions with Alcoa in both the rolling and extruding businesses before joining Sapa in 2007 as President, North America. Contact: The Aluminum Association, Ph: (703) 2458075; Web: CML USA Inc. Ercolina names new manufacturer representatives

CML USA Inc. has added three new employees to its sales force. Gerry Rhode of Rhode Sales serves as Ercolina’s manufacturer’s representative, responsible for Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Sean Sharp of Sharp Sales will cover Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and eastern Pennsylvania for Ercolina. Beryl Francis, a manufacturer’s representative with CML USA since 2001, has relocated and will now cover North Carolina and South Carolina for Ercolina. Contact: CML USA Inc., Ph: (563) 391-7700; Web:

People Wagner adds Harris; promotes Knaak

The Wagner Companies recently announced that Alexander Harris has joined the company as an estimator/customer service representative for systems. Harris will be responsible for estimating Wagnerail™ projects and serving the needs of Lumenrail LED lighted Alexander Harris railing systems customers. In addition, he will be involved with developing new manufacturing processes to support Wagner’s railing systems business. The company also announced that Connie Knaak has been promoted to the position of manager of employee development and training. In this position, Knaak Connie Knaak will assume responsibility for the establishment and standardization of training and skill development across The Wagner Companies. Contact: Wagner, Ph: (888) 243-6914; Web:

New England School of Metalwork Josh Dow /Lauren Holmgren—Cast Iron Sculpture October 3—5 Come explore the foundations of artistic casting. Learn the basic principals of iron casting for your own work. Three full days of professional instruction teaching you to create your own castings in cast Iron.

2008-2009 Winter Session Beginners Blacksmithing Basic Bladesmithing Intro. to Japanese Sword Smithing Forged Tools of the Blacksmith Forged Botanical Forms And more !!! 1-888-753-7502 88

Fabricator !

September/October 2008

What’s Hot? !

Events USINAGEM 2008 conference

São Paulo, SP Brazil, October 6-8, 2008 The event is sponsored by the Brazilian machining magazine Máquinas e Metais and will present technical papers, guidance on standards, and new technologies for planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of machine tools. Contact: Arandanet, Web: 5th annual Fitchburg Forge-In Blacksmith Festival

October 18, 2008 The theme for this year’s juried competition for metal artisans is “Along the River.” The event is sponsored by the City of Fitchburg and Achla Designs, and will take place in Fitchburg, MA. Cash prizes for the decorative panel competition and vendor opportunities will be available.

Contact: City of Fitchburg, Ph: (978) 345-9602, Web:

Contact: Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), Ph: (216) 9018800; Web: .

Power hammer tooling workshop

October 16-19, 2008 Fred Crist will lead this workshop at the Center for Metal Arts in Florida, NY. The course covers the power hammer and its use in tool making for simple dies for stamping or marking, and dies in application. Call to register for the course. Contact: Center for Metal Arts, Ph: (845) 651-7550.

Trade Shows The Fall Traditional Building Show

September 18-20, 2008 The conference will be held at Chicago’s Navy Pier Festival Hall. Contact: Restore Media, Ph: (866) 566-7840; Web: www.traditional Nassau Co. Museum of Art Show

METALFORM Mexico Celebrates 5th Edition

November 11-13, 2008 The annual exposition and educational conference for tool and die, metal stamping, forming, fabricating, and assembly will host its fifth edition in Mexico City at Centro Banamex.

October 11-13, 2008 The American Concern for Artistry and Craftsmanship hosts this 12th annual art festival in Roslyn Harbor, NY. Contact: ACAC, Ph: (973) 7460091; Web:




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WITH THE VERSATILE HMD904S SWIVEL BASE DRILL. It lets you line up precise center points quickly. Horizontally. Upside down. Or just vertically. Its swivel base makes hitting the mark so easy you’ll see productivity gains immediately along with more accurate holemaking. Like we’ve said... Get it close. Hit your mark. Lock it down. Drill.

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What’s Hot? !

Products New Internet programming feature

DoorKing DoorKing announces version 6.1 of their remote account manager software to program DKS telephone entry and access control systems. The new 6.1 version also provides an Internet connection option to program these systems. Contact: DoorKing, Inc., Ph: (800) 826-7493; Web: New tube, pipe, and bending machinery

CML USA Ercolina Ercolina’s 050KD is designed for bending pipe, tube, squares, rectangles, solids, and other profiles. The 050KD is capable of bending ferrous and non-ferrous materials from ¼” to 2½” and accepts Ercolina’s optional two-axis A40/P positioning table for


multiple and sequential bends. Standard tooling is available from stock in multiple radii. Ercolina’s CE40MR3 angle roll is capable of bending a wide range of tube, pipe, and profiles to a CLR as small as four times the diameter of the work piece. CE40MR3 is designed to operate in vertical or horizontal position and includes a foot pedal for hands-free operation. Ercolina’s rotary draw TB76 produces repeatable bends to center line radii two times material diameter in tube, pipe, and profiles to 3” capacity without a mandrel. Tooling is available for tube, pipe, and conduit. Special tooling is also available for squares, solids, and other profiles. Contact: CML USA Inc., Ph: (563) 391-7700; Web: Railing bracket

Architectural Metal Sales Architectural Metal Sales has a new railing bracket that is ADA compliant with a 1½” round handrail. Available in stainless steel, aluminum, or bronze, the bracket may be adjusted 360 degrees. The product comes in a thickness of ½” or ¾” and users may select glass, wall, or post mounting options. Contact: Architectural Metal Sales, Ph: (925) 216-1004; Web:

Fabricator !

September/October 2008

What’s Hot? !

Products New MAG1

Diamond saw; band saw blades

Industrial insert V-groove router bits

Makino The MAG1 is the newest edition to Makino’s MAG series of 5-axis horizontal machining centers. It is designed to handle precision aluminum production of parts up to 1500 mm. The MAG1 is positioned to produce structural parts such as ribs, leading edges, and trailing edges of aircraft wing structures. Contact: Makino, Ph: (800) 5523288; Web:


Amana Amana Tool presents industrial insert Vgroove router bits. The design uses a highgrade carbide insert knife suitable for miter folds, sign making, and lettering applications. The product features a hard carbide grade and may be used on laminates, plywood, solid wood, aluminum and foam, plastic and foam, and solid surface materials. Contact: Amana Tool, Ph: (877) 676-0077; Web: www.amanatool.

Saw certified for hazardous atmospheres

CS Unitec

CS Unitec’s 1.3 HP pneumatic reciprocating saw is ATEX certified (Class 112 GcT5) for use in hazardous environments. The saw is designed for use in industries where hazardous atmospheres may be present. Model 5 1217 0020 (also known as the CAT) is designed for hand-held cutting of steel, plastic, and wood, or it may be mounted. Contact: CS Unitec, Ph: (800) 7005919; Web: 38W fluorescent worklight

DeWALT DeWALT presents the DC020 cordless/corded fluorescent worklight, ideal for plumbers, electricians, mechanical contractors, general contractors, elevator technicians, installers, and punch-out crews. It can be used where additional lighting is required such as dark areas, crawl spaces, and basements. Contact: DeWALT, Ph: (800) 4DEWALT; Web: September/October 2008 !


DoALL Sawing Products’ new Model 2012-D12 is designed to be an economical diamond saw for cutting friable materials including quartz and glass. The product uses 1”-wide gritedged saw bands and has a 20-inch throat with a standard 12-inch work height that accommodates a range of material sizes. DoALL also introduces two new band saw blades. The DoALL Supreme M81 blade is designed with a variable set for penetration of hard alloys like tool steels, stainless, and Inconel. The new MPB-2 band saw blade features variable height teeth, a wide set, and a coarse pitch for difficult to cut materials including forgings. Contact: DoALL, Ph: (800) 92DoALL; Web:

EZ Lift™ RL

R&M The EZ Lift™ RL manual lever puller from R&M Materials Handling Inc. is designed for the hoisting and pulling of loads. Models are available for ¼-ton, ¾-ton, 1.5-ton, and 3-ton capacities. The manual lever puller is designed for industrial use in workshops, building sites, or in settings where space and hooking height are restricted. Contact: R&M Materials Handling Inc., Ph: (800) 955-9967; Web:

HYDRAULIC IRONWORKERS Model BENDICROP 55 Ton Punch 3" x 3" x 5/16" Angle 14" x 1/2" Plate Shear

Rounds & Squares standard. Channel & Beam optional. A unique "built-in" bending section with a maximum ECRCEKV[QHZƀCVRNCVG is standard equipment.

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What’s Hot? !

Products 80X JetMachining® Center

OMAX® OMAX® Corporation’s 80X JetMachining® Center with Intelli-TRAX is their newest offering in abrasive waterjet solutions. Designed with a footprint of 265” x 152” (6731 mm x 3861 mm), the 80X is designed for large scale precision machining. The drive is enclosed inside coated steel covers, enables expansion of the cutting envelope to 20’, and is suitable for harsh environments. Contact: OMAX ® Corporation, Ph: (800) 838-0343; Web: Pneumatic glue gun

Power Adhesives Power Adhesives’ TEC™ 6100 hot melt glue gun includes an enclosed heater housing with silicon rubber nozzle shroud for operator safety. The gun features a


Proven design Efficient-Reaches 2350 Degrees Versatile Portable Many Models Available

power-on warning indicator light for monitoring and a controllable melt rate with a two-piece flow nozzle. Contact: Power Adhesives, Ph: (704) 334-2425; Web: Power tools with EFD.Lab Flow Simulation

AEG AEG Electric Tools GmbH uses Flomerics EFD.Lab fluid flow and heat transfer simulation software to increase airflow and cooling effects in their power tools. AEG’s product portfolio includes 100+ different types of tools for the professional market including hammers, percussion and diamond drills, angle and straight grinders, and jig- and circular saws. Contact: AEG, Ph: +44 1628 894449; Web: Contact: Flomerics, Ph: (508) 357-2012; Web: Primerless adhesives and sealants

Henkel For flexible bonding applications, Henkel Corporation has introduced Loctite® 5510™Adhesive/Sealant and Loctite® 5570™Adhesive. These permanently elastic, primerless formulations are designed to be resistant to vibration, movement, and impact. The product may be used for sealing a variety of dissimilar substrates including metals, glass, nylon, and plastics. Contact: Henkel, Ph: (800) LOCTITE; Web: Hard hats, caps, and specialty chemicals


Call for Free Catalog - 800/446-6498

NC Tool Company Inc 6133 Hunt Road Pleasant Garden, NC 27313 336/674-5654


Klein Tools’ new line of hard hats and caps include the VGard® cap and hat (Cat. Nos. 6001660024 for caps, 60028-60036 for hats), Advance® cap (Cat. Nos. 6002560027), Skullgard® cap and hat (Cat. Nos. 60037, 60038), and Western Outlaw Hat (Cat. No. 60039). The new line provides a variety of Klein Tools logo branding and color choices as well as four-point Fas-Trac® ratcheting suspension. Fabricator !

September/October 2008

What’s Hot? !

Products Klein has also launched a new line of specialty chemicals including contact cleaners, firestop caulk, room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) silicone sealants, lubricants, and wasp and hornet spray. For use in a variety of work environments, Klein® chemicals are VOC (volatile organic compound) compliant and high dielectric. Contact: Klein Tools, Ph: (800) 5534676; Web: Graphic welding helmets

Hobart The U.S. Flag and Tribal Flame are two new designs in Hobart’s line of fixed-shade welding helmets. The new products meet ANSI, CSA, and CE standards. Contact: Hobart, Ph: (877) HOBART1; Web: www.HobartWelders .com.

Mini marking stick


The J. P. Nissen Co.’s new mini stick is designed for all purpose marking. The pocket-sized marker will permanently mark, number, or code rough or smooth metal, even when rusty or oily. The marker may be used for temporary, water resistant marking on glass that may be wiped away with a dry cloth. Contact: J.P. Nissen Co., Ph: (215) 886-2025; Web: www.nissenmarkers. com.

Brasstown, NC

Since 1925

Universal photocell mounting bracket

J. P. Nissen

John C. Campbell Folk School Join us for weeklong and weekend classes!

MMTC Inc. announces the addition of a new UB-1, universal industrial photocell mounting bracket that can be used with all major brand photocells now available. The new UB-1 is made of heavyduty gauge steel and adjustable to clear garage door tracks and other obstacles. Contact: MMTC Inc., Ph: (800) 942-6682; Web:


To request a free catalog or register for a class, or call 1.800.FOLK.SCH



Blacksmithing (Beginning to Advanced)

Bladesmithing Traditional Blacksmithing photo by Paul Garrett

Toolmaking Design Process & many more!

September/October 2008 !



PO Box 3425 Knoxville, TN 37927 865.546.7733

$UWLVW%ODFNVPLWK–V  Association of North America, Inc. 93


And You May Win A Prize! Please take a moment to participate in Fabricator’s Annual Readership Survey. All participants will be entered for a prize drawing. To participate in the survey, visit: Prize Pak


• Blacksmithing book • Business books

• Choice of one DVD from the NEF Educational Series

One winner will be randomly chosen from survey participants. Deadline: Nov. 15, 2008

The purpose of this survey is to help us better focus our editorial content. Any information you provide will be kept confidential. Any information we receive will NOT be sold, shared, or used in any way outside of the survey project. Only one entry per person, please.

Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal

Help us make Fabricator better by participating in our Annual Readership Survey (it will only take 5-10 min.).


Own or Manage an Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal Fab Shop? Then NOMMA is the organization for you! Tap into a goldmine of information by becoming a NOMMA member.

Join NOMMA today!

Get quick access to information and resources by joining NOMMA. We offer educational tools, discounts, networking opportunities, and more...

O&MM Fabricator Magazine NOMMA’s glossy magazine offers shop techniques, job profiles, business articles, and more.

Member Discounts Pay lower rates for our educational materials, sales aids, training videos, continuing education classes, and annual METALfab convention.

Members only Website Download technical bulletins and access information on ADA, building codes, driveway gates, etc.

Professional Resources Receive TechNotes, our bimonthly technical bulletin and Fabricator’s Journal, our members only “how to” publication.

Technical Support Get answers to your questions by posting them on the ListServ or contacting our staff.

Best of all, a NOMMA membership is only $415* per year! That’s less than $1.14 a day for one of the smartest choices you’ll ever make.

NOMMA & NEF Provide First-Class Education For the Industry LEFT: The NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) provides professional education sessions during our annual METALfab convention and trade show. TOP RIGHT: NEF Continuing Education programs are regularly held in the fall and prior to METALfab. RIGHT: A highlight of METALfab is the shop tours, which typically feature various mini demos.

Other Member Benefits: Awards Contest, Insurance Program, Chapter Membership✝, Member Locator, Introductory Package, and MORE ...

National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253 Call 888-516-8585, ext. 101 or visit *For fabricator membership. Memberships are also available for suppliers.✝Chapter membership is only available in regions serviced by a chapter.

Classifieds Recruiter

Employment nationwide in structural/miscellaneous steel fabrication. ProCounsel is in communication with over 3,000 structural/ miscellaneous and ornamental steel fabricators. We can market your skills (estimator, project manager, detailer, shop manager) to the city or state of your choice without identifying you. Employer pays fee. The right location, the right job, at the right money. ProCounsel: Buzz Taylor. Call toll free (800) 545-5900, or (214) 741-3014. Fax: (214) 741-3019. Help wanted

AutoCAD Drafter, Estimator, Field Measurer, Project Manager & Shop Supervisor. Railing fabricator specializing in aluminum, stainless, and glass railings in central New Jersey looking to expand and grow. Company is 22

years old, with 45 employees in 30,000 sq. ft. facility in Middlesex County, NJ. Architectural metal, miscellaneous iron or storefront experience helpful. We will reimburse relocation expenses and offer excellent pay commensurate with experience and or responsibilities. Full benefits including medical dental life and disability insurance as well as a 401k match, profit sharing and bonuses. Fax resume and salary to (732) 332-1924 or email to Sales agent/reps wanted

Sumter Coatings is seeking independent sales agents/representatives for the eastern U.S. to represent our Metal Master Brand Paints. Qualifications would include someone currently selling other type products to ornamental and steel suppliers. Call, fax, or email Chet Dinkins at the number below for more information. Any

emails should be preempted with a phone call to Chet before sending. Ph: 888-471-3400. Fax: 803-481-3776. Email: Classified ad rates & information

Classified ads promote a one-time sale or offer or employment-related opportunities. Rates are as follows: 1–35 words = $65 ($50 member) 36–50 words = $90 ($75 member) 51–70 words = $115 ($100 member) 71-100 word = $145 ($130 member) Next classified deadline: Oct. 3

NOMMA Forums

In addition to the Career Center, you’ll find a wealth of other resources in the NOMMA Forums, including our free Buy/Sell/Trade section and discussion areas for AutoCAD and Welding. To access this area visit and click on “Career Center & Forums.”

Join NOMMA Today! Three more reasons to join NOMMA: As a member you can take advantage of our electronic services • NOMMA ListServ - A discussion forum where you can post questions and receive quick answers from your peers.

RIGHT: Participate in ongoing dis-

cussions on business issues and fabrication by joining the NOMMA ListServ. As a member, you also have access to all past discussions, going back to January 2001!


• NOMMA Newswire - A bimonthly email newsletter that keeps you up-to-date on NOMMA activities, technical issues, and industry news. • NOMMA Members Area - Members receive access to our “members only” area on the NOMMA website. This area contains our popular Knowledge Base, back issues of Fabricator and other publications, and various member services.


TOP: In the Members Area you’ll find support

areas for building codes, ADA, and driveway gates. Plus you can download back issues of Fabricator, Fabricator’s Journal, and TechNotes — a gold mine of information! RIGHT: Your membership also includes a subscription to NOMMA Newswire, our bimonthly email newsletter.

For a complete list of member benefits, visit and click “Join Now!” 96

Fabricator  September/October 2008

Advertiser’s index A thanks to the following advertisers for their support of O&MM Fabricator magazine ... Pg. 84 75 67 9 24 93 87 54 88 70 30 91 53 93 35 15 42 26 76 37 4 33 25 27 29 31 35 76 45 61 39 21 57 70 62 41 89 23 56 75 100 59

Company ............................................................................Website Alloy Casting Co. Alumadesign American Fence Assn. Architectural Iron Designs Architectural Metal Artist-Blacksmith's Atlas Metal Sales Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Blacksmiths Depot Blue Moon Press Julius Blum & Co. Inc. COMEQ Inc. The Cable Connection John C. Campbell Folk Carell Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co. Classic Iron Supply Cleveland Steel Tool Colorado Waterjet Co. CompLex Industries Inc. D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. D.J.A. Imports DKS, DKS, DKS, Decorative Iron Eagle Bending Machines Eberl Iron Works Encon Electronics FAAC International FabCAD Inc. Feeney Architectural Feeney Architectural The G-S Co. Hawke Industries ......................................................(909) 928-9453 Hebo - Stratford Gate Hougen Mfg. Hypertherm Inc. International Gate Interstate The Iron Shop Iron Work Gallery

Advertise in NOMMA’s annual Buyer’s Guide Note: Closing Date for the 2009 NOMMA Buyer’s Guide is October 31, 2008

September/October 2008  Fabricator

Jansen Ornamental Jesco Industries Inc. King Architectural Metals Laser Precision Cutting Lawler Foundry Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Lindblade Metal Works Mac Metals Inc. Marks U.S.A. Mittler Bros. Machine & NC Tool Company NE School of M’work P & J Mfg. Co. ..............................................................(419) 227-8742 Pat Mooney Inc. Paxton & Thou Artistic Production Machinery R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine Red Pup Regency Railings Salter Industries Scotchman Industries Sharpe Simsolve........................................................................(909) 737-2480 Society of Manufacturing Engineers Stairways Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd. Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. Sumter Coatings Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. TACO TS Distributors Inc. Texas Metal Industries Traditional Building Tri-State Shearing & Bending..................................(718) 485-2200 Universal Entry Systems Inc. ..................................(800) 837-4283 Vogel Tool & Die Corp. Wagner Companies, The Weaver's Iron Works YAC Equipment & Companies in bold are first-time advertisers.

Want your company’s name listed in the Buyer’s Guide? Call Todd Daniel at NOMMA. Ph: (888) 5168585, ext. 102. Check out our online Buyer’s Guide to find detailed listings of supplier products. Visit: and click on “Buyer’s Guide.”

Getting Duplicates? No Longer Wish To Receive Fabricator?

2009 Buyer’s Guide: Now is the Time To Advertise Attention advertisers: Don’t miss out on the 2009 NOMMA Buyer’s Guide. To place your ad, contact Todd Daniel (, 888-5168585, ext. 102).

83 85 99 86 3 2 85 7 10 66 92 88 49 87 52 73 84 69 47 17 51 44 50 77 63 60 19 43 20 13 86 65 89 16 90 90 71 32 72

NOMMA 2009 Buyer’s Guide

Please help us reduce waste by reporting unneeded issues. To remove an issue from our list, simply fax the mailing label to: (770) 288-2006. Or, send an email to: You may also send a drop request by visiting the “Fabricator” area of the NOMMA website. 97


Metal Moment

Ornamental iron can enhance property If you’re constantly searching for new ways to market and sell your product, it can be helpful to have insight from a completely different perspective. This column addresses the value of ornamental iron — from a customer’s point of view. By Cara Holland There is great truth in the adage, “first impressions are lasting impressions.” A high-quality ornamental iron entry door not only makes a favorable first impression, but also sets a welcoming tone and can increase the value of the home. A recent National Home Valuation Study reports that an enhanced entry could add as much 6.6 percent to a home’s worth. That’s an attention-getting statistic.

Infinite design alternatives Beyond increasing value, an ornamental iron entry makes a bold artistic statement, adding style and personality to any home, while increasing privacy and security. In fact, ornamental iron is an especially decorative and creative way to enhance any home or commercial area. The most common uses for decorative iron are doors, iron gates, and railings, which can add magnificent style to the end of a driveway, or flare to a staircase, balcony, or garden entry. Ornamental iron can be a part of custom designs in the kitchen, bar, garden, or wine cellar, or serve as yard and garden art. Ornamental iron can also add a custom, decorative finish to niches, cutouts, or windows. The options are limitless. For doors and windows, many people are looking beyond the clean look of traditional-style square designs, to the use of arches in various configura98

tions. A shallow arch added to the top of the top panels adds warmth and character to the basic straight panel designs. Glass is often incorporated into the product, and is available in a myriad of designs such as satin-etched, frosted and rain streaked. Screens are another important element. Color finishing can be a high performance paint, metallic patina, powder coating, depending on the fabricator, but powder coating is one of the most durable and popular finishes. In general, customers should be prepared to pay more for a high quality iron door, than for a comparable top-of-the-line wood entry. Considering the blend of aesthetic appeal and long-term value, it’s usually a very good investment. When most people think of ornamental iron, they usually conjure up images of a traditional design featuring straight pickets and a black finish. What they don’t realize is that the creative energy in the ornamental metals industry has virtually exploded with new designs, exotic finishes, and new techniques. The result is a wide variety of design choices. There are two major reasons for the resurgence of this ancient craft. First, the technology has greatly increased, and second, Old World blacksmithing has made a major comeback. These days it’s possible to walk into an ornamental iron shop and see an anvil alongside a computer CAD system or an electrostatic paint sprayer. A savvy

This beautifully ornate entrance door, crafted by Wrought Iron Art Ltd., was an entry in the 2007 Top Job competition.

fabricator can combine the best of old and new technologies to provide an outstanding driveway gate, grand stair railing, or fence. In fact, the motto for many shops is, “If you can put it on paper, we can fabricate it.” Maximizing value One never gets a second chance to make a first impression. In a home, the entrance is where it all starts. Good design can carry a theme of elegance and stateliness — a theme that is carried consistently throughout the whole house for maximum added value. Imagination is the only limit to what is possible with ornamental iron. Aside from its beauty, ornamental iron is functional, durable, and typically lower in maintenance costs. A good design improvement with ornamental iron can give an entirely new look to — and enhance the investment value of — a home. Cara Holland is the founder and President of Kensington Gate Ltd., a Phoenix-based ornamental iron and fabrication company. Email: Fabricator !

September/October 2008

2008 09 fab  
2008 09 fab