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Introducing The Wagner Companies Promise Scholarship, pg. 78 Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

November/December 2008 $6.00 US

Job Profile

Exquisitely crafted door wins Top Job gold award pg. 26

Tips & Tactics

A “purposeful design,� pg. 14 Shop Talk

Stainless steel shine, pg. 18 Member Talk

Embassy gates and fencing offer lucrative niche, pg. 46

Nature and family provide inspiration for projects, pg. 34

69-60 79th St., P.O. Box 67, Middle Village, NY 11379


Introducing City Line innovative designs from grande forge

*all items protected by US and International copyright








November/December 2008 Vol. 49, No. 6

These Top Job award-winning gates, crafted by Bighorn Foge, were designed with environmental influences and family themes in mind. See page 34.

Tips & Tactics

Biz Side

Job Profiles

The NOMMA Network . . . . . . . . . . 12 Networking with fellow NOMMA members is a powerful resource.

Aiming for the top ..........................26 A member in China garners Top Job gold for superb craftsmanship.

By Todd Daniel

Managing pro bono work. . . . 14 Proper planning cuts down on fabricating and installation problems. By Chris Holt

By John L. Campbell

Natural inspiration ........................34 Award-winning gates reflect influences of environment and family.

Never stop learning! The NOMMA Education Foundation is pleased to administer The Wagner Companies Promise Scholarship, which offers opportunities for continuing education in the field. See pages 78 & 79 for details and an application form. President’s Letter . . .6 What can you learn from the dog? Lessons from Maggie.

Is price really the issue? . . . . . . . 70 Maybe it’s not the price, but your attitude that needs adjusting. By Dave Kahle

By Lisa Bakewell

Member Talk Diversity, flexibility & niches . . 46 HCI thrives on a combination of artistic and commercial endeavors. By Peter Hilderbrandt

Of Special Interest

By William J. Lynott

By Grace Zhou

Shop Talk Maintaining stainless shine . . . 18 Using the right cleaning techniques will preserve stainless steel’s finish.

Protecting a valuable asset . . . 64 Keep every customer you have by using these guidelines.

Art, family go hand-in-hand . . 58 Vasquez Custom Metals honors its past, celebrates the present and future.

Editor’s Letter . . . . . .8 Good communication skills are invaluable.

By Sheila Phinazee This balcony combines hand-forged and prefabricated pieces. See page 61.

7 deadly sins of voicemail . . . . . 74 Maximize the commonly misused communication tool to win customers. By Jefferson Steelflex

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

Reader’s Letters . . . 10 Members ask for input; METALfab/Top Job 2009.

Biz Perspectives . . . 98 Certain strategies for uncertain economic times.

Cover photo: Shanghai Loyal Ornamental Wrought Iron Works defies the stereotype that goods made in China are of lesser quality. November/December 2008 



President’s Letter

Lessons from Maggie 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 Communications Mgr. J. Todd Daniel

Administrative Assistant Liz Johnson Editor Helen K. Kelley Circulation Assistant Tina Gunderson

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

My business advisor’s name is

Maggie. Okay, really my dog’s name is Maggie – but she is at the business every day. And in these times of roller coaster stock market rides, a shrinking home construction market, credit crisis, and more, I have to admit that my dog has some qualities worth emulating. I admire her sense of Calm (no stewing about what happened yesterday); her focus on Fundamentals (eat, sleep, play); her attention to every Customer who walks through the door; her Willingness to explore new places and Learn new things (hey, she’ll do a “high five” for a doggie treat); her laser-like Focus on the target (chasing lizards); her Appreciation for her boss and team mates (especially at the lunchroom table); and her Absolute Delight every morning at the chance to go to work. We humans also need to maintain a sense of Calm – for ourselves, our clients, and our employees. While we should be aware of what’s happening in the world, we need to focus our efforts on things that we can impact or change. We also need to refocus on the Fundamentals of our business, adjusting our policies according to the new realities of the environment. Are we paying attention to our cash flow? Perhaps we need to readjust our terms and watch our accounts receivable more closely. Or maybe we need to review our expenses, ensuring that outgoing cash is utilized for the most important expenses and investments. Perhaps we should look carefully at our balance sheet items to ensure that our assets are as secure as possible, and our debts are at the lowest rates possible. Make friends with your banker again to ensure that your relationship is strong, as is the bank.

We also need to pay special attention to our Customers. This is not the place to cut costs; it’s the best time to increase customer contacts and marketing efforts. There are still many building projects ongoing in the world, and most clients want to know that they are working with a stable firm that provides good quality and good advice. There’s no question that every downturn leads to a shakeout, which leaves some of the weaker competitors behind – this should not be you! Have a Willingness to explore new places and Learn new things. Take a strategic look at new markets or products. Learn some new ways of Terry Barrett is fabricating your president of NOMMA. current products at less expense. Learn about equipment that will save you money. Self-education is an area that requires investment at this time; use the opportunities NOMMA provides through Fabricator, the ListServ, networking with fellow members, and the upcoming METALfab (trade show and classes) to increase your knowledge and your opportunity to expand your business. Keep a laser-like Focus on your target. Track your numbers on your key indicators – sales, cash flow, productivity – and adjust your actions accordingly. Show Appreciation for your team – they are feeling the stress, too! It is important to convey your sense of calm, and communicate what you need them to do to make you all successful. And expand your team to help you realize your plans. Finally, have some Absolute Delight for the opportunity to go to work! We work in a wonderful industry – and in NOMMA, we are blessed with colleagues willing to teach us, help us, support us, and show us the way. It’s a great pack we run with! Fabricator 

November/December 2008

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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.


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

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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

There is no substitute for good communication An acquaintance who teaches middle

school English frequently mentions how appalling her students’ language and communication skills have become, largely due to the effects of Internet lingo. Their term papers are littered with abbreviations like LOL (laughing out loud) and “emoticons” (symbols made with different keyboard characters to convey various emotional content, such as a smile). They haven’t heard of “diagramming a sentence.” A professor of communications at a large university recently singled out text messaging a huge contributor to her students’ inability to write a clear and functional sentence. Even though I am responsible, as a writer and editor, for honing words into clear, concise sentences, I find myself inserting abbreviations, jargon, and slang into my daily communications with others. And the correlation between email and the demise of face-to-face, or even telephone communication? Let’s not go there. So, here’s the problem. Our ability to effectively communicate with one another is slowly being sapped. While “webspeak” and informal expressions may be fun to use, they don’t create the best impression in the business world. This issue of Fabricator offers some good advice and tips for how to “clean up our act” and improve communication with customers and colleagues. For example, in his Tips & Tactics article on the value of the NOMMA Network, Todd Daniel points out the business and personal advantages of getting involved and communicating directly with fellow members (see p. 12). Marco Vasquez of Vasquez Custom Metals validates the power of the NOMMA Network: “All of our new jobs are directly related to NOMMA due to the networking opportunities

with so many members across the U.S.” (See p. 58.) Effective communication has also played a key role in success for NOMMA member Hercules Custom Iron, which is often sought out to do projects for foreign embassies in the Washington, DC region (see p. 46). All of our Biz Side articles (beginning on p. 64) focus on different means of communication with customers — from creating an identifiable image for your Helen Kelley is editor company to the best of Ornamental & way to use voicemail Miscellaneous Metal for achieving desired Fabricator. results. In his President’s Letter, Terry Barrett talks about important business lessons learned by communicating with a surprising source — his dog. Maggie can certainly teach us all some valuable new tricks (see p. 6). To round out this issue, our Job Profiles feature two Top Job awardwinning projects. Shanghai Loyal Ornamental Wrought Iron Works’ magnificent residential door garnered a gold award for its exquisitely detailed craftsmanship (p. 26). And Bighorn Forge won a silver award for gates whose design was inspired by environmental and family themes (p. 34). Writer John Campbell delves into the world of keeping stainless steel shiny, through special cleaning and rust-prevention techniques (p. 18). And our second Tips & Tactics feature focuses on maintaining that good feeling of contributing to a pro bono project by managing your time and materials efficiently. I hope you enjoy this issue of Fabricator and find the information in it helpful. See you in 2009! Fabricator 

November/December 2008

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Tips& Tactics 

Increasing Efficiency

Managing a pro bono project

Time is money, especially when you’re donating your work. Planning a “purposeful design” helps to cut down on design problems and installation time. By Chris Holt Steel Welding, Freedom, PA

Editor’s note: Participation in community efforts is not only rewarding in an altruistic way, but can also earn recognition and positive publicity for your company. But it can also be costly to your business in time and materials without proper planning. Of the project described below, 14

author Chris Holt says, “Showing support in the community is important. Donating a piece of work helps organizations and can be good public relations for your company. Unfortunately, donated projects cost time, materials, and installation. To cut down on installation time, this project was built in the shop and designed to use existing support posts. This installation took only minutes because we thought ahead.”

ecently, John Steel (Steel Welding) was approached by the Western Pennsylvania Herb Society for a bench commission in a public garden. A family wanted to memorialize a young woman that lost her life to cancer. Since one of the young woman’s joys and interests had been working with herbs, the family thought placing a bench in the garden in her honor would be an appropriate memorial.



November/December 2008


After vandals destroyed the original stone park bench, the city of Pittsburgh replaced it with this wooden bench.

LEFT: Although the bench provided a place for garden visitors to rest, it didn’t weather well in the elements. A more aesthetically pleasing (and vandalresistent) permanent bench was needed.

The public herb garden selected for the bench is located in Pittsburgh’s Mellon Park. The Mellons — a large financier family based in Pittsburgh — are known throughout the banking world. The park no longer contains the Mellon family mansion that was built at the turn of the century, but does retain the formal gardens that were a highlight of the property. Within the park, the garden is tended on a daily basis by a group of gardeners that oversee the array of herbs. Unfortunately, a few decades ago, the original stone bench that was a highlight of the herb garden was smashed with sledge hammers by vandals. The city of Pittsburgh quickly responded and installed a sturdy bench for the gardening guests. The good news was the bench was quickly 16

replaced; however, the only good way to describe the replacement bench was that it was functional. For years, this “bench” was the only seating in the area. A new bench was needed for aesthetic reasons, and the opportunity arose for us to create one. We accepted the challenge, knowing it would be a willing donation of fabrication and design. We also knew that the bench needed to be vandal resistant and permanent. To begin, we researched photos with the help of the park’s historian and took element ideas from the Yellin iron fencing and gates that encircle the property. The original stone bench design featured a high back with carved scrolls crowning the back. We went to work, using copies of historical photos and photos we had

taken from existing work. We purposely made the scrolls to cover the length of the bench’s back to deter park visitors from sitting on the back of the bench and resting their feet on the seat. We also designed a scroll on each side of the bench to face forward so that gardeners could easily hang their totes from the bench within sight and easy reach. The arms of the bench include several scrolls so that a weary gardener can use a them as handles for a boost up at the end of a weeding day. Additionally, a simple herb is engraved on each arm to commemorate the bench. To help make the bench theft proof, you only need a few blacksmiths with a little ingenuity! We removed the city bench by cutting off Fabricator 

November/December 2008


A portion of the pipe “legs” of the city bench were preserved to use as supports for the new bench.


Scrolls were incorporated into the bench arms for the herb gardeners’ use.

the pipe “legs” at the right height for the new bench. The underside of the new bench was designed to accommodate the pipe legs as supports and welded to a heavy angle under the seat. Installation of the bench was easy because of the purposeful design. (A little cement and some used Hilti bits may have found their way in the pipe legs just in case a battery Sawsall found its way into the park after dark.) The garden looks complete with the Victorian style bench, and we believe we can comfortably say it will be there for a very long time.


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, or E-mail November/December 2008 



Shop Talk

Maintaining that stainless shine 

hen buyers spend money for stainless steel fabrications, they feel as though they’re buying the best, and they expect the gloss and reflective shine to last forever. As we all know, such guarantees are nebulous. It’s like the 20year-old sales clerk in a seed store showing an expensive bird feeder to an 80-year-old man. This bird feeder has a lifetime guarantee. To which the old gentleman asks, Your life or mine? The first sign of yellow stains, rusting on the surface of a stainless fabrication, draws questions and complaints. This article will explain what the stains are, how they occur and what can be done to reduce the nuisance complaints.



Most commercial stainless fabrications are constructed from the 300 series austenitic grades of stainless steel. The two most popular grades 304 and 316 have nominal chemistries of 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel with a maximum carbon content of .08 percent. They’re often referred to as the 18-8 stainless steels. Molybdenum is added to 316 stainless to provide resistance to pitting type corrosion. To maintain the austenitic structure of 316 an additional amount of nickel is added to offset the ferrite forming characteristic of molybdenum. By definition, stainless steels have over 12 percent chromium. It’s the chromium content that makes the alloys stainless. From the stand point of appearance, there’s no difference. After a period of time, which depends on where the fabrication is

For your information

By John L. Campbell

Photo by Manual Ribeiro

A stainless steel stairway in the tanks of a modern winery.

Stainless steel’s name doesn’t mean that it never stains — dirt, dust, and grime can put stainless steel at risk for developing rust and corrosion. However, stainless steel is a resilient material that responds well to certain cleaning and rustprevention techniques.

The Metal Finishes Manual for Architectural and Metal Products, published jointly by NAAMM and NOMMA, is a wealth of information on stainless steel. Chapter 3 of the Manual, “Finishes for Stainless Steel,” covers a variety of topics, such as: summary of typical stainless steel finishes; mechanical finishes; polished finishes; colored finishes; electropolished finishes; maintenance and cleaning; and more. An all-new Metal Stair & Railing Manual will be available in 2009. Copies of the 2006 manual are still available for order in the online Store section of NOMMA’s website,


November/December 2008

installed, tea-staining (some call it rouging) begins to show on the surface of stainless panels. Rougher finishes like a #4 are more prone to discoloration than mirror finishes like #8. The roughness pockets dirt, free iron particles, and moisture from condensate, which collects every day on exterior metal fabrications. Condensate holds dust, dissolved exhaust fumes, and atmospheric salts brought in by the wind. Within a mile of saltwater locations, condensate will collect chlorides, which are corrosive to stainless steels. Tests have shown that the height from the ground of an architectural structure correlates with increased corrosive affects where metal surfaces have direct coastal wind exposure. The austenitic stainless alloys do not hold up well to sodium, calcium and magnesium chlorides, typical salts found in sea water. The inland distance these salts travel depends on variables like wind speed and surf turbulence. Where does free-iron come from?

A stainless sheet, strip, or piece of tubing pulled across a carbon steel welding table could pick up iron. Machining stations collect free iron. Wire brushes, grinding wheels, and


chlorides, especially hypochrite bleaches and silver cleaners.

abrasives that have been used on carbon steel are sources of iron particles. Recycled glass beads, silicon carbide, or aluminum oxide grits that have been used on carbon steel will impinge iron when used on stainless steel. Just ordinary shop dust is often the source of iron. For these reasons, buying sheet and strip with protective plastic film is a sound precaution. Protective films prevent scratches and keep the surface clean, but they have to be removed within reasonable time. The films have a shelf life. Some are UV rated… but they’re porous. They won’t provide corrosion protection against masonry splashes. What finishes are available from the mills, warehouse, or stocking distributor?

Architectural stainless steel is available in a variety of finishes. In addition to standard mill and polished products, there are proprietary, electropolished, blasted, rolled, textured, colored, and etched finishes. The least expensive #1 finish is hot

Photo by Chris Green

Stainless steel pipes with climb protection.

As a general rule, avoid cleaners on stainless steels that contain

rolled, annealed, and pickled. The #1 finish is generally for structural use of plate, sheet, and bars. Polished finishes of sheet and strip are numbered, designated like 2D, 2B, and 2BA. The uniform, dull-to-low reflective is 2D. More reflective, smooth, cloudy mirror describes 2B. Bright annealed with a mirror-like finish is 2BA — not as expensive as a 7 or 8 buffed surface, but more expensive than 2D or 2B. A 9 to 12 finish is mirror quality. David Lazarus at Polished Metals Limited, Hillside, NJ, says that 85 percent of their polished stainless is shipped with a #8 mirror finish and a PVC protective film. Specializing in architectural finishes, his company can polish sheet up to 84” widths in 20 feet lengths. An architectural finish for stainless steel sheet and strip is typically 3 or 4, the latter being more common. These finishes have very fine parallel grit lines, almost like the grain in wood. From different mill coils, the lines are hard to match. The average surface roughness will be Ra25 microinches. Surface roughness influences both appearance and corrosion performance. Because the processes for forming product shapes differ, finishes will vary for plate, sheet, strip, bars, wire, and extrusions. Polished finishes for pipe and tubing are given by grit number, not polishing numbers. The NAAMM-NOMMA Metal Finishes Manual for Architectural and Metal Products publishes, in greater detail, all the various finishes available for stainless alloys including coloring. The manual contains the combined knowledge of the National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers, along with that of NOMMA members. What gives stainless steel its stainless properties?

One of the attributes of the 300 series stainless steels — the austenitic Fabricator 

November/December 2008

grades like 302, 303, 304, and 316, as well as the lower carbon alloys (304L and 316L) — is the natural protective film that develops on the alloy surfaces when the metal is exposed to oxygen. A film of chromium oxide is what gives the stainless its corrosion resistant qualities. Without the chromium content and available oxygen, either in the air or water, this protective film will not develop. It’s the chromium content that makes stainless steels resistant to corrosion. That doesn’t preclude some staining and surface rust that develops over long exposure to the atmosphere. Even though a stainless surface is scratched and abraded, chromium oxides will regenerate as long as chromium and oxygen are present. What is passivation? Photo by Hulger Wulschlaeger

According to ASTM A380, passivation is “the removal of exogenous iron or iron compounds from the surface of stainless steel by means of chemical dissolution, most typically by a treatment with an acid solution that will remove surface contamination, but not significantly affect the stainless steel itself.” Surfaces of stainless steel pick up free iron when manufacturing processes are done in the same areas of a plant where carbon steel and other ferrous alloys are undergoing machining and fabricating. Particles of iron like dust motes float in the air. In time, these

Stainless steel pipes.

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fine iron particles combine with oxygen and cause yellow stains. Nitric acid is an ideal passivator for 300 series stainless alloys. As specified by the customer, stainless steel castings are passivated, or pickled, in a 10 percent nitric/2 percent hydrofluoric acid mix at 120°F to 140°F to remove free iron on the surfaces of the components. The process, which is usually done by outside vendors, has to be performed with controlled ventilation. When diluting an acid, always pour the acid into water; never pour water into an acid. That can cause an immediate explosive release of hydrogen. Although pickling of castings is seldom done routinely, the acid dipping

will also reveal surface cracks hidden by the peening action of sand blasting or tumbling. Contrary to what you might expect, 304 alloy gives better corrosion resistance in nitric acid than the more expensive 316 stainless steel. However, nitric acid solutions are hazardous to handle. The fumes are toxic and storage is a problem. For this reason, the safest way to remove free iron and rust to renew the natural passivation on accessible stainless steel surfaces is to use less toxic solutions like phosphoric and citric acid. There are several proprietary cleaners available for this purpose. Stellar Solutions in McHenry, IL, markets CitriSurf 77 Plus®, a citric

Benefits of citric acid cleaners The January/February 2005 issue of Fabricator featured a Shop Talk article entitled, “Is Your Stainless Steel Rusting?” For that article, I took photographs of a local bank’s night deposit box on a chilly October morning in 2004. Kane Behling, the polishing supervisor for R & B Wagner Companies, brought the depository to my attention. It’s a textbook example of the discoloration that will build up on stainless steel if it’s not cleaned occasionally. With the bank’s permission I cleaned the surfaces of the depository and used a citric acid cleaner called Citrisurf 77 Plus® to remove the rust stains. Citric acid has a passivating benefit. That was four years ago. The conditions weren’t


acid passivating solution that meets the ASTM A-967 specification for cleaning and passivating. Like all acid cleaners they work faster when the metal surfaces are at or above room temperature. The difference between passivation and electropolishing

As previously described, commercial passivation is done by dipping stainless steel into a nitric acid bath. The process adds nothing to the surface of the metal; it only removes iron oxides. Electropolishing, unlike passivation, removes some metal and leaves the surface free of iron, bright and shiny like a newly minted quarter. The

ideal. The ambient temperature that October morning was 39°F. All acid cleaners work faster in warmer temperatures. I don’t think the depository surfaces have been cleaned since… not until Labor Day morning, September 1, 2008, when the temperature was forecast to be in the eighties. Below are photos of the beforeand-after using the same product after removing the dirt and grim, an accumulation of four years, with water and a mild dish washer soap. The depository looks like new after cleaning, a testimony to the benefit of stainless steel and the effectiveness of Stellar Solution’s* citric acid cleaners. —John L. Campbell *Stellar Solutions Inc., McHenry, IL E-mail: (847) 854-2800


November/December 2008

If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re fabricating a lot of stainless steel, selling

maintenance materials to your customers is another service you should provide.

process is often used to brighten the gray appearance of stainless steel investment castings without mechanical polishing, giving components a shiny appearance for cosmetic, medical, and sanitary applications. Damaging stainless steel during construction and maintenance

Building contractors and tradesmen are often unaware of the detrimental effects of muriatic (aka hydrochloric) acid on stainless steels. Muriatic acid cleaners are commonly used to finish masonry work. Wherever possible, the installation and cleaning of brick and mortar installations should be performed before installing stainless components like skirting boards and kick plates. During mortar installations there is always the possibility of cement splashes that will pit and scar stainless steel. As a general rule, avoid cleaners on stainless steels that contain chlorides, especially hypochrite bleaches and silver cleaners. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s advisable to clean stainless with a 10 percent phosphoric acid solution or a citric acid solution designed for that purpose, using a clean #9650 Scotch-BriteÂŽ pad, a product of 3M. Never use pads, polishing rags, or anything that has been used on carbon steel for fear of contaminating the stainless surfaces with free-iron. Maintenance workers, unaware of the nature of stainless steels, have been known to clean stainless steel handrail stains using steel wool. On the island of Vieques, east of Puerto Rico, we saw a terrible example of this on a stainless steel handrail leading down to the rocks on the Atlantic side of the island. The rusty handrails looked like the brown backs of a fuzzy caterpillar.


The detrimental affect of welding stainless steel alloys

Fabricators of stainless steel should be aware of how the temperatures from welding damage the corrosion resistance of certain alloys. As mentioned earlier in this article, austenitic grades of stainless steels like 304 and 316 have a maximum carbon content of .08 percent. Chromium content is nominally 18 percent. Carbon has a natural affinity for chromium. When liquid, they merge, forming chromium carbides, a less corrosion resistant grain structure that occurs in the heat affected zones adjacent to a weld. Those chromium carbides are less corrosion resistant than the base metal. As a result, in extremely corrosive environments the areas around welds will suffer from intergranular corrosion and the welds will drop out like wads of bubblegum. Stainless steel welds should be solution annealed (heat treated at high temperatures) and quenched in order to dissolve chromium-carbides, putting the chromium back into solution. That type of heat treatment is not practical for large, field fabrications. Warpage would be a major problem. To avoid the need for heat treating, low carbon stainless grades (i.e 304L or 316L) should be specified. As an alternative to low carbon stainless, stabilized grades of stainless like 347 and 321 can be used. These grades will be more expensive. Stabilized grades have either niobium for 347 (aka columbium ) or titanium for 321. These two elements combine with carbon preferentially to chromium, allowing the unfettered chromium to give the alloy its stainless qualities.



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 Wrought iron furnishings for indoors and outdoors, such as dining tables and chairs, coffee tables, end tables, console tables, wine racks, holders, ashtrays, and more.  Wrought iron garden series for outdoors, such as flower racks, lamps, flower brackets, house signs, etc. The above finished products are available for customer’s special orders with a custom design and size, as well as in large quantities with a standard size and design. The company also offers these semi-products : hand-forged components, such as baroque leaves, ornamental flowers, ornamental, balusters, elements, banister end-posts, scrolls, grapes, etc. Contact: Shanghai Loyal Ornamental Wrought Iron Works; Ph: 011-86-215-995-3226; Web: Fabricator 

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Job Profile

Company’s work a reflection of nature and family A NOMMA member’s “education process” leads to Top Job winning gates.

By Lisa Bakewell

an Nauman, owner of Bighorn Forge Inc. in Kewaskum, WI, believes that getting the feel of a project’s environment and learning the needs of his clients are the two most important steps necessary to create a successful project — and he takes these steps very seriously. “There’s a real education process on both sides,” he explains. “I have to learn about the client’s needs, and the client has to learn about what I can provide. Often [the clients] don’t really understand what they’re getting into. So it’s a very healthy education process.” And education is what Dan Nauman is all about — his own continuing education and educating others as a way of giving back to a craft that he loves.


Love at first sight

Dan began his working career as an industrial traveling salesman, and then continued on to become a manager of industrial quality control, a foreman of an industrial production line, and even a taxi-

For your information

Project Gates for a home in Port Washington, WI, overlooking Lake Michigan. The leaves weight about 200 lb. each, and the piers weigh somewhere between 600-700 lbs. Fabricator Bighorn Forge Inc. 34

Method Almost all of the bar stock was 1” square, forged octagonal to add dimension. The flaglike features were torch-cut from 1” x 3” into a triangular shape, then forged into a much thinner piece of 5/16” thickness with a power hammer, refined with a hand hammer, and finally finish filed. The majority of the joints were built using mortise and tenons. To compliment the richly forested environment, the latex finish reflects weathered iron — a rich coffee color, accented with a coppery orange.

Approximate labor time 550 hours over a one-year period. CO NTAC T

Dan Nauman Bighorn Forge Inc. 4190 Badger Road Kewaskum, WI 53040 Ph: (262) 626-2208 Email: Web: Fabricator 

November/December 2008

“I realized I was getting

bigger... but I wasn’t personally benefiting from it.”

dermist before he found his passion — forging metal as a blacksmith. “I took a class in Cedarburg, WI — in the very shop that I eventually owned — in 1979,” he recalls. It was love at first sight, and shortly after the class, Dan built a “small 16 x 16 shed” in his parents’ back yard,

where he started his forging business. At age 22, Dan embarked on his new career path, traveling around the country — from New Hampshire to Idaho — to learn what he could from the dedicated masters of the blacksmith trade. He attended as many conferences and workshops that time and money would afford, observing what other smiths were doing. “I think the most important thing as far as my background is concerned,” says Dan, “is that I practiced a lot.” And he tells his students today, “that it

doesn’t really matter what you’re learning, doing something once a week is only maintenance. You have to do something three or more times per week in order to progress. You can watch all you want, but you’re not going to learn something unless you apply it practically.” In 1984, Dan founded Bighorn Forge Ironworks, which he later incorporated in 1991, on a small, five-acre mini-farm that houses the business today in a 35’ x 45’ workshop. In an attempt to expand his business, Dan


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November/December 2008

In 2008, Bighorn Forge won its second Top Job prize — a silver award in the Gates, Driveway—forged category — for a pair of gates that Dan designed for a client’s home, located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The gates featured a unique design that blended environmental and family themes.

opened a second forge in 1995 on Hwy. 57, on the beautiful Door County peninsula in Baileys Harbor, WI. He acquired a third shop at the historic Cedar Creek Settlement in Cedarburg, WI in 2000. Soon, though, Dan found out that getting bigger wasn’t always better — he eventually closed both of the other shops so that he could concentrate solely on commissions at Bighorn Forge. “I realized I was getting bigger,” he notes. “But I wasn’t personally benefiting from it.” Dedication to old-fashioned techniques

Today, Dan designs and forges his pieces, such as chandeliers, wall sconces, fireplace tools, railings, gates, tables, sign brackets, door hardware and arbors, primarily from raw materials forged by hand. “I’m more of a blacksmith than anything else,” he says. “I do very little sourcing out of materials, most of what I do starts with raw bar stock and I make everything here.” November/December 2008 



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A proponent of old-world techniques, Dan Nauman creates his pieces, such as chandeliers, wall sconces, fireplace tools, railings, gates, tables, sign brackets, door hardware, and arbors, primarily from raw materials forged by hand. “I’m more of a blacksmith than anything else,” he says.

Some of his most notable work can be seen in the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee; the Executive Residence in Madison; former Wisconsin Governor Patrick Lucey’s estate in River Hills, and the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum in Milwaukee. Dan was also commissioned by the Kohler Company to produce basin brackets, which emphasizes one of Bighorn Forge’s greatest strengths — the ability to design and build items in many styles for many venues. “All of my work is design and build,” said Dan. “I do 99 percent of the designs for my clients.” As Dan creates his work, he designs 38

it to suit classic as well as contemporary tastes. He incorporates French and German Repoussé (the technique of hammering and pressing designs in relief), flora and fauna motifs, and hand-forged iron in the tradition of the Old World craftsmen. And he always strives for the highest quality designs and workmanship possible. Preserving the craft

Dan is relentless about his studies

of the great masters’ works and drawings. He is a collector of antique works — both architectural ironwork and functional pieces — and he uses these pieces to train his eye and to further explore the methods that the blacksmiths of the past used to achieve their desired motifs. “I always try to design several new features into a project that I’ve never done before…to keep things fresh,” he says. Currently, Dan travels the country. demonstrating and teaching the forging trade that he loves at conferences and workshops. He has also served as a volunteer blacksmith demonstrator (at several outdoor museums), and has been a Civil War re-enactor and a guest blacksmith at the Old Wade House historical site in Greenbush, WI. Dan and his wife, Toni Farrell, have also organized and held blacksmith conferences periodically at Bighorn Forge (since 1997), hosting demonstrators from around the nation. Dan has been awarded several grants to study and document the work of one of the metal masters, Cyril Colnik (dubbed the “Tiffany of Wrought Iron Masters”), who came to America in 1893 from Austria and applied his mastery to the finest homes in southeastern Wisconsin. Dan recorded Colnik’s works through black-and-white photography and color slides, and through a 1997 grant, he was able to direct a video documentary on this famed artist, which aired on Wisconsin Public Television. In 2005, Bighorn Forge received a bronze award in NOMMA’s Top Job competition for a reproduction piece that he created from a Cyril Colnik original. The chandelier, made for the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee, is a permanent feature at the mansion and adorns its grand foyer. Dan considers this piece the most challenging and most fulfilling work he’s created to date.

Before beginning each project, Dan spends about one day

making a layout of the piece that he’s creating. Fabricator 

November/December 2008

This photo, taken during the daytime, illustrates how well the award-winning gates fit into their natural setting.

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In 2007, Dan finished a redesign at the Colnik Galleries at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum. It was his vision to redesign the galleries so that they were more interactive — and he wanted to display Colnik’s works as they were meant to be displayed. His redesign was a success. Today, as patrons enter the Colnik Galleries, they see many of the tools used by blacksmiths in the past — even some of the actual tools that Colnik himself used — as well as sample boards, drawings, blueprints, and numerous photographs. The galleries also feature a replica of a small blacksmith shop. Gates garner silver

In 2008, Bighorn Forge won its second Top Job prize — a silver award in the Gates, Driveway-Forged category —for a pair of gates that Dan designed for a client’s home, located on a bluff overlooking Lake

The extra-curriculars  Dan has been a member of NOMMA for four years and feels that his membership has been a great benefit. “I joined NOMMA because it’s the only business-based metalworking organization in the country. I wanted to learn a little bit more about what my counterparts are doing, so I can learn more about metalworking. Also, I was really impressed by the networking that NOMMA offers — the outreach to potential clients — and their overall business sense.”  Dan also serves as a board member for the Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America (ABANA). As chairman, Dan helped to implement a committee to write forging lessons for the ABANA publication, The Hammer’s Blow.

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 Since 1993, Dan has offered classes at Bighorn Forge featuring several levels of forging competency. The classes stress hand-forging methods only, and are limited to six forging participants and four auditors (who do not forge, but may ask questions). “It’s a way of giving back to the trade,” he says. “And, essentially, it’s a way of my passing on what my mentors passed on to me. It’s something we need to do more of in order to strengthen the trade. As we learn, we need to pass that knowledge on to others.”  Dan, a Wisconsin native, lives in Kewaskum, WI with his wife, Toni Farrell. “I have a very understanding wife, worth her weight in gold,” says Dan, “I’ve been truly blessed.” Together Dan and Toni raise horses and other livestock on their five-acre mini-farm.



November/December 2008

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The award-winning gates were crafted from one-inch square bar stock that was forged octagonally to add dimension. The flag-like features were torch-cut from 1” x 3” stock into a triangular shape, then forged into a much thinner piece of 5/16” thickness with a power hammer, refined with a hand hammer and, finally, finish filed.


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Michigan in Wisconsin. The gates featured a unique design that blended environmental and family themes. “I intended the design to reflect the movement of wind and water, and the client has another home in Chicago,” explains Dan, “so each pier represents the family in two separate dwellings joined by Lake Michigan.” Fabrication

Before beginning each project, Dan spends about one day making a layout of the piece that he’s creating. “I lay out the project full-scale on a layout table,” he notes, “but after day one, it’s all forging and assembly.” To create his award-winning gates, Dan used almost all one-inch square Fabricator 

November/December 2008


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bar stock that was forged octagonally to add dimension. The flag-like features were torch-cut from 1” x 3” stock into a triangular shape, then forged into a much thinner piece of 5/16” thickness with a power hammer, refined with a hand hammer and, finally, finish filed. Dan says that careful attention was given to maintaining the lines, which play off of each other, and adds that the majority of the joints were built using mortise and tenons. “There was some MIG welding in the gate, though,” he says, “because some bars were over 16-17 feet long and to try to manipulate a bar that long is kind of silly — I made those pieces in sections. I certainly could have forge welded them, but it would have made no sense.” The piers of the gates were a bit of a challenge, and took some thought and a bit of re-creation to make them structurally stable. “The transition from the flag-like features to the octagon shape was difficult,” he recalls. “I realized that the strength of the piers needed to be beefed up. They were originally going to be one-sided, but ended up being a four-sided cage to give the piers more strength. In the long run, though, [the change] really added to the piece — dimensionally and visually — so it was functional, but visually pleasing.” The patina on the gate was another hurdle that Dan had to overcome. “I could never visualize this gate being black. I wanted it to have a natural looking finish,” he notes. “In order to capture the actual patinas that metal has, I sandblasted first, put on a marine latex primer, and then the topcoat. I chose French Roast latex,


As Dan creates his work, he designs to suit classic as well as contemporary tastes.


November/December 2008

which is a coffee color, to make it look like aged bronze or rusted steel. Along with that, I highlighted [the piece] with a color called Copper Mountain, a coppery orange, which made the piece look like rusted steel or oxidizing copper before it turns to verdigris.” The entire piece was created in Dan’s shop. Installation

The installation of the gates proved to be the biggest challenge of the entire project. “I made a template for the site and the owner actually laid the footings,” Dan explains. “I convinced him that it was important, over time, that the footings be integral. So, if the footings go down four feet beneath the piers, but are also connected to each other underneath the driveway itself, it’s all one unit. That way, the piers will never float independently from one another and should remain plumb.” The most difficult part of the whole gate was the engineering — get-

Often imitated, never duplicated!

ting the gate dimensionally matched up to the underground gate opener was something that Dan had never dealt with before. “The client went about finding the gate opener, and was pretty adamant about it being an underground opener,” says Dan. “He didn’t want to have a visually present system for opening the gate. The only way to do that obviously was with an underground gate opener.” In this case, working in tandem with the client turned out to be a very positive experience, according to Dan. “We had quite a bit of email exchange for schematic drawings — of what he was doing and of what I was doing — so we had a pretty good dialog going,” he states. “On the day of installation it took only about 2½ hours to install [the gates]. Prior to installa-

tion, [the owner] was able to put in stainless steel anchors — a ¾-inch threaded rod — with the use of the template. The footing pads for the piers were raised up about one-inch from grade.” All of the advance planning and extra attention to detail by both parties paid off in the end. “Everything just fell into place. We had very little shimming to do,” notes Dan. “It was well worth all the effort in planning.”





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Member Talk

Keys to success: Strength, diversity, flexibility, and finding a niche Hercules Custom Iron has managed to blend artistic and commercial ventures into a thriving business. ■

HCI does quite a bit of gate and fence work for foreign embassies, including the British Embassy, pictured at right.

By Peter Hildebrandt oel Herman, Hercules Custom Iron’s Vice President and General Manager, and his wife, Joy, have managed to make things work on both ends of the metal works spectrum. From a gallery-style metalwork shop in downtown Frederick, MD, they’ve expanded to develop a now-thriving commercial business. The Hermans began their commercial business, Hercules Custom Iron

J 46

(HCI), in 2005. Joel met one of his partners, Evan Winston, when he came into Olde Towne Iron Works, in the spring of 2004. The two, along with Jay Klebanoff of Hercules Fence from Norfolk, VA, got together and determined that there was a definite need for this type of company in the area. They started their new company at Joel’s dining room table with five employees, a cell phone, and rented shop space. Today, they have 25

employees and an 18,100 square-foot shop area, including an office suite and a powder-coating facility, which is part of an industrial park that they purchased in 2005. “Adding the powder coating shop has streamlined our processes, giving us greater flexibility and improving time lines,” says Joel. Hercules Fence has six locations on the East Coast and recently expanded to North Carolina. Jay is located in the Norfolk corporate office, and Evan Fabricator 

November/December 2008

operates two locations, one in College Park, MD, and the other in Manassas, VA. “HCI benefits from the combined experience of all three of us,” says Joel. Joy Herman serves as office manager for the business and wears many hats, including addressing day-to-day issues, human resources (benefits and hiring, client care, receivables), and anything else that comes up. Joy and Joel Herman still have their small retail shop and gallery, Olde Towne Ironworks, in downtown

Frederick. They’ve done work such as copper gas lamps and historic cast iron hand rails, which are displayed in their showroom. “The showroom offers clients an opportunity to experience first hand our quality of work,” states Joel. Though they’ve had the showroom for five years, Joel had already been involved with selling ironwork for some time and had been a fabricator, installer, and a sales person for 30 years. “I’ve been in so many facets of this

industry; it’s hard for me to say which position is the easier one,” he explains. “Now, as an owner, with a wide range of responsibility as the company’s general manager, I guess you could say I have come full circle.” Two types of operations help attract clients

Olde Towne Ironworks receives many customers who walk in and are excited to find someone who can actually manufacture the products they’re interested in, according to Joy.

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HCI’s residential work includes jobs like this fence for a home in the Washington , D.C. area. The company will be installing gold powder-coated finials.

“That store is still alive and kicking, but not kicking as hard as it was before HCI came along,” she says. “We’ve had to focus a lot of our attention on the manufacturing plant. But the two do tie together well, especially as the county in which we live here in Maryland is historic and the need for historic-type railings is great. We have learned how to work with various Historic District Commissions from Frederick and, most recently, on a school project in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC.” “The focus of these committees is to assure that the new work is in accordance to the historic construction and aesthetics of the communities,” adds Joel. “Frederick attracts many people during the town’s monthly festivals. We invite a friend who does 17th century forge work to do a demonstration in front of the store. People really enjoy the history lesson, and he even dresses the part.” Joel meets with residential clients, architects, and designers in Olde Towne Iron Works on occasion, in lieu of the HCI manufacturing facility. When they opened their gallery, the Hermans found that clients felt quite comfortable coming into the gallery and discussing their projects. He and Joy usually work there on

weekends and sometimes evenings as this offers another opportunity for bringing in more clients with little advertising expense, as well as putting a face to the businesses. Olde Towne Ironworks focuses on the historic end of this type of work, including copper gas/electric lights and historic cast iron work, as well as home and garden accessories. HCI focuses more on commercial work and successfully manages large commercial jobs from general contractors. They do a great deal of work in glass and brass railing, stainless steel, cable, mesh, handrails of all types, and large fence jobs. Their ability to target a job for a particular contractor fits well in providing opportunities to strike quickly and allowing the GCs to meet timeframes other people find difficult to meet. One job they’re currently working on for Washington, DC schools involves 2,300 feet of eight-foot tall, seven-foot wide panels. They are currently trying to finish that job within the next month. Though the current state of the economy hasn’t meant a slackening off in work, it has made getting paid for jobs more of a challenge. “For the most part people are good

about making payments,” says Joy. “But, with the way the economic climate is right now, it’s affecting everybody — and that’s pretty much where we’ve seen it affect us the most.” When they work for smaller companies, HCI asks for a deposit of 50 percent and usually terms of a 1.5 percent finance charge for overdue receivables. Recently, they implemented audits and credit background reports on clients for whom they’re about to do business. They’re more cautious going into contracts now, realizing that, in the end, their goal is payment for the work they’ve done. Due diligence must be exerted at the beginning of each project. “We had three or four companies we deal with go under during the last year,” says Joel. “When you receive a Chapter 11 notice, what do you do? We’ve had to learn to contact legal resources and process paperwork, indicating we’re going to get in line and wait for our money.” Input from Fabricator/NOMMA a plus

“We don’t like to learn the hard way,” says Joel. “We’ve been grateful for those Fabricator articles that have given advice on the various aspects of managing your business; it’s been nice to have NOMMA’s industry background to help answer the questions that pop up around here every day. Often, we look to NOMMA first for answers.” Joy agrees. “NOMMA links our business to this industry, from the code issues, products/materials, customers, and type of work to the business advice we receive from them,” she notes. “NOMMA’s really been a great resource for us.” Networking and comments from other NOMMA members has been helpful, as well.

Have your shop featured in Member Talk! Share what your company is doing, how you run it, and what’s been successful for you (or not) with fellow NOMMA members. If you’re interested in being the subject of a Member Talk feature, please email



November/December 2008


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“We were glad to hear comments to the effect that working with

Americans wasn’t what they were expecting, but in a good way.”

“I am a member of the ListServ and receive valuable information and feedback. I’ll also answer questions that come in when I feel I have information that will help,” says Joel. “The ICC Code meeting, recently held in Baltimore, was very important, and I was glad to go there and meet some of the other NOMMA members and offer moral support.” Embassy work booming and challenging

HCI’s market area covers an area from Harrisburg, PA to northern Virginia, including Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. They’ve done work for the Singapore Embassy, involving custom aluminum and teak gates, as well as helping with bracket


work at the New Zealand Embassy for Hercules Fence. For the British Embassy, fronting along Massachusetts Avenue, the company completed gates and fence work along the embassy wall. This project was a challenge to get done in time for the Queen’s birthday celebration of Champagne and Strawberries! And the installation crew had a hard time focusing on work as the Ambassador’s 2008 Rolls Royce drove by. “We’ve had a run of work for the various embassies that we’ve really enjoyed,” says Joel. “Our work on the Chinese Embassy – one of the largest – was unique. In some cases, there were seven or eight people at our facility, including engineers who did not speak English. There was only one

translator. Everyone had a clear vision – they knew what they wanted – it’s just hard to get that communicated. And it’s not just communication, it is learning the country’s customs as well.” Herman found that the way the Chinese do business is different than the way Americans traditionally do business. “Someone will show up with a check; they don’t send things through the mail for the most part,” says Joel. “They also start work much later in the morning. A three-hour meeting is not unheard of, usually in the late afternoon, and these meetings can often run quite late; we had to get used to some of that. We were glad to hear comments to the effect that working with Americans wasn’t what they were expecting, but in a good way. We recently fabricated and delivered window guards to the Chinese Embassy. They were requested


November/December 2008


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HCI helped with bracket work at the New Zealand Embassy.

as a rush job during the recent protests regarding Tibet.” American codes for metalworking sometimes do not apply at a foreign embassy, Joel points out. “That’s because when working there, you are technically on foreign soil and not in the United States,” he explains. “You must conform to their way of doing things. Security checks must be gone through, but probably no more than entering any other government building.” Working with latest pool trends

HCI was the 2008 recipient of the Large and Emerging Entrepreneurial Award given by The Entrepreneurial Council of Frederick County, MD. At the awards banquet, the Hermans were approached about working with AquaClimb, which makes climbing walls for swimming pools. The Hermans describe it as playground equipment for swimming pools, a new trend on the rise as diving boards seem to have diminished in popularity. “This is really a cutting edge system,” says Joel. “We’ve sent them everywhere, from Canada to Oklahoma to Florida. A lot of municipalities are LEFT:

For the British Embassy, HCI completed gates and fence work along the embassy wall. The project was completed just in time for the Queen’s birthday celebration of Champagne and Strawberries.



November/December 2008

now going for it, as the wall turns the pool into somewhat of a water park. The kids love them.” HCI has found that this contract manufacturing for another company has worked out well. It is simply another recently introduced product line, and is especially good as a fallback strategy for optimizing apprentices. Because the equipment is sold globally, there is little or no off-season. “This is an exciting new development for us. We’ve even opened another 3,000 square feet of our build-

ing, designated solely for all the stainless steel used on that work,” says Joel. “We fabricate, cut, and assemble all of our stainless steel in one particular area to guard against cross-contamination of materials and for proximity to the powder shop, too.” HCI will powder coat, assemble, ship, and basically do the whole manufacturing spectrum for Pyramid climbing walls and AquaClimb Pool climbing systems. They’re assembled both throughout the U.S. and globally, especially in Japan and Canada.

HCI has found that this

contract manufacturing for another company has worked out well.

Apprentices at HCI go through a program involving varying degrees of skills in all phases of shop fabrication. So, workers with any downtime can be moved to this area of the facility in an effort to maintain top productivity from all employees.

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HCI crafted custom aluminum and teak gates for the Singapore Embassy.

Other unique projects

HCI has experienced an interesting run of projects, according to Joy. “For example, we’ve had to change





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Georgetown area,” she says. Other projects they’re especially proud of include a Maryland State Highway Administration project done in Annapolis, for which they received a Grade A Excellent Award; and a project featuring glass rail work at a country club that hosts the Ladies Professional Golf Association in Havre de Grace, MD. They’ve also fabricated and installed brass rails on the seventh and eighth floors of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC and in the foyer of the European Union on M Street. Currently, HCI is working on the Frederick County Public Library, fabricating and installing stainless steel cable rail and a terrace balcony. Another cable railing project was on the 15th floor, involving a six-foot high vertical cable rail fence around a swimming pool for a condominium in northern Virginia. Joel points out that the job included an eight-foot double Fabricator 

November/December 2008

gate for an Emergency Vehicle access to meet pool code. “We are still trying to figure out how the Emergency Vehicle will get to the roof top on the 15th floor of the building!” he says. HCI has even installed a replica of the White House gates and fence for use in training the Secret Service at their compound at an undisclosed location. The Secret Service is trained in what to do when people jump the White House fence or even crash into it. Training leads to recruitment, and both are crucial

Through their apprenticeship program, HCI collaborates with a local community college, which, in turn, does a lot of work with an area high school. The high school has a career and tech center for students who are not going on to a four-year degree. This gives students another avenue, career-wise. “The graduates of the career and the tech center apply here,” says Joy. “We’ve had three or four so far in our apprenticeship program. They come to us as certified welders from the career center and then we take them through the actual steps to become a fabricator, having them work side by side with our senior fabricators. It is real on-the-job training and they love it. “It’s been our experience that one in four apprentices actually makes it beyond our 90-day probationary period. The fantasy of working in a chopper shop is soon the reality of waking up early to get to work by 6 a.m. and the responsibility of the job. The ones that do make it have proven to be very valuable employees,” she adds. “One individual told us he just didn’t want to start in a fast-food restaurant and that he’d do anything and it’s ended up he loves doing fabricating work. It’s been an interesting three years for us. But we’re looking forward to the challenges of the next several years as well – retirement’s always a nice option, too.” Joel says the company’s team of employees is a particular point of pride. “Recruitment in this industry is a challenge,” he states. “In addition to the fabricators, powder coat technicians and installers, our company is rounded out November/December 2008 


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Fabricating gates and fences for foreign embassies has become a lucrative niche for Hercules Custom Iron. One of the unique challenges presented by this kind of work is the fact that American codes for metalworking sometimes do not apply. “That’s because when working there, you are technically on foreign soil and not in the United States,” explains Joel Herman.

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Member Talk

The evolution of Vasquez Custom Metals

Art and family work hand-in-hand at this Tampa Bay-based company.

By Sheila Phinazee t’s no surprise that Tampa Bay, FL boasts of its white sugar sandy beaches, water sports, and semitropical weather enjoyed by residents and visitors all year long. But the area also has an eye for the arts, and Vasquez Custom Metals is in agreement. “Here in Tampa we have the Tampa

I 58

Bay Performing Arts Center and the Tampa Museum of Art, which is building a brand new state of the art facility this year,” says Marco Vasquez of Vasquez Custom Metals Inc., which he and his father, Pedro, own and operate less than an hour from the beach. There are quite a few other arts facilities nearby says Vasquez: “St. Pete is home of the Salvador Dali Museum and the Ringling Museum of Art is

about an hour south in Sarasota.” Vasquez Custom Metals is in good company then, and has as its goal “to design and build the most beautiful and creative ornamental metal work and maintain the highest quality possible.” Pedro Vasquez started the business over 30 years ago. “My dad started out working in a small burglar bar fabricating shop,” Fabricator 

November/December 2008

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a challenge to keep up with our

current projects while bringing in new ones.

says Vasquez. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He later opened a new shop with a friend.â&#x20AC;? Formerly called Discount Ornamental Iron, the company changed its name last year. Originally, they fabricated security doors and burglar bars. Over the years, the business evolved into doing higher-end work. The companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new name, Vasquez Custom Metals, is better suited for the work they do now. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Like the business, the new name is also more family oriented,â&#x20AC;? explains Vasquez. There are a total of six employees now, including Pedro, Marco, Jeremy (Marcoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s younger brother), their cousin Obed, and two more workers.

congratulates NOMMA on 50 years of service to the industry.

Business details

Vasquez and his dad work in a partnership, with each going out to get job contracts, establish relationships, and handle administrative duties â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and then designing and delivering the finished product. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The most time-consuming part is fabricating, which is a full-time job in itself,â&#x20AC;? says Vasquez. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also full-time work dealing with customers, getting sales, and doing the marketing. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a challenge to keep up with our current projects while bringing in new ones.â&#x20AC;? Vasquez began working with his dad while in high school, coming into the shop after school and on weekends. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I learned on the job doing small projects with scroll bending and weld jobs,â&#x20AC;? he states. Vasquez Custom Metalsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fabricating work is primarily residential, directly for custom homebuilders, with some commercial projects as well. This also played into the rationale for the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name change. Word of mouth is key to Vasquez Custom Metalsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; success, since 90 percent of their business comes from clients telling their friends and business acquaintances. plus networking. Occasionally, they visit a construction site or contact a new builder to get the word out about their services. The shop focuses on creating beautiful staircase rails, guardrails, gates, fences, miscellaneous pieces, and artwork. Occasionally, they have the opportunity to repair wrought iron pieces. Steel is Vasquezâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s medium of choice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can do so much with it. I prefer steel because of its natural look,â&#x20AC;? he explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is also the material I started out with.â&#x20AC;? Vasquez enjoys creating artwork. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The fact that I can take a piece of metal and form it into almost anything is the most fascinating part as November/December 2008 


Happy Anniversary NOMMA!



Vasquez Custom Metals focuses on creating beautiful staircase rails, guardrails, gates, fences, miscellaneous pieces, and artwork. This garden gate was requested by the vice president of a local home building company. The piece is all hand-forged from raw stock using 5⁄8” square solid bar.

well as dealing with a variety of people,” he notes. The company’s web site showcases its fences, stair rails, other pieces, and artwork. One piece of art on display is the Sword through the Heart. This piece serves as a traveling trophy for the Queen of Hearts Competition, a charity event at the University of South Florida (USF). A friend suggested that Vasquez create the piece a few years 60

ago. Fraternities and sororities compete to see who can raise the most money. “The winner of the event gets to display the trophy in their fraternity or sorority house,” says Vasquez. Plans for the future

Vasquez Custom Metals faces the same struggle as its peers in finding additional workers. “We’re a small business, and we

can’t afford the big salaries and benefits that experienced welders are looking for,” says Vasquez. Of the two workers they currently have in the shop, one came through a friend, the other came in off the street to fill in an application. “Often it’s best to train workers from the ground up without welding experience,” says Vasquez. “But finding good workers is tough, period,” says Vasquez. Fabricator 

November/December 2008


The balcony was requested by a customer who wanted something elegant and made of metal, instead of wood. “The center is all hand forged ½” square solid bar,” says Vasquez. “The spindles are pre-fabricated pieces from King.”


This lovely door satisfied at a customer’s request for a “simple gate to dress up the kitchen, replace a pantry door, and mark the entrance of a wine cellar with a grape vine and grape cluster motif.”

Vasquez is happy with the company’s progress and focus on custom residential work. “I plan to continue on the path we are taking now. I don’t want to grow very big,” he says. “I would much rather take on the higher end ornamental work. I enjoy blacksmithing and continue to get better at it, so I think that is the best for the company’s future.” Even when mastering the old art of blacksmithing, many shops blend in newer technologies to get jobs out the door. Regarding the use of technology at Vasquez Custom Metals, Vasquez says, “One of our newest additions to the shop is the HEBO Hydraulic bender. Most shops are probably familiar with November/December 2008 



this machine. We are very happy with its production capabilities.” Vasquez recently learned AutoCAD. “This has been a great tool and will help expand our boundaries,” he states. “Soon we will be using it with a CNC plasma cutter.”

This interior window was requested by a customer who wanted to cover the square opening in a wall that separated two rooms. “They already had some ironwork throughout the house, and wanted something ornamental,” recalls Vasquez. We used 5/8” square solid bar for the center and 3/8” x 1” flat bar for the outside corner square.” The client found Vasquez Custom Metals on the Internet, made a phone call, and then hired them for the job.

NOMMA membership is beneficial

Vasquez Custom Metals has been involved with NOMMA for more than eight years. Vasquez points out that membership in the association has been very beneficial to his business. “All of our new jobs are directly related to NOMMA due to the networking opportunities with so many members across the U.S,” he notes. Vasquez values the fact that NOMMA members generously share techniques and help each other. “We pick up tricks of the trade, and we no longer have to turn away jobs requiring more intricate work, because now we have unlimited resources,” he explains. “Everyone [in NOMMA] is open about everything. The more you share, the more everyone benefits.” Vasquez adds that NOMMA members are instrumental in preserving Old World techniques. “The information shared among members helps to bring back the old art of doing ironwork,” he says.




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November/December 2008

Biz Side

Protecting your most valuable business asset Keep these rules in mind, and hang on to every customer you have.

usiness is tough in this economy, and getting tougher. In times like these, every customer becomes a critically important asset that you can’t afford to lose. Over the years, marketing studies have consistently shown that the cost of finding new customers is about five times the cost of retaining old customers — and finding new customers these days is more costly and more difficult than ever. Obviously, keeping old customers coming back, especially in this turbulent economy, should be a permanent part of your marketing program.



Put simply, satisfied customers and their referrals are the foundation for the continued health of your shop. If that foundation is allowed to erode, your business is headed for certain trouble. With that in mind, here are some powerful ways to help you to hang on to your existing customers — to make them keep coming back to do business with you. Make client satisfaction your hallmark

Client satisfaction is the least expensive, most powerful marketing weapon available in the world of business. Nothing will build loyalty faster than happy clients bragging to their friends about you and the quality of

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Your job is to evaluate your strengths and then combine them to

or difficult. For a small fabricating shop, a simple way to keep track of customers is with a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel. “If you make a separate entry for each customer with name, address, and other pertinent information, you’ll be able to tell at a glance who your best customers are and which ones you haven’t heard from lately,” says Simmons. If your record-keeping needs grow as your business expands, data from a spreadsheet can easily be imported into a more elaborate database manager. Most people prefer to do business with companies they know. That’s why

form a unique identity — an identifiable image for you and your company.

your service. And nothing will eat away at your business more relentlessly than unhappy clients complaining about you on the golf course. “Some small-business owners tend to live in the moment, particularly when dealing with a difficult customer,” says Christopher Simmons, president of Neotrope®, a Torrance, CA-based business marketing firm. “By focusing on the long-term, and making the customer happy ‘right now,’ you plant the seeds for a longterm relationship. Adhering to inflexible policies can backfire in building relationships. Flexibility in customer relations is essential in building longterm customer loyalty.” Yes, it sometimes takes both time and money to resolve a customer complaint, and it can be especially try-

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ing when you feel that the complaint is not justified, especially when all or part of the job must be done over again. Maybe it was your mistake; maybe it wasn’t. However, the point to remember is that the dollars you spend resolving a complaint are marketing dollars — arguably the most effective client-loyalty dollars that you can spend. Treasure your most valuable asset: your client list

You ARE capturing the name and mailing address of every one of your clients into a flexible computer database, aren’t you? If not, you should begin today. In time, you will come to appreciate the value of your effort. The job needn’t be time-consuming

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November/December 2008

your list of clients is a priceless commodity. Even if you use your client list for nothing more than an annual postcard reminder, it can be one of your most valuable client-loyalty tools; but it can easily be more than that. During slow times, a postcard listing of all your services and products can bring in extra business while you cement the loyalty of your present customers. Bob Crawford, Director of Marketing for Sprint Business Solutions, adds this advice: “Use each contact with the customer to learn more about them or their business. Then, be sure to capture that information so you can use it to create better offers for them next time.”

1 2 3 4

Not knowing your customers and their needs. Treating customers like numbers & lack of personal touch.

5 6

Failing to finish a job on the scheduled time. Not addressing customer issues/concerns in timely fashion.

Lack of customer communications to keep them engaged. Set your business apart

Inadequate customer service and sales support.

America’s most successful entrepreneurs, gigantic or tiny, are those who have carefully developed a unique

Determine that you will never lose a client to a competitor

Remember: on average, it costs five times as much for a business to find a new client than to keep an old one. You should focus on the significance of that statement. It is one of the most powerful concepts in the world of business. You don’t need to be reminded that there are lots of your competitors ready and anxious to snatch your customers away from you. Armed with that knowledge and your awareness of the cost of replacing a lost client with a new one, it should be easy for you to understand the importance of never giving a client a reason to stray. Once a new client gives you work for the first time, you’ve done the hard part. Now, your job is to instill the notion that doing business with you will always be a satisfying experience. You and your employees must never lose sight of the fact that developing a new client is a costly and difficult job. Once a stranger “crosses your threshold,” a major part of your overall marketing program must be centered on ways to make sure that he or she never has reason to leave you for a competitor. What problems are most likely to cause customers to default to a competitor? Crawford offers these six potential pitfalls: November/December 2008 



identity. Your job is to evaluate your strengths and then combine them to form a unique identity — an identifiable image for you and your company. Perhaps you’ve been in business longer than your nearest competitors have. Or maybe you or your employees have the kind of skills, technical know-how, and desire that will allow a client to feel that her project will result in a first-class product. Or perhaps you have a long and impressive list of satisfied clients. Whatever your marketable strengths, you should write them all down, study them, and then determine how to separate yourself from your competitors — how to motivate potential clients to seek you out, and existing clients to feel fortunate to have access to your services. Once you’ve sold yourself and your employees on why you are the best choice for clients who require the utmost in dependability, you must focus your marketing efforts on ways to promote this image to both clients


and prospects. Never break a promise

Arguably, there is no easier way to alienate a client permanently than breaking a promise. “Keeping your promises is a vital part of solid customer relations,” says Simmons. “If you tell a customer you will have a project done by a certain time, you must do everything you possibly can to fulfill your promise.” Surveys show that broken promises are always among the most prominent reasons why customers abandon a business. You probably know from your own experience just how frustrating it can be when a business breaks a promise to you. Should you find yourself in a position of having to break a promise, always contact the client as soon as you learn about the problem. An early explanation and a sincere apology will

go a long way toward easing the customer’s frustration. Go the extra mile

You may not have thought about it this way, but a complaint from a customer can actually be turned into a valuable asset. Some years ago, a major retail marketing study revealed that customers whose complaints were satisfactorily resolved became better customers of the company than they were before the incident that triggered the complaint. Some of the most successful companies in the world have been built on a foundation that revolves around the principle that customer complaints provide a valuable opportunity to build the business. When L.L. Bean, founder of one of the world’s most successful catalog order firms, was just starting out, he suffered what could have been a disastrous setback. Shortly after he began shipping his first waterproof, handmade boots, complaints that the boots leaked started coming in from customers. Determined to fulfill his promise of customer satisfaction, Bean returned the full purchase price to every customer. Then, he set out to correct the flaw in the boot’s design. That was the beginning of the customer loyalty that helped to make L.L. Bean what it is today. Sometimes, satisfying a customer complaint calls for measures that you may feel are unreasonable. When that happens, think of the cost in time and money as an investment in your future. Fabricator 

November/December 2008

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.

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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.

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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.

Biz Side

Is price is always an issue with your customers? Are you guilty of projecting your attitudes onto your customers? Use these guidelines to challenge your own beliefs — and determine whether or not it’s your attitude that needs adjusting.

By Dave Kahle just received an email from a frustrated salesperson. His problem? He found it extremely difficult to pick up the phone and call a prospect. In the email, he shared this thought: “I think part of my problem is I don’t like telemarketers. I always thought to myself, If I want something, I’ll call you. Leave me alone!” It is easy for us, on the outside, to see the root of his problem. He doesn’t like telemarketers. He projected that attitude onto his customers, assuming that they thought just like him. Since he didn’t like telemarketers, his customers must not like them either. So, he didn’t want to be seen as a telemarketer because, after



all, his customers don’t like telemarketers. The source of his problem is inside him — his attitude — not anything that the customers did or did not do. Yesterday, we had a bit of an issue with a customer of ours, who wanted us to not charge for one of their managers who attended an entire two-day sales training seminar. In the customer’s mind, since the manager had a different title than most of the participants, he should be free. Three weeks ago, that same customer called and wanted us to discount the fee for sending two people to one of our open-enrollment seminars. As we looked back on previous conversations with this client, we concluded that almost every conversation was about

some request for a discount. Interestingly, one of the major training issues that the CEO asked us to address was how to get away from having to be the low price. I suspect there is a connection between the attitude of the client, and the problems of the CEO. In both of these cases, the individual’s behavior was an expression of a deeper attitude and set of values. The frustrated salesperson had identified the issue: He didn’t like telemarketers. The discount-requesting client hadn’t yet seen the obvious source of his behavior — a deeper value that held that nothing is worth the price, that everything can be discounted. The subconscious thinking goes like this: If nothing I buy is worth the price, Fabricator 

November/December 2008

then that must be true for my customers as well. These deep-set values turn into attitudes, and the attitudes express themselves in innumerable ways. And one of the most important of these expressions is the habit that we all have of projecting our values onto our customers. Since we don’t like telemarketers, we subconsciously project that attitude onto our customers, and can’t bring ourselves to make cold calls. Since we think nothing is worth the stated price, we subconsciously project that attitude onto our customers, and find ourselves constantly discounting. The source of our difficulties is not the customer — it is us! Here’s the way this works:

1 2

 refuse to spend money on your customers, you probably have a deep-seated value, which holds buying cheaper is a higher value than investing in value. And since that’s what you believe, you find it difficult to expect anything other than that behavior from your customers. I often respond to a salesperson who asks, “Why do I always have to be

the low price?” by asking this question: If I’m one of your customers, why should I pay more to buy it from you? The overwhelming majority of the time, the response I get is silence. They can think of no reason someone would pay more to buy it from them. They see no added value to their company’s offering. And, since they don’t believe that they have added value, they certainly can’t convince their customers of

We develop a deep-seated value.

That value colors our behavior and eventually ingrains itself into an attitude. (An attitude is merely a habit of thinking.) That habit effects our actions in all sorts of subtle and notso-subtle ways.

3 4

Our actions get reactions from our customers.

The most common expression of this process that I see revolves around the common complaint, “Why do I always have to give the low price?” Before you start blaming the customers for holding out for a lower price, ask yourself what you might have done to instill that idea in them. Reflect on your attitude and your values and see if the root of the problem isn’t there. If for example, you:  purchase everything at the discount stores, or  continually beat up your suppliers for discounts and concessions, or  don’t invest in improving yourself, or November/December 2008 



something they don’t personally believe. The root of the problem of having to be the low price is, then, very commonly, inside the belief system of the salesperson. I’ve found it to be very difficult for someone to rise above their beliefs unless they first challenge and modify those beliefs. I suppose that’s why, in a whole different arena, it’s impossible to reason with a terrorist. Their actions are entirely consistent with their beliefs. They won’t modify their actions until they change their beliefs. I don’t mean to suggest that the actions of a salesperson in dealing with price issues are in the same league as the actions of a terrorist. But the principle that your beliefs influence your actions is the same. Change your beliefs, and you’ll change your actions. Change your actions, and you’ll see different reactions on the part of the customer. That brings us to this point:

How do you change your beliefs? While I don’t propose to have the final word on this, I have made some observations over the years. Here are two suggestions: Remember the direction of the Apostle Paul to first century Christians: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If you are going to transform your beliefs, you must start by choosing your thoughts. In practical terms, that means that you intentionally inject positive and different thoughts into your head. If you are going to change your beliefs, you must expose yourself to ideas and thoughts other than your own. You must break out of the world defined by your information sources and associates. Buy positive books and read them. Buy positive CDs and listen to them. Find a local group and join it. Attend seminars. Surround yourself with intelligent, thoughtful SUGGESTION


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people who can challenge you. As long as you don’t stretch your thinking to take in new ideas, you’ll be forever locked within the confines of your legacy beliefs. The first thing that every cult attempts to do is separate its members from others who think differently. Whether it be fundamentalists like Jim Jones or extremists like Osama Bin Ladin, other ideas are thought to be a threat. That’s because thoughtful people will, upon exposure to other good ideas, accept some of them and change their beliefs. Since changed beliefs equals changed behavior, you can’t control someone who has access to other ideas. For us, the opposite is true as well. If you want to break away from beliefs that hinder you, you must expose yourself to other ideas. Break out of your routines. Rub shoulders with new people. Take in new and positive ideas. You’ll find that new and different ideas inevitably nudge you to modify your beliefs.

Dave Kahle is a consultant and trainer who helps his clients increase their sales and improve their sales productivity. He is the author of more than 500 articles, a monthly e-zine, and six books. You can join Dave’s “Thinking About Sales Ezine” on-line at htm. Contact: The DaCo Corporation, 3736 West River Dr., Comstock Park, MI 49321; Ph: (800) 33-1287; Web:

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Examine yourself. Ask yourself questions, and thoughtfully consider the

answers. Why do you hold this belief? What is the basis for you thinking this? Was it some emotional experience from years ago? Was it a case of repeated experiences that ingrained themselves into your psyche? As you challenge your own beliefs, you may find that some of them are irrational and based on incidents or information that is incorrect. If that’s the case, then the belief that resulted from those incorrect pieces of information must also be in error. You can reason yourself to different beliefs. So many business owners and salespeople lament the customer’s actions without realizing the root cause of the problem may very well be their own attitudes and beliefs. The next time you catch yourself complaining about price issues, look inward to see if you are part of the problem. November/December 2008 


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Biz Side

Communication killers — The 7 deadly sins of voicemail Voicemail is an important tool for communicating with your customers. Review these basic guidelines to ensure that you’re using voicemail to the best of its advantage.

oday, it seems more important than ever that we make the most of our business communication. And when we’re selling, using voice mail is one of our most important tools. By avoiding these 7 Deadly Sins of Voice Mail, you’re giving yourself a much better chance of having your phone call returned by your customer.


Your name isn’t clear This is perhaps the most common mistake made. After all, people are extremely familiar with their own names — but you should never make the assumption that your customer or prospect is. The most common problem is that people say their names too quickly and subseSIN



quently their first and last names tend to run together. The Solution: Slow down when you say your name. Experts advise you to put an audible pause between your first and last name. At first, this can feel strange and foreign to you, but with a little practice, the pause won’t seem so bad. The key is to make 100 percent certain that the person on the other end of the phone knows both your first and last names. Now your customer knows who you are. Your company name isn’t descriptive enough This one has become more of an issue since the age of the Internet. Unless you’re working for a globally branded company, the SIN


For your information

By Jefferson Steelflex

The message you have on your own outgoing voicemail is just as important as the message you leave for someone else. The best messages communicate several key things to the person calling you:  your name.

 the organization or group you’re in.

 the current date (this tells them you are checking your messages).  whether you are in the office or not that day.  when to expect a call back.

 who to contact if the call is urgent, and how to get to that person. This kind of information will make your caller feel more comfortable that the message is important. Most important — be sure to respond. Source:


November/December 2008

chances are that most people won’t know who your company is, or what it does. This is especially the case if you use an acronym for your company name. The Solution: Just as with your own name, say your company’s name slowly and clearly. If your company’s name is an acronym, consider saying the whole name. Or, at the very least, let people know what it is you do. For example, “I work for ABC Building Supplies, with the widest selection of building supplies in the northwest.” Now your customer knows who your company is and what your company does.

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Don’t leave the shop without it No reason why you are calling I see a lot of “old school” sales types who have a (wrong) belief that you should always try and keep your customers and prospects hidden in a cloud of mystery. The reality is that while “mystery” might have worked 30 or 40 years ago, today’s savvy customer wants none of that. They are generally incredibly wellinformed and don’t have the time or patience to play games. SIN


The Solution: Simply tell the person why you are calling. If you want to add more punch, create a benefit statement that’s compelling to the customer. Remember, it needs to be put in the form of a benefit to your customer — not you — for it to be compelling. Now your customer knows why you are calling. No reference to another person or event A lot of times when you’re calling prospective customers for the first time, simply saying your name and company generally won’t mean a thing to them. SIN


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that personal connection is the first step to building trust. Now, your customer personally connects with you. No time to call back Often, when we’re making outbound sales calls, we do them one-after-another. So, if a person returns your call right away, they’ll end up getting YOUR voice mail! The worst part about ignoring this sin is that it inevitably leads to the “game of phone tag”... which is both time-consuming and frustrating for all involved. SIN


person or a point of reference to use to jog that person’s memory and further “soften” the call. Remember, people are much more receptive when there is a common thread. It creates a personal connection. And creating

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The Solution: Leave your customers a couple of options for when you’ll be available. While it won’t eliminate “phone tag,” it will considerably reduce the odds of it starting in the first place. Now your customer knows the best time to call you back. Only leaving your name and number once This sin is very common and very important to avoid. As strange as it may seem, when you leave a voice message, the chances of your customer forgetting your name by the end of the message are actually quite high. Most of the time, people spend so much time and energy listening to the body of the message, that by the end of it, they’ve already forgotten your name. Making matters worse, people tend to rush through saying their phone number (again, like their name, because of their familiarity with it), and they generally say it only once. This means that your customer often has to rewind and listen to your entire message multiple times to try and decipher your name and number. SIN


The Solution: Clearly re-state your name in the same way you did at the beginning of the message, thus reminding your customer who you are. Also, state your phone number clearly, two times. Saying your phone number twice will give your customer a chance to correctly write it down without having to rewind the message. If possible, say it at the speed you would if someone were writing it down in front of you. Now, your customer knows who you are and how to contact you. There is no warmth in the voice A rushed voice mail lacking in personal warmth will not be received as well as one that has it. Remember, people want a personal connection — and having warmth in your voice appeals to your customers. SIN

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November/December 2008

The Solution: Smile! It really is that simple. Smile as you leave your voice mails. It’s amazing and true; studies have shown that people can hear your smile. A smile conveys warmth and puts people at ease. So, even if it feels a little strange to smile at a phone while you're leaving a message on a machine, smile anyway. If it helps, have a picture of a friend or loved one in front of you to help make smiling easier.

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You may not be able to avoid these 7 Deadly Sins of Voice Mail all the time, but with a little practice, you'll be leaving a far better voice mail message. Now it’s time to get back to those phones!

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Jefferson Steelflex is a Sales Made Simple Coach, who helps entrepreneurs aim higher and achieve more. He is the author of the audio seminar, “The 20 Sales Secrets of Top Entrepreneurs.” For more information, log on to ©Article City.

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NOMMA Nationwide Supplier Members A Cut Above Distributing (800) 444-2999

Albina Pipe Bending Co. Inc. (503) 692-6010

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Colorado Waterjet Co. (866) 532-5404

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

Builders Fence Co. Inc. (800) 767-0367 Byan Systems Inc. (800) 223-2926

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Carell Corp. (251) 937-0948

Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations (800) 444-6271 Classic Iron Supply (800) 367-2639

Eagle Bending Machines Inc. (251) 937-0947

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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

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Europa Stairways LLC (786) 845-9844

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Universal Entry Systems Inc. (800) 837-4283

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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

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Biz Briefs

Metal Museum to feature the work of Jim Wallace

The Metal Museum in Memphis, TN is showcasing the work of Jim Wallace during an exhibit titled “Conversations in Iron,” which runs from January 23 – Jim Wallace, far right, is shown with April 12. attendees of a blacksmithing class Wallace, who at the Metal Museum. recently retired as the museum’s director, is a well-known artist and master blacksmith. This will be the first time that a significant body of Wallace’s work has been exhibited at the museum. In addition to Wallace, the work of Brent Kington and Richard Quinnell will also be featured. Kington is the emeritus professor of the Blacksmithing/Metalsmithing program at Southern Illinois University. Quinnell is a master metalsmith in the United Kingdom, and helped to form the British Artist Blacksmiths Association. For friends of the Metal Museum, Quinnell is best known for his role in designing and fabricating the museum’s 10th anniversary gates. All three men have played an important role in the revival of blacksmithing in the U.S. and U.K. Prior to the exhibit opening, the three artists will participate in a panel discussion at Memphis College of Art on January 22. Contact: Metal Museum, Ph: 901-774-6380, Web:


Liberty Brass on the eve of 90 years of service Liberty Brass Turning Company Inc. of Long Island City, NY will soon mark its 90th year in business. Begun in 1919 by grandfather, Max Zuckerwise, and then managed by their father Jack, Liberty Brass is now run by brothers David and Peter Zuckerwise, who took over in 1993. The company thrives even though the manufacturing industry in New York City does not, bringing in revenues of $4 million and employing more than 30 people. To make this possible, Liberty Brass has become a hybrid company that specializes in fulfilling complex or urgent orders while outsourcing the production of stock parts. The Zuckerwises updated the company with a $1.5 million upgrade, purchasing software, installing several computer numerical control (CNC) machines, targeting the lucrative custom job market, and obtaining ISO 9001:2000 certification. Contact: Liberty Brass Turning Co. Inc., Ph: (800) 3455939; Web:

NTMA & PMA join forces to strengthen industry advocacy The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) are combining their federal government advocacy programs to promote government policies that will ensure a strong manufacturing sector in the United States. Each association has had an active advocacy program for years and now implements a joint effort while maintaining their status as separate organizations. Together, industries represented by PMA and NTMA employ nearly 1 million people and have combined sales in excess of $130 billion. The Franklin Partnership LLP, a bipartisan government relations firm that provides comprehensive legislative affairs and public policy services, has been engaged by NTMA and PMA to support this program for the 111th Congress. Contact: PMA, Ph: (216) 901-8800; Web: Contact: NTMA, Ph: (800) 248-6862; Web:

Festivus pole in “Odd Wisconsin” The Wagner Companies’ Festivus Pole has been included in Odd Wisconsin: A Different Kind of Exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum. Odd Wisconsin, an exhibit featuring an exclusive collection of curious Wisconsin artifacts, including a Wagner Festivus Pole, was open to the public at the Wisconsin Historical Museum on Madison’s Capitol Square. The Wagner Companies of Milwaukee produced this sixfoot aluminum pole and gave it to Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle in 2005. The governor displayed it in the family room of the Executive Residence in Madison during the holiday season, and then he donated it to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Fabricator 

November/December 2008

Biz Briefs “Festivus” is a holiday popularized by the television show Seinfeld, with the unadorned pole as the primary decoration for the event. Contact: The Wagner Companies, Ph: (888) 243-6914; Web:

Ohio Gratings Inc. expands by adding a Utah bar grating facility

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Beautiful Railings Begin With Ohio Gratings Inc. (OGi) is proud to announce the addition of a new 15,000 sq. ft. facility in Lindon, UT named Interstate Gratings. This new location will serve the intermountain west region. The company will focus on industrial and commercial fabricated steel grating and carry a supply of panel inventory. Interstate Gratings is the second fully integrated welded bar grating manufacturing facility in the Western United States. Ohio Gratings Inc. headquarters is located in Canton, OH. Contact: Ohio Gratings Inc., Ph: (800) 321-9800; Web:

Metalforming companies expect decline According to the October 2008 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect a severe deterioration in business conditions during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 153 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada. When asked what the trend in general economic activity will be during the next three months, metalformers anticipate a sharp decline. Sixty-seven percent of participants reported that activity will decline (up drastically from 31 percent in September), 26 percent predict activity will remain unchanged (compared to 53 percent last month) and only seven percent forecast an improvement in business conditions (down from 16 percent in September). This marks the lowest level of confidence since the January 2001 Business Conditions Report. Contact: PMA, Ph: (216) 901-8800; Web: November/December 2008 


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What’s Hot?  Sharpen Your Business Communications Business Letters for the Construction Industry: A Guide to Construction Communication In the construction business one thing you’ll hear constantly is “get it in writing.” But that’s only half the battle. The other challenge is to get it in writing in a way that is concise, succinct, and without leaving loose ends. The 372-page book, Business Letters for the Construction Industry, provides a valuable collection of prewritten letters that can help to sharpen your day-to-day business correspondence. Along with the book is a CD that contains all letters in Microsoft Word format. Using this reference tool is easy. Simply find the letter you need in the book, find the elec-


tronic version on CD, and cut and paste it into your own document. Written by Andrew Atkinson, the book begins by discussing the 11 types of letters you will likely need to write, which ranges from apologies to clarifications. There are also discussions on communication protocol, coordination, and commonly used terms. In the protocol section, the author provides an example of how to set up a companywide communications system. His suggestion is to identify each letter and critical email with the project number and then create a folder system. The file system should then be placed on the company network and made accessible to staff members in the field. Following the introduction, the book dives straight into

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November/December 2008

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the hundreds of sample letters. A letter appears on the right of each page and on the left page there is coding and a brief description. The biggest challenge of the letters is finding ones relevant to your business. However, once you’ve pulled a handful of them and modified them you can then use them repeatedly in your future business correspondence. The massive letters section is broken into four sections — clients, field professionals, industry support, and personnel. It’s important to note that all letters are written from the perspective of a contractor, but most can be easily adapted for use by subcontractors. The first chapter, titled “Letters to Clients,” will help you tiptoe through such sensitive areas as mechanics’ liens, warranties, progress payments, and extra work. Perhaps of greatest value to fabricators are the sample letters on change orders. There are 13 sample change order letters, and some of the ones relevant to our industry cover overtime, cost escalation, and site conditions. The next chapter is titled “Industry Support,” which is really a fancy way of saying vendor relations. In this chapter you’ll see letters on shipment delays, purchase order cancellations, and credit line increase requests. Probably the least valuable chapter is “Field Professionals,” since these letters are written from a general contractor’s perspective. Nevertheless, many of these letters can be modified for fabricators. Of particular value are letters focusing on job scope, errors & omissions, substitution, and quote requests. The final chapter, called “Letters to Personnel,” can be a great resource for your human resources person. The 29 letters in this section offer everything from congratulations to reprimands. Specifically, there are letters on job performance, drug testing, salary adjustments, payment bonds, and job mistakes. At the back of the book is an appendix of industry organizations that lists dozens of organizations related to construction. The idea here is that you can visit these organization’s websites to obtain documents and additional information for use in your letters. In conclusion, this title is not only a great timesaver, but also the model letters can protect you from financial loss or liability by covering aspects that you may have not considered. Contact: Contractor Resources Inc., 701 50th St., Sacramento, CA 95819. Ph: (916) 321-5557. Cost: $59.95, plus shipping (includes CD-ROM). Note: Mention code “NOMMA-08” and the publisher will provide an additional 10 percent off until December 31, 2008. — Todd Daniel

November/December 2008 


Literature Metal Man by Aaron Reynolds

This new children’s book is a tribute to metal sculpting and blacksmithing. “There’s a fire in me, just like that torch.” At the Metal Man’s shop, sparks fly from his welding torch as he cuts and melts together old pieces of junk into works of art. Young Devon is fascinated by the Metal Man’s creations. He watches as the cutting, welding, grinding, and polishing process turns the most unpromising materials into a showpiece. Aaron Reynolds’s urban voice and the gritty illustrations of Paul Hoppe bring an exciting beat and pulse to the story of a young boy discovering his own voice and vision in art with a kind mentor to lead the way. Contact: Charlesbridge Publishing, Web: (search for the title, Metal Man.) Price: $15.95.


What’s Hot? 


2008 Events

Coming up in 2009

METALFORM Mexico 5th anniversary celebrated


November 11-13, 2008 The fifth edition of the METALFORM Mexico tradeshow was held at CentroBanamex in Mexico City. During three days of exhibits, attendees viewed new products and technologies displayed by 125 equipment manufacturers and service providers. Additional sessions featured improving safety and productivity. Contact: METALFORM Mexico, Web:

January 14-16, 2009 FENCETECH ‘09, the American Fence Association’s annual convention and trade exhibition, will take place alongside AFA’s DECKTECH trade show at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA. More information can be found on AFA’s website. Contact: American Fence Association; Web: www.

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival


December 5-7, 2008 The new festival will be held at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, GA and will feature over 150 artists and designers. Pottery, sculpture, glass, jewelry, fashion, home décor, garden items, and photography will be on display for purchase. Contact: Sugarloaf Crafts Festival, Ph: (800) 2109900, Web:

March 2-3, 2009 and October 13-14, 2009 The Powder Coating Institute and the Chemical Coaters Association International have announced that they will hold two regional events in 2009 to reach targeted market segments and general industrial finishing markets. COATING WEST 2009 will be held on March 2 & 3 at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, NV, and COATING EAST 2009 is scheduled for October 13 & 14 at Gaylord Opryland, Nashville, TN. Each event will consist of a twoday technical conference program with a two-day exhibition. Contact: The Coating Show, Ph: (941) 373-1830; Web:

Americas Glass Showcase

May 14-16, 2009 The annual trade show, convention, and golf tournament — sponsored by Americas Glass Association — will take place at South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa, South Las Vegas, NV. Contact: Americas Glass Association, Ph: (877) 275-2421; Web: FABTECH Mexico to co-locate with AWS Weldmex and METALFORM Mexico

June 2-4, 2009 A new trade show named FABTECH Mexico will join the established AWS Weldmex and METALFORM Mexico shows beginning in 2009. The American Welding Society, Weldmex LLC, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers agreed to co-locate this event. The first combined exhibition will be held June 2-4, 2009, at the Cintermex exhibition center in Monterrey, Mexico. The location for the annual AWS Weldmex and FABTECH Mexico show alternates between Monterrey and Mexico City. Contact: American Welding Society, Ph: (800) 443-9353; Web: 88


November/December 2008

What’s Hot? 


Wagner hires manager of production control

Dan Herzog joins Worldwide Superabrasives

The Wagner Companies announces that Jackie Heinrichs has returned to the company as manager of production control. In this position, Heinrichs will lead the coordination between sales, estimating, warehouse, and manufacturing functions to schedule and deliver product to meet customer needs. Jackie Heinrichs Heinrichs is returning to Wagner after a two-year absence, during which she worked as a project manager for Everbrite Inc. Heinrichs has experience with Wagner’s inside sales group, custom polishing sales, and production control. Contact: The Wagner Companies, Ph: (888) 243-6914; Web:

Worldwide Superabrasives, a global supplier of diamond and CBN grinding products, is pleased to announce that Dan Herzog has joined the company as regional sales manager, taking responsibility for customers in the Midwest region of the U.S.A. Herzog brings approximately 40 years of experience in the superabrasives industry to Worldwide. Contact: Worldwide Superabrasives LLC, Ph: (954) 8289650; Web:

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What’s Hot?  New Green DVD

Society of Manufacturing Engineers To promote conservation and boost the bottom line, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ (SME) presents The Green Lean. This 29-minute DVD shows how Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc.’s (SIA) rolls out 800 cars a day, yet produces less landfill waste than an individual family throws away in one week. The DVD features strategies that have saved the plant millions of dollars. Contact: SME, Ph: (800) 733-4763, Web:

36-volt cordless DC arc welder

Steelman JS Products Inc. (Steelman) is proud to announce the launch of QUICKWELD™, a portable cordless DC arc welder. The unit can be used for general purpose or repair welding needs. The welder uses a 36 Volt 9 Amp, sealed AGM lead


acid battery and has a three pre-set power level selector switch. The four-hour quick charger is specialized for sealed lead acid batteries. Contact: JS Products Inc., Ph: (800) 255-7011; Web:

QL and QX® modular crane packages

R&M Materials Handling The QL modular crane package by R&M Materials Handling is designed for various lifting applications and is available with lifting capacities from 1/8 ton to 5 tons. The Loadmate® electric chain hoist is designed to provide low headroom. The product allows close trolley end approaches with lifting heights to meet application requirements (up to 150 feet, single fall, and 75 feet, two fall) and lift speeds from 12/3 fpm to 32/8 fpm. The QX® modular crane package by R&M Materials Handling offers a pre-engineered, modular crane package for industrial crane applications. The Spacemaster® SX electric wire rope hoist has lifting capacity of 1/2 to 80 tons and lifting speeds from 10/1.5-62/10 fpm. The hoist features low headroom and reduced component wear. Contact: R&M Materials Handling Inc., Ph: (800) 9559967; Web:

A.R.T. hand-held controller

Techno Techno Inc. CNC Router Systems introduces the A.R.T. (advanced remote technology) hand-held controller for use with all Techno CNC routers. Used in conjunction with a PC, the A.R.T allows the operator to move around the machine during setup and operation while in control of machine functions. Operators can view multiple screens that separate controls by function groups such as related jog functions like X, Y, Z and A-axis jogging/zeroing, jog speed, continuous and incremental step and tool calibration. Contact: Techno Inc., Ph: (800) 819-3366; Web:



November/December 2008

What’s Hot? 


Hydraulic vise column

Auto-darkening helmets

Jergens Inc.


Jergens Inc. introduces their new hydraulic vise column designed with a patented swivel coupling to disconnect and reconnect the two hydraulic hoses as the column rotates. Each vise is designed to be independently operated to unload/load parts with a rotary coupling that does not interfere with tooling. Hydraulic power provides repeatable action with clamping force of up to 4,700 lbs. of clamping capacity, with 4” and 6” jaw sizes and threesided or four-sided configurations. The stand-alone design can be retrofitted in the field. All Jergens vises include machinable, reversible jaws; hardened and ground steel rails; flowthrough base; and fully sealed lead screw assembly. Contact: Jergens, Ph: (800) 537-4367; Web:

Hobart Welding Products introduces the Prowler Series of autodarkening welding helmets. The Prowler Series is designed for the expert welder and features a 23⁄8” x 37⁄8” viewing area. Independent arc sensors provide continuous arcsensing capability for outof-position welding. The Prowler lens darkens in 1⁄20,000 of a second after arc start and features an internally adjustable auto-darkening shade (#9-13), lens sensitivity and delay controls. The #4 ultra-clear “light-state” makes setup and repositioning of hands and parts more efficient while providing continuous UV and IR protection. Contact: Hobart Welding Ph: (877-462-2781; TS Distributors - BJProducts, Harrington 832-467-5406 - Web: NOMMA Fabricator - 1/4 page ad

November/December 2008 


Color Mock-Up


What’s Hot? 


Birchwood Casey’s TRU TEMP® CNC black oxide finishing system uses an integrated programmable hoist and tank line to automatically process iron and steel components with a black oxide finish. Designed to operate as a self controlled unit, the CNC system is repeatable and has large output capabilities. The TRU TEMP process is designed for long bath life without the need for routine dumping. Because the process contains no EPA-regulated chemicals, there is no need for waste treatment equipment. Contact: Birchwood Casey, Ph: (952) 937-7931; Web:

Automated black oxide system

Birchwood Casey

Twin-head tube bender

Unison First of its kind TRU TEMP CNC black oxide system provides just-in-time component finishing for Zero-Max motion control products. Matt Ailport (left) shop worker and Ron Neff (right), vice president of manufacturing discuss the new black oxide system which saves the company time and money while providing customers with high quality, corrosion blackened motion control devices.

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Unison is announcing a new version of its all-electric twin-head CNC bending machinery. Features include the ability to bend to smaller radii, shorter distance between bends, and HMI software. The product offers a five-axis solution for bending symmetrical parts, with left and right bending heads situated on twin carriages, plus a central rotation control axis. Contact: Horn Machine Tools, Ph: (559) 431-4131; Web:

Hyster offers two attachment options for the Hyster ZR reach truck — the fork laser and the fork camera. The fork laser emits a beam that provides lift truck operators with a guide for correct fork placement when retrieving a product. The life span of the fork laser attachment Hyster’s fork laser is over 10,000 hours and each battery pack lasts up to 40 hours on a full charge. Designed to be used in environments with low visibility, the laser can be displayed as either a dot beam or line beam, depending upon operator preference. Fabricator 

November/December 2008

What’s Hot? 


Also available from Hyster is the fork camera option, which provides a “fork eye view” at elevated heights. Mounted to the fork carriage, the camera Hyster’s fork camera sends a digital image to a 7.5” color monitor located in the operator compartment. Contact: Hyster, Web:

All-electric tube bender

Unison Horn Machine Tools presents the Breeze 150, an all-electric tube bending machine from Unison that combines multi-stack tooling with tube bending of up to six inches (150 mm) outside diameter. The product includes operating

software and programmable control over the rotary draw bending process, with a maximum bending torque of 92,000 Nm (814,269 pound inches). Contact: Horn Machine Tools, Ph: (559)431-4131; Web:

Welding clamps and magnetic tools

Hobart Hobart Welding Products introduces several new welding clamps and magnetic tools. A series of heavy-duty clamps and fit-up magnets vary in strength and function for various welding applications. The new line includes: f-clamps, 2-axis clamps, locking pliers/welding clamps, 360-degree swivel magnets, magnetic ground clamps, and quick release on/off magnets. Contact: Hobart Welding Products, Ph: (877) HOBART1; Web:

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November/December 2008 



What’s Hot? 


Rotary draw bender

CNC abrasive metering



Ercolina has released the new top bender model TB80 for bending large diameter pipe, tube, squares, rectangular, solids, and other profiles. The touch screen display features auto, manual, and bend programming modes, as well as system diagnostics and multiple language modes. The TB80 model has program memory storage available with USB device; each USB control stores up to (2048) individual bend programs with (12) bends per program. Contact: CML USA Ercolina, Ph: (563) 391-7700; Web:

Bystronic Inc. now offers CNC-controlled abrasive metering on all of its Byjet abrasive water jet cutting systems. This system allows the abrasive amount to be changed from zero to 1.5 pounds per minute, depending on the application. Contact: Bystronic, Ph: (800) 247-3332; Web:

Dual swivel saw

DoALL DoALL Sawing Products has introduced a new dual swivel scissor-type saw. The SM-15D is an affordable saw for fabrication shops, maintenance departments, and other areas where angle cutting and general purpose sawing is performed. Model SM-15D features a two-piece cast iron saw head that can swivel 60º right and left for miter cutting, and can cut 11-inch rounds and 15-inches wide by 10-inches tall rectangles at 90º. It has a 3-hp band drive motor with infinitely adjustable VFD band speed control from 50 to 400 fpm, The band wheel is mounted directly to the output shaft of the heavy-duty worm gearbox to provide the torque necessary to cut the toughest materials. A convenient control console mounted on an articulating arm allows the operator to control band speed, feed rate, and other functions. Contact: DoALL, Ph: (888) 362-5572; Web:

Updated website

SDP/SI Stock Drive Products/Sterling Instrument’s (SDP/SI) new web site features over 100,000 mechanical components and eight catalogs with product that can be purchased online and technical portions that can be downloaded for reference purposes. SDP/SI produces mechanical components including: gears, belts, pulleys, bearings, brakes, clutches, shafting, couplings, gearheads, speed reducers, and vibration mounts. Contact: SDP/SI, Ph: (516) 328-3300, Web: 94


November/December 2008

What’s Hot? 


Non-corrosive fasteners

Hickman The W.P. Hickman Company announces that stainless steel fasteners are being provided as a standard component with all of its perimeter edge metal systems at no additional charge to customers. Hickman’s edge products have holes pre-punched for use with the fasteners that resist the corrosive nature of Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ), a wood preservative used throughout the construction industry as the result of the EPA ban on the traditional Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) preservative. Contact: W.P. Hickman Company, Ph: (800) 892-9173; Web:

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:

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Blacksmithing (Beginning to Advanced)

Bladesmithing Traditional Blacksmithing photo by Paul Garrett


November/December 2008 

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November/December 2008

Ad Index

November/December 2008 



Business Perspectives

Certain strategies for uncertain economic times By Doug Bracken A sense of concern prevails though

your fellow American these days. With the ongoing War on Terror and a financial crisis that has already claimed a handful of large banks, the normal spirit of American optimism is on the ropes for the moment. What does this mean for you and your enterprise? How does your firm plan to manage the storm — cutbacks, layoffs, reduced spending, caps on pay raises? Above all else, now is the time to stay alert, stay focused on quality and service, and stay alive. Stay alert

Uncertain times bring unknown changes and opportunities. If you think your bank may be in peril, make sure you protect your savings with the FDIC and buy CD’s, which are protected up to $100,000 each. If you think your backlog of sales may be in a negative or downward trend, be ready to make the tough choices of laying off, stepping up sales efforts — even at greater expense — or firing personnel who aren’t pulling their weight. On the flip side, perhaps the ideal property for your business becomes available and the price has never been better, or perhaps one of your competitors has not fared as well and comes up for sale or auction. Conservative business owners and managers who take the long-term view for the management of their companies will have a stash of cash ready to take advantage of this and other opportunities that come around when the economy turns sour. Stay focused on quality and service

Never is there a better time to com98

mit to quality and service than in an uncertain economy. When the going gets rough, most of us look for stability, confidence, and most of all, “the sure thing.” While some may take advantage of the situation to hire the low bidder, gambling that they can get the desired product or service at fire sale prices, most people prefer to hire someone in whom they have confidence, someone who will weather the storm as they plan to do and emerge stronger and leaner than before. Successful business people take advantage of these downturns to differentiate themselves in the market place, defining themselves as leaders in their industries. And guess what? When the pendulum swings back to prosperity (as history proves it always does), these companies are positioned to reap the rewards of their hard work. Don’t overlook the concept that survival in this market may take an overhaul of your current business culture. Which is most valued by upper level management — days off and golf outings with clients, or long-term employment with few layoffs? What is your corporate mission statement? Does it capitalize on people’s interest in self-preservation and success, or does it focus on profits above all else? Is it heeded, or even understood, by management and employees? In order to succeed in the quality and service departments, the ENTIRE company must be committed — and not just by lip service. Stay alive

Staying alive through an uncertain economy requires agility, tenacity, sometimes stubbornness, a willingness to make the toughest decisions, and a focus on quality. Any seasoned, successful business person will tell you

A downturn in the economy can actually be a time of opportunity.

that they look forward to economic downturns as they weed out the ‘men from the boys,’ thereby stabilizing their individual markets and industries by leaving only those who remain in business at the higher levels of professionalism. How does your company rate? Is your business prepared to make sacrifices or change direction? Is your firm a standout in customer service and quality? If you had to choose between hiring your firm or your competitor’s when time and money are tight, who would you hire and why? There is no doubt that we face some difficult times ahead. There is no doubt that, regardless of political affiliation, we, as Americans, are in this together. So, let’s make the most of it by improving our products and services to compete with the very best in the area or the world. Let us, as Americans, show the world what we are made of and create new opportunities out of sour grapes. Let those of us who work, shop, eat, and play on Main Street succeed where Wall Street gambled and lost. The only way we will lose our title as the free world’s economic and political leader is when we let it slip right through our fingers by believing all the bad news (the kind that sells newspapers and is featured in commercials on 24-hour news channels) and allowing fear to guide us over the good common sense we all inherited with the American dream — which tells us still that “anything is possible.” Doug Bracken is a past president of NOMMA.


November/December 2008

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

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

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

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


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

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“The Furniture Guys” is a registered trademark belonging to Ed Feldman and Joe L’Erario ©2007 The Iron Shop

Circle 11 on Reader Service Card

2008 11 fab  
2008 11 fab