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The Strategic Plan: NOMMA’s blueprint for the future, pg. 12 Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

March/April 2009 $6.00 US

Member Talk

Modern Iron Concepts puts on the finishing touch pg. 68 Job profile

This business is in the blood, pg. 26 Tips & Tactics

Gas metal arc welding solutions, pg. 15 Shop Talk

A blast from the past, pg. 18 A NOMMA member celebrates 50 years of fabricating, pg. 75

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

METALfab 2009 - Trade Show Join Us For

April 22–24

Hall C – Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center

300 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA - go to for directions and parking. Wednesday, April 22 Thursday, April 23 Friday, April 24


4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – Trade Show Grand Opening Reception. 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Trade Show Open with Lunch and Education. Go to for a schedule of classes on the show floor.

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Trade Show Open with Breakfast on show floor.

METALfab is the only trade show for the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. Join the METALfab 2009 exhibitors for a display of their products and services. Also enjoy great food and beverage while you visit with the exhibitors and other attendees.

To give trade show attendees a greater opportunity to experience METALfab, Thursday, April 23, we will have outstanding education classes and demos on the show floor. Go to for class and demo schedules. If you would like to participate in all the opportunities that METALfab offers (education program, social activities, trade show etc.) visit for additional information about a full registration for METALfab 2009.

Complete the information below for free admission to the METALfab 2009 Trade Show. If you have any questions call (888) 516-8585, ext. 101. You will not receive a confirmation for this free ticket – your badge will be ready for you at the METALfab registration desk in the lobby of Hall C – Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center. METALfab 2009 is sponsored by the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association.

FREE Ticket for METALfab 2009 Trade Show & Education on the Show Floor

Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center - Hall C 300 East Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, CA Go to to register online. Complete this form and mail to: METALfab, 535 Lakemont Ct., Ste 200, Roswell, GA 30075. Fax to (770) 5181292. You can bring this form to the registration desk outside Hall C.

First Name _______________________________________________________ Last Name _______________________________________________________ Company ________________________________________________________

Address __________________________________________________________ City __________________________ State _______ Zip ___________________ Country ____________________________ Phone _______________________

Email ____________________________ Fax_________________________

1)     2)    

List the products you hope to purchase at METALfab 2009:

1) ________________________________________ 2) ________________________________________ 3) ________________________________________

Primary type of business: Fabricator General Supplier Contractor Other___________________ Annual gross sales: Below $1 million $1 - $2.5 million $2.5 - $5 million Over $5 million

3)    4)   

Your role in purchasing: Final Say Recommend Specify

Job description: Owner Manager/Foreman Other_______________

Check here  if you are not involved in the business.

Children 12 years and under are not permitted on the show floor. Young people between the ages of 13 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Our Components, Your Vision

DJA 162

Panels Meet 4'' Code Matching Scrolls Are Available DJA 161



March/April 2009 Vol. 50, No. 2

Accent Ornamental Iron’s intricate interior railing won a bronze award in the Top Job competition at METALfab 2008. (See page 26.)

Tips & Tactics

Biz Side

Job Profiles

Gas metal arc welding . . . . . . . . . . 15 Here are some ways to troubleshoot the most common problems. By Bruce Morrett and Bill Giese

Shop Talk Forge welding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 This ancient technique still produces a beautifully strong weld.

Made for each other ....................26 Metal fabrication is in Michael Stylski’s blood. By Lisa Bakewell

Fit for a castle ....................................36 A massive, hand-forged door garners Top Job gold. Best of Top Job ..................................39 See a sampling of the outstanding work entered in the 2008 contest. Of Special Interest

Creating “eye candy” . . . . . . . . . . . 68 A company’s creative marketing and custom designs yield sweet results.

Charting a future course ........12 NOMMA’s blueprint for the future is unveiled in the new Strategic Plan. By Todd Daniel

By Sheila Phinazee

Foreman’s 50th. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 A NOMMA member tells how his company migrated from curtainwall to stainless steel and more.

President’s Letter . . .6 Looking toward METALfab and beyond.

By Cynthia Paul

What’s Hot! New Members . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Nationwide Suppliers

. . . . . . . . . . 86

Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88

By Jeff Fogel

Member Talk

Storm clouds on the horizon . . 68 Prepare your company to weather troubled times.

The Trade Show report ..............58 Get a preview of some of the exciting products and services to be displayed at METALfab 2009.

Editor’s Letter . . . . . .8 The time is right to do something just for you.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

Chapter News

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

Literature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 New Products. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Ad Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

Reader’s Letters . . . 10 You can now find Fabricator magazine online.

Biz Perspectives . . . 98 Learn the four cornerstones of a balanced business.

Cover photo: For Modern Iron Concepts, iron work is like “jewelry” for a house. March/April 2009 



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

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

FABRICATOR DIRECTORS Frank Finelli Finelli Architectural Ironworks Solon, OH

J.R. Molina Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX

Will Keeler Keeler Iron Works Memphis, TN

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

James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

Greg Terrill Division 5 Metalworks Kalamazoo, MI

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

Cathee Speaks King Architectural Metals Dallas, TX

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

NOMMA STAFF Executive Director Barbara H. Cook Meetings & Exposition Manager Martha Pennington Communications Mgr. J. Todd Daniel

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

2009 ADVISORY COUNCIL Doug Bracken Wiemann Ironworks

Rob Rolves Foreman Fabricators Inc.

Nancy Hayden Tesko Enterprises

Rob Webster Web Metal Fabricators Ltd.

Tom McDonough Master Metal Services Inc.


Curt Witter Big D Metalworks

NOMMA finalizes a bold roadmap for the future e are fast approaching our annual convention, which takes place in Long Beach, CA, April 21–25. Many folks have already registered, and we hope you are among them. If not, plan to do it today! The staff, Board and Education Foundation are putting the final touches on METALfab 2009. The trade show booths are rapidly filling, the education session speakers are all focused on their presentations, and we have an outstanding keynote speaker: Cynthia Paul, Managing Director of FMI Corporation, who specializes in business development in the construction industry. We have asked Cynthia to focus her keynote speech and education sessions on the best practices in retaining clients and in harvesting new ones —both important issues in today’s economy. As the experts say, “When your business is down, focus your dollars on increased marketing to get your message out and education to enhance what you are selling.” With this METALfab convention, you will receive ideas on how to market your company, and you’ll receive valuable education for yourself and your company. In addition, many suppliers of products and services will be there with ideas and products to help you be more profitable. All of this in one location! And did I forget to mention the Pacific Ocean and the beach? On page 12 of this issue, we have included an article on NOMMA’s newly adopted strategic plan. Working with our outside consultant and based on member feedback of what NOMMA should look like in the future, you will find the definition of our Core Purpose and Vivid Description, or what we might call “our reason for being.” Also, the four primary goals and objectives to support the core purpose are detailed. I welcome your feedback to either myself, the staff, or any Board member.


In a special February meeting, we began working on the mega-issues: the biggest obstacles (or opportunities for success), dependTerry Barrett is ing on how you president of NOMMA. want to look at it. In the April and June board meetings, our focus will be the objectives and strategies we want to achieve, along with specific action plans, measurements to determine if success is being achieved, and accountability for progress. Although we cannot ignore all the issues that face us in these trying economic times, this process gives us a longer-range horizon to define and drive who and what NOMMA will be in the future. This has been a time-intensive task, but very important in ensuring the long-term success of our association. So, the next time you run into any of the people listed in the margin at the left of this letter, give them your encouragement and your appreciation. You see, they are doing double duty — running their own companies, while spending their valuable time and resources to craft NOMMA into the type of organization that you can rely on to help you be successful. Since this will be my last “President’s Letter,” I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for having the faith and confidence in me for this very important position. It has been a privilege to give something back to an organization that has provided me and my company with so much. See you all in Long Beach!

Fabricator  March/April 2009

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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.


Classifieds may be placed on the NOMMA website at no charge. Visit and click on “Career Center.”


Exhibit in METALfab, NOMMA’s annual convention and trade show. For more information, contact Martha Pennington at (888) 515-8585, ext. 104, or


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

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

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

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

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

What have you done for yourself lately? t was the best of times, it was the worst of times... The opening line from Charles Dickens’ epic novel, A Tale of Two Cities, runs through my mind lately as I watch the evening news or read the local paper. Truly, we are living in a time of great difficulty and enormous challenges, not the least of which is our uncertain economy. Yet, there are some bright spots along the way. Necessity is the mother of invention, and some of you have found ways to increase efficiency, to expand into previously untapped niches for your services, or simply to do more with less. Many of you have also turned to your fellow NOMMA members as sounding boards, for advice and support. The “NOMMA Network” is at its best during stressful times. In the midst of all your juggling to either stay a step ahead of the curve or just to keep your company afloat, it probably seems like a bad time to do anything for yourself. In reality, this is probably the best time to invest in yourself... and reap the benefits for your company as well. Our annual convention is a great way to accomplish this. NOMMA has been hard at work on your behalf, putting together METALfab 2009 — several days packed with events designed to aid, inspire, and encourage you, our members. Popular keynote speaker and education presenter Cynthia Paul, Managing Director of FMI Corp., makes a return engagement to METALfab this year, talking to you about ways to keep your current customers and secure new ones, the terminology of contracts, and more. As a preview of what’s to come at METALfab, Cynthia has contributed an excellent article on how to differentiate your product in the marketplace to win new business on p. 78 in this issue of Fabricator.


Additionally, METALfab offers opportunities to learn from fellow members in numerous education sessions, see what’s new from suppliers at the trade show, learn about other companies’ operations on the shop tours, and experience the excitement of the prestigious Top Job competition. Best of Helen Kelley is editor all, you’ll have a of Ornamental & chance to reconnect Miscellaneous Metal with old friends and Fabricator. make new ones. Isn’t it time you did something for yourself? There’s no time like the present. METALfab offers you a valuable opportunity to refresh your ideas, renew your spirit, and increase your productivity. If you haven’t registered already, all of the information is available at See you April 21-25 in Long Beach! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this issue of Fabricator — like our convention, it’s packed with information. Pick up some helpful lessons on gas metal arc welding in Tips and Tactics, p. 15, and revisit the history of forge welding in Shop Talk, p. 18. Once again, we are spotlighting our METALfab exhibitors and their products and services in the annual Trade Show Report, beginning on p. 58. We love to feature our members’ work, and you’ll find it throughout these pages — in our Job Profiles, Top Job gallery, and Member Talk. Also in Member Talk, we have a special Q&A with Brian Foreman of Foreman Fabricators, which is celebrating its 50th year in business! See p. 75 for the story. Until next time, I’ll be hoping that you all do something just for you — and that it’s the best of times.


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Reader’s Letters Magazine serves as great information source I wanted to drop a line to say that you have a great magazine. The ads in Fabricator are just what I need to make purchasing decisions. I also enjoy seeing the samples of other fabricators' work — this is exciting to me. ~ Joe Bravo Bravo Metal Works Nampa, ID Online version is a great idea I think you have a great idea with the online version of Fabrictor. It is very eco friendly, saves paper, and is easy to use. However, those few who don’t have online access will still need a hard copy. All in all, a great idea. ~ Ron Hill Classic Iron Craft & Supply Inc. Riverside, CA Ed: Thanks for the kind words. We definitely plan to continue the print version of Fabricator. Letters are welcomed and encouraged. Send to: Mail: Letters to the Editor, c/o Fabricator, 1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253. E-mail: Fax: (770) 288-2006.

Fabricator goes online! Can’t find your current copy of Fabricator? Our new, online edition makes it easy to access the magazine from your home or work computer. In January, the first online edition was unveiled, and we’ve already received excellent feedback from members and industry suppliers. In addition to offering convenience, the online The magazine is now version is packed with features, only a mouse click away. including an advanced search capability, direct links to advertiser websites, and a powerful navigation system. You can also personalize your online edition by adding notes and bookmarks, and you can even send a link to the magazine, or selected articles, to a friend. All past issues will remain online, making it easier to search back issues. To see the online edition, visit and click on “Fabricator Online.”

METALfab 2009 Apr. 21–25, 2009 • Long Beach, CA

A very special thanks to our sponsors. Platinum

Industrial Coverage Corp. King Architectural Metals The Wagner Companies Gold

Lawler Foundry Corp. Silver

Julius Blum & Co. Inc. FabCAD Inc. Colorado Waterjet Co. Innovative Hinge Products Inc. D.J.A. Imports Ltd. Lavi Industries Eagle Bending Machines Inc. Regency Railings Inc.

Get ready for METALfab! Visit:


Fabricator  March/April 2009

METALfab 2009 Update METALfab 2009, the industry event of the year, is only weeks away! Get ready for five action-packed days of learning and networking! From the Tuesday evening reception to the Saturday awards banquet, your week will be filled with education sessions, social events, the trade show, Top Job contest, shop tours, and much more. One of the highlights of METALfab is our keynote speaker and special presenter, Cynthia Paul of FMI Corp. Ms. Paul will lead sessions on building customer loyalty, winning new work, and how to make a client presentation with “pizzazz.” In addition to Ms. Paul, other education classes will cover a wide range of shop and office issues, including welding, job scheduling, finishing, and shop management. This year, there are several classes dedicated to technical issues, including building codes and driveway gate requirements. As a bonus, Thomas Zuzik Jr., a long-time member of our technical team, is leading a class titled, “How to Interpret Codes.” The trade show begins Wednesday afternoon, and will be held again on Thursday and Friday. This event provides an opportunity to see the most exciting new products and services from vendors around the world. On Saturday, the last day of METALfab, attendees will be treated to a day of shop tours and the awards banquet that evening. And there is so much more! To see a complete schedule and to register online, visit: See you in Long Beach!


manufacturer direct prices

Networking and socializing.

Top quality education.

800-624-9512 i fax 205-595-0599


Artistic Steel Forgings

¤ March 2009

Beautiful Iron Castings

A beautiful location.

Photo: Long Beach CVB

It’s almost time for Long Beach!

March/April 2009  Fabricator


Special Feature

NOMMA charts a future course In early February, the NOMMA board approved a bold strategic plan that aims to expand the frontiers of both our association and industry. In addition to providing a valuable road map, the plan will serve as a source of inspiration for years to come. By Todd Daniel NOMMA Communications Mgr. Last year, NOMMA celebrated its 50th anniversary, and to ensure that the association remains vibrant and progressive for the next 50 years, the Board approved a new strategic plan on February 5. The plan, which was completed and approved during a daylong meeting in Atlanta, represents many hours of meetings, discussions, and brainstorming. After several months of discussions, the NOMMA Board approved the hir-

ing of an outside consulting firm in June 2008. Shortly afterwards, the consulting staff began phase I by interviewing current, past, and prospective members. In August, the executive committee and staff started phase II by evaluating all of our current programs and services. Phase III involved an all-day strategic planning meeting in October, where the entire Board met to hammer out the plan details. This process was then completed during a follow-up meeting in February. The following is a summary of NOMMA’s new strategic plan. Now

that the roadmap has been approved by the Board, the real work begins. The final step of the process, phase IV, will align NOMMA’s programs, services, staff resources, and Board priorities with the new plan. Throughout the plan’s development, the NOMMA Board has invited and welcomed member input. If you have any thoughts or comments about anything listed in the plan, feel free to call any Board member. Or you can use the “Contact Us” feature on the NOMMA website to send a direct message to the NOMMA president and Board (

NOMMA Strategic Plan

Finalized and approved by the NOMMA Board of Directors on February 5, 2009, Atlanta, GA. CORE PURPOSE: To promote the common business interests of those engaged in the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. CORE VALUES:


Demonstrated by member openness to exchanging information, knowledge, and experience in an intimate and loyal business community that prizes its unity.

Education: Demonstrated by working with members, consumers, and code officials to support forward looking and progressive practices. Integrity:


Demonstrated by keeping promises through ethical, responsible, respectful and transparent action.

Fabricator  March/April 2009

Creating NOMMA’s strategic plan was a long and arduous process that involved surveys, evaluations, and daylong work sessions in Atlanta. A special thanks goes to the NOMMA Board, who attended meetings at their own expense and spent many

NOMMA Strategic Plan Cont...

volunteer hours reviewing and providing input to the plan. A thanks also goes to the NOMMA staff and our consulting firm, Tecker Consultants LLC of Yardley, PA. The plan represents a true team effort among Board members, staff, and our consultant.

A summary of plan highlights

Describes how the world could be different in the future for key stakeholders such as members, customers, the public, the association, etc., as a result of attaining its goals.


Leadership  The industry recognizes NOMMA as the leading authority within the code community and appreciates NOMMA for its innovative and progressive leadership, and for setting high ethical and industry standards.  Architects, consumers, specifiers, etc., value NOMMA membersʼ expertise and quality products.  Other trade associations pattern their organizations and efforts on NOMMAʼs success.  NOMMA members want to serve as leaders in the organization. Knowledge Transfer  Members view NOMMA as the premier source of information, educational excellence, and services.  Consumers applaud NOMMAʼs commitment to excellence through industry certification programs.  The academic community recognizes NOMMA for creating quality educational programming. Advocacy  The regulatory community looks to NOMMA as a leader in developing industry standards to help devise model guidelines and codes.  The design/build community recognizes that NOMMA members deliver the highest level of craftsmanship and excellence.  Members view NOMMA as a powerful advocacy group in the building code regulatory community. Business Development  NOMMA provides members with education, resources, and services that support their business development and success.  Industry companies consider NOMMA membership essential to their business development and success.  The majority of NOMMA members have the NOMMA logo on their business cards, letterhead and promotional materials.  Architects, designers, consumers, and specifiers demand the use of NOMMA members on all of their projects. March/April 2009  Fabricator


NOMMA Strategic Plan Cont...

A summary of plan highlights

 Leadership: NOMMA will be recognized throughout the industry for innovative and progressive leadership.


 Knowledge Transfer: NOMMA will be recognized as the premier source for industry knowledge.

 Advocacy: • Public Relations: NOMMA will increase demand for its products and services through awareness, promotion, and education. • Government Relations: Governing code bodies and jurisdictions will recognize NOMMA as the standard for education and information within the metalworking industry.  Business Development: NOMMA membership will be essential to success in the ornamental and miscellaneous metals business.

GOALS & OBJECTIVES Leadership NOMMA will be recognized throughout the industry for innovative and progressive leadership.

Objectives:  Increase the proportion of members describing NOMMA leadership as innovative and progressive.  Increase the number of prospective members who join because they see the value of NOMMAʼs leadership to their bottom line. Knowledge Transfer NOMMA will be recognized as the premier source for industry knowledge. Objectives:  Increase the volume of the knowledge base.

This summary only lists the high priorities for the plan.

 Increase industry and membersʼ participation in NOMMA programs.  Increase the number of people such as consumers, architects, designers, specifiers, prospective members, etc., that interact with NOMMA. Advocacy Public Relations NOMMA will increase demand for its products and services through awareness, promotion, and education.

Government Relations Governing Code bodies will recognize NOMMA as the standard for education and information within the metalworking industry. Objectives:  Increase consumer awareness of the superior attributes of

It’s Out ....

NOMMA membersʼ products.  Increase the number of governing code bodiesʼ and jurisdictions using fact-based information on product safety and seeking NOMMA information on industry issues.  Increase membersʼ understanding of how to distinguish the value of their products. Business Development NOMMA membership will be essential to success in the ornamental and miscellaneous metals business.

Objectives:  Increase membersʼ awareness of the value derived from membership and increase their active participation in NOMMA.  Increase NOMMA membership and renewals.

NOMMA 2009 Buyer’s Guide

Obtain a listing of nearly 300 suppliers that provide products and services to the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. FREE TO NOMMA MEMBERS. Nonmembers may order at the discounted rate of $15. To order online, visit and click on “STORE.”

Featuring machinery, castings, components, hardware, railing systems, panels, gratings, finishes, and MUCH MORE! 14

Fabricator  March/April 2009

Tips& Tactics 

Expert Advice

GMAW: Troubleshooting the most common problems By Bruce Morrett, Hobart Brothers and Bill Giese, Bernard

lthough many people tout Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) as an “all-in-one” solution, that doesn’t mean it’s a magic remedy for eliminating your welding problems. This article examines common pitfalls encountered during the normal course of GMA welding, along with trusted ways to correct them.


Porosity Porosity is a small pocket of gas caught in the weld metal that can appear at any specific point on the weld or along its full length. This discontinuity—whether internal or on the surface of the weld bead—significantly weakens the structural integrity of any weld. Inadequate shielding gas coverage is a common cause of porosity and is easily corrected by taking some or all of the following measures. First, check the regulator/flow meter for adequate gas flow capacity (increase if necesMarch/April 2009 


sary), and test gas hoses and the gun for leaks. Eliminate drafts near the welding arc and, if welding outside, shield the arc from the wind with a welding screen. Also, be certain the nozzle is large enough for your process (a too-small nozzle could cause inadequate shielding gas flow) and remove any spatter from the gun nozzle. When welding, keep the nozzle one-fourth to one-half inch away from the workpiece and be sure that you are using the correct contact tip recess for the application. Slow your travel speed and hold the MIG gun near the bead at the end of the weld until the molten metal solidifies (pulling the gun away too soon pulls away the gas coverage before the weld sets). A dirty workpiece also causes porosity. Clean the surface of the base metal to remove rust, grease, paint, coatings, oil, moisture, and dirt prior to welding. You can also use filler wire with added deoxidizers to “clean” the weld. Additional causes of porosity include: using the wrong gas (always use a welding-grade shielding gas

appropriate to the base metal and filler metal), using too much or the wrong type of anti-spatter (use the correct amount and type for your application), and welding wire that extends too far out of the nozzle (extend no more than one-half inch beyond the nozzle). Impurities in the base metal, such as sulfur and phosphorous in steel, can be a further cause, remedied by changing the base metal to a different composition (where specifications allow); wet or contaminated shielding cylinders should be replaced immediately to help prevent porosity. Undercutting and incomplete fusion Undercutting occurs when a groove melts in the base metal next to the toe of the weld and is not adequately filled by the weld metal. This discontinuity creates a weaker area at the toe of the weld and could cause cracking. To correct this problem, reduce the welding current, decrease the welding arc voltage, and adjust your electrode angle as needed. Reduce travel speed so that 15



Proper work angles are important for avoiding GMA welding pitfalls like incomplete fusion.

88 LB

33 LB


940 627 4529 2956 CR 1370 • ALVORD, TEXAS 76225 16

the weld metal completely fills the melted-out areas of the base metal and/or pause at each side of the weld bead when using a weaving technique. Incomplete fusion (or lack of fusion) is the failure of the weld metal to fuse completely with the base metal or the preceding weld bead in multi-pass applications. Incorrect electrode/work angles that cause the weld metal to get ahead of the arc can be the culprit and should be adjusted accordingly. For proper welding angles, reference Figure 1 and follow these steps:  Place the stringer bead in its proper location at the joint, adjusting the work angle or widening the groove to access the bottom during welding.  Keep the arc on the leading edge of the welding puddle and remember to use a correct gun angle of 0 to 15 degrees.  If using a weaving technique, momentarily hold the arc on the groove sidewalls when welding. If correcting the electrode/work angle does not remedy the problem, check to see if the welding puddle is getting ahead of the electrode. Simple adjustments, such as increasing travel speed or using a higher welding current, will correct the problem. A dirty workpiece could also be the cause of the problem. Always clean the surface of the base metal prior to welding to remove contaminants. If you suspect insufficient heat input could be contributing to incomplete fusion, select a higher voltage range and/or adjusting the wire feed speed as necessary. Excessive spatter Spatter occurs when the weld puddle expels molten metal and scatters it along the bead where it then cools and forms a solid mass on the workpiece. Excessive spatter creates a poor weld appearance, lowers the efficiency of the process, and leads to incomplete fusion (see following secFabricator 

March/April 2009

tion) in multiple pass welds. Excessively high wire feed speed and/or voltage settings, along with too long of an electrode extension, or stick-out, are often to blame for spatter; correct the problem by lowering the given settings and using a shorter electrode extension. Using the wrong contact tip and/or a worn contact tip or having wrong tip to nozzle recess can also lead to an erratic arc and cause excessive spatter. Be certain you have the right contact tips, nozzles and recess parameters for your job. Like porosity, spatter can also be caused by insufficient shielding gas at the welding arc and/or dirty base materials. Ensure proper gas coverage by increasing shielding gas flow at the regulator and minimizing drafts near the welding arc. Be sure to use clean and dry welding wire, and remove all grease, dirt and other contaminants from the base metal. Excessive penetration/lack of penetration Excessive penetration occurs when the weld metal melts through the base metal and hangs underneath the weld; it is often caused by excessive heat input (See Figure 2). To correct the problem, select a lower voltage range, reduce wire feed speed and increase travel speed. Lack of penetration is the shallow fusion between the weld metal and the base metal. An obvious cause (and exact opposite of excessive penetration) is insufficient heat input. Selecting a higher wire feed speed, a higher voltage range and/or reducing travel speed are viable remedies. Lack of penetration can also be caused by improper joint preparation and/or from the material being too thick. Joint preparation and design must

Lack of penetration and excessive penetration can be remedied by adjusting factors such as voltage, wire feed speed and travel speeds.

permit access to the bottom of the groove, while also allowing you to maintain proper welding wire extension and arc characteristics. Wire feed problems: birdnesting and burnback Wire feed stoppages and malfunctions of the wire feed system prematurely extinguish the welding arc and create irregularities that may weaken the weld bead. A common form of this stoppage is birdnesting: a tangle of wire that halts the wire from being fed. Fix a bird’s nest by flipping up the drive roll and pulling the wire back out of the gun. Trim off the affected wire and re-thread it through the feeder and back to the gun. Blockages in the liner, improperly trimmed liners (too short/burred/pinched), or the wrong liner (too small or large for the electrode diameter) can cause wire feed problems. Replace the liner if you find a blockage, always trim the liner according to the manufacturer’s direction, and be certain you are using the correct size liner for your electrode. Also be certain you are using the proper feeder drive rolls and tension settings for your electrode and

Burnback is the formation of a weld in the contact tip that occurs when the wire feed speed is too slow or if the gun is held too close to the workpiece. March/April 2009 


application. If your specifications allow, decreasing drive roll tension, using a larger diameter wire, and/or reducing the distance the wire feeds (use shorter cables) can also minimize birdnesting. In certain applications, a push-pull wire feeder may also be a viable option for preventing birdsnesting. Burnback is the formation of a weld in the contact tip that occurs when the wire feed speed is too slow or if the gun is held too close to the workpiece. Correcting this problem is easy: increase wire feed speed and the distance of the gun from the workpiece (the nozzle should be no further than one-half inch from the metal). Also remember to replace the contact tip if burnback occurs. Remove the nozzle and the contact tip (which may be melted to the wire), snip the wire, install the new contact tip, and replace the nozzle with one that has the appropriate tip recess for the application. Quality GMA welds are the result of good welding technique, the proper choice of parameters and the welder’s ability to identify a problem quickly and rectify it. Armed with some basic information, you can aggressively tackle the most common problems associated with GMA welding without sacrificing time or quality.

Authors Bruce Morrett amd Bill Giese are product managers for Hobart Brothers and Bernard, respectively. 17

Shop Talk

Forge welding: A blast from the past

Preparation, heat, and timing are the basic keys to an ancient technique that still produces a beautifully strong weld.

By Jeff Fogel

n the dawn of the Iron Age, man discovered that he could, by means of a charcoal fire, hammer two nearly molten pieces of iron together into a strong, permanent weld. This method remained, more or less, the state of the art for the next 23 centuries. The next breakthrough didn’t come until the turn of the century — 20th, that is — when the Industrial Revolution was in full tilt, and gas and


electric welding became de rigueur. There was no longer much call for wagon wheel fabrication and besides, electric and gas welding were faster, and they were portable; you didn’t have to schlep the work to the local smithy. By the midpoint of the century, forge welding had gone the way of the buggy whip. Or nearly. Three millennia later, forge welding is still alive and well, and still has applications nearly impossible to duplicate with modern methods.

It has common application in all blacksmithing including architectural reproductions, hardware, and craft work. It’s also the technique used to produce the stunning rosettes and whorls in Damascus steel blade making. Of course no one would seriously suggest that we’ll be fabricating nuclear power plants or NASCAR racers with forge welding, but if you want a weld that is strong, flexible, and virtually imperceptible, you might consider a forge weld.


If you have an idea for a topic you’d like to see covered in Shop Talk, please let us know. For consideration, please contact the Editor at (888) 516-8585 ext. 103, or E-mail



March/April 2009

The first step is to upset, or thicken, the ends of the pieces. An orange (1,800 degree F) heat and some horizontal hammering does the trick.


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So, what exactly is a forge weld, and how is it done? By definition, it is a solid-state pressure weld. The two pieces are brought to the cusp of melting point and then lightly hammered together. The result is a single piece of iron, stronger than the sum of its parts. The best way to understand the actual technique is to watch a master blacksmith do a forge weld. For that, I took a drive to Bradford, NH. At the end of an unpaved road stands Ararat Forge, where Gary Kalijian, one of the state’s top blacksmiths, was gracious enough to demonstrate a forge weld. The heat for the weld would be supplied by a coal burning forge. The coal forge is a marvel of simple efficiency. Its anatomy and physiology having remained unchanged for centuries, it still consists of three basic design elements: a fire pot, an air source to oxygenate the fire, and a blast tube to connect the two. While the blast was traditionally supplied manually — evoking the romantic image of the village blacksmith and his young apprentice working the bellows — virtually all modern forges use an electric blower. Bituminous coal, a softer and hotter burning cousin to anthracite, is “breezed,” or burned, for several minutes to eliminate the impurities. The result is coke, a clean burning fuel that is nearly smokeless. It is coke that actually fuels the forge. Metals of dissimilar size and makeup can be forge welded but it makes things Fabricator 

March/April 2009

trickier. So for the purposes of demonstration, two short lengths of 3/8” hot-rolled, mild steel bar stock were used. Mild steel has a carbon content of not more than 0.29 percent and achieves welding temperatures at 2,600 to 2,800 degrees F. Higher carbon steel has a lower welding temperature but the carbon atoms tend to wedge themselves into the interstices of the lattice where they interfere with dislocations. This increases brittleness and reduces ductility, both of which also make things tricky when welding. But first things first. The initial step in a forge weld is “upsetting,” or thickening, the areas to be joined. This is done by heating the iron to an orange hue (around 1,800 degrees F), then simply laying it across the anvil and hammering the end until it assumes a bulbous shape. This is done to each of the bars. The pieces are then ready for scarfing. Think of a scarf as the iron worker’s answer to the carpenter’s rabbet joint. Each bar end is hammered down into a recessed edge (in fact the word rabbet derives from the French, rabat, to ‘beat down’). A good scarf will be slightly convex which causes the flux to be squeezed outward when the pieces are hammered together. This is important because flux trapped in the joint will weaken the weld. There are also lap welds, split, or cleft welds, Twelds, and jump welds. But whatever type of joint is used, the principle and basic steps for a forge weld remain the same. Once the two pieces are scarfed, they’re returned to the fire for a quick heat. This time they’re pulled out when they assume a deep red color. This is around 1,300 degrees F. It’s not hot enough to work the metal but it’s just right for smoothing dents and finishing. It’s also the correct temperature for applying the flux, the next step.

Gary’s proprietary mystery mixture of flux being applied.




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The dropped tong technique in action.

Easy does it. All that’s required for the weld is some light hammer taps — just enough to squeeze out the flux.


Here, a brief discussion about flux, in a blacksmithing context, is in order. As all metalworkers know, flux prevents oxidation on the welding surfaces. Blacksmiths typically use some type of sodium borate, otherwise known as Borax. It lowers the melting point of the iron oxide, which allows it to be flushed from the weld surface. While there are commercial mixes of Borax available, many smiths use

plain, straight-out-of-the-box Twenty Mule Team Borax. Others have their own recipe. But all use Borax as the main ingredient. I’d tell you Gary’s flux formula if I knew it. But if I knew it, he’d have to well, you know... After the flux is applied, the iron is returned to the fire for the final heat. This is the big one. It is the critical element in the making of a weld. It’s essential that the iron be precisely at

welding temperature. Anything short of that and the surfaces will not adhere. Just a few degrees in excess of welding heat, and the iron will be ruined. The visual clue that you’ve exceeded welding heat is when the piece suddenly becomes a July 4th sparkler. So, how do you known when you’re at the right temperature? Like most blacksmiths, Gary simply eyeballs the pieces while they’re still in the fire (this is where didymium safety glasses

The two photos above illustrate a completed weld. No visible weld lines... and no discernible thickening. 22


March/April 2009






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pay off) and makes a judgment call based on experience. At welding heat, the iron will take on a characteristic color and texture. The surface glows with a pastel yellow color and has an oily texture which is referred to, in blacksmith’s argot, as “slippery,” or “slippery heat.” Now, it’s show time. At the exact point when the iron reaches welding heat, the pieces are yanked from the fire, positioned on the anvil and lightly hammered together. The technique Gary uses involves dropping one of the tongs as he lays the pieces on the anvil. This is actually called the “dropped tong” technique. While it seems a bit dramatic, seconds — even split seconds — count, as the anvil surface begins sucking heat from the pieces the instant they make contact with it. Then the pieces are hammered together. The idea is tap them lightly — just enough to squeeze the flux out. The surfaces will adhere on their own. Once joined, the weld has a slight bulge. A quick heat and additional hammering will finish the weld so that there is no discernible distention and no visible seam. Aesthetics aside, it is a very tough weld. It can be forged, bent, twisted, and reshaped as desired. This weld came out well, and Gary couldn’t resist a little showing off. First, he broke out the calipers to show the complete absence of distortion in the joint. Then, he heated the piece and bent it in a vice to demonstrate the weld’s impressive ductility. Which also proved that one of the most ancient metal fabricating techniques still has a place in today’s world.

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Some good examples of forge welds. See if you can spot the welds. They’re between the handle and shaft and the tines and shaft. Fabricator 

March/April 2009

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Job Profile

This business runs in the blood A NOMMA member’s love for his multigenerational family company results in Top Job bronze.

etal fabrication is in Michael Stylski’s blood. It always has been. Since the age of seven, when he went to work for his father, Stanley Stylski (except for the five years he left the industry to “pursue other career paths”), Michael has always been in the ornamental iron business. And he loves it. “I had an old guy tell me when I was in my late teens,” says Stylski, “‘If you have a passion for what you’re doing— really, really enjoy what you’re doing— then you never have to work a day in your life.’ And that’s basically it in a nutshell. I love what I do, and it never gets old.”



And you can believe Stylski when he tells you that his love for the business never gets old. His passion for metal fabrication and his business just keep growing—and his enthusiasm is contagious. You can’t help but be excited for him. So, what’s Michael Stylski, Sr., president and CEO of the Accent Ornamental Iron & Powder Coating Company of Cambridge, MN, excited about these days? He’s particularly excited about winning a bronze award in NOMMA’s 2008 Top Job contest (Interior Railings-Ferrous category). “It was our first entry ever,” he says with a grin, “and our first NOMMA award. Plus, it was a challenging job— unlike any that we’ve ever done before.”

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Project Interior railing that resembles “mangroves.” Fabricator Accent Ornamental Iron Co. Biggest challenge Keeping the railing’s unique twig pattern intact, while adhering to the building code. Approximate labor time 560 hours. CO NTAC T

Mike Stylski Accent Ornamental Iron & Powder Coating Co. 354 South Adams St., Ste. 1 Cambridge, MN 55008 Ph: (866) 840-4766 Web: Fabricator 

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The home’s two exterior decks reflect a “twig” design, similar to that of the striking interior staircase.

A “fitting” challenge As Stylski tells it, he received a call from Mihm Custom Homes, with whom he’s worked on and off for more than 12 years. “I got a call to go out to the job site to meet with the builder, home owner, interior designer and architect,” he said. “I did, and they presented me with a picture of a railing that resembled mangroves.” [Editor’s Note: Mangroves are types of tropical evergreen trees or shrubs having stilt-like roots and stems, forming dense thickets.] “The picture had no top rail on it, so it wouldn’t conform to the building code. It didn’t have an inch-and-a-half grippable surface for a top rail and it had a wooden newel post, which we were unable to reproduce exactly,” explained Stylski. “So what I did was this: I made a sample piece of railing that was very similar to what they had. They liked what we did, and we got 28

the contract for the job directly from the homeowner. From there, everything was good to go.” The homeowners, the Shafers of Mendota Heights, MN, also commissioned Accent Ornamental Iron to complete two exterior decks. “Those were fairly simple,” said Stylski. “They were straight pieces of railing that fit between stone pillars or monuments.” It was the award-winning interior stairway that posed a little more of a challenge, according to Stylski. “The interior [job] was a stairway with a little more than 180-degree turn to it,” he said, “with railings on both sides — the easy side and the tight side (the curve). We created these railings using 11/4” round hammered bar top rail, 1” hammered bar support posts, and varying sizes from 1/8” to 3/4” embossed bars for the twig pattern. The newel posts were fabricated from several embossed bars and custom, plasma-

cut random mounting plates.” To begin the fabrication process, Stylski and his crew measured the radius of the proposed stairway (24” & 72” radius) and took the measurements to the shop. There, they created templates of the stairway and rolled the top and bottom rails. The piece was then taken back to the job site to see how the rails fit the curve. “We brought it out there and the curves were just right,” Stylski said. Next, Stylski and his crew marked out the riser lines onto the top rail. “We marked the leading edge of the riser and the tread,” he said. “We transferred that onto the top rail, and we brought that back to the shop. Next, we produced the skeleton frame — which means that you have a top rail, the vertical posts (that actually fasten down to the step) and then the bottom rail.” The piece was then brought back to the job site for another field fit. This time it was a little skewed and needed to go back to the shop for adjustments. “One of the posts was off for one reason or another,” Stylski said. “One of the curves might have moved in the shop or in transportation between the job site and our shop. We tweaked it again and brought it back a third time.” This time, the fit was right. Accent Ornamental Iron & Powder Coating Co. is a proud member of

NOMMA according to Stylski. “The benefits far outweigh the cost,” he says. His favorite benefit? “It’s the ListServ email, where you can ask a question and you can draw on the knowledge of the rest of the people in the industry all over the country,” he notes. “Back when I was learning the trade from my dad, it seemed that none of the fabricators talked — everyone was guarding their secrets. Now, if you ask another fabricator a question with regard to a supplier or a how-to question, you’re nine chances out of ten going to get an answer from them.”


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“ took six of us to carry it into the house. It had to have

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Now, it was time for the piece to go back to the shop for finishing, where Stylski and his crew started with the artwork — the mangrove-patterned panels. These panels, created by welding the largest twig-type materials first and gradually working down to the smallest twigs, are what give the piece its unique flavor. “Once the artwork was done,” Stylski said, “we did a field fit again — a fourth field fit — and everything fit perfectly, so we brought it back to the shop and did a white blast. We sandblasted off the metal, removing all of the mill scale and debris from welding; and the grind marks were smoothed out and transitioned so that they looked the same color.” Finally, the piece went to the powder coating department where an acid

etch was used to etch the material and get it to rust. When the etching process was complete, the piece was rinsed off, phosphatized, and clear powder coated. The piece was then returned to the job site and installed. “Everything went well; 560 hours went into that job—including fabrication and installation,” said Stylski. “I had three fabricators in the shop who basically built that railing, but it took six of us to carry it into the house. It had to have weighed at least 400 pounds!” When asked what the biggest challenge of the piece was, Stylski says that it was keeping the flow and the twig pattern in tact — keeping it tree-like — while conforming to the building code. His favorite part? “The custom

nature of the job,” he said, “and having never produced anything like this before. The guys at the shop really like to get into these one-of-a-kind custom jobs!” A real family affair After working full time for his father in the family business (Allied Iron Works) from age 16 to 25, Stylski left the industry for five years to pursue other career paths. In 1988, though, he returned to the ornamental iron business and started his own company, Accent Ornamental Iron. “I thought I’d try it on my own,” he explains. As the sole employee, Stylski operated his business from a two-car garage in Anoka, MN until 1991, when he moved his family and his business to Cambridge, MN. There, he worked from two large pole buildings located on the family’s 40-acre farm. In 1997, Stylski’s father passed away, so he combined the customers

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and assets from his father’s business with his own. With this change, Accent Ornamental Iron was able to continue serving many third generation customers originating from Modern Iron Works, the company that Stanley Stylski originally owned before heading to the Korean War with the U.S. Army. At this time, Michael Stylski’s son (Michael, Jr.) also began to take a more active, full-time role in the company. “He’s 29 now, and he’s been working with me since he was a kid,” says Stylski. Stylski’s 24-year-old daughter, Jessica, also worked for her dad as an installer for two summers while going to college. His younger daughter, Laura (age 21) is completing her last year of college, but works in the office during breaks and summer vacation. One of the company’s greatest assets, though, according to Stylski, is Kelly Olene-Stylski, vice president and business manager of Accent Ornamental Iron — and his wife. “She’s been a godsend,” he says. Kelly, who came on board in 2004, Fabricator 

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is responsible for all the day-to-day business operations including billing, collections, and scheduling for Stylski, among other duties. She also mans the showroom, which is a key element to Accent Ornamental Iron’s success, according to Stylski. Expansion and diversification “One of our biggest assets here, besides Kelly, is our 1,800 square foot showroom,” says Stylski. “It’s been our experience that you can go out on a job site and meet with the designers, the architects and the homeowners — you can show them pictures till you’re blue in the face — but once you get them into the showroom, and they can touch it, feel it, and see samples of what they’re doing, nine out of ten times, they buy. “It’s just a matter of getting them into the showroom,” he continues. “And, of course, our showroom isn’t very centrally located. Being in Cambridge, we’re 45 miles north of

the Minneapolis St. Paul area, so it takes some effort for them to get here. But once they do, and they can see what they’re buying, we usually have the deal.” In 2004, Accent Ornamental Iron made a final move to its current location, a 10,000 square-foot commercial building in the heart of downtown Cambridge, MN. Besides working on their own ornamental ironwork contracts, they currently provide powder coating services for several other ornamental iron fabricators in and around the Twin Cities metro area. “I powder coat for about 10 or 12 of my direct competition,” notes Stylski. Last year, Stylski purchased Olin Wrought Iron, a manufacturer of American-made balusters and newel sets, which are manufactured by merging ancient blacksmithing techniques with state-of-the-art computer, controlled technologies. “We thought long and hard about

the Olin acquisition,” recalls Stylski. “But with the amount of business we did with him in a year, we thought it made sense to make that purchase. And it’s been a good purchase. I sell to many of the fabricators in the Twin Cities area here as well as nationwide. Also, we do a tremendous amount of business with Texas Metal Industries (TMI). They handle our products in their catalog.” Today, Accent Ornamental Iron & Powder Coating Company has nine key employees including Stylski, his wife, and his son. That number can increase to as many as 13 during the peak season. Hard work = steady growth Accent Ornamental Iron has enjoyed continued success throughout its history, according to Stylski. “We’ve had steady growth every single year since I’ve opened the door. “We’ve never had a year that was less than the previous, even in this econo-

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Member Fabricator 

March/April 2009

my,” he says. “From Christmas to April 15 — because of the weather — we normally gross in the first quarter equal to one good month any other time of the year. But, for the last three years we have not experienced that. We have stayed busy all year long. Fortunately, we are sitting right now with a three-week backlog of work, and I have not had to lay off any of our key people.” Accent Ornamental Iron’s success doesn’t come easily, though. There’s a lot of hard work involved, and the Stylskis have very stiff competition — both are daunting in the world of metalworking. Yet, Michael Stylski, Jr. marks the third generation of Stylskis to work in the metal fabrication business. Stylski says, “In this area I can think of four other businesses that are second, third, or even fourth generation companies. We have good competition and a lot of other talented fabricators in this area, but we do hold our own, and we’re respected in the industry.” To keep that respect and to keep the company profitable, Stylski runs a

March/April 2009 


very tight ship. “I base my production on the dollar amount of the job,” he states.. “I require my guys to do X number of dollars every day.” “I have three fabricators who work in the shop,” Stylski continues. “Those guys are given a job, and once it’s fabricated, it’s cleaned up and it goes to our powder coating department. There, we have one guy that oversees powder coating, though he has a helper when needed. Then, my two installers take out anywhere from one to seven jobs per day — generally there’s multiple stops every day of the week because 50 percent of our work takes less than a day to fabricate and install.” During the peak months (April to November), Accent Ornamental Iron’s jobs are planned and executed six to eight weeks out, with 40-50 orders pending at a time — requiring Stylski

to put in 12-hour days. Does he get tired? “Yes,” he says, “but I love what I do. It’s my passion, and it never gets old.” Metal fabrication is in Michael Stylski’s blood. It always has been — and it seems that it always will.


Job Profile

A door fit for a castle A massive, hand-forged door wins a gold award in the Gates/Door, Forged Category of the 2008 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition.



For your information

“Fontaine,” the door is part of the comOMMA member Loyal pany’s “Total Custom Design” proWrought Iron Co. Ltd. regram, which can provide a unique ceived a gold award for a masdesign to meet a client’s needs. Acsive, hand-forged door that they cording to Joel Nadler, Loyal Iron submitted in the 2008 Ernest WieDoor’s national director of Sales and mann Top Job Contest. Marketing, the Fontaine door is speThe door was created for a 12,000cial. “The Fontaine door weaves Chisquare-foot villa in Canada. The style nese traditional culture together with of the villa resembles a castle — European majesty, implementing gold strong, massive, and extraordinary — leaf to compose the gold-colored eleand the client wanted an equally imments to illuminate the noble style and pressive door. The door is completely honorable quality.” hand-forged, and the only purchased Like all of Loyal’s doors, the secitem used in construction is the deadtions and components for the Fontaine bolt lock. door were fully sandblasted and then The rising yellow straws in the degalvanized with pure sign represent a harzinc. The assembly vest, while the flowers Top Certifications was then given a prein the center of the mium electrostatic door represent faith in Loyal Wrought Iron practices catalytic paint and the future. All total, the highest quality control the door took approxicoated with a faux finstandards and has achieved the CE and ISO 9001 ish. mately 840 hours to certifications. The company “The Fontaine fabricate, and it now has also earned the UKAS door is a concentrated serves as a main focal Quality Management Seal of work of iron art, compoint for the $11 milApproval, NAMI, and Miami prising a bevy of arts lion home. Dade hurricane certification. and crafts, and attractCalled the

Project Hand-forged door for a private estate. Method Pierced forged openings, twisted tied endings, huge rivets, and every vertical piece worked under the hammer while hot. Approximate labor time 840 hours. Fabricator Loyal Wrought Iron Co. Ltd. About Loyal Wrought Iron is a high-end fabricator that specializes in doors, windows, railings, and gates. CO NTAC T

James Yan, President Loyal Wrought Iron Co. Ltd. 2902/A Dongzhou Bdg, # 75 Guangli Rd., Tianhe Dist., Guangzhou, 510620, China Ph: 011 862085239303 U.S. Contact: Joel Nadler, Ph: (973) 6100098 Fax: 011 862085239919 E-mail: Web: Fabricator  March/April 2009

ing the keen eye of the ornamentalbusiness in the United States, ist,” Nadler said. Canada, and Europe. The comLoyal even pays careful attention pany’s doors can be purchased to the glass used in its doors, and from a network of distributors, uses a specially fabricated ¾-inch which is continuing to grow. insulated tempered glass called One of the company’s most “Sun-E.” The glass provides a modvisible projects was for Disneyern style and is highly reliable. land in Hong Kong. In 2004, In addition to the custom design Loyal provided an extensive orprogram, Loyal offers about 20 denamental package for the new signs in their main collection, plus theme park, which included fencthey offer a “Renovation Door” seing, gates, roof railings, balconies, ries, which is designed for existing and other items. Photos of the homes and features 16 standard work can be viewed on the commodels. Another innovative line ofpany’s website. fered by the company is called A close-up view shows the fine attention to detail that “Smart Match.” In this series, a the company puts into their products. A focus on quality client can choose from 42 frame James Yan, president and internationLoyal Wrought Iron Co. Ltd.’s ofshapes, and they can then work with ally renowned entrepreneur. The comfices, manufacturing, warehousing, the company to design a custom infill. pany originally crafted gates, fencing, and export center are located in a According to Nadler, “Loyal Iron and balustrades, but soon began focus270,000-square-foot facility in Doors transform spaces, create visual ing on wrought iron decorative doors. Guangzhou, a major city in southern intrigue, and function within any As the company grew, it quickly gained China. The factory employs about 300 opening.” a reputation for its high quality craftscreative staffers, and uses over 30 difAn impressive past

Loyal’s history goes back to 1993, when the company was launched by

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During the production process, each Loyal Iron door is individually forged, hammered, shaped, sanded, and inspected. If necessary, a door is given a second sanding. All of the company’s products are constructed in compliance with the coveted ISO 9001:2000 standard, which the company implemented five years ago. “Being loyal to the customer and products is the way to be successful,” said company president and founder James Yan. Prior to starting the company, Yan spent five years in Australia studying the industry. In keeping with his personal philosophy for loyalty and excellence, Yan carefully examines and approves every detail of production, sales, and installation. The close attention to detail has proven to be a building block to the company’s success. Yan also carefully listens to the feedback from customers, and he especially enjoys reading customer testimonials. “Accessibility has always been key in establishing great relationships with our customers,” said the company’s Joel Nadler. “That way, we know we are always giving them what they want.”

standard iron doors on the market.” The new door also provides a screen option.

Europe, Loyal Iron Doors adorn some of the most exclusive homes and commercial buildings in the world.


Since Loyal Wrought Iron Door Co. Ltd.’s beginning in 1993, the company has grown to be a major supplier of high-end doors around the world. Throughout Asia, North America, and


Sandblasting prior to finishing. TOP: Roof railings, which were part of the Hong Kong Disney project. BOTTOM RIGHT: The company’s high-tech factory. BELOW: Loyal president James Yan (center) and the U.S. team proudly show the gold award they received in the 2008 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition.

Looking toward the future

For 2009 the company is highlighting its Main Collection series, which features an expanded line of high-quality entrances. At the center of the Main Collection is the company’s newly created gem: The NU-Full View Door, which provides three inches more width and height for a greatly expanded view. The door’s design allows for greater visibility of its uniquely crafted iron scrolling, from both inside and out. The design was created exclusively by the Loyal staff and a patent is pending. According to Nadler, “The NU-Full View Door is exclusive because this type of iron art has never before been achieved with iron doors, as its expanded visibility provides a dramatic difference when compared to 38

For 2009, the company is proud to introduce its Main Collection series, which features the new NU-Full View Door, which includes three more inches of opening on all four sides. Shown is a “before” and “after” view. Fabricator  March/April 2009

Job Profile

Did you miss seeing last year’s Top Job Gallery in Memphis? The following is a sampling of the outstanding work entered in the 2008 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition.

Artisan Metal Works Ltd.

George Town, Cayman Islands • GOLD Award LEFT: This gate was fabricated from aluminum tube, sheet, and flat bar. The 2 x 1/4" flat bar was used to custom fabricate close to 300 individual curved ''waves'' for the gate leafs. In the areas where the curved flat bar crossed over the marine features, the flat bar had a 1 /4” slot cut in the center so that the feature was placed in the middle of the gate leaf. The greatest challenge of the project was to create a structurally sound gate which represented a gentle surface wave under which a tranquil and harmonious marine scene existed. The overall width of the three gate panels, not including the columns, was close to 39 linear feet. Approx. labor time: 380 hrs.

Aladdin Door & Gate Co. Indio, CA RIGHT: The bi-parting driveway gates represent one of three pairs fabricated for an upscale country club with an “Andalusia, Spain” theme. They measure 21’ wide by 9’ tall. The project was designed in-house and took five fabricators 20 working days to build all three pairs. While the scrollwork is high quality and aesthetically pleasing, what makes this project special and impressive is the 12” wide by 5” deep iron frame. The arched top created another layer of difficulty. The fabricator employed the same method as they did with their arched iron doors, cutting the radius profile with a CNC plasma table to create an arched tube. March/April 2009  Fabricator


A.Y.’s Designs in Iron San Diego, CA • SILVER Award LEFT: This project took seven years from planning to finish. A local artist was commissioned to provide these fantasy-like gates for a project 300 miles away. He provided the fabricator with full-size drawings. The most difficult part was the wavy grid. The fabricator used 1/4“ x 2” flat-bar with 3/4” round bar pins every 2’. It was hot dipped galvanized after fabrication. All the other forms are 12 gauge galvanized sheets. The two gates weigh 16,000 lbs. This was a fun project. Oh, the wheels! They are old style water pumping impellers — this is a water filtration plant. Approx. labor time: 600 hrs.

Ornamental Steel Div. of The Drapery Makery & Canvas Workshop Inc. Fairhope, AL


& BOTTOM: These double gates were designed by the fabricator based on desires expressed by the customer, a professional fishing guide. The solid iron gates are composed of round and flat bar forged into the underwater plant environment and plate steel fish and crabs hand cut by plasma. The supporting triangulation structure is curved to preserve an appearance of natural flow. Challenges included meeting the owner's precise expectations for the appearance of specific fish species and successfully installing a very heavy gate in loose, sandy soil. The customer selected a powder coat color based on the predominant leaf color in his yard so the gates blend naturally with the background when viewed from the road. Approx. labor time: 109.5 hrs.


Fabricator  March/April 2009

Sam’s Iron Works Inc. North Hollywood, CA RIGHT & BELOW: The entrance gate design was provided by the designer of a famous steak house restaurant with other interior decorative miscellaneous items. The entrance gate is 6’ W x 8 ’H. Two panels open out with glass panels inside. The challenge was to mount the hinges on the center and top to align with the arm hinge of the hydraulic closer that acted as a pivot hinge, which was also buried in the concrete floor before tiling. We had to fabricate the panel frames with the gate frame painted and installed the frame with the closers and cemented the closer in the concrete. We then removed the panels back to the shop to complete the interior pattern, and then finished the doors with primer and bronze powder coating. We then returned to the restaurant to reinstall. Material used: 2”x 2”11 ga. gate frames and 1½” x 4” panel frames, ½” sq. solid forged bars with ¼” x ½“ solid flat bars and 11 ga. sheet metal kick plate on the bottom. Approx. labor time: 120 hrs.

Croissant Custom Fabrications Denver, CO BELOW: This job consisted of approximately 40 linear feet of interior stair railing in a new custom home. The designed was sketched by the customer, but to the fabricator’s design suggestion. The material used was hot rolled steel. The fabricator site fitted the frames, then shop fabricated and installed the finished product. The job was powder coated. The customer was extremely pleased. Approx. labor time: 60 hrs.


Creative Metal Works Gulf Breeze, FL • GOLD Award ABOVE & BELOW: This handrail has steel posts and pickets. The top cap is a bronze handrail profile that was rolled in an alternating pattern to create the wavy look. This profile has a slot cut into the bottom to accept posts and pickets. We like to cover this slot with a piece of flat bar, which during this rolling operation tended to crack the welds. Many times during rolling we had to stop rolling to fix broken welds. There is a large bronze volute where the rail turns to go downstairs. It took massive amounts of heat from a rosebud torch to get the volute to lower and head down and meet the rail coming up the stairs. A fellow NOMMA member shared the application method for an oil rubbed bronze finish and that's what we used on the top cap. Bronze is a beautiful material to use if you have customers who can afford it.

Fabricator  March/April 2009

Flaherty Iron Works Inc. Alexandria, VA RIGHT & BELOW: This platform railing was installed at the top of a second floor stairs in a town home. The fabricator used 3/16" x 1" flat bar. The bar was cold formed, using bending and welding joints at corners to make the shapes. This rail was designed by the owner, and the fabricator chose the material. It is primed and painted black and has a wood top. Approx. labor time: 200 hrs.



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Bighorn Forge Inc. Kewaskum, WI ABOVE: This job included five altar candlesticks (two shown). The client wanted the design to reflect the movement of water and fire. The fabricator added stylized wheat sheaves to represent the body of Christ. The sheaves were forged from 3/16” x 2” initially by power hammer, then refined by the hand hammer, and finished by hand filing. To pull the width out more dramatically, cross peening was used, and the texture from the peen was actually part of the design elements. The sheaves were riveted into bundles of two, and a pin was brazed into them as a means of mounting them to the main ¾” diameter shaft before wrapping with 5/16” round bar. Wrapping the different sized flat bar was tougher than one might imagine, as graceful “controlled chaos” is tough to achieve. Approx. labor time: 36 hrs. each. Fabricator  March/April 2009

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European Ornamental Iron Work Addison, IL LEFT: This interior curved stair and landing railings were for a 16,000 sq. ft. home. They were custom designed by the fabricator using scrolls with forged ends, along with forged leaves, and toped with a rich mahogany handrail to create an elegant French look. The main challenge was to make sure the placement of the scrollwork would meet the requirements needed for the 4â€? code. For the finish, the railings were painted black, and then highlighted with silver and bronze patina. The scrolls are fabricated from Âź x 1â€? flat stock, with hand forged endings. The leaves were first cut from Âźâ€œ flat stock and then hand forged to shape. The posts are 1Âźâ€? square solid bar. Approx. labor time: 580 hrs., including installation.

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Garfield, NJ • GOLD Award ABOVE & BELOW: These exterior railings were fabricated for a private residence. All the railings are fabricated from aluminum, and the posts are 4-part castings. The center infill is a single casting with flanking castings, made from other castings. The wrapping scrolls were fabricated from 3/8� x 11/4� and 5/8� x 11/4� flat bars, and were fan tailed and rolled on machines. The cross bars are 5/8� x 1Ÿ� flat bar. The railings were rough sandblasted and then powder coated with a heavy textured flat black, which produces an old iron type scale look on the surface. Each of the posts have 7� square by 3/8� plates for mounting. Approx. labor time: 34 hours of design, 320 hours fabrication and 80 hours installation. Fabricator  March/April 2009

Eligius Metal Works Inc. Jacksonville, FL LEFT & BELOW: The toughest challenge of this forged birdbath and fountain was the center stand. It was made with three 10’ pieces of 1" round solid, tapered and textured, wrapped around 11/2" schedule 40 pipe, and free formed around basin perimeter. Forged leaves were added to the rim. The base, fabricated from the top down, started with a ring of heated 4" schedule 80 pipe set in the anvil horn and textured with special punches. Next were the forged leaves and 8" pipe, textured with an ax. The 1" round textured stock with a random ball swage was next, and then the textured flat bar and a final ring of forged grapes were added. The basin is cut from 1/4" aluminum sheet, hammered, and polished. The forged spider, lizard, and bird were added last. The piece was then given a heat patina finish with clear coat. The post and base are black paint with gold highlights, finish scuffed with Scotch-brite, and clear coated. The leaves at the base are the only purchased items. Approx. labor time: 80 hrs.

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Fabricator  March/April 2009

Grizzly Welding & Custom Fabrication Phoenix, AZ LEFT & RIGHT: This is a wine room door for a house in Flagstaff, AZ. The door was a collaboration between the designer and fabricator. The frame and jamb are tube steel. The pickets are ¾” round with forged spears that penetrate the ¾” square rails. The rails were hand punched and riveted to the frame. The vines and tendrils were made from various diameters of round bars textured in our shop. The leaves and flowers were made by stake repoussé. The handle was forged from 1” with a texture similar to the vine and mounted to a plate with chased lines and scalloped edges that complement the steel casing around the jamb. The finish is a Japanese Brown with intentional runs, and was sealed with Permalaq clear sealer.

Fine Architectural Metalsmiths Chester, NY • BRONZE Award BELOW: This surreal over-scale polished bronze apple at 21" diameter, complete with blossom-end detail, was created for a client who didn’t want to pay foundry prices for the going price of bronze. The fabricator proposed a bronzed apple using a cold-plating bronze process, constructed the internal structure, gave it a smooth bronze coating, and polished the apple to a high sheen. “Wow!” the client said, and we knew we had solved an unusual challenge with an even more unusual solution.

March/April 2009  Fabricator


Cape Cod Fabrications East Falmouth, MA BELOW & RIGHT: The architect plus fabricator designed this complete roof support system that spanned approx. 95 linear ft. throughout the entire length of this modern barn. All 600 stainless steel components were either CNC machined or water jet cut for precision and accuracy. After fabrication/machining/welding all items were polished to a No. 4 brushed finish on a center-less grinder. Approx. labor time: 410 hrs.

Christopher Metal Fabricating Inc. Grand Rapids, MI LEFT & RIGHT: This aluminum garden trellis was designed by the fabricator. Corner posts are 3" square tubing, other vertical posts are 2" square tubing, horizontals are 1 /2" x 1" tubes. Vertical pickets are 1 /2" x 1" bar. All forged scrollwork is 1 /4" x 1" bar. The scroll collars are 1 /2" round bar cut in half. The picket collars are castings to fit 1" square material. The trellis dimensions are 10'-6" by 9'-0” by 8'-6" tall. The trellis was made in three units so it could be powder coated a “Corvel Rust” color. Approx. labor time: 168 hrs.

DeAngelis Iron Work Inc. South Easton, MA RIGHT: The steel portion of this stair alone weighs 9,000 pounds. The single, center-run box beam stringer measures 14" wide x 10" deep and is made entirely of 1/2" steel plate (continuous full penetration welds on all four corners). Hidden beneath the wood treads are 1" thick plates measuring 1'-4" x 4'-8". The tread plates are supported back to the box beam with 8" x 4" x 1/2" rectangular tube. The rails consist of 3/4" thick clear tempered glass supported only with the custom engineered and fabricated stainless steel point fittings shown in the photos. The offset handrail is 304 stainless with a #4 satin finish. Approx. labor time (fabrication and installation): 2,220 hrs.


Fabricator  March/April 2009

Lightning Forge Murray, UT LEFT & BELOW: This stair railing was built mostly in place over finish stone on a stairway that was originally framed by hand in the 1920’s; meaning that slope, radius, and length were different on every tread. The “X” panels were individually templated and laser cut for each opening, then curved in a press and fit into the frame. The bronze medallions were installed with Loctite gel adhesive. There were 120 linear ft., of which 60’ was curved or curved and sloped. The design was developed after discussions with the architect, interior designers, homeowner, and fabricator. Approx. labor time: 550 hrs. (includes installation).

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March/April 2009  Fabricator



Introducing City Line innovative designs from grande forge

*all items protected by US and International copyright







Neiweem Industries Inc. Oakwood Hills, IL RIGHT: The customer was looking for a railing that would represent their last name. Translated into English, it means “foliage.” After working with their interior designer and presenting several samples, they chose this design with panels of leaves and rosettes. The leaves and rosettes are all purchased parts. There were 90 feet of stair and balcony rail. All but 10 feet were curved. There were 7 leaf panels in total. Each oval shaped baluster had a hammered ball pinned to the top and bottom. The pins were welded to the inside of the channel to maintain a clean appearance. The railing was painted with deep bronze tone enamel. Leaves were highlighted with gold leaf paint. The bronze rosettes were given a dark brown patina, highlighted with steel wool, and clear coated. Approx. labor time: 885 hrs.

McLellan Blacksmithing Loomis, CA LEFT: This railing was designed for a house at Lake Tahoe with a bear theme. The fabricator had made some headboards previously for the client, who wanted to use the same design on the railing. The panels were replacing existing brass pipe railing, so they weren’t concerned with meeting code. Making the rails equally attractive from both sides was a challenge. We textured the trees on both sides. The bears were repousséd from two pieces of 1/8" plate, and welded together to give them the same appearance from either side. The job was designed by the fabricator. Approx. labor time: 62 hrs.

Auciello Iron Works Inc. Hudson, MA RIGHT: This Chinatown Park project is an intricate part of the completion of the “Big Dig” in Boston, and is a tribute to the Chinese people. One of the signature features is the “Sail,” a replica of a Chinese Junk, located at the entrance. It is made of type 316 stainless steel with a no. 4 finish, weighs approximately 17,500 pounds, and is 32 ft. tall. The mast is 71/2" O. D. tubing, battens are made of 11/4" plate, and the sail material is coil mesh. The curved trapezoidal base pedestal is fabricated of 1/2" plate and has a red finish. The biggest challenge faced was to protect the stainless steel finish during painting of the base, and the entire assembly during shipping. Chinatown Park will be the center of a variety of neighborhood activities designed to honor the rich history of its Chinese inhabitants.

March/April 2009  Fabricator


JuliusBlum&Co.Inc. Complete Stock List


Strength Lipko Iron Work Canton, GA TOP: This 43 ft. free form floral design staircase was constructed from different sized (from 1.5 to 3/8) round, solid bars. The leaves were cut out of a water jet cutter from 1/8 � plates before chiseling and forging. The bronze bird was purchased at a flea market. The finish was a gold patina over bronze paint. Approx. labor time: 650 hrs.

Mueller Orn. Iron Works Inc.




Elk Grove Village, IL BELOW: The customer asked the fabricator to design a rail that would complement the wine cellar gate (made by the same fabricator) that was located directly across the hall. Originally, it had a very open design, since the customer did not feel adhering to codes was necessary. But after the initial layout, they decided they wanted to meet code but still keep the same feel, so it had to be altered both in the design area and the height. We designed and fabricated this rail using both 3/4" and 5/16" steel round bark rod for the hand forged design area and a forged steel handrail with a 1" steel channel welded underneath it for the top handrail. The rail was given a rust paste rub finish over the raw material, and then given a satin clear coat for added protection. Approx. labor time: 31 hrs. (includes installation).

Fabricator  March/April 2009

The Performance leader in gate operators.

Why are we Simply The BEST? Since our modest beginning in 1991, BYAN 6<67(06,1&LVQRZÂżUPO\HVWDEOLVKHGDV a thriving dynamic and leading innovator in the ÂżHOGRIOLQHDUK\GUDXOLFVZLQJJDWHRSHUDWRUV and pre-wired electronic controls. Our basic philosophy has never changed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to provide the highest quality product and technical assistance to you, the customer. Our hydraulic operators are capable of installations ranging from private residential to continuous duty-cycle commercial applications and gated communities, and our microprocessor control board can be integrated with a vast array of access control equipment. BYAN SYSTEMS swing gate operators and pre-wired electronic controls are ETL listed and comply with the latest requirements designated by UL 325. All of our operators possess two features which have contributed to BYAN SYSTEMS continuing growth in the market place, a â&#x20AC;&#x153;No Positive Stopsâ&#x20AC;? capability and a slow-down function at the end of the opening and closing cycles. Both of these features are mechanically built into every BYAN SYSTEMS operator, which means that no additional work is required by you at the point of installation and no extra cost is incurred by you in order to achieve these features.

T h e B YA N S Y S T E M S l i n e i s unsurpassed in quality, performance and reliability and the technical assistance provided to our distributors and dealers is, we believe, unequalled in the industry. â&#x20AC;˘ The only four-year warranty in the industry â&#x20AC;˘ Operators for virtually any swing or horizontal slide application â&#x20AC;˘ 8/ (7/&HUWLÂżHG â&#x20AC;˘ Built-in pedestrian and vehicle protection â&#x20AC;˘ Design/build controls for any DFFHVVFRQÂżJXUDWLRQ

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â&#x20AC;˘ Eliminator Series doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need positive stops: Operators DXWRPDWLFDOO\VORZGXULQJÂżQDOÂżYH degrees of motion For more information, call 800-223-2926 or visit

BYAN SYSTEMS, INC. CUSTOMERâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S BILL OF RIGHTS Our customers have a right to a quality product and prompt service every time they call us. Our customers have a right to accuracy in our quoting and our billing. Our customers have a right to knowledgeable salespeople with no hassles. Our customers have a right to strong technical support on the back end. Our customers have a right to expect us to do the job rightâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; theÂżUVWWLPHDQGHYHU\WLPH Our customers have a right to a follow-up call after the sale. JOHN BORECZKY, PRESIDENT P.S. Serving our customers is our privilege, not a pain.

Magnum Engineering Inc. Phoenix, AZ LEFT: Extensive collaboration among our teams of experienced designers, draftsmen, fabricators, finishers and installers was required to create innovative methods of attachments for the exterior cladding, cantilevered staircase, and soffits for the Phoenix Art Museum. Coordination was critical and required extraordinary project managing due to communicating with an outof-state architect and working simultaneously with several other trades. The main entry exterior cladding consisted of ¼” bronze plate with a custom, hand-applied antique finish. Most bronze panels were 3’ x 5’, weighing 180 pounds each! The feature floating cantilevered staircase incorporated our stainless steel and glass with natural granite by others. The 36’ high sophets consisted of over a mile of 1/8” clear anodized aluminum panels sectioned in 10’ lengths.

Pro-Fusion Ornamental Iron Inc. San Carlos, CA TOP: This project is in close proximity to a salt water environment. Materials used included 316 stainless with a brushed finish, horizontal balusters 3 /8"x2" solid #316, and posts 2 x 2 x 120 wall tube. The stainless #316 was machined with a horizontal slot 1/16" deep for placement of horizontal baluster and TIG welded on the bottom only. Prior to field installation of the fabricated railing, we set 14" stainless plates with 4 bolts on wood cap with a 6" round tube. The 120 wall was welded to plate, and this sleeved into the post above the wood cap (wood cap installed by others). This project comprised 80 lineal feet of guard railing outside and 40 lineal feet stainless railing inside the residence. The 2nd floor deck, 16 lineal feet long, was templated in the field and used by both the fabricator and the cabinet maker to produce the wood cap railing because of the curve. All railing was in sections and there was some field TIG welding to connect these sections. All the sections were hand carried to their area of placement. 56

Fabricator  March/April 2009

Special Show Report

Long Beach, CA • April 21-25 Plan now to attend NOMMA’s 51st annual convention and trade show. The following is a sampling of some of the outstanding exhibitors you’ll see at the show. TRADE SHOW ADMITTANCE is free. While you can register onsite, preregistration is encouraged. For details, visit


Wednesday, April 22

4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. –

Thursday, April 23

10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Trade Show Open with Lunch and Education.

Friday, April 24

Trade Show Grand Opening Reception.

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Trade Show Open with Breakfast on show floor.

Location: Hall C – Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, 300 East Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA. Go to for directions and parking.


Designed to be the strongest, most durable DC gate operator in its class, All-O-Matic’s long awaited SL-100 DC has arrived. The SL-100 DC utilizes an industry first brushless motor technology (no maintenance, high torque, and smooth operation), total inhouse design, programming, and construction. The unit is designed for use on gates up to 2000 lbs. and 45 ft. long. It is equipped with a built-in loop detector rack and enough power to operate all accessories on battery power. The operator is manufactured with a heavy-duty frame and parts that are made to last a lifetime, plus the com58

pany offers an industry leading warranty. Ph: (818) 678-1790; Web: Alloy Casting Co.

Alloy Casting Co. is showing a custom-made, 4-ft. double face pineapple that was cast in corrosion resistant marine grade aluminum. The two-piece casting has excellent welding characteristics and was fabricated to a frame with 5356 welding wire. The pineapple is also available in single face, along with single and double face designs in 21 in. and 9 in. sizes. Call for a free quote on your custom project. Ph: (800) 527-1318; Web:

BD Loops

BD Loops manufactures detection induction loops for both saw-cut and pave-over. The company offers a true saw-cut installation kit. The loops can be used in sawcut, direct burial under gravel roads, tied to rebar in a concrete pour, under hot asphalt, or pavors, and meets UL® standards for direct burial. Standard sizes range from 3 x 7 ft. to 6 x 20 ft., with lead-ins up to 1000 ft. Custom orders are welcome and shipped the same day. The company specializes in larger size loops. Ph: (714) 890-1604; Web: Fabricator  March/April 2009


BFT is launching the advanced LUX BT 24V DC hydraulic arm, the first of its kind in the U.S. Features of this operator include: capacity up to 660 lbs. and 10 ft.; locking device to select preferred blocking mode on the operator; linear encoder for easy setting of limits and precise slow down in both directions; post bracket joints and

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adjustable brackets for ease of installation; winter oil for smooth operation even down to -4° F; and use of advanced control board with alpha numeric LCD display and built-in receiver. Ph: 877-995-8155; Web: Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Co.

Big Blu Hammer is an American manufacturer of air power hammers, hand hammers, and blacksmithing hand tools. The company also produces instructional videos. The firm sells Ingersoll-Rand air compressors

and NC-TOOL propane forges. Big Blu Hammer features The Big BLU MAX with QCâ&#x201E;˘ Quick Change die system. Its innovative yet simplistic design allows the power hammer to be compact, easily approachable, versatile, and cost-effective. The Big BLU Power Hammer continues to become the workhorse in hundreds of shops across





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March/April 2009  Fabricator


the U.S. and in many countries around the world. Proudly made in the USA. Ph: (828) 437-5348; Web: www. Julius Blum & Co. Inc.

Julius Blum & Co. Inc. stocks a large and complete selection of malleable iron collars, bases, and flanges. Stocked in large quantities, these ornamental castings may be welded, and are far more resistant to breakage than traditional cast iron pieces. For complete information as well as CAD drawings of all of our products, visit our website or call to request a free copy of Catalog 18. Ph: (800) 5266293; Web: The Cable Connection

The Cable Connection’s stainless steel Ultra-tec cable railing hardware is sleek, easy to install, and virtually maintenance free. Fittings offered include hardware that is concealed inside posts, as well as attractive devices that can be mounted to the outside of your end posts. The Cable Connection will do take-offs, help you select the right hardware for the job, and provide prompt quotes. Ph: 800-851-2961; Web:

Carell Corp.

Carell Corp. introduces the new T150A Universal Ornamental Bar Working Machine, designed to twist, scroll, fold, and bend flat, square and round bar to ¾ inch. The T150A comes with a full set of tools and a simple, easy-to-use automatic cycle programmer. Units are production ready and affordable for even the smallest ornamental shops. Create your own signature rail and fence designs with the new T150A Ornamental Bar Worker. Custom application tooling, no problem! Ph: (251) 937-0948; Web: Cleveland Steel Tool Co.

The 55 Ton Ironworker from Cleveland Steel Tool offers an unequalled combination of value and versatility. With four workstations — punching, flat bar shear, angle shear, and an open station — this machine is ready to work for you. Throat depth is 7 in., maximum punching capacity is 11/8 in. through 5/8 in. plate. The unit can shear flat up to 3/4 x 4 in.

and angle to 4 x 4 x ¼ in. This machine will surely become the workhorse in your shop. Ph: (800) 446-4402; Web: www. CML USA Inc. Ercolina

Ercolina’s newly released Top Bender model TB90 is ideal for bending large diameter pipe, tube, squares, rectangular, solids and other profiles. Interactive touch screen display features auto or manual bend programming modes, as well as system diagnostics and multiple language modes. The TB90 has unlimited program memory storage available with a USB device. Ercolina’s TB90 is capable of bends to a centerline radius as small as 2D without an internal mandrel. Ph: (563) 3917700; Web: Colorado Waterjet Co.

Colorado WaterJet Co. can create custom railing infill panels like this panel cut from 1 in. aluminum. Any design, any material can be cut. You can deliver to your customer a unique design at a reasonable price. Let your imagination run wild. Cold cutting process avoids warping, hardening, and slag. Eliminates welded joints. Colorado Waterjet is dedicated to detail and committed to quality. Serving NOMMA members since 1998. Ph: (970) 532-5404; Web: Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd.

As North America’s largest producer and distributor of wrought iron, ornamental iron, cast iron, and aluminum stair parts and accessories, Custom Ornamental Ironworks 60

Fabricator  March/April 2009

provides the most competitive prices in North America and quick assembly of custom orders. For over 30 years, the firm has offered an extensive line of wrought iron and ornamental iron stair parts, such as balusters, railings, and other components. All stair parts and accessories are manufactured on-site and distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada. Ph: 604-273-6435; Web: www. D.J.A. Imports Ltd.

D.J.A. is proud to announce the 2009 edition of our product line. From ornamental components to a tri-directional adjustable barrel hinge, we are confident that it will be your “Go To” catalog. Ph: (718) 3246871; Web: Doringer Cold Saws

At METALfab, the company is demonstrating the Doringer Model D-350 circular cold saw. The Doringer uses a 14-inch saw blade turning at only 54 r.p.m. The Doringer mills through steel, stainless, and aluminum, providing a burr-free, accurate cut, with +.003 in. tolerances. With the resharpenable saw blade you can reduce cutting costs up to 90 percent. There is no safer, cleaner, quieter, more accurate, or more economical method to sawing your metal. Doringer has proudly served NOMMA members for over 25 years. Ph: (310) 366-7766; Web: Eagle Access Control Systems Inc.

Four new gate operators by Eagle provide worry-free operation even during a power failure. Exclusive Auto Power-Save Mode conserves energy, providing maximum cycles during battery-backup or solar operation. The unit is perfect for when 24/7 operation is required or where the power source is far from the gate. Eagle’s Diamond Control Board makes for easy set-up and simple operation. Powerful, efficient, and solar-ready, all Eagle Operators are built to last and backed by the industry’s Best-in-Class Warranty. Shown in the picture is the Eagle-2000-DC 24 VDC Commercial Slide Gate Operator for gates of 45 ft. and 1500 lbs. Ph: (800) 708-8848; Web: www.eagleoperators. com. Eagle Bending Machines Inc.

At METALfab, Eagle Bending Machines is showing their new, economical CP30E-PR 11/2 inch Capacity Universal Roll Bender —the affordable, value loaded bender March/April 2009  Fabricator


representing the lasting quality, brand name and superior support forever associated with Eagle Bending Machines. CP30s include Universal Tooling and come in seven versions to fit your budget. Tooling for bar twisting, scrolling, cap rail, tube/pipe, spiral rails and more are all available off-theshelf. Come see the entire line of Universal Roll Benders powered and on display. Ph: 251-937-0947; Web: Elite Architectural Metal Supply

Elite Architectural Metal Supply carries several custom lines that include custom one-piece posts and post caps available in cast aluminum or cast iron, and a line of hand forged rail ends available in brass, aluminum, and steel. Elite also carries a full line of Grande Forge balusters and posts available raw or with a powder coat of custom patina finish. Stop by our booth to see all the products we have to offer. Ph: 847-636-1233; Web: www.

package powered by AutoDesk technology. The program automatically draws railings, fences, and gates. It has a unique feature where simply sketching the outside border can draw any style gate, and the program draws the rest (see photo). Included in the package is a 13,000 casting and forging library from 10 industry suppliers. Online training and tech support is included. Ph: 804-862-8807; Web:

and perforated metals for over 60 years. Large inventories in Long Beach and San Francisco allow fast turnaround on many stock items. Our Long Beach weaving facility can produce custom specifications in all types of alloys. Framed mesh, perforated, and expanded metal sheets are also available. Ph: (800) 733-3378; Web: Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc.

Feeney Inc.

Feeney Inc. has partnered with StaLok® Terminals Ltd. to offer a range of Sta-Lok® rod assemblies. Crafted from top quality, all-weather 316 stainless steel, these Sta-Lok® tensile rated rod systems are exceptionally versatile, durable, attractive, and low maintenance. All Sta-Lok® rods are made to order with special tension fork end fittings that allow adjustability without bulky turnbuckles or exposed threads. Quick delivery and a 30-year track record of excellence make Sta-Lok® the reliable choice for your next project. Ph: (800) 888-2418; Web: www.feeneyarchitectural. com.

FabCad Inc.

Flynn & Enslow

FabCad introduces the 2009 version of its software

Flynn & Enslow has manufactured woven and welded wire meshes

5186-F Longs Peak Road, Berthoud, CO 80513

Hebo invented the modern wrought iron machine and is the worldwide leader in this field. The multi-functional Hebo system can twist, endforge, scroll, emboss, texture, hammer tube, and press belly pickets. The Hebo is designed and built by German blacksmiths for the ornamental iron industry. Robert Rayson, the U.S. representative for Hebo, is the owner of Stratford Gate Systems Inc. Ph: 503-722-7700; Web: www. ITW Ransburg

The ITW Ransburg No. 2 Electrostatic Gun is the most efficient applicator for on-site finishing. The gun’s high transfer efficiency provides improved productivity, reduced operator fatigue, and higher quality finishes. Reduced labor and material costs, as well as reduced clean-up, are just a few of the money saving benefits. The portable Deuce Unit, utilizing the No. 2 Gun, power supply, cart, and accessories, make it well suited for many applications. Typical uses include metal furniture, fences, railings, tubing, and file cabinets. Ph: 419-470-2000; Web: Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Inc.

Our Tube Bender bends square tubing into elegant gate arches. With the optional pipe roller kit you can easily 62

Fabricator  March/April 2009

bend mold cap rail on edge, flat stock the hard way, and Sch. 40 pipe. Features include knurl center wheel for better gripping action, heavy-duty crank handle, and adjustable lock collars to keep material aligned. The tube bender weighs only 57.5 lbs. Ph: 626-442-0271; Web:

15, and US 10B finishes. These locksets feature a 9 Series mortise lock body, thrubolted solid brass trim assemblies, and spring loaded captivated spindles. Marks USA locksets are backed by a lifetime mechanical and electronic warranty. Ph: (631) 225-5400; Web:

Lawler Foundry Corp.

Lawler’s natural finish, high quality iron castings and steel forgings are sold to fabricators and forgers to design, fabricate, finish, and install residential and commercial ornamental metalwork. Lawler introduced the “QC Forgings” in 2007, and this new economical line allows fabricators and forgers to offer high quality at reasonable prices. Lawler remains the preferred supplier to over 1500 full-time fabricators and forgers of ornamental metal products in the U.S. Ph: 800624-9512; Web: www.lawlerfoundry. com. Marks USA

Marks USA Ornamental Iron Locksets are available in US 26D, US 3, US March/April 2009  Fabricator

Rockite is a powder-like compound that mixes with water to a pouring or pliable consistency for the quick and permanent repair of cracks, holes, or breaks in concrete. It anchors bolts and similar items in concrete with more than twice the holding power of fully cured concrete

Metal Master

Lavi Industries

Our full line of 1 in. fittings — flush center and end posts, flanges, radius ell’s, perpendicular collars, end caps, glass clips, and tubing — are meticulously crafted from stainless steel or solid brass and are finished inhouse to maintain strict quality standards. Ph: 800-624-6225; Web:

Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co.

Premium Coatings for Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals

Same great products with our M e t a l

M a s t e r design...

Sumter Coatings is proud to continue our commitment to the Ornamental Iron Industry. The

M e t a l M a s t e r brand as a way of expressing appreciation to this marketplace.

great products you have been accustomed to over the past years will be recognized by our

mulated for ornamental and miscellaneous metals, will be identified by the M e t a l


Our popular Satin Shield, along with our other industrial coatings which were especially for-


Inquire about water reducible Sure Grip (PFGA) (paint for galvanize and aluminum).



New Distributors are Welcome. Call Chet or Terry for More Information. 2410 Hwy. 15 South • Sumter, SC 29154

Terry Spatz Coleman

(803) 481-3400 • Toll Free: (888) 471-3400

National Sales Representative

(800) 589-5545 63

alone. Develops compression strength of 4500 lbs. per square inch within one hour. Adhesion is due to expansion and, when fully set, it grips metal to concrete permanently. Ph: (216) 2912303. Sharpe Products

Sharpe Products offers a full line of quality stock architectural handrail fittings. Fittings are available in steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. The firm offers the largest selection of stock formed and mandrel bent elbows that come in a wide variety of sizes and radii. In addition to stock fittings, Sharpe also has custom bending and rolling capabilities that can significantly reduce cutting, welding, and grinding times. By thinking SHARPE, you SAVE! Ph: 262-754-0369; Web:


Carl Stahl DecorCable

X-TEND® Flexible Mesh is the overwhelming choice for safe, strong, and flexible balustrade infill. It is also the most economical way to upgrade existing railings to comply with existing building codes. With lateral loading capacity in excess of 200 lbs. per linear foot, it ensures a safe, durable installation. Panels of X-TEND® arrive ready to install to your existing structure using common hand tools. It never loses its shape and is maintenance free. Ph: 800-444-6271; Web: www. Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc.

The Striker® Forging Hammer is self-contained (generates its own air), so it does not need the added expense of an industrial air compressor. Striker sells an industrial product that is used in high-production shops and is built

to perform! All Striker® hammers are made to our engineering specifications and technical bulletins. We do not hide behind a foreign factory … when you call, we answer. Ph: 916374-8296; Web: Taurin Group USA

Tired of the constant struggle of measuring radii? The ARC Meter has changed the way people measure radii. With three different models to choose from, you can measure the internal and external radius of a section without cross-referencing to a separate number chart or calculating using a mathematical formula. These high-end devices give a

Fabricator  March/April 2009

direct reading instantly in inches or millimeters. The ARC meters make it easy to reproduce parts, check repeatability, and even duplicate arches from a jobsite. Don’t frustrate yourself any longer with time-consuming methods of measuring arche; call today to get your ARC Meter. Ph: (909) 476-8007; Web: The Wagner Companies

Wagner expands their product offerings with the release of their 2009 Master Catalog. The 304-page full color resource compliments Wagner’s

website and online shopping. The catalog provides complete information on all Wagner railing systems: Wagnerail™; Lumenrail®; cable railing; and glass railing, including PanelGrip™ and GlassWedge™, as well as standard handrail components, custom capabilities, technical information, and code summaries. Ph: (414) 214-0444; Web:

Weaver’s Iron Works

The sole purpose of the Porta-Bender is to bend iron quickly and easily. The PortaBender will bend or straighten rails, pickets, and bars. It can bend tubing, channel, or cap rail, and the Porta-Bender can be easily carried to any job site. Ph: (865) 932-2636; Web:

Fabricate Your Own Architectural Components Hebo invented the modern wrought iron machine and is the worldwide leader in this field. For decorative iron operations including scroll bending, forging, embossing, hammered tube, belly pickets, twisting, texturing. For all applications including steel, aluminum, bronze, copper and brass.




US Representative,

s /WNTHESAMEMACHINERY world wide parts suppliers use s ,ABORCOSTGODOWN

as your least expensive employees become the most productive s #OMPUTERIZEDCONTROLmakes for fast and consistent results s #REATEAPROFITCENTER making custom components s )NVENTORYCANBEREDUCED

no waiting for parts s 4AKEYOURBUSINESS to new levels of quality s !FFORDABLE less than cost of one $10 hr employee

w w w. u s a h e b o . c o m

Robert Rayson, Stratford Gate Systems

Office 503.722.7700 Cell 503.572.6500 Email: hebo Maschinenfabrik, Am Berg 2, 35285 Gemunden-Grusen, Germany. Phone ++49 6453 91330 Fax 49 6453 913355 Email:

March/April 2009  Fabricator


Technical Affairs News Automated gate industry gets changes in the 2009 international codes Editor’s Note: DASMA (Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association) and NOMMA are both members of the Automated Vehicular Gate Coalition, which has served the industry since 1996. A thanks to Joe Hetzel, DASMA’s technical director, for providing this information. In September, the International Code Council approved

three code-change proposals affecting the automated vehicular gate industry. DASMA submitted two of the codechange proposals, representing the interests of the Automated Vehicular Gate Coalition, which is made up of DASMA, IDA (International Door Association), AFA (American Fence Association), and NOMMA (National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association). With the new changes, the 2009 International Fire Code (IFC) and the 2009 International Building Code (IBC) will require automated vehicular gate installations within their respective code scopes to comply with the provisions of UL 325 and ASTM F2200. The code changes should be published in May 2009 and are expected to be enforced shortly thereafter.

Order O rder N Now! ow!

UL 325 governs gate operators and some other types of operators. The standard includes requirements for entrapment protection and other safety-related requirements. ASTM F2200 applies to the construction of the vehicular gate itself and encompasses many types of gates. The standard is harmonized with UL 325, regarding entrapment protection. It addresses topics such Joe Hetzel of DASMA. as gaps, protrusions, pinch points, and openings. The IFC covers gates installed across roads that provide “fire apparatus access from a fire station to a facility, building, or portion thereof.” Such roads include “all terms such as fire lane, public street, private street, parking lot lane, and access roadway.” The IBC covers gates installed in a building, facility, or portion thereof. To learn more about this code change, an education class will cover the topic during METALfab 2009. Leading the presentation will be Brent Nichols of Picasso Gate Inc., NOMMA’s representative to the coalition.

The manual is a “must The “must have” hav ha ve e”” publication publica public ation for for fabricators, fabric fabr icat ica ic ators ors,, architects, archit ar chitec chit ects ec ts,, and designers ts

The NAAMM-NOMMA The Metal F Finishes inishes Manual Produced Produc Pro duce duc ed e d jointly jointly with the National National Association Assoc Asso cia iation tion of A Architectural Archit rchite rchit ecctur tural tur al Met Metal al Manufacturers Man Ma nuf n ufac uf acturers ac turers • Originally printed in 1964, the publication is now in its fifth printing. • Published as a joint project between NOMMA and NAAMM.

Your “one source” for fi stop nish information ing

116 pages edition that inin• A 116 illustra cludes 19 tables and 16 illustrations, precautionary notes, tips, full index, and more. • Includes chapters on copper alloys, aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel/iron, and applied coatings. $30 nonmember / $24 member + shipping & handling


Actual page samples.

Order online aatt w Order Or,, call NOMM Or NOMMA A aatt (888) 516-8585, e ext. xt. 101; (770) 288-2004. E-mail: n Fabricator  March/April 2009

Join NOMMA today! 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. Get quick access to information and resources by joining NOMMA. We offer educational tools, discounts, networking opportunities, and more... O&MM Fabricator Magazine NOMMA’s glossy magazine offers shop techniques, job profiles, business articles, and more.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Member Talk

Crafting eye candy in Nashville In a tough economy, Modern Iron Concepts’ creative marketing methods and custom metalwork sales yield sweet results. These Top Job silver award winners share their networking strategies. ■

By Sheila Phinazee ocial and business networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, and community newspapers are part of the successful marketing plan used by husband-and-wife NOMMA members, Kevin Phillips and Susan Sullivan of Modern Iron Concepts Inc., Nashville, TN.

S 68

“Before 2008, getting work wasn’t an issue,” says Sullivan. “It was more about screening the potential client and choosing the best fit. Our market was primarily in the upscale residential with about 25 percent being commercial.” The state of the economy, however, began to change. Phillips and Sullivan decided to re-evaluate every aspect of

life and business and asked themselves if business as usual produced desirable results. “In early 2008, we could see the market turning, although our area seemed insulated from the immediate downturn, and continued building,” says Sullivan. “So, we moved dollars from pricey Yellow Pages and slick layouts in home magazines to a weekly Fabricator 

March/April 2009

Having a strong background in construction has been beneficial for the Phillips in interpreting code specs and practical applications of fabricating and installing curved stairs (like those pictured above) and spiral stairs, which is the company’s specialty.

newspaper that is in our target market, and we network with Facebook, LinkedIn, and— all free networks. Guerilla Marketing

Often imitated, never duplicated!

by Levinson is our main source book for marketing.” A NOMMA ListServ entry was the spark to their networking plan.

“ListServ was the catalyst that changed our marketing strategy,” says Sullivan. When a member mentioned that he no longer advertised in the Yellow





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When you’re the new kid... Kevin Phillips and Susan Sullivan share their thoughts on what it’s like to start a new venture:  “It’s so hard when you’re new. You feel you must take everything that comes to you because you are struggling for cash flow,” says Phillips. “My advice is to pick and choose because it can really drive you under; the learning curve can hurt you if you have other jobs in the hopper. You just can’t make any money on some jobs. It takes a lot of determination.”  “The one thing we get our strength from is our faith. I don’t like to struggle, but struggle is good,” says Sullivan. “When we have to hunker down and find a solution, we get some really good stuff. Our motto is to do every piece as unto the Lord, to the best of our ability and we’ll all be blessed. It’s not always about our pocketbook.”

Pages, Phillips and Sullivan began to re-think this marketing investment. “That seemed to give me permission to consider not using the Yellow Pages and to explore other sources for advertising,” says Sullivan. “The marketing in this market has been our miracle.” Getting started Phillips and Sullivan had a roofing and remodeling company for 25 years and purchased their current building for that company. According to the couple, the building was literally knee high in scrap pieces of steel and the antique equipment was still in place. “As I was cleaning out the office area I found several ornamental iron catalogs, Lawler and Tennessee Fabricating as a matter of fact and I was really fascinated,” says Sullivan. “I sort of jokingly asked Kevin if he’d like to go into the iron business.” Phillips had, in fact considered getting into welding. “It was a godsend, it was by chance, I was certainly burned out and ready for a change,” says Phillips, who had experience

making jewelry while growing up. He says, “Iron work is like the frame on a picture. It’s like jewelry for a house—the finishing touch, not just for occupation or to pass code.” As Philips set out to teach himself by reading and practicing welding, a welder friend gave him a pair of old, auto-darkening lenses. Phillips soon invested in a new $130 pair of his own—what he considered a prized possession. “As a result of teaching himself, he can teach anyone to weld,” says Sullivan. Early in 1997, the first piece Phillips made was a fence and then came a spiral staircase for a remodel they were working on. By October of 1997, their iron company was born. “We continued our roofing and remodeling business and in the meantime I learned to weld. It eventually grew,” says Phillips. “We hadn’t even put out a sign,” says Phillips. “We started doing more and more until we let the roofing and remodeling go.” Having a strong background in construction has been beneficial for the Phillips in interpreting code specs

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March/April 2009

The Phillips were silver award winners in the stairs complete division of the Top Job competition last year. A sign company delivered the stair treads by crane.

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and practical applications of fabricating and installing curved stairs and spiral stairs, which is Modern Iron Concepts’ specialty. Although the business excels in creating handrails and curved stairwells, Phillips enjoys mixing things up a bit. “I enjoy the furniture more because it’s a change from the same thing,” says Phillips. “There’s more detail and it’s a more relaxed process. Rails often involve deadlines, code issues, and scheduling that takes a lot of fun out of it.” In terms of materials, Phillips likes working with malleable steel. He enjoys the art of using the torch and prefers hand forged pieces. “Sometimes I’d like to throw a bunch of extra material into a project — there is a tendency to want to go overboard — but you have to remember your profit margins,” says Phillips. Effective advertising Local area newspapers have been one source of new business for Modern Iron Concepts, by placing ads in cluster community newspapers in the Nashville & Davidson County. “We put a color business card with a nice rail or furniture,” says Sullivan. “They tell us they are delighted to support a local artist whom they can relate to and find to be artistic, something that isn’t done much anymore. We present ideas for unique patterns—we call it ‘eye Fabricator 

March/April 2009

candy.’ This often results in a sale that isn’t necessarily straight rails.” Through networking on Facebook, Modern Iron Concepts mostly gets requests for furniture from 30something-year-old clientele. “They’ll say, ‘I have a picture. Can you do a base or barstool?’” says Sullivan. Joining forces with other businesses has been successful. The couple often partners with other local trades people for their surplus, including a granite supplier and a glassblower who also creates frosted glass. Modern Iron Concepts has also partnered with an architectural group in the area. Recently, the business took part in a Concept House project that benefited the Ronald McDonald House Charities, after being approached by the builder. A local TV station did an hour show weekly to show the building process. Modern Iron showcased a three-story spiral staircase and railing that were the last to get installed and required working three shifts to complete. Sullivan says, “One challenge was we had to modify design by adding scrolls to meet code. It was fun having people recognize you in the community as a result of the ad campaign/concept home promotion.” Another outlet includes doing public art. Although the couple has always been fascinated with this venue, they were often too busy in the past to pursue it. The shop will be donating some pieces to nonprofits that use silent auctions as fund raisers as another way of getting out in the community and networking. Just driving around has also been effective for getting their name out. Sullivan feels some business owners are missing out on potential sales by using unmarked vehicles. “Our trucks are lettered so they look like moving billboards,” says Sullivan. “If we’re in the neighborhood for any period of time, we get calls. Business challenges Modern Iron Concepts’ staff currently consists of Phillips, Sullivan, and one other person they call ‘Our Gal Friday,’ who does everything from cutting stock, grinding and painting, and working in the office. Over time, as staff left or quit, the Phillips didn’t replace them. By the end of 2008, they had two subs that worked on nothing but cable rail up until Christmas. One moved away and the other, who was retired, worked as needed. “In March and April we’ll pick our season back up again and get out of our deep freeze,” says Sullivan. “The small jobs we take on take care of us, but wouldn’t

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support our former staff of 15,” says Sullivan. They target more remodeling contractors than the builders. A lot of their work has come from this rather than new house building which has tapered off. The shop is also getting more iron projects on pre-existing units. Homeowners that are remodeling often upgrade to iron railing, fencing, spirals, and gates. The business is

finding that being a “one stop shop” is convenient for builders rather than having to use several trades to get the job done. The Phillips say, “Our market has changed from 50k to 2-10k, and in that range we don’t have to hire extra hands. Two to 10 is our 2009 target market. However, our shop has no minimum order; someone came in today needing $75 worth of brackets.” “I see that we have to continue to

be diversified in our offering,” says Phillips. “The client needs to know he’s getting quality, while we still make a profit. There are still clients who can afford the luxury and will want to pay for that craftsmanship. “ Phillips believes that they will continue to be diversified in the future; they’ll go for the commercial and the high end work, but there may be less of it. “We must diversify for other types of jobs such as furniture and jig items,” says Phillips. “Now we’re considering jig work and speculative work more often. Before, we had people coming to the door for necessary work like railings, spirals and such. A lot of building has been put on hold.” The Phillips were silver award winners in the complete stairs division of the Top Job competition last year. Sullivan says, “It was interesting because it was one of those jobs you grit your teeth and get it done. We were shocked we got an award.”

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March/April 2009

Member Talk

It’s fifty for Foreman! ■

2009 marks NOMMA member Foreman Fabricators Inc.’s 50th year in business.

These sunshades on the Monarch Levy biking and hiking trail in Chesterfield, MO are but one of many memorable jobs crafted by Foreman Fabricators over the years. The shades are made from steel components with some stainless hardware for contrast.

Who started the company, and Qwhen? Karl Block, who was formerly employed by Cupples Products, started the Karl M. Block Company in 1959. Cupples is a local contractor and, at one time, had supplied the curtainwall — a non-load bearing architectural March/April 2009 


“skin” of a building or skyscraper — for many of the world’s largest buildings. Typically it’s the aluminum and glass you see, which is attached to the structure of the building. In 1990, the company changed to its current name, Foreman Fabricators Inc., in order to better describe the nature of the business.

For your information

Editor’s note: Brian Foreman, president of Foreman Fabricators Inc., recently shared some of the company’s rich history and achievements with Fabricator magazine in the following Q&A session.


Foreman Fabricators, Inc. 4605 McRee Ave. St. Louis, MO 63110 Ph: (314) 771-1717 Web:

What are some of the differences between the initial company and Q Foreman Fabricators as it is today?

President: Brian Foreman E-mail:

There is virtually no difference in the products the company made then

Vice-President: Rob Rolves E-mail: 75

and those it makes now. We make items that can fit in your hand or glass railings that fill multiple floors of a lobby. However, we do work with a wider variety of materials now than the original company did, and that includes copper and copper alloy products as well as zinc sheet. We have even quoted some decorative titanium work.

ways has the company grown or changed over Q50In what years?

Some of Foreman’s diverse projects include stainless steel-withbrush-finish wheel stops and lane dots for a parking lot (above) and bronze key drop box covers for a downtown St. Louis hotel (below.)

We now have an in-house draftsman, upgraded welding and polishing capabilities, upgraded shearing and forming capabilities, improvement in the business system such as detailed job costing and shop management software, and overall improvement in personnel with a bias towards premium customer service.

Q Who and where is your customer base?

The bulk of our customers are in the Midwest, but we’ve shipped items all over the country and, a few times, internationally. We serve contractors, architects, designers, and even some homeowners — anyone who has a need for unique custom items.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve Qfaced, either on a job or within the company itself? On-time completion of longer-running, larger projects, especially during inclement weather, is tough. And, of course, there is the common complaint of finding qualified personnel. We’ve solved that issue by hiring quality people with basic skills and teaching them what they need to know to be successful here.

What are some of the specific qualities or specializations Qyour employees have? Those qualities include the ability to conceptualize a project, understand shop drawings, fabricating products as efficiently as possible, and understanding the installation of the product in the field.

How do you market your business, i.e. word of mouth, Qadvertising, website, etc. We gain most of our work by word of mouth, but we also have a website and a direct mail campaign. We feel our best marketing tool is ensuring the satisfaction of each and every customer.

How have you utilized your NOMMA membership to the Qcompany’s benefit? The value has been in networking and the sharing of information. The ability to use experienced fabricators as a sounding board has often validated our process. It also has 76


March/April 2009

kept us from making a mistake that someone else made.

How will you mark and celebrate the comQpany’s 50th anniversary? We are hosting an Upper Midwest Chapter meeting in June. We’re noting the event on our website, issuing a press release to as many media outlets as we can think of, we’re getting some ad specialties made, and we’re adding anniversary stickers to all of our mailings.

What advice would you give to someone Q just getting started in the fabrication business? Patience is definitely a necessary virtue. You need to have a thorough understanding of metallurgical properties and fabrication techniques. Accurate communication with your customer will ensure that you’re making what they want, not what you want. As they’ve been saying since 1959: “One of a Kind or Quantity.” Happy 50th to everyone at Foreman Fabricators, and here’s to the next 50!

Foreman Fabricators did quite a bit work in this building, as well as one across the street, both owned by the same client. An exterior view of the lobby, with mirror stainless panels and brush finish numerals. ABOVE:

RIGHT: A stainless steel interior railing.

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Biz Side

Taking your differentiated strategy to market How will you achieve your vision for the future? Does it require getting work? Your business development strategies direct the get-work part of reaching that future. ■

magine that you are the president of Smith Construction, a general contractor that wants to expand its operations in the healthcare market. Currently, you are sitting in a client meeting with your lead salesperson, Bill, who is presenting your company’s healthcare contracting services to a prospective customer, John. John has heard several presentations from other contractors in the last couple of days. The message is cliché: “We have excellent products, great service, good people, and deliver on time and always within the quoted budget,” and so on. John says he wants to hear some fresh ideas since this next project will probably be over-budget and late, despite claims to the contrary by every contractor that is proposing the work. He says that he doesn’t have time for more “me too” messages. John actually wants to make a value-based decision, but if all the



value propositions are the same, where’s the value? So, what should Bill’s message be? As Bill goes through his presentation, you learn that John hasn’t heard of your company in the healthcare construction arena. With the amount of work your company has completed in the region, you can’t believe there is someone who hasn’t heard of your company. Perhaps this is the case with other potential customers? Didn’t John receive your marketing mailers and brochures? Was all that money you spent taking your differentiated strategy to market on a new web site, brochures, and attending community events wasted? If one of the largest potential customers doesn’t even know you are in the market — it may have been. Crafting a message that works To compete successfully in a valuebased selection, contractors need to establish their unique selling points

For your information

By Cynthia Paul

Cynthia Paul is a managing director with FMI Corp., the nation’s largest provider of management consulting and investment banking to the worldwide construction industry. FMI’s management consulting practice provides a wide array of services, including strategy development, training and talent development, leadership and organizational development, compensation and rewards, marketing and related research, business development and project delivery improvement. Ms. Paul may be reached at (303) 398-7206 or via e-mail at Fabricator 

March/April 2009

and differentiate their services from the competition. Having excellent products and services, good people, and delivering on time and on budget is really just the ante to get into the game; it’s the “me too” message that is currently boring John. Customers do, of course, expect those things when they hire a contractor. Why would any customer expect anything less? However, that leaves the question: What is it that the customer expects? What can you do to win the work and “wow” the customer? How

do you craft the non-“me-too” message and take it to market? Knowing where to start Starting is sometimes the hardest part. Knowing where to begin to develop a differentiation strategy starts with knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your top competitors as seen through the customer’s eyes. Chances are your people will think they know plenty about competitors. But what is going to help you find a differentiated spot in the marketplace is knowing

how the market’s key contractors stack up in the mind of customers and prospective customers. You will need to conduct some marketing research. A third-party researcher’s perspective is less likely jaundiced. Once research is conducted on your competitors, you will realize that you share a good number of the same strengths as your competition. Those strengths might include ontime, on-budget performance, good people etc. You should also expect to find some strengths that are different.

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The “me too” zone is where your strengths overlap those of your competitors. “Me-too” should be considered in your overall get-work strategy. You need to assure your customers that you are as good as the competition in those areas. Doing that allows you to level the playing field. The experience that you bring in hospital expansions, for example, could make a difference. Your design-build experience that has provided money-saving results for other clients might also matter. Your technology platform that provides

coordination of major trades with 3-D modeling is another point of differentiation. Start with strategy After witnessing that your potential customer didn’t even know you operated in the healthcare market, Bill calls up marketing to find out why their prospect didn’t get the latest brochure in the mail — a typical response. Bill learns that they did, in fact, receive the brochure. So perhaps it wasn’t read, or the person who received it wasn’t the person making the buying decisions. While these are important things to know about your marketing operations, fixing them is really just a firefighting exercise and misses the point that you may not have a strategy to gain your share of the healthcare market, or the strategy you have isn’t working. If the hospital project owner doesn’t know who you are, they certainly don’t know your reputation for superior project management. A strategy answers the question of how the company’s vision for the future will be achieved. There may be a number of different strategies covering different areas of the business and different markets. There may be a strategy to drive cost from the system by improving field productivity. Another strategy might address the creation of new delivery techniques that shorten the construction schedule. Too many strategies can be confusing; therefore, it is important to consider how strategies work together to advance the company’s vision and plan strategic resources accordingly. Business development strategies Many business development strategies can be considered in strategic planning. Differentiation is the business development that Smith is undertaking. Additionally, Smith needs individual go-to-market strategies for each market they work in or want to enter. Before you can differentiate your company from the competition and determine how you will communicate that message (your go-to-market strategy), you must understand where you are positioned in the marketplace. The



March/April 2009

following four basic elements will help you to understand your market position relative to your competition:  Your strengths as perceived by your customers  Your weaknesses as perceived by your customers  Competitor strengths as perceived by their customers  Competitor weaknesses as perceived by their customers Customer perception, or the point of view of the customer, is key to the information that will be used to build your strategy. Even if customer perception does not match reality, it is perception that counts here. In fact, intent is not reality; perception is the only reality. For example, Smith Construction had a lot of experience in the healthcare market, yet the prospect didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know that. Such facts will be important elements to consider when building your go-to-market strategy. How will you communicate the positioning that you intend to your customers? At the same time, sometimes customers give you credit for being good at something that you would have said was a weakness. You may be viewed as a builder of large projects because you recently built one. The fact that it was a difficult and ultimately unprofitable project may be lost on prospective customers. For a customer to identify something as a strength or a weakness of a vendor, that characteristic must have some importance to the customer. Once you have gathered this information, you will begin to understand the overlaps between your strengths and weaknesses and those of your competitors. Where you desire to underscore your differentiation, you will streamline or modify your systems to work toward operating procedures that increase the consistency of performance in the areas most important to the customer. Further, this differentiation will aim to underscore your strength(s) over your competitorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; weaknesses. Why would you want to understand your competitorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; weaknesses? This information is important because it will help you to know what areas are March/April 2009 


Where your companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perceived weaknesses overlap the

perceived weaknesses of your competitors, your strategy should be to innovate in order to create differentiation. doubt in the minds of your listeners. For example, assume that your company has the best safety record in the market. You can ghost competitors by telling customers that, when safety counts, your performance easily surpasses all others. This approach is strengthened if you can support these

not being satisfied for your customers by the competition, and you can build your differentiation strategy around these areas. The key here is not to gather ammunition in order to say bad things about your competitors, rather the strategy is to â&#x20AC;&#x153;ghostâ&#x20AC;? their vulnerabilities and create a degree of

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claims by using outside, third-party evidence including graphs, articles, and testimonials. Where your company’s perceived weaknesses overlap the perceived weaknesses of your competitors — another “me-too” area, your strategy should be to innovate in order to cre-

ate differentiation. Create new systems and structures that will allow you to provide unique services that customers value. For example, contractors now provide services that customers or architects/engineers used to provide. General contractors might help customers with concept pricing or Phone: (800) 285-3056


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value engineering to find better, less expensive construction methods. Subcontractors’ added services might include providing the documentation and support needed to pursue LEED certification or win an industry award. Whatever new systems or services you create, remember the key is to focus on what customers value and what competitors either do not or cannot easily duplicate. Be aware that, when you are successful at creating a competitive advantage in this manner, your competition will eventually find out about it and seek to duplicate it. Therefore, make it your goal to have an edge that is difficult to duplicate and/or realize when your competition is beginning to catch up and move it to another level. Remember, no good deal lasts forever. Market research Market research is the best way to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your company and your competitors. Surveying your sales force will not satisfy this, even if they are very knowledgeable about the industry. While it requires an investment of time and money, market research is the best way to learn how to win new customers and gain market share with existing customers by positioning your company differently from the competition in the eyes of the customer. Four important pieces of market research include:  Market sizing and forecasting.  Image analysis: Who will recommend your services?  Market environment.  Competitor information. Gathering this information can not only help to formulate differentiation strategies but can also enable you to explore market positioning options as you seek to uncover market “white space,” or market areas not being covered effectively by you or your competitors. Gathering this information also requires contractors to have a thorough understanding of customers, prospective customers, competitors, and their own core competencies.

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March/April 2009

Differentiation as a strategy platform

 Is the idea or strategy compelling?  Is it sustainable?  Does it add value?  Can it be executed?  Is it difficult to copy?  Is it a fresh or new idea? Differentiation often arises when discussing marketing. Some dismiss it as marketing spin, but it is more than just spin. It means actually being different in areas that customers value enough to pay for that difference. Go-to-market strategy Building momentum in the marketplace is a challenge for many contractors. Contractors often do a lot of things right to get their firms positioned in front of the customer at the right time. They develop good marketing tools. Their people know that customer service is important. They might even have people who are charged with calling on customers. However, collectively these efforts fail to create enough market pull to make the phone ring with project March/April 2009 




Your uniqueness scale Once you set out to differentiate your company’s products and services, at some point, you will find that you have several choices. For example, one strategy might drive unnecessary cost from the system by improving field productivity, and another strategy might create new delivery techniques to shorten the construction schedule. Doing them all may be cost and time prohibitive. Which is better? To help solve dilemmas like this, FMI uses a Uniqueness Assessment tool that scores each idea in six different areas:

opportunities, or at least raise awareness to the point that potential customers take their call. The main reason that there is no momentum in light of a lot of good things going on is that there is no combination and coordination of efforts as part of a go-to-market strategy. To build a go-tomarket strategy, you should consider several factors: Customer types: This involves gathering some detail on the position of the people who make or influence the buying decision in the customer’s organization (i.e. facility managers of major hospital systems). Market segments: There may be several segments in the market that have different characteristics and needs. For example, in healthcare, there are outpatient clinics, longterm rehabilitation facilities, emergency care facilities, traditional hospitals etc. You may have a different strategy for

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Differentiation often arises when discussing marketing. Some dismiss it as marketing spin, but it is more than just spin. It means actually being different in areas that customers value enough to pay for that difference. The difference sets your company apart from competitors and gives you a market advantage. However, the difference in your differentiation strategy is of little use if competitors could easily copy it. The difference is also of limited value if your customers don’t want to pay for it. If the difference you are trying to create is little more than spin, customers will see through it soon enough and you will likely lose credibility. That is why points of differentiation are established as part of a strategic plan and not just created when writing a new brochure. The strategy will involve all or most of the company to achieve. For example, improving productivity, so that you can reduce cycle time and improve profitability, will involve almost everyone in the organization. If your productivity improvement strategies are a cut above the competition, they become a point of differentiation that will help in your marketing strategy. Further, your improved productivity should cut your cost. Now how competitive would strong, relevant differentiation, and a price advantage be?

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One of the goals of doing all the research and hard work to build

the data and details of your plan is not to be blindsided. each of these segments. Market spending: What are the historical construction spending levels of the segment? What are the forecasts? Revenue projections: How much revenue do you expect from each market and market segment if you are successful with your strategies? Market penetration strategies: Market penetration strategies will tap all the resources of the business development/marketing department including advertising, sales calls, customer service support, and even project management. You may have a different go-tomarket strategy for several target markets if your overall goal is to win market share in several markets. Again, these strategies are developed in light of market research to understand competitive positions and unique selling propositions. It is important to note that the go-to-market strategy must be aligned with overall company strategy for achieving the vision of the company. Also, you must realize that these are business development strategies that will make or break the success of the company in the future. If the strategy and its implementation are not clear to all those involved in your company, efforts to carry out the


strategy can quickly become defused. There is the danger of falling back into the “me-too” trap by becoming too generic to capture the desired market share. You could find yourself again struggling to become something more than just another low-bidder in a commodity market. Remember: If your services are the same as your key competitors, the best strategy is to cut your price in order to compete more effectively. If you want to sell your company’s capabilities on more than just price, then clear strategy aimed at competing on value is the key. Building the plan One of the goals of doing all the research and hard work to build the data and details of your plan is not to be blindsided as Bill was in the Smith sales meeting with John. Ideally you will be invited to submit proposals and make presentations for all of the projects you want to work on in your target market. You will make the short list for most and win a greater share of the market. If done right, this will build a momentum of success that will create resource challenges in the future. However, even the best strategic plans are little more than paper if not executed. For instance,

Bill would never have presented blindly to John, the hospital customer, if the company had executed a go-tomarket plan. That plan would have included the systems required to prepare for the presentation long in advance; it would have ensured that the customer was well aware of Smith’s capabilities and had seen evidence of Smith’s healthcare work before inviting Smith to make the presentation. Building your plan means taking the charts, graphs, and tables and turning them into assignments, actions, and measurable milestones for everyone in your company with the responsibility to make the plan work. Monitor progress with milestones and adjust systems to fit the plan — not the other way around. Set deadlines for achieving plan milestones to ensure a sense of urgency in execution. While the plan must be adopted and promoted from the top-down, one sign that the plan is working is if field-level and mid-level management in other departments know about it. If they are awar eof the plan’s progress, how their work plays a part in differentiating your company, and how they are helping to take your strategy to market, then you are on the right track. Start with strategy and the rest is simple (mostly) Once you have laid the foundation of your business development strategy, you will have the information and starting point required to build the right marketing messages, pick the right opportunities to chase, and concentrate limited resources so that your sales dollars are wisely spent. It will soon be obvious that there is less wandering around and hoping for that lucky opportunity and a more purposeful business development engine. While it appears that a good strategy makes everything else you do simple, that’s really not the case. There will still be plenty of hard work to do to implement the strategy, but compared to the way you have done things in the past, your new approach is easier.


March/April 2009

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

The NEF Education Resource Program promotes industry education by helping to connect local fabricators with presenters. Would you like to be included in our list of presenters?

Would you or your group like to host an education program?

NEF is currently looking for speakers for the new NEF Education Resource Program (NEFERP). As a presenter, you will be added to a list of experts who are willing to travel and present at NOMMA chapter meetings or member shops. If you have a strong interest or expertise in a certain field and you enjoy teaching, please consider filling out an application (see link below). In the application, you are welcome to include the honorarium fee you are requesting and any other expenses you would like covered. NEF is providing a limited amount of grants to help offset costs (see article at right). The grant may be used to cover all related costs, including travel expenses, lodging, food, shipping of equipment, consumables, honorarium fees, and class handouts or other materials. Once you are on the list of approved presenters, either a chapter or group of shops may contact you to provide a local program. The actual arrangements should be made directly between the host and presenter. The purpose of the NEFERP program is to help make quality education programs available on the local level. For questions about the program, refer to the contact information below.

Need a speaker for an upcoming chapter meeting?

Would you like to join up with nearby shops to host an education program? NEF is pleased to announce that four speakers have signed up with the NEF Education Resource Program (NEFERP). Your chapter or group may now choose from the following presenters: • Doug Bracken of Wiemann Iron Works, the industry’s most awarded shop, has two available presentations titled, “Replicating and Restoring Within the Context of the Historic New Orleans Design Vernacular,” and “Good Finishing for Ornamental Ironwork.” • Roger Carlsen of Ephraim Forge Inc., a NEF trustee, is available to lead a class titled, “Scroll Theory and Production.” • Dave Filippi of FabCad Inc., a former NOMMA president, is available for a workshop titled, “Using CAD as a Sales and Production Tool.” • Ronald K. Flexon of The Flexon Group Inc., an expert in environmental, health, and safety engineering, is available to lead a session titled, “State Regulatory Environmental Health and Safety Compliance for the Workplace.” Chapters and groups of shops may apply for a $500 grant to offset the cost of a presentation. For an application and more details, see the contact info below.

For more information on the NEFERP program, and to obtain downloadable forms, visit: or call Martha Pennington at (888) 516-8585, ext. 104. March/April 2009  Fabricator


New NOMMA members As of February 13, 2009. Asterisk denotes returning members.

All-O-Matic Northridge, CA Robert William Nationwide Supplier

Antietam Iron Works LLC* McConnellsburg, PA Kathleen Gunnell Fabricator Anyang USA Alvord, TX James R. Johnson Nationwide Supplier BenFab Inc.* Lansdowne, PA Bill Bendinelli Fabricator

BFT U.S. Inc.* Boca Raton, FL Gary Goldstein Nationwide Supplier

The Brass Ring Inc. Vista, CA Bruce Younessian Fabricator

Iron Security* Perris, CA John Younger Fabricator

John F. Graney Metal Design* Sheffield, MA John Graney Fabricator

M. Cohen & Sons Inc. Broomall, PA Allen J. Cohen Fabricator Nop’s Metalworks Middlebury, VT Louis Nop Fabricator

Panhandle Powder Coating Inc. Pensacola, FL Wayne Powell Local Supplier Paramount Iron & Handrail Inc.* Carson City, NV James M. Edmonds Fabricator

NOMMA Nationwide Suppliers A Cut Above Distributing (800) 444-2999 Albina Pipe Bending Co. Inc. (866) 252-4628 Alku Group of Companies (800) 465-7143 Allen Architectural Metals Inc. (800) 204-3858 Allied Tube & Conduit (800) 882-5543 All-O-Matic (818) 678-1790 Alloy Casting Co. Inc. (800) 527-1318 American Punch Co. (800) 243-1492 Ameristar Fence Products (888) 333-3422 Anyang USA (940) 627-4529 Apollo Gate Operators (800) 226-0178 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. (800) 784-7444 Architectural Metal Sales (925) 216-1004 Atlas Metal Sales (800) 662-0143 Auciello Iron Works Inc. (978) 568-8382 Bavarian Iron Works Co. (800) 522-4766 BFT U.S. Inc. (877) 995-8155 Big Blu Hammer Mfg. (828) 437-5348 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. (800) 526-6293 Builders Fence Co. Inc. (800) 767-0367 Byan Systems Inc. (800) 223-2926 The Cable Connection (800) 851-2961 Carell Corp. (251) 937-0948 Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations (800) 444-6271 Classic Iron Supply (800) 367-2639

Cleveland Steel Tool Co. (800) 446-4402 CML USA Inc. (563) 391-7700 Colorado Waterjet Co. (866) 532-5404 CompLex Industries Inc. (901) 547-1198 Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd. (866) 464-4766 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. (800) 716-0888 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. (718) 324-6871 DAC Industries Inc. (800) 888-9768 Decorative Iron (888) 380-9278 DKS, DoorKing Systems (800) 826-7493 Robert J. Donaldson Co. (856) 629-2737 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. (251) 937-0947 Eastern Metal Supply (800) 343-8154 Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC (847) 636-1233 Encon Electronics (800) 782-5598 EURO-FER SPA (011) 39-044-544-0033 Europa Stairways LLC (786) 845-9844 FabCad Inc. (800) 255-9032 FabTrol Systems Inc. (888) FAB-TROL Feeney Architectural Products, CableRail™ (800) 888-2418 Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd. (800) 663-6356 Gerhard Glaser GmbH & Co. (011) 49-607-893-7137 Glasswerks LA Inc. (800) 350-4527 The G-S Co. (410) 284-9549 GTO Inc. (800) 543-4283

NOMMA Nationwide Suppliers Hartford Standard Co. Inc. (270) 298-3227 Hayn Enterprises LLC (800) 346-4296 Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc. (503) 722-7700 Hendrick Mfg., Perforated Metals Div. (800) 225-7373 House of Forgings (281) 443-4848 Illinois Engineered Products Inc. (312) 850-3710 Indiana Gratings Inc. (800) 634-1988 Industrial Coverage Corp. (800) 242-9872 Industrial Metal Supply Co. (800) 371-4404 Innovative Hinge Products Inc. (817) 598-4846 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. (800) 667-9101 The Iron Shop (800) 523-7427 Iron World (301) 776-7448 ITW Ransburg (800) 233-3366 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Inc. (800) 4-JANSEN King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379 Laser Precision Cutting (800) 514-8065 C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (800) 421-6144 Lavi Industries (800) 624-6225 Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. (800) 221-5579 Liberty Brass Turning Co. (800) 345-5939 Logical Decisions Inc. (800) 676-5537 Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510

Marks U.S.A. (800) 526-0233 Master Halco (800) 883-8384 McKey Perforating (800) 345-7373 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool (800) 467-2464 Frank Morrow Co. (800) 556-7688 Multi Sales Inc. (800) 421-3575 Mylen Stairs Inc. (877) 303-9422 NC Tool Co. (800) 446-6498 New Metals Inc. (888) 639-6382 Ohio Gratings Inc. (800) 321-9800 Overseas Supply Inc. (866) 985-9885 Paxton & Thau Artistic Supply (866) 629-2790 Precision Glass Bending Corp. (800) 543-8796 Premium Home & Garden Co. Ltd. Xiamen (011) 86-592-588-7573 ProCounsel (866) 289-7833 Q-Railing USA Co. (310) 651-9984 RedPup LLC (928) 422-1000 Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408 Riata Mfg. (915) 533-9929 Robertson Grating Products Inc. (877) 638-6365 Robinson Iron Corp. (800) 824-2157 Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. (800) 841-8457 Rogers Mfg. Inc. (940) 325-7806 L.E. Sauer Machine Co. (800) 745-4107

Scotchman Industries Inc. (800) 843-8844 SECO South (888) 535-SECO Sharpe Products (800) 879-4418 Stairways Inc. (800) 231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. (602) 243-5245 Stephens Pipe & Steel LLC (800) 451-2612 Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. (866) 290-1263 Suhner Industrial Products Inc. (706) 235-8046 Sumter Coatings Inc. (888) 471-3400 Taco Metals (800) 743-3803 Taurin Group USA (909) 476-8007 Tennessee Fabricating Co. (800) 258-4766 Texas Metal Industries (800) 222-6033 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058 Triple-S Chemical Products (800) 862-5958 Tri-State Shearing & Bending (718) 485-2200 TS Distributors Inc. (800) 392-3655 Universal Entry Systems Inc. (800) 837-4283 Vogel Tool & Die, Div. of TES Tube Equipment Inc. (800) 272-8946 The Wagner Companies (888) 243-6914 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 486-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door (866) 790-3667 Xycorp Inc. (888) 745-0333

What’s Hot? Metalforming companies expect tough times to continue According to the February 2009 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report, metalforming companies expect tough times to continue during the next three months. Conducted monthly, the report is an economic indicator for manufacturing, sampling 147 metalforming companies in the United States and Canada. Metalformers anticipate a slight decline in general economic activity during the next three months. Only nine percent of participants predict an improvement in business (down from 14 percent in January), 48 percent expect that activity will remain unchanged (up from 41 percent last month) and 43 percent reported that activity will decline (compared to 45 percent in January). Metalforming companies also anticipate that incoming orders will decrease during the next three months. Only 16 percent of companies forecast an increase in orders (down from 19 percent in January), 34 percent expect no change (compared to 32 percent the previous month) and 50 percent predict a decrease in orders (up from 49 percent in January). Current average daily shipping levels remained steady in February. Seventy-nine percent of participants report that shipping levels are below levels of three months ago (the same percentage reported in January), 14 percent report no change (compared to 17 percent in January) and seven percent report that shipping levels are above levels of three months ago (up from four percent last month). The number of metalforming companies with a portion of their workforce on short time or layoff increased for the seventh consecutive month. Seventy-five percent of companies reported workers on short time or layoff in February, compared to 64 percent in January and at a substantially higher rate than February 2008, when only 16 percent of companies reported workers on short time or layoff. Contact: PMA, Ph: (216) 901-8800; Web: 88

Inside Biz Briefs . . . . . . . . . . .88 Education . . . . . . . . . .89 Chapter News . . . . . . .90 Literature . . . . . . . . . . .91

Events . . . . . . . . . . . . .92 New Products . . . . . . .94 Ad Index . . . . . . . . . . .97

National Green Building Standard approved The National Green Building Standard, known as ICC-700, was approved as an American National Standard and provides guidance for safe and sustainable building practices for residential construction. This is the first green standard coordinated with the Code Council’s family of I-Codes and standards. This new standard provides a practical route to green, sustainable, and high-performance construction. It also promotes homeowner education for the maintenance and operation of green residential buildings to ensure long-term benefits. Contact: ICC, Ph: (888) ICC-SAFE; Web:

Construction job losses show urgency of stimulus Ed. note: At the time the information below was received, Congress had not yet passed the $787 billion economic stimulus package. Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, commented on the January employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, stating that 3,500,000 jobs have disappeared in the past 12 months and the unemployment rate has climbed to 7.6 percent. “Construction workers have suffered far more than their share of that pain, accounting for 747,000—or more than one-fifth—of the job cuts and an unemployment rate of 18.2 percent in January,” he said. Simonson pointed out that the job destruction is no longer confined to homebuilding. “In the past 12 months, nonresidential builders and specialty trade contractors, along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms, have had to lay off 309,000 workers, or nearly 7 percent of their workforce,” he stated. “ Many of these workers would be re-employed within weeks if Congress passes a stimulus bill with at least $150 billion of construction spending.” Contact: AGC of America, Ph: (703) 548-3118; Web: Fabricator 

March/April 2009

What’s Hot? 

Education Cleveland school earns metalworking accreditation In December 2008, Max Hayes High School, Cleveland, OH, was recognized by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) as the first urban high school in the country to achieve NIMS educational training program accreditation. The purpose of NIMS accreditation is to improve the quality of training programs as part of the national endeavor to build and maintain a globally competitive workforce while providing workforce development opportunities for potential and current employees. David Sansone, NIMS board and executive committee member and Precision Metalforming Association Educational Foundation (PMAEF) executive director, presented Max Hayes High School representatives with a plaque denoting this recognition for the school’s CNC machining program. Contact: PMA, Ph: (216) 901-9666; Web:

Employees encouraged to take earplugs home The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide hearing protection for workers exposed to hazardous noise. and best practice has shown that providing a good variety of hearing protec-

March/April 2009 


tors improves compliance. But smart employers also will encourage employees to take hearing protectors home, according to Theresa Y. Schulz, Ph.D., hearing conservation manager for Howard Leight. Encouraging workers to wear hearing protection off the job as well as on makes sense for other reasons as well, Schulz said. “One of the most difficult tasks safety managers face with regard to hearing conservation is convincing employees of the risk,” she explained. “Talking about noise hazards present in everyday activities brings the Hearing Conservation message ‘home’ in a very meaningful way. It gets workers’ attention, helps make earplug use habitual, and more often than not, gets the neighbors attention as well.” It is also important that the “take ‘em home” message be overt and not just tacit. “Employees should not be made to feel that they are pilfering, or that management is simply looking the other way,” Schulz said. Rather, the message should be loud and clear. She recommends posting signs by disposable earplug dispensers recommending employees ‘Pocket a Pair for Home,’ and making particular mention of the policy in training sessions and group meetings. Contact: Howard Leight, Ph: (800) 430-5490; Web:


Chapter News

What’s Hot? 

Upper Midwest Chapter crafts items for NEF auction of TS Distributors Inc., supplier representative. In addition to crafting items at the meeting, several members brought items to donate. These items include a hand forged wine bottle holder, a mini castle candle holder, and a forged paper towel holder. Two other members also donated funds to help with shipping the objects to the convention. A thanks goes to everyone who either donated items and funds or helped fabricate pieces for the auction. A special “thank you” goes to O’Malley Welding & Fabricating for serving as host shop. A wonderful lunch was served and everyone had a great time of socializing and networking. The chapter’s next meeting is Saturday, June 13 at Forman Fabricators in St. Louis, MO. Details to come.

The Upper Midwest Chapter dedicated their January 24 meeting to making items for the annual NEF benefit auction. Items fabricated included an end table, candle sconces, and a bird bath holder. The day began with a business meeting, which included an update on Technical Affairs and the NOMMA Education Foundation. Chapter leaders also promoted the NOMMA ListServ and announced that Fabricator magazine was now online. Members also elected officers, who include: Mark Koenke of Germantown Iron and Steel Corp., president; Mark O’Malley of O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc., vice president; Rob Rolves of Foreman Fabricators Inc., secretary; Joel Wories of Builders Ironworks Inc., treasurer; and Darla Cook





& BOTTOM: At their January meeting the Midwest Chapter created items for the NEF Benefit Auction.


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What’s Hot? 

Literature Literature Choosing Project Success: A Guide for Building Professionals PR by the Book

Veteran commercial construction manager Joe McCarthy wrote this self-study reference guide for working construction professionals and students in academic institutions. The book was recently named AwardWinning Finalist in the Education/Academic and Business: Real Estate categories of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News. Contact: PR by the Book, Ph: (708) 344 -4355; Web: Historic Preservation and Introduction to Its Principles, Theories, and Practices, 2nd edition Norton Books

This new book serves as an introduction to the field for students, historians, preservations, property owners, local officials, and community leaders. Updated throughout, this revised edition addresses new subjects, including heritage tourism and partnering with the environmental community. Contact: Norton Books for Architects and Designers, Ph: (212) 790-4323; Web:

March/April 2009 


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 last year’s convention in Memphis. For information on how you can participate in this year’s virtual shop tour session, contact: James Minter Jr. Imagine Ironworks 1380 Highway 51 North Brookhaven, MS 39601 Ph: 601-833-3000 Email:


What’s Hot?  COATING WEST 2009

March 2-3, 2009 The regional conference & trade show will be held at Planet Hollywood in the heart of the Las Vegas strip, focusing on architectural, agriculture & construction equipment (ACE), aerospace and military, custom coaters, and general finishing markets. Contact: Goyer Management, Ph: (513) 624-9988; Web:

ASA Business Convention & Forum 2009

March 5-7, 2009 The three-day event for subcontractors, suppliers and service providers in the construction industry



will be held at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown, Nashville, TN. Educational workshops, committee meetings, networking events and social functions will be featured. Contact: ASA, Ph: (703) 684-3450; Web:

SNAG 2009 Conference

May 20-23, 2009 The Society of North American Goldsmiths’ (SNAG) 38th Annual SNAG Conference, Revolution, will be held in Philadelphia, PA. Event will feature speakers and exhibitions from historical and contemporary perspectives. Keynote address will be made by Stanley Lechtzin. Contact: SNAG, Ph: (541) 3455689; Web:

Appalachian Center for Craft workshops

May-September 2009 The Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, TN will hold several metal workshops during MaySeptember 2009. Topics include handhammered copper (Arts & Crafts style), metal vessel fabrication, repoussé and chasing, hydraulic assist die forming, beginning jewelry and more. Contact: Appalachian Center for Craft, Ph: (615) 597-6801; Web: Spring Crafts and Fine Art Fair

May 23-25, 2009 The seventh annual Spring Crafts and Fine Art Fair will be held at the


March/April 2009

What’s Hot? 


Nassau County Museum of Art, Roselyn Harbor, NY. Applicants are asked to submit slides for juried selection for display. The festival will include entertainment, craft demonstrations, and refreshment concessions. Contact: American Concern for Artistry and Craftsmanship, Ph: (973) 746-091; Web:

acceptable; however the artwork should be constructed predominately of mild steel or wrought iron. All submissions must be received by April 22, 2009. Contact: NOMM, Ph: (877) 8812326 Web:

Corte & Conformação de Metais 2009, São Paulo, SP Brazil

October 5 - 7, 2009 IRON 2010 International Juried Exhibition Call for Entries

May 29 - July 19, 2010 Sponsored by National Ornamental Metal Museum (NOMM), Memphis, TN, the IRON 2010 competition is open to artists 18 years of age or older. Mixed media is

The conference will be held at the Expo Center Norte and will feature technical papers, cases, guidance on standards, analysis of new technologies and solutions. The free exhibition will present products, services and solutions for planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance in the forming and fabricating industry.

Contact: Arandanet, Web: cconformacao/index2.html.

There’s still time to register for

METALfab 2009!

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What’s Hot? 


coating process. Contact: D&D Technologies, Ph: (800) 7160888; Web:

Metal gate hardware line

D&D D&D Technologies has formed a partnership with Stanley to introduce the D&D Technologies Metal line. D&D Metal products are being produced for D&D Technologies in Stanley’s manufacturing facilities. D&D metal products feature latches that adjust automatically for gate sag. All fasteners include a proprietary

Heavy duty lift trucks

Hyster The Hyster Company introduces the newest addition to the Fortis® line of lift trucks: the H170-190FT. The new trucks are constructed to accom-

modate larger loads including lumber, steel, and concrete applications. The H170-190FT Line provides lifting capacity in a midsize, mid-weight truck. Contact: Hyster Company, Ph: (800) HYSTER1; Web:

Column cold saw

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Scotchman Scotchman® Industries introduces their heavy duty, column design, CLM 350 semi-automatic circular cold saw. Created for metal fabricating, the column saw has a rigid column design for cutting up to 4” solid tool steel a fully hydraulic down stroke, up stroke and built-in hydraulic feed pressure reducing valve. Contact: Scotchman, Ph: (800)8438844; Web:

Nested-based tooling and Servo Patriot CNC router


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Techno, Inc. CNC Cutting Tools introduces a new nested-based tooling kit for use in nested-based and cabinetry applications. The multiple component cutters create the interlocking shapes needed for cabinet and drawer making and include surface spoil boards for table planning. Techno’s Educational CNC Fabricator 

March/April 2009

What’s Hot? 


Division has released the Servo Patriot CNC router specifically for technical education environments and recommended for Grades 6 through College. The Patriot trains students on prototyping and machining 3-D objects, and may be used from school to work. The machine comes completely enclosed with a safety interlocking mechanism. Contact: CNC, Ph: (800) 819-3366; Web:

Horizontal machining center

Makino Makino’s a51 horizontal machining center (HMC) provides multiple tool changes without replacement parts. The 15.7-inch (400-mm) pallet Makino a51 comes with a 14,000-rpm spindle standard. It also has a ring-type, 60-tool magazine standard, with an option for a 40-tool magazine. Contact: Makino, Ph: (800) 552-3288; Web:

Traction drive

OMAX® OMAX® Corporation recently developed the Intelli-TRAX®, a traction drive that is closed loop for use on larger models of JetMachining® Centers. The Intelli-TRAX is enclosed in coated steel covers and tracks along a hardened, stainless steel shaft, for use in harsh environments. With no components in the system requiring lubrication, the traction drive system is designed for low maintenance. Contact: OMAX, Ph: (800) 838-0343; Web: New website

Weldcraft Weldcraft announces that it has launched a new web site featuring educational resources, product information, and

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troubleshooting articles. The site was designed to help visitors determine which TIG torches and accessories are right for them. It also presents the company’s new e-Newsletter TIG Talk. Contact: Weldcraft, Ph: (800) 7527620; Web:

provides real-time feedback while scanning. Contact: Laser Design, Ph: (952) 884-9648; Web:

High Accuracy RTD Thermometers

The product is available in a variety of standard and custom built probe configurations including MIG standard tapered bulb for drop-in direct MIG replacement. Contact: Wahl, Ph: (800) 421-2853; Web:

Wahl® Plug-in direct scan to software

Laser Design Laser Design Inc. announces that the PolyWorks IMAlign plug-in is available for Laser Design’s line of Faro and Romer portable arm 3D laser scanners. InnovMetric’s PolyWorks software is a package for point cloud digitizing, dimensional analysis, comparison to CAD and reverse engineering applications Users can scan directly into the PolyWorks software package, which

Wahl Instruments Inc. highlights the Wahl® DST500 Temperature Indicator, and the DSX500 Transmitter Thermometers. The Wahl DST500 and the DSX500 offer temperature measurement technology with a 1” high LCD display – readable from 30 feet away.


Choose Your Reward promotion

Lincoln The Lincoln Electric Company has launched its Choose Your Reward promotion, which offers customers their choice of gift card reward with the purchase of a qualifying MIG, TIG, or engine-driven welding machine. The promotion is scheduled to run through April 30, 2009. Contact: Lincoln, Ph: (216) 4818100; Web: choose-your-reward.


ABANA PO Box 3425 Knoxville, TN 37927 865.546.7733

$UWLVW%ODFNVPLWK–V Association of North America, Inc. 96

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


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

March/April 2009

Advertiser’s index A thanks to the following advertisers for their support of O&MM Fabricator magazine ... Pg. Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Website 19 Alku Group of Companies . . 35 Allen Architectural Metals . 16 Anyang USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Apollo Gate Operators . . . . . . . 81 Architectural Iron Designs . . . . 40 Architectural Metal Sales . . . . . 21 Arteferro Miami . . . . . . . . . . 96 Artist-Blacksmith's . . . . . . . . . . 91 Atlas Metal Sales . . . . . . . . . . . 9 BFT US Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Co. . . . . 94 Blacksmiths Depot . . . . . . . . . . 54 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. . . . . . . . 55 Byan Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 CML USA Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 The Cable Connection . . . . . . . 43 Carell Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Chicago Metal Rolled Products. 62 Colorado Waterjet Co. . . . . . . . 79 CompLex Industries Inc. . . . . . 45 D & D Technologies (USA) Inc. 4 D.J.A. Imports Ltd. . . . . . . . . . . 72 DAC Industries Inc. . . . . . . . . . . 31 DKS, DoorKing . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Decorative Iron . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Eagle Bending Machines . . . . . 82 Eberl Iron Works Inc. . . . . . . . . 37 Encon Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . 46 FAAC International . . . . . . . . . . 27 FabCAD Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Fabricor Products . . . . . . . . . 29 Feeney Architectural . . . . . . . . . 94 The G-S Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Hayn Enterprises LLC . . . . . . 65 Hebo - Stratford Gate . . . . . . . 90 Hougen Mfg. Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Industrial Metal Supply Co. . . . 80 International Gate Devices . . . 82 Interstate Mfg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 The Iron Shop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Jansen Ornamental . . . . . . . . .

Attention Suppliers! Plug into the NOMMA Network Call (888) 516-8585, ext. 101

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March/April 2009  Fabricator

95 99 96 11 2 93 23 51 44 90 56 30 71 77 52 74 47 7 95 37 41 77 22 89 59 80 57 84 64 63 74 48 91 73 83 69 92 76 49 32

Jesco Industries Inc. . . . . . . . . . King Architectural Metals . . . . . Laser Precision Cutting . . . . . . Lawler Foundry Corp. . . . . . . . . Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. Lindblade Metal Works . . . . . . Mac Metals Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marks U.S.A. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frank Morrow Co. . . . . . . . . . . . NC Tool Co. Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . National Bronze & Metals Inc. . Olin Wrought Iron Line . . . . . . P & J Mfg. Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pat Mooney Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . Paxton & Thou Artistic . . . . . . . Postville Blacksmith . . . . . . . . . Production Machinery Inc. . . . . Q-Railing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . R & D Hydraulics Mfg. . . . . . . . R Steel Depot . . . . . . . . . . . . Regency Railings . . . . . . . . . . . Rod Iron Rod . . . . . . . . . . . . .432-582-2226 Rogers Mfg. Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . Scotchman Industries . . . . . . . Sharpe Products . . . . . . . . . . . . Simsolve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stairways Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd. . Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc. . . . . Sumter Coatings Inc. . . . . . . . . Sur-Fin Chemical Corp. . . . . . . TACO Metals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TS Distributors Inc. . . . . . . . . . . Texas Metal Industries . . . . . . . Traditional Building . . . . . . . . . Tri-State Shearing & Bending . . .(718) 485-2200 Universal Entry Systems Inc. . . .(800) 837-4283 Vogel Tool & Die Corp. . . . . . . . The Wagner Companies . . . . . Weaver's Iron Works . . . . . . . . . Companies in bold are first-time advertisers.

As a supplier NOMMA offers many marketing opportunities to gain exposure for your company, including membership, advertising, exhibiting, and sponsorships.

Getting Duplicates? No Longer Wish To Receive Fabricator? Please help us reduce waste by reporting unneeded issues. To remove an issue from our list, simply fax the mailing label to: (770) 288-2006. Or, send an email to: You may also send a drop request by visiting the “Fabricator” area of the NOMMA website. 97

Business Perspectives

Is your business balanced? These four cornerstones can help ensure your company’s long-term success.

By Doug Bracken

very long-wearing, successful business I know is built on the following four cornerstones — and depends equally on each of them for long-term growth, stability, and prosperity:  Sales and Marketing  Business Administration  Human Resources  Production and Quality Control On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate your business in each of these four areas? How do you rate your competitors? In a well-managed, balanced business, each cornerstone is equal in strength. This way, all four work together to support the whole evenly. Just try to imagine your business without one of them. Let’s look at those cornerstones in detail.


Sales and Marketing. Where is your business without sales? Whether yours is driven by outside sales reps or solely by reputation, “nothing happens until someone sells something.” The quality and effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts will determine the financial strength of the whole company now and in the future. So, clearly, no business can function without sales. Few small companies have welldefined marketing plans. Either they don’t advertise at all, or they advertise sporadically and spend as little as possible on marketing because it does not immediately pay off, unlike buying a new truck or tool. This mode of thinking will impair your company’s ability to survive market downturns and will limit growth and profitability, so it must be recognized as one of the four cornerstones of your operation every day. 98

Human Resources. What happens when your employees stop showing up to work? Nothing, right? The employees are the lifeblood of your business and are key to the company’s overall success. Instead of complaining about the low quality of the workforce, smart employers and managers are constantly working to cultivate the talent they have, get rid of the deadwood, and find new talent to complement their organization. Performance reviews, hiring selectively, incentive programs, and benefits beyond a paycheck are all part of a winning equation that makes employees happy and productive. Business Administration. Proper accounting and administration, such as managing payroll, receivables, payables, loan payments, cash flow, taxes, and all the other paper and computer work associated with running your company, demands daily attention. If the day-to-day administration is left untended or poorly managed, the business will suffer and perish, or worse, you might find yourself in court. Accounting for your revenues regularly and accurately must be an everyday occurrence. Many small business owners bravely do their accounting at the kitchen table after dinner and a long day of work — but eventually, the business should grow and require the daily or weekly oversight of a qualified bookkeeper or accountant. This cuts into net profit, but the peace of mind is worth the price, 100-fold. Production and Quality Control. In most cases, a small company is founded on an idea or a skill that creates a product and, of course, revenue. Welders who open ornamental iron shops do so because they love the

craft, not because they love to file state and federal tax forms or manage employees. Assuming you have hired the right people, you’re selling the work. But what happens if the employees cannot or will not produce? Payroll – Production = Business Failure. No business can survive without production of its products or services. Second, if those products are shoddy or don’t meet customer expectations, the competition will eat you up and leave you with nothing but a battered reputation. I often see a company whose founder was an excellent tradesman and focused all of his or her attention on their skill or gift, leaving all the other business legs to falter. Ironically, they often survive due in large part to their skill and reputation for quality. Notice I said “survive” — not “succeed” or “thrive.” Businesses that acknowledge these four areas above and create strategies and solutions to address deficiencies will succeed under even the most difficult circumstances. They will have the strength and balance to tackle the toughest of times, and their employees and owners will also be happier. Finally, for firms that build confidently on these four cornerstones, the prospects for the future will always seem brighter than for their competitors. Doug Bracken is president of Wiemann Ironworks, a former president of NOMMA, and a frequent contributor to Fabricator magazine and Traditional Building and Period Homes. He is a public speaker, consultant, and presenter, and welcomes your comments, suggestions, and questions at Fabricator 

March/April 2009

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