Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal
The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association
Get ready for METALfab 2010 • March 4–6, 2010
September/October 2009 $6.00 US
Tulsa, O k
An awe so
me conv ention s ite see pg. 5 9
A true collaboration page 41
Finish that stainless steel, page 16
Old school meets news school, page 36
Planning forever tax savings, page 66
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Vol. 50, No. 5
A mixed medium railing that uses glass and bronze, p. 50
A towering, French style gate, p. 54
Tips & Tactics The right cooling fluid DOES make a difference............................ 12 Consider semi-synthetic fluids that resist bacteria and foaming. By Chris Harpenau Shop Talk Finish that stainless steel!........ 16 Learn the correct designations and finishing techniques. By Chris Stone The art of Damascus Steel........ 28 A NOMMA firm uses Damascus steel to create an award winning railing. By Jeff Fogel
A true collaboration..................................... 41 A magnificent balustrade wins a gold top job award By Terry Barrett & Cathy Vequist Restoring a New York icon.................. 46 A NOMMA firm recreates four canopies for a famous NYC bridge. By the staff of Architectural Metals An elegant monumental stair.......................... 50 This award winning railing incorporates brass and bronze. By Joanna Puglisi-Barley
Member Talk Old school meets new school. ............................................ 36 Experience, curiosity, and the Internet all help a fabricator to take off. By Sheila Phinazee President’s Letter.............6 Chapters offer great line-up.
A special driveway gate........... 54 A 14-foot French style driveway gate wins a Top Job silver award. By Lisa Bakewell
Editor’s Letter......................8 A focus on business
METALfab 2010................................... 59 If you’ve never visited Tulsa before, you’re in for a fantastic treat.
Biz Side Planning forever tax savings.............................................. 66 Create a long-term strategy for keeping your tax bill as low as possible. By Mark E. Battersby
What’s Hot! NEF............................................69 Nationwide Suppliers............70 News Briefs.............................72 Events.......................................73 News from the Museum........75 Chapters...................................76 Products...................................77 People......................................79 Advertiser’s Index..................81
Reader’s Letters.............10 Thanks to NOMMA’s former executive director.
Perspectives.......................82 Building a stronger business with design & networking
Cover photo: This stunning balustrade system features rams’ heads and tassels, and required precise engineering. Fabricated by Royal Iron Creations of West Palm Beach, FL, the railing won a gold award in the 2009 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition.
NOMMA Officers President Bob Foust III Bob’s Ornamental Iron Studio Kansas City, KS
Vice President/ Treasurer James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS
President-Elect Bruce Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA
Immediate Past President Terry Barrett Royal Iron Creations West Palm Beach, FL
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
Ray Michael R & F Metals Inc. Clinton, MD
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. Bronx, NY
NOMMA Education Foundation Officers Chair Roger Carlsen Ephraim Forge Inc. Frankfort, IL Vice Chair Christopher Maitner Christopher Metal Fabricating
Treasurer Mike Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA
Trustees Stacey Lawler Taylor Lawler Foundry Corp. Birmingham, AL
James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS
Heidi Bischmann The Wagner Companies Milwaukee, WI
NOMMA Staff Interim Executive Director John L. Fiegel, CAE
Administrative Assistant Liz Johnson
Meetings & Exposition Manager Martha Pennington
Associate Editor Sheila Phinazee
Communications Mgr. J. Todd Daniel 6
Dedicated to the success of our members and industry.
Chapters offer great line-up Obviously by now you know that this
board is not taking their roles in this association lightly. In fact, I believe we are all acting and responding as we would within our own business. Some have asked, “What’s the cost?” The answer is sleepless nights and anxious days. Will the reality of our decisions plague us? Then I realized, we didn’t compromise our principles, we didn’t do the wrong thing. We have made tough, necessary changes recently, none of which were easy or taken lightly. That being said, I don’t believe we would be where we are today, financially and membershipwise, if it wasn’t for the strong leadership we have had from the past boards, presidents, staff, and especially Barbara Cook. Let me continue by thanking the membership for their support. NOMMA is undergoing some remodeling and I have heard many encouraging words from our association patrons. In good times and in bad, change is constant. In our current economy, we could use an injection of positivity and in the July/August edition of Fabricator we announced, METALfab 2010 in Tulsa, and it promises to be a great educational opportunity. Comprehensive seminars, shop tours and the largest ornamental iron expo known to man, well at least this man. But, let me ask, “Why wait until March 2010?” NOMMA’s chapters are offering some great educational opportunities this fall, such as: n The Upper Midwest Chapter is planning an event Saturday, October 3rd (10:00 a.m. - 2 p.m.) at American Fabricator Supply in Elgin, IL. n The Gulf Coast NOMMA Network is set for Saturday, October 17th at Wheeler’s Ornamental Metals in Dothan, AL, hosted by Henry and Vickie Wheeler, with an emphasis on forging. n The Northeast Chapter is host-
ing a one-day CAD seminar September 24, 2009 in Saddlebrook, N.J. The class will cover the basics of 2D drawing and editing commands, and will show how to increase sales and streamline production using CAD. The instructor is Dave Filippi of FabCad Inc., who is an AutoDesk authorized developer. Each participant will receive a free, 30-day trial of the software. n The next Florida Chapter meeting will be at Royal Iron Creations in West Palm Beach, FL Bob Foust III is president of NOMMA. on Saturday, November 14. Your Board of Directors will be meeting this October in Tulsa. Soon after, you will see the minutes of that meeting posted to the NOMMA website. This Board of Directors wants this association to be transparent, getting you the information as fast as we can. As I have written in my previous letters and would like you to remember, NOMMA is committed to our partnership and has a vested interest in the profitability of your shops. I look forward to your continued comments. Your NOMMA board is listening.
Fabricator n September/October 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
Editorial - We love articles!
Send story ideas, letters, press releases, and product news to: Fabricator at address above. Ph: (888) 516-8585. Fax: (888) 5168585. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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: email@example.com (max. 5 megs by e-mail). Or upload ads to our website where a downloadable media kit is available: www. nomma.org.
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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.
Exhibit in METALfab
Exhibit in METALfab, NOMMA’s annual convention and trade show. For more information, contact Martha Pennington at (888) 516-8585, ext. 104, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscription questions? Call (888) 5168585. Send subscription address changes to: Fabricator Subscriptions,1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253. Fax: (888) 516-8585, or E-mail: fabricator@ nomma.org. 1-year: U.S., Canada, Mexico — $30 2-year: U.S., Canada, Mexico — $50 1-year: all other countries — $44 2-year: 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.
NOMMA 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 email@example.com.
2009 Editorial Advisory Council
Doug Bracken.............. Wiemann Metalcraft Nancy Hayden................ Tesko Enterprises Tom McDonough..... Master Metal Services Rob Rolves..........Foreman Fabricators Inc. 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. 8
How to reach us
A focus on business Several fabricators have recently told
me how much they value the business articles in Fabricator magazine. This is a pleasant surprise because I always thought “Shop Talk” was our most popular section. However, as one NOMMA member explained, he was a skilled craftsperson, but needed help on the “business side” of his operation. When you factor in our annual conference, online resources, plus the articles in Fabricator, NOMMA provides a tremendous amount of business information. But, we want to do even better, and in coming issues you’ll see a renewed emphasis on business articles that are more in-depth and relevant. I’m excited about two of the upcoming articles that we are working on now: n Should I Hire a Business Partner? This is a great topic that created a lively discussion on our ListServ. As your business grows, does it make sense to hire or partner with someone who is solely responsible for the business-end and paperwork? This would allow you to focus on what most fabricators enjoy most — creating outstanding metal products. n Turning Lean Times Into Good Times: How To Survive and Grow in Any Economy. Slow times provide an opportunity to increase efficiency. This article will focus on a number of survival tips provided by certified financial planners. If you have an idea for a business article topic, please feel free to contact me.
Custom Metals Inc., which is located just east of Atlanta. During my visit, I met with company founders Julia and Vincent Annaloro, who run a superbly organized shop that specializes in the more unusual and highly creative metal products. For instance, last year they won a silver award for a working armillary, which was crafted for a headquarters office in New Jersey. In the 2009 contest, they won another silver award for a stain- Todd Daniel is communications manless steel object that functions as ager of NOMMA. both a sculpture and sign. The Precision staff actually adapted a car turntable device that allows the sculpture to rotate. The company, which is now international, has their strategic plan posted on their website. I love the Company Purpose section, which simply says, “To Build Cool Stuff!” And that is totally cool to me! Precision Custom Iron epitomizes the many innovative and creative shops that we have in our membership, and we are proud to have them as a member.
One of the highlights of my job is visiting member shops. In July, I had the honor of delivering a Top Job award to Precision Todd Daniel recently had the honor of presenting a silver Top Job Award to Julia Annaloro, CEO of Precision Custom Metals Inc., Tucker, GA. Fabricator n September/October 2009
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Reader’s Letters A thanks to NOMMA’s former executive director I want to take this opportunity to thank former Executive Director Barbara Cook for her contributions to NOMMA. Barbara served NOMMA with distinction for over 20 years, and the organization is much better for her efforts. The early years saw some tough economic times when the metals industry suffered, and maintaining a membership in NOMMA was not a priority for many firms, not unlike today. NOMMA later reached its goal of 1000 members. When Barbara started as director, she was responsible for putting together the Fabricator magazine along with her many other duties. She hired Todd Daniel as a full-time magazine editor. That laid the groundwork for what I’m sure is the best publication any organization offers. Up until the early 1990’s, volunteers were responsible for putting
Letters are welcomed and encouraged. Send to: Mail: Letters to the Editor, c/o Fabricator, 1535 Pennsylvania Ave., McDonough, GA 30253. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax: (888) 516-8585.
together both the annual convention and trade show. They dealt with everything from meals to education and selling exhibit space for the trade show. Imagine, in your own business, turning your largest and most important projects of the year over to someone with no experience. That, as they say, was “no way to run a railroad.” Barbara hired Martha Pennington as Meetings & Exposition Manger to deal with the many complexities of putting together a worthwhile convention. NOMMA has so much to offer its members and Barbara has been a very big part of it. So, Barbara, as one who worked with you from your earliest days, “thank you” for all that you have done for the organization. And, just as important, thank you for your friendship. Here’s wishing nothing but the best for you. Lloyd Hughes Lloyd K. Hughes Metalsmithing Lexington, KY
“Thank you” for article on College of Building Arts Things have been so hectic at the College that I’m afraid I have been really remiss in not acknowledging the great feature you did in Fabricator on the American College of the Building Arts. We graduated our first class in May and look forward to a promising group of freshmen later this summer. I would welcome the chance to submit some photos of our students’ work to give your readership a sense of their accomplishments. Thanks once more for the article, it has generated a fair bit of interest from prospective students. Jay Close American College of the Building Arts Charleston, SC Ed. Note: Congratulations on your graduating class. And yes, send us the pictures!
Fabricator n September/October 2009
NOMMA Introduces Online Community System NOMMA recently unveiled a major new member benefit called “Online Community,” which will allow members to better network and have easy access to vast information resources. Once operational in late September, the cutting-edge system will feature a full range of online resources, including blogs, listservs, forums, and online videos. At the core of the service will be the powerful Knowledge Repository, which will hold all past forum and listserv conversations, online documents, photos, and videos. The goal is to allow a NOMMA member to have quick access to information on building codes, fabrication techniques, and business issues. At the heart of the system will be a powerful search engine. Each NOMMA member will have their own personal profile, which will be similar to Facebook. In this
section, a member can share photos and write in their own personal blog. Another major feature of the new system are the online communities. Each NOMMA chapter, division, and committee will have their “sub web” on the main site. There will also be online communities for special interest groups (SIG) like CAD and business managers. Think of a SIG as a room where you can enter to engage in specialized discussions, take a survey, or download some relevant documents. The Online Community is expected to enter the testing phase in late September, and should go live shortly thereafter. Members can enter
the Online Community from the Member’s Only area, or by going to http://members.nomma.org. One of the beauties of the system is that it will integrate with our existing member’s only area, and the same user name and password will allow access to both areas. For more information, visit www. nomma.org.
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Fabricator n September/October 2009
Technologies Contact: Henkel Corp. One Henkel Way Rocky Hill, CT 06067 Ph: (800) 562-8483 Web: www.henkelna.com
The right cooling fluid DOES make a difference Consider fluids that are stable, semi-synthetic, and resist bacteria and foaming.
By Chris Harpenau Henkel Corporation In metal removal operations where
grinding, cutting, drilling and broaching heat up substrates and generate free-floating metal chips, cutting lubricants are critical. These liquids reduce the contact between the tools and metal substrates, extend tool life, remove metal chips, and reduce heat and friction. Users must carefully select cutting fluids that deliver the best performance in their operations and help to reduce costs. A wide variety of lubricants are available at varying costs, but only the newest formulations offer both foam reduction and bacteria control/bio-resistance. Bacteria control/bio-resistance
The goal of most manufacturers is to use the same coolant reservoir for as long as possible, since replacing the lubricant bath is an expensive and messy operation that results in significant down time. However, many water-based coolant formulations are not created to resist biological growth. Left unchecked over time, bacteria growth in many coolant products will create problems for the manufacturer such as foul odors, solution instability, tooling problems (such as built-up edges, dullness, or fracturing), loss of lubricity, and part corrosion. In addition, equipment operators may not tolerate the effects of contaminated coolant baths, which can result in health problems such as dermatitis, as well as full-day exposure to unpleasant odors similar to those of rotten 12
Is your cutting fluid foaming over the side? Do you detect foul odors or is your blade or drill gumming up with waste product? If so, you may want to consider a cutting fluid that is designed to combat bacteria growth and foaming.
eggs or a gym locker room. Bacterial growth can be controlled to some extent by adding tank-side biocides to the coolant baths. In more extreme cases of contamination the entire system may have to be dumped out, cleaned, and recharged. The ideal solution is to use a coolant formulated to control biological activity without the use of tank-side additives. Foam control
High pressure or high speed grinding applications often generate foam, either chemically or mechanically, when air is dispersed into a
cutting fluid solution. A quick troubleshooting test that takes just a few minutes can determine whether foam has been generated chemically or mechanically. First, place a small solution sample in a covered jar and shake it vigorously for a few seconds. Then place the container on a table and observe how the foam reacts. If the foam breaks slowly, it is most likely chemistry related. If the foam quickly breaks, it is more likely to be mechanically generated. The most common mechanical methods of foam generation include pump cavitation, pipe design, trench Fabricator n September/October 2009
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blockage, unnecessarily high pressures, fluid free falls, or other system design features. In many instances, changing a pumpâ€™s low fluid level, adding baffles, or reducing fluid flow can correct the problem. If mechanical corrections to the system donâ€™t help reduce the foam, specially formulated lubricants can help bridge the gap and reduce inherent foaming created by system design flaws. Common causes of chemicallyinduced foam include water quality, water/lubricant mix concentrations, fluid contamination, and lubricant selection. For example, higher lubricant concentrations typically lead to higher foam levels. Contaminants include items such as floor cleaner, certain additives, or even in-process cleaners, other coolants, or rust preventatives on the part prior to its entering the machine. Water quality can also have a large impact on foam generation. Reverse osmosis (RO), deionized (DI), or naturally soft waters can cause a product to foam more than desired. While foam in itself is not a bad thing, uncontrolled foam is. There are several ways to keep foam from building up in a system. Manufacturers may choose harder, more mineralrich waters for use during processing. Or they can routinely add defoamers or tramp oil to the cutting fluid bath. In extreme circumstances, the bath may need to be removed and recharged with fresh coolant. But, the most effective method of foam reduction involves proper coolant selection for the specific operation. Specially formulated semi-synthetic coolants effectively machine the component, and remain dependable and reusable for years rather than functioning for a limited time. Semi-synthetic coolants
While semi-synthetic lubricants are not new, they have evolved significantly over the past 10 to 15 years. These complex products contain 5 to 40% base oil in their concentrate to provide lubrication and corrosion protection. Along with this oil component, semi-synthetics can 14
To minimize foaming
concerns and costs, the manufacturer elected to switch to a semi-synthetic coolant product designed to be lower foaming within their control parameter limitations. contain pH buffers, surfactants, lubrication additives, emulsifiers, biocides, and rust preventatives in their formulations. These other components help to maintain the overall health of the solution. Semi-synthetic metal cutting fluids provide excellent cooling and lubrication, and offer good rust control, extended sump life, and improved cleanliness over soluble oils. One of the main drawbacks of most semisynthetic chemistries is their higher detergency, which generally results in increased foam generation. To combat this tendency to foam, a new generation of semi-synthetics, recently introduced by Henkel Corporation, are both inherently lower foaming and bio-resistant. When systems are correctly maintained and filtered, these formulations are designed be used continuously for years with little bacteria growth, no foam issues, and minimal to no tankside additive use. Bio-resistant foaming
Manufacturers using bio-resistant, low foaming semi-synthetic metal cutting fluids rarely have to empty and refill the system to eliminate bacteria. As very little of the fluid is carried off on the parts, the new formulations minimize lubricant waste and replacement costs. And, these fluids are designed to keep cutting machines, tools and parts very clean. Lubricants are an integral part of metal removal operations across industries, from handgun manufacturing to aerospace production. Coolants
are critical to the success of these operations, regardless of whether 10 or 100,000 gallons are used. With semi-synthetic lubricants, foaming potential is always present but never the uncontrolled amount experienced with older coolant technologies. Before they were introduced to the marketplace, new semi-synthetic lubricants were tested in locations where water quality was a challenge and chronic foam issues were present. The semi-synthetics delivered excellent performance regardless of water quality, and eliminated the need for defoamer additives and lubricant bath monitoring. Parts, machines and tools all emerged clean and sound from the cutting process. A real world example
A manufacturing plant experiencing foam issues relied upon routine additions of tankside defoamer to control foam height. This procedure required that a machine operator be dedicated to monitoring, mixing and adding these very expensive defoamers as needed. While the defoamer additive controlled foam overgrowth for a time, eventually the defoamer got stripped out of the system and foam overgrowth would resume. Occasionally, the operator would miss the opportunity to add the defoamer and foam would rise too high, causing a messy overflow that required cleanup. This cleanup resulted in lost production time, maintenance costs, coolant and defoamer product waste, and associated downtime expenses. To minimize foaming concerns and costs, the manufacturer elected to switch to a semi-synthetic coolant product designed to be lower foaming within their control parameter limitations. This same product was designed to control biological activity to maximize the product lifetime. By using a product that is inherently lower foaming and bio-resistant, operating costs were reduced dramatically and the machine operator was allowed to focus on manufacturing parts instead of monitoring and controlling foam levels. Fabricator n September/October 2009
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Finish that stainless steel! More and more stainless steel jobs are coming your way - hurray! Now the challenge is to learn the proper designations and finishing techniques. n
By Chris Stone Lehigh Valley Abrasives
steel material specifications are defined below.
In North America, the use of stainless
Mechanical Finish Designations for Steel Materials n #2D Finish - a uniform, dull silver gray mill finish that is applied to
Step Define the finish The first step for fabricators is to work with each customer to define the finish required. The finish for the base material and treatment of the welds should be discussed and agreed upon. Generally, the material finish is specified in grit (the particle size for the last step in the abrasive finishing process). Stainless
A sample swatch can be made out of tubing. This sample shows a #7 finish, with welds ground flush and pit and crevice free (similar to a NOMMA #1 finish).
thinner stainless steel coils, the thickness of which has been reduced by cold rolling. n #2B Finish - A bright cold rolled mill finish commonly produced in the same manner as No. 2D, except that the final light cold rolling pass is done using polished rolls. n #3 Finish - A semi-polished surface achieved by finishing with the equivalent of a 80 to 120-grit abrasive. This finish has a pronounced grit line. n #4 Finish - Also called brushed, directional or satin finish. A number 4 finish is characterized by fine polishing grit lines that are uniform and directional in appearance. The final abrasive used in the process is 150 to 220 grit.
The treatment of the welds should also be defined with the customer. Weld treatment options are as follows; 1. Remove weld spatter and discoloration only.
For your information
steel continues to grow in popularity both inside and outside the home due to its many advantages. Architects, engineers, and contractors increasingly specify stainless steel for use in construction, appliances, food processing equipment, and the medical field. As stainless steel usage continues to grow, proficiency in finishing will take on increased importance. For fabricators, the ability to proficiently fabricate and finish stainless steel, can lead to both increased business and profitability. The most effective fabricators follow a three step process for stainless steel finishing projects. The first step involves working with the customer in order to define and document the finish required for the project. Next, the fabricator must choose the correct abrasives and power tools that will be used on the job to achieve the required finish. And finally, the fabricators must create and execute the mechanical finishing process plan in order to complete the project and satisfy the customer.
n #6 Finish - Polished finish achieved with the equivalent of a 240-grit abrasive. Finer grit lines and higher reflectivity than a No. 4 finish. n #7 Finish - Highly reflective surface obtained with the equivalent of a 320-grit abrasive. Minimal grit lines. n #8 Finish or Mirror Finish - produced by polishing with at least a 320 grit belt or wheel finish. The part is then sisal and color buffed to achieve a mirrorlike finish.
About the Author: Chris Stone is owner of Lehigh Valley Abrasives, supplier of abrasives and power tools for metalworking. Summary: Once you reach agreement with a client on a finish, itâ€™s important that you choose the right materials, tools, and use the correct technique for the finish type selected. CONTACT
Lehigh Valley Abrasives 104 Hoffman Lane Glen Gardner, NJ 08826 Ph: 908-892-2865 Fax: 908-537-2145 Email: email@example.com Web: www.lehighvalleyabrasives.com. com Fabricator n September/October 2009
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2. Remove weld spatter, discoloration and weld ripple. 3. Remove weld spatter, discoloration and weld ripple, plus grind weld smooth with base material. 4. Remove weld spatter, discoloration and weld ripple, plus grind weld smooth with base material, and producing all welds pit and crevice free. Once the customer and fabricator have defined the material finish and weld treatment, a sample swatch can be created to use as reference. The sample swatch can be as simple as two pieces of stainless steel square tubing welded together and finished per the aforementioned specifications.
Removal of excess weld spatter, and discol- Grinding wheel oration Resin fiber disc Abrasive flap disc Dynafile coated abrasive belt Creating a uniform scratch pattern in weld
Flap disc Surface conditioning disc Unitized disc Dynafile coated surface cond. belt
Step Choosing abrasives and
Discs and belts are the most
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popular abrasive mediums for mechanical finishing of stainless steel. Most often abrasive discs are used for weld treatment, and belts are used for material surface treatment. The one notable exception is the use of Dynafile small portable belts for treating welds in hard to reach locations. The chart above illustrates typical mechanical finishing steps for weld treatments along with the appropriate abrasive. The advent of the flap disc has significantly reduced the steps required for stainless steel finishing. In the past, operators used a two step process for weld treatment consisting of a grinding wheel for the first step (material removal) and then a resin fiber disc for the second step (uniform scratch pattern). Increasingly, the flap disc is replacing the older two-step process with a single step, requiring only one abrasive product. Layers of coated abrasive are arranged on a backing pad in a fan like arrangement. In addition to reduced processing times, flap discs are less prone to gouging and scratching the work piece (very common with grinding wheels). Gouging and scratching can significantly increase downstream polishing times. For finer weld finishing, a bevy of new products are now available that improve surface finishes and reduce
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Ceramic grain flap discs are used to remove the weld in a pre-polished stainless steel square to round transition. Fabricator n September/October 2009
polishing times. The newer products include surface conditioning flap discs, combination flap discs, and unitized disc. Surface conditioning material is a nylon web impregnated with abrasive grit. The material is available in coarse (50-80 grit), medium (100-150 grit), fine (180-220 grit), and very fine (240 -360 grit) and produces a matte like finish when applied to stainless steel. Combi- The sets of discs shown above include surface conditioning (left), nation discs combine coated combination flap disc (right), and abrasive and surface conditioning unitized discs (photo at right). on the same backing pad in an interleaf pattern, thus removing the material surface areas. weld and polishing at the same time. The two main categories Unitized discs consist of layers of of abrasive belts used in non-woven material impregnated with stainless steel finishing are abrasive grit. They are available in coated and surface coarse through fine grits and excel at conditioning. producing fine finishes on stainless Traditionally, zircosteel welds. nia-coated abrasives belts were used for stainless Abrasive belts steel finishing. However, As previously discussed, belts are the introduction of newer generally used to process larger ceramic grain belts caused
An employee is using a unitized disc to create a #4 finish. Notice the operator’s use of a protective rubber mat to prevent the material from scratching during polishing.
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a rise in the popularity of stainless steel finishing. The newer ceramics offered by leading coated abrasive manufacturers, such as VSM Abrasives and Norton Abrasives, require less pressure, last longer than other coated abrasives, and cut cooler—particularly important for stainless steel finishing as heat generation is an obstacle to effective finishing. Belts made out of surface conditioning are generally applied after the coated abrasives do their work. The surface conditioning belts texture more than remove material. The belts generate the appearance of a linear brushed finish on the material. When sequencing abrasives, fabricators should work from coarse to fine. Skipping more than one grade level when moving finer in grit tends to give the material an uneven choppy look. When blending welds and large surfaces, using longer strokes will result in a more even appearance. Power tools While the angle grinder is still the
This Metabo grinder offers variable speed and vibration reduction.
workhorse for stainless steel weld finishing, linear belt finishing tools are required to achieve the higher level stainless steel finishes that are more frequently being specified. Power tools are available as pneumatic or electric. Pneumatic tools offer the advantage of being lighter, and therefore, easier for the
operator to hold and handle. On the other hand, electric power tools offer the advantage of more power and variable speed control. The ability to control the speed of the tool is essential for stainless steel finishing. As the surface finish becomes finer, the speed of the tool must be reduced to achieve a uniform appearance in the surface finish. Therefore, fabricators attempting #4 finishes and finer, need to have variable speed angle grinders and linear belt finishers in their workshops. By reducing finishing speeds as the surface finish becomes finer, abrasive consumption is also reduced resulting in the need for fewer abrasives to complete the project. New grinders, such as the WE14125VS from Metabo, (shown left), offer variable speed, vibration reduction, quick wheel change and a powerful 12 amp motor. The yellow dial at the bottom controls the speed. This 6” unitized disc must be run at 3000 rpm (a normal grinder runs at 11000 rpm) and will grind and polish
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Fabricator n September/October 2009
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the corner weld in a single step. For linear finishing and blending welds with adjacent pre-polished material, variable speed burnishing machines such as the flex machine below, allow operators to more easily achieve desired finishes in stainless steel. It is important to
note that a linear scratch pattern (frequently specified for stainless steel finishes) cannot be achieved with an angle grinder. The angle grinder will leave swirl marks in the material. Only a burnisher, like the unit below, can
achieve the desired finish. A relatively new class of power tool has been gaining popularity for polishing pipe and hand rails. The pipe sander wraps 270 degrees around the work piece and quickly accom-
An operator applies a #4 linear finish to stainless steel. center: The pipe sander wraps 270 degrees around the work piece. right: The Dynafile is ideal for hard-to-reach areas, especially places that canâ€™t be reached by a grinder or polisher. left:
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Fabricator n September/October 2009
plishes finishing tasks with ease. The pre-tensioned arms apply even pressure to the workpiece producing a uniform finish. The Dynafile is another tool required for most stainless steel finishing jobs. The tool accepts small portable belts and excels at accessing hard to reach areas. Dynafiles are typically used where access to use the grinder or polisher cannot be gained. Step Finalize and execute
The final step is to create the mechanical stainless steel finishing
plan and execute completion of the project. This involves pre-planning the actual work steps involved in order to complete the required finish. Each work step should list the power tool, abrasive type, and grit that will be used. Nowhere is preparing more important than in the area of mechanical polishing. By carefully planning the project, hours of needless re-work can be avoided. If fabricators are
The inside of this part is pre-polished and protected with plastic film during the manufacturing process. The film is peeled back at the welded seams.
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Fabricator n September/October 2009
attempting a finish they have not achieved in the past, they may want to consult with their abrasives and power tool distributor for guidance. The following points should be considered during the planning process: 1. Order pre-polished material when possible. 2. Protect the material with a plastic film coating. 3. When possible use TIG welding. 4. Minimize weld diameter and spatter. 5. Pre-polish parts that have
plan created for a stainless steel housing (see photo at left). The housing walls are 11 gauge 304ss, and the flanges and end plates are ¼” thick 304ss. The requirement is a #4 finish with all welds ground smooth and flush with the base material. Part in finishing process.
difficult access points. 6. Educate employees concerning care in material handling (stainless steel is easily scratched). Below is an example of a polishing
Finishing Plan Order all 11 gauge 304 ss and 1/4” thick 304ss material, pre-polished to a #4 finish. Keep protective plastic on pre-polished material.
Part in finishing process
In summary, the three steps critical to successful stainless steel finishing include defining the customers, requirements, planning the sequence, which includes choosing the abrasives and tools that will be used, and executing the plan. By adopting this approach, fabricators can fulfill their customers’ requirements in the least time and with the least cost.
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Hard to reach areas
Belt ceramic grain 80 grit, then 120 grit, then med. surf conditioning
Blending weld areas with base pre-pol2/11/09 ished material
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Fabricator n September/October 2009
Shop Talk Crafted by Eureka Forge of Pacific, MO, this two-story, organic railing used over 100 forged leaves made from Damascus steel billets. The Damascus billets were created in the shop by forge welding alternate layers of high nickel and high carbon steel. During the subsequent forging process, the billets were manipulated so that the layers resemble the variegated leaves of the Hosta plants growing on the property. The job received the Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence in the 2009 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition. Approx. labor time for entire project: 1,700 hrs. right:
The Art of Damascus Steel A NOMMA member adds Damascus steel leaves to create a powerful accent on an award winning railing. n
Damascus steel has been around, in
one form or another, since antiquity; which is another way of saying no one can pin it down, with any scholarly certainty, to an exact year. But, 300 BC seems to be generally accepted as an educated guess in the world of academia. Its precise point of origin is equally murky, but conventional anthropology puts it somewhere in south central India. From there, the skill spread throughout Asia Minor and the Middle East. By the time the Western world discovered Damascus steel, it had been developed to a high art form by the Saracens. Granted, the Europeans met the Saracens in less than amiable circumstances, but Richard cour de 28
Lion and his boys knew a good thing when they saw it, and brought the discovery back to Europe’s iron workers to see if they could duplicate it. Fascinated by its strength, flexibility, and preternatural edge holding ability, as well as the strange whorls and waves of its surface, Western metallurgists began parsing the material in earnest around the beginning of the twelfth century. But, the West’s best efforts to reproduce the material used by the Saracens resulted only in a form of pattern welding, a technique already known to the sixth century Celts and eleventh century Vikings. The exact formula of the Mohammedan smiths’ product proved elusive. Clearly, it was made from an exceptional grade of ore with a carbon content nearing 1.5 percent. This
For your information
By Jeff Fogel
About the Author: Jeff Fogel is a freelance writer and is based in Bow, NH. What is Damascus steel? Two metals of disparate grades are forge welded together, folded, and then etched with acid. The acid attacks the metals at different rates, which forms the unique patterns. Incorporating into jobs: This article features a job by Eureka Forge, which won the Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence in the 2009 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Competition. The job also won a 2009 gold award. Photos courtesy: Todd Kinnikin of Eureka Forge., Pacific, MO.
Fabricator n September/October 2009
This close-up of Eureka Forge’s winning job shows the lifelike look that the Damascus technique adds to the leaves.
original Damascus steel became known as Wootz steel and is technically different from that which is called Damascus steel today. Wootz steel was produced in a ceramic crucible where nuggets of steel, iron, and carbon were fused. Upon cooling, the carbides
precipitated out, leaving the characteristic waves on the steel called ‘watering.’ The rest of the world continued to experiment with pattern welding, including Japan who, by the thirteenth century, had raised it to a religious act
with the making of Samurai swords. But, it was still pattern welding and only a facsimile of the original Wootz steel. Still, the quest continued to duplicate the Saracen’s mystical steel; but, time was running out. By the 18th century, the secret of true Damascus steel disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared and was finally lost, even to the Islamic blacksmiths who had created it. So how, exactly, does today’s Damascus steel differ from that of yore? For insight into the anatomy and physiology of pattern welded steel, I went to Tom Nizolek, a metallurgist with Leheigh University. As Nizolek explains, there are several ways to make modern Damascus steel; however, all share the same basic formula. Two metals of disparate grades are forge welded together, folded, and then etched with acid which attacks the two metals at different rates, producing the characteristic patterns. Hence the term, pattern welded steel. All else is simply a variation on the original recipe. The metals may be either laminated or thrown together in a crucible-like container. They may be hammered together under heat or clamped together. The grades of steel used determine both the physical and aesthetic characteristics of the metal. Typically, high-carbon steel is coupled with mild steel containing around 3 – 5 % nickel for corrosion resistance. Nizolek cautions that forging will disperse the carbon atoms, resulting in a dilution of the aggregate carbon content. For instance, if you use 1% carbon with mild steel, you’ll wind up with a billet of .06% carbon content. So the secret is out. Today’s Damascus steel is really pattern welded steel and not exactly the same as the original metal. But, does that really matter? Only if you need a sword that will pierce armor or slice silk ribbons as they flutter through the air—which is a fairly limited market. Besides, as Nizolek is quick to point out, there is strength and malleability in pattern welded steel. “It can be worked cold,” he notes. “Basically, you can do anything with pattern welded steel you can do with regular Fabricator n September/October 2009
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steel.” And, it looks great. Damascus steel can add beauty and price to any ornamental project. Just ask Todd Kinnikin of Eureka Forge in Pacific, MO. Kinnikin was the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Mitch Heitler award for ornamental metal work for his organic stair balustrade. A stare-inducing piece, it involved the use of Damascus steel for the 100 some leaves and stems in the balustrades’ vine motif. Kinnikin, who had worked his way through school as a blacksmith, knew
a thing or two about forge welding before he sold his construction business and got back into blacksmithing as a hobby. However, the hobby quickly became a paying business as the demand grew for Kinnikin’s work, or as he puts it, “what started as an avocation became a vocation.”
We ARE your Architectural Metal Supply Source. In addition to the Damascus steel, this railing also includes other unique features, including cast birds, which were created with the lost wax process. The entire balustrade is sandblasted, hot patinaed, and waxed. The project used over 1 ton of material, and is building code compliant.
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Kinnikin became interested in Damascus steel after learning knife making under Hank Knickmeyer and Daryl Myer, two of the preeminent bladesmiths in the world. But, Damascus steel is expensive and above the means (or ambition) of the average customer. You have to have the right project. The right project for Kinnikin was a customer who wanted Hosta leaves on a large balustrade. Although the job didn’t specify Damascus per se, Kinnikin realized that Damascus steel was the best way to realistically reproduce the vein pattern of the Hosta leaves. The project called for over a hundred leaves which would require a pile of Damascus steel. For that he would have to get creative. The billets would be produced with what Kinnikin likes to call ‘zipped up welding,’ a technique more commonly referred to as ‘container’ welding. Herein, I shall describe Kinnikin’s version: Kinnikin started with an eightinch length of three-inch square tube stock. On one end, he welded a cap Fabricator n September/October 2009
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and then welded a length of 5/8” square stock to be used as a handle. The tubing was made of ordinary mild steel. The grade didn’t matter because it was essentially just a crucible. Then, Kinnikin filled the tube with bars of 8620 steel and filled the gaps with steel abrasive medium (1086 with a dollop of manganese). Then, for the fun part, Kinnikin poured in some non-detergent motor oil, capped the other end, poked a pinhole, and then did the predictable thing: He put it in the forge. “It was
The project called for
over a hundred leaves. For that he would have to get creative. The billets would be produced with a technique commonly referred to as ‘container’ welding.
your basic pipe bomb,” says Kinnikin, “We tried diesel fuel, too. We blew the cap off the tube. We even blew the back off a gas forge once.” But, that’s another story. Of course, the method to this madness was for the explosively burning oil to eliminate oxygen in the tube. No oxygen, no oxides. And no oxides, no scale; this eliminates the need for flux for the next step—welding. This involved bringing the tube slowly to welding temperature (around 2,200 degrees F) to gain what blacksmiths call a ‘soaking heat’. The next step was to draw the welded material out. Drawing out is a blacksmith’s technical term for hammering the bejabbers out of a piece until it’s longer and skinnier. A power hammer is highly recommended for this step. After sufficient wailing on it to reduce the diameter to 2½ inches, it was returned to the fire. Then, it was reheat and repeat, two more times until the metal was reduced to 1½ inches and elongated to 32 inches – half the diameter and four times the original length. Then cutting the billet into four lengths, restacking and repeating the process of forge welding and drawing out, four more times. The resulting stock, measuring
Suppliers of Damascus Steel The following are some known suppliers. If you know of additional sources, please let us know. Thunderforged™ 4690 South Old Peachtree Rd. Norcross, GA 30071 Ph: (678) 969-9147 www.thunderforged.com Sheffield Knifemakers Supply P.O. Box 741107 Orange City, FL 32774 Ph: (386) 775-6453 www.sheffieldsupply.com Jantz Supply 309 West Main Davis, OK 73030 Ph: (800) 351-8900 www.knifemaking.com 34
Fabricator n September/October 2009
Start with two grades of steel (a rod of 8620 and 1086 abrasive material with a dollop of magnesium), metals packed into tube for welding, tube with cap and handle welded on, tube after heating to welding temperature, tube after etching, drawn down billet with two finished leaves. left to right:
5/8 inch square, was then forged into a leaf. The final step was etching with acid. Although Kinnikin used Ferric Chloride, HCl or Muriatic acids are also commonly used. So, let’s say the idea of making your work stand out from the pack appeals to you. Where do you get your hands on some Damascus steel? You have three choices. You can buy imported billets, you can buy it from local blacksmiths, or you can make your own. With the notable exception of one Swedish company, virtually all of today’s imported Damascus steel is made in India or Pakistan; which is not necessarily an indictment on the quality of the material. Remember, these are the guys who invented the stuff. And, you can rid your mind of the image of a robed peasant squatting by a sand crucible, blowing on a reed to stoke the fire pit. They have modern factories. The second option is to buy from a local blacksmith. They’ll generally sell in small quantities, and it’s important to get someone with experience. Your best bet is usually a bladesmith. Your third option is to make it yourself. But, if you don’t have blacksmithing experience, this is the least viable alternative. If the forge welds aren’t solid, the billets could delaminate when working them—especially if you’re working them cold. However you obtain Damascus steel, incorporating it into the right ornamental job will yield results that will get your ornamental work noticed and impress customers. It sure impressed the Crusaders. Fabricator n September/October 2009
Old school meets new school Shop owner’s curiosity, the Internet, and experienced ironworkers help Louisiana business take off. n
Although NOMMA member Josh
Guillory of Custom Iron by Josh LLC took welding in high school, ornamental metalwork didn’t catch his eye until years later. Now, Guillory owns an ornamental shop that offers creative solutions in iron and copper, has eight workers, a 3500 sq. ft. welding shop, and 3400 sq. ft. office space. However, prior to becoming a shop owner, like many Louisiana residents, Guillory found a job in one of the biggest and most important industries in the state—the oil industry. Guillory was working hard and putting in lots of hours. “In the oil industry, I was so caught up in what I was doing, I wasn’t really aware of ornamental metal fabrication,” he says. That was the case, until he became a homeowner. After being married for two years, Guillory and his wife Ashley
built a house. “I started noticing custom metalwork in people’s houses, so I started investigating on the Internet.” This online research piqued his interest in ornamental work; plus, Guillory wasn’t new to welding. Even as a child, he loved sculpture and wanted to become a sculptor when he was young. At age 16 while in high school, Guillory took welding so that he could work on his custom truck. “My dad influenced me to learn to pipe weld to make a living,” says Guillory. “I welded in the oil refineries for five years after college didn’t work out.” Also, Guillory had his own welding truck. Open for business
Guillory had to travel a lot for work. Since, in time, they wanted to start a family, Guillory didn’t want to be on the road so much; so, he decided the time was right to kick-off his ornamental metal business. “In my mind, I would start with small items, but it didn’t really work out like that. My first job was fence gates and interior railing, a pretty large scope of work,” says Guillory. Once work started, it became nonstop. “I was Custom Iron by Josh, located in Westlake, LA, has served the working 60-70 hours southwest Louisiana area since 2003.
per week to get my business rolling, not making much money,” he says. During that first month or two of business, the Guillory’s discovered a baby was on the way. It was a tough decision to start a business versus the security of working in the refinery. There was also the question of space.
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About the firm: Custom Iron by Josh, a highly active NOMMA member shop, is based in Westlake, LA. The full-service company produces fences, gates, canopies, staircases, railings, doors, and miscellaneous items. Custom Iron has served the southwest Louisiana market since 2003. Memorable quote: “I’m getting lots of inspiration from many things from hot rod motorcycles to structural bridges. I try to look at all I can for more ideas or inspiration.” CONTACT
Josh Guillory Custom Iron by Josh LLC 620 Miller Ave Westlake, LA 70669 Ph: 337-794-4122 Web: www.customironbyjosh.com Fabricator n September/October 2009
The company’s showroom showcases railings, gates, and other ornamental metal products.
“When I started out, I was working out of my truck in my driveway in the middle of the subdivision,” says Guillory. “I knew I had to get a place to work.” Using creative financing at the local welding supply, instead of getting credit or a loan, Guillory sold his welding machine as a down payment to finance his shop where he still runs his business. “I chose the Net30 arrangement because getting the shop required inspection and a lot of red tape,” says Guillory. “I had to work to pay for a new machine, but I didn’t have the money up front even though I had two jobs waiting for me.” The storm strikes
When Hurricane Rita hit Louisiana, Guillory, Ashley, and their family evacuated to stay with Ashley’s family in Memphis. While there, he looked up ornamental welding shops in the Yellow Pages. “I had been doing this for a year, but I had limited knowledge of it,” says Guillory. “I’m self taught and never visited a shop because I didn’t feel comfortable at that point going into a competitor’s shop in Louisiana.” Being in Memphis gave him this opportunity to see what others in his field were up to. While in Memphis, Guillory called up NOMMA member Mark Pledge of MSW Ornamental Fabricators Inc. Guillory asked for a job—because of Hurricane Rita’s damage, he couldn’t return to Louisiana and didn’t know how soon he would be allowed to do so. Guillory ended up working for MSW for 40 hours for two weeks. Guillory put his curiosity and investigative skills to work. “I watched him like a hawk,” he says. While there, Guillory studied everything Pledge did; he was anxious to learn all he could. “It really helped, because I came back to Louisiana as if coming back from school. I learned so much at that shop,” says Guillory. “It helped me to structure my own shop.” Guillory learned how Pledge ran and staffed his business. Also while in Memphis, Guillory had the opportunity to visit the Metal Museum, the nation’s one-of-a-kind institution dedicated to the art of metalwork. Guillory says that the people there were very helpful. They took their time with him and thoroughly answered his questions. “I didn’t know how to make scrolls or do any forging,” says Fabricator n September/October 2009
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Guillory. “I enjoyed visiting the Metal Museum, they were super helpful; you ask them one question and they give you a 15-minute answer.” Facebook and innovative marketing
In time, Guillory was able to return to Louisiana and business took off because of the damage caused by Rita. Custom Iron by Josh could start again with recently gained
right: This 16’ x 8’ automated drive gate was built from ¾” solid stock components. The job started as a sketch and was then created on AutoCAD. The drawings were plotted full scale, which made it easy for the fabricator in the shop to match details. Finish was black satin paint. This was an entry in the 2009 Top Job contest.
insight and new technologies. “I’m not afraid to try new things,” says Guillory. He soaks up advice from others and finds ways to apply this advice for himself. “I love to pick the brain of another welder or another business man. I’ve stayed open minded,” says Guillory. “Like now, I’m using Facebook to network my business.” Every few days, Guillory tries to post something new. Guillory has an online video featuring scroll forging on the way. “This is mainly to help people understand the art that is involved in forging railings and gates,” says Guillory. “These are not just store bought pieces.” Currently, Guillory is working on a video portfolio. He has only used Facebook since February, but he has received good feedback and compliments from clients and friends. Guillory has also connected with an architect and a few contractors. Guillory recently posted a question about some shop drawings and had an architect give some helpful advice. One of the employees, Patrick Stensen, attended a grand opening event at an arts store. On his own, he brought an anvil and displayed some forging. Stensen also handed out business cards. This resulted in an article in the local newspaper called The American Press. A reporter saw him, asked for an interview, and did a full-page of Stensen doing blacksmithing work, forging leaves and flowers. Custom Iron by Josh received more press earlier in December of 2008 in Cowboys & Indians Magazine, which featured a ranch in west Texas that has a Spanish-style hunting lodge. This 38
Fabricator n September/October 2009
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was one of Guillory’s biggest clients. As another avenue for marketing, Custom Iron by Josh has started shop tours for customers. “This year we remodeled our front office into a showroom. I invite my customers in before I go out to measure,” says Guillory. “I like the idea of feeling out the customer first.” If a client is interested in custom work, Guillory will give them a tour, usually after 3:30 p.m. when the workers leave. “In some cases, I have fired up the forge and given a demonstration of how we will be creating the product. At this point I usually have them hooked.” “Most of the time, as soon as I fire up the forge, I’ve pretty much got them eating out of my hand. Their jaws drop,” says Guillory. “Especially the men.” Guillory has found that when women love the work they express it; they let metalworkers know it. It has been tougher, however, to get feedback or praise from the men. However, like the women, the men are really impressed when they visit the shop. “One guy stayed over an hour watching me forge. This wins them over before we even talk numbers,” says Guillory. Recently, a homeowner and her decorator from Baton Rouge visited the shop. However, the decorator did all the talking while the homeowner didn’t say a word. After the first phase, however, the homeowner came for a second visit, changed her tune, and said, “I never thought I’d be this excited about a fence.” “It was a cool project. We knew we did a pretty good job making the client happy,” says Guillory. NOMMA benefits
Having been a member for four years, Guillory says that NOMMA has been helpful to his business in many ways. One benefit has been access to resources. Using the Fabricator n September/October 2009
first NOMMA magazine he got from Memphis, Guillory circled everything he might want for his shop. Since his hours were tight, Ashley, who works as the bookkeeper, called them all. The Guillory’s ended up buying a punch, ironworker, an Eagle rolling machine, a power hammer from Striker Tools, and a couple of Hebo machines. “I had no knowledge prior to this and no idea how to search,” says Guillory. “NOMMA’s really helped me come a long way.” Also, Guillory found his manager, Allen Guidry, from NOMMA, who has been in the business for over 20 years. Guidry ended up coming to work with Guillory first as a part-timer for six months, then full time 1½ years ago. “I believe in NOMMA, and have been active since 1989,” says Guidry. “I had the opportunity to help out on the Top Job committee and serve as chairperson for security grill safety for SBCCI and the Burn foundation.” Guidry was also asked to go to a convention in Boston to represent NOMMA. “I love NOMMA, it is very important to be able to communicate with others,” says Guidry. “The ListServ is one of the best things. I
This 100-foot fence system also included a walk and driveway gate. It was designed by the fabricator with input from the owner and decorator. All scrolls are made from ¾” solid square bar, runners are 1-1/2” x 1-1/2” square tubing, and the posts are 3”. As an added touch, hammered 1-1/2” tubing is used down the center of the panel, which compliments the textured spears.
turned Josh onto it.” Guidry took home a Top Job gold award in the first round in ’91 and a bronze award in ’95. “The Top Job at METALfab last year was awesome. It was my first time going,” says Guillory. He entered a top job and even though he didn’t win, Guillory left with more determination. “Even during the award ceremony, I started thinking about my next design. I couldn’t wait, I started drawing stuff on the plane,” says Guillory. That was a long trip, with Guillory A curved, exterior stairway adds a nice touch to this high-end home.
travelling all day, taking three planes. “I still have those gates and rail drawings posted on my wall. We’re determined to be successful,” says Guillory. Running a business is not without its challenges. One business challenge Guillory has experienced has been finding younger workers. “Many are still not sure about what they want to do,” says Guillory. “As soon as we take the time to train them to weld, we lose them to the plant where they pay them a lot more than we can. It’s too expensive to train a 20 year old for two-three years then have them leave—it can be discouraging.” So far, “old school,” as Guidry says, is working out for Guillory. With workers in their late 40’s, Guillory is the youngest. The shop also has a variety of ethnicities including Cajun, German, and Cuban backgrounds. Inspiration for the future
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Guillory finds that getting new ideas is not limited to books or the Internet. “I’m getting inspiration from many things from hot rod motorcycles to structural bridges,” says Guillory. “I try to look at all I can for more ideas or inspiration. My goal is to go to a Top Job competition within the next few years and bring home some awards to put in my showroom.” Fabricator n September/October 2009
A true collaboration A magnificent balustrade, featuring unique tassels, wins a gold in the 2009 Top Job competition. n
By Terry Barrett and Cathy Vequist Royal Iron Creations Last year, we had the good fortune to
be given the commission for a stair and balcony railing for a very discerning architect and his client. The flip side was that we weren’t really sure how we were going to actually produce this railing that consisted of a very precise baluster design (with almost zero tolerance for fabrication and installation in order to meet code) for a curved balcony and a very tight,
For your information
About the shop: Royal Iron Creations is a longtime active member, both on the chapter and national levels. The company’s Terry Barrett is NOMMA’s immediate past president. The company specializes in high-end metal creations, including railings, doors, gates, and balconies. Memorable quote: “We realized early on that the architect’s design of the balustrades would only meet code if the stair and the railing layout were completed simultaneously.” CONTACT
Royal Iron Creations 1139 53rd Ct., N West Palm Beach, FL 33407 Ph: (561) 655-9353 Fax: (561) 848-8333 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.royaliron.com Fabricator n September/October 2009
This project started from an architect’s drawing of a few balustrades. All of the components on the stair balustrades were skewed, which required custom tooling. The rams’ heads and tassels were custom cast from bronze. To install the job, the balustrades were inserted through the marble and epoxied into pipe sockets. Then the “X” pieces were attached, the gold plated rope was slid over the balustrade, and attached using the ram’s heads. The remaining gold pieces were inserted, and finally the top cap.
steep curving stair. And, the stair was being designed and built by another metal company. However, good fortune prevailed, as we had the opportunity to work jointly with a number of local, quality organizations. Bob Kline Quality Metals was contracted to build the steel stair and balcony platform and Palmer Marble and Tile handled the
marble treads and risers. We were brought into the project at the time Bob Kline’s and Palmer Marble’s groups were collaborating on AutoCAD layouts of the stair geometry. This task was difficult due to the desired shape of the balcony and stair, and the limited existing space in the stair hall. The balcony was a sweeping curve, while the stair was extremely 41
tight (41 degree slope) with one section being as small as a 29 inch radius. After each iteration of the design, they would use Palmer Marble’s waterjet to cut plastic templates to mimic a full-sized plan-view of the geometry. Once they were satisfied that the geometry was correct and they had met the 12/19/07 tri-state-quarter page.qxd 9:44cutting AM Page Figs. 1 & 2: The of the 1 treads and rolling the stringers code requirements for demanded high precision. the stair, a one-third scale model was built of the complete This allowed us to monitor what was stair for approval, again using the happening with the stair and to give accurately. The railing was basically waterjet and sheet metal. feedback for any concerns we had that spindles embedded through the We realized early on that the could affect the railing, since we were marble treads and onto a steel stair. architect’s design of the balustrades already in the process of detailing the Since the steel stair treads were to be would only meet code if the stair and first concepts of the balustrades and waterjetted, the idea was hatched to the railing layout were completed building a full-size sample for approvwaterjet holes in the steel tread to simultaneously. So, as the stair al. allow Bob Kline’s group to weld a pipe geometry was being finalized, the Another benefit of sharing socket underneath each tread, at the AutoCAD file was forwarded to us to information in the early stages was the precise location required for the use in designing the railing system. AD idea of how- to mount the railing spindles. Since we were already PROOF 45-3454-ACF-121807-V2
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Fig 3: In some places, there was less than 1/8” tolerance to meet the sphere code between balustrades.
working on the layouts, we were able to locate where we wanted the pipe sockets, and send it back to them, on another AutoCAD layer, in their plan-view drawing. Later, corresponding holes were also cut into the marble treads to allow us to insert the ½” square bottom legs through the marble and epoxy them into the pipe socket. Without the use of AutoCAD, the waterjet, and the precision with which these two companies work, this would have been nearly impossible. They accomplished this feat while cutting the treads, cutting and rolling the stringers, and welding the system all into place. (See Figs. 1 and 2) In some places, we had less than 1/8” tolerance to meet the sphere code between the balustrades. (See Fig 3) Originally, the rams’ heads, rope, tassels, pins, and rosettes (shown in Fig. 4) were to be faux-finished with
Gilder’s Paste. Just prior to the production of a sample railing, the architect asked for additional samples with gold plating and gold leafing and the clients selected the gold plated sample. This presented our next challenge; we now had to figure out how to assemble and
install the gold plated items after the steel balusters were sandblasted, painted, and installed. As the architect was asking for very precise reliefs, reveals, and contours on the metal balustrades, we had already determined that we would need to machine the components instead of casting. The balustrades are virtually screwed together from top to bottom with no welds involved. This presented the opportunity to attach the gold plated items at the last phase of installation. The rams’ heads were custom
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designed and cast by a local artist foundry with a slot in the back to fit over the ½” steel and an open mouth to capture the rope detail (See Fig. 5). Countersunk holes were drilled through the ½” steel to intersect holes drilled and tapped into the back of the rams’ heads to hold it into place (See Fig. 6). The rope was made in two sections from three pieces of 1/8” dia. steel rod twisted together. The rope was then knotted and looped with the two pieces being brazed together. The gold rods shown in Fig. 4 were inserted through holes in the lower 3/8” square bar, that were drilled and tapped with metric threads, and inserted into holes in the upper bar. The metric thread sizes allowed the gold plated rods to slide through the hole without scratching the gold, but were snug enough to not allow them to move. The gold rods were plated in 36” sections and cut to length during installation. The stair and balustrades were solid-modeled to allow us to get the
Fig. 5: The rams’ heads were designed with a slot to fit over the 1/2” steel.
actual geometry needed to machine the topmost balustrade piece that connects the upper flat bar to the scrolls. As you can see in Figs. 7 and 8, the piece has concave and convex curves, is skewed to follow the angle of the stair, and is also curved to allow it to fit under the upper flat bar without
Fig. 6: Countersunk holes were drilled to intersect with the holes in the rams’ heads.
protruding on the sides. A local company machined each piece on a 5-axis CNC milling machine. (See the result in Fig. 9) To cut and fit the “X-shaped” elements with the gold plated rosettes that go between each balustrade, the balustrades had to be temporarily set
Fabricator n September/October 2009
Figs. 7 & 8: The stair and balustrades were solid-modeled to get the exact geometry needed.
in position. Where each leg of the “Xshaped” element intersected the ½” vertical, angled bars, a compound miter cut was made-to-fit. The process continued all the way down the stair with the elements stamped for the position where they were hand-fit. In the final assembly, these were held in place by pan-headed screws where the slots were puttied over to replicate rivets. The four-part finish on the balustrades consisted of sandblasting, a base coat, and two coats of paint dappled on with sponges. The final installation process was to epoxy the balustrades into the pipe sockets, install the custom-machined newel post, screw the steel upper bar to the top of the balustrades, and screw the “X-shaped” elements between each balustrade. Once this was complete, the upper bar was removed so the rope could be slid over the top of each balustrade. You will notice that the rope is looped over itself underneath the ram’s mouth, falling on either side of the balustrades. The rams’ heads
were screwed into place to capture the rope, and the holes were puttied over and touched-up. Then the gold rods were slid up into place and the metric set screws used to hold them in place were puttied over and touched-up. A polished brass top cap was used to finish the railing. All in all, in addition to our organization, we determined that there were two machine shops, two water jet cutters, one artist foundry, two gold platers, three companies doing either AutoCAD or solid modeling, and a sandblaster involved in this project. We must also give an enormous amount of credit to our own staff of
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Figs 9: The piece under the flat bar is skewed to follow the angle of the stair and also curved to prevent it from protruding from the sides.
highly skilled people. This was the first project that we can remember where all individuals in our shop directly contributed their ideas, time, skills, and efforts to make this incredible railing. Thanks also goes out to NOMMA. If not for what we have learned by being members of NOMMA—the willingness of members to share their experience, the influence of the Top Job contest, and the benefit of NOMMA’s ListServ to get immediate information on questions and techniques—it would probably deter some of us from taking on jobs to stretch our capabilities to the next step.
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Restoring a New York icon Allen Architectural Metals Inc. recreates pedestrian canopies for a famous Manhattan suspension bridge. The project received a gold award in the 2009 Top Job contest. n
Written by the staff at Allen Architectural Metals Inc. The Manhattan Bridge is one of three
suspension bridges that cross the East River, providing a critical link that carries high volume subway, automobile, and pedestrian traffic between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The bridge itself was designed by engineer Ralph Modjeski, who was assisted by Leon Moisseiff, the designer of the bridge’s deflection cables. On December 31, 1909, the bridge was completed and opened to traffic. Beginning in 1980 and continuing through 2007, the one-hundred year old bridge underwent an extensive restoration. Allen Architectural Metals, Inc. was selected to re-create four 20’ x 25’ cast iron and steel pedestrian canopies and four 10’ x 5’ bronze plaques, all located one-fourth of a mile from each of the bridge’s entrances. The pedestrian canopies’ original purpose was to add both an ornamental and functional element to the bridge design. The function of the canopies was to protect pedestrians crossing the bridge during inclement weather and Shown is one of four pedestrian canopies along the walkway of the massive bridge. The canopies were disassembed and shipped to the fabricator for restoration of components and recreation of missing or unstable components.
Fabricator n September/October 2009
shelter the commemorative bronze plaques. The City of New York adheres to rigorous safety and maintenance guidelines established by the New York Department of Transportation (NYDOT) for all suspension bridges. In addition, any architectural or engineering design element that is, has been, or will become a part of an active bridge demands strict requirements in all phases of design, manufacturing, and construction. The entire project was under close scrutiny from start to finish. The NYDOT sent an inspector from Pennoni Associates to be onsite at Allen Architectural. Inspections were required across the board, from procedures and equipment to welding and finishing. AAM and the NYDOT inspector worked closely to ensure that all requirements and guidelines were met. The entire process was certified by Pennoni for the City and no transfer of material was allowed nor any progress payments made until Pennoni placed an official “stamp” on each component. Three major challenges were faced by the company: teamwork which could withstand continuous oversight, the replicating process, and the critical delivery right: The massive bronze plaque had to be completely schedules. Allen’s re-creation process replicated in silicon bronze. involved restoring and replacing over 300 There were a total of 4 individual components. To ensure proper plaques, one under each re-creation of deteriorated castings, the canopy. The text and company made every attempt to utilize lettering of all the plaques were machine cut and all of original design. Utilizing these originals in the ornament and surround creating the new patterns gave the company for the plaques were cast the ability to retain the original dimensions using the lost wax casting and design. method. Allen approached the canopy re-creation knowing that each had to be fully assembled at the production facility, then dismantled, finished and shipped back to New York where it would be lifted, positioned, and anchored to the bridge by the general contractor, Koch Skanska. Cohesion and teamwork were critical for all employees
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Fabricator n September/October 2009
Allen Architectural Metals Inc. P.O. Box 1210 Talladega, AL 35161-1210 Ph: (800) 204-3858 Fax: (256) 761-1967 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: http://www.allenmetals.com Primary Contact: Mr. John C. Allen
G AT E
About the shop: Allen Architectural Metals, a NOMMA Nationwide Supplier, provides a wide range of services including pattern making, custom castings, historical replications, fabrication, installation, finishing services, and laser cutting. The firm has done high-end commissions around the U.S. and world.
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working on the project. Incremental goals were set, specific responsibilities were delegated, and oversight procedures of all phases of fabrication, fitting, finishing and assembly were established. The company averaged a crew of five men throughout the fabrication and pre-assembly phases of the project. A combination of steel plate (ASTM A709 Grade 50W) and cast ductile iron castings were used in the re-creation of the canopies. Present-day foundries do not employ techniques used when the canopies were originally constructed. Some pieces could not be cast and thus steel fabricated pieces were made as exact replicas of original castings. Structural components, brackets, and ceiling plates were completed and shipped prior to cast pieces. The fasteners (ASTM A325) were tightened to specific torque guidelines and checked daily using a Skidmore-Welhelm device. The finishing phase for the canopies required a similar crew to paint all the 260+ components. The
To replicate the four bronze plaques, a deteriorated original plaque was used to help create the lost wax cast components.
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specifications called for a Carboline three-coat paint system including a zinc primer, epoxy intermediate, and urethane top coat. Blast profiles were measured to achieve accurate depth for perfect adhesion of paint. Atmospheric conditions were taken and recorded prior to applying each coat of paint. Mil thickness was checked after each coat. SMAW welding certifications were required for all welds on the project. To replicate the four bronze plaques, a deteriorated original was used to assist with the creation of lost wax decorative cast components combined with the machining of the text areas. The text contained information regarding bridge specifications, benchmark dates and the many names of architects and engineers who originally worked on the bridge. Bronze plate was machined in Allen’s pattern shop and over 240 machine hours were required to complete this phase of the project. The finish was a hand-applied, custom blend, hot patina. Strict delivery schedules were overcome by dedication and vital planning. Over 15,000 man hours were required to create new castings, complete foundry operations, restore existing components, fabricate steel canopy brackets, render all artistic work, and assemble and finish. Approximately ten shipments were made. Due to the size and shape of parts, shipping was intricately planned and special crates and shipping frames were built to allow the most efficient loading and unloading of cargo. The entire project was completed successfully in an 18 month time frame, meeting all NYDOT inspections and the requirements of the general contractor. Allen Architectural Metals’ corporate effort was acknowledged when they won the Ernest Wiemann Top Job gold award for restoration in 2009. John Allen, President and CEO, speaks for every employee who worked on this monumental project when he says, “It is a tremendous honor to be judged by your peers in this industry and to be selected for such an award. This was a high-profile job which came under tremendous scrutiny. Fabricator n September/October 2009
The project took about 18 months to complete with a crew of 10 men working constantly after pattern work for new castings were created. The fabricator was responsible for the certification of the castings and fabrication of all components.
The commitment of the employees of Allen Architectural made this project a reality, and we are privileged
to be a part of preserving an integral part of the Manhattan Bridge and New York skyline.”
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An elegant monumental stair A bronze and glass stair provides the focal point for an exclusive South Florida home. n
By Joanna Puglisi-Barley M. Cohen & Sons A rich family history sets M. Cohen
& Sons apart from many other metal design and manufacturing companies in the world - a family history that began over three-quarters of a century ago with Russian immigrant Max Cohen. Cohen came to the United States with very little money in his pocket and a lot of drive and ambition in his blood. With a goal-oriented fortitude, Cohen set out to train with worldrenowned blacksmith Samuel Yellin in Philadelphia, PA. As an apprentice, Cohen worked on many projects, including gates at the University of Pennsylvania that still stand today. Upon completing his apprenticeship with Samuel Yellin in 1931, Cohen decided to start a business of his own that he and his family could work at and grow over time. With a lot of hard work and determination, Cohen opened the doors to a 3,000 square foot metal shop that housed his family behind it. It’s all in the family
So it is not surprising that the grandson of an astutely skilled blacksmith would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and build one 50
The greatest challenge of this stair was matching the curve of the stair to the hard corner of the foyer and matching the spindles to the curve of the stair. It was designed by the architect in collaboration with the fabricator. This job won a silver award in the 2009 Top Job competition.
of the most prestigious architectural and custom metal work design firms in the country. Allen Cohen, president of M. Cohen & Sons Inc., and NOMMA member, is a part of the third generation of Cohen family metal workers. “I grew up in the family business, learning all that I could from my father Philip who passed away in 2007,” explains Cohen. “I have spent countless hours immersed in the craft and science of metal working, learning about its history, fabrication, and restoration.” Over the years, Cohen forged his skills both literally and figuratively with hands-on experience in welding, fabrication, finishing, installation, and design. His keen sense of design and detail-oriented nature makes him and his firm highly sought-after in the field of architectural metal work. “I thrive on undertaking innovative projects
that other firms find too large, risky or complex. I approach most jobs with an unusual solution-oriented, detailed focus,” says Cohen. “I like to take the time to meet with my clients to understand their needs and then collaboratively ensure that their dream becomes a reality.” Constructing a monumental stair
In 2006, Livingston Builders of Palm Beach, FL came to Cohen with a multi-faceted project that required a lot of ingenuity and complex thinking. A private homeowner, located in Southern Florida, wanted an elegant monumental stair constructed that was to be a focal point in their home. The stair, which helped M. Cohen & Sons earn a 2009 Top Job award in the nonferrous interior railings category, was to be made of bronze and glass. “We collaborated on the stair’s Fabricator n September/October 2009
& right: Materials used for this project include cast silicon bronze and glass. The handrail contains an architectural bronze flat bar that follows the rail’s complex turns. Topping the flat bar is an exotic wood. left
design with the homeowner’s architect,” explains Cohen. Before long, the epic stair was being fabricated in the company’s 100,000 square-foot manufacturing facility. “The stair itself is an all-steel construct. Its spindles were created from investment cast silicon bronze and glass. Its handrail was made from architectural bronze extrusions that were formed to follow the footprint of the stair and clad in an exotic wood. The railing followed a stick technique installation. The stair’s finish was patina with a clear coat and wax finish,” explains Cohen. Challenges along the way
“This particular job posed very
For your information
About the shop: M. Cohen & Sons Inc., a NOMMA fabricator member, specializes in a wide range of work including commercial projects, residential railings and balconies, sculpture, and specialty items. CONTACT
M. Cohen & Sons Inc. 400 Reed Rd. Broomall, PA 19008 Ph: (610) 544-7100 Fax: (610) 544-4956 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.mcohenandsons.com Primary Contact: Mr. Allen J. Cohen Fabricator n September/October 2009
few challenges along the way; however, the greatest challenge was matching the curve of the stair to the hard corner of the foyer, then matching the spindles to the curve of the stair,” says Cohen. “We had to overcome forming a railing that presented a constant rake even though the proportion between
the tread and riser changed along the turns of the stair. We utilized a lot of different techniques and strategies to surmount the obstacle, all of which came from over 80 years of experience handed down from generation to generation,” explains Cohen. Once all challenges were met,
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quality control was the next step in the process. Quality control of epic proportions
Although the stair was enormous, prior to letting it leave the facility, Cohen required the stair go through quality control. “We wanted to make sure that the stair was absolutely perfect and that all the components fit properly, so before shipping it to Florida, we assembled it in our 30,000 square-foot facility to see how it looked and worked,” explains Cohen. Co 4/5/07 10:41 AM Page 1 “After I inspected it and was fully satisfied with our product, the stair was broken down and shipped to the South Florida residence. It was then reassembled by our installation team in conjunction with skilled millworkers.” With over 1,600 labor hours billed, the stair was complete and in its new home.
top left, top right,
& right: The finish is a patina with a powder coat and wax finish. Approximate labor time was 1,600 hours.
On to other projects
Over the years, Cohen has consulted on numerous projects in Philadelphia, New York, Las Vegas and London. He has helped many clients with restorations, renovations, and new projects, always offering new and innovative ideas in design, fabrication, and installation. “It is a process that gives clients a peace of mind during a project and the pleasure of well executed, beautiful results at the end.
It is truly something that is in my blood and something that I enjoy doing,” says Cohen Constant effort to grow
It is clear that after all this time drive; ambition and determination are still in Cohen’s blood. Today, the Cohen family owns both M. Cohen & Sons and The Iron
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Shop — the leading manufacturer of Spiral Stairs, located in Broomall, PA. The family, which has now spanned over four generations, has expanded its operation to employ 200 people (of which nearly a dozen are family members) and has sales offices in seven states. Its manufacturing space now totals 130,000 square feet. In a constant effort to grow, approximately $1 million is invested each year in state-of-the-art equipment to further enhance output. Water-jet cutting, CNC milling, lasers, high-definition plasmas, CNC bending, robotic welding combined with the latest programming and design tools available, aid in delivering a superior product. When the right tools are unavailable, M. Cohen & Fabricator n September/October 2009
Sons, builds its own unique computerized equipment. In addition, the company recently merged with Samuel Yellin Metal Workers – the company his grandfather Max originally started with – to create a powerhouse in the metalworking field and to keep alive the long history of metalsmithing in Philadelphia. “We attribute our company’s success to giving our clients the best product regardless of standards set by others and maintaining an atmosphere where the highest quality craftsmanship can thrive,” says Cohen.
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& below: The stair serves as the main feature for a high-end residence. What is not shown in the stair is the steel construction that was covered by millwrights on location. It was built and set up at the fabricator’s shop, broken down, and shipped to the job site, where it was assembled by the fabricator in conjunction with the mill workers. above
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Fabricator n September/October 2009
A special driveway gate A fabricator crafts a 14-foot, Frenchstyle driveway gate for a long-term client. The gate received a silver award in the 2009 Top Job competition n
By Lisa Bakewell A funny thing happened to Bill Lucidi,
owner and president of Mission Iron Shop in San Marcos, CA, while on his way to fulfilling his childhood dream of becoming a bullfighter. He became a blacksmith instead. “I had a friend in Mexico,” he shares, “that was a bullfighter, as well as a blacksmith, and I used to watch him forge everything. That’s where I kind of got romanced by it—because they were still forging Old World ironwork—but, I had no idea that I’d ever be in this kind of trade.” “I also lived in Guadalajara, and 54
there’s a lot of great architecture there. You see some of this ironwork—these railings and things—and I just remembered walking along the streets or cafés, or whatever, and seeing the exposed ironwork. The texture of a handrail—even though they are well worn—there’s just something special about it.” And, it’s that “something special” that detoured Lucidi from his bullfighting dreams and helped him find his passion for ironwork and architecture, which turned his love of metal into a career that’s spanned over 20 years—and earned him five NOMMA awards to date. Lucidi’s most recent NOMMA
award is a silver award in the 2009 Top Job contest for a gate that he designed. The gate was created for Steve Sharratt, a builder of multimillion-dollar homes, whom Lucidi has worked with for 10 years. This particular gate is special to Lucidi because he was given plenty of creative latitude and was allowed to incorporate design ideas that he’d had for years. But, what Lucidi is most proud of is that the gate was commissioned for Sharratt’s own home—which is a huge compliment to Lucidi. Fabrication and installation
The fabrication process for Lucidi’s award-winning gate posed some Fabricator n September/October 2009
interesting challenges. “As the designer, my biggest challenge was that Sharratt wanted the gate to be about 14-foot high,” he said, “however the flagstone columns, which were already in place, were only 9-foot high. Also, the French style gates that he liked were very tall and narrow, and since his house is French Normandy style, he definitely wanted a French style gate.” “To solve the height problem, I came in several feet from each column and I created (within the gate) steel looking columns with decorative iron work, then at the top of each of these columns, I put an urn. I have had that idea for years and years, but I never had a chance to use it. So, when I saw the situation I thought, ‘Well this is perfect! ’ Adding this detail helped achieve the tall narrow look that we wanted to achieve.” All of the scrolls and some of the leaves on the piece were forged, but cast steel was used to form the leaves and flowers, according to Lucidi. He felt that using the cast steel was a great idea because it is strong and bendable. “The difference,” he says, “is that you can heat and bend cast steel, and it’s not brittle like cast iron. So, the beauty is that the leaves were fairly inexpen-
For your information
Project: French style gates for French Normandy style multimillion-dollar home. Fabricator: Mission Iron Shop.
All scrolls were forged, as well as some of the leaves. Cast steel leaves and flowers were also used throughout the project, which were ideal because they can be easily bended.
sive, but we were able to shape them and then blend them in nicely even though they are very heavy, because they are solid steel.” There was something else which is kind of unique about the piece according to Lucidi. “The gate is so big and heavy,” he said, “and the center fill is solid (because it is all forged worked and needed to be solid), so the gates are extremely heavy. I knew we weren’t going to be able to handle them manually—fabricating, then flipping them over to paint them, putting them on a truck, installing them, and all that. So, what I did was fabricate the whole outside frame (including the columns that I talked about) with a flat bar, but the center pieces between the
Challenge: Creating a 14-foot high gate, with a very tall and narrow appearance, though flagstone columns (already in place) were only 9-foot high. Unique Feature: Urns added to steel columns, which added height and the appearance of a narrow gate.
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Bill Lucidi Mission Iron Shop 255 Bent Ave. B-9 San Marcos, CA 92078 Ph: (760) 744-3740 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.missiongates.com Fabricator n September/October 2009
columns and the center of the gate are removable panels.” Having the gate in pieces also allowed each piece to be hot dipped galvanized more easily. “We made the pieces so that they could be hot dipped in Zinc,” says Lucidi. In addition, having the gate in so many pieces really helped in handling and delivering the piece to its destination, which was a half-hour drive from the shop. Installation of the gates went smoothly and was finished in a day. “When the gates were installed, they were installed without the panels,” said Lucidi. “After we installed the gates, then we put the panels in. We did it this way because of the weight factor, since each of the center panels and the
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two column panels weighed about 858 pounds, and the rest of the piece (gate frames, etc.) were about another 250 pounds per gate leaf.” The total amount of time spent on the piece was 720 hours, spanning over a two-month period, with four men working on it most of the time. “720 hours is more time than normal,” says Lucidi. “This is really the top end because one problem we have here in North County is we are in a wealthy area which is called Ranch Santa Fe. They have a homeowner’s association but it’s called an art jury, and they don’t want any grandiose gates in Ranch Santa Fe.” “They want all of the gates to be fairly simple, and they have height restrictions like 6 1/2 feet high. In other words, this gate would never have been allowed in Ranch Santa Fe because it’s too fancy, and they’ll allow just a little bit of scroll work, but not much.” Training and background
Lucidi started working for his
The driveway gate is intricately detailed. Approximate labor time was 720 hours.
uncle who was a fence contractor, and eventually started his own business in 1992. “I started doing simple fence type work,” he said, “and then eventually began working with wrought iron fencing as it started to get popular.” From that point on, Lucidi began his quest for education. “I’ve always
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had this fascination with forged iron work,” he said. “I liked the texture and the feel of it, the look of it, it’s character, and the character about it, so I hired a guy who was a blacksmith, and I took blacksmith training to learn some techniques.” “Then I started going to NOMMA
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& right: Details of the hand forged and cast components. The gate was designed and built by the fabricator. left
conventions, but I also belonged to ABANA (The Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America Inc.). They have biannual conventions and invite all these masters who hail from all over. They hail from Europe and the United States, and they get together for three days to teach their techniques.” “That’s one good thing about blacksmithing,” adds Lucidi. “I find that blacksmiths are willing to share knowledge. It’s a beautiful thing.” “So, I’d go to these conventions and get really inspired and come back with motivation and all kinds of new ideas and techniques and things. You know, it’s something you just build on.”
and ironwork usually goes in at the end of a construction. It might be two years before they need the ironwork.
So, I see possible issues for the next year or two.” “I’d do anything to keep our guys
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When asked if he was busy all of the time, Lucidi laughs and says, “Yes, well, except for recessions.” “Seriously, though, we have been busy because we had some large jobs throughout the year. And, since we finished the last one, we’ve been busy with smaller things. I haven’t had to lay anybody off yet.” “What I foresee, though, is there’s a lack of new construction starting,
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busy, though” said Lucidi. “What I’ve always wanted to do—and this is how I got started in the gate business—if I had a driveway gate idea that I wanted, but I didn’t have a customer for it, I would just go ahead and build it. So, I started to accumulate driveway gates, and I’d put them out in front of my building.” Using this technique has been successful for Lucidi. For example, he had an interior designer come by with a client who fell in love with a gate outside of his building. “They saw this gate out front,” he said, “and they just fell in love it. And these people were not customers previously. They hired me immediately to do all their iron work, and they also bought the gate!” “Now, this [business-building technique] is totally against the recommendation of my accountant, mind you,” laughs Lucidi. “He said it wasn’t a good idea, but I do it anyway.” The business
Currently, Lucidi has six employees working in a rented 3,000 square foot
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building. “We fluctuate between six and eight employees,” he says, “because it’s too hard to do quality control with any more than that.” Out of the six employees, two of them are blacksmiths, and Lucidi does the designing. “I do blacksmithing for fun, more like as a hobbyist,” he says. “The blacksmiths that work for me are a lot better One of the several unique features of this gate is that then I am, but I’m more the center sections are actually removable panels. The creative, I guess. removable section made the extremely heavy gate more “I sit at a drafting table, manageable during fabrication, transport, and installation. and I work on designs. I enjoy that mostly, but what Atlanta, Georgia.” I do is figure out how to build it, what Mission Iron is also well respected to build it with, the best materials to by their peers. “We do the high end use, material sizes, etc. That’s what work,” says Lucidi, “and we’ve gotten to comes natural to me.” where we’re respected by other shops. “Sometimes, though, what I used Actually, the other shops recommend to do is go in the shop and try to us for work they don’t want to get develop a leaf or something. I’d go involved in—especially bronze work, there and work by myself. I’d pull out something that’s real ornate, or forged all different materials, and I’d experiwork.” ment. You know, hammer it, and then NOMMA finally get what I wanted. Then I’d tell my blacksmiths, ‘Here. We need to Bill Lucidi has been a member of make 40 of these.’ That’s what I enjoy.” NOMMA since 1992 and won his first “I like my clients too,” says Lucidi. Top Job award in the same year. “That’s “In Ranch Santa Fe, mostly, I just meet the first time I went to a convention,” some wonderful people, and they’re he said. “I entered a gate then, and I respectful. ” This attribute is one that actually won.” Lucidi appreciates very much because Lucidi considers the fact that in the past he did production work NOMMA members freely share their where he was disrespected and treated knowledge to be a valuable attribute of poorly. “It was pretty rough somethe association. The biggest lesson he’s times,” he said. “But, now I work for learned from NOMMA, though, is the these wealthy people, and they give me fact that a lot of the best masters are more respect than somebody who still learning by trial and error. “They hired me for a really small job in the still experiment and have things go past.” wrong,” he says. “I guess they value their homes, “I used to feel bad if I didn’t know and they value what I do for them.” how to do something. Then I heard the masters talk, and I found out that Niche and reputation they’re going through the same thing I Mission Iron Shop’s niche is doing am. That’s how we all get better. That’s ironwork for multimillion-dollar always been something that was homes. “We do a lot of stair railings,” especially encouraging to me.” said Lucidi, “and the driveway gates are “What I learned is that everybody my favorite, which is the reason we was doing this by trial and error. In have a website. I can build a driveway other words, there’s no book written gate, and I can ship it anywhere in the that tells you how to do some of these country. For example, we’re doing one things, and we’re all just kind of right now that we’re going ship to learning as we go.” Fabricator n September/October 2009
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2010 If you’ve never visited Tulsa, OK before you are in for a great treat. The city, which is serving as host site for METALfab 2010, is known as one of America’s best kept secrets. n
Tulsa’s many unique and fascinating
qualities contribute to its reputation as one of America’s greatest hidden treasures. The people who live in Tulsa know this, but most people who’ve never been to Tulsa don’t know much about it. Here are a few things you may not have known about Tulsa: n Tulsa is much larger than you may think. Its metro population is nearly 900,000 people. However, it’s surprisingly easy to get almost anywhere in the area in 20 minutes or less. n If you’re having trouble figuring out which way is which in downtown Tulsa, go back to your old geography lessons. Years ago, city planners laid out the streets that run north-south in a unique way: using Main Street as the dividing line, streets west of Main are named, alphabetically, for cities west of the Mississippi River. East of Main, the streets run alphabetically as well, and Fabricator n September/October 2009
are named for cities east of the Mississippi. n The Oklahoma Aquarium is home to the world’s largest bull sharks in captivity. n Tulsa is the 46th largest city in the United States and the 93rd largest city in North America. n Tulsa serves as the gateway to “Green Country,” a popular nickname for northeast Oklahoma that stems from the region’s green vegetation and relatively high amount of hills and lakes compared to other parts of the state. A proud history
Tulsa’s Native American heritage dates back to the 1830s, when a band of Lochapocka Creeks, forced by land-hungry settlers to abandon their ancestral home in Alabama, arrived on the banks of the Arkansas River. According to Tulsa lore, Chief Archee Yahola presided over a ceremonial
Make plans now for METALfab 2010, NOMMA’s 52nd annual convention and exhibit. The event takes place March 4–6, 2010 in Tulsa, OK. For the latest updates, visit our website at www. nomma.org. Also, stay tuned to the next two issues of Fabricator for details on this great event. rekindling of the tribe’s sacred fire to commemorate a new beginning. Historians have identified a mighty oak as the site of that auspicious ritual, and today, the venerable Council Oak tree just south of downtown stands as a silent tribute to Tulsa’s birth. Tallasi, as the town was known to its Creek founders, evolved into Tulsey and Tulsee, and finally Tulsa. All were derivations of the Creek word connoting, appropriately enough, “town.” 59
Federal treaties guaranteed that the Creeks’ western domain would remain under their sovereignty “as long as the grass shall grow and the waters run.” The Civil War put that treaty to the test, and the Native American tribes in Oklahoma were divided in their loyalties. After the war ended, Indian tribes that had fought for the South felt the full impact of Reconstruction. Hunting lands in the west were confiscated, villages were uprooted, and tribal leaders were faced with the difficult task of rebuilding their communities. Lewis Perryman, a Creek Indian cattle rancher, was among those determined to rebuild Tulsa. A monument at West Edison Street Native Americans have been an important part of and Frisco Avenue marks the Tulsa’s heritage and history since the 1830s. location where the boundaries of the Cherokee, Creek, and Osage ethnic group that gives shape and Indian Nations meet. Perryman also substance to Tulsa’s culture. Many of established the area’s first trading post the displaced Indians who came to the where Indians traded wild game and Tulsa area in the 1800s were planters pelts for sugar, coffee, and farm who had adopted slaveholding from machinery. Tulsa’s first post office, their white neighbors. The Union another of Perryman’s projects, stood victory in the Civil War meant emanciat what is now 38th Street and Troost pation for slaves not only in the states Avenue. The Perryman family cemof the Confederacy, but also in the etery now occupies the site of the western territories. Far-reaching original post office. changes produced a class of Black landowners known as the freedmen. Other cultural influences When Black refugees from the South Native Americans aren’t the only arrived in Oklahoma, they found the
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freedmen working their own farms and serving on tribal councils and as town chiefs. Freedmen and African-American settlers could vote, study, and move about as they pleased. Some visionaries foresaw the creation of a Black and Indian state, to be named after the famed Cherokee linguist Sequoia. Efforts to create a new, ethnic state were stymied, but not before Black entrepreneurs had succeeded in developing a haven for oppressed Blacks and a thriving business culture in the shadow of downtown Tulsa. When Oklahoma entered the Union as the 46th state in 1907, African-Americans outnumbered both Native Americans and first-generation Europeans. By the early 1900s, the neighborhood around Greenwood Avenue was known far and wide as The Black Wall Street of America. Black-owned and -operated nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, and businesses flourished. But, in May 1921, Black success turned to nightmare when racial tensions sparked one of America’s worst race riots. When the smoke finally cleared after three days of looting and indiscriminate slaughter, dozens of Blacks lay dead, and 35 blocks of homes and businesses were little more than smoldering ruins. Thankfully, those days are behind us. A beautiful monument to the Black Wall Street of America welcomes visitors to the area. The entire Greenwood district, thoroughly renovated and abuzz with activity today, is home to the Greenwood Cultural Center and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame (918-596-1001). Adjacent to this cultural complex stands the Mabel B. Little Heritage House. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is the only original house that survived the carnage of 1921. Within walking distance from Greenwood is the OSU-Tulsa campus, an urban university that provides comprehensive, state-supported education to the people of Tulsa. A city built by barons
In 1879, Perryman’s Store was Fabricator n September/October 2009
home to the first post office, and on January 10, 1898, Tulsa was incorporated as a town. Cattle ranching ruled, and businesses that supported them prospered. Merchants such as J.M. Hall and Tate Brady found pretty much everything they needed in a town with a Main Street of mud when it rained and dust when it didn’t. For much of its early history, Tulsa was known as “the Oil Capital of the World.” Major strikes at the dawn of the twentieth century put Tulsa on the map, and America’s seemingly insatiable appetite for oil kept it there. The days when ranching was the area’s main industry were numbered when, just before midnight on June 24, 1901, a gusher came in at Red Fork, four miles west of Tulsa. Drilled by doctors Fred S. Clinton and J.C.W. Bland and known as the Sue Bland, the gusher was the first of many in Indian Territory. It was a low producer and failed to open up a new oil field, but on November 22, 1905, drillers hit the jackpot on Ida Glenn’s farm some 12 miles south of Tulsa. Unlike the Sue
Fabricator n September/October 2009
Beautiful downtown Tulsa features fountains, street vendors, and year-round concerts, and festivals.
Bland, the Ida Glenn #1 turned out to be a major strike. Oil became serious business, and there was a population boom to prove it. Tulsa’s population grew from 3,000 people prior to the oil strikes to 7,000 in 1907, the year Oklahoma was admitted into the Union. By the roaring twenties, the city boasted a population of 72,000. As the Great Depression cast its pall over the land, many Tulsans were confident that their petroleum-based economy would weather the storm.
Their confidence was misplaced, and like the rest of America, Tulsans had to wait until the outbreak of war to put their economy back on solid ground. There was, however, a fortunate side effect of the Great Depression. Thanks to construction projects funded through the WPA, Tulsa became home to some of the country’s most impressive Art Deco buildings. Looking to the skies
Oil has always been Tulsa’s
number one claim to fame, no further than their own but aviation is a close second. history to learn what it takes to In 1927, shortly after the succeed in the next hundred legendary aviator Charles years. Lindbergh touched down in Sights & sounds Tulsa, oil magnate W.G. Skelly built the Tulsa Municipal Visiting Tulsa, one cannot Airport. By the 1930s, it was help but stumble upon some of the world’s busiest airport. the landmarks most famous to American Airways, now the area. For a visitor, what American Airlines, made its makes these destinations first landing in 1934. Since different from those in other then, American Airlines has cities is all in the experience; a become one of Tulsa’s major chance to make interesting The Cherokee Casino, which is located about 20 minutes west employers, and students from of the city, is one of the many attractions in the greater Tulsa discoveries that are anything but around the globe have come “touristy.” Instead, Tulsa area. to Tulsa for flight training provides an authentic experisecond-to-none. Tulsa’s reputation as a place where ence inspired by and created for those Following World War II, dance cosmopolitan entertainment and who have lived right here for generaenthusiasts turned their attention to indigenous culture were equally at tions. An intimate city where guests are the creation of a world-class ballet. home. invited to experience the city’s hidden The Tulsa Civic Ballet, now the The petroleum industry remains at secrets. nationally acclaimed Tulsa Ballet, the heart of Tulsa’s business commuMuseums opened its doors in 1954. The Tulsa nity, and the oil dynasties continue to Ballet’s most illustrious stars were the exert a powerful influence on the city’s Philbrook Museum of Art (918five Indian ballerinas whose ability to culture. Yet Tulsans are no longer held 749-7941, www.philbrook.org) was blend their Native American heritage hostage to the price of Oklahoma once the home of oilman and philanand elegant dancing styles enhanced crude. Since the oil bust of the 1980s, thropist Waite Phillips. Located in aerospace and midtown, Philbrook’s sprawling 23 telecommunicaacres encompass an Italian-style villa tions have taken and gardens that exude Old World their place in an charm. In an extraordinary act of increasingly generosity, Phillips donated his diversified economy. mansion and grounds to the City of By the waning days Tulsa in 1939. The museum’s permaof the twentieth nent collection includes European art century, business leaders were coming to a consensus that Tulsa’s future lies in nurturing high-tech enterprises. If that’s the case, then Tulsans need look
All photos courtesy of the Tulsa Convention & Visitors Bureau Get into the music scene by spending an evening at Cain’s Ballroom. 62
Fabricator n September/October 2009
as well as Native American artifacts, and recent special exhibits have included 19th-century Impressionist paintings from France and works of art from the Baroque era in Eastern Europe. Visitors can enjoy fine dining as they gaze out into the museum’s formal gardens, and lectures in the auditorium have become a cornerstone of Tulsa’s cultural and educational offerings. Philbrook is listed on the National Historic Register and is one of only five facilities in the country that includes a museum, home and gardens. For a taste of the Old West, look no further than the Gilcrease Museum (918-596-2700, www. gilcrease.org). Like Philbrook, Gilcrease was once the home of one of Oklahoma’s oil magnates. In contrast to Waite Phillips, Thomas Gilcrease, who moved to Oklahoma soon after his birth, identified strongly with his Native American heritage, and he used his hard-earned wealth to build a worldclass collection of art that celebrates the American West. Now operated by the City of Tulsa, Gilcrease Museum is known nationally for its unparalleled
The Philbrook Museum of Art was once the lavish home of oilman Waite Phillips, who was also a famous philanthropist. The museum’s permanent collection contains a wide array of European art and Native American exhibits.
assortment of Native American art and artifacts, and its comprehensive collection of Western paintings and sculptures including works by Remington, Russell, Catlin, and Moran. Behind the scenes, in storage rooms that can be visited by appointment only, visitors will find a treasure trove of historic manuscripts, documents, and maps. The property spreads across 160 acres of rolling hills. Walking paths, themed gardens, and picnic areas beckon visitors looking for some peace and quiet, and for those who prefer to stay inside, the Rendezvous Restaurant offers a breath-taking vista
of the Osage hills to the northwest. The Sherwin Miller Museum (formerly the Fenster Museum of Jewish Art) (918-294-1366, www. jewishmuseum.net) is the home of the Southwest’s largest collection of Judaica. The Miller Museum includes exhibits encompassing 4,000 years of Jewish heritage and features a Holocaust Education Center that includes World War II memorabilia. Monuments to music
Mention Tulsa to music aficionados, and you’re likely to hear tall tales of the legendary Cain’s Ballroom, a
The Sherwin Miller Museum features exhibits that encompass 4,000 years of Jewish history, and also contains a holocaust education center. Fabricator n September/October 2009
The famous Route 66 goes directly through Tulsa. During the Great Depression, farmers used the road to search for a better life in California.
1930s honky-tonk, complete with a spring-loaded dance floor, that once resonated to the Big Band sound of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys (918-584-2309, www.cainsballroom. com). A highly recognizable neon sign graces the entrance, and inside, cowboy singers gaze down on the dance floor from life-size posters. Due to its famous past, today Cain’s Ballroom is a highly sought-after venue among many national mainstream and experimental music artists, as well as local acts. Nearby stands the Brady Theater, known locally as “the Old Lady of Brady” (918-582-7239, www.bradytheater.com). Built as Tulsa’s first Convention Hall, the Brady reigns as a popular music venue, where, due to the acoustics and layout, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Legend has it that
the ghost of Enrico Caruso, whose last performance graced this stage, continues to roam this acoustical gem. In the summer months, many people find their way to Discoveryland!, located near Tulsa’s west side. Discoveryland! features a 1,500-seat amphitheater and is the national home of Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s famous musical “Oklahoma!” Freestanding wonders
Tulsa history resonates at the Council Oak Tree at 18th and Cheyenne. As white settlers pushed westward in the early 19th century, Native Americans were forced to abandon their ancestral homes and move to lands beyond the Mississippi River. In the 1830s, a band of Lochapoka Creek Indians arrived in what is now Oklahoma after an arduous forced migration from Alabama. Legend has
it that they rekindled their sacred ashes beneath the branches of a towering oak tree to commemorate a new beginning. Historians have identified the Council Oak Tree as the site of that auspicious ceremony. The mighty oak still stands today as the centerpiece of a small park that is landscaped with native plants. On occasion, city officials and tribal representatives gather here for meetings and ceremonies, and street signs are written in the Creek language as a reminder of Tulsa’s first inhabitants. Far to the south lies Oral Roberts University (918-495-6807) and its twin trademarks, the Prayer Tower and giant bronze praying hands. The modern architecture was the brainchild of Oral Roberts, one of the country’s leading evangelists and founder of the University. Permanent exhibits in the Prayer Tower and in various buildings throughout the campus detail the Reverend’s life and ministry. No visit to Tulsa is complete without a visit to Expo Square and the tallest Tulsa icon, the Golden Driller. Installed in 1966 for the International Petroleum Exposition, the 76-foot Golden Driller, constructed of more than two and a half miles of rod and mesh armature under a concrete and plaster form, stands like a sentinel protecting the enormous Expo building. Discovering Tulsa would not be complete without exploring some of the city’s neighborhoods, such as the Maple Ridge Historic District. The architecture and grandeur alone are breathtaking, and if you look closely, you’ll catch a glimpse of the handiwork of chainsaw artist Clayton Coss. With at least a thousand sculptures to his credit, Coss’ tree trunk art pops up when a tree goes down and some inspired homeowner seeks to bring a vision to life. For Coss, dead trees aren’t merely eyesores: they’re the raw material for animal and human forms and a gateway to the imagination. The newest icon to grace Tulsa’s skyline is the BOK Center, an 18,500seat multi-purpose arena. Designed by world-famous architect César Pelli, this half-million-square-foot facility is Fabricator n September/October 2009
the hub of downtown Tulsa, and serves as a stage for national exhibits and performers. Art Deco
Any visitor to Tulsa will discover experiences and sights that are as cultured as they are surprising. One of the most visually distinguishing features in Tulsa is the vast collection of Art Deco structures, rivaled in number only by New York City and Miami Beach. This early twentiethcentury style is reflected throughout the city in various structures including office buildings, homes, schools, theaters, gas stations, churches, restaurants, and even a train depot. Zigzag style of the Twenties
Oil magnate Waite Phillips built the Philcade Building at 511 South Boston as a companion structure to his Philtower Building. Wary of kidnappers, Phillips requested that an underground tunnel be constructed to connect the two buildings. The gilded and marble lobby, an array of flora and fauna, and a menagerie of animals depicted both inside and out in terra cotta carvings and iron grills, provide a richness of surface detail. In indirect light, the effect is one of pure luxury. Flamboyance in the Zigzag Style can be found at the Warehouse Market at 11th Street and Elgin. The building features a horizontal building with a soaring center tower and brilliant polychrome terra cotta embellishments, including diamonds, vines, bands, flowers, fans, rosettes, arcs, and ray motifs. A few Grecian images complement this unique structure. PWA style of the Thirties
The Public Works Administration’s Art Deco style was a transitional one that incorporated Zigzag of the past with the Streamline wave of the future. One of Tulsa’s finest examples of this style is the Tulsa Union Depot at 3 South Boston. With its stocky PWA style, the Depot, with its exterior design still intact, will soon be home to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. The Tulsa Fire Alarm Building still stands at 1010 East 8th Street. It features a circular structure accented Fabricator n September/October 2009
The BOK Center is a massive arena and one of Tulsa’s newest landmarks.
with gargoyles, serpents and men at work, and detailed with a terra cotta frieze and exterior lanterns of etched glass. The Streamline style of the Forties
In the 1940s, angles gave way to curves, and a horizontal emphasis took center stage. Art Deco buildings featuring this style are reminiscent of boats and planes, and a fascination with aerodynamics is evident. The City Veterinary Clinic at 3550 South Peoria is a one-story building of clean lines and angles and features extensive use of glass blocks that are typical of the Streamline commercial style. Route 66
America’s Main Street. Queen of Highways. The Mother Road. America’s most celebrated highway has gone by many names, and before the advent of the interstate highway system, Route 66 often lay at the heart of one American drama or another. From Chicago to Santa Monica, Route 66 has left an indelible imprint on the cities through which it passes. Tulsa is no exception. Route 66 dates back to 1926, the same year that Henry Ford lowered the price of his automobiles and brought
travel within reach of people who had rarely ventured beyond their own back yards. The “Father of Route 66” was an Oklahoma Highway Commissioner named Cyrus Stevens Avery. Appointed as a consultant to the federal government to oversee the development of the nation’s first highway system, Avery became the driving force behind the route’s construction. The famous 11th Street bridge, also known as the Cyrus Avery Bridge over the Arkansas River in Tulsa, honors the man behind the “Gold Road” in Tulsa’s unique Art Deco style. During the dark days of the Depression, Route 66 became the primary route for dispossessed farmers in the South and Midwest to make their way to the promised land of California. During the 1940s, Route 66 was without question Americans’ favorite highway. Soldiers, truckers, vagabonds, and tourists alike crisscrossed the country. As traffic increased, gas stations, hamburger and ice cream stands, and motor courts sprang up along the way. Even today, travelers are likely to find homemade pies and burgers, real milk shakes and malts whipped in stainless steel blenders at old time Mom-and-Pop establishments.
NOW is the time to make your METALfab 2010 plans. For more information, visit the NOMMA website at www.nomma.org. 65
Planning forever tax savings Learn how to keep your tax bill at the legal minimum ... and keep it there! n
By Mark E. Battersby Now is the best time to think about
reducing the ornamental and miscellaneous metal operation’s tax bill even lower than the point the economy may have driven it to. And, of course, aim to keep that tax bill at its legal minimum for many years to come. While many of us rely on the advice and help provided by tax professionals or utilize software programs to ensure a low tax bill, the real goal should be a low tax bill for not just this tax year but year-afteryear. The best guarantee of consistently low tax bills, this year, next year, and so-on down the road is, of course, tax planning. Tax planning is easy: the more tax deductions taken, the lower the fabricating operations taxable income will be—at least for this tax year. Of course, ignoring potential tax deductions this year might mean significant savings in later years when profits — and tax bills—are higher. Either way, in order for deductions to count, the time to make the moves necessary for those low tax bills is before the end of the tax year. Tax Planning Basics
When thinking about any type of
tax planning, every metal fabricator should keep in mind that although the IRS may occasionally disagree, the courts strongly back every taxpayer’s right to choose the course of action that will result in the lowest legal tax liability. Thus, as the end of the tax year quickly approaches, every fabricator faces several different options as to how to complete certain taxable transactions. Our tax system has graduated rates that increase along with the income of the metal fabrication business at various tax rates. Thus, one strategy for saving taxes means reducing the tax bracket of the fabricating operation. Getting the most from the temporary 15-percent tax rate for dividends, means finding another way to reduce corporate level income—and taxes? Obviously, neither an ornamental metal fabricating business nor any business owner can literally reduce their federal income tax rate. They can however, take actions that will have a similar effect. For example:
For your information
in the long-run. For instance, sometimes it’s better to ignore a potential tax deduction one year to save more in a later year when tax bills are higher.
The goal: You should always strive to keep your tax bill at the absolute minimum. The key is good tax planning, and looking at what decisions work best
Optimize your company: Do you have the best structure for your company, such as a partnership, proprietorship, or S corporation?
n Choosing the optimal form of organization for the business (such as sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or S Corporation). Although not a year-end tax planning strategy, this option deserves attention in the overall tax planning process especially in light of the current, and temporary, 15 percent tax rate on dividends paid by incorporated metalworking businesses. n Structuring transactions so that payments received are capital gains. Long-term capital gains earned by non-corporate taxpayers are subject to lower tax rates than other income. n Shifting income from a high-tax
Other tips: Have you structured transactions so that payments received are capital gains? Can you shift income from a hightax bracket individual, such as yourself, to a lower-bracket individual, such as a child? One way to accomplish this is to hire your children or make them a partner in the business, which allows the next profits to be shared
among a larger group. While the laws limit the shifting of “unearned” income to children under age 14, some opportunities do exist. About the author: Mark Battersby is a financial consultant and freelance writer. He has written tax articles for Fabricator for over 10 years. Fabricator n September/October 2009
bracket individual (such as you, the business owner), to a lower-bracket individual (such as your child). One fairly, simple way to accomplish this is by hiring your children. Another possibility is to make one or more children partners in the business, so that net profits are shared among a larger group. While the tax laws limit the usefulness of this strategy for shifting “unearned” income to children under the age of 14, some opportunities to lower tax rates still do exist. Remember, however, the time to think about those strategies is during the course of the tax year.
Naturally, what a particular business can do depends a great deal on the accounting method used by the operation. A cash basis metal fabricating operation, for example, deducts expenses as paid and receipts become income when received—or made available. An accrual-basis business realizes income when billed and expenses when incurred—regardless of when income is actually, received, or when payment is made. This year’s law changes
Although the goal is usually to reduce taxes this year, to be really effective the tax bracket should be consistent year-after-year. If income is up this year but expected to be down next year, for instance, an ornamental metal business might want to postpone asset sales or other unusual transactions until next year when the additional profits may not be as likely to put the operation into a higher tax bracket. Or, conversely if income and profits are down this year, disposing of unneeded equipment or business assets via a profitable sale just might generate extra income, income taxed at the operation’s current low tax rates. Depending on the circumstances, a number of legitimate strategies a metal fabricating business can employ before year’s end will help them remain in the same bracket this year, next year, and for many years thereafter. Those basic year-end savings strategies include: n Delaying Collections: A cashbasis metal fabricating operation can delay year-end billings until late enough in the year so payments will not come in until the following year. n Accelerate Payments: Wherever possible, prepay deductible business expenses, including rent, interest, taxes, insurance, etc. Also, keep in mind that the tax rules limit tax deductions for some prepaid expenses.
the current year. n Accelerate Operating Expenses:
If possible, accelerate the purchase of supplies or services or the making of repairs. n Accelerate Depreciation: Elect to expense or immediately write-off the cost of new equipment instead of depreciating it. Remember, the new Section 179 tax rules now permit every metal fabricator to deduct, as an expense, up to $250,000 in expenditures for new equipment.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) earlier this year extended a number of expiring provisions and created a few more that will affect the year-end planning process. For example: n First-year 50% bonus depreciation: ARRA extended the 50% bonus first-year depreciation allowance available for 2008 for 2009. n Increased Section 179 expensing: During 2009, ornamental metal businesses can choose to expense and immediately deduct up to $250,000 of the cost of qualifying property and equipment. The $250,000 maximum expensing amount is reduced if the cost of all Section 179 property placed in service in 2009 exceeds $800,000. n S corporation built-in gains holding period. For tax years beginning in either 2009 or 2010, ARRA
n Accelerate Large Purchases:
Close the purchase of depreciable personal property or real estate within Fabricator n September/October 2009
eliminates the corporate level tax on the built-in gains of an S corporation that converted from regular ‘C’ corporation status at least seven tax years before the current tax year. Going, going, gone
Making year-end planning more urgent than usual, a number of provisions in our tax law expire in 2009. Among the expiring provisions are: n The tax credit for research and experimentation expenses. n Increased alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amounts. n 15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements, qualified restaurant buildings and improvements, and qualified retail improvements. n Additional first-year depreciation for 50% of basis of qualified property. n Increase in expensing to $250,000/$800,000. n Expensing of “Brownfield’s” Book ad Fab:Layout 1 12/17/07 5:42 PM Page 1 environmental remediation costs. n Empowerment zone tax incentives. n Tax incentives for investment in the District of Columbia. n Renewal community tax incentives. n The FUTA surtax of 0.2 percent. n Sixty-five percent subsidy for payment of COBRA health care coverage continuation premiums. f Hot of ss the Pre
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n Reduced estimated tax payments for small businesses. n Use of single-employer defined benefit plan’s prior year adjusted funding target attainment percentage to determine application of limitation on benefit accruals.
Tax tail should not wag the dog
There is a great deal of pressure in many metal fabricating businesses to continue cutting costs, including taxes. This coincides with increased scrutiny of tax returns on many levels of government. Identifying opportuni-
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ties for tax deductions without running afoul of cash-strapped, state and local tax authorities should play a role in the planning process. On a similar note, the financial or operational strengths of a business transaction should always stand on their own, aside from any tax benefits derived from them. There is also the question of whether a tax deduction should be taken or if legally, feasible, ignored. An excellent illustration of the flexibility of our tax rules are those governing bonuses. A metal fabricating business operating on the accrual basis has the opportunity to fix the amount of employees’ bonus payments before January 1 -– but to pay them early next year. Generally, the bonuses are not taxable to employees until 2010, but are deductible on the operation’s 2009 tax return -- so long as announced before the end of 2009, and paid before March 16, 2010. On the other hand, while few businesses are in a position to pay employee bonuses, an ornamental and miscellaneous metal business may benefit by delaying income until next year. Remember, however, there is constructive receipt when income is made available to the fabricating business. Tax planning all the time
Although tax planning should be a year-round process, a number of year-end strategies can reduce not only this year’s tax bill, but future tax bills as well. The owners and managers of every metal fabrication business should also be taking additional steps to ensure the success of the operation in 2010. Whether or not the metalworking operation is facing a large tax bill or severely lower taxable income, professional advice is almost a necessity. There should however, be no uncertainty regarding the need for planning to minimize taxes this year as well as in future tax years. In the January/February issue Mark will be doing an article on skyrocketing state and local taxes. Fabricator n September/October 2009
NOMMA Education Foundation In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association
A note from the chair
Exciting things are coming from NEF - videos & more! As with many of us now, in these
stressing economic times, there are changes going on in NOMMA. You are probably already aware of many of them. The NOMMA Education Foundation, NEF, is no exception. The original purpose of NEF, “To provide Roger Carlsen is chair of the NOMMA quality educaEducation Foundation for the ornamental and tion miscellaneous metals industry,” has not changed. However, James Minter, the Chair of NEF, has decided to step down as chair. When James made this decision, he asked me if I would consider running for the position. As devoted as I am to education and having served as Vice Chair, I had to think long and hard about his request.
I would have to try and fill the shoes of two energetic and dynamic past Chairmen, Mike Boyler and James Minter both of whom I highly respect and hold in deep regard. After long reflection, I decided that I had learned well under their leadership and felt that with the help of the Board of Trustees, the Chief Staff Executive, and you, the general membership, that I could continue the work of the foundation as the Chair. My commitment to NEF is to continue the work that has begun and is now ongoing to further the education in both the industry sector and the non-industry public. But, also I will be working to implement new opportunities of education. Here are a few of the opportunities that the NEF Board of Trustees, the Chief Staff Executive, and I are working on: n We plan to produce new videos this year. n We are working on plans to bring an educational opportunity
Heidi Bischmann joins NEF Board of Trustees The trustees of the NOMMA Education Foundation are delighted to welcome the newest member of the board — Heidi Bischmann of The Wagner Companies, Milwaukee, WI. At Wagner, Heidi serves as Marketing/Administrative Manager, and is responsible for catalog and advertising design, trade show coordination, and special projects. She has been highly active in NOMMA since first attending METALfab in Reno in 2000. Since 2004 she has served as Supplier Representative for NOMMA’s Upper Midwest Chapter, and she is a past member of Heidi Bischmann is a the Marketing Task Force. Most members likely know trustee of the her from her many years of exhibiting in the METAL- NOMMA Education fab trade show. Foundation Heidi has a BA degree in communications and theatre from Concordia University, River Forest, IL. She and her husband David have two sons — Michael and Zach. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, traveling, reading, and kayaking. Fabricator n September/October 2009
(seminar, workshop, demonstration…) to the chapters in the upcoming year. This is still in the early stages of planning. n We are already working hard to help with the planning and implementation to make the METALFab convention in Tulsa next year an educational success. n We are trying to increase the number of presenters available to chapters, and groups of members where no chapter is available, through NEFERP (NEF Educational Resource Program). n We will be working with the Wagner Companies to provide the Wagner Grants for METALfab 2010. n We will be exploring new windows to interact and communicate with the general membership. n We will be working, along with your help to create the best auction ever in 2010. I look forward to working for you in the next year and the challenges it will bring. I encourage you to contact me, or any of the other NEF Trustees, with ideas of how we can all work together to meet our goal of education for the industry.
Attention Chapters! Want to view some of the video shop tours from past METALfab conventions? These video shop tours can make a great chapter program. For more information, contact NEF trustee James Minter Jr. (601-833-3000; firstname.lastname@example.org). 69
We are please to introduce our newest members. We encourage our new member firms to “jump in and get involved!” New NOMMA Members as of August 28, 2009.
Allsteel Supply Inc. Horsham, PA Thom Clinefelter Fabricator
Mukwonago, WI Harrison Horan Nationwide Supplier
Century Group Inc. Sulphur, LA Rob Robinson Nationwide Supplier
Davis Machine Works of Opelika Inc. Opelika, AL Wood Rickles Fabricator
Gaspar’s Inc. dba Gaspar’s Fine Architectural Metalworks North Hollywood, CA Artur Gasparyan, Fabricator
Jenks Ornamental Iron Jenks, OK Kole Sutton Fabricator
Not a member? Why not join your 51-year-old trade association? We provide a variety of programs and services to help your business succeed! For more information, visit www.nomma. org or call (888) 516-8585.
Welcome New Members!
Nationwide Supplier Members 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 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. (800) 784-7444 Atlas Metal Sales (800) 662-0143 Banker Wire (800) 523-6772 Barnett Bates Corp. (800) 541-3912 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 Century Group Inc. (800) 527-5232 Cleveland Steel Tool Co. (800) 446-4402 CML USA Inc. (563) 391-7700 Colorado Waterjet Co. (866) 532-5404 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 EURO-FER SPA (011) 39-044-544-0033 F & C Professional Aluminum Railings Corp. (908) 753-8886 FabCad Inc. (866) 427-2454 Feeney Architectural Products, CableRail™ (800) 888-2418 Fabricator n September/October 2009
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 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 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 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 Fabricator n September/October 2009
Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. (800) 221-5579 Logical Decisions Inc. (800) 676-5537 Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510 McKey Perforating (800) 345-7373 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool (800) 467-2464 Multi Sales Inc. (800) 421-3575 NC Tool Co. (800) 446-6498 New Metals Inc. (888) 639-6382 North East Gate Operator Supply Co. (888) 634-2837 Ohio Gratings Inc. (800) 321-9800 Overseas Supply Inc. (866) 985-9885 P & J Mfg. Co. (419) 227-8742 Paxton & Thau Artistic Supply (866) 629-2790 Precision Glass Bending Corp. (800) 543-8796 ProCounsel (866) 289-7833 Q-Railing USA Co. (714) 259-1372 Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408 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 Stair Service Inc. (800) 478-2477 Stairways Inc. (800) 231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. (602) 243-5245 Stephens Pipe & Steel LLC (800) 451-2612 Suhner Industrial Products Inc. (706) 235-8046 Sumter Coatings Inc. (888) 471-3400 Taco Metals (800) 743-3803 Texas Metal Industries (800) 222-6033 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058 Tri-State Shearing & Bending (718) 485-2200 TS Distributors Inc. (800) 392-3655 The Wagner Companies (888) 243-6914 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 486-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door (866) 790-3667 YAC Equipment & Machinery (305) 633-0700 A thanks to our Nationwide Supplier members. Through their membership these companies support both NOMMA and the industry. When doing business with these firms, please thank them for their membership.
What’s Hot? n Biz Briefs News items from the American Subcontractors Association (ASA):
Protect your business against credit risks
It’s smart business to reserve the right to approve a general contractor’s or construction manager’s credit in a bid. Other factors include the consideration of major credit risk factors, the payment bond, mechanic’s lien information, loan agreements, and other evidence of adequate project financing from the owner. Payment timing and entitlement terms can signal heightened risk too. “Paywhen-paid” and “pay-if-paid” clauses imply a client’s lack of resources to pay for the subcontractor’s services independently. They also force the subcontractor to rely on its client to be honest about its receipt of payments from the owner and to accurately calculate and meet payment deadlines. Protecting a business against credit risks, including “pay-when-paid” and “pay-if-paid” terms, may mean charging higher interest on late payments and negotiating terms entitling business owners collection costs and attorney fees. Proposed rule allows PLAs on projects over $25 million
Federal agencies may be allowed to use project labor agreements (PLA) on mega-construction projects valued at $25 million or more. Before an agency could require a PLA, it would have to decide whether a PLA would “advance the Federal Government’s interest in achieving economy and efficiency in Federal procurement” and “be consistent with the law.” 72
Industry News & More
International Code Council to develop swimming pool code The International Code Council (ICC) Board of Directors has voted to develop the nation’s first all-encompassing Comprehensive Swimming Pool Code. This action is designed to provide a coordinated code with other international codes that will meet the requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act and upgrade pool safety. “The Board’s unanimous action in voting to move this forward demonstrates an understanding of the immediate need in our jurisdictions for this type of a code,” said Board President Adolf Zubia. “We are looking forward to a partnered approach as we coordinate this effort with our family of I-Codes,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Richard P. Weiland. The code will be developed under
the Council’s governmental consensus process with the support of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP), bringing together the industry’s pool safety experts, contractors, engineers, manufacturers, and other members and stakeholders. “The scope of the code will respond to the needs of many jurisdictions that still use the Standard Swimming Pool Code and integrate the widely used design and safety features of both the APSP standards and the I-Codes,” according to Jay Peters, Executive Director, ICC Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas. Contact: ICC, Ph: (888) ICCSAFE; Web: www.iccsafe.org. Editor’s Note: The NOMMA Technical team is currently monitoring this effort.
Encon holds Viking Access Systems seminar Encon Electronics held its third consecutive seminar this year at its training facility. It collaborated with gate operator manufacturer Viking Access Systems, offering a technical workshop to over forty Encon dealers. Viking chief engineer, Daniel Perez, conducted the all-day seminar. The seminar ended with a
raffle of a T-21 swing gate operator, courtesy of Viking Access Systems. Contact: Encon, Ph: (800) 7825598; Web: www.enconelectronics. com.
Viking chief engineer Daniel Perez (right) explains the inner works on a gate operator system.
Fabricator n September/October 2009
What’s Hot? n ABANA announces demo and workshops at Pieh Tool
September 26-28, 2009 Randy McDaniel will demonstrate the making of tooling and the forging of animal heads using the tools created. The making of heads for a dragon, horse, ram, mouse, and a human in bar stock, as well as other techniques, will be presented. Contact: Pieh Tool Company, Inc., Ph: (888) 743-4866; Web: www. Randy McDaniel piehtoolco.com.
Baltimore Convention Center. Participants will learn about sustainable preservation and design, handson traditional building skills, historic restoration and rehabilitation, adaptive use, materials conservation, historic tax credits, code compliance, and more. Continuing education credits are available. Contact: The Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference, Ph: (781) 779-1560; Web: www. traditionalbuildingshow.com. SMACNA’s 66th annual convention
October 11-15, 2009 The Sheet Metal and Air CondiThe Baltimore Traditional Building tioning Contractors’ National AssociaExhibition and Conference tion (SMACNA) will be holding its October 21-24, 2009 66th Annual Convention and Product 665-06203 Adthe (Nomma Fab) Show 3/30/06 4:44 PM Page The eventFMB will Manual be held at at the Desert Springs JW1Marriot
Biz Briefs Congress may require businesses to 1099 all vendors
ASA strongly objects to proposals being considered by the congressional Finance Committee that could result in a massive, new paperwork burden and liability for businesses. One proposal would require all businesses to issue 1099s to all service providers, even corporations, to which they pay more than $600 annually. The political pressure to close the perceived “tax gap” between income reported to the Internal Revenue Service vs. total actual income is so strong, the finance committee is considering a more aggressive proposal. Contact the ASA at (703) 684-345-. Web: www.asaonline.com.
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Literature & Media Wagner Companies releases 2009 Master Catalog
The Wagner Companies expands its product offerings with the release of the 2009 master catalog. The Wagner Companies has begun distribution of the 304-page 2009 master catalog which includes all railing systems, products, and services of over 7,800 standard catalog items. Contact: The Wagner Companies, Ph: (888) 243-691; Web: www. wagnercompanies.com. fabricator ad TBEC.qxd
Hotel & Spa, Palm Desert, CA. The convention will feature sessions on the latest issues in construction, BIM, “green” construction, energy efficiency, LEED, and sustainability. The former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will speak at Sunday’s opening session. Contact: SMACNA, Ph: (703) 803-2998; Web: www.smacna.org. Wendel Broussard workshop
October 5-10, 2009 The Forgery School of Blacksmithing presents a six-day repoussé class with Wendel Broussard in Tijeras, NM. Broussard, whose interest in traditional repoussé led him to study in France, now demonstrates throughout the U.S. Contact: The Forgery School of Blacksmithing, Ph: (505) 270-1007; Web: www. 4:35 PM Page 1 g3blacksmithing.com.
ICC fall hearings
October 24–November 11 NOMMA will be represented at the International Code Council (ICC) fall hearings, which take place in Baltimore, MD. NOMMA will be responding to proposals submitted in the residential, commercial, and structural building codes. Contact: ICC, Ph: (708) 799-2300; Web: www. iccsafe.org Training fellowships available in France
September 2010-July 2011 The American Friends of Coubertin presents fellowships in woodwork, metalwork, and stonework at the Coubertin Foundation outside Paris, France. The deadline for applying is January 31, 2010. Contact: American Friends of Coubertin; Web: www. afcoubertin.org.
TRADITIONAL BUILDING EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE
Smart Solutions for a Challenging Market To register visit: www.traditionalbuildingshow.com Carolyn Walsh 781.779.1560 Exhibitor inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org Anita Delargy 866.566.7840 Speaker inquiries: email@example.com Judy Hayward 802.674.6752
Baltimore, Maryland Oct. 21-24, 2009
Baltimore Convention Center www.traditionalbuildingshow.com 74
Fabricator n September/October 2009
What’s Hot? n
News from the Museum
Master Metalsmith Elizabeth Brim at the Metal Museum
Literature & Media DoALL Sawing Products announces new website
Exhibit runs until November 8, 2009 The Metal Museum announces the Master Metalsmith for 2009, Elizabeth Brim. Brim is a prominent blacksmith as well as an instructor at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, NC. As she moved from basic tool-making into more conceptual and personal pieces, Brim found her niche making feminine objects out of steel. Her pair of iron highheeled shoes based on the fairy tale “Twelve Dancing Princesses” won first prize at the 1988 Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America Southeastern Regional Conference. She then continued on to make objects like aprons, handbags, pillows, tiaras, and high heels. Contact: National Ornamental Metal Museum, Ph: (901) 774-6380; This object, created by Brim, is one of many that will be on display at the Metal Museum. Web: www.metalmuseum.org.
DoALL’s new site features the band sawing product line, information, product support, and downloadable brochures, manuals, dimensional drawings, and videos. The website’s support page provides all product manuals, technical data sheets, “distributor only” information, and other resources. To celebrate the launch, DoALL is offering a chance to win a $100 gift card by registering online. Contact: DoALL, Ph: (800) 362-5572; Web: www.doallsawing.com.
John C. Campbell Folk School Join us for weeklong and weekend workshops! Blacksmithing • Bladesmithing • Toolmaking Design Process • Repoussé and many more!
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To request a free catalog or register for a class,
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800-426-7818 • www.hougen.com
Fabricator n September/October 2009
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What’s Hot? n
Northeast Chapter to host CAD seminar
Palm Beach, FL on Saturday, November 14. Details to come.
The Northeast Chapter is holding a one-day CAD seminar designed for the ornamental fabricating industry with 30-day free use of software for each seminar participant. FabCad Inc. of Petersburg, VA will conduct the CAD (Computer Aided Design) seminar for beginners in Saddle Brook, NJ, September 24, 2009. The class will provide the basics of 2D drawing and editing commands. It will also cover how to increase sales and streamline production using CAD. Dave Filippi of FabCad Inc. will lead the session. Both members and nonmembers are welcomed. The cost is $99.00 per person for NOMMA and AFA members and $199 for nonmembers. Contact: FabCad, Ph: (866) 427-2454; Web: www.fabcad. com.
Gulf Coast Networking Group to hold their meeting in Dothan, AL
The Upper Midwest Chapter held their June meeting in St. Louis. Their next meeting is scheduled for October.
Upper Midwest Chapter to meet in Elgin, IL
The NOMMA Upper Midwest Chapter is holding their next meeting October 3 at American Fabricator Supply in Elgin, IL. More details to come. Florida Chapter schedules gathering in West Palm Beach
The next Florida Chapter Meeting will be at Royal Iron Creations in West
The next Gulf Coast Networking Group meeting is scheduled for October 17, 2009 at Wheeler’s Ornamental Metals in Dothan, AL. The meeting theme will be forging.
Chapter Resources Attention chapter leaders: Need ideas for a future program? Check out our new resource area on the NOMMA website. Receive information on NEFERP and the loaner programs for Top Job slides and shop tour videos. For info, visit the “Chapters” section of NOMMA’s website. Web: www.nomma.org.
Whether you choose 1-½" diamond wire mesh or 2"x1" rectangular partition systems both are pre-engineered for easy installation and with multiple functions for use in high security or low security, tool cribs, quality control cages or safety storage caging on mezzanines.
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950 Anderson @ Fab Road Litchfield, MI 49252-0388
Phone: 1-517-542-2353 Fax: 1-517-542-2501
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What’s Hot? n
has a standard 3-axis position indicator and a cutter head that swivels up to 30 degrees. Contact: Knuth Machine Tools USA, Ph: (847) 415-3333; Web: www. knuth-usa.com. Automatic gun
Radial arm drill press and bedtype milling machines
Knuth Knuth’s new high capacity, large-bed milling machines are designed for handling large part and machining projects. The KB1400 consists of a cast-iron frame with rectangular guideways. The machine
ITW Ransburg ITW Ransburg’s newest automatic gun, the Evolver SE, has a compact design to deliver electrostatics for fixed gun, reciprocator, or robotic applications and weighs 3.35 lbs Contact: ITW Ransburg, Ph: (800) 909-6886; Web: www.itwransburg.com.
Weldcraft The Weldcraft WP-17 Series 150-amp DC welding capability offers five torch styles, including gas valve (WP-17FV) and flex neck (WP-17F) models. The WP-17 PSH model has a threaded handle for pipe welding applications. The torches are available in 12.5- and 25-ft with one- or two-piece cable lengths. Contact: Weldcraft, Ph: (800) 752-7620; Web: www.weldcraft.com. Stainless steel glass cap rail
Wagner The Wagner Companies has added Type 316 stainless steel cap rail to its offerings of glass railing and Lumenrail® lighted railing products. Available in 1.660” and 1.900” outside diameter, these stainless steel
TUBING BENDERS Hand Tube Bender Rolls:
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2” Square Tubing 1 x 2” Rectangular Tubing Flat Bar (1/2 x 2” & smaller) Pipe & Tubing Additional Rollers Available
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117 DAVID BIDDLE TRAIL, WEAVERVILLE, NC 28787 DESIGN & SALES: 800-635-2596 FAX: 828-645-2128 OFFICE: 800-541-8065 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.lpcutting.com Fabricator n September/October 2009
Flat Bar (on edge hard way) R&D Hydraulics, Mfg. and Machine Co. 1431 West 5th St. Chico, CA 95928 www.rdhs.com 77
What’s Hot? n
tube sections have no visible seams. They may be used with ½” glass, WagnerailTM Panels, or Wagner’s Lumenrail® LED light sticks. These railing sections are stocked in 18 foot lengths and are available with mill, satin, or polished finishes. Contact: Wagner, Ph: (888) 243-6914; Web: www. wagnercompanies.com.
its latest portable magnetic drills, upgrading the long-standing model HMD914 with a lighter weight body and an ergonomic handle. The company is also introducing the new model HMD914S with a patented, swivel base drill-to-magnet coupling. The base is designed for horizontal or overhead/inverted drilling and the unit incorporates a lockdown mechanism. Contact: Hougen, Ph: 248-6417500; Web: www.hougen.com. Zero financing and lower leasing rates
Scotchman Scotchman Credit Corp.® is now offering a no interest lease/purchase on new Scotchman products. Also offered are lower leasing rates starting at 3.9% for 24 months, 4.9% for 36 months, and 6.9% for 48 & 60 months. Contact: Scotchman, Ph: (800) 843-8844, Web: www.scotchman.com. Mitre semi-automatic saws
Portable magnetic drills
Hougen Hougen Manufacturing launches
Pat Mooney Pat Mooney– The Saw Company’s Pro Pegasus DS mitre semi-automatic saws include heavy-duty mechanisms, 1-1/4” wide saw blades, and an electronic display of the cutting angle.
The Pro Pegasus performs semi-automatic operations, including positive hydraulic cutting control, hydraulic clamping, and auto return of the saw head which swivels to cut up to 60º both left and right. Contact: Pat Mooney Inc., Ph: (800) 323-7503; Web: www. patmooneysaws.com. Online color selector
Sherwin-Williams Sherwin-Williams offers a new on-screen color selector for the Powdura® RAL Powder Program. The Sherwin-Williams powder colors featured are matched to official RAL 841 standards, the European Master Standard for color selection for international acceptance. RAL color fan decks may also be ordered online. Contact: Sherwin-Williams, Ph: (800) 524-5979; Web: www.sherwinwilliams.com. CNC automated finishing
Professional Quality Tools for the Blacksmith Wide Selection Spring Swages
See our work at www.customforgedhardware.com
Kayne and Son 100 Daniel Ridge Road • Candler, NC 28715 U.S.A. Phone: 828 667-8868 Fax: 828 665-8303 78
Birchwood Casey Birchwood Casey announces two of its Tru Temp® CNC automated finishing lines. One system is used for finishing motion control and power transmission components. The second is used to finish firearm related components. Both systems feature automated environmentally-friendly part finishing. The systems incorporate a programmable hoist to move Fabricator n September/October 2009
What’s Hot? n components through the Tru Temp 200-degree black oxide process in a 28-minute cycle. Contact: Birchwood Casey, Ph: 952-937-7931; Web: www. birchwoodcasey.com. Metal components
Acme Acme Metal Spinning fabricates large components such as stainless
steel and aluminum tank heads, holding tanks, vessels, and cylindrical parts produced in small to medium quantities. Tank heads range in diameters up to 140 inches with uniform wall thickness. Acme also provides beading, trimming, hole punching, circle shearing, and flanging (in/out) services. Contact: Acme Metal Spinning, Ph: (800) 383-5971; Web: www. acmemetalspinning.com. Hand protection catalog
Ansell Ansell Limited introduces the Ansell North America Protection Solutions Guide. This new catalog is a result of global research of Ansell customers’ experiences and preferences and features over 100 products. Contact: Ansell, Ph: 800-800-0444; Web: www.ansellpro.com.
People Anthony Goodings named as new director of sales
Anthony R. Goodings has been appointed to the newly created position of director of sales for The Wagner Companies. Goodings, a Anthony Goodings resident of Waukesha, comes to Wagner with 22 years of sales and account management experience. As director of sales, Goodings will focus on the strategic growth and development of Wagner sales revenues. Contact: Wagner, Ph: (888) 243-6914; Web: www. wagnercompanies.com.
15754 Widewater Drive Dumfries, VA 22025-1212 703-680-1632
Association of North America, Inc. Fabricator n September/October 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 DVDs, 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 $425* per year! That’s less than $1.16 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 www.nomma.org *For fabricator membership. Memberships are also available for suppliers.✝Chapter membership is only available in regions serviced by a chapter.
Fabricator n September/October 2009
Advertiser’s index A thanks to the following advertisers for their support of O&MM Fabricator magazine ... Pg 3 62 43 18 79 79 39 78 68 53 31 58 37 75 44 15 40 22 17 4 33 48 44 51 47 7 9 52 13 75 63 84 64 76 83
Company Website Alku Group of Companies....................www.euroforgings.com Alloy Casting Co. Inc......................................... www.alloynet.com Architectural Iron Designs............. www.archirondesigns.com Arteferro Miami................................... www.arteferromiami.com Artist-Blacksmith’s..................................................www.abana.org Atlas Metal Sales...........................................www.atlasmetal.com Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Co................www.bigbluhammmer.com Blacksmiths Depot....................... www.blacksmithsdepot.com Blue Moon Press...................................www.bluemoonpress.org Julius Blum & Co. Inc.................................... www.juliusblum.com Byan Systems.............................................................www.byan.com COLE-TUVE Inc................................................... www.coletuve.com The Cable Connection............. www.thecableconnection.com John C. Campbell Folk...................................www.folkschool.org Carell Corp........................................................www.carellcorp.com Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co.................... www.cmrp.com Colorado Waterjet Co..................... www.coloradowaterjet.com CompLex Industries Inc............www.complex-industries.com D & D Technologies (USA) Inc.................. www.ddtechusa.com D.J.A. Imports Ltd..........................................www.djaimports.com DKS, DoorKing.................................................. www.doorking.com Decorative Iron..................................... www.decorativeiron.com Eagle Bending Machines.. www.eaglebendingmachines.com Eberl Iron Works Inc........................................ www.eberliron.com Encon Electronics............................ www.enconelectronics.com FabCAD Inc.............................................................www.fabcad.com Feeney Architectural........................................www.cablerail.com The G-S Co.................................................................www.g-sco.com Hebo - Stratford Gate......................... www.drivewaygates.com Hougen Mfg. Inc..................................................www.hougen.com International Gate Devices.............................www.intlgate.com The Iron Shop.............................................www.theironshop.com Jansen Ornamental................................www.jansensupply.com Jesco Industries Inc.....................................www.jescoonline.com King Architectural Metals........................ www.kingmetals.com
Attention Industry Suppliers: Plug into the NOMMA Network Call (888) 516-8585, ext. 101
Advertise in Fabricator! Help us celebrate our 50th anniversary by placing an ad in Fabricator. For more info, download our media kit at www.nomma.org/ fabricator Fabricator n September/October 2009
77 19 10 2 76 20 73 73 30 56 26 23 11 56 27 21 77 25 61 24 55 67 29 60 35 57 34 32 74 42 74 38 45 49
Laser Precision Cutting......... www.laserprecisioncutting.com Lawler Foundry Corp........................... www.lawlerfoundry.com Lehigh Valley Abrasives.. www.lehighvalleyabrasives.com Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc.....................www.lewisbrass.com Lindblade Metal Works......... www.lindblademetalworks.com Marks U.S.A....................................................... www.marksusa.com Pat Mooney Inc..................................www.patmooneysaws.com NC Tool Company Inc......................................www.nctoolco.com National Bronze & Metals Inc......................www.nbmetals.com National Custom Craft Inc......www.nationalcustomcraft.com Olin Wrought Iron Line.................. www.olinwroughtiron.com P & J Mfg. Co.................................................www.twistedbars.com Parker Ionics..................................www.parkerionics.com Paxton & Thau Artistic..............................www.paxtonthau.com Production Machinery Inc.............................www.promaco.com Q-Railing.......................................................www.q-railingusa.com R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine Co..................www.rdhs.com Regency Railings.................................www.regencyrailings.com Scotchman Industries............................... www.scotchman.com Sharpe Products.................................www.sharpeproducts.com Simonian Bender..............................www.simonianbender.com Simsolve.............................................................. www.simsolve.com Stairways Inc...............................................www.stairwaysinc.com Steptoe & Wife Antiques Ltd..................www.steptoewife.com Striker Tool Co. (USA) Inc...........................www.strikertools.com Sumter Coatings Inc.......................... www.sumtercoatings.com Sur-Fin Chemical Corp..................................www.patinausa.com Texas Metal Industries...................................... www.txmetal.com Traditional Building................... www.traditional-building.com Tri-State Shearing & Bending...............................(718) 485-2200 Universal Entry Systems Inc...................................(800) 837-4283 The Wagner Companies............ www.wagnercompanies.com Weaver’s Iron Works..................... www.weaversironworks.com YAC Equipment & Machinery............www.yacmachinery.com Companies in boldface 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: (888) 516-8585. Or, send an email to: email@example.com. You may also submit a drop request by visiting the “Fabricator” area of the NOMMA website. 81
Perspectives Building a stronger business with better profits through design and marketing What is it that allows one metalworker
to make and sell a scroll for $20 and another just down the street to make and sell a similar scroll, made with identical material and similar effort, for $40? And how does the more expensive shop manage to stay busy during difficult times? The answer is found in the consistent combination of targeted marketing and good design, which are supported by a good reputation for quality. Good design results in better business
People will pay more for, wait longer for, and be more likely to repeat their purchases for products that are aesthetically appealing and well designed. For those of you who manage shops but who do not have an interest or good training in design or proportions, you should strongly consider hiring someone who does (perhaps they already work with you) and let them help you help the bottom line. Quality products and service advertise themselves; they market for you when your clients tell their friends and associates about the beautiful object you created and their positive experience with your business. Even in this economy, a shop that consistently produces work of quality in materials, design, and joinery will always be sought out by the best clients. This is why most good craftspersons avoid repair work on products that are below their quality standards; for fear that their good, hard earned reputation will be stained when a well meaning client links your name with your competitors’ low quality product. Good joinery always follows good quality craftsmanship. Attention to joinery will get higher sales value and better repeat business. For example, take three identical scrolls and then weld one onto a flat rail without grinding, then weld one on to a flat rail and dress the welds, and finally rivet one 82
on to a flat rail. Paint them all the same. How will you price each one to your clients? Lowest to highest, right? Because dressing the weld and riveting takes more time. Now, consider which one will your customers remember or talk about in a complimentary manner? What is that worth? Can you really afford NOT to dress the welds or rivet them? Your competition may sell ugly welds to get the low bid, but being the low bidder will only get you one thing in business: the reputation of being the low bidder! Hopefully your business plan has greater goals! Who is your customer?
Before you renew your Yellow Pages advertising, sit for a while and think about who your target market is. Who do you currently do business with? Who do you WANT to do business with? Is this person actually reaching you through the Yellow Pages, or are they referrals from other businesses or previous clients? If your TARGET market is not the Yellow Pages (everyone who gets a phone book in your area) then consider more targeted ads on-line (via Google or online Yellow Pages or similar), or in the area Home Builders Association, or AIA, or Interior Design Chapter newsletters for example. Or, perhaps your business would benefit from even more personal marketing, where you set aside a few hours each week to call on former clients and meet prospects in person. For example, big pharmaceutical manufacturers have annual marketing budgets in the hundreds of millions and spend heavily on national advertising on the web, in print and on television, but they still pay hefty commissions to thousands of sales reps who canvas the nation’s medical offices daily, in person, promoting their products. The lesson here is that people will always do business with people and no amount of money spent on advertising substitutes for a
personal sales call. If your company Doug Bracken lacks a sales person capable of presenting your business well in person, then it is time to find that person and get them on board. Marketing is essential to long term survival
I have seen dozens of examples of businesses who were so pleased with their business that, “They don’t need to advertise,” which usually equals, “we have a few really good jobs/clients and don’t think we need or can handle anymore new business.” I used to be one of those people myself! These are the same businesses that are in serious trouble right now because their core clients are out of business or slow, and they have no other client base to draw on. Advertising and marketing takes years to develop so when you finally realize you need to advertise, usually it’s too late. The good results
It will take time, several years in some cases, but by combining good design and consistent, targeted marketing along with showing up for your appointments on time and standing behind your products at all costs, any craftsperson will be able to trade on a much higher level. If the lessons here are applied everyday with consistency, it will result in an excellent reputation for the business, which, in turn, allows your shop to charge more for the same products and services than your competition. It will also allow your business to survive an economic downturn because there will always be a market for quality. Doug Bracken is president of Wiemann Metalcraft, 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 Doug@ WMCraft.com. Fabricator n September/October 2009
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Published on Nov 13, 2012