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Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal


The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

Coverage of NOMMA’s 52nd annual conference and exhibition .... page 40

Shop Talk

New photo system for measuring, page 12

Member Talk

Julius Blum & Co. Inc. turns 100!, page 24

May/June 2010 $6.00 US

Biz Side

New health care laws on the horizon, page 54


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May/June 2010 Vol. 51, No. 3

ETemplate System. Handy new tool for measuring difficult curves like this ellipse balcony by Royal Iron Creations, 12.

Shop Talk

Job Profiles

Smile: New digital photo measuring technology................12 NOMMA members share their experience with ETemplate Systems. By Rachel Bailey Dispelling myths of 2 old school finishes..............17 Discover the true beauty of traditional wax and oil finishes for steel. By Jeff Fogel Member Talk Third Blum generation honors founder..............................24 A founding NOMMA member celebrates 100 years in business. By Joanne Blum Specialization secrets.................32 Columbia Wire & Iron makes difficult jobs their niche market. By Lisa Bakewell President’s Letter............... 6 In hard times, remember lessons from the past.

Biz Side

Experimenting with design and texture............36

Sometimes AutoCAD isn’t enough when you’re going for the gold. By Rob Anderson METALfab 2010 Review in Tulsa, OK...........40 Read all about the numerous award winners and enjoy photos from the show. Show report..........................49 Some 30 exhiibitors showed their tools and components at METALfab. Here’s a review.

Exec. Director’s Letter... 8 What can’t be taken away.

Health Care Reform and what it means for you.................54 Breaking down new health care legislation into bite-size pieces, here’s how the new laws might affect your business. By Mark Battersby Seven costly Website mistakes to avoid..........................58 Quality content, easy “findability,” and simple navigation will keep your customers coming back. By William Lynott What’s Hot! Nationwide Suppliers.................62 New Members.................................63 NEF.......................................................64 What’s Hot........................................65 Business and chapter news, products and literature.

Readers’ Letters.................10 METALfab 2010 NEF Auction Participants.

Book Review.......................... 74 Advocating the value of trade education.

About the cover: METALfab 2010 was NOMMA’s best convention ever, featuring a packed schedule of classes, demonstrations, hands-on sessions, two-day exposition, shop tours, and various social events. Photos by Todd Daniel and Chris Holt.. Fabricator n May/June 2010


NOMMA O fficers President Bruce Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA Vice President/ Treasurer Will Keeler Keeler Iron Works Memphis, TN

President-Elect James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS Immediate Past President Bob Foust III Bob’s Ornamental Iron Studio Kansas City, KS

F abricator D i rectors Ray Michael R & F Metals Inc. Clinton, MD

Greg Terrill Division 5 Metalworks Kalamazoo, MI

J.R. Molina Big D Metalworks Dallas, TX

Todd Kinnikin Eureka Forge, Pacific, MO

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

Mark Koneke Germantown Iron & Steel Corp., Jackson, WI

S u ppli er D i rectors 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 E ducation F ou n dation O fficers Chair Roger Carlsen Ephraim Forge Inc. Frankfort, IL

Treasurer Mike Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA

Vice Chair Christopher Maitner Christopher Metal Fabricating

T rustees Stacey Lawler Taylor Lawler Foundry Corp. Birmingham, AL

James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

Heidi Bischmann The Wagner Companies Milwaukee, WI

NOMMA S taff Executive Director & Editor J. Todd Daniel Meetings & Exposition Manager Martha Pennington

Member Care & Operations Manager Liz Johnson Managing Editor Rachel Squires Bailey Layout Editor Robin Sherman



Dedicated to the success of our members and industry.

President’s Letter

In hard times, remember lessons from the past As I’ve talked to past NOMMA presidents over the years, they all have one thing in common: they dread writing the President’s Letters. Forgive me, for I am not a writer, but a metalsmith. I grew up in an apartment over the blacksmith shop that my grandfather started in 1902. He shod horses and built or repaired anything that was metal. Later, as things progressed, he added a building onto the back of the shop to build wagons. Some may dispute the fact, but local lore has it that he built the first rubber tired milk wagon there. As the advent of the automobile turned things around he added a gas pump and turned the wagon works into an auto repair shop. When my grandfather passed away my father decided to buy the blacksmith shop portion of the business from his siblings. My dad had landed in California after the war and was working for a shop making wrought iron patio furniture. When he took over the blacksmith shop, he decided to add a line of patio furniture. For some reason there wasn’t quite the demand for wrought iron furniture in Iowa that there was in California. It did lead him to place an emphasis on ornamental iron. Over the years with a lot of hard work, the help of other shop owners, and NOMMA, he managed to support his family and a couple of employees. He was very active in the Blacksmith and Weldors Association and only missed one NOMMA convention since its founding. He knew the value of these organizations and the knowledge to be gained. I didn’t work full time in the shop until after I had started college. I was fortunate to be able to attend many NOMMA conventions at an early age.

I gained knowledge, friends, and a great deal of respect for NOMMA and the people who made it grow. Later, when my two brothers and I bought the business from our father, we continued to stay involved with NOMMA and learn a new set of skills as owners. In the uncertain times that we are all going through, it is good to remember some of those lessons from the past. Work hard, change with the trends, don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, and continue to learn. That is why it is so important now, even more than ever, to stay involved with NOMMA. NOMMA offers you so many opportunities to learn and grow. The NOMMA board, staff, and volunteers are workBruce Boyler is president ing hard to fulfill your needs. We have of NOMMA. not forgotten those lessons. We have changed our methods to be more transparent, more efficient, and more responsive. Please help us by getting involved. It can be as simple as responding to a survey, so that we can better understand your needs, or volunteering to help on a committee. It doesn’t matter at what level, just get involved. You and NOMMA will be better for it.

P.S. A special thanks to Doug Bracken and Bob Foust III for working tirelessly to provide us with one of the finest conventions in recent memory. Fabricator n May/June 2010

Fabricator n May/June 2010


Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator (ISSN 0191-5940), is the official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA). O&MM Fabricator / NOMMA 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127, #311 Fayetteville, GA 30214 Editorial We love articles! Send story ideas, letters, press releases, and product news to: Fabricator at address above. Ph/Fax: (888) 516-8585. E-mail: Advertise Reach 8,500 fabricators For information, call Martha Pennington, Ph: (888) 516-8585, ext. 104. Ads are due on the first Friday of the month preceding the cover date. Send ads on CD to: Fabricator at address above. E-mail ads to: (max. 5 megs by e-mail). Or upload ads to our website where a downloadable media kit is available: Membership Join NOMMA! 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 at METALfab, NOMMA’s annual convention and trade show. For more information, contact Martha Pennington at (888) 516-8585, ext. 104, or Subscriptions Subscription questions? Call (888) 516-8585. Send subscription address changes to: Fabricator Subscriptions, 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127, #311, Fayetteville, GA 30214. Fax: (888) 5168585, or E-mail: 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 2010 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



How to reach us

Executive Director’s Letter

What can’t be taken away The last year has been a difficult time for our members, and I want everyone to know that your Board and staff are deeply sympathetic to your situation. Nearly every day I speak with members who tell me about the hardships they are enduring in our challenging economy. A member from Texas recently told me that while there was once the normal 3–4 bids chasing each job, there is now more like 10 bids per job. Some bidders, I am told, are intentionally cutting prices in the hopes of buying time until the economy revives. Another member in Florida told me that their builders were asking for bids for the first time. I know that many of our members have reduced staff and, most regretabbly, a few of our members have closed down for good. During these hard times NOMMA has fared no better. We have seen both our membership and advertising revenues shrink by about a third, and other association executives I’ve spoken with have had similar experiences. As I hear the stories of dear family businesses struggling to keep their doors open, a favorite story comes to mind.

A memorable story

I remember my high school history teacher telling us a story about the final days of the Civil War. He said that as the Federal armies closed in on Gen. Robert E. Lee and his troops, a junior officer reported to the general, saying that his men were ready for battle. General Lee said, “But your soldiers have no food or ammunition, and are in no condition to fight.” “But sir,” the young officer said, “My men have spirit.” When I attended our annual METALfab conference in Tulsa, and when I visit various chapter meetings, that’s the one thing I see — spirit. Our members have a powerful love for their craft, their industry, and their trade association, and just being around them in-

spires me. We have both the honor and duty to carry on a 1,000-year-old industry, and to ensure that it remains strong and grows. Our members not only have “spirit,” but also the pride, determination, and savvy to keep both NOMMA and the industry going strong. Opportunities amid challenges

Like our members, NOMMA has also had to cut staff, and we’ve even eliminated our physical office. More difficult changes may be necessary as well. But NOMMA is not stopping or looking back. We have a solid strategic plan in place and our goal is to be nimble and adapt quickly to the changing environment. For instance, our NOMMA Education Foundation is now focusing on more online education, and is now producing bimonthly webinars and online video tutorials. Todd Daniel In other areas we are is executive director of moving full forward as well. For instance, NOMMA. we have just launched a Certification Task Force with 14 members, and we have 7 companies in metro DC who are interested in starting a chapter. Undeterred

Even in the hardest times, I assure you that our spirit will never be broken. For we are proud professionals who are part of a time-honored and prestigious industry. We will join together as brothers and sisters, and we will tackle any obstacle that comes before us. And most importantly, we will always move forward . . . always.

Fabricator n May/June 2010

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Readers’ Letters METALfab 2010 NEF Auction Participants On behalf of the NOMMA Education Foundation Board of Trustees, I would like to thank EVERYONE who helped with the NEF auction at NOMMA’s METALfab 2010 in Tulsa, OK. With the generous help of over 100 donors, bidders and many fabulous volunteers — including auctioneers Carl Grainger and Roger Carlsen — this year’s auction raised over $24,000 to support the educational and research work of the NOMMA Education Foundation. Your help makes it possible for NEF to continue to provide quality education for the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry through continuing education programs, video productions, educational publications, as well as supporting special projects

important to the industry. Thank you again for your help and generosity. It is very much appreciated. Sincerely, Heidi Bischmann NEF Board of Trustees, Auction Chair The Wagner Companies Butler, WI Heidi, Thank you [Heidi Bischmann NEF Auction Chair] and your team for all of your efforts in making this another successful auction. NEF has come a long way since its inception. This is just an investment in our industry’s future! Thanks again! Jan Allen Smith Allen Iron Works & Supply, Inc. Birmingham, AL


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Mail Letters Editor, Fabricator, 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127, #311 Fayetteville, GA 30214 E-mail Fax 888-516-8585 Please include your full name, title, company name, address, telephone number, and e-mail. Letters are subject to editing for clarity and length.



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Shop Talk



New digital photo measuring technology may improve your bottom line.

Closed stringers curved stair in progress, top, and complete, bottom. Including every coded target in at least two photographs that are overlapping allows for triangulation of every measurement point and ensures accuracy. Fabricator: Royal Iron Creations.

By Rachel Bailey* Not only are pictures worth a 1,000 words, they may also be worth the number of hours you typically spend on the job site field measuring, and more. Whatever instruments you’re using now, whether it’s a roller, laser, or your trusty tape measure with pen and paper for recording, they may soon become known as relics of surveying the old-fashioned way, thanks

*With lots of help from Tri-Tech Solutions and NOMMA members represented in the article. 12

Fabricator n May/June 2010

to ETemplate Systems. A division of Tri-Tech Solutions Inc., ETemplate Systems specializes in the development and marketing of digital measuring solutions for the as-built construction industry, according to Paul Hansen of ETemplate and Tri-Tech. What began 10-years ago as a countertop templating system, the ETemplate Photo 3D digital templating and measuring system is now helping members of NOMMA and the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry manage million dollar projects. In fact recently, the NOMMA Upper Midwest Chapter enjoyed a live demonstration at NOMMA member Mark O’Malley’s shop, O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc. in Yorkville, IL. While O’Malley doesn’t currently use ETemplate, he was impressed by the demonstration and sees how it would improve the link from field measuring to layout. “The way I understand it, the markers are automatically triangulated where I now do my measurements by triangulating manually,” O’Malley says. “On a complex curved or helical stair or ramp I see quick return on investment, and if that type of work were

more in the scope of work that we got involved in I would seriously consider the investment or at least hire someone using the system to plot out the field measurements.” There are several NOMMA member shops that have already invested in ETemplate Systems, like A. Zahner Co. out of Kansas City, MO, Big D Metalworks out of Dallas, TX, and Royal Iron Creations in West Palm Beach, FL. But before we get into their experience with the tool, let’s tell you more about how it works. How ETemplate System works

According to Tri-Tech, ETemplate Photo is a precision measuring tool that captures all the measurement data required for simple or complex curves and angles (helix) in 3D and converts that data to a DXF. “ETemplate Photo allows fabricators to see what they measured after they leave the jobsite,” says Hansen. “The photographs not only include the measurements but are a visual quality check to view the jobsite area, verify measurements, and, if needed, extract additional measurements without returning to the jobsite.”

Demonstration project Mark O’Malley. This project mock up helped demonstrate ETemplate Systems to attendees of the NOMMA Upper Midwest Chapter meeting in January at O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc. in Yorkville, IL.

Fabricator n May/June 2010

Using high resolution digital photography, ETemplate Photo measures a job site in full 3D. The secret is placement of special and uniquely coded markers at key measurement points needed for the job. Some markers are used to define an X-Y coordinate system and some are used as a known reference length. When taking the photographs, it’s important to include every marker in at least two photographs that are overlapping. This does two basic things: links the project together and triangulates every measurement point to ensure accuracy. Once processed, every location in each photograph is a potential measurement point, and there are more than 500 million measurements per photo. “The process is very similar to a GPS system,” explains Hansen. The software locates and identifies each marker; it then uses the unique codes to find the matching markers in other photos. This creates at least three known positions: the camera locations and a matching marker in two or more photos. Triangulation is complete; the locations are defined. Typical accuracy is 1/16 inch or better. According to Tri-Tech Solutions, ETemplate employs two marker systems; a 12-bit and a 14-bit. The 12-bit system has a total of 161 coded markers and should be sufficient for the majority of jobs. The 14-bit system has 561 coded markers for the occasional bigger jobs. Additional measurement points can be defined with plain circular dots. Even smaller dots can be created by using the point of a Sharpie pen for marking small intricate areas. The marker coding systems are included in the software for users to print their own coded markers or replacement rolls can be purchased as needed. ETemplate has the added flexibility and versatility for users to create their own markers and scales, says Hansen. Users can design special fixtures for use on specialized jobs that helps to expedite the measuring and CAD design process. “Another unique feature is the BackPlot capability,” says Hansen. It allows the CAD operator to overlay the finished DXF file onto the measurement photos for review to insure a 13

proper fit before production starts. In other words, the BackPlot feature allows fabricators to define pre-production tweaks that may be needed. “The CAD DXF data from ETemplate Photo can be used to drive a CNC, a paper plotter, or to create a fully dimensioned blueprint,” says Hansen. Project: Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, North Roof Metal Cladding Scale: 55,000 sq. ft. Fabricator: A Zahner Co. Purpose/Problem Statement: Compare as-built jobsite conditions to architectural model Benefits: n Portable n Easy to set up n Appropriate placement of markers eliminates line-of-sight challenges with typical survey equipment n A visual verification in the form of photos makes it easy to reference n Have the ability to add markers and

photos on the go to enhance results

n The E-Template software is easy to

use and works well even with a large amount of data Limitations: n Limited number (560 with the 14 bit) of markers makes it challenging to place unique target points on such a large surface and still capture all the relevant information n Cannot tie the information to building co-ordinates like a conventional survey would n The large number of photos needed to capture all relevant information on such a large scale makes it difficult to sort through and process

What NOMMA members using ETemplate say

Big D Metalworks out of Dallas, TX has been using ETemplate for two years. “There’s been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears figuring out how to make it work for our industry,” says Big D Project Manager and Design Manager J.R. Molina. “It’s a phenomenal tool, especially for circular stair, rail, round openings — with accuracy between 1/32 inch and 1/64 inch. But for 3D projects you have to have a person back at the shop who has the knowledge to extrapolate data to the shop floor. We started a User Group so NOMMA members who buy the tool can learn from our mistakes.” Molina goes on to explain that

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Fabricator n May/June 2010

For your information


Featured Product: ETemplate System, a comprehensive 3D field measurement tool that uses digital photography and produces CAD-ready data. Key Benefits: n Helps reduce costs of measuring big projects that are far away from the shop. n Allows verification of measurements and ability ton extract additional measurements without returning to the jobsite. n Enables automatic versus manual triangulation of data back at the shop. n Provides accurate measures between 1/32"–1/64", and is especially handy for circular stair, rail, and round openings. n NOMMA members have started a User Group. Contact Terry Barrett, Royal Iron Creations (561) 655-9353. Implications: n Not 100% developed for metal fabrication industry yet. n Learning curve involved. n Need the right kind of work to get ROI. Cost: $12,595; Includes training, software updates, and technical support. CONTACT

Paul Hansen ETemplate System, division of Tri-Tech Solutions Inc. 106 Wind Chime Court Raleigh, NC Ph: (919) 676-2244 Email: info@ Web: www.

Fabricator n May/June 2010

while it’s a good tool, it’s not cheap. “However, I have to say that it has paid for itself, particularly with one project,” says Molina. “It was a long distance project that involved a serpentine ramp going up three flights, lots of turning points. With ETemplate we were able to get the measurements we needed with two guys in two days, rather than two guys in two weeks. What we saved on flights, hotel, and per diem costs paid for half the cost of the tool.” Terry Barrett, owner of Royal Iron Creations in West Palm Beach, FL, has also been using ETemplate for two years. “It has greatly enhanced the front end of the business, with more accurate measures, and getting to drawings faster. Fabricators with a mid size or bigger shop and who are prepared to get creative with it will benefit from this tool, also those shops that do a lot of 2D curved work,” says Barrett. “It’s a good system, it’s as accurate as the person using it, and yet has somewhat of a learning curve,” Barrett says. Barrett is part of the User Group that Molina mentioned. He hopes it will help bridge the gap of getting useful information and technology to the shop floor craftsperson. “We see this next phase as the real key to getting our return on investment,” Barrett says. “At Royal Iron Creations, ETemplate is one of the tools that we use, to help get us there.” A. Zahner Co. project engineers, Anitha Burra and Mike Patterson, say the firm has yet to complete a 3D project using ETemplate. So their comments refer to alternate ways of using the systems as well as a 3D project currently in progress. Burra’s team is using ETemplate in a non-typical fashion: “To compare as-built field conditions to the architectural intent, to help generate a modi-



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fied finished envelope per the as-built field conditions and to QC a fabricated Zahner Engineered Profile Panel (ZEPP) module. This means, we have not actually used the tool to drive our fabrication,” Burra says. “I see Zahner mostly using the software to import point clouds generated by the marker points into a 3D modeling software like Pro Engineer or CATIA and use the 3D software to generate DXF files for our CNC machines,” Burra says. “This is not to say that we may not come across an application where ETemplate helps drive the DXFs in the future. We are still exploring different ways to use the tool.” Her colleagues, Mike Patterson and his team, are using ETemplate to fabricate a custom-built, stainless steel roof for a private residence in Napa, CA. “The intent on this project was to

use ETemplate as a surveying tool to define the roof and soffit surfaces in order to create an accurate 3D model of the existing structure,” Patterson says. He’s still in the middle of processing all the photos his firm has taken, but he offers a few comments based on what he’s seen so far. According to Patterson, using the system outdoors and applying it to a large scale project have presented some challenges. “The main issue is that it simply takes a lot of marker points and photos to cover a large area,” Patterson says. “I’ve found it’s best to take time at the beginning to sort through the photos and break them up into smaller groups before processing them in the ETemplate software.” “The other issue is the quality of the photos. The unavoidable lighting variations outdoors (too much sunlight or

shadows) can prevent the software from automatically identifying all the marker points or cause errors in referencing points,” says Patterson. “Extra time is required to enhance the photos or manually pick points in the software.” Once past these obstacles, the software apparently works well and has many useful tools for analyzing and improving the accuracy of data. “When the processing and analysis are finished, we export a 3D point cloud,” Patterson says. “ETemplate allows you to group points on separate layers and provides several export formats. This facilitates the initial modeling stage, but everything beyond that is done in our 3D modeling software. Our projects generally require a lot of analysis and detail work after the measurement/survey stage.” What about training?

To help fabricators with the initial learning curve, ETemplate training — two full days at the Tri-Tech facility in North Carolina for one trainee — is included in the price. However, TriTech recommends sending two competent staff members. “One should be a trained and proficient CAD operator who should be primarily responsible for job processing,” says Tri-Tech’s Paul Hansen. “The second should be the person who is primarily responsible for gathering the field measurements. The two will be trained to understand and respect each other’s responsibilities. In addition to the classroom phase, ongoing training is accomplished through ETemplate’s unlimited technical support that is provided via phone, email, and project downloads. ETemplate technicians will support to whatever level needed to insure successful completion of a project.” Since joining NOMMA (in December, 2009), ETemplate has been active with the association. In addition to attending the January 2010 Upper Midwest Chapter meeting in Chicago, ETemplate exhibited at METALfab 2010 in Tulsa, OK. To get involved in the NOMMA User Group, please contact Terry Barrett, Royal Iron Creations, at (561) 655-9353. 16

Fabricator n May/June 2010

Shop Talk

Dispelling myths of 2 old school finishes n

Whether you prefer wax or oil, for interior applications nothing beats a traditional finish.

For your information


What you’ll learn: n The truth about wax — old wives’ tales debunked. n How to apply a traditional finish — the right way. n Three proven finish recipes. About the Author: Jeff Fogel began writing as a journalist with the New York Daily News. He has been a copywriter and associate creative director for Ogilvy & Mather, as well as several other major advertising agencies. Jeff now lives in New Hampshire where the weather’s bad, the skiing’s better, and blacksmithing’s a respectable way to keep warm.

Fabricator n May/June 2010

By Jeff Fogel I recall a job I once did for a group of Revolutionary War re-enactors. It involved fabricating some campsite odds and ends — hangers, fireware — that sort of thing. I also learned that the Kings Seventh Rifles, as they were known, were sticklers for historical detail, and insisted on a beeswax finish for the pieces. But from what I’ve heard from other blacksmiths, fidelity to historical detail isn’t the only reason a customer wants a traditional finish. There’s another, more intriguing reason: They just like the look of steel. And it’s likely, from what I’ve gathered, that customers have always liked the look of steel. They just didn’t know it. Oh, people have seen painted steel, powder coated steel, and galvanized steel, but never the effulgent beauty of steel minus the modern coating of make-up. In fact, you’d have to go all the way back to Howard Taft to find a time when people were familiar with steel’s unadorned ferrous beauty. This is by no means an indictment of modern finishing methods. The fact is, they’re superior in outdoor applications. But for interior pieces, well, prime examples of why you might want to consider a traditional finish abound. And you need look no further than the National Ornamental Metal Museum Library.

Metal Museum’s Chandelier. Restored by George Dixon, the last head blacksmith of Samuel Yellin’s Arch Street Shop, the chandelier was donated to the National Ornamental Metal Museum by the Samuel Yellin Foundation and is thought to be a Yellin original.


Linseed oil was good enough for Samuel Yellin

Anyone who’s visited the Museum must surely have noticed the beautiful chandelier hanging from the ceiling. It’s an interesting piece with an equally interesting provenance. It was originally thought to have emerged from the anvil of Samuel Yellin, the legendary blacksmith known as ‘the devil with a hammer in his hand’. The assumption was reasonable since the chandelier was donated by the Samuel Yellin Foundation which acquired it when the Garelli Brothers closed their shop and transferred their inventory to the Foundation. Several years ago the piece was restored by George Dixon, the last head blacksmith of Yellin’s Arch Street Shop. “We found the recipe right in the library’s archives,” says Dixon, “For outside stuff, it was straight linseed oil,” said George. “We’d hand sand a piece and then do some light peening to get the scale off. The scale’s glasine, so you can tell it’s gone when you get a matte finish.” Not surprisingly, Dixon point- Peacock Firescreen. ed out that this works a lot better The finish for this hammer textured with wrought iron, and even then trifold 50” x 30” it requires yearly maintenance. firescreen involved He recalled the gate Yellin warming the metal up with a propane torch made for the Firestone family before applying mansion in Michigan. The sales beeswax. The contract stipulated that the cost fabricator, Bushere & of the gate would include, once Sons Iron Studio, let a year, two men, one bucket of the wax cool for linseed oil, two brushes, and two about an hour and then reapplied round-trip train tickets between another coat. After Philadelphia and Michigan. the final coat was Ok, but what about fabricaapplied a shoebrush tors who don’t want to include a was used to give the wax a glossy look, as maintenance contract for their work? Then we get into the realm opposed to the matte finish achieved by of interior work. And here’s where just letting it air dry. this technique is as durable as it is attractive. Start with a piece that’s been forged or fabricated. And we’re assuming it’s a quality piece because traditional methods, while rendering a beautiful finish, tend to be unforgiving of bad welds or hammer marks. Hand clean the piece, then a little light sanding, light peening to shatter the scale. Then apply the finish. Yellin’s recipe consists of 60 percent linseed oil and 40 percent turpentine. Originally Dixon added Japan drier to the mixture but found that assiduous hand rubbing would do the same thing without the cost of Japan drier. 18

Fabricator n May/June 2010

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Old school finishing — and selling — in 4 steps


Step one in the finishing process starts before you’re actually finished. It goes without saying that the piece has to be free from imperfections in both forging and welding; traditional finishes are unforgiving and will showcase these flaws, generally resulting in a finished piece that is as ugly as homemade sin. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s not perfect, paint it.


Next, make sure the piece is free of scale. This can’t be emphasized enough. If there’s any shine on the metal, you’ve still got scale. Keep working at it. Use a hammer, a tumbler; it doesn’t matter, as long as you get rid of the oxidation. Hint, here again, heating helps.

As it turns out — and frankly, this surprised me as well — Yellin never used beeswax, paste wax, carnauba wax, Turtle Wax, or ear wax. No wax, period, which is where this all gets a bit controversial because there are legions of blacksmiths, today, who swear by wax. And the results support their confidence in this type of finish. Loyal to beeswax, Francis Whittaker style

Among them is Charles Bushere of Bushere & Sons Iron Studio. He uses


3 Apply the finish while the piece is warm. It needn’t

be cool enough to handle, but not hot enough to show any color. This assures a uniform coating, and will make it easier to perform the final step which is — no matter which mixture you use — make sure the excess is rubbed off. The excess will almost certainly trap moisture on the surface. And the moisture will chemically bond to the iron atoms, and, well, you know the rest.


Practice makes perfect and builds a stock of sample finishes as well. Set a couple out and see if customers gravitate toward them. I’m betting they will.

beeswax, turpentine, and linseed oil, in a recipe credited to none other than Francis Whittaker. Bushere may run a traditional blacksmith shop, but he’s no Luddite. In addition to the anvils and coal forge you’ll also see a plasma table and a MIG welder in his shop. So when he waxes eloquent about the beauty of old time finishes, it’s in response to customer demand. While the requests for traditional finishes were originally coming from people restoring ‘craftsman’ homes

or period architecture, Bushere says he’s now seeing a burgeoning demand from ordinary residential projects. “People love it when they see steel in a natural finish,” says Bushere, “most have never seen it before, and they’re blown away.” Doug Merkel of Bear Mountain Forge concurs. After explaining the pros and cons of various finishes, he lets the customer handle a sample or two. “Touchy-feely goes a long way,” quips Merkel. And he’s found that a lot of people, once they actually see, and handle, the samples, find they prefer the traditional finish. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s less expensive. Unlike a powder coat or galvanized finish, the piece doesn’t have the added cost of being shipped out for finishing. Like Bushere, Merkel uses wax. He avoids the moisture problem by assiduous rubbing, to remove the excess wax. The trick to removing the wax, says Merkel, is to do it while it’s still warm. Merkel uses wax as part of his formula although he doesn’t recommend using it by itself. Now there are probably a lot of people — most of whom have gotten their information from ‘rendezvous’, ‘renaissance’ style blacksmiths, or internet information of dubious origin — who might dissent. But the fact is, Merkel is on sound metallurgic ground. Truth be known, straight wax was the default finish of the Colonial era. Fabricator n May/June 2010

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3 Old School finishing recipes

They’d slap the wax on any piece of iron that came out of the forge and then hang it in the forge chimney to collect enough soot to somewhat seal the wax in. Or so they thought. But without the oil or turpentine, the wax dries so slowly that it actually traps moisture on the surface of the metal. Whether it’s nostalgia or old wives’ tales about warming the wax into the metal’s ‘pores’, straight wax stubbornly remains in the finish repertoire of a good many blacksmiths today. That, and the mention of old wives’ tales, is my cue for a quick review of metallurgy.

Doug Merkel’s formula: n 1 cup Johnson’s Paste Wax n 1 Cup Boiled Linseed Oil n 1 Cup Turpentine n ½ Cup Shaved or small pieces


n 2 tbsp. Japan Dryer (optional)

Francis Whittiker’s recipe: n Beeswax n Turpentine n Linseed Oil n Japan dryer

Samuel Yellin’s recipe: n 60% Linseed oil

Metallurgy review confirms wax needs oil

n 40% Turpentine n Add to 8 oz Japan dryer to oil/

turp mixture in 1 lb coffee can

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Iron and its sundry alloys are all made from a crystal lattice of molecules. While the crystals actually become coarser (larger) in unheated metal, they are still infinitesimal — we’re talking about molecules here. You can actually see the crystals under a high resolution magnification. In fact, when people speak of the ‘grain’ of a metal, that’s what they’re talking about. But they’re not pores. The metal doesn’t breathe. Or absorb water. For water to enter the lattice, it would have to be chemically introduced in a reaction. Just splashing water on the steel, or leaving it out in the rain doesn’t mean the steel is ’absorbing’ water in its pores. It just means it’s rusting. And rust is strictly a surface event. Rust, or Ferric Oxide, forms on the surface of steel when the iron atoms combine with any available oxygen ions cruising around in search of tryst with an extra electron. Like I said, the only way water is going into steel is if you introduce it in a chemical reaction. That said, wax all you want, but it’s probably just exercise unless you’re combining the wax with some type of oil base. The other point is, whether you use oil, or oil-wax combinations, no matter whose recipe you use, it’s critical to follow a procedure and to do it in the correct order. Fabricator n May/June 2010

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Second generation: The late Walter Blum joined the family business in 1938.

Member Talk

Third Blum generation honors industry and vision of founder n

NOMMA member Julius Blum & Co. Inc. celebrates 100 years in business.

For your information


Julius Blum’s marketing genius: Intentionally designed too big to fit inside a desk drawer, Blum’s first 1910 catalog forced customers to keep it on top of their desk and front of mind. In May 1938 Blum surveyed his customers hoping to find ways to better serve the industry and help the ornamental metal worker survive the difficult years of the Great Depression. Blum published the results of his survey and a suggestion that the industry form a National Association to provide networking and education and promote the use of architectural metal work. CONTACT

Joanne Blum Julius Blum & Co. Inc. P.O. Box 816 Carlstadt, NJ 07072-0816 Ph: (800) 526-6293 Fax: (201) 438-6003 Email: Web:


By Joanne Blum I came to work at Julius Blum & Co., Inc. in September 1979. Much of the information on events prior to that date come from a letter my uncle Bill Thurnauer wrote to my father Walter Blum in May 1999, and from anecdotes and stories my father told me and to which I should have paid closer attention. Corrections to any inaccuracies are most appreciated. Julius Blum was born in Manheim, Germany in 1884. He came to New York in 1904 and after several years of work at a Wall Street investment firm became the American agent for a German family friend, a dealer in wrought iron mouldings. The Julius Blum Building. In 1950, the company erected its own building in Carlstadt, NJ and in later years, added several additional bays. The company still occupies this building today.

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In 1910, Julius rented warehouse space in a basement on West 18th Street. The first catalog, right, illustrating many of these mouldings, was printed that year and distributed to local metal workers who were forced to keep the Blum Catalog on top of their desk because its intentionally oversized binding was too large to fit in a desk drawer. Before long, the business outgrew this space and Julius Blum rented a warehouse on West 24th Street. When World War I began in 1914, the supply of merchandise from Germany was cut off and the imported mouldings were no longer available. Blum began to stock cold rolled steel bars and tubing, strip and sheet and was thus able to keep the business going through the war years. After the war, Julius Blum & Co. Inc. continued to grow and to broaden its product line to supply many of the items needed by architectural metal fabricators, the firm’s main customers. In addition to steel mouldings, handrails, and door saddles, this in-

First catalog. Blum’s first catalog was printed in 1910 and distributed to local metal workers.

Readers of the catalogue

were forced to place it on top of their desks because it was oversized.

cluded square and rectangular tubing, handrail fittings, and ornaments, as well as many of these same items in bronze and eventually also in aluminum. To accommodate the expanded stock, the company moved to a fivestory loft building on West 22nd Street where it remained for nearly 30 years. In May 1938, Julius undertook a “Survey of Conditions in the Ornamental Iron Industry.” He mailed this survey to the firm’s customers hoping to find ways that the company could better serve the industry and, at the same time, help the ornamental metal worker survive the difficult years of the Great Depression.













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His conclusions are contained in a pamphlet titled “What is Wrong with the Ornamental Iron Business?” and include the suggestion that the industry form a national association. The purpose of this national association would be to educate the association’s members as well as the nation’s architects and to hold an annual meeting for iron workers throughout the country to meet, learn, and promote the use of architectural metal work.

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Legends of industry. Left to right, Walter Blum, Sam Paresi, and Walter Glockner celebrate Julius Blum & Co.’s 75th anniversary in 1985.

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Company survives and thrives with second generation

Julius Blum had no children. Two of his nephews — Bill Thurnauer in 1931 and Walter Blum in 1938 — arrived from Germany and were fortunate to gain business experience in a firm which had already established a fine nationwide reputation. Both nephews were drafted and served in the U.S. Army until 1946. Unfortunately, Julius Blum died of cancer in 1942. During World War II, the business AD

continued on a reduced scale, handling only defense related orders and managed by a team of loyal employees. When Bill and Walter returned from military service, they were left in charge and were joined by another member of the second Page 1 generation, Walter Gloeckner, the son of Blum’s first salesman. Management of the business was divided A Blum survey of the among the three young men, with ornamental iron industry Walter Blum handling sales, customer relations, and credit; Bill Thurnauer resulted in a pamphlet taking on purchasing, inventory contitled “What is Wrong trol, product development, and catalog production; and Walter Gloeckwith the Ornamental Iron ner in charge of personnel and the Business?” It included the warehouse. In 1950, the company erected its suggestion that the industry own building in Carlstadt, NJ and in PROOF - 45-3454-ACF-121807-V2 form a national association. later years, added several additional

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bays. The business continued to expand and add new products including Connectorail® pipe railing systems, Carlstadt® Railing Systems, decorative balusters, cast panels for railings, and many other items in stainless steel and nickel silver in addition to steel, bronze, and aluminum. All of these items were made available for prompt shipment from warehouse stock and listed and displayed in catalogs distributed nationwide to architects as well as metal fabricators. These catalogs illustrate applications of the stock items and provide engineering data for use in determining railing strength and adherence to building codes.

The 75th anniversary plaque (1910–1985) signed by employees reads: “We are extremely proud to be associated with such fine people.” Pictured in the plaque, left to right, are William Thurnauer, Walter Blum, and Walter Gloeckner.

Third generation carries same culture of success

NOMMA’s trade show embodies all he had hoped

After more than 50 years with the company, Bill Thurnauer and Walter Gloeckner retired and died some years later. Walter Blum — although handicapped by poor eyesight — continued in full charge until several weeks before his death in 2003. The third

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generation — Walter Blum’s daughter, Joanne, and Walter Gloeckner’s sonin-law, Ernie Hulsizer — provide the current management team. The fourth generation — Joanne’s daughter, Jill Eisenpress — recently joined the company and supervised the production of our newest catalog which will be distributed in early June 2010. From all accounts, Julius Blum had a strong vision for the company. He believed in honest dealings with employees, customers, and suppliers. This standard has resulted in many longstanding relationships. The firm has almost no turnover among its employees and is proud of the many business relationships which have become true friendships. Julius Blum would be very proud to see that his idea of a national association has become a reality. NOMMA’s annual trade show and convention embody all that he had hoped for — many opportunities for education, an open exchange of ideas, and a chance to reflect on the future of one’s own business and of the industry as a whole. Julius Blum & Co. Inc. has been an active member of NOMMA since its founding in 1958 and continues to support the organization and value the friendships that are renewed each year. As the company enters its second century in business Julius Blum’s vision remains intact. Even with new technologies, the mission remains the same

Of course, modern technology has very much changed the way business operates. The company has begun work on a redesign of its website with plans to include more photographs of finished jobs by its customers, an improved search function, and easier access to component details and CAD drawings. Yet, the telephone remains the major source of communication between Blum and its customers — and everyone at Blum likes it that way! Fabricator n May/June 2010

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Member Talk

Specialization secrets NOMMA member Columbia Wire & Iron Works shares how the firm found a niche doing highly complex projects, like those of famous architect Frank Gehry.

By Lisa Bakewell When talking to Bob Park, Chairman of

Columbia Wire & Iron Works (CWI) in Portland, OR, you get the sense that you’re talking to a very confident, successful man. And you are. After all, it’s not everyone who gets the opportunity to work with Frank Gehry who is considered to be “the most famous architect in the world by a healthy margin,” and “arguably the most significant talent in American architecture since Frank Lloyd Wright,” according to Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne (Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2009). Bob Park and his crew at CWI have worked with the world famous architect on his projects not once, or even twice. They’ve worked on Frank Gehry projects five times to date, with some of the projects being considered some of Gehry’s finest works. The first Gehry project that CWI worked on was the Experience Music Project (EMP), one of Gehry’s finest achievements. “We had previously done a lot of work for Paul Allen, the owner at The


Rose Garden [and co-founder of Microsoft] in Portland, OR where we’re at,” said Park. “He built a big basketball arena here called The Rose Garden, and we did a bunch of the work on that, so we became acquainted with him and his organization.” “Then, Allen chose Hoffman Construction to build the Experience Music Project. Of course, they’re one of our best customers. So, we had a coming together of one of our good customer owners and one of our good customer contractors.” Was it just dumb luck that CWI was at the right place at the right time? Not according to Park. “We’re known for doing things that are exotic and special — and difficult,” he said. “So, we were able to negotiate the contract to do the Experience Music Project.” For CWI, working on the Experience Music Project was like stepping into a whole new world of modeling, software and leading-edge technologies. “We’d always done high-quality, fasttrack, complicated, difficult things,” said Park, “but this was a giant leap.”

For your information



Who: Founded in 1902, Columbia Wire & Iron Works (CWI) in Portland, OR, has been a NOMMA member for several years. Perks of membership: Information exchange among fabricator members. Specialties: High-quality, fast-track, complicated, difficult things. Architect Frank Gehry Projects: Experience Music Project and Bard College Performing Arts Center. CONTACT

Drew Park, CEO Columbia Wire & Iron Works Address: 5555 N Channel Ave., Bldg 4 Annex Portland, OR 97217 Ph: (503) 286-6600 Fax: (503) 286-1012 Email: Web:

Fabricator n May/June 2010

2007 05 g-s co:2007 05 G-S Co


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Experience Music Project. CWI’s involvement in the Experience Music Project (EMP) marked the firm’s first project with Gehry Partners and an introduction into the world of 3D modeling as a primary source of configuration. The job consisted of a structural steel frame with most members being 11th order of magnitude polynomial curves. The project included 3,000 tons of heavy curved and odd shaped structural steel plus approximately 7 complex internal stairs, handrails, and other miscellaneous structures for the building.

“Doing a Gehry project is huge, particularly the Experience Music Project because it involved all these curved structures and leaning, twisted structures. Then there was a lot of real high-end ornamental stuff mixed in. You know, curved stainless steel grates and a bizarre handrail. I mean it was a complex project.” “Gehry used a software package called CATIA [Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application]. We had to get CATIA, adapt a combination of AutoCAD and Rhino, blend those, and write some of our own software. Because this was way back before these things were common or easy, it was a challenge. But, it was a lot of fun.” Even though CWI’s first experience with a Gehry project was “a giant leap” and very challenging, Parks said they never doubted themselves. “We knew we could do it,” he said. “You want to remember that we had a very generous and committed owner. Through his providing the budget, the backup and the push, it made this project possible.” Working on Frank Gehry projects became easier as time went on, according to Parks. The software technologies became better established and the fabrication techniques used were repetitive, which CWI was able to refine as they progressed from project to project. Fabricator n May/June 2010

Fabrication and 3D modeling detail

With Frank Gehry projects, the drawings CWI receives are for general information purposes only. “They don’t really show you the details or give you the dimensions,” Park said. “We get the information and the controlling element for the job via a very detailed 3D model of the building.” CWI starts with the model to develop all of their details. “The detailer has to take the model and manipulate it, getting rid of everything that has

to do with the building skin, the mechanical, electrical, and all the other aspects,” he said. Then he has to, “boil it down to the structural model or the miscellaneous steel components in the model; then flatten those out and detail them on 2D drawings; then develop DXF files and IGS files to do all the CNC cutting.” “Because a lot of this stuff is so complicated, you can’t lay it out or cut it out by hand. You have to cut it out and lay it out with CNC controlled equipment.” In many cases, such as with curved

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Bard Performing Arts Center. This was CWI’s second project with Gehry Partners. The detailing and fabrication process was much simpler than the previous EMP project, but the challenges of coordination were significant since the general contractor and owner were located 2,500 miles away from CWIs base of operations in Portland, OR. The Bard Performing Arts Center project involved 1,200 tons of curved structural steel, including the wide flange members and associated bracing and framing.

ribs, CWI has to fabricate a section using a plate for the flanges and the webs. Then they design and build a roll. “The curved shapes are not a true radius,” says Park. “They’re an 11th order of magnitude polynomial curve, so you have to develop a machine that can roll these flanges to that curve with a CNC control. Then you put them in a fixture and weld the flanges to the web and then add all the other parts and pieces and you end up with a finished product.” According to Park, the most chal-

lenging part of the job is getting the detailing right. And, without computers and electronic 3D models, he said, the projects would be impossible to achieve. When talking to Park, you’d think that the most satisfying part of the job, for he and his crew, would be getting all of those details right. You’d be wrong. Park says the most satisfying part of his work has been the really outstanding owners. “Frank Gehry,” he said, “just works for people, that (A), have a decent bud- Phone: (800) 285-3056

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get, and (B), are pretty adventuresome folks. Working with the owners and contractors that do these kinds of things is the most satisfying part of the job.” “It’s just a whole different level of people,” Park said. “It’s not this normal dog-eat-dog construction environment.” About Columbia Wire & Iron Works

Philip Buebke founded CWI in 1902. With a contract from the City of Portland and a “handful of the best ironworkers he could find,” Buebke and his artisans began making curb angles for the city streets. As time progressed, he and his crew also made ornamental iron railing, window guards, elevator cages, etc., launching them into the fabrication industry. After WWI, Columbia Wire & Iron Works started fabricating sidewalk doors for freight elevators and fire escapes for most of the buildings in the downtown Portland area, which was rapidly growing at the time. From this point on, CWI’s involvement in the construction industry increased tremendously. In 1980, Bob Park purchased CWI and ran the day-to-day operations for 27 years. During this period, CWI “built a national reputation for building the ‘unbuildable’ within restrictive timeframes,” a distinction that CWI is very proud to own. “Our business is really fast-track or very complicated structures,” said Park. “We don’t do ordinary, unless they’re in a super big hurry. In 2007, Bob turned over the dayto-day operations to his son, Drew, who has been involved in virtually every aspect of the business beginning Fabricator n May/June 2010

Training Panamanian fabricators. For the Biodiversity of Panama project the Panamanian Government Foundation hired CWI to provide training to a local Panamanian fabricator/ erector (Grupo Nova SA) for the fabrication and erection of conventional structural steel. CWI fabricated the curved wide flange members and the associated bracing and tie in pieces in Portland and shipped them from the Port of Tacoma to Panama City. CWI hosted several Panamanian nationals in their shop for training and sent four of their crew to the Panamanian fabricator for training in their shop and with their erection crews. Material included 150 tons of curved, build up wide flange fabricated members.

at age 12. As CEO of Columbia Wire & Iron Works, Drew is committed to running the business “in the tradition established by the artisans of 1902.”

CWI has been a member of NOMMA for several years. Bob Park considers Fabricator to be a high quality magazine, and he also likes the cama-

raderie of NOMMA’s members, particularly the give and take of information from one fabricator to another on the forums.

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The Burton Gate, so called because it looks like it belongs in a Tim Burton movie, is a double leaf gate hanging at the end of a client’s driveway that leads to the back yard of their property. The fabricator used AutoCAD for the framework and major elements and then printed the design full scale and hand drew the rest of the flowing elements. To add interest to the framework and elements, 10–15 different textures were used.

Job Profiles

Experimenting with design and texture n

Anderson Welding & Sons won a Gold Award for their Burton Gate in the 2010 Top Job Contest.

For your information


Lessons learned n Sometimes AutoCAD isn’t enough and hand drawing is necessary to get a design the way you want it. n When it’s a free form design with nothing set in stone, having two artist/blacksmiths working on the same project isn’t the best idea. n Embracing the negative, like rust, is sometimes the best way to manage it. CONTACT

Robert B. Anderson Anderson Welding & Sons LLC 100 Ehrenpfort Ave. Oreland, PA 19075 Ph: (215) 886-1726 Fax: (215) 886-7124 Email: Web: 36

By Rob Anderson Nicknamed the “Burton gate” by one of our staff, because it looks like it belongs in a Tim Burton movie, we had a lot of creative freedom with this project. In the beginning of the design process we realized AutoCAD was not going to be the best design tool for all the elements in this gate. So we ended up doing a lot of free forming.

Design Getting the customers excited

We had a lot of creative freedom on this project. We had done a few projects for this customer in the past. When going through some design books and photos with them I noticed most of the designs they were leaning toward were of an art nouveau style. After this initial meeting we provided the customers with three rough ideas and budgetary numbers. The hom-

eowners were going back and forth between two of the designs we had supplied. Knowing which gate we wanted to make, I explained at a second meeting the theme and my vision of my preferred gate design to them. I knew if we could get them excited about it we had a good chance of building it. The theme of the gate was an early morning wetlands with elements replicating fog, water, flowers, leaning trees, climbing vines, and some local critters. After some time I guess my excitement for the design rubbed off on the both of them, and we were off. We couldn’t wait to get started. Although this would be a very different and challenging project, we were up for it thanks in large part to all the knowledge gained though NOMMA and all its resources the past few years. The gate was to be a double leaf gate at the end of a driveway leading to the back yard of the property. Fabricator n May/June 2010

Double leaf was chosen to allow larger equipment and mowers into the fenced property. Beyond the kept lawn of the property was an un-kept wooded marsh area. Although it wasn’t exactly a wetland, I thought it would be a complementary back drop for the gate. When we started designing the 5 gate in AutoCAD I drew the columns and the frame work of the gate with a couple of the major design elements. I then printed the design on letter size sheets and started hand sketching all the elements, until I came up with a design I was happy with. I went back to AutoCAD and drew in some of the changes. I was not able to get the exact look in AutoCAD. So we printed the gates full size and hand drew the rest of the elements. Fabrication Experimenting with texture

Once the design was finalized we started edge hammering 1-inch square bar to be used as the main frame of the gate and also for the columns. We then came up with about 10 different textures we wanted to use on the main infill elements. The infill was all ¾ inch wide by ¼–½ inch thick. We marked what textures we wanted on each bar. Even if at the time we were not sure where exactly it would end up in the design. After the texturing was finished we free formed all the bars to match our drawings. We had mounted the drawing on a piece of plywood so we could easily move it around the shop, as needed for the different steps in the design. When we had the frame work complete we set the gate frame up right next to our drawing on the table. This would allow us to form each piece and then fit it or eyeball it in place. Keeping the gate upright also allowed us to weave bars in and out to create depth and give life to all the elements. Up until this point things were going very smoothly. As we started forging the element ends or finials we started running into a small problem, between me and one of our fabricators. It’s a problem I guess a lot of artist/ blacksmiths run across. That is it’s hard to have two smiths working on one Fabricator n May/June 2010

project. Especially when it’s a free form design with nothing set in stone. We both had visions of what each finished element should look like. Unfortunately our visions were sometimes very different. Needless to say we ended up with a good pile of “experimental” rail ends. Looking back I think this defiBook ad Fab:Layout 1 12/17/07 5:42 PM Page 1 nitely made for a better finished piece. One of the last elements to this gate was the bottom panels. These were to have the look of a bat wing or spider web (depending on who you ask). We wanted to use copper sheet sandwiched between the steel skeletal panels. After some experimenting we settled on 1¼ inch, quarter round for the steel frame. We then forged ½-inch round bar into ½-inch, half round with the extra maf Hot of ss the Pre

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terial forming an un-uniform bottom edge on both sides of the half round. This was a small detail in the gate but added to the natural feel and probably my favorite part of the entire gate. We started playing with different textures for the copper sheet. I remember trying samples which included hammering over rough textured concrete, hand hammering with a carpet backer, and hammering over different size stone. The texture we decided on was created by using a rubber mallet and hammering over the square holes in our platen table. This gave us a kind of scaled look and worked great. We mounted the columns on a 10 inch I-Beam with bolt connections. This was done in case the gate ever had One really excellent chasing and repoussé book. - Charles Lewton Brain

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cals or darkeners. We were all surprised with all the shades of color we were seeing from the sanded joints to the natural scale left from forging. From that point we clear coated the entire gate which seemed to make all the colors blend together. We then waxed the gate with the home owners understanding that this would need to be done yearly. Final steps Reflecting on a job well done Framework and finish. The bottom panel is hammered copper sandwiched between round bar that was forged to an un-uniform ½ round to give a wing or web feel. The whole gate is mounted on an I-Beam that runs column to column. Finish is natural. Approx. labor time: 120 hrs.

to be removed. It also allowed us to put the whole gate together in the shop, making for easy final shop assembly and final touches. Finish Embracing the rust

With the finish, we knew from the beginning we did not want to cover all the texturing with a colored liquid

paint or powder. We also knew with a lot of the elements stacked tight together we were going to have rust issues. What we decided to do was embrace the rust, so when we finished the gate it went outside for about a week. With the help of a few good rain showers, at the end of that week we had a real rust patina with no chemi-

The installation of the gate was pretty easy. Two men dug the holes for the footings and trenched out between them for the I-beam. We dropped the I-beam in place bolted up the columns and poured the concrete. About a week later we hung the gates and all was good. It’s very few projects you get to do exactly what you want; on this project we did. We are very proud of this project and want to thank all of our fellow metalworkers who voted for it. Winning an Ernest Wiemann Top Job award is an honor.

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Fabricator n May/June 2010


METALfab 2010 Show report n

Trade show, shop tours, educational sessions, and awards highlight show. For four days the action at METALfab 2010 was nonstop. The event, which was NOMMA’s 52nd annual conference and exhibition, took place March 3–6 in Tulsa, OK. During METALfab, fabricating professionals from across the U.S. enjoyed social events, a trade show, shop tours, and TONS of quality education classes. Sessions covered everything from business to shop issues, plus there were demos and hands-on classes. One of the highlights of the week were the Saturday shop tours, which featured stops at six local companies. A thanks to all NOMMA volunteers who made this year’s event a great success. Special thanks goes to Convention Chair Bob Foust III and the staff at Wiemann Metalcraft for graciously allowing us to use their facility. Breck Nelson delivered an inspiring and emotional keynote address.


Fabricator n May/June 2010

METALfab 2010

Scott and Mark left, pose for the camera.. Many of the education sessions enjoyed a huge turnout throughout the week. Topics covered everything from basic engineering to stress management.

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METALfab 2010

The Top Job Gallery stayed busy throughout the week.

Award Recipients 2010 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Award The following are the winners of the 2010 Top Job awards competition. Note that categories H, N, and O were closed. The beginning of the program featured a tribute to the award’s namesake, Ernest Wiemann, who recently passed away. The winners may be viewed online at: nomma1#100043 A. Gates, Driveway 1 Wiemann Metalcraft A-2 2 Rod Iron Rod A-3 3 Emerald Ironworks Inc. A-5 B. Gates, Driveway — Forged 1 Art’s Work Unlimited B-1 2 M. Cohen & Sons Inc. B-2 3 Anderson Welding & Sons LLC B-4 C. Interior Railings — Ferrous 1 M. Cohen & Sons Inc. C-7 2 Kelley Ornamental Iron LLC C-5 3 Rod Iron Rod C-2 D. Interior Railings — Nonferrous 1 Big D Metalworks D-5 2 Heirloom Stair & Iron Inc. D-4 3 Wiemann Metalcraft D-1 42

E. Interior Railings — Forged 1 Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith E-2 2 Art’s Work Unlimited E-6 3 O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc. E-8 F. Exterior Railings & Fences 1 Wiemann Metalcraft F-4 2 Royal Iron Creations F-7 3 Heirloom Stair & Iron Inc. F-6 G. Exterior Railings & Fences — Forged 1 Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith G-6 2 O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc. G-2 3 Art’s Work Unlimited G-7 I. Furniture and Accessory Fabrication — Forged 1 Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith I-9 2 Art’s Work Unlimited I-2 3 Falling Hammer Productions LLC I-4 J. Gates/Doors 1 International Creative Metal Inc. J-3 2 O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc. J-5 3 Iron Decor J-4

K. Gates/Doors — Forged 1 Fine Architectural Metalsmiths K-5 2 Mission Iron Shop K-7 3 Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith K-8 L. Stairs Complete 1 Construction Services Inc. L-4 2 M. Cohen & Sons Inc. L-8 3 Big D Metalworks L-2 M. Structural Fabrication 1 Myers & Co. Architectural Metals M-4 2 Precision Custom Metals Inc. M-5 3 Auciello Iron Works Inc. M-6 P. Art/Sculpture 1 Fine Architectural Metalsmiths P-6 2 Artisan Metal Works Ltd. P-3 3 Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith P-5 Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence (chosen from among the 13 gold award winners) Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith E-2

Fabricator n May/June 2010

METALfab 2010 Award Recipient James Minter Jr. receives Clifford H. Brown Award for Outstanding Contributions to Industry Education

James Minter Jr. accepts the Clifford H. Brown Award for contributions to industry education.

James W. Minter Jr. of Imagine Ironworks, Brookhaven, MS, has received the Clifford H. Brown Award, which was presented by the NOMMA Education Foundation. The award was given during NOMMA’s 52nd annual convention in Tulsa, OK, March 6. Also during the banquet he was installed as NOMMA’s president-elect. Mr. Minter was given the award for his outstanding contributions to industry education. He is a longtime member and past chair of the NOMMA Education Foundation, where he has played a leading role in both developing education programs and fundraising. He has also served on the Education Committee, which creates the education line-up for NOMMA’s annual conferences. In addition, Mr. Minter is a founder and past president of the association’s Gulf Coast Networking Group and he has been active on the Technical Affairs team. Most recently, Mr. Minter has been active in strategic planning and is currently chair of NOMMA’s METALfab Reinvention Team. Fabricator n May/June 2010

Attendees enjoy the hands-on finishing class.

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METALfab 2010

Clockwise, from top left The Wrought Iron Rockers kept everyone rockin’ and rollin’ at the theme dinner. Mary takes orders at the Route 66 theme party. Carl and Roger did their usual outstanding job at the auction. The Minters got into the spirit of the Route 66 theme party.


Fabricator n May/June 2010

METALfab 2010

Left, attendees enjoy a power hammer presentation. Top, one of the many excellent education sessions

Fabricator n May/June 2010


METALfab 2010




A demo on forging basics. Attendees listen to a mini presentation during the shop tours.

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Paul and Mary at the auction with the forged lamp that he crafted.



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Fabricator n May/June 2010

METALfab 2010 Award Recipient

Brent Nichols is presented with the Julius Blum Award for his 14 years of work on vehicular gate safety.

Brent Nichols of Picasso Gate Inc. wins Julius Blum Award for Outstanding Industry Contributions Brent Nichols of Picasso Gate Inc., Cheyenne, WY, has received the Julius Blum Award. The award is given to organizations or individuals that make outstanding contributions to the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. It was presented during NOMMA’s 52nd annual convention in Tulsa, OK, March 6, 2010. The award was given to Mr. Nichols for his outstanding work in the area of driveway gate safety. In 1996 Mr. Nichols served on a committee that was tasked with updating the UL 325 standard to cover gate operator safety. Once UL 325 was revised Mr. Nichols continued his work by serving on an industry coalition team that created a companion standard for UL 325, known as ASTM F2200. But Mr. Nichols’ work was far from finished. For years he participated in industry education sessions to educate installers on the two standards. In recent years, he helped to develop a training curriculum, testing criteria, and most recently, a gate operator installer certification program. A dedicated father and business owner, Mr. Nichols has regularly taken time out of his busy schedule to attend industry meetings and help lead education sessions.

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After winning the Julius Blum award, Brent Nichols is shown with his family. Fabricator n May/June 2010

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METALfab 2010

Like new wind in your sales n

A recipient of the 2010 Wagner Grant says the opportunity helped re-empower his business after weathering a tough economic storm.

Editor’s note: The Wagner Companies METALfab Grant provides grants to members of the industry who otherwise would not be able to attend the METALfab convention. Criteria for grant selection requires applicants to be owners or employees of companies engaged in the fabrication of ornamental and miscellaneous metals, submit completed application forms by the deadline, and agree to provide a brief written description of the value of the experience after the convention. Below is a letter of thanks from grant recipient Kevin Phillips, owner of Modern Iron Concepts Inc. By Kevin Phillips, Modern Iron Concepts Inc. What happens when a group of artisans,

For your information


This year’s Wagner Companies METALfab Grant Winners n Joe Cerda, Liberty Home Products Inc., Denver, CO n Carl Grainger, Grainger Metal Works, Nichols, SC n Maciej Jankowski, Artistic Iron Works LLC, Norwalk, CT n Patrick McLellan, McLellan Blacksmithing, Loomis, CA n Kevin Phillips, Modern Iron Concepts, Inc., Nashville, TN About the Author Kevin Phillips is with Modern Iron Concepts Inc. of Nashville, TN. The company, a NOMMA member, produces high-end ironwork that includes stairs, railings, furniture, driveway gates, fencing, and doors.


entrepreneurs, social expanders, teachers, mentors, givers of knowledge, and people with a calling share ideas for four days? As a recipient of the 2010 Wagner Companies METALfab Grant I would like to share my thoughts. I personally came into this week exhausted and shop-worn. Many extra hours were dedicated to complete projects in order for me to attend this year’s convention. I felt compelled to walk through this opened door focused on gaining understanding. Thank you, NEF board members, for this grant and your vote of confidence!

Single-minded purpose

Having survived the 1970’s recession in Motor City, USA, and then another downturn in 1980, I understand how to survive glitches in our economy, but I had become worn, weary, and exhausted. My refusal to give up during this economic downturn translated into increased stress, sleepless nights, missed meals, and less family time — all with a single minded purpose — survive this economic disaster. As I met and shared with likeminded entrepreneurs, I was empowered to revisit every idea, to change doubts and fears to a healthy, realistic approach to implementing strategies to grow a company in this market. There

is something empowering about getting in the same room with a bunch of gifted business owners, knowing they are weathering the same storm. I come out of the trenches long enough to view the horizon at METALfab 2010 in Tulsa, OK. I appreciate each of you whether I personally engaged with you or not. This four-day experience has been measured in sentences. As you shared from your heart ideas and words of encouragement, you invested in my future, the future of Modern Iron Concepts Inc., my family, and employees. I sincerely value every class instructor and participant. So much information was mined from every event. The video shop tours were superb! The shop tours on Saturday were enlightening. I can only imagine the effort that went into welcoming all of us. Your impact on me

You may have wondered what impact you had. You were the one that kept me grounded, gave me courage to keep the faith, to continue with gratitude, giving thanks for all things. Each of you matter so much to me and my partner and wife, Susan. We are looking forward to METALfab2011 in New Orleans! We leave refreshed, with our bucket full and overflowing with restored enthusiasm. God bless you, my brothers and sisters in NOMMA. God bless America. Fabricator n May/June 2010

METALfab 2010 Exhibitors Alloy Casting Co.

easy. Ph: (630) 499-9171; Web: www.amfabsupply. com. Ameristar Fence Products

Alloy Casting has over 2,500 designs of ornamental, decorative, architectural aluminum castings. Additionally, the foundry is set up to provide custom casting from .1 to 400 lbs. Unique products cast from corrosion resistant, marine grade aluminum and bendable aluminum are available. Call for a free catalog and free AutoCAD library disc with 500 drawings. Visit our new blog spot at Ph: (800) 5271318; Web: www.alloynet. com. American Fabricator Supply

Among the products American Fabricator Supply featured at METALfab 2010 was the PTX Eco Smart, a multi-functional grinding and polishing system for flat surfaces and open or closed pipe constructions. The PTC Eco Smart leaves perfect finishes on large surfaces, with no shadows or streaks — a revolution in linear grinding. Simply slide on the abrasive wheels and they secure themselves automatically when the machine turns on. It’s fast and Fabricator n May/June 2010

sliding gates. The system is available in various sizes and is capable of handling a 4,000lb gate with an opening of up to 59 feet. It is adaptable for all gate materials including iron, aluminum, chain link, and even wood. Ph: (800) 784-7444; Web: www.archirondesign. com. Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Co.

Ameristar displayed Montage®, seeking to change America’s landscape. Unparalleled quality, now affordable through new technology and manufacturing processes, has made Montage® the number one choice for both new fence construction and replacement of unsightly and vulnerable chain link fences. The popular Montage Plus® Fence System has been taken to the next level, seven and eight foot tall fencing in several styles: Majestic flush top-rail, Classic extended pickets, and Invincible outwardly-curved spears. Ph: (918) 835-0898; Web: www. Architectural Iron Designs Inc.

Architectural Iron Designs introduced a cantilever gate system for sliding gates. This professional solution eliminates all the maintenance problems associated with traditional

Big Blu Hammer is an American manufacturer of air power hammers, hand hammers, and blacksmithing hand tools. The company also produces instructional videos. The firm sells Ingersoll-Rand air compressors and NC-TOOL propane forges. Big Blu Hammer features The Big BLU MAX with QC™ Quick Change die system. Its innovative yet simplistic design allows the power hammer to be compact, easily approachable, versatile, and cost-effective. Ph: (828) 437-5348; Web: www. Julius Blum & Co. Inc. Julius Blum Co. Inc. is the nation’s leading supplier of architectural metal components. We stock a large selection of traditional and

contemporary handrail profiles, handrail fittings and tubing, bars and shapes. All items are available for immediate shipment. For complete information and to download CAD drawings of all of our products, visit our website or call to request a free copy of Catalog 19. Ph: (800) 526-6293; Web: Cable Connection

Ultra-tec® cable railing systems feature sleek, all stainless steel hardware and cable for cable railings. Products include exclusive hidden hardware, fittings to attach, and tension cables that are concealed inside the posts. There is no interference with the view, and fittings that can be installed by hand in the field without the need for special equipment. Economical, easy-toinstall. Ph: (800) 851-2961; Web: Carell Corp.

Create unique ornamental elements, fast, easy, and economically with the Carell T150A Ornamental Bar Worker. The included 49

METALfab 2010 tool kit produces scrolls, pickets, twists, rings, bends, links, and more. The product features programmable repeatability for large jobs; efficient electric brake motor for precision, and low maintenance; and open thru collets for long bars. The rapid change over tooling is simple and easy to use. You can twist/scroll/ bend up to: 3/4 inch square bar, 5/8 inch round bar, 11/2 inch x 3/8 inch flats and more. Ph: (251) 937-0948; Web: Century Group Inc.

5404; Web: www. Custom Iron Inc.

offers an unequalled combination of value and versatility. With four workstations — punching, flat bar shear, angle shear, and an open station — this machine is ready to work for you. Throat depth is 7 inch; maximum punching capacity is 11/8 inch through 5/8 inch plate. The unit can shear flat up to 3/4 x 4 inch and angle to 4 x 4 x 1/4 inch. Ph: (800) 446-4402; Web: www.clevelandsteeltool. com. Colorado WaterJet Co.

Century Group Inc. is a leading manufacturer of precast concrete stair treads for stairways at hotels, apartment complexes, educational facilities, public and commercial buildings. Century Group offers both open and closed riser stair treads along with landings for stairways that meet applicable IBC and IRC building codes. Century Group specializes in supplying replacement treads to apartment firms and maintenance contractors. Ph: (800) 527-5232, ext. 110; Web: Cleveland Steel Tool Co. The 55 Ton Ironworker from Cleveland Steel Tool 50

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

For over 30 years, Custom Iron has fabricated high-quality custom spiral stairs. To most customers, a Custom Iron made-toorder spiral has been worth the wait. For customers who cannot wait, Custom Iron now offers the Value Stair Kit Spiral with EasyTwist Handrail. Appealing to the DIYer as a weekend project, it is available in steel or aluminum. Several versions of the reasonably priced Value Stair will ship within one week of order or less. Ph: (800) 732-7696; Web: www.customiron. com. D.J.A. Imports, Ltd.

Among the diverse and vast selections of ornamental steel components and gate hardware, D.J.A. Imports offers the largest selection of Cantilever Gate Systems along with technical personnel with 30 plus years of experience in the field of iron works.

Request your catalog today. Ph: (718) 324-6871; Web: Eagle Bending Machines Inc

At METALfab 2010, Eagle presented the next generation of roll benders. From the Popular CP30 to 60H, CNCBA35-50 series, and all the way up to the Heavy Duty CPD80-100 all include Universal Tooling and are designed to fit your budget without compromising our superior quality. Tooling for bar twisting, scrolling, cap rail, tube/ pipe, spiral rails is available off-the shelf. Our custom tooling shop is capable of creating tooling to exact specifications with quick turn-around. Ph: 251-9370947; Web: Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC

Elite Architectural Metal Supply presented several custom lines that include Fabricator n May/June 2010

METALfab 2010 custom one-piece posts and post caps available in cast aluminum or cast iron and a line of hand forged rail ends made from molded cap rail available in brass, aluminum, nickel silver, and steel giving you an exact match every time. Elite also carries a full line of Grande Forge balusters and posts available raw or with a powder coat of custom patina finish. Ph: (847) 636-1233; Web: www. ETemplate Digital Measuring System

and rectangular shapes. The current release also includes over 13,000 forgings and castings from 10 industry suppliers. This user friendly program requires just a minimal of CAD experience to create rails, fences, and gates. Ph: (800) 255-9032; Web: Feeney Architectural Products, CableRail™

ETemplate Photo is a comprehensive 3D field measurement tool. The secret is the placement of uniquely coded targets at desired measurement points. Photographs are taken, being sure to include every target in at least two photographs that overlap. The software then triangulates each measurement point to a typical accuracy of 1/32 inch or better. Once processed, a DXF is created and every location in each photo is an available measurement point. This provides up to 500 million measurements per photo. Ph: (919) 676-2244; Web: www.

CableRail cable assemblies are an easy-to-install, low-maintenance, and beautifully unobtrusive infill alterna-

tive for all types of railings. Made from type 316 stainless steel cable for lasting durability and special Quick-Connect® fittings for speedy installations. Available in three cable diameters and a wide range of prefabricated lengths that can be quickly field trimmed to exact dimensions, CableRail offers you the selection, simplicity, and quality to meet all of your cable needs, and our service team can assist you every step of the way. Ph: (800) 888-2418; Web: Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc.

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

FabCad Inc. FabCAD® introduced its newest Ornamental CAD drawing system featuring a new version of AutoRail. The program can draw any style of gate as shown here and is loaded with unlimited customization options for channel sizes, extruded top and bottom bars, Fabricator n May/June 2010


METALfab 2010 722-7700; Web: www. Heritage Cast Iron USA

do not regularly occupy, up to $25,000, and more. Ph: (800) 242-9872; Web: www. Iron World Mfg.

Heritage Cast Iron USA supplies finely crafted, traditional decorative Victorian cast iron gates, fencing and railings in seven unique design collections. The gates and fence are valuable to the ornamental metal marketplace because they are furnished and sold as shown, ready to install, requiring no additional fabrication. Because Heritage Cast Iron USA products are stocked, most of them are available for immediate shipment, and the modular designs of the fence and pre-hung gates allow for quick installation by a number of trades. Ph: 1-877855-4766; Web: www. Industrial Coverage Corp. ICC’s Pac Plus program was designed with metal manufacturers in mind. In addition to automatic property and liability coverages available in our “core” policy, Pac Plus also provides coverage for: Employee dishonesty, forgery or alteration, and theft up to $10,000 with higher limits available; Sales representative’s samples while in custody of your representative, or in transit, up to $25,000; Business personal property while temporarily on display at a location you 52

We’re the fastest growing manufacturer and distributor of Power Coated Ornamental Iron and Fused Bonded Chain Link fencing in the industry. Iron World offer a complete line of Ornamental and Fuse Bonded Chain Link: fence systems, accessories, swing gates, and slide gates. Our total commitment to the fence industry and local representation gives your professional fence contractor the necessary support to insure your complete satisfaction. Ph: (301) 776-7448; Web: www. ITW Ransburg

ITW Ransburg featured the No. 2 Deuce Unit. Its portability makes it perfect for independent contractors, parks departments, hospitals, amusement parks, and maintenance departments. Typical uses include fences, railings, file cabinets, desks, and ornamental iron. The No. 2 Gun is also easy on the pocketbook.

Reduced labor and material costs, as well as reduced clean up, are just a few of the money saving benefits. Simply put, the No. 2 Gun could become the number one gun for your operation. Ph: (800) 233-2389; Web: King Architectural Metals

For three generations, King Architectural Metals has been an industry leader for all of your metal needs. With a selection of over 10,000 cast and handforged ornamental components, a hi-def plasma cutting design center, and a wide variety of light and heavy structural steel, King gives you the opportunity to save both time and money on all of your projects. With same-day shipping, consistent product quality, and the most knowledgeable staff in the industry; King is the partner you can trust. Ph: (800) 542-2379; Web: www. Lawler Foundry Corp. Lawler’s natural finish, high quality iron castings, and steel forgings are sold

to fabricators and forgers to design, fabricate, finish, and install residential and commercial ornamental metalwork. Lawler introduced the QC Forgings in 2007, and this new economical line allows fabricators and forgers to offer high quality at reasonable prices. Lawler remains the preferred supplier to over 1,500 full-time fabricators and forgers of ornamental metal products in the United States. Ph: (800) 624-9512; Web: www. Metabo Corp.

Metabo introduced the WP8-115 Quick 41/2 inch angle grinder with nonlocking paddle switch. The 8 Amp, 10,000 rpm WP8115 Quick’s non-locking paddle-switch turns the grinder off when released, increasing user safety. In addition, the Metabo SAutomatic safety slip clutch helps to control kickback in the event a wheel is bound up. The angle grinder is equipped with the Quick Fabricator n May/June 2010

METALfab 2010 wheel change system and Vibratech anti-vibration side handle. Encapsulated switch and carbon brushes increase longevity in harsh environments. Ph: (281) 948-2823; Web: www.metabousa. com. Rockite, Div.of Hartline Products Co. lows for easy removal of glass. Stainless steel Q-Railing systems offer affordable contemporary railing systems with glass or cable in-fills. Ph: (305) 7702373; Web: The Wagner Companies

‘Thank You’ To Our 2010 METALfab Sponsors Platinum

Rockite, a powder-like compound that mixes with water to a pouring or pliable consistency for the quick and permanent repair of cracks, holes, or breaks in concrete, was shown. It anchors bolts and similar items in concrete with more than twice the holding power of fully cured concrete alone. Rockite develops compression strength of 4,500 lbs. per square inch within one hour. Adhesion is due to expansion, and, when fully set, it grips metal to concrete permanently. Ph: (216) 2912303; Web: Sumter Coatings Inc. Sumter Coatings featured paints, primers, and topcoats especially for ornamental and miscellaneous metal. The firm’s popular Satin Shield Enamel was a featured product. Satin Shield is a fast drying direct-to-metal paint offered in assorted colors. Ph: (888) 4713400; Web: TACO Metals TACO’s Glass Railing featured an aluminum base for 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch tempered glass, and top rail, hand rail, and accessories in a variety of sizes and finishes. Glasswedge dry-glaze system eliminates messy wet cement and alFabricator n May/June 2010

n Industrial

Coverage Corp.

n The Wagner


Gold n King Architectural


Wagner presented Lumenrail® LED lighted railing. At just 3/4 inch wide, the Wagner Lumenrail® fixture produces brilliant cool white light — 5400K — or warm white light — 3100K — and comes in lengths from 6 to 60 inches. Use in handrail or guardrail applications for accent or practical lighting. Each fixture contains an LED board encapsulated within a specially designed aluminum enclosure with a clear or diffused polycarbonate lens. Fixtures can be installed indoors or out in both wet and dry locations. Ph: (414) 214-0444; Web: www.

n Lawler Foundry


Silver n Julius Blum & Co.


n Colorado

Waterjet Co.

n D.J.A. Imports Ltd. n Innovative Hinge

Products Inc.


Biz Side

For your information


Summary of changes to come: n In 2014, ornamental and miscellaneous metals businesses employing more than 50 workers will be required to provide health coverage. n In 2014 most people will be required to have health insurance. n A tax on high-cost “Cadillac” policies will not go into effect until 2018. n An increase in Medicare payroll taxes begins in 2013. n Tax credits available to small employers for health-care related expenses begins almost immediately. About the Author: For more than 25 years, Mark E. Battersby has been providing professionally prepared features, columns, White Papers, reports and Web content for a wide variety of publications. He regularly reports on the news and developments within the ever-changing tax and financial arenas.



Here’s how and when new laws might affect your ornamental and miscelleneous metals business.

By Mark E. Battersby The massive, and controversial, “Patient

Protection and Affordable Care Act,” and the “Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010,” the two recently enacted health care reform bills, include more than $400 billion in “revenue raisers” and new taxes on employers and individuals. The centerpiece in the health reform laws is the mandate for most Americans to obtain health insurance. The new laws contain a number of new rules, such as new penalties for individuals who choose to remain uninsured, tax credits and other sweeteners for employers participating in new insurance pools, new penalties for larger

employers that don’t provide insurance (or provide insurance deemed inadequate or unaffordable), plus a voucher system for certain lower income employees who choose not to be covered by their employer’s health plan. Thanks to the accounting requirements of regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, many large, publicly-traded companies have already announced tremendous writeoffs in anticipation of future losses from this health care legislation. However, while these new rules will have a significant impact, financial and otherwise, on every ornamental and miscellaneous metals business and those who own them, it will be felt only gradually. Fabricator n May/June 2010

In fact, the new law’s supporters predict an estimated 3.6 million small business owners will qualify for tax credits for health care beginning this year, receiving almost $40 billion in assistance over the next decade. A large percentage of the 26 million small business employees currently uninsured will also receive help. What impact will this massive overhaul of health care have on your business?

“Metals fabricators will not have to worry about

the provision because employers with fewer than 50 employees aren’t subject to the ‘pay or play’ penalty.”

The small business health tax credit (2010)

According to our lawmakers, more than 60 percent of small employers, or more than 4 million firms, will be eligible for a new tax credit. Effective immediately, small metalworking shops and businesses offering health insurance to employees as part of their compensation and contributing at least half of the total premium cost will qualify for part of an estimated $40 billion in tax credits, a direct reduction in the operation’s tax bill. The new, temporary sliding-scale small employer tax credit is worth up to 35 percent of a small fabricator’s premium costs in 2010. On January 1, 2014, this rate increases to 50 percent. A small employer is one with no more than 25 employees and average annual wages of less than $50,000. However, the full amount of the credit would be available only to an employer with 10 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and whose employees have average annual full-time equivalent wages from the employer of less than $25,000. These wage limits would be indexed to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers for years beginning in 2014. Self-employed fabricators, including partners and sole proprietors, 2 percent shareholders of an S corporation, and 5 percent owners of the employer are not treated as employees for purposes of the Small Employer Health Insurance Credit. In fact, a special rule prevents sole proprietors from receiving the credit for the owner and their family members. Fabricator n May/June 2010

Penalty for remaining uninsured

Starting in 2014, the new law will require nearly all Americans to have health insurance through an employer, a government program or by buying it directly. That year, new insurance markets will open for business, health plans will be required to accept all applicants and tax credits will start flowing to millions of people, helping them pay the premiums. Those who continue to go without coverage will have to pay a penalty to the IRS, except in cases of financial hardship. Fines will vary by income and family size. For example, a single person making $45,000 would pay an extra $1,125 in taxes when the penalty is fully phased in, in 2016. Employer responsibilities

Prior to the passage of this reform, there was no federal requirement that employers offer health insurance coverage to employees or to their families. The new law imposes penalties on certain businesses for not providing coverage to their employees (so-called “pay or play”). Fortunately, most ornamental and miscellaneous metals fabricators will not have to worry about the provision because employers with fewer than 50 employees aren’t subject to the “pay or play” penalty. The new law exempts all small firms with fewer than 50 employees from the employer responsibility requirements that begin in 2014. This means, according to our lawmakers, that 96 percent of all firms in the U.S., or 5.8 million out of 6 million total businesses will be exempt from the re-

quirement to provide health coverage for employees. ‘Free Choice’ vouchers

After 2013, employers offering minimum essential coverage through an eligible employer-sponsored plan and paying a portion of that coverage would have to provide qualified employees with a voucher whose value could be applied to the purchase of a health plan through the Insurance Exchange. Qualified employees would be those employees: n who do not participate in the employer’s health plan; n whose required contribution for employer sponsored minimum essential coverage exceeds 8 percent, but does not exceed 9.5 percent of household income; and n whose total household income does not exceed 400 percent of the poverty line for the family. The value of the voucher would be equal to the dollar value of the employer contribution to the employer offered health plan. Health insurance exchanges

Beginning in 2014, the new law creates state-based Health Insurance Exchanges to make health insurance affordable and accessible for small businesses and the self-employed. With the option of joining a large “pool,” small shops and businesses will have access to the same type of quality, affordable coverage that only large firms currently have. Employees of small businesses will be able to do one-stop comparison shopping for an affordable insurance plan that offers lower rates, stable pricing from year to year and a choice of quality plans. Those who are employed by small businesses but who do not receive insurance through their employer and are on the Exchange will have access to sliding-scale tax credits to help pay their premiums. Effective in 2014, for those with access to the Exchange, sliding scale tax credits are provided to individuals and families up to 400 percent of poverty. That means the tax credits phase out completely for an individual with 55

$43,320 in income and a family of four with $88,200 in income.

To help pay for making

Additional tax on high wage earners

affordable for small

To help pay for making health insurance affordable for small businesses and the middle class, the new law includes an increase in taxes for high earners. Specifically, for tax years beginning after December 31, 2012, the hospital insurance or “HI” tax rate will be in-

health insurance

businesses and the middle class, the new law includes an increase in taxes for high earners.

creased by 0.9 percentage points on an individual taxpayer earning over $200,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly); these figures are not indexed for inflation. Also added is a hospital insurance tax on unearned income. The unearned income surtax

Beginning in 2013, a 3.8 percent surtax called an “Unearned Income Medicare Contribution,” will be placed on the net investment income of anyone earning over $200,000 ($250,000 for a joint return). Net investment income includes interest, dividends, royalties, rents, gross income from a trade or business involving passive activities, and net gain from disposition of property (other than property held in a trade or business). It should be noted that income “actively” earned by anyone running a small, closely-held business, is exempt from the unearned income surtax. New limit on health plan contributions

The owners and operators of many metal fabricating businesses, as well as their employees, have long utilized both flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to pay for medical expenses with pretax dollars. An HSA goes along with a high-deductible insurance policy and gives individuals a tax deduction for money saved that can be used for health care expenses. An FSA has similar tax advantages, but contributions to it are deducted from an employee’s salary, and money in the account must be used by the end of the year. The new law modifies the definition of qualified medical expenses for health FSAs and HSAs to conform them to the definition used for the medical expense itemized deduction (excluding over-the-counter medicines unless prescribed by a health care professional) beginning in 2011. The law also caps health FSA contributions at $2,500 per year after 2012, which is indexed annually for inflation after 2013. There are also increases in the additional tax on non-qualified distributions from health savings accounts (HSAs) from 10 percent to 20 percent and from Archer MSAs from 15 56

Fabricator n May/June 2010

to 20 percent. And, as mentioned, the amount of contributions to health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) will be limited to $2,500 per year, effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2012. The dollar amount would be inflation indexed after 2013. New reporting responsibilities

For tax years beginning after December 31, 2010, employers will have to disclose the value of the benefit provided by them for each employee’s health insurance coverage on the employee’s annual W-2 form. Plus, a shop or business paying any amount greater than $600 during the year to corporate providers of property and services would have to file an information report with each provider and with the Internal Revenue Service, effective for payments made after December 31, 2011. Enforcement

What may be the most controversial aspect of the new health care plan is the method of enforcement. It appears the Internal Revenue Service will be hiring an additional 16,500 auditors to administer compliance and assess fees/taxes/penalties. The IRS will be responsible for overseeing a significant part of health care reform, such as the administration of additional taxes on individuals and employers, determinations of various exemptions from those taxes, and oversight of new information reporting requirements. Fortunately, many of the new requirements have phased-in or delayed effective dates.

The amount of contributions to health flexible spending accounts (FSAs) will be

limited to $2,500 per year, effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2012.

to hospitals and fees or taxes on insurers, drug makers, medical-device companies, those earning more than $200,000 a year and employers. Many of the changes in the new law’s more than 2,400 pages, such as requiring most people to have health insurance and requiring employers to provide coverage will take at least two years to go into effect. Will you and your ornamental and miscellaneous metals business be ready?

5186-F Longs Peak Road, Berthoud, CO 80513


In 2014, ornamental and miscellaneous metals businesses employing more than 50 workers will be required to provide health coverage and most people will be required to have health insurance. The tax on high-cost “Cadillac” policies will not go into effect until 2018; the increase in Medicare payroll taxes begins in 2013; while the tax credits available to small employers for health-care related expenses begins almost immediately. Overall, the $940 billion overhaul subsidizes coverage for uninsured Americans, financed by Medicare cuts Fabricator n May/June 2010


Biz Side

7 costly Website mistakes to avoid Quality content, easy “findability,” and simple navigation will keep your customers coming back.

By William J. Lynott Deciding that your shop would benefit by having its own Website is the easy part. The tough part is avoiding the nasty pitfalls that make too many Websites money losers instead of money makers. During the past few years, Web design has evolved into a sophisticated combination of art and science. Today’s best sites are powerful marketing and communications tools. Unfortunately, plenty of the old clunkers are still around. Worse, more are going up every day. Here’s how you can make sure that your site — whether it’s in the planning stage or is already a reality — isn’t marred by one or more of the most damaging errors of Website design:

1 Formulate a clear purpose for your site

That may sound obvious, but failing to define and execute a clear purpose is one of the more common Website design errors — and one of the most costly. Do you want a Website solely to establish an Internet presence, with a single page providing basic information such as phone numbers, and a general description of your metalworking services? Or do you want a complete e-commerce site with multiple pages, photos of your shop, a description of your specialized expertise, 58

and other data? Or something inbetween these two extremes? Why are you going to the trouble and expense of creating a Website? If you can’t state your purpose clearly in a sentence or two, you’re probably not ready to dip a toe in Internet waters. “Be sure to portray your business accurately,” says Chris Holt, Operations Manager, Steel Welding. “If your specialty is structural steel fabrication, don’t have your Website suggest that you create embellished forge work. Sometimes it’s difficult to be objective about your own business. Try to look at your site as a first time visitor and ask yourself, ‘Is this who we are?’ ”

For your information



2 Communicate clearly

Be sure the content on your home page addresses these 4 W’s and 1 H:

If you hire a professional to create your site (and most shop owners probably should), you’ll pay additional charges if you keep exercising your right to change your mind. Changes in basic design after the project is underway can result in wasted creative hours. Unless your designer has agreed to a flat rate, you’ll be stuck with a larger bill than you expected. You can avoid this common error by taking time to sit down in advance with your designer to discuss your ideas. Sketching layouts and text with paper and pencil can save hours of costly design time. Don’t allow yourself to become an

n Who is your Website’s main audience? n What products and services does your business offer? n Where does your business reach? (local, regional, national, international) n Why should your audience choose you (over other businesses)? n How can your audience reach you?

with your site designer

About the Author: Bill Lynott is a long-time business writer for Fabricator. Since 1957, he has written nearly 1,000 essays and columns and is the author of three books. In addition to his career as a writer, Bill also has an extensive background in management, consulting, and marketing. Fabricator n May/June 2010

On its main Website page, Wiemann Metalcraft posts a company description and mission statement to clearly tell the Website reader “what’s in it for them.” Their complete address shows site visitors that they are a real company. Complete contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses are at their “contact us” page Industry organization links and their list of frquently asked questions and answers provide the prospective client with additional company and fabrication industry information, and thus adds credibility.

obstacle to completion of the work by over-managing, but don’t sit back and assume that you shouldn’t be involved at all in the creative process. Either approach would be a mistake.

3 Understand the importance of quality content

Web surfers are looking for information about your business and the products and services you offer. Such details as site design elements and colors should always be transparent to the viewer. Too much “design” in a Website can be compared with too much makeup on a woman. If it calls attention to itself, it has defeated its purpose. A site cluttered with annoying gimmicks such as animations and graphics that do nothing to enhance your message will be a sure turn-off for most viewers. Perhaps you’ve seen sites alive with dancing bears, cartoons, pulsating banners, and other irrelevant devices. If you’re like most Web surfers, you have little patience with that sort of nonsense. Such schemes may have a proper place on a high-school student’s Web page, but not on your business site. “Always remember that your customers and prospective customers are interested in benefits (how is this good for me),” says Ray Redlich, Art Manager, Carell Corp. “Try to turn your features into benefit statements. Don’t just say ‘biggest’, say why the biggest Fabricator n May/June 2010

matters. Instead of ‘biggest cranes in the industry,’ say ‘our biggest crane can move three times the volume than any other crane available for less on-site work time and improved profits.’ ” “Always include an ‘About Us’ link inviting visitors to learn more about the personal side of your enterprise,” says Holt. “Include a photo of your shop or owner(s) to give a personal touch to your company.” Make sure that your designer understands how you feel about unnecessary distractions. Graphics that are primarily decorative in purpose should be kept to a minimum. In Website design, less is more.

4 Provide a simple

navigation system

“Your customers and prospective customers want their Web experience to be familiar and comfortable,” says Redlich. “They want to be able to find what they want quickly. All navigation should be simple and intuitive.” Web surfers are notoriously impatient. Viewers who log on to your site want to see at a glance what services and products you offer, and what they must do to find other key information. If your home page and your navigation system don’t provide quick answers, many viewers will quickly move on.


Every page on your site must provide an easy and intuitive way to reach any other page. Internet viewers simply will not invest the time and effort needed to plow their way through a confusing maze of menus. The most popular navigation systems consist of bars laid out vertically on the left side or horizontally across the top of each page. Whatever system you choose, it must be consistent. At an absolute minimum, every page on your site should contain a “return to home page” link. You’ve probably visited sites that seem to be made up of nothing but menus. You keep clicking and clicking without ever arriving at the information you want. Remember: If you allow your viewer to get confused, you’ve probably lost a potential customer. Your navigation system must provide your visitors with enough information to make easy and effective choices — no more, no less. Holt sums it up simply, “Delete cute and clever navigation options. Make ease of use and function your primary goal.”

5 Make contacting you easy and be responsive

If your site is a full e-commerce site, this requirement may seem too obvious to mention. However, if it contains only basic information such as phone numbers, and a description of your services, it will be easy to overlook the need to provide a feedback link. Prospective customers may have questions that you haven’t anticipated, or there may be problems with the site such as broken links. A quick-and-easy e-mail link will allow the viewer to reach you with the click of a mouse. Caution: Once you set up a feedback link, you must have your e-mail checked every day and respond promptly to every message. Many people regard unanswered e-mail messages as a personal affront. That’s not a good way to build your business image.

6 Test loading time

on an average computer

The short attention spans of most people today will cause them to move on quickly if your site takes more than a 60

few seconds to appear on their screens. Excessive use of large graphics, animations, and other devices that increase the file size of the pages on your site will increase the time it takes for the page to appear on the viewer’s screen. Many sites are elaborate creations with the potential to win design prizes from fellow professionals, but they accomplish little or nothing for the people who are paying the bills. If you own a high-powered computer with a fast processor and a ton of memory, or if you have high-speed Internet access, don’t use your own system to test your site’s loading time. Find a friend with an average setup. Then, if your site takes more than six or eight seconds to load, you and your designer need to sit down and decide what has to go.

7 Make it easy for search

engines to find your site

Search engines on the Internet allow Web surfers to type in key words such as “custom railings,” “metalworking,” a company name, or any other subject. Then, in the blink of an eye, the search engine scans the millions of sites on the Web and lists those that have meta-tags identical to the typedin search term. Meta-tags are simply words and phrases that describe the contents of your Website and the nature of your

business, making it easier for the search engines and interested viewers to find you. Meta-tags aren’t a magic key to site effectiveness; however, they can increase the chances that your site will be included in the list that pops up when a Web surfer types in one of those words or phrases. The use of meta-tags is a technical subject too complex to cover in full here. For our purposes, it is sufficient to say that you should discuss the matter with your Web designer to make certain that she includes a full measure of appropriate tags in your home page. “If you’d like to learn more, log on to a search engine (there are many, but the most popular is com) and type in ‘meta-tags’ without the quotes,” says Redlich. You’ll learn how search engines work, and you’ll get a long list of Websites that can provide all you ever wanted to know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Once you’ve checked out metatags, type in a general description of your business. The result will be an education on the creative opportunities that await you in Website design. Incorporating these seven tenets into your planning cannot guarantee a blue ribbon for design, but sticking with these guidelines will unleash the full power of your Website, lift it above the majority of your competitors, and make it more effective.

90 t yco s drive toronto, ontario m6b 1v9 tel: 1-800-461-0060 tel: (4 16) 780-1707 fax: (4 16) 780-1814 e-mail: www. steptoewife . com

Albany Spiral Staircase • Distinctive historic design • Modular components in 4 ft. & 5 ft. dia. • Rugged cast iron construction • Brass or steel handrail • Easy assembly • Complete catalog featuring this and other staircases

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Fabricator n May/June 2010

Join NOMMA Today!

Increase your knowledge • Network and learn from peers • Enhance your company’s exposure Join the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association and you’ll receive.... n Introductory Package - Upon joining you will receive a kit containing the Buyer’s Guide, logo slicks, and a sampling of our educational booklets and sales aids. n Technical support on issues related to codes and standards. n Email discussion forum - the perfect place to get your questions answered. n NOMMA Members Only Area - This area of our website contains technical support information on ADA, driveway gates, building codes, and more. n Access to TechNotes, our bimonthly technical bulletin and Fabricator’s Journal, our bimonthly “how to” publication. You’ll receive O&MM Fabricator as well. n Subscription to NOMMA Newswire, our monthly email newsletter. n Discounts to METALfab, our annual convention, continuing education programs, and other events. n Discounts to the training DVDs and various publications provided by the NOMMA Education Foundation. Membership Categories Please Check One: ☐ Fabricator $425 - Metal fabricating shops, blacksmiths, artists or other firms and individuals in the industry whose products or services are sold directly to the consumer or the consumer’s immediate agent or contractor. ☐ Nationwide Supplier $595 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services on a nationwide or international basis.

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

☐ Regional Supplier $465 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services only within a 500-mile radius. ☐ Local Supplier $375.00 - Firms that sell supplies, raw materials, equipment, machinery, or services only within a 150-mile radius. ☐ Affiliate $310 - Individuals, firms, & organizations which do not engage in the fabrication of ornamental or miscellaneous metal products and do not provide products or services to the industry but which have a

special interest in the industry.

Check on-line for our 1/2 price membe rship special.

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

☐ YES, I want to join today so that I can start enjoying the benefits of a NOMMA membership! Company Name____________________________________Your Name______________________________________ Address_________________________________________________________________________________________ City______________________________State_________Zip___________________Country_____________________ Phone________________________________Fax_____________________Sponsor (if any)______________________ E-mail______________________________________________Web_________________________________________ Company Specialty/Description_______________________________________________________________________ Signature___________________________________Payment Method ☐ Check ☐ VISA ☐ MC ☐ AMEX ☐ Discover Credit card #_______________________________________________________Exp_____/______CVV_____________ Exact name on card_____________________________________Signature___________________________________ Return to: NOMMA, 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127, #311, Fayetteville, GA 30214 • Ph/Fax: (888) 516-8585

To join online, visit: - Then click on “Join” Fabricator n May/June 2010



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 Alloy Casting Co. Inc. (800) 527-1318 American Punch Co. (800) 243-1492 American Security Products (310) 324-1680 Ameristar Fence Products (888) 333-3422 Architectural Iron Designs Inc. (800) 784-7444 Architectural Metal Sales (925) 216-1004 Artistic Ornamental Supply (305) 836-0192 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 Cadd Connection (541) 967-7954 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 Dashmesh Ornamentals (011) 91-987-844-7477 Decorative Iron (888) 380-9278 DKS, DoorKing Systems (800) 826-7493 Robert J. Donaldson Co. (856) 629-2737 Downey Glass Industries (954) 972-0026 Eagle Bending Machines Inc. (251) 937-0947 Eastern Metal Supply (800) 343-8154 Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC (847) 636-1233 EPi (262) 786-9330 ETemplate Systems (919) 676-2244 EURO-FER SPA (011) 39-044-544-0033 FabCad Inc. (866) 427-2454 Feeny Inc. (Feeney Architectural Products) (800) 888-2418 Gates That Open LLC (GTO) (800) 543-4283 Genova Imports LLC (972) 395-8199 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 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 Heritage Cast Iron USA (918) 592-1700

Illinois Engineered Products Inc. (312) 850-3710 Indiana Gratings Inc. (800) 634-1988 Industrial Coverage Corp. (800) 242-9872 Industrial Metal Supply Co. (800) 371-4404 Innovative Hinge Products Inc. (817) 598-4846 Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc. (800) 667-9101 The Iron Shop (800) 523-7427 Iron World Mfg. (866) 310-2747 ITW Ransburg (800) 233-3366 Jansen Ornamental Supply Co. Inc. (800) 4-JANSEN King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379 Laser Precision Cutting (800) 514-8065 C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (800) 421-6144 Lavi Industries (800) 624-6225 Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512 Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc. (800) 221-5579 Locinox USA (877) 562-4669 Logical Decisions Inc. (800) 676-5537 Mac Metals Inc. (800) 631-9510 McKey Perforating (800) 345-7373 Metabo Corp. (281) 948-2823 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 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 Shaped Steel Inc. (816) 781-5717 Sharpe Products (800) 879-4418 South Camden Iron Works Inc. (800) 962-1029 Stair Service Inc. (800) 478-2477 Stairways Inc. (800) 231-0793 Steel Masters Inc. (602) 243-5245 Stephens Pipe & Steel LLC (800) 451-2612 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 Universal Entry Systems Inc. (800) 837-4283 The Wagner Companies (888) 243-6914 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 486-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door (866) 790-3667

Fabricator n May/June 2010


New Members


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 May 7, 2010. *Asterisk denotes returning member. American Precision Powder Coating Co. Beaver Falls, PA Jim Verostek Fabricator

Dashmesh Ornamentals* Ludhiana, Punjab Tarsem Singh Nationwide Supplier

American Security Products Gardena, CA Katy Dagampat Nationwide Supplier

Genova Imports LLC Carrollton, TX Gene Garrett Nationwide Supplier

Clark Steel Fabricators Inc. Walnut Grove, NC Steve Parks Fabricator

Johnson Machine Works Chariton, IA Steve Bright Fabricator

Railing Systems Inc.* Waldorf, MD Lawrence Estevez Fabricator

Hand Tube Bender Rolls:  1 1/2” Square Tubing  1 x 1 1/2” Rectangular Tubing  Flat Bar (1/2 x 1 1/2” & smaller)  Pipe & Tubing

Magnum Hand Tube Bender Rolls:


 2” Square Tubing 1 x 2” Rectangular Tubing

Southern Star Steel Inc.* Lorena, TX Bobby Meador Fabricator

Flat Bar (1/2 x 2” & smaller)  Pipe & Tubing Additional Rollers Available

Southwest Architectural Metals Henderson, NV Tom Morgan Fabricator

Wing Industries* Custom Iron Works Lost City Iron Gypsum, CO Lubbock, TX Works Inc.* J.R. Wing Don Stroud Los Angeles, CA Fabricator Fabricator Philip10.30.09 Rohan NOMMA quarter vert chi ad.qxd 10/28/2009 Fabricator


1-800-200-4685 UNIQUE ROLLING SYSTEM Works with both hand tubing benders

Cap Rails



 Flat Bar (on edge hard way) 10:33 AM

Page 1

R&D Hydraulics, Mfg. and Machine Co.

1431 West 5th St. Chico, CA 95928

Chicago October 22-23, 2010 Fabricator n May/June 2010

June 2-5

The nail-studded tree example: the Ferro 2000 Conference in Cloppenburg, Germany.

mark your calendar!

Smith’S Nail Stump teachiNg StatioNS aBanaS RiNg pRoject G r e aT e S T auctioN hiTS! VeNdoRS tailgatiNg demoNStRatoRS & the galleRy…

See y a June 2


Come See the Best Collection of Historically Accurate Products for Old House Restoration and Renovation Found Anywhere!


2010 ABANA CoNfereNCe!

USA 63


NOMMA Educational Foundation

In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

NEF provides education online and in-person METALfab 2011 education program

With Tulsa in my rearview mirror I think back on what a great experience METALfab 2010 was. The education sessions were extremely interesting and informative; the Top Job photos were exceptionally impressive; the off-site demonstrations were especially instructive; the vendor/supplier exhibitors had great displays with a lot of useful information and tips. One of the greatest aspects of METALfab that I appreciated most was the personal interaction with my friends and fellow NOMMA members. Not only was I able to rekindle old friendships but, as always, I was able to meet a lot of new people that I look forward to seeing in the future as old friends. It is always a great pleasure to combine work and play and have a good time doing both. Looking forward to METALfab 2011, which will be in New Orleans, preparations are already in full swing to eclipse 2010 (which will be no small task). I have accepted the position as Education Chair for METALfab 2011, and with the help of a very energetic Update from NEF Chair committee, I believe we can do it. But the Roger Carlsen, more input we have from you — the memEphraim Forge bership — the more we will be able to make Inc. this YOUR METALfab 2011. Please contact either me or Martha Pennington with your thoughts and ideas, and also if you would like to volunteer. Online education initiatives

Most of you are probably already aware of the great benefit that we have available to us in the webinar series that Todd Daniel is administering. NEF will be financially supporting this series, once again, through the next fiscal year. Also, the webinars initiative has been expanded to not only include live webinars but also the archiving of the past webinars to be viewed at your convenience. The video tutorial program is now also in full swing. We have, on our NOMMA website, a professionally produced, generic video as a ‘how to’ do it yourself video. NEF has two “Zi8 kits” available to our members to use, with no cost (other than shipping). The kits are comprised of a Kodak Zi8 digital high definition video camera, a SDHD storage card, lapel wireless microphone, a table top tripod and all the necessary wiring. The goal is to produce a 7 to 9 minute tutorial video. These tutorials will be uploaded to our website for others (members only) to view. If you have a forging procedure, a finishing method, or special skill or technique you would like to share 64

with the NOMMA membership this will enable you to do so. If you are thinking of buying a video camera to post your work on YouTube, Facebook, or your own website but want to try it out first, this program will afford you that opportunity. The procedure to obtain these kits and a second short tutorial video on how to use them should be available soon. We say a special ‘Thank You’ to King Architectural Metals and Lawler Foundry for significantly underwriting the cost of this program. Chapter outreach

The Upper Midwest Chapter of NOMMA will be taking advantage of one of NEF’s programs to further education and support our chapters. At their May 22 meeting the Upper Midwest Chapter will be featuring a demonstration of nonmechanical joinery of brass and bronze. Through NEF’s chapter continuing education project, NEF will be helping to underwrite the cost of the presenter in addition to video taping the demonstration to be made available to our membership. Please contact myself or Martha Pennington for further details. One of NEF’s newest programs is to make some of the past shop tour videos available to chapters to be shown at their chapter meetings. Please contact James Minter at Imagine Ironworks, Martha Pennington, or myself for more information. Certification programs

NEF has started researching the idea of certification for our industry. Throughout the fabrication, finishing, and installation industries there are already quite a number of certification programs available that would be pertinent to NOMMA; we are not looking to duplicate or re-invent any of the certifications that are already in place. A certification committee is being formed to determine which of these certificates are relevant to our industry, where there are voids, and how best to use this information to better serve our members. We have already worked closely with the automatic gate installers’ certification program and are looking into interacting with the Artist Blacksmiths Association of North America in their efforts to organize a blacksmithing certification program. No doubt that a simple compiling of these certifications that are applicable to NOMMA would be beneficial; but I am sure there are voids, and we should explore avenues to fill these voids. Please let me know if you have any input. It would be greatly appreciated. Fabricator n May/June 2010

What’s Hot? n Biz Briefs NTMA/PMA report momentum in re-shoring initiative The re-shoring initiative, launched by the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA) and the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, is apparently gaining momentum. Numerous NTMA/PMA member companies have announced that they have won back contracts previously off-shored. Larger manufacturers have disclosed plans to bring production back to the U.S. Re-shoring, also known as onshoring and backshoring, means the return of lost manufacturing jobs to the U.S. by uniting large manufacturers with competitive domestic suppliers. The intention, says NTMA/ PMA, is to reduce imports, increase net exports, and create jobs. A recent GrantThornton survey found that only half of the firms surveyed (49 percent) felt that offshoring had produced a positive return on their investment. Contact NTMA/PMA; Ph: (216) 901-9666 x 105; Web: www.ntma. org. ADA celebrates 20 years The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrates its anniversary on July 26, 2010 — 20 years after President George H.W. Bush signed “the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities.” Contact ICC; Ph: (888) 4227233; Web:

Fabricator n May/June 2010

Industry News & More

Encon holds DoorKing workshop Leading wholesale distributor Encon Electronics (Haywood, CA) teamed up with manufacturer DoorKing Access Systems (Englewood, CA) for a hands-on technical seminar at Encon on April 7, 2010. The workshop, structured by DoorKing National Sales Trainer Ron Miller, was designed to educate attendees on the latest products while pro- The goal of the seminar was to educate attendees on viding them with actual the latest DKS products while providing them actual equipment to program and wire. Shown here, left to equipment to program right, is Ron Miller of DKS and attendee Brian Balsbaugh and wire. of Valley Entry Systems, Escalon, CA. “This was a great hands-on seminar,” said Steven Norris The seminar also covered the new of Wes Day Enterprises in Stockton, DoorKing 6.2 software, available as of CA. “I especially benefited from the April 2010. computer applications and the product According to Miller, “The new reviews.” software offers double the speed of Miller covered an overview of the communication which literally cuts new enhancements available on the data transfer time in half. Some new 1812 AccessPLUS and discussed the features of the 6.2 are live streaming, soon to be released 1835 AccessPLUS. Internet programming, and local area “The new format complimented programming allowing you to proDoorKing’s release of Internet accessigram by modem, DoorKing server, ble telephone entry and access control LAN and WAN.” products,” said Encon Sales Director Contact Encon; Ph: (800) 782-5598; Joe Weber. Web: DoorKing Access Systems (DKS) National Sales Trainer Ron Miller and Encon Sales Director Joe Weber recently held a technical seminar with nearly 30 attendees.


What’s Hot? n


Events Touchstone Center for Crafts 2010 Schedule May 6-October 3, 2010 Touchstone’s three-season crafts school in Laurel Highlands, only 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, PA has published this summer’s schedule. Classes include blacksmithing, ceramics, metals, textiles, glass, oil and watercolor painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Touchstone offers aspiring and established artists more than one hundred weeklong and weekend courses taught by some of North America’s finest artists and artisans. Contact Touchstone Center for Crafts; Ph: (724) 329-1370; Web:




For Angles, Pipe, Tube, Structurals, Extrusions, Sheet & Plate




(877) 989-0700


Easyfit™ Catalog Easyfit Inc. Easyfit Inc.’s new catalog for structural slip-on pipefittings and railing systems and components is now available, free, on request, as an attractive gatefold printed piece and a PDF file. The new literature describes the advantages of using slip-on fittings, compared to welding, and presents the company’s comprehensive product line including several new fittings and railing systems. Easyfit applications include building handrails, guardrails, car ports, greenhouses, displays, racks, tables, barriers, playground equipment, store fixtures, boat docks, “CrossFit” type exercise equipment supports and other tubular pipe structures. Contact Easyfit Inc.; Ph: (877) EASYFIT (327-9348) or (330) 4949610; Web: The Rule Book: Measuring for the Trades Astragal Press, an imprint of Finney Company The Rule Book: Measuring for the Trades by Jane Rees and Mark Rees focuses on measuring tools used by tradesmen and professionals in their everyday work. It also covers the trades in which specific tools were used, how these tools were made, and who made them. According to Philip Stanley of The Analytical Engine, Worchester, MA,

The Rule Book: Measuring for the Trades is an outstanding labor of love dealing with those most diverse and beautiful tools of the craftsman, measures, and rules. With extensive text, and copiously illustrated, it deals in detail with both their design and manufacture, and their application to the different trades and crafts.” Contact Astragal Press; Ph: (800) 866-3045; Web: www.astragalpress. com. Metabo Corporation 2010/2011 Product Catalog Metabo Corporation Metabo Corporation, a leading international manufacturer of professional-grade portable electric power tools and abrasives (for industrial, construction, and welding applications) announces the firm’s updated 2010/2011 Product Catalog. The new catalog features Metabo’s new auto-balancing system for its small angle grinders, new dustless concrete grinding systems, a range of power tools, accessories, and abrasives, and detailed specifications for all of Metabo’s products. An up-to-date list of authorized Metabo service centers is included. For an electronic copy, visit met/MET-A-9570.doc. Contact Metabo Corporation; Ph: (800) 638-2264; Web: Fabricator n May/June 2010

What’s Hot? n


This model offers easy access to automatic and manual operating modes, programming, system diagnostics, and multiple language capability using its PLC touch screen control. The TB130 bends any angle to 180˚ with independent spring back compensation for each bend, and bends to a centerline radius as small as 2D. Contact Ercolina, Ph: (563) 391-7700; Web:

Rotary Draw Tube & Pipe Bender Ercolina®

Ercolina® announces its release of the TB130 Top Bender model specifically designed to produce consistent quality bends in large diameter pipe, tube, squares, rectangular, solids, and other profiles.

50514-CM, Five-Station, 50-Ton Ironworker Scotchman® Scotchman® Industries is pleased to introduce the new 50514-CM, fivestation, 50-ton ironworker. Stations on the 50514-CM consist of a 50-ton punch station with 6-inch throat

Complete Kits for Steel Security Storm Doors • Powder coat finish & custom colors • Shipped fast • Odd sizes available • Several colors to choose from


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Fabricator n May/June 2010

AD PROOF 4-16-09-REV 2-54983B

Events Blacksmithing workshop with Uri Hofi June 14–18, 2010, Florida, NY Learn to move metal in new ways and more effectively in this forging intensive. Comprehensive & Advanced Fundamentals of Blacksmithing with Uri Hofi, a 5-day blacksmithing class is always lively, with a rare chance to learn the how and why of blacksmithing techniques and processes from the innovative Hofi himself. Contact Center for Metal Arts; Ph: (888) 862-9577; Web: www.centerformetalarts. com.

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What’s Hot? n


pipe notcher to be mounted without removing the angle shear. Optional tools are also available. Contact Scotchman Industries Ph: (800) 843-8844; Web:

Events Power hammer workshop with Uri Hofi June 21–23, 2010, Florida, NY June 23–25, 2010, Florida, NY This 2½-day intensive program of demonstrations and hands-on time in Free-Form Power Hammer Forging is ideal for the blacksmith who would like to get more out of the power hammer. Learn how to use Hofi’s signature dies to maximum advantage for efficient and effective power hammer work. You’ll leave with many new ideas and elements for your own work. Contact Center for Metal Arts; Ph: (888) 862-9577; Web: www.

depth, which can punch a 13/16 inch hole in 3/4 inch material; a 4 inch x 4 inch x 3/8 inch angle shear; a 14 inch flat bar shear; and a rectangle notcher. The fifth station, located on the tool table workstation, allows an optional

Explosion Proof LED Lights with Low Heat Larson Electronics’ One of the challenges facing LED designers is how to address the intense heat produced by LED packages. To help with this problem, Larson Electronics’ magnalight. com is now offering surface-mounted LED bulbs that run at lower temperatures than high wattage



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


117 DAVID BIDDLE TRAIL, WEAVERVILLE, NC 28787 DESIGN & SALES: 800-635-2596 FAX: 828-645-2128 OFFICE: 800-541-8065 • 68

Fabricator n May/June 2010

What’s Hot? n


incandescent bulbs. The explosion-proof LED lights and portable hazardous location LED lights produce less heat, draw fewer amps, and generate more light when compared to incandescent and fluorescent counterparts. Contact Larson Electronics Ph: (800) 369-6671; Web: Dustless Grinding Systems and Quick Compact Class Angle Grinder Metabo Corporation Metabo Corporation announces its new dustless concrete grinding systems and auto-balancing system for its small angle grinders, and the new 5 inch W11-125 Quick Compact Class Angle Grinder featuring Metabo’s quick wheel change system.


The grinding system, available in two sizes — 5-inch and 7-inch — protect users from debris commonly generated in surface grinding applications. Metabo’s new auto-balancing system (made for its small angle grinders) offers innovative technology that lowers vibration resulting in less fatigue, safer tool handling, and extended tool and wheel life. Contact Metabo Corporation; Ph: (800) 638-2264; Web:

Rocky Mountain Blacksmithing Conference XX July 28–August 1, 2010, Carbondale, CO Rocky Mountain Smiths will hold the Rocky Mountain Blacksmithing Conference XX at the Francis Whitaker Blacksmith School on the Colorado Rocky Mountain School campus. The program includes demos featuring well-known smiths, hands-on forging clinics, a forging competition, a gallery, and silent auction. This year’s demonstrators: Wendel Broussard, Doug Wilson, Randy McDaniel, and Steve Rollert Contact John and Janet Switzer; Ph: (719) 485-2327; Web: www.


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

Call for Free Catalog - 800/446-6498

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

Fabricator n May/June 2010


What’s Hot? n


Events IAC Meeting September 14, 2010, Arlington VA The next IAC meeting will be held at noon on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at the Associated Builders & Contractors office located at 4250 N. Fairfax Drive, 9th Floor, in Arlington, VA. Take the Orange Line Metro stop to Ballston Station. Contact Michael J. Pfeiffer, P.E.; Ph: (888) 422-7233 x 4338; Web:

Dual Bridge System OMAX® Corporation OMAX® Corporation’s new Dual Bridge System offers a configuration option that allows the inclusion of a second Y-bridge to boost efficiency and flexibility, which will significantly boost machine capacity. The system can be added to any new or existing 60120, 80X or 120X

OMAX JetMachining Centers and is currently the only dual bridge traction drive system available in the waterjet industry. All existing OMAX accessories are fully compatible with this system, as well. Contact OMAX® Corporation; Ph: (800) 838-0343; Web:

er s v E aw re cut S t s t i e t m s Fa o 60º 0º t

Direct Drive Saws See demo on our website ‘Better than a Cold Saw’ 800-323-7503


Fabricator n May/June 2010

What’s Hot? n


Welding Arc Armor™ Safety Glasses Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. With three frame colors and two shatter-proof polycarbonate lens options to choose from, Miller’s new Arc Armor safety glasses offer exceptional

comfort, protection, and durability to its line of welding protection products. These new safety glasses are available in three different frame colors and ei-

ther clear or shade 5.0 lenses, soft foam eye guards (that keep out dust and perspiration), rubber ear pads, and feature a reflective outer coating that protects against ultraviolet light. Contact Miller Electric Manufacturing Co.; Ph: (800) 426-4553; Web: New Ultra® IMT™ Fully Indexable Multi Tool Mate Precision Tooling Unlike standard multi tools, Mate’s new patent-pending Ultra® IMT™ fully indexable multi tools can achieve any angle setting on the workpiece. Two versions are available: 1) a 3-Station, which uses standard Ultra 11/4 inch B-Station punches and strippers and thick turret B-Station dies, and 2) an 8-Station, which uses standard Ultra ½ inch A-Station Since 1925

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punches and strippers and thick turret A-Station dies. Contact Mate Precision Tooling; Ph: (800) 328-4492; Web: ultramultitools. Brasstown, NC

John C. Campbell Folk School Join us for weeklong and weekend workshops! Blacksmithing • Bladesmithing • Toolmaking Design Process • Repoussé and many more!

Whether you’re making a few holes with hand-held tools or thousands of holes in production applications, only Hougen RotaCut ™ Sheet Metal Cutters give you clean, accurate and virtually burr-free holes 3X faster than twist drills or hole saws with longer tool life and no need for secondary operations. Available in two convenient kits... 5/16 thru 3/4" and 7/8 thru 1-1/2" diameters.

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

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Fabricator n May/June 2010 HOU-433B 3.375x4.875.indd 1

Made in USA

5/19/09 11:25:02 AM


What’s Hot? n Chapter News Midwest Chapter Meets May 22 Kalamazoo, MI The Upper Midwest Chapter is holding its spring meeting May 22 at Division 5 Metalworks in Kalamazoo, MI. The program will be a welding/ brazing/soldering seminar on brass, bronze, and nickel silver handrails and custom shapes. NEF will have a film crew present to video the event, and plans are to have a guest presenter from the Metal Museum. For their annual social, the group is touring a restoration facility at the Air Zoo, from 3–5 p.m. Cost is $5. Attendees will then meet for dinner in downtown Kalamazoo at The Union. While an overnight stay is not required, a room block is available for travelers. For more information, visit the “Upper Midwest Chapter” section of the NOMMA website and download a flyer. If you are flying into Detroit Metro Airport, Kalamazoo is approximately a two-hour drive. Contact Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators Inc., Fax: (314) 772-5991; Email: The Gulf Coast group enjoyed a great turnout at their April 17 meeting in Brookhaven, MS.


Chapter News

Northeast Chapter

Lady Liberty’s staircase highlights meeting Members of the Northeast Chapter were treated to a presentation on the Statue of Liberty’s stair system during their April 17 meeting in Metuchen, NJ. Hosting the meeting was SRS Inc., a high-end shop that recently completed an interior renovation of Lady Liberty’s stairs. In addition to the presentation, the 16 members in attendance toured the shop and enjoyed seeing various jobs in progress. Also, Richard Gaynor of Middleton & Co. Insurance provided a seminar designed

to assist fabricators in reviewing their insurance protection for completeness, accuracy, and cost effectiveness. Attendees got to see several projects in progress during their tour of SRS Inc.

Gulf Coast Networking Group

Attendees enjoy field measuring class The Gulf Coast Networking Group held their meeting at Imagine Ironworks in Brookhaven, MS on April 17. The day started with a business session, which featured announcements and updates on NOMMA news. Next, Tony Thornton of DoorKing gave a gate operator PowerPoint presentation and discussed operator safety. Afterward, attendees enjoyed watching shop video tours which were re-runs of the videos featured at METALfab 2009. The grand finale of the day was a field measuring seminar that featured an actual stair mockup. Leading the presentation was James Minter Jr., with help from the Imagine Ironworks staff. The event, which enjoyed a nice turnout of 25 people, also included a shop tour, the famous buck-ina-bucket drawing, and a delicious lunch. The night before early arrivers were treated to a dinner at the Minters’ home. And after the chapter meeting a few NOMMA members stayed to visit a garden show in downtown Brookhaven. Fabricator n May/June 2010


Advertiser’s Index A thanks to the following advertisers for their support of O&MM Fabricator magazine Pg Company* Website 68...Alloy Casting Co. Inc...........................................

Pg Company* Website 51...Jansen Ornamental Supply Co..............

3......Apollo Gate

38...Jesco Industries Inc......................................

19....Architectural Iron

75....King Architectural Metals............................


68...Laser Precision Cutting....................................

69...Atlas Metal Sales.............................................

9......Lawler Foundry

18....Big Blu Hammer Mfg.

2......Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc.....................

37...Blacksmiths Depot...........................

70....Lindblade Metal

37...Blue Moon................................................


15....Blum & Co. Inc.,

70....Mooney Inc.,

66...COLE-TUVE Inc.....................................................

69...NC Tool Co.

46...Cable Connection, The...............

67...National Custom Craft

71....Campbell Folk School, John

45...Carell Corp.........................................................

63...R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine

27...Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co.....................


57....Colorado Waterjet

20...Rogers Mfg. Inc........................................

35...CompLex Industries

10....Sharpe Products....................................

26...Custom Iron by

39...Shop Outfitters.........................................

25...D & D Technologies (USA) Inc....................


4......D.J.A. Imports Ltd...........................................


26...DAC Industries

60...Steptoe & Wife Antiques

45...Eagle Bending Machines.....

47....Sumter Coatings

34...Eberl Iron Works

56...Sur-Fin Chemical Corp..........................


41....TACO Metals Inc..............................................

21...FabCAD Inc..............................................................

67...TigerStop LLC......................................................

31...Feeney Architectural..........................................

63...Traditional Building.......................

33...G-S Co., The................................................................

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

23...Hebo - Stratford

38...Universal Entry Systems Inc...................................(800) 837-4283

71....Hougen Mfg. Inc..................................................

7......Wagner Companies,

57....International Gate

30...Weaver’s Iron Works.......................

76....Iron Shop,

43...YAC Equipment & Machinery................

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Book Review

Time too get back to trade education Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. Matthew Crawford ( The Penguin Press, 2009. By Rachel Bailey Managing Editor The other night I picked up takeout at an Atlanta original, The Vortex. If any of you motorheads ever find yourselves in Atlanta on a Thursday night, Bike Nite, check it out. It couldn’t have been more serendipitous that I happened to be there and newly reassigned to Fabricator magazine, when a building contractor engaged me in a conversation about this great book — Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Mathew Crawford. Some of you motorcycle enthusiasts may have read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, also by Crawford. The building contractor who suggested the book enjoyed it because he agreed with its basic premises, and so do I: 1) You don’t really know something — at least not critically — until you physically do it. 2) Not everyone is cutout to be a “knowledge worker.” 3) It’s a shame that shop class is no longer available in most middle and high schools across this country. It is a shame, and many people don’t realize that what most of us referred to as shop or automotive class is now gone, often replaced by computer labs.

Implications for students and the workforce

Crawford feels sorry for students today who might prefer to work with their hands but have no outlet to hone their manual skills. Not only are students unable pursue their talents, it leaves them with little awareness of what their potential might be. While the “tradesmen must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality, where one’s failures or shortcoming cannot be interpreted away. His well-founded pride is far from the gratuitous ‘self esteem’ that educators would impart to students, as though by magic,” (p .15). Further, Crawford suggests, such lack of self-awareness makes students more vulnerable to the “manipulations of marketing” (p. 18). During the course of the book Crawford makes some interesting points about the effects of technology on the nature of work. I didn’t realize when Ford introduced his famous assembly line in 1913, workers were so appalled by the deskilling nature of it that each time the company “wanted to hire 100 men to its factory, it was necessary to hire 963,” (p. 42). 74

Like Ford’s assembly line, Crawford finds today’s so-called knowledge workers equally denied the opportunity to apply inherent critical thinking skills. Rather than an automated machine doing it for them, some highly complex bureaucratic business model handles it. While I agree with most of what Crawford says, some points criticizing “the depersonalization of work” seem a little naïve. Rather than get into them here, I’ll let you determine them for yourselves. What I enjoyed most, though, are chapters 4 and 5 where Crawford describes in story-like form his own education as a gearhead. He talks about learning the hard way why the idealized string theory his father (a mathematical physicist) explained to him failed to apply to the motor of his 1963 VW Bug. Instead the laws of “tensile strength and resistance to torque shear,” helped Crawford ensure his Bug’s motor would last 1000,000 miles. NOMMA supports trade education

NOMMA is of course hopeful toward the idea of developing more accessible trade education in our country. Some NOMMA members teach welding and forging at their local community colleges; others lead workshops and teach at art and craft schools. The NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) supports trade education in various ways, including certification. “This is a relatively new, two-part initiative for us,” says NEF Chair Roger Carlsen, Ephraim Forge. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. Rather, we’d like to first determine where the gaps are for our industry and then work with sister organizations to fill those gaps.” Certification could apply not just for those seeking a certain level of mastery, but also to certify those qualified to teach. Another idea is to formulate some kind of employee exchange. As mentioned in Carlsen’s column on page 64, NEF also supports education through NOMMA’s chapter outreach and through an online education initiative, which includes a video tutorial program. Discovering this book is perfect timing as I get re-acclimated to the metalworking industry and to NOMMA’s education platform. Just a few pages into it, I felt another sense of serendipity when I read on page 13 about the Golden Ratio, a term I first learned from Roger Carlsen during a NOMMA demo several years ago. The Golden Ratio, Roger explained, is the secret to forging perfect scrolls. Crawford says the secret and the ratio have something to do with self-correcting oscillations: “This seems to capture the kind of iterated self-criticism, in light of some ideal that is never quite attained, whereby the craftsman advances in his art,” (p. 13). This is where it gets a little too technical for me, but I’m sure you fabricators get it. And that’s another reason why I think Shop Class as Soulcraft is something you might want to read (or at least put on the shelf, next to your Fabricator magazine collection). Fabricator n May/June 2010

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