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Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal


The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

September/October 2010 $6.00 US

Job Profile

Sergey’s 2010 Mitch Heitler Award page 40 Shop Talk

Breathe easier: Air filtration page 19

Member Talk

Making a big Arizona impression, page 33

Biz Side

How members find good hires, page 59


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September/October 2010 Vol. 51, No. 5

Pro-Fusion cleanly welded 4 sections 12” dia. ¼” wall to form this stainless steel scultpure, page 51

Tips & Tactics

Member Talk

Simplify irregular railing work — in 6 steps.......................................14 A simple jig made of tire rims beats using a flat horizontal layout. By Pete Hildebrandt Induction heaters: Alternative to gas/coal forging.............................18 This efficient heating system may give your fab shop a custom edge. By Rachel Bailey Shop Talk Breathe easier: Air filtration....19 Simple systems help manage the risk of metal dust and fumes. By Jeff Fogel Save energy, filter air...................29 A case study on modified air curtains offers new ideas for going green. By Michael Coscarelli President’s Letter........... 6

A broader perspective makes bad times look better.

Making a big Arizona impression........................................33 First Impression Security Doors Inc. expands and enhances product line. By Pete Hildebrandt Job Profiles Sergey’s forging excellence......40 2010 Mitch Heitler winner took home several awards for all forged work. By Lisa Bakewell Gates: The finishing touch.......................47 Wally’s Iron Works shares details on one of their best jobs in 44 years. By Carl Wallace Wally’s custom fabricated a pedestrian and driveway gate using components from King.

Exec. Director’s Letter.... 8

NOMMA’s new knowledgebased culture.

Handling a certified SS welding project like a pro...........................51 Pro-Fusion puts a spider crane to work on a 24-foot tall SS sculpture. By Don Walsh Biz Side New tax audits underway.........55 Don’t be surprised if the IRS wants to study your employment tax filters. By Mark E. Battersby Finding good help is hard.........59 Learn what some NOMMA members do to evaluate potential wokers. By Pete Hildebrandt What’s Hot! Nationwide Suppliers.................63 New Members.................................64 News/Events....................................65 People.................................................67 New Products/Literature..........68

NEF Chair Letter............ 12

METLALfab 2011 planning involves you!

Metal Moments............. 74

Basic advice on welding aluminum.

About the cover: NOMMA member Sergey Sarkirkin Blacksmith won the 2010 Mitch Heitler Award

for this forged grand stair adorning a Las Vegas, NV residence. September/October 2010 n Fabricator


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 Vice Chair Christopher Maitner Christopher . Metal Fabricating Grand Rapids, MI Treasurer Mike Boyler Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc. Bettendorf, IA

T rustees Stacey Lawler Taylor Lawler Foundry Corp. Birmingham, AL Heidi Bischmann The Wagner . Companies Milwaukee, WI James Minter, Jr. Imagine Ironworks Brookhaven, MS

NOMMA C hapters Florida Chapter Britt Gordy, President Liberty Aluminum Co. Fort Myers, FL (239) 369-3000

Northeast Chapter Keith Majka, President Majka Railing Co. Inc. Paterson, NJ 7501 (973) 247-7603

Gulf Coast Chapter Scott Colson, President Iron Innovations Inc. Clinton, MS (866) 924-0640

Upper Midwest Chapter Mark Koenke, President Germantown . Iron & Steel Corp. Richfield, WI (262) 677-2530

NOMMA S taff Executive Director, Editor J. Todd Daniel

Managing Editor Rachel Bailey

Meetings & Exposition Manager; NEF Executive Director Martha Pennington

Departments Editor Lisa Bakewell

Member Care & Operations Manager Liz Johnson


Layout Editor Robin Sherman


Dedicated to the success of our members and industry.

President’s Letter

Putting our hard times in perspective In these tough economic times it

mediate family survived. is hard to know where it is all In good times, electricity going. I know that some shops was intermittent. Now there are having hard times. I would was no electricity, no water, and like to help put it in perspective. no law. A little over four years ago Their family of five moved my wife was preparing to go on into a two-man tent in a nearby a mission trip to Haiti. Her best field. Their home was cracked friend is on the board of Serve Bruce Boyler, and listing to one side. They Boyler’s Haiti, a group that established were told not to go inside. Ornamental a clinic up in the mountains After about a month the Iron Inc., is to give free medical care to the president owner of the field told everyresidents, where there was none of NOMMA. one that he wanted them off his at all. She called and wanted to property, so their family was know if we might be interested forced to move back into their in hosting a student. It seems home. They sleep close to the that a local college was part of doors in case another aftera national program to bring Central shock hits. Americans to this country and educate There are no jobs to speak of in them for the first two years of college. Haiti, and they have seen no signs After a brief meeting and a backof the billions of dollars donated to ground check, we were accepted into help. We are trying to help Ruth get the program. Two weeks later Ruth a green card to work in the United arrived from Haiti and was warmly States, which seems to be the best received into our family. way for her to make some money to We were fortunate to receive not help her family. only one of the few students that spoke The Haitian people are strong and English, but Ruth also speaks Creole, will recover. The question is when and English, French, and Spanish. She is to what extent. studying Japanese for fun. Ruth became our fifth child and Fortunate reminder taught us all many things. She served The only reason that I share this on the student council as secretary story with you is to remind us how and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. fortunate we truly are. I hope that none of us ever has to Helping in Haiti endure the type of pain and suffering It was hard to say goodbye, but that the Haitian people have suffered. Ruth was intent on taking back the We may be experiencing some hard knowledge that she had received here times, but that too shall pass. There and making a difference in Haiti. She are signs that our economy is starting moved back into the three-room home to improve. With some hard work, a with her parents, just outside Port au little planning, and each other’s help, Prince. She worked several jobs to help we will soon be stronger support her family. Then six months than ever. ago the earthquake came. In one brief moment her world was turned literally upside down. She was surrounded by death and destruction. Fortunately all the members of her imFabricator n September/October 2010


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Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator (ISSN 0191-5940), is the official publication of the National . Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals . Association (NOMMA). O&MM Fabricator / NOMMA 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 Jim Gorzek, Ph: (815) 227-8269. Email: Ads are due on the first Friday of the month. preceding the cover date. Send ads to: Fabricator at address above. E-mail ads to: (max. 5 megs by email). 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. © 2010 National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 8


How to reach us

Executive Director’s Letter

A lesson from history I recently watched the 2005

The next major step was documentary “Gallipoli,” and in October 2009, when your highly recommend it. NOMMA board identified five The 2-hour movie chronicles priority areas and assigned a one of the greatest battles of task force for each area. Two World War I, which pitted the of these task forces have comAllies against the Turks. The pleted their missions, and the campaign was a disaster for the remaining three should be near Todd Daniel Allies, and gives a perfect excompletion by October. ample of how to do everything is executive Throughout this process we wrong. In the end, over 130,000 director of have followed the Tecker ModNOMMA. soldiers died, including Turks, el, which is one of two popular Brits, French, Aussies, New Zea“best practices” models used landers, and Indians. in the association world. The Here are some lessons inventor of the model, Glenn learned from this ill-fated batTecker, is a noted author and tle, which was “planned” by the consultant with a long list of British War Council: credentials. In February 2009 he came and taught us his model, and we have n Do not make huge assumptions. Back your assumptions with research since put it into action. The model has and data. completely changed NOMMA’s governance, board, and strategic planning n Know your opponent. This could also be a competitor. structure. n Have good intelligence and know the terrain. In strategic planThe Model ning lingo, this is called “an environTo describe the Tecker model in mental scan.” one phrase, I would say, “knowledgebased culture.” No longer does our n Plan every step of your campaign. board say, “Yes, that’s a good idea, let’s As the story goes, after failing to do it.” Rather, the board has a strategic defeat the Turks with naval power process in place that requires systemalone, the Brits executed a horribly atic data collection, time for deliberaplanned troop landing. The Allies tion, consideration of options, and did not know the terrain, they were other steps. Any decision must also ill-supplied, did not know the troop be properly provisioned (money and strength of their enemy, and, most labor), and there must be a feedback importantly, they did not have a plan. loop to ensure that we are staying on Just saying, “We’ll land and the enemy course. will surrender” didn’t do the trick. The Tecker Model is a great procedure that anyone can use in their Real life business. Had Winston Churchill used Currently, NOMMA is entering the such a model when planning the Galthird year of a comprehensive stratelipoli campaign, I believe the outcome gic planning campaign. Our campaign would have been far different. Fortustarted in 2008 by hiring an outside nately for the free world, Mr. Churchill consultant who interviewed staff, vollearned from his mistakes. unteer leaders, members, and former members. The interviews produced valuable data and helped us to complete a new strategic plan in November of that year. Fabricator n September/October 2010

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The NOMMA Network

Tap into the power of networking your NOMMA membership comes through education and networking. The more you network, the more doors you open, and you are exposed to new ideas and contacts. Networking is a must for both your business and professional development. NOMMA members in particular are passionate networkers, and they love to share as much as they enjoy learning. So, how do you tap into this network? Here are a few ways: n METALfab. NOMMA’s annual conference and trade show is the hub

of networking. Attendees regularly tell us that they learn as much from their discussions in halls and bars as they do in class. n Chapters. If you live in an area serviced by a chapter, attendance is strongly encouraged. And even if you don’t have a chapter in your area, you have an open invitation to attend any NOMMA chapter meeting. Our chapters are regional and provide an opportunity to meet other professionals in your area. n ListServ. The NOMMA email discussion list is extremely popular, and some say it’s their greatest member benefit. Each day there are conversations that range from employee issues to fabrication techniques. Once subscribed, the easiest way to get involved in the group is to Chapters provide a great place for networking. Shown is a scene from the May meeting of the Upper Midwest Chapter. simply post a The power of

question or answer someone else’s question. n Other Ways. Volunteering to serve NOMMA or NEF is a great way to get to know people and expand your horizons. NOMMA leaders often say, “The more you give, the more you’ll receive.” Additional ways to network include participating in webinars and posting messages and becoming active in NOMMA’s member area, plus our social media communities — Facebook and LinkedIn. Whether it’s online or face-toface, I encourage all members to “plug in.” And if you are not a member, consider joining the NOMMA family. — Todd Daniel NOMMA Exec. Dir.

NOMMA honors long-time supplier member Sam Paresi The NOMMA Board has voted to give

a Honorary Lifetime Membership to Sam Paresi of Julius Blum & Co. Inc. Sam, a regular at NOMMA conventions for many years, is a well-known supporter and contributor to the industry. He is a long-time member of the NOMMA Standards Committee and continues to serve on NOMMA’s Technical Affairs Team. In earlier years he was involved in writing technical publications. Sam is also a cofounder of the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, TN. He remains active with the museum as a member of their Resource Board. In 1992, he received the Julius 10

Sam and his wife Marge, shown in 1982. Sam Paresi (center) is shown with two other industry legends — the late Ernest Wiemann and Henry Bills. Photo taken in 2001.

Blum Award for his outstanding contributions to the industry. Sam is the first person to receive an honorary membership in five years. He now joins a distinguished group of eight other members.

Plans are to formally recognize Sam during the January meeting of the Northeast Chapter, which will take place in Long Island. All of Sam’s customers are invited for this special ceremony. Fabricator n September/October 2010

News & events around the NOMMA Network Certification teams begin face-to-face meetings Since April, the NEF Certification Task Force has held phone meetings and has been developing outlines for both a shop and individual certification program. NEF Chair Roger Carlsen leads the task force and is also chair of the individual certification subgroup. Leading the shop certification subgroup is Henry Wheeler Henry Wheeler. is chairing The Task Force has the shop enjoyed overwhelm- certification subgroup. ing member support, and 17 members serve on the team. In mid-September, the shop team held its first face-to-face meeting in Birmingham, AL, and plans are for both subgroups to hold additional meetings. At METALfab 2011, both groups will give a presentation on their work, and there will be an opportunity for input from the audience.

NEF Webinars continue to enjoy success In January, NEF launched a webinar series that continues to enjoy strong participation from the membership. The webinars are held 2-3 times a month and cover a variety of topics, including building codes, sales techniques, insurance, web sites, and more. The webinars are held on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. EDT and last 60 minutes. The only equipment needed is a telephone, computer, and Internet connection. If you own a headset, you can save on long distance charges by using the Voice Over Internet connection. A typical webinar consists of a presentation followed by Q&A. At any point, you can submit questions using the chat feature. Webinars are archived in the member’s area for future viewing. In addition to the various presentations, a NOMMA 101 webinar is given monthly. Designed for new members, the webinar gives an overview of

benefits and provides a live tour of NOMMA’s online resources. To register for a webinar, visit the NOMMA website ( Consider purchasing a NOMMA banner for your shop NOMMA’s branding campaign has gone into high speed with a new addition. All members are encouraged to place the NOMMA logo on their business cards, invoices, Yellow Page ads, etc. The prize is a Snickers bar. And now, if you place the logo on your business card AND display a NOMMA banner in your shop, rumor has it that an entire box of Snickers will appear at your shop. Banners can be made at your local sign store, plus the NOMMA office has partnered with a company in Georgia. For more info, visit: http://tinyurl. com/36zv85v.

Join NOMMA Today! What’s New Online? Our online members website is constantly improving. Recent additions include: • Vendor Discount Program - Our member’s only vendor program is brand new, but growing fast. (Member Resources). • Yellin Gallery - Enjoy looking at the work of one of our industry’s greatest pioneers and innovators. (Knowledgebase). • Past Webinars, including the popular presentation on Stair Codes (Tutorials) • Blog Articles - New Articles Posted Include “Health Care Reform Demystified” and “Creating A Positive Workplace” (Blogs). Coming Soon: Access the Member’s Only Area with your smart phone.

MEMBERSHIP SPECIAL: New Members Can Join At 1/2 Price - Offer Expires Oct. 15 For a complete list of member benefits, visit and click “Join” September/October 2010 n Fabricator



NOMMA Educational Foundation

In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

METALfab 2011 promises a member driven program The big news, at this point in time, is that the educa-

members, you can use one of NEF’s Kodak Zi8 video tion sessions for METALfab have been finalized, and cameras to video graph it, and we can post it on our they look really great. Without exception, the semiMember’s Only website. If you are interested in using nars have been designed by you and for you. one of these cameras or have any questions, simply During METALfab 2010 we started gathering contact either me or NEF’s Executive Director Martha information from the membership as to what they Pennington, (888) 516-8585, ext 104. wanted to see in New Orleans for 2011. Input was gathered regarding the format, the seminars, the NEF live and silent auctions Update from on-the-show-floor demonstrations, the times, and Without a doubt, the NEF Auction has become one anything else that would go into making this the best NEF Chair of the most anticipated events held each year at the Roger Carlsen, ever METALfab. And we listened. METALfab Convention and Expo. With the generous Ephraim Some of the sessions, that we feel will be in great Forge Inc. help of over 100 donors, bidders and auction volundemand, will be repeated. There will be more onteers last year’s auction raised over $24,000 to support the-show-floor demonstrations. There will be shop the educational and research work of the NEF. tours both live and video. There will be programs for The next NEF live and silent auctions take place at spouses and family members who might not be inMETALFAB 2011 in New Orleans, LA. All proceeds terested in the seminars. A fantastic theme party and help NEF provide quality education for the ornamenfund raising auction are being planned. tal and miscellaneous metals industry through continuing Again, the educational seminars are designed from what education programs, video productions, educational publiyou, the membership, have either requested or shown great cations, as well as supporting special projects important to interest in on the ListServe, and the same is true for show the industry. floor demonstrations. The only thing now that is missing to make this the BEST METALfab ever is YOU. Please register Make a difference! Get involved in METALfab 2011 and make your hotel rooms reservations early so that we can n Plan now to attend the St. Patrick’s Day Party (Theme make sure you are included. Dinner) and Auction on Thursday, March 17, 2011. n Volunteer for the Auction Committee. Contact: Heidi NEF webinars Bischmann, The ongoing NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) n Make a tax-deductible contribution of an auction webinars are continuing with great success. One of the great item. See donation forms at benefits of the webinars is that they are now archived so that Contact Heidi Bischmann, NEF Auction Chair, not only can you listen at your convenience but if the topic, or visit, or is something that you feel would benefit your employees call the NOMMA office at (888) 516-8585, ext. 101. they too can listen at a convenient time. NOMMA certification

The NOMMA certification teams are hard at work tackling a very complex task. Both individual and shop certifications are being worked on and, in fact, one of the education sessions at METALfab 2011 will be on certifications. We plan to have the chairperson of the individual certification team and of the shop certification team present the status of their committees. Video tutorials

The NEF Zi8 program is progressing nicely. Have you looked at any of the postings yet; they are very informative. Remember, if you have a special technique, piece of equipment, or concept that you would like to share with other 12

Items donated for NEF’s 2010 silent auction. Between the silent and live auctions held at METALfab 2010, NEF raised over $24,000. Fabricator n September/October 2010

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Tips& Tactics n Simplifying irregular railing work — in 6 steps Use a jig made of tire rims and welding fixtures. By Peter Hildebrandt

method he felt was frustratingly slow and clunky. To construct these irregular railings more easily, Walsh recently came up with a unique system to build the railings through the use of round tire rims. He feels that once you use this system, you will never go back to the old way. For him it has been revolutionary in the simplification of his work on irregular stair railings.

For many years, Robert Walsh, R.

Walsh Gate & Railing Co., Pepin, WI, had always done the layout and construction work for railings, flat or horizontal, on his layout table. But railings often involve shapes that are irregular, curves or angles, and, in these cases, the flat horizontal layout

Step He starts with a basic 15-inch 1 steel tire rim (Walsh has six

such rims in his shop). The rims have a reasonably plumb section of pipe welded in the center with two

tachments long sections of 4-inch square tubing are laid horizontally. And on top of the tubing, sheets of plywood can be laid to make temporary tables in various sizes for a project as needed.

used to establish the plan view. Elevation measurements are then taken with a laser beam and surveyer’s pole. Both railings will receive laterals.

Step For this railing project in the 4 rims, which are bolted to the

Step The current project Walsh is 3 working on is two curved raillocking T-bolts. And then an additional three-legged base is often bolted to this rim, via the stud with the nut to the right of the pipe. On the end of the three legs are vertical adjusting bolts used to make everything plumb.

Step When additional layout table 2 space is needed, Walsh slips

attachments like this into the wheel rim bases. On top of these at-

ings for both sides of the new steps shown here. The foot locations are laid out on the duct tape. Measurements and triangulations are


Fabricator would like to publish your step-by-step tutorial or problem/solution case study. Please contact the Editor at (888) 516-8585 or e-mail: 14

Fabricator n September/October 2010

base extensions with the three extension arms, long pipes are now added and plumbed. On the pipes, adjustable tables are added in the locations and at the heights needed to replicate the laid out foot locations from the job site. The adjustable arms you see on the vertical pipes will be clamped to the vertical members of the railing. Notice the bubble leveler on top of the pipe.

Step For the starter post this setup is 5 used to keep everything as low

as possible in the shop. (Walsh prefers not to weld all over his nice flat base plate and warp it; therefore, he first levels it with the four ¾-inch corner bolts. Next, he welds a piece of

on the second step. Once everything is positioned, 3/8-inch rods are welded to connect everything, so it all stays where it should be. Walsh also traces around the foot locations with chalk on the floor.

Step Then the starter posts are set as 6 necessary.

Here you see the adjustable tables with the one-inch square railing verticals

positioned and held in place with the adjustable arms.

scrap from the top of one corner bolt to the top of another. Now all the bolts stay in position and the scrap provides something to weld to. The bar projecting up and out and welded to the scrap bar is positioned to represent the nose





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Illustrated above is the NFPA 5000 wall bracket. This illustration shows the 2-1/4” wall to rail clearance and the 1-1/2” rail to bracket arm clearance that is required.

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Tips& Tactics n Induction heaters: Alternative to gas/coal forging Induction heating is a non-contact

heating process using high frequency electricity to heat materials that are electronically conductive. “Even though your electric meter may look out of control, the time you save using this type of heating source can increase your production of some items,” says Chris Holt of Steel Welding, who recently hosted a meeting of the Pittsburgh Area Artists Blacksmith’s Association (PAABA) where NOMMA’s Education Foun- The base unit of Carlsen’s induction heater is from China. It had to be wired for U.S. electricity and other dation chair Roger Carlsen demend-user modifications were added. onstrated his induction heater. “The system heats mild steel almost Carlsen. “Unlike a gas or coal forge, instantly, which is then ready to shape, you don’t have to wait for the temperahammer, and twist,” Holt says. “There ture to come up.” is definitely value in saving time.” Compact. “It’s also good for fab shops who want to add custom flare How it works to a project,” Carlsen explains. “They Typically an induction heater operdon’t have to invest the same time, ates at either medium frequency (MF) space, and material necessary to run a or radio frequency (RF) ranges. It’s traditional forge.” made of three main components: Relatively inexpensive. While larger 1) a power unit or power inverter, units serve industrial application of 2) a work head or transformer, and heat treating, a fabricator could pur3) a coil or inductor. chase a base unit, a water cooler, and Electricity conducts through all the pieces necessary to operate for ¼-inch copper tubing (coil) creating less than $4,000. “And in about 10 years an intense magnetic field while water these units will probably be more deruns through the tubing to keep it and veloped for our industry,” Carlsen says. the base unit from burning up. In sec“So the price will come down more.” onds the coils heat to 1700 degrees and even upwards of 2500 degrees. Applications for fabricators Tooling for repoussé work. If you Advantages need to make a specific design on a It’s fast. “From the time you open tool end, you can do it real quick with your shop door to when your work an induction heater. piece is hot enough to slam a hammer Heat treating tools in general. You down is less than one minute,” says can harden and draw temper on steel

tools in general, like a chisel, with very little effort. Tight bends. It’s also great for making tight bends on localized areas. Fast, economical heats for forging. You can program settings on the unit to hold heat for a set time and then cool down and heat back up again — great for production of pickets. Drawbacks

Coil design. “The coil designs can be challenging. You have to build them yourself or pay to have someone custom fabricate them for you” says Carlsen. “For the different size and configuration (round, square, flat) of your work pieces, you need a different coil design. So you need to have a number of coils for the different applications. “However, once you understand the coil design theory they are cheap and relatively easy to make. The change out of the coils is very quick and readily accomplished utilizing copper tube compression fittings.” Looking to buy a unit?

Although Roger does not sell the units nor have any vested interest in their sales give him a call, (815) 4645656 and he can help direct you to suppliers. There are a couple guys making these units on a small-scale basis. Thanks to Chris Holt of Steel Welding and Roger Carlsen of Ephraim Forge for sending in this tip.


Fabricator would like to publish your tips and tactics. Please contact the Editor at (888) 516-8585 or e-mail: 18

Fabricator n September/October 2010

Welding exhaust: A window-mounted compressor turbine pulls fumes safely out of the shop at Ball and Chain Forge.

Shop Talk

Breathe easier: Air filtration, aah For your information


What you’ll learn n While shop vacs tend to redistribute dust, canister vacs and central vacuum systems are more effective at reducing it. n Using a blower on a gas forge, like on a coal forge, may significantly reduce air pollution. n The two main air pollutants in a metal shop are metal fumes and dust. n Heating galvanized steel is a no-no, but zinc oxide is even more benign. n A review of fume hazards associated with welding includes stainless steel’s hexachrome risk. n Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests metal fabrication is on the lower end of the danger spectrum. 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.

September/October 2010 n Fabricator


Welding fumes and dust are a challenge in any forge or fab shop, but simple systems can help manage the risk.

By Jeff Fogel One day, Dave Court of Bay Hill Forge,

Northfield, NH, got to wondering — exactly when, not even Dave remembers — about the air in his blacksmith shop. More specifically, he wondered about what was in the air besides the usual nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. I’m sure this has occurred to most of us, given our line of work. But most of us don’t live next door to an industrial hygienist. In answer to Dave’s musings, his neighbor replied, “Why wonder, when you can test?” The answer to this rhetorical question took the form of a passel of curious looking canisters and monitors, placed everywhere in Dave’s shop, including one on Dave himself. Tubes and pumps hummed softly like aquarium filters as they sucked air samples into polyvinylchloride filters. The filters were collected and duly sent off to a laboratory to check for the presence of oxides, lead, and combustibles.

The results were predictable. All but one, that is. As it turned out, the lion’s share of pollution came not from a coal forge, a MIG welder, or bench grinder; it came from a broom. From that day on, Dave Court vowed that from where the sun now stands, he would sweep no more, forever. Dealing with dust and fumes

Thus Bay Hill Forge’s air cleansing system was born. He purchased a commercial vacuum with a 20-foot hose. A commercial vac is essentially a souped Commercial up home vacuum. The main difference canister vac: After 23 years, is horsepower and the beast is still price. Twenty-three beautiful. Dave’s years ago, Dave part- commercial ed with about $600 cannister vac can for one. Today they still clean house. go for around $1,400, and a 20-foot replacement hose is about $100. 19

The extra horsepower turned out to be problematic for a metal shop. The metal particulate matter came roaring into the vac with enough force to shred the cloth of the collection bag. Dave tried removing the bag but the sound was hideous. So he devised a baffle system which caught the sharp edged particulate matter, letting it drop into the bag without tearing it. The vac alone has reduced dust in his shop by about 95 percent. In retrospect, though, Dave would have gone with a central system for the cost savings (about half that of a commercial canister vac) and the convenience. And don’t think you can get away with a shop vac. As Dave puts it, shop vacs don’t remove dust; they redistribute it. Try putting a flashlight on the exhaust port of a shop vac. You’ll see what he’s talking about. Coal forge exhaust

The other modification Dave made was to install a draft inducer on his coal forge. This is essentially a 1 hp,

Airflow of the coal forge exhaust system at Dave Court’s shop, Bay Hill Forge.



4 2 1. The coal forge connects to a ceiling conduit. 2. At the work station intake, a flexible hose makes for easy positioning. 3. The flexible work station hose feeds into the main conduit. 4. The main conduit connects to a compressor turbine. Fumes have left the building!

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220v compressor turbine mounted in the wall near the ceiling. It’s connected to the forge by means of a ceilingmounted conduit. The draft is sufficiently powerful to allow Dave to feed hoses from various work stations in the shop to points along the main conduit. That took care of the rest of the air pollution. As it turns out, the main air system at Bob Menard’s shop, Ball and Chain Forge, in Portsmouth, ME, was inspired by the one at Bay Hill Forge. Shortly after Dave installed his system, Bob and Dave got to talking about the subject of air filtration. That got Bob to thinking. And the thinking got him to make a few alterations in his shop. He installed a draft inducer and a full capture hood on the coal forge. And like Dave, he relegated brooms to a memory; he purchased a good vacuum, effective, but as Bob describes it, “not as sexy as the one in Dave’s shop.” I’ll admit that’s an interesting perspective on vacuums. But, you know, blacksmiths . . .

Coal forge (left): Bob Menard’s coal forge. Between the full capture hood on Bob Menard’s coal forge, and an induced draft, nothing escapes into the shop at Ball and Chain Forge. Gas forge (below): A blower boosts the combustion efficiency on the gas forge at Ball and Chain Forge, making it burn much more cleanly.

Gas forge exhaust

Another change took the form of innovations to the two propane forges that Bob uses. Like coal forges, gas forges use an oxygen enriched flame to bring metal to forging temperature. The air is supplied in a coal forge by

means of a blower. In gas forges, it’s typically introduced into the forge by a venturi effect. The problem with this is that it produces incomplete combustion, releasing carbon monoxide and unburned propane into the shop air. Bob’s forges (which he also has been marketing) have an interesting twist.

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Fabricator n September/October 2010

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They use a blower, like on a coal forge. This is a much cleaner system and reduces shop pollution significantly. Managing welding fumes

Bob also took steps to manage welding fumes in his shop, particularly hexachrome, a byproduct from arc welding stainless steel. As Bob describes it, his shop does a pile of welding, including stick, MIG, and TIG. A simple air system takes care of the fumes.

While eye protection is so

common among welders that the goggles and mask have become symbols of the craft, more shops are turning their attention to respiratory protection from welding fumes.

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Work station hoods were connected to a duct leading to an exhaust fan in a window, covering most welding and cutting jobs. For the larger ones he simply has the workers use canister respirators. Review of welding fumes

So what, exactly, is in the air of a typical blacksmith or fabrication shop? I caught up with Theresa Ferrara, Dave’s neighbor and asked her to fill in some details. Basically, she explained that the twin culprits in all metal shops are metal fumes and dust. These include lead, iron oxides, zinc oxides, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, combustion gasses, and ozone. While eye protection is so common among welders that the goggles and mask have become symbols of the craft, more shops are turning their attention to respiratory protection from welding fumes. It’s common knowledge by now that heating galvanized steel is a nono. But despite all the dire admonitions, zinc oxide is actually one of the more benign shop pollutants. Ferrara calls it an honest chemical. Symptoms of zinc toxicity are both immediate and acute. You definitely know you have it, and you know right away. You’ll feel nauseous, weak, and dizzy. But it’s usually not a permanent or fatal condition. Get away from the fumes — get some fresh air — and you’ll get better. Other toxins are more insidious. But most of these can be easily dealt with by the aforementioned methods — vacuuming and draft inducing — which cover all but the most weldingintensive shops. For shops that do a lot of welding, there are a few things that bear mentioning on their own merits. Arc welding


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When you arc weld the filler, the base material, and the base metal coating, all release small, solid particles in a plume. This plume is known as a welding fume. All welding produces fumes — the types of fumes depends on what and how you’re welding — but they are most prevalent in arc welding. The fumes can contain aluFabricator n September/October 2010

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minum, beryllium, cadmium oxides, chromium, copper, fluorides, iron oxide, lead, molybdenum, nickel, vanadium, and zinc oxides. Shielded metal arc welding

Shielded metal arc welding — both carbon and mild steel — releases manganese dioxide into the air. Unlike zinc or chromium, manganese fumes don’t come from the material being welded or heated. The manganese comes from the flux coating on the electrodes. It’s also considered more worrisome than the other welding fumes. Research on manganese

In the early 19th century, J. Couper, a British physician, documented cases of manganese toxicity among workers in a manganese ore processing plant in France. They developed loss of muscle

And if you needed any more reasons to protect your lungs with the same

resolve you protect your eyes while welding, a recent study of 20,000 workers suggested a possible link between manganese poisoning and early onset of Parkinson’s disease. control, slowed movements, and lowered speech. In 1932, the first article was published warning welders about manganese electrodes. The etymology of the phrase, welder’s disease, to describe

manganese poisoning, or manganism, can be traced to this study. In 1963, Dr. N. Irving Sax, a toxicologist published a book about the effects of manganese on the nervous system. The book dealt primarily with electric arc welding as a source of manganese toxicity. In 1981, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized manganese poisoning as a safety concern among welders. And if you needed any more reasons to protect your lungs with the same resolve you protect your eyes while welding, a recent study of 20,000 workers suggested a possible link between manganese poisoning and early onset of Parkinson’s disease. Although it must be pointed out that, in empirical terms, this is referred to as a shot in the dark, since no one really knows what causes Parkinson’s. Certainly, a majority of Parkinson’s disease sufferers have never welded and think MIG is a kind of Russian jet. On the other hand, you wouldn’t weld without goggles, so why use not some form of lung protection? Just to be on the safe side. Stainless steel and hexachrome

In any discussion of air quality in a fabrication shop, chromium is another fume that should be mentioned. As we know, chromium is what puts the stainless in stainless steel. And chromium, when subjected to an electrical arc, becomes hexavalent chromium (CrVl), known colloquially among laboratory types as hexchrome. Here’s how it works. The arc causes the chromium atoms in the alloy to shed electrons. Six is the magic number, turning the atom into a wildly unstable cation (positive ion), called hexavalent chromium. Hex refers to the number of electrons, while valent describes their geographical position in relation to the atom’s nucleus. Those furthest from the nucleus are called valence electrons. Hence, when six valence electrons go missing, the chromium atom becomes a hexavalent chromium ion. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem. But the alkaline metals in the flux temporarily stabilize the hexchrome 26

Fabricator n September/October 2010


September/October 2010 n Fabricator


ions, allowing them to hang about long enough to reach your breathing zone. Hexchrome is something we want to keep from over-inhaling, mainly because it’s carcinogenic. It’s recently captured the imagination and energies of OSHA (what hasn’t?) as the toxin du jour. To this end they recently adopted a new permissible exposure limit of 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air. I think it’s always best to err on the side of caution, but let me put this number in perspective. There are 1,000 micrograms in a milligram. So

there are 0.005 milligrams in a cubic meter. To further frame it in practical terms, there are 28 million micrograms in an ounce. And one cubic meter is roughly 1.3 cubic yards. Besides, hexchrome is another pollutant which is easily taken care of with proper ventilation and filtration. Fabrication not so hazardous after all

All this being said, fabrication is by no means a hazardous occupation. In fact, a perusal of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ sea of data tables reveals that

there are plenty of occupations that are inherently dangerous. Fabrication is not one of them. In fact, it’s on the lower end of the danger spectrum. But there are certainly things we can all do to make it even safer. And air cleansing systems are one of them. A good shop air system consists essentially of a few fans, a well thought out duct, and a good quality vacuum. What could be simpler? And the cost is minimal when amortized over all the hours, days, and years you spend in your shop. Think about installing one. You’ll breathe easier.

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Shop Talk

Save energy, filter air n

How air curtains can serve a dual purpose for fabrication shops.

For your information


What you’ll learn An industrial metal and welding fab shop in Wisconsin saved energy while improving air quality by outfitting air curtains with filters. Industrial Fabricator Coleman Tool & Manufacturing Corp. 1625 Leider Drive Union Grove, WI 53182 (262) 878-4330 Air Curtain Supplier Berner International Shenango Commerce Park 111 Progress Ave. New Castle, PA 16101 (800) 245-4455 About the author Michael Coscarelli has a B.A. in Business from Penn State University/Indiana University and has been with Berner International, New Castle, PA., for 26 years. He is currently the 53-year-old air curtain manufacturer’s national sales manager. Coscarelli has also been an advocate of furthering the standards and exposure of air curtains as a member of the . sales/marketing committee of the Air Movement & Control Association (AMCA), Arlington Heights, IL, for five years.

September/October 2010 n Fabricator

Berner International manufacturers the air curtains Coleman Tool uses for indoor air quality control and energy savings. The air curtains separate environments for two 16- by 16-foot and one 12- by 12-foot overhead doors.

By Michael Coscarelli Problem: Air curtains specified to save energy don’t help air quality.

When Coleman Tool, a Wisconsin-based metal fabrication and welding company specializing in tool manufacturing and accessories for waste management trucks, opened its new plant, air curtains above shipping doors were specified to save energy. Indoor air quality became a problem when industrial air cleaners couldn’t remove all the welding smoke that formed a haze near the ceiling. Instead of spending tens of thousands on rooftop ventilation equipment, Coleman engineers innovatively fabricated special air filters and metal holders for the air curtains to clean the factory indoor air, creating a totally new use for air curtains. Solution: Outfitting air curtains with filters.

Coleman Tool designed a filter holder they could manufacturer, and which allowed quick access for replacing filters as necessary. The filter holders look good, don’t affect the air curtain’s airflow, and use inexpensive off-the-shelf (MERV 8) filters. 29

Coleman Tool & Mfg. Co. originally

specified air curtains to save monthly winter heating costs, but later discovered a dual purpose of filtering welding process smoke to significantly improve indoor air quality (IAQ). “We hit two birds (energy savings and IAQ) with one stone (air curtain technology),” said Michael Coleman, president, Coleman Tool, Union Grove, WI. Industrial plants have used air curtains above open doorways for


The building now

maintains a 60°F plant wintertime temperature generated purely from the waste heat of its industrial welding process production.

decades to save energy by separating interior and exterior environments. Coleman, a welding, machining and metal fabrication company that specializes in replacement parts for waste disposal vehicles, followed the trend and specified air curtains for its new 60,000-square-foot plant, built by design/build company, Design 2 Construct (D2C), Jackson, WI. An in-house mechanical engineering team, which performed much of the building’s mechanical engineering requirements with D2C, didn’t hesitate to specify air curtains for two 16 by 16-foot and one 12 by 12-foot overhead doors, because of the technology’s renowned energy savings. Coleman Tool now relies on one CFA and two CFC model air curtains, manufactured by Berner International, New Castle, PA, to retain heat while the doors are open at a significant energy savings. Consequently, the building now maintains a 60°F plant wintertime temperature generated purely from the waste heat of its industrial welding process production. This is contrary to its former building that didn’t have air curtains, used supplemental heaters, kept the shipping doors open more frequently, and used exhaust fans to expel welding smoke. Unfortunately wintertime heat was exhausted, too. However, the new building now incurs no supplemental winter heating costs, significantly reduces heat loss during open door periods, and re-circulates heated air through the air curtains, all which contribute to the company’s ongoing green and environmental-consciousness mission, according to Paul Bugner, head of maintenance. The air curtains, which are activated manually or with a limit switch triggered by a door opening, help maintain the temperature because they eliminate outdoor air infiltration. Air curtain technology draws interior air from the facility and discharges it through field-adjustable (+/-20 degree) linear nozzles to produce a non-turbulent air stream that meets the floor approximately at the threshold of the door opening. Temperature differences and prevailing wind conditions cause the majority of air Fabricator n September/October 2010




Paul Bugner, head of maintenance at Coleman Tool, replaces air curtain filters in filter holders his staff designed for quick access.

exchange and resulting energy loss across the opening. An air curtain can contain approximately 70 to 80 percent of that air and return it to the space. Because the air curtain discharges at velocities generally in the range from 3,000 to 6,500 feet per minute, the strong airstream shield prevents outside air and even insect infiltration. To continually protect the door opening from these exterior forces, Berner factory-engineers these air curtain for size, air volume flow rate, airstream velocity and discharge nozzle uniformity, which is critical to air curtain performance. These aerodynamic performances are certified by the Air Movement & Control Association (AMCA) International, an Arlington Heights, II-based not-for-profit association that assures accuracy in the specification claims of air curtains, fans, blowers, and other air movement devices. Need to filter welding smoke

While Coleman Tool was racking up impressive energy savings figures with air curtains, the lack of air infiltration and cross-ventilation during the winter had affected IAQ. To control smoke and other airborne contaminants generated by Coleman Tools’ 10 Miller Electric Mfg. Co., Appleton, WI, welding bays and four igm Robotic Systems, Menomonee Falls, WI, welding stations, mechanical engineers specified 14 Industrial Maid, Cortland, NB, industrial air filter walls that surround the 15,000-squarefoot welding area. Despite the efficacy of the air cleaners, an estimated 20-percent of the smoke still rose up and out of the welding area creating a haze throughout the plant. Energy savings were important, but not at the expense of IAQ, according to Coleman. One expensive solution proposed adding tens of thousands of dollars worth of rooftop make-up air equipment to re-circulate heated air. Instead, Bugner theorized that the air curtains might serve a dual duty as air cleaners as well as energy savers. The high 16-foot height above the doorways was a strategic position to help the air curtains draw in the lofty haze. Some air curtain manufacturers offer options for conSeptember/October 2010 n Fabricator

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The IAQ results have

ventional filtration add-ons; however, Bugner felt heavy industrial welding smoke would need a filter holder designed for quick and frequent replacements to keep labor expenses in check. Also, most conventional fiber filters carry a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of 1 to 6, whereas welding smoke and particulates would need at least a MERV 8 filter, which are the same rating as the filters used in the welding area air cleaners.

been significant.

The haze is gone, the production floor’s air smells fresh, and the plant’s chronic asthma sufferers notice significant breathing improvements.



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“We designed a filter holder we could manufacture ourselves, required only 10 minutes or less to replace, was aesthetic, didn’t affect the air curtain’s airflow and would use inexpensive offthe-shelf filters,” said Coleman, who has since applied for patents on the filter design to market it to industrial air curtain users needing heavy duty filtration. Fine tuning the filtration

Bugner experimented with different combinations of inexpensive filter media and filter holder styles to further drive down maintenance costs. Since a 24 by 24-inch filter is a standard off-the-shelf size, the steel filter holder was fabricated to allow eight pleated fiber filters for the two 16-footwide air curtains (six for the 12-footwide air curtain) to be slid into either end in 10 minutes or less. The filter holder’s metal fabrication, a Coleman Tool specialty, was designed with light weight and rigidity, but also featured an attractive safety grille that also prevented larger items such as hands or other accidental contacts from entering the filter portion. Bugner also experimented with less expensive filter roll material that could be cut to a desired length. This method required a filter holder with a hinged door for easy access. However, it was later decided that aesthetics suffered without the 2 by 2-foot pleated filter framing to hold the material neatly in place. The IAQ results have been significant. The haze is gone, the production floor’s air smells fresh, and the plant’s chronic asthma sufferers notice significant breathing improvements, according to Bugner Coleman executives now believe all industrial buildings should be outfitted with air curtains for energy-saving environmental separation in addition to IAQ filtering reasons. “In our case we had to have air curtains to save energy, so the fact they also boost IAQ is a bonus that carries virtually little additional cost,” Bugner said. “Anyone that thinks they have a clean environment should put up an air curtain with a filter. They’ll find out the air isn’t as clean as they thought.” Fabricator n September/October 2010

Member Talk

Making a big Arizona impression n

Since purchasing First Impression Security Doors Inc. in 2002, the Cornelius family is growing their business beyond Arizona and beyond security doors.

For your information


What you’ll learn n In addition to security doors First Impression also fabricates iron screen and entry doors, wrought iron gates, steel railings, pool and view fencing, window guards, window sunscreens, security window laminate, iron artwork, patio furniture, and spiral staircases. n The firm employs 110 people and operates out of four buildings totaling 21,400 square feet, plus a 3,000 square-foot showroom. n Company mantra: “They can’t get this at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or anywhere else.” CO NTAC T

Tim Cornelius First Impression Security Doors Inc. 1415 North Mondel Dr. Gilbert, AZ 85233 Phone: (480) 924-1104 Fax: (480) 633-3028 About the author Peter Hildebrandt has been a contributing writer for . Fabricator magazine since 2005. He writes about . science, technology, industry, and history for a variety . of trade publications. September/October 2010 n Fabricator

First Impression fabricates more than standard screen security doors. High-end iron entry doors in the range of $5,000 to $15,000 are now a big part of their operations.

By Peter Hildebrandt For Tim Cornelius, his wife Bamie and son Clint, making an outstand-

ing lasting impression seems to be driving their success in a trade they never imagined they would enter. When Tim and Bamie moved to Arizona in 2000, they were getting to know the area and some of Bamie’s friends introduced them to some people who owned First Impression Security Doors in Gilbert, AZ. “The owner of this company was a really good guy,” says Tim. “They had purchased the business from another family who had started the company in 1995 out of their garage.” Tim was a certified public accountant with no background in manufacturing other than perhaps audits he did when he was in public accounting, doing financial statements or book closings. In Arizona he started his own CPA and tax practice. Because it was new he didn’t have that many clients. He’d gotten his insurance license and his Series 7 (a securities license) so he was going down the path of providing financial planning services, investment advice, and tax pointers for clients.


“I’d barely started that and then Bamie had an interest in this manufacturing company. She suggested that we take a look at the business. I had no intention of doing this kind of work. As far as running the operations and fabrication end of the manufacturing, I couldn’t do it and my wife couldn’t do it either.” But their son could. Before working two years with the energy company Enron in their building inspection department, Clint had served in the Navy on the USS Roosevelt, working in the hangar bay managing the planes prior to their moving up to the flight deck. “He was the guy down in the anchor bay running that huge area,” says Cornelius. “He definitely had shop experience on the carrier. But as far as managing and supervising guys — that’s what he did for four years in the navy, and they moved him up pretty quickly. He is a natural leader.” Tim, Bamie and Clint purchased the company in 2002. Clint started the day the plant opened and has been the workhorse that has made it all happen, according to Cornelius. Along with a great staff they have watched the company grow eight times what it was when they began.


Tim Cornelius (top, right to left), his wife Bamie and son Clint own and operate First Impression Security Doors Inc., and manage its 110 employees. Above, First Impression’s headquarters in Gilbert, AZ. The campus there totals 21,400 square feet for manufacturing and showroom space. The company also owns a 3,000 square foot show room (left) in Peoria, AZ.

Fabricator n September/October 2010

“I credit Clint with the smooth running of the shops and the swift lead times we’re able to produce; we are the quickest in delivering a product to the customer than anyone around. If they are in a hurry for something, we can turn it around pretty quickly,” says Tim. Though they never had any huge expectations as they entered the business, the Cornelius family has taken the company in directions earlier owners may not have dreamed possible. The two previous owners focused primarily on security doors. First Impression now fabricates quality iron products including iron screen and entry doors, wrought iron gates, steel railings, pool and view fencing, window guards, window sunscreens, security window laminate, iron artwork, patio furniture, and spiral staircases. They have ventured well beyond the east side of the Phoenix Valley to do home and garden shows and trade shows across Arizona. NOMMA membership has also been a big help with their business.

September/October 2010 n Fabricator

“When you’re doing

hundreds or thousands of something it really pays off to have the machinery to be able to do it yourself. Tim Cornelius, First Impression Security Doors, Gilbert, AZ

Business and operations structure

Clint Cornelius, operations manager, runs the operations from A to Z. His wife, Jennifer, handles accounting, accounts payable, the two-week payroll, and some aspects of working with vendors. Payroll efforts can be especially challenging as they have 110 employees currently. Clint’s sister, Kimberly Montgomery, isn’t involved with the business but her husband Mark Montgomery is sales manager/ marketing director.

Bamie Cornelius, vice president, secretary, and treasurer handles the company’s finances and assists with office operations. And Tim Cornelius, president, handles sales. “Coming from an accounting and finance background does help with the management of your cost, your bottom line, profitability by product, and how to set your prices,” says Tim. “This is something I have been interested in all my life.” First Impression now owns four buildings. They have three buildings at one location in the East Valley in Gilbert, AZ totaling of 21,400 square feet used for manufacturing and showroom space. They also have a 3,000 square foot show room in Peoria, AZ. They were able to purchase them all through Small Business Administration (SBA) financing. “Our vision in trying to grow this business is to have something sustainable through any economic downturns,” says Tim. “And as a result of our growth we’ve been able to weather the recent storm pretty well.”


In their first few years owning the company the Cornelius family nearly doubled the firm’s growth every two years. They advertised all over the Phoenix Valley, started doing home and garden shows, began product diversification in order to offer more products than ever before, and have even started making patio furniture which they are now getting ready to sell, and spiral staircases. Tim considers their operation a fairly complicated business model. They have a complete sales team with 20 inside and outside representatives. Their manufacturing side includes fabricators, welders, grinders, and screeners. In order to accommodate all that new fabrication over the past eight years, they’ve had to become very efficient with their space. And some of the operations are separated by time of day. How the shop runs

First Impression does their own painting and powder coating. Powder coating is done at night because

A Messer CNC operated high definition plasma machine cuts 1/8 inch to ¾ inch and is used for custom designs and scrolls.

they don’t like to weld and paint at the same time. The building is used during the day for welding. Everyone goes home from welding at about 2:30 in the afternoon, and then everything is cleaned up to get the area prepared for painting. “You don’t want steel dust getting mixed up on the surface of what you are painting,” says Tim. After used for painting all night, the area is then prepared for welding once more. “We’re cramped and tight but we get it done, and everything works out,” says Tim. “Our three buildings are small. But they are close together so we can work day to day with workers going easily between each of the buildings; though not under one roof, we are on the same street. “We grew incrementally with SBA loans for the buildings as we continued to grow; we added another building instead of moving out of a building and buying a large building. The nice thing about our buildings is that they’re all right across the street from

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Fabricator n September/October 2010

each other and two of the buildings are connected.” The equipment workhorses at First Impression are a Messer CNC operated high definition plasma machine that cuts 1/8 inch to ¾ inch and is used for their art and scrolls. Their Emmegi Phantomatic T4 A CNC operated mill machine cuts all the latches and key holes. They also have five hydraulic tube/ roll benders and a Haco Atlantic 120-ton press brake. With their new, Germanmade Hebo machinery they are able to do their own scrolls and forge their own edging for the arms of patio furniture. They’re now able to bypass purchasing these fancy additions to their work. They simply purchase the raw material and then are able to creSpiral-line. First Impression ate their own unique designs. recently added spiral staircases The raw iron is purchased to their product offering. right in Phoenix from Glendale Steel. Because they buy huge quantities of the material, they get a pretty good price on it. They stock a lot of material and parts, purchasing them in high quantities and getting the best quality they can afford. Growing market reach and product lines

Until recently, First Impression hasn’t reached out too much beyond Arizona to market their products, though they install all over the state with a team of 18. Within the last six months the company launched an impressive new website. Online, prospective customers can take a tour of their facilities and meet not only the owners but the fabricators and other employees. First Impression has also invested heavily in internet search engine optimization using an outside company to manage keywords and good rankings for their company name. “If anyone in the country types in the key words ‘security doors’ or ‘security screen doors’ you will get us near the top of your list,” explains Cornelius. “We are getting leads now from all over the country, a bunch every day, and it’s creating a whole new market for us outside of Arizona through the internet. “What we’re doing now is getting digital pictures and measurements over the phone, and we are shipping our products out. We get a lot of customers from California, back East, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, and all over who are finding us on the internet with our website. If they are interested in September/October 2010 n Fabricator



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the unique design of a product they can’t get locally, they will pay whatever the shipping costs.” Though the security screen doors have been their basic bread and butter as they started their business, now they are doing higher-end products and are becoming better known by the


custom-designers and builders in the area. Their iron entry doors are a big part of operations now too. Iron entry doors are replacing standard screen entry doors. “We actually go in and do the demo, removing someone’s front door and placing one of our doors in

there,” says Cornelius. “Our firm has a remolding team that does that. It is a high-end product. Those doors start at five thousand and go all the way up to 12 or 15 grand depending upon how big it is and how much intricate welding and scrollwork the customer wants. “All of the arches on our doors are hand-formed and hand-ground so that they look gorgeous. We install them, guarantee them with a lifetime guarantee and faux finish them so the door creates a grand opening to any home. Oftentimes a homeowner will want to enlarge their entryway with side lights, side panels or transoms. We go out and do the demo, prepare the opening, install a new frame, and mount the door. This is something we’d not been doing before, up until the last two years. We’ve really taken off with that product.” “Clint is very good at anticipating trends as customer tastes change,” says Cornelius. “You have to be out there looking to see what everyone is talking about now and react to that pretty quickly. We get a lot of requests for fireplace grilles, wall hangings and artwork. We’ve done ironwork flower displays, potted plant displays, and we are in various art shows around the area including the Tempe Art Show. “Arts festivals attract a lot of people, and I guess you could say we are metal artisans. Art shows want to see the artwork we’re doing, so instead of displaying our doors and gates, we bring our artwork.” They are also partnering with several pool companies, including Presidential Pools and Aqueanna Pools, to offer pool fencing which they are now advertising. “We’ve pretty much reached the point where we can handle any customer’s needs for any kind of ironwork; they can hardly bring up anything that we don’t do. Now we do cool fencing, staircase railings (including spirals), and just about everything else.” First Impression now has two lines Fabricator n September/October 2010

A remodeling team at First Impression demos their doors for prospective customers. The team literally removes the client’s front door and places a First Impression door in its place.

of patio furniture that they’ve developed. The plan is to have a new line of such furniture out every six months to a year with the objective of having five or six lines of patio furniture in the end. Surviving the recent downturn

Though the last two years have been rough for businesses in general, economically, Cornelius says that because they never relied on the construction industry for their business, they’ve survived the downturn relatively intact. “Our mantra is, ‘they can’t get this at Home Depot, Lowe’s, or anywhere else.’ We can modify the metalwork design to what the customer wants whether it is of some animal such as a coyote or Kokopelli. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s fairly-priced, and you get what you pay for. Usually customers are smart, know that difference, and are willing to respect it. They want to buy from a local company, and they like the fact that we’re family-owned. “People have an appreciation for the fact that we are here supporting the community by employing people in this neighborhood. Purchasing from a big box store is not supporting the state. It leaves the state of Arizona or any of the others and does not get re-invested here. This has worked for us, and we hope the next few years will continue to get even better. “My philosophy is not to dwell on September/October 2010 n Fabricator

the negative. When I hear there is 10 percent unemployment, I point out that 90 percent are still employed, and I’m going to sell to that group. With that attitude — much more positive and optimistic — you tend to find ways around the roadblocks. People will still

want your product if it’s a good one.” Tim Cornelius’ philosophy obviously works for First Impression. The firm’s continuing growth suggests they’re doing more than surviving the current economic storm; they are sailing through it beautifully.




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This 120-foot spiral staircase handrail (left) was made for a Las Vegas mansion. The handrail attaches directly to the travertine steps of the staircase, which posed some unique fabrication and strict building code challenges. Columns at the base of staircase required forged wraps (above) to maintain fluidity.

Job Profile

Sergey’s forging excellence By Lisa Bakewell



In addition to winning three gold awards and two bronze awards, Sergey Sarkirkin took home this year’s Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence for a forged 120-foot interior spiral staircase handrail.

Master blacksmith Sergey Sarkirkin’s

exceptional talent continuously wins him recognition throughout the metalworking world and, most recently, garnered him the prestigious Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence 2010 from the National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA). Sergey also took home five other NOMMA awards in the 2010 Top Job competition, one in every category he entered. Sergey’s blacksmith artisan career began over 30 years ago, in the late 1980s, after he wandered into a blacksmith’s studio in his native homeland, Russia. He was immediately drawn to the craft and ultimately passed the test of a master. Today, Sergey is one of just a tiny handful of classically

trained master blacksmith artisans still in the United States. Since his skills are so rare, he was able to move to Utah and work on a special craftsman visa. He has been living and working in Utah for the past six years. Getting the job

The piece that won Sergey the Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence is a 120-foot spiral staircase handrail created for a Las Vegas mansion. The handrail was designed to attach directly to the travertine steps of the staircase, which posed some unique fabrication and strict building code challenges for Sergey and his team. Sergey’s friend and business partner, Thomas Siniagovsky, said the customer for the award-winning job was a real estate developer and one of the largest building contractors Fabricator n September/October 2010

For your information


in the United States. artist first, a master,” says Thomas. “He “For some time,” Thomas said, “the doesn’t care about the recognition,” customer had been looking for a metal and customers sense his dedicated shop that can build him a very unique passion for his craft immediately. and artistic staircase railing for his “After Sergey had made a first samown private residence.” ple of the railing detail, the customers After visiting several shops that knew that their search was over.” advertised forging and blacksmithing metal work, though, the couple Designing and building the rail realized that these shops were offering Originally Sergey’s customers welded fabrication of standard catalog wanted a forged picket railing with pickets and scrolls, and they became only occasional scrolled inserts, shares discouraged. Thomas. “But, after seeing Sergey’s “He and his wife traveled extenproposed designs, they decided to d:tri-state-quarter page.qxd Pagethe 1 entire railing out of scrolled sively around the world12/19/07 for decora-9:44 AM build tive items for their new home. They forged sections.” had seen beautiful work of European The fabrication process was, perblacksmiths that decorate historical haps, the greatest challenge of the job, buildings and private residences in Eushares Thomas. rope, and they also wanted the same “To take field measurements in quality work on their home in the U.S. Las Vegas and rebuild the staircase in Finally they met Sergey Sakirkin, artist Salt Lake City — so that every inch of blacksmith from Russia, who came to the railing would perfectly match — work with Richard Prazen in Utah.” was not a simple task,” he said. Sergey Sergey draws his own artistic deand Rick Prazen could not travel 450 signs by hand, which are specifically miles to the project every time they geared towards forged metal and its needed additional measurements or PROOF - 45-3454-ACF-121807-V2 characteristics. This makes him “an AD just to double check, so the decision

Awards from the 2010 Top Job Contest: n Gold for Interior Railings Forged n Gold for Exterior Railings & Fences – Forged n Gold for Furniture & Accessory Fabrication – Forged n Bronze for Gates/Doors – Forged n Bronze for Art/Sculpture n Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence About the Author Lisa Bakewell is a freelance writer in Chicago. Lisa’s work can also be seen in ALL YOU, Massage and Bodywork, Pulse, and The Herald News. CO NTAC T

Sergey Sakirkin Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith 1080 West 3300 South, Apt. 2146 Salt Lake City, UT 84119 Ph: (801) 908-0263 Fax: (801) 364-6976

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Contest is open to all NOMMA members Receive Valuable Recognition For Your Work Complete rules are available in the NOMMA Member’s Only area, and will be mailed to the membership in October. You must be a NOMMA member to enter. Benefits: Winners receive recognition during METALfab, on the NOMMA website, and in Fabricator magazine. Plus, we also send press releases to newspapers in your area. For info, call 888-516-8585, ext. 101. Email:

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Fabricator n September/October 2010

was made to divide the entire and pitch of the staircase. After staircase into sections and it was reassembled in the shop, build them one at a time as the Sergey was able to start buildhouse itself was being built.” ing his railing sections. When the section at the “Some small elements of the second floor was completed, design had to be adjusted to fit Sergey and Rick shifted their the template of the staircase,” efforts to the grand staircase. said Thomas, “but for the most “Here the customer wanted part, Sergey kept the design to attach the scrolled design perfectly.” to each step of the staircase,” The entire fabrication proThomas said, “so all the radius cess turned into four major sections were templated, and parts: three radius sections and each step was measured. Even one landing section. though it seems that each step “Sergey was very worried is the same, the outer radius of Sectional templates. The 450-mile distance to the job site posed about fitting the railing that was each step is different.” built in Utah to a staircase in a challenge. Richard Prazen, who helped Sergey with the rail, The decorative scrolls then proposed creating a template made of 16-inch by 10-inch steel Nevada,” said Thomas. “But the angle plates, placed on the existing stairs and welded together, had to be firmly attached to result was even better than evto repeat the radius and pitch of the staircase. each one of these steps without eryone hoped for. The sections distorting the design and in acbe placed on the existing stairs and fit in as if they were there before. cordance with construction codes. welded together repeating the radius “The most challenging part of the “A mistake of less than an inch at and pitch of the staircase. Later this job was to make each part of the railthe bottom,” he said, “would turn into template was used to re-create the cusing fit precisely to the staircase while a few inches distortion at the top.” tomer’s staircase in the shop in Utah. keeping the overall beauty of the deAccording to Thomas, Rick came The template was broken into three sign. Because of the spiral nature of up with an idea to make 16-inch by sections, and each section was configthe uprise, each step slightly differs 10-inch steel angle plates that would ured to exactly replicate the size, slope, from another.”

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Other Sergey Award Winning Top Job Entries Gold Award — Exterior Railings and Fences — Forged (above/ top): Sergey took home a gold award for this exterior rail. He forged the 50-foot rail for a private residence in Salt Lake City, UT, and finished it with a bronze patina. Labor: Approx. 1.5 months. Gold award — Furniture (photos at left): Sergey won a gold award for this 53” x 40” forged steel fireplace screen finished with a wire brush and then a polyurethane coating. Labor: Approx. 100 hrs.


Fabricator n September/October 2010

“[Finally], the staircase railfireplace tools. He likes creating had to be safely attached to ing these pieces because they the steps, keeping all the codes, are used regularly, and they aland the design needed to fit low the owners to notice all of inside each area (that had a difthe tiny details in his work. It is ferent angle of the turn and difthis fine attention to detail that ferent length).” Thomas believes sets Sergey’s After the installation of the work apart from the mass-proentire railing, brass top cap duction foundries. was added to complete the Thomas feels that massmasterpiece. production and cheap fakes are “It was a true success for all destroying the art of blackthe guys on the team who built smithing in America; customthe template, transported it ers shouldn’t be so concerned Originally Sergey’s customers wanted a forged picket railing back to the shop, and re-creabout the price of a piece that with only occasional scrolled inserts, but, after seeing his ated it for Sergey to build his they forego craftsmanship. Asproposed designs, they decided to build the entire railing forged railing sections.” sociations, such as NOMMA, out of scrolled forged sections. While Sergey was buildhe says, can be the frontruning the railing in Utah, his customer ter of the column was a known factor.” ners in educating the public about added two decorative columns at the “The wrap was a success, and it vithe artistry and crafstmanship of bottom of the staircase, so forged sually ties the railing to the columns,” blacksmithing. wraps fabricated in two sections, were said Thomas. For Sergey, making art remains his created to keep the staircase’s design driving force, and he constantly chalfluid. Mass production vs. forged art lenges himself with new techniques. “Everything had to be built by inThough Sergey is known for his “Every piece is his baby,” says tuition,” Thomas said, “because noone-of-a-kind artistic masterpieces, Thomas “and it is incredibly hard [for body knew exactly where the columns his favorite items are functional pieces him] to part with his works once they [would] be placed. [Only] the diameof artwork such as door handles and complete. ” 1 BookAd:Layout 1 6/18/2010are 12:17 PM Page


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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

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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

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Fabricator n September/October 2010

Job Profile

Gates: the finishing touch Wally’s Iron Works stepped out of comfort zone and into one of their best jobs in 44 years. n

For your information

Pedestrian gate. Wally’s custom fabricated a 6’ wide x 8’ tall double pedestrian gate with 2’ sections of fence on each side. Total labor: Approximately 145 hrs.

Project Custom designed and fabricated pedestrian and driveway gates compliment a fence for an architecturally designed landscape of a Maryland residence.

Wally’s Iron Works Inc. has been in business since 1966 and is a long standing


Maybe the internet isn’t so bad n The customer ordered ornamental pieces off the internet and shipped them to the fabricator’s shop for assembly based on design ideas also found on the Internet. n Images digitally sent to the customer at various stages of fabrication allowed the fabricator to tweak the job while in progress and ensure the customer’s satisfaction. CO NTAC T

Dennis M. Wallace Wally’s Iron Works Inc. 17560 Frederick Rd. Mount Airy, MD 21771 Ph: (410) 442-2202 Fax: (410) 549-3928 September/October 2010 n Fabricator

By Carl Wallace member of NOMMA. We have fabricated out of our 26,000 square-foot warehouse located in Mount Airy, MD since 1989. Wally’s Iron Works Inc. is a third generation family owned and operated company fabricating the typical miscellaneous metals projects, structural steel, ornamental iron, and aluminum railings. We service the Baltimore, DC, Northern Virginia, and surrounding areas, so we have had our share of clients each with their own uniqueness. In the summer of 2008 we were contacted by a landscape architect working on a project in Reisterstown, MD. His client had purchased around 15 pieces of ornamental fence off of the internet and was interested in having the fence delivered to our warehouse to have them refinished and installed on his project. This was not something that we would normally pursue, but with the down turning economy we were not letting any jobs pass us by. Who knew by accepting this project that it would turn out to be one of our better jobs in 44 years? Once we received the fencing we set up an appointment to meet and field measure for fence openings. Upon meeting the homeowner it was apparent that the landscape design required driveway gates and a pedestrian gate to compliment the fence. Several ideas were talked about before an actual design was created. 47

Castings, ovals, connection collars, and scrolls came from King Architectural Metals. All materials were powder coated with zinc primer and statuary bronze and select components were accented with touches of gold.

The homeowner provided us with a cut and pasted design from different catalogues and internet photos. We took his designs and created AutoCAD drawings of different styles for the driveway and pedestrian gates that had similar details. A King Metals AutoCAD CD made it easy to insert similar casts, scrolls, ovals, and spear points to give our client different options to chose from. After we completed the CAD designs, the homeowner continued to tweak the details until we came up with the final design. Pedestrian gates

We started fabrication of the pedestrian gates first so we could install them before the tile work was placed. We made these gates out of 3-inch tubing posts with 1½-inch square tubing for the gate frames. We arched the tubing on an Eagle bender and added fabricated tubing spear points to each gate panel. We purchased scrolls, casts, ovals, spheres, and forged spear points from King Metals and then modified each from their original state. In the upper 48

half of each panel we placed ovals and hollow spheres with the 5/8-inch solid square pickets. We also fabricated custom sliding gate latches and drop pins to be invisible when viewed from the front. We also mounted 3-inch brass spheres to the top of each 3-inch post. During the fabrication our client was constantly curious about the progress, so we sent photos at different stages of completion. Upon receiving these photos, the customer made €comments and suggestions and in response we were able to make subtle changes: adding, moving, raising, lowering or just removing items, until we created exactly what he envisioned. Driveway gate

Once we completed and installed the pedestrian gates, we started fabrication of the driveway gates. The driveway gates fit into a 12-foot opening; each 6-foot side peaks at 8½ feet. With gates of this size structural tubing supports were needed inside the brick pillars to carry each section. These supports alone created their own issues with the constant chang-

ing of grade elevations on the job site, which led to several modifications to the mounting plates. Each gate section was of a similar design to compliment the pedestrian gates, again using King Metals components. Each gate frame consists of 1½-inch tubing with arches, again, were rolled on our Eagle rolling machine. We attempted to roll the extreme arches on the hinge sides, but the material distorted so badly they were unusable. So we plasma cut custom arches out of flat bar to the radius, and fabricated them into the tube shape, ground them smooth, and then inserted them into the appropriate places. Theses extreme arches continued to cause spacing problems in the upper horizontals, reducing the required room for the ovals. Once we overcame this, though, the gates were on their way for completion. Before we installed any of the pedestrian gates or driveway gates, we made several trips to the job site to assure each fit its opening. Our client was overwhelmed when we pre-fit the pedestrian gates that he requested they Fabricator n September/October 2010

To achieve the extreme arch on the hinge sides of each driveway gate, Wally’s plasma cut flat bar to the radius and then fabricated them into tube shapes.

remain at his house for the weekend so he could show his wife. After making adjustments and slight fabrication changes to the gates, we were ready to send them to the powder coaters. The driveway gate panels each being approx 6 feet by 8½ feet created another hurdle. Each section was so large and heavy that the

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powder coater did not have racks sufficient enough to handle them. So, we had to fabricate a custom rack to hang each gate individually for coating. Finishing touch

All gate sections were phosphate washed then powder coated with Tiger Drylac zinc rich primer and the finish

color of statuary bronze. After all the materials were powder coated, the statuary bronze was a great looking color, but the finish needed something more. With having brass spheres mounted on the pedestrian gate posts, we thought some “antiquing” would break up the solid color. A local artist accented the scrolls, castings, spheres, and spear points. The accents she created seemed to bring each gate to life and added the finishing touch. The project was finally completed in the fall of 2009. Each pair of driveway gates involved approximately 180 hours of labor per gate and 145 hours of labor for the pedestrian gates. Even after a year and a half from start to finish, it was extremely satisfying to see the look on our clients face when it all came together. Not every company gets to work for a client that has such an eye for what he wants, but this made our job a lot easier for the end result.

METALfab 2011

METALfab offers outstanding industry education and features the only trade show specifically for our industry. • Develop your shop and business skills. • Give your staff top quality education.

March 16-19, 2011 New Orleans, LA • Education • Trade Show • Shop Tours • Awards Contest • Networking Events

September/October 2010 n Fabricator

See You There!

For the latest updates, visit: metalfab Or, contact us at 888-5168585, ext. 101;


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Presenter: JR Lodico, past staff member of the Metal Museum from 2003-2006. Description: This 24-minute video provides both basic instruction and help tips in soldering, brazing, and welding with a pulse TIG. Presenter JR Lodico works on handrail profiles in architectural bronze, nickel silver, and Commercial Redd. Topics covered include material preparation, fluxes, solders, filler metals, machine settings, and most importantly, safety. Comment: JR Lodico is a seasoned metalsmith who is passionate about his work. He is an articulate speaker and seasoned instructor. This video is easy to follow and the video would be a great asset for any shop.

View the 2-Min. Promo Video: A thanks to Mac Metals Inc. for providing a generous grant and materials to make this production possible. A thanks also goes to the Upper Midwest Chapter and Division 5 Metalworks, which served as host shop.


Order online at Or, call NOMMA at (888) 516-8585, ext. 101; Fax: (888) 516-8585

Fabricator n September/October 2010

Job Profile

Pro-Fusion put a spider crane to use after fabricating, welding, and finishing this 24-foot stainless steel mirror finished sculpture. n

By Don Walsh I was approached by Amy Larimer a local designer (Larimer & Bernheim) who let

me know she had a project that involved certified stainless welding and asked if I was interested. After informing her that indeed I was certified for stainless and that we would be glad to look at the project, she met with me and brought a plan of the project which encompassed welding four sections of 12-inch diameter, ¼ inch wall with a partial penetration weld. The project, a 24-foot tall stainless steel column, was to commemorate the lives of three Stanford University MBA students who died tragically while riding in a jeep which in heavy fog that went over a cliff in Big Sur (Monterey County) in October 2008. The material was cut into three upper sections, each 6 feet long, and from one 8-foot section that serves as the base. The pipe was then sent to a local laser cutter who, as per design, cut 1½-inch letters Our participation consisted of installing a hatch in the side of the tube about 6 feet from the base with a stainless panel inside for installation of lighting, and a base plate for mounting. The top of the sculpture features lines of text and was cut in our shop following instructions from the designer. Careful alignment of the secSeptember/October 2010 n Fabricator

For your information


Handling a certified SS welding project like a pro

Installed piece: Rather than use a 200-foot boom crane or a helicopter, ProFusion used a spider crane to help transport and install the 24-foot tall stainless steel column sculpture.

Fabrication challenge: Cleanly welding four stainless steel sections of 12-inch diameter, ¼ inch wall into a 24-foot tall column. Solutions: Making a temporary track to assist with boresighting the pieces, and fabricating a system of rubbercasters on top of metal horses to enable twisting of the workpiece. Transportation challenge: Big, heavy, awkward piece of polished stainless steel needing to travel 15 miles up California’s U.S. 101. Solution: Fabricating two temporary cradles from heavy duty wood pallets lined with rug to protect the chrome like finish, and clamping the pallets to the racks of a 1-ton truck. Installation challenge: Tight spot for a heavy piece. Solution: Spider Crane. CO NTAC T

Don M. Walsh Pro-Fusion Ornamental Iron Inc. 500 Bragato Rd. San Carlos, CA 94070-6227 Ph: (650) 637-9652 Fax: (650) 637-0366 51

Lines of text cut in Pro-Fusion’s shop (near left). Careful alignment of the sections was critical, and the kerf from the laser cutter was about 3/32 inch thick. Cradles and Dollies (far left). Pro-Fusion fabricated two temporary cradles from heavy duty wood pallets lined with rug to protect the chrome like finish during transport. Spider Crane (bottom). The crane, used to help transport and install the column, was only 2 feet wide, 5 feet long, and about 4 feet high. Weight limit: 1,600 lbs; Height: 26’ Transporting (below). Pro-Fusion clamped specially fabricated pallets to the racks of a 1-ton truck to transport the piece.


tions of the tube was critical. The text had to follow and line up horizontally with each section. The content of the script was submitted by family and friends of the three students, describing what they should be remembered for. The laser cutter did a fantastic job as the kerf of the cut was approximately 3/32 inch thick. After laser cutting, the pieces were transported to the metal polisher. The finished pieces were a mirror finish. They were then transported to my shop where they were beveled for welding, butted up and welded. We made a temporary track, a 20-foot long 4-inch channel, to assist with the boresighting of the pieces To assist with the welding we fabricated a system of rubbercasters in four locations on top of metal horses. By twisting the 5/8-inch base plate we were able to weld all the groove 52

welds at the top of the pieces. The polishers found our system advantageous when finishing up the grinding and then polishing the welded sections. When the welding was completed, the final grinding, sanding, and polishing of the finished piece took place at our shop. We fabricated two temporary cradles from heavy duty wood pallets lined with rug to protect the chrome like finish for transport. We clamped the pallets to the racks on a 1-ton truck to transport the piece to the job site. This project involved logistics and planning. The designer, without being intrusive, kept us all on track to meet the deadline of May 1, 2010 for the unveiling and dedication.

I asked the general engineering contractor hired to install the piece how he was going to raise and place the piece. The courtyard where the sculpture was to be installed was surrounded by four buildings (student housing) on all four sides. Using a 200-foot boom crane or a helicopter seemed the only solution available. Then the light bulb came on. Two weeks previously I had received, via e mail, information from a crane company about a spider crane. It was only 2 feet wide, 5 feet long, and about 4 feet high and could be brought through a normal door opening on rubber tracks. The legs hydraulically move out and the boom is raised. The limit on this model is 1,600 pounds and 26 feet (height). The spider crane was set up in the parking lot. We used it to remove the piece from our truck and set it on two heavy duty piano dollies. Then we wheeled the piece approximately 300 feet away from our site and to the second location. Again the spider crane proved invaluable and lifted it vertically and placed it on the mounting. Fabricator n September/October 2010

METALfab 2011

March 16-19, 2011 New Orleans, LA

Experience the excitement of New Orleans! When coming to New Orleans for METALfab, consider scheduling some extra time to enjoy the sites and sounds of the city. Indulge your senses, savor New Orleans’ rich cultural experience and celebrate everything that – even after 203 years of the greatest achievements and the steepest challenges – still makes New Orleans America’s most unique, authentic and enthralling destination. Your exploration of the many sensory extravagances that endure in the unique city of New Orleans begins here – enjoy the journey! The following are things that you don’t want to miss during your visit:

life and culture.

S Experience the French Quarter The historic French Quarter is comprised of over 100 square-blocks of art, dining, shopping, entertainment and architectural treasures.

From the Zoo, Aquarium and Insectaurium to year-round golfing, fishing and more, New Orleans is a true urban resort.

S Take a culinary journey Experience America’s most delicious city. You’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t celebrate life this way.

S Let us entertain you

S Take a musical journey

No city loves music more than New Orleans. The rhythms fill the streets, clubs, churches and concert halls. S Museums: A feast for the eyes

New Orleans is a city rich in living history, traditions, and customs that are woven into the fabric of everyday

The New Orleans cityscape at night. Fabricator n September/October 2010 September/October 2010 n Fabricator

For more info on METALfab:

S Culturally & artistically speaking

The New Orleans Arts District and Magazine Street are vibrant, diverse neighborhoods alive with galleries, shopping, dining and special events. S Explore the outdoors and more

The METALfab trade show takes place at the Ernest Morial Convention Center, which is across the street from our host hotel, the New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center.

Entertainment, culture, and performing arts options are as unique as the city itself. From comedy to the symphony, enjoy it all! S A trip with history

Ride the famous St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Line and enjoy the convenience of the Canal Street and Riverfront lines. S Don’t let the parade pass you by

Learn about the history, traditions

and pageantry of Mardi Gras and see how the famous floats are constructed. S Take New Orleans home

All styles have their place here, from exquisite antiques to funky fashions. Find the perfect take-home memory from your visit to the Crescent City. To help with your planning, we encourage you to check out the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau website: The website contains everything you need to know for planning your visit, including restaurants, entertainment, and attractions.

Bourbon Street at night. Photo: Richard Nowitz 53 53


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Fabricator n September/October 2010

3/23/10 3:00:01 PM

Biz Side

New tax audits underway For your information


What you’ll learn n How the National Research Project will be conducted. n Who will be targeted. n What practices and issues are under scrutiny. n Tips for reducing payroll tax penalties. About the Author Mark Battersby has been writing tax and financial features, columns, reports and White Papers on tax practices for 25 years. He produces monthly columns for 13 trade magazines, syndicates two columns to over 45 publications each week, and has written four books.

September/October 2010 n Fabricator


U.S. government tries to reduce the tax gap by studying employment tax filters.

By Mark E. Battersby The government’s own figures indicate

that the payroll tax and self-employment tax gap, the difference between taxes owned and those actually paid, amounts to more than $200 billion annually. One result, with little public fanfare and no advance warning, the Internal Revenue Service has begun a National Research Project (NRP) to collect data that will allow the IRS to understand the compliance characteristics of employment tax filers. The information provided is expected to allow the IRS to hone in on those areas where mistakes are most likely to occur, and focus their attention to those most likely to have erred or cheated. They will also use the study results to issue new guidelines and

regulations and, incidentally increasing tax, interest, and penalty revenue. Although there is no way to avoid the random employment tax audits of the NRP, there are guidelines and strategies that can help every ornamental and miscellaneous metals fabricating business correct employment tax mistakes and avoid potential trouble spots. Who will be targeted and how

The NRP will randomly select 2,000 small, large, and self-employed taxpayers from every geographic region, to examine their employment tax returns each year for the next three years, as well as their routine, lesstargeted audits. The IRS will not be discriminatory regarding the taxpayers it samples. The audits will occur in 55

every geographic region of the country and will target both large and small taxpayers. Whether publicly traded or privately owned, large or small, in the red or in the black, for-profit or nonprofit, public sector or private sector, all are and will be potential targets. For example, the IRS has indicated that 330 governmental entities will be audited during this process. The notice received by selected employers will describe the extremely detailed NRP process, a process that includes face-to-face meetings with IRS auditors and line-by-line reviews

of the employer’s Form 941’s and income tax returns. The examinations will reportedly focus on the four issues below: 1) Worker misclassification (labeling employees as independent contractors or vice versa), 2) Fringe benefits, 3) Owner/officer compensation, and 4) Review of 1099s with either no taxpayer identification number (TIN), or TIN/name mismatches.

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Independent contractor or employee?

According to recent reports, approximately 30 percent of all IRS audits currently focus on the employee vs. independent contractor issue. In fact, the IRS frequently delves deep into many personal income tax returns that may include only Form 1099 source income. Although re-classification of a worker most often occurs after an audit, either workers or employer can ask the IRS to determine whether the worker is an employee or a nonemployee for federal employment tax purposes. What’s more, when an independent contractor/employee issue is resolved amicably, the tax laws provide a special, lower federal employment tax rates for prior years in which workers have been re-classified as employees. The tax law prescribes reduced tax rates for misclassified workers in order to increase tax compliance. The law reduces an employer’s federal income tax withholding liability from the amount the employer was required to withhold to 1.5 percent of the employee’s wages for federal income tax withholding. In addition, the law reduces an employer’s liability for the employee’s portion of FICA taxes to 20-percent of the normal amount. Fringe benefits and employment taxes

Fringe benefits are a thorny issue. First, offering fringe benefits generally entitles the metals fabricating business to a tax deduction. Receipt of many types of fringe benefits is tax-free to the recipient — sometimes. Enter the complication of employment taxes. If a fringe benefit plan discriminates in some manner such as rewarding only the operation’s owners or key employees, the fringe benefit may in reality be compensation. And, compensation in most forms means the payment is subject to employment taxes. While many non-cash benefits including no additional-cost services such as the free stand-by flights airlines allow their workers, qualified employee discounts, working condiFabricator n September/October 2010

tion fringe benefits (a company car for business purposes) or so-called de minimis fringe benefits are usually deductible by the ornamental and miscellaneous metalworking business and free to the recipient, the complex and confusing rules often result in complications. Dividends and compensating owner/shareholder

The IRS frequently second-guesses business taxpayers, particularly closely-held businesses, when it comes to labeling the compensation of the operation’s owner or shareholder who also works in the business. Payment of amounts in the form of a dividend, don’t require withholding of payroll taxes nor do those payments qualify the business for a tax deduction. Dividends are, after all, a non-deductible distribution of profits. Even worse, dividends are a common strategy for distributing the operation’s profits, and are subject to a double tax. First, the metalworking business pays taxes on its profits and, when those profits are distributed in the form of dividends the shareholder pays taxes on the dividend at his or her individual tax rate. The conundrum: Would the shareholder/officer providing services to the business be better off receiving a profit distribution in the form of a dividend or would the business be better off paying the shareholder compensation — and the accompanying payroll taxes — which the business could claim a tax deduction for? Not too surprisingly, the IRS is empowered to render a decision whether the amounts paid were dividends or compensation. They can also decide whether the amount of officer/shareholder compensation is reasonable. Imagine the arguments that generates.

to the Federal government. The fear stems from the IRS’s authority to assess the penalty on all responsible parties, a label that can include the owners, shareholders, partners, members, managers, and officers in a metals fabricating business. Generally, there are two major tests used by the IRS to determine if someone is subject to the Trust Fund Recovery Penalty. They are primarily questions of fact such as: n whether the party against whom the penalty is proposed had the

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Trust Fund Recovery Penalty

As if another audit threat were not scary enough, one of the nastiest and most feared taxes currently imposed is the Trust Fund Penalty Tax, a whopping 100 percent penalty on payroll taxes not withheld from a metalworking shop’s employees and forwarded

duty to account for, collect, handover trust fund taxes; and n whether he or she willfully failed to perform this duty. Ultimately, however, a responsible person is usually determined by position or status. Thus, while the owner of a business is usually responsible, the IRS’s investigation doesn’t stop there. The IRS also looks at who controlled the finances, signed the checks, and who decided what bills are to be paid. This can include outside accountants and bookkeepers or be as-

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sessed against an official or employee of a bank or other financial institution who has the authority to direct the financial affairs of the business.

ment Tax Program by taking measures to ensure that employment tax forms are not misused to avoid paying proper tax and by regularly sharing results of examinations from worker classification leads to ensure it is maximizing its resources efficiently when addressing the underreporting tax gap,” the TIGTA said.

Confusing requirements complicate compliance

The Government Accountability Office, Congress’s watchdog, reported that last year 1.6 million businesses owed over $58 billion in unpaid payroll taxes. Little wonder! After all, what hope has a confused shop owner/manager faced with tax law’s complex and often confusing requirements? On the other side of the coin, an audit recently conducted by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) revealed that over $131 million in employment taxes could be lost to the U.S. government over the next five years through the

Reducing payroll tax penalties

improper use of just one IRS employment tax form, Form 8919, Uncollected Social Security and Medicare Tax on Wages. “The IRS has several opportunities to enhance compliance in its Employ-


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Obviously, payroll tax penalties can be devastating. Fortunately, there are steps that every metalworking and fabrication business can take to reduce a payroll tax penalty. Not too surprisingly, payroll tax penalties can be avoided by making sure that all employment taxes are collected, accounted for, and paid to the IRS when required. Reducing payroll tax penalties levied as the result of an IRS audit or even resulting from errors detected by the ornamental and miscellaneous metals operation itself begins with asking the IRS to abate or eliminate the payroll tax penalty. Yes, they have the discretion to waive penalties, especially if the penalty is the exception, not the rule. Obviously, when avoiding payroll tax penalties, especially those that may result from the extensive NRP audits now underway, it also helps to understand the basic rules for withholding payroll taxes — and paying over withheld amounts — on the wages of all employees in the metal fabricating business. The results of the NRP study will be a two-edged sword, on the one hand allowing the IRS to better target those who have failed to comply with the payroll tax withholding laws and regulations and, on the other hand, collecting more from those found guilty of not understanding or not complying with those laws and regulations. Will your metal fabrication business pass an NRP audit?

Fabricator n September/October 2010

Biz Side

You’re not alone. Finding good help is hard work. n

NOMMA members discuss what they do to make finding and evaluating potential employees more successful.

By Peter Hildebrandt Hiring, retaining, compensating and evaluating new workers

Administer tests and manage hiring arrangements

Carl Grainger of Grainger Metal Works uses a 90-day probationary period. Grainger offers a lower starting wage with the option of a hiring bonus (at his discretion) if the employee can perform as promised to catch up the money missed by starting at a lower rate. “We have a ‘fireside chat’ every four weeks to discuss the pros and cons of their performance,” says Grainger. “They are encouraged to speak freely at these meetings. I also let the hires know that we do not discuss salaries within our company and if so that is grounds for dismissal. Also this is a good time to decide if they are a good fit with the rest of the crew.” Grainger also has potential hires hard grind a corner weld on a 1.5-inch square tube joint and then inspect it. If this passes he then asks them to finish grinding it using a 60 grit flap disc. “I give them pieces of material and tell them what kind of welds I am wanting and that they need to prepare and tack the joint, which I inspect; then I will allow them to weld it and then inspect that. Lastly I will give them a shop drawing and ask them to explain the steps in which they would go about the project. I will usually leave out a critical dimension to see if they notice.” Administering a written test has worked for Tycee Grice at Jerry Grice Welding Inc. The test was not graded, but concerned all different types of welding. If a person is knowlSeptember/October 2010 n Fabricator

edgeable in one area, they could answer, if not, they would either guess or be wrong. It also included a measurement question: “Which is longer: 643/4 inches or 5 feet, 46/8 inches?” “They were given a tape measure when handed the paper and told to find me if they had any problems, did not understand a question, etc. If someone had a reading problem, I would even read the questions — you can get a good welder with those problems. “It was amazing what we could learn from this test. To this we added the actual test in the shop, including starting up the machine (which was not set correctly) and the testing on several types of welds. In the end, such basic but important points tested saved a lot of What you’ll learn: hiring and firing.” n Who to target. Jan Allen Smith n What to include on skills tests. of Allen Iron Works n Where to post job openings. & Supply also gives n When to pass on even a trial run. several tests. “The n Why establishing standards early on is first question we important. ask is if they have n How to manage effective probationary periods. a valid Alabama driver’s license. Do you have any idea About the author: Peter Hildebrandt has been a contributhow many people ing writer for Fabricator magazine since leave at this point? 2005. He writes about science, technolWe only give our ogy, industry, and history for a variety of math and welding trade publications. tests to serious pos-

For your information


can get pretty complicated. Recently on NOMMA’s ListServ, members started to exchange information about hiring, which one shop owner called “a very inexact science.” This is what got things started: a shop owner was in the process of hiring another fabricator. Because the work in the shop is quite diversified, an inexperienced worker would need a lot of training. This NOMMA member needed someone with at least five to ten years of experience. The question was how much pay would be fair for an experienced fabricator? While NOMMA members can’t discuss prices specifically, perhaps some of the advice they gave about hiring practices may prove helpful and useful. (If not, we can always get another discussion going!)


05 G-S

sible applicants. The math test involves measuring, simple math, geometry, algebra, etc. “Although not everyone can complete everything on this test, it does separate the better prospects. We also give welding tests. It is interesting to see how many want to borrow a welding shield! We test with stick and wire. It tends to separate the good ones from those limited to wire only. Having someone clean their own welds as part of the test is an excellent idea.” Smith is now looking for a new emShe placed on Craigslist Coployee. 4/5/07 10:41an AMad Page 1 first and feels she’s set her standards high, listing primary responsibilities and requirements for the position. However, she also figured out that very few really read details in these ads. “I did not find anyone even coming close to what I was looking for. So, this week I did the dreaded thing of placing an ad in the classified section of the newspaper, along with our e-mail address. The response has been very good. I have a number of applicants that hold promise. However, I am going to be very selective, as each person we ‘try’ will cost us not only the usual training, but also additional state taxes just for hiring and terminating.” Establish a probationary period

Will Keeler likes the idea of a full one day interview or try-out period. “Our experience at times in the past

was that someone would come in here and they could ‘talk the talk’ but they couldn’t ‘walk the walk,’” says Keeler. “Heck, kids have to try out for band and sports teams why shouldn’t adults have to for a job! If we are in the market for a highly-skilled person we assume that person is already employed somewhere and we are going to have to lure them away with benefits, working conditions, money, or type of work. However, in today’s economy you should be able to find skilled candidates. I would want to know if they were laid off from the previous job because the company went out of business. Most companies will retain the best employees, but, if the business shut down, the top people will be in the job market too.” Keeler Iron Works has 25 employees in their shop. They’ve posted a help wanted ad on Craigslist as newspaper ads have become so expensive. They were mainly just interested to see if there was a highly-skilled person available to work for them. “On the issue of starting wages, I feel it is always easier to increase your new hires’ pay if they prove worthy than to reduce it. And sometimes you have to increase current employees wages based on new hires to keep up with the job market. That shouldn’t be a big issue for the short term as most should be happy to have a job. “Just to find the amount of experience we need in our industry, expe-

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rienced welders and not fitters, is a challenge. But I think it was a higher quality of response we got from Craigslist than from newspaper ads; more resumes came in. “Last year we only ended up hiring one guy and that was only because the place where he had been working had closed down due to lack of work. The employee had been with them some 15 years.” Keeler likes the idea of a written test. As with many other firms, they conduct a pre-employment drug test, with the candidate not even making it to the interview if they haven’t passed the drug test. This, however, does make the whole process even more expensive. Though they do background checks on employees, they’ve found credit checks are not necessary. Find out if they fit your shop

“We’ve tried everything, and I haven’t found a surefire plan that works in all cases yet,” explains Tom Zuzik, vice president of sales and design for Artistic Railing Inc., a shop with six employees. “The problem that we run into is that everyone says they know what they’re doing, but they don’t know the specifics of our system. You’ve got to train them, and you have to take somebody else’s time to train them. Most who have been with Zuzik have been there a long time. New hires find positions with him almost exclusively through word of mouth. Zuzik lets those interested in working for him have a go at working there mainly to see how much the person wants to work. “What we’re trying to find out is if they really want to work in this creative industry because there are people that just want a job for a paycheck versus people who truly want to put forth the effort of getting a job done right.” “We don’t want to pay a full salaried person while we try to figure out where they fit and what they can do. Until we figure that out we don’t know if they’re worth the salary they’re asking for. It may help to explain that you’re not going to pay them in fullhigh wages while you’re having someone watch them. Now if they can show you in the meantime what they can do, Fabricator n September/October 2010


that they can listen and not mess up, you’ll be more than happy to review compensation moving forward” Zuzik often sits down daily with employees to see if the employee understands why certain things are done a certain way at the shop. “New employees may have their own ideas Book ad Fab:Layout 1 12/17/07 5:42 PM Page 1 about the best way to do something. But that may not necessarily be the way your shop does them.” At the beginning of a hire, he issues a three hour shop test to get a good picture even if it is a probationary hire. “If a worker is hired on probation, I do a 15 minute end-of-day talk each day. By the end of five days we can normally tell where the person fits. But most of these individuals seem unaware of how much they don’t know until f Hot of ss the Pre

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they’ve worked a day or two. Recently I delegated this job to my shop foreman. “As for testing I tend to do a verbal interview asking what equipment they’ve used. Then I go into asking welding tradition questions like Mig, TIG and STICK and questions about types of filler material, tungsten sizes for material, and gas mixtures. “If they sound knowledgeable but not real sure on equipment setup — normally because the shop foreman did equipment setup, and they just welded — I next hand them the tape measure and write down a fraction like 1713/16 inch and ask them to show me on the tape measure. If they handle that okay I will ask them to show me 2 feet, 10½ inches on another tape measure which has metric on one side (not One really excellent chasing and repoussé book. - Charles Lewton Brain

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telling them that). If they get this far then I move on to the next step which includes some basic questions. “As for cost, I tend to tell employees their rate of compensation is based on their ability to produce a quality product, per our company standards and their production level. I review how an employee produces each quarter and talk about improvements.” Candidates must prove their skills

Rachel Miller at Spirit Ironworks says one of the things that she finds to be very important when hiring is checking references. She has gotten burned in the past in not doing so. She also feels it’s important to give them a shop test for the day. “Make it clear they will be paid for the day and that this is only a test. When we give the potential worker a test we let them know that our decision whether to hire them is made after the shop test is completed. In the past a few candidates have basically assumed that we were hiring them, so it is important to make that clear. We may shop test up to three people if we are lucky enough to have that many good candidates.” Miller feels it may be a good idea to have those under consideration for employment build something to certain dimensions. “We have also had good results hiring people who have general experience building things,” adds Miller. “I find it’s easier to teach a guy how to weld than how to lay out something accurately, especially with the variety of work we get here. A good attitude and a willingness to follow directions are both key for us. And, just as Carl Grainger mentioned, I tell all employees that if they discuss their wages with each other it is grounds for dismissal.” Gale Schmidt of A2 Fabrication Inc. also likes Grainger’s method of offering a lower starting wage. “The biggest challenge for me is that applicants will insist they have skills when they don’t. The most troublesome scenario is hiring someone to fill a need and learning after many failures that they misrepresented themselves. “This is costly in terms of productivity, quality, my stress level, paperwork, interference with the other workers, 61

A word on temp agencies and giving talent a reason to stay Doug Bracken, president of Wiemann Metalcraft, Tulsa, OK makes all new hires — office or shop — run through a temp agency for the first 90 days. “We look for people with a stable or related work history or young people who seem eager to learn,” explains Bracken. “We learn a lot from the temp agent, who has personally interviewed them, and from their written work history.” Hiring through a temp service allows them to send them home if they don’t fit, allows the employee to walk away if they don’t like it, defers the work comp exposure etc., and the temp agency does all the background checks. They also verify the references before they send Bracken a resume to review. He feels this is well worth the .30 margin they charge for 90 days as he knows he doesn’t have time for all of that paperwork. The temp agency has also been to his shop and met with Bracken’s staff. The agency knows what kind of people Wiemann Metalcraft looks for. So when the temp agency gets a candidate who is a good fit with the firm’s work and culture, the agency will call Bracken first to see if his shop has a place for the applicant. time lost, and having to recruit all over again. I’ve started giving more complicated tests and asking more questions. I’ve also shortened the ‘prove-yourself ’ time to one to two weeks instead of one to three months. That has helped.” Tom Kervin of Kervin Brothers has tried several approaches in the last 25 years. They’ve made it fairly simple. “A prospective employee’s driver’s license number is given to our insurance agent who determines if the employee could, based on their record, drive company vehicles. “If that test is passed and we get a good feel for the person, they are put on 90-day probation and matched up with the owner’s brother to work on a project. We feel that weeding out the unqualified is not that difficult. Finding the qualified is a lot harder.” Set the standards early on

“We request permission to do a credit check on potential new hires when they fill out their application,” explains Tim Cornelius, First Impres­ sion Security Doors owner. “Any bank­ ruptcy issues would come up. But more


“We try to make this a great place to work so that we all enjoy our day more, and the new hires (who we want to keep) also realize that it might be worth the effort to keep and cultivate this job,” says Bracken. “You could stumble across some real talent, but if your shop is in disarray and if little things like the bathrooms are a mess, the talent will move on.” Wiemann Metalcraft works hard to keep the keepers, and decrease turnover, by paying them as well as they can afford and offering good incentives or perks. It is much less expensive to keep a good employee than it is to find a good employee, according to Bracken. They only hire nice people who they want to work shoulder to shoulder with and only hire people who seem willing and interested in learning. “There aren’t that many of them but they do exist and can be found. Keep in mind that 95 percent of my hires really have no idea of who we are over any other fab shop, so I am fishing in the same pond as everyone else in town,” adds Bracken. “All of this is hard work, just like the metal work that we all do, but for the most part, we are only as good as our employees are so it really is important to find and keep good talent. Plus, I sleep a lot better and enjoy my days off more.”

important are drug screening and background checks. “Especially for our installers and sales people going to customers’ homes, we do a more intense and thorough background check. This full screening does not only cover Arizona but the whole country. “Poor credit would not necessarily eliminate a candidate. We do hire quite a few younger people who weld. They may even have a DUI on their record. But if they are honest about it — disclose it to us, and it’s not something we find out about by surprise, if they weren’t forthcoming with the information on their application — we can still work with them and appreciate their honesty.” Cornelius uses a standard application. For welding, installation, and even sales jobs, a test is given. Welders they are interested in and who claim to have welding experience come in for a welding test and work is reviewed. The same goes for installers. “They all tell us they are expert installers,” adds Cornelius. “But if you go back there and give them a door they don’t know the first thing about instal-

lation. They also must have their own tools and truck to actually be able to go out and do an installation.” Sales people are interviewed three times before hiring, and they’re asked to sell something during an interview. First Impression’s biggest challenge, as others have mentioned, is finding good people and in particular getting managers and supervisors able to lead, coordinate, plan, organize, anticipate problems, and manage effectively. “Our turnover rate is still higher than I wish it was. It is hard work finding the right person for the right job. We set real high standards for performance. We’re not willing to accept a welder leaving his table at night in complete disarray. If he repeatedly does that he can’t work here, nor can an installer who shows up late constantly to jobs. Sales people who don’t get their paperwork in quickly, neatly, and accurately each day are not a good fit. Standards and work requirements set for them must be met. It’s simply how you run your business; it trickles down to all your employees.”

Fabricator n September/October 2010


Nationwide Supplier Members Accurate Manufactured Products Group Inc. (317) 472-9000 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 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 Bridgeton Drafting Co. LLC (856) 205-1279 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 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

September/October 2010 n Fabricator

DAC Industries Inc. (800) 888-9768 Dashmesh Ornamentals 011919878447477 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 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 Feeney 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 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 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 King Architectural Metals (800) 542-2379 King Architectural Metals - CA (800) 542-2379 King Architectural Metals - MD (800) 542-2379 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 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 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 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) 653-8568 Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058 Tri-State Shearing & Bending (718) 485-2200 TS Distributors Inc. (800) 392-3655 The Wagner Companies (888) 243-6914 Wasatch Steel Inc. (888) 486-4463 West Tennessee Ornamental Door (866) 790-3667



New Members We are pleased to introduce our newest members. We encourage our new member firms to “jump in and get involved.” New NOMMA Members as of August 20, 2010. *Asterisk denotes returning member. Abraham Steel Fabrication Inc.* San Luis Obispo, CA David Rivas Fabricator

Black Bart Ornamental Iron Works* Nevada City, CA Casey P. Smith Fabricator

Great Lakes Stair & Steel Bridgeview, IL Don Ziblis Fabricator

American Fence Association Inc.* Glen Ellyn, IL Rick Church Affiliate

Burdette Ironworks* Mercersburg, PA Kyle Burdette Fabricator

Iron Craft Studio Inc.* Ft. Worth, TX David D’Avignon Fabricator

Cyclops Welding Peru, IL Joe Piano Fabricator

Ironcrafts* Manitou, KY David Melton Fabricator

DeLand Metal Craft* DeLand, FL Brooke Whitaker Fabricator

Liberty Companies Jerome, ID Darren Sparks Fabricator

Duerst Custom Metalwork Kingston, ON Stefan Duerst Fabricator

Metal Specialties* Monterey, CA John Dotto Fabricator

American Iron Co.* St. Charles, MO Robert E. Lawrence Fabricator Back Alley Ornamental Iron* Louisville, KY Alex Langston Fabricator Berryhill Ornamental Iron* Broken Arrow, OK Darin Berryhill Fabricator

Join NOMMA Today! Ask About Our 1/2 Price Introductory Rate Three more reasons to join NOMMA: As a member you can take advantage of our electronic services -

Mudge Metalcraft* North Ft. Myers, FL Jacob Mudge Fabricator Quality Welding LLC Bristol, CT Samuel A. Walters Fabricator SC Metalworks LLC* Houston, TX Shawn Cogburn Fabricator Shenandoah Decorative Ironwork* Richmond, VA John Skiles Fabricator Shrock Fabrication Bird In Hand, PA Stanley Shrock Fabricator

Stairway Manufacturer’s Association* Westminister, MA David W. Cooper Affiliate Steel Magnolia Inc. Blaine, WA Ken Miller Fabricator UDI Inc.* Rogers, AR Debbie Weaver Fabricator Waring’s Metal Works* Great Falls, MT Leonard Waring Fabricator Frederic Zimmer Sculptor* Honolulu, HI Frederic Zimmer Fabricator

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

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

top: In the Members Area you’ll find sup-

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

For a complete list of member benefits, visit and click “Join Now!” 64

Fabricator n September/October 2010

What’s Hot? n Events National Ornamental Metal Museum Repair Days 2010 October 1–3, 2010 Metalsmiths from across the country will be on hand at the National Ornamental Metal Museum to solder, sharpen, remove dents, re-tin copper cookware, and repair garden furniture and statuaries for museum visitors. The craftsmen volunteer their time, and all proceeds benefit the museum. There will also be a Family Fun Tent, “world famous stew,” and an Art Auction for visitor entertainment. Estimates are free, and visitors (with repair receipts) receive free admission to the Museum during the event. Contact National Ornamental Metal Museum; (877) 881-232; Wendel Broussard Workshop October 11–16, 2010 The Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America will hold its Wendal Broussard Workshop at the Forgery School of Blacksmithing in Tijeras, NM. Broussard, a graduate of the school of repoussé at Les Compagnons Du Devoir in Muizon (France), has structured this sixday repoussé class for students who are serious about learning the skill of traditional repoussé. Class size is limited to 10 students. Contact The Forgery School of Blacksmithing; (505) 270-1007;

September/October 2010 n Fabricator

Industry News & More

FMA to help sell ads for Fabricator Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA) and the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association (NOMMA) have teamed up to boost ad sales. FMA Communications Inc., the publishing affiliate of FMA, serves the metal forming and fabricating industry. It publishes The Fabricator, a tabloid targeting industrial fabrication. While NOMMA’s Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metal Fabricator serves a more niche industry, the two books share many vendors. “We are excited about our new partnership with FMAC,” said Todd Daniel, executive director of NOM-

MA. “This relationship is ideal since FMA is already an expert on both the metalworking industry and trade associations. We feel we can now provide our family of advertisers with a superior level of service, while also greatly growing and improving O&MM Fabricator magazine.” “We look forward to working with NOMMA,” said Ed Youdell, group publisher of FMAC. “They have a well-earned reputation for producing an excellent magazine, and we believe this relationship will benefit NOMMA through our sales team’s knowledge and experience with the fabricating and metalworking industries.”

Revised ADA regulations signed Attorney General Eric Holder recently signed the adoption of the long published, but not yet adopted, 2004 ADA-ABA standard, said Thomas B. Zuzik Jr., NOMMA’s representative on the Code Advisory Council and vice president of sales and design at Artistic Railings Inc. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) ADA regulations, including its ADA Standards for Accessible Design, will be published in the Federal Register. “The new standard becomes effective 180 days after the adoption gets published in the Federal Registry,” said Zuzik, “hence I am not sure when that will be currently. If the registry publishes monthly we could see that within the next 60 days, if they publish quarterly — and it misses the next publication — it would take effect 180 days from then.” According to the Department of Justice, “The revised regulations will amend the Department’s Title II regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, and the Title III regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36. Ap-

pendix A to each regulation includes a section by section analysis of the rule and responses to public comments on the proposed rule. Appendix B to the Title III regulation discusses major changes in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and responds to public comments received on the proposed rules. The Department’s Final Regulatory Impact Analysis will be posted as soon as it is available.” The DOJ says these final rules will take effect six months after publication. Compliance with the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design is permitted after publication, but is not required until 18 months after the date of publication. “So, we could see it becoming effective at best March 2011,” says Zuzik. “At worst I would say July 2011.” For more information on the revised ADA regulations, visit www.ada. gov/regs2010/ADAregs2010.htm. Contact Thomas B. Zuzik Jr., Artistic Railings Inc.; (973) 772-4395; www. 65

What’s Hot? n

Business News

Eastern Metal Supply adds to facility

Eastern Metal Supply (EMS), a NOMMA supplier member company, has completed a 10,000 square foot addition to its Houston facility, which will be used solely for new aluminum fabrication and manufacturing services to support a variety of markets it serves. EMS fabrication capabilities include sawing, shearing, punching, drilling, some welding, and with the newest ac-

quisition, CNC machining. EMS also offers standard industrial aluminum extrusions and sheet products in addition to its own custom shapes for niche industries including sign, awning, boat trailers, hurricane shutters, fence and railing, walkway, canopy, sunshade, and lighting. Contact Eastern Metal Supply; (800) 343-8154; www.easternmetal. com.

Mac Metals unveils new website Mac Metals Inc., a NOMMA supplier member company, has launched a completely redesigned website geared to educating users about the advantages of (and applications for) brass, bronze, and nickel silver extrusions. Mac Metals is a fully integrated brass mill specializing in the production of architectural extrusions with casting, extrusion, and fabrication facilities under one roof. The revamped site meets the needs of design professionals, metals fabricators, contractors, and original equipment manufacturers who benefit from using custom architectural extrusions. Products, services, and industrial

specifications are easily accessible, and the site provides access to links within the Mac Metals service market area. Contact Mac Metals Inc.; (800) 6319510;

Iron World Manufacturing opens new plant Iron World Manufacturing LLC, a NOMMA supplier member company and a manufacturer and distributor of ornamental fencing and slide gates, has opened a 100,000 square foot plant on eight acres in Bristol, IN. The plant specializes in heavy mill coated pipe, heavy mill coated fittings, fused and bonded chain link weaving, aluminized chain link weaving, GBW chain link weaving, and tension wire production. It’s also capable of manufacturing pipe gates and assembling ornamental fence panels. Contact Iron World Manufacturing; (574) 848-0784; 66

Events FABTECH comes to Atlanta November 2–4, 2010 FABTECH, touted as North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, finishing and welding event, returns to the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA. This event anticipates 22,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors covering 350,000 net square feet. The show and conference brings together buyers and sellers from around the world. It is cosponsored by the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI). Event partners are the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). Many NOMMA member suppliers will be exhibiting. Contact FMA, (800) 432-2832; N.E. Chapter Nov. meeting November 6, 2010 NOMMA’s next Northeast Chapter meeting is at M. Cohen & Sons aka The Iron Shop in Broomall, PA, and features a facility tour and a demo of laser and water jet techniques (to incorporate intricate design-work with hand forged items producing a modern twist). Chris Tierney (formerly of Samuel Yellin Metalworks) will forge steel utilizing the coal forge, hand, and power hammer forging, anvil tooling, and hot chisel work. RSVP is required. Contact NOMMA Northeast Chapter; (973) 247-7604; www.

Fabricator n September/October 2010


People Briefs Martha Pennington NOMMA Education Foundation The NOMMA Education Foundation (NEF) announces the appointment of Martha Pennington as Executive Director of NEF. Known for her role as NOMMA’s meetings, exposition, and program director, Pennington also helped create NEF in 2001 and has since served as its program director. She has worked with NEF to produce continuing education programs, educational videos and publications, the annual NEF auction, and a NOMMA scholarship program. “Martha’s passion for the Foundation shows in her work,” said Todd Daniel, NOMMA’s executive director. “Her promotion from program director to executive director is greatly deserved.” Contact Martha Pennington, NEF; (888) 516-8585; Michael Jerry The Metal Museum The Metal Museum named Michael Jerry the Master Metalsmith for 2010. Jerry is known for his hollowware and jewelry, crafted from pewter, silver, and gold and other natural materials. His work is found in permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Art and Design, the Brooklyn Museum, the De Young Museum, and other public and private collections of mid-century and contemporary metal work. Jerry studied at Rochester Institute of Technology, School for American Craftsmen, and Cranbrook Academy of Art, and is Professor Emeritus at Syracuse University College of Art and Design. Contact The Metal Museum; (901) 774-6380;

September/October 2010 n Fabricator

What’s Hot? n Weekley plans to enhance service for Eagle and Carell customers Eagle Bending Machines ity to manage and relate to and Carell Corporation our team. I’ve been in their recently announced the shoes and understand, as promotion of Jeremiah well as appreciate, what they Weekley to director of do.” sales. “I’m a very driven indiCarrell and Eagle Bendvidual, and I believe in the ing expect that Weekley’s company and the team I am dedication to the compafortunate enough to work nies and his leadership with. I always look for ways skills will continue to to improve our products, enhance all aspects of their Relating to customers. sales methods, and, most imJeremiah Weekley sales, service, and parts portantly, customer service.” wants to provide a departments. “If someone is looking better experience for Weekley’s primary focus buyers as service for a business relationship expands. will be on customer and from a reliable company that distributor support. sells and stands behind high “As Director of Sales quality products, I believe we for Carell Coporation and have the best on the market.” Eagle Bending Machines,” said Weekley, “it is my job Plans to enhance service to oversee all aspects of everyday sales Weekley plans to implement innoby our staff and through our distribuvative enhancements into his sales and tor network, as well as sales direct to service departments to better serve end-users, in some cases, for North Carell/Eagle customers. America. “Our service department is expand“I also travel for client presentaing in order to meet the demands tions on larger deals and to support presented by the amount of machines and continue to build our distributor we’ve placed in the market,” he said. network.” “We feel the expansion will strengthen Weekley’s six-year personal comdistributor relationships and make for mitment to superior customer relahappier customers overall.” tions has earned him the genuine “We always strive to be creative in respect of his customers, distributors, our sales methods and to always leave and fellow employees. our customers feeling they’ve received “I believe our customer service the best deal from the best company. should always be conducted by putting “We are a high quality machinery ourselves in the customer’s shoes,” he provider, so with that said we have said. “We always try to consider the to offer high quality in every aspect things that will provide a better expeof our company in order to give the rience for anyone who buys from our expected level of satisfaction to our companies.” customers. It’s not about being the When Weekley began his career at cheapest for us. It’s about being the Carell/Eagle, he worked inside sales best.” and quickly moved into inventory Contact Jeremiah Weekley, Eagle control and purchasing, while still sellBending Machines and Carell ing product. Corporation; (251) 937-0947; www. “I’ve worn many hats here,” he or www. said, “and I think it gives me the 67

What’s Hot? n


D&D upgrades stainless steel drop-bolts


The Q-Bolt™ drop-bolt from D&D Technologies presents a new gate hardware option for mild steel or stainless steel drop bolts. Q-Bolt combines D&D’s trademark rust-free polymer mounting brackets with an electro-polished and powder coated stainless steel bolt, according to the manufacturer. The design is intended to prevent corrosion by eliminating any metal-on-metal contact. The Q-Bolt can be used with or without a padlock. Its storage feature allows user to store the locked padlock on the bracket when the bolt is unlocked, which helps prevent the padlock from being misplaced or stolen while the gate is open.

Decorative Ironwork of Italy By Augusto Pedrini Beautiful handwrought iron gates, grilles, architectural details, and fireplace equipment featuring scrollwork and floral embellishments showcase this 320page photography journal, Decorative Ironwork of Italy. Medieval and rococo elements are plentiful in its 487 full-page, black and white photographs, which illuminate the intricate details of the pieces. Original locations of the ironwork, from many ancient towns in Italy, are identified. This photographic

The Q-Bolt is also designed with a retention feature that prevents the bolt from dropping and dragging across a driveway, even if it’s bumped or kicked while opening the gate. The retention feature prevents the rod from being pulled out of the brackets after it’s been mounted to the gate. Two models are available for any square post gate material. The metal version has narrower mounting brackets designed specifically for metal gate frame sizes available in 24-inch and 40-inch bolt lengths. Contact D&D Technologies Inc.; (800) 716-0888 or visit www.

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950 Anderson @ Fab Road Litchfield, MI 49252-0388

Phone: 1-517-542-2353 Fax: 1-517-542-2501

Fabricator n September/October 2010

What’s Hot? n


Literature masterpiece will inspire blacksmiths and designers. Hardcover; $45. Contact; (800) 843-9567; Boone Wrought Iron: Products and Practices By Don Plummer Learn the ins and outs of producing, marketing, and selling ironwork from much admired blacksmith, Daniel Boone VII and his wife, Judy in their book, Boone Wrought Iron: Products and Practices. Author Don Plummer and photographer Nick Vincent

Tapping cutter kit Hougen Manufacturing Inc. Hougen Manufacturing recently added a 12,000-Series Rotabroach® 5-piece annular cutter kit to its tap drill kit series. The diameters of the 2-inch D.O.C. tap drill cutters were selected to accommodate the most widely used taps, and the sturdy plastic case provides the convenience of holding five cutters and three pilots to keep them organized and protected from damage. Rotabroach Cutters cut clean holes, ensure the accuracy for tapping thread depths, and can be used in Hougen portable magnetic drills, drill presses, or stationary machine tools. Contact Hougen Manufacturing Inc.; (810) 635-7111;

Cold saw cutting system Pat Mooney, The Saw Company Pat Mooney featured the Nishijimax NHC-850 Cold Saw System during the International Manufacturing Technology Show. The NHC850 delivers high speed, advanced metal cutting technology, and can cut more parts per hour (and per blade) than a standard production saw. The X- and Zaxis are CNC operated via servo drive, amp, motor, and precision ball screw, and its precision eliminates the need for secondary operation. Ceramic blade guides deliver six points of contact, eliminating blade wobble while delivering repeatable cutting accuracy. Contact Pat Mooney Inc.; (630) 5436222;

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

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

Cap Rails



 Flat Bar (on edge hard way) R&D Hydraulics, Mfg. and Machine Co. 1431 West 5th St. Chico, CA 95928 September/October 2010 n Fabricator


What’s Hot? n Gas-phase air filtration media Circul-Aire®

The Circul-Aire® subsidiary of Dectron Internationale, introduces Circulaire Cleanaire,™ a green, efficient and sustainable gas-phase air filtration media for removing chemical odors and airborne gaseous contaminants in industrial facilities where indoor air quality (IAQ) is critical. The Circulaire Cleanaire™ proprietary process produces a media that lasts 100-percent longer than other technology and significantly reduces a building’s annual HVAC maintenance and media replacement costs, according to recent tests. Contact Circul-Aire®; (800) 800-1868;


Brush-on blackening gel Birchwood Casey Birchwood Casey’s new Presto Black® Brush-On Gel is ideal for blackening large, in-place architectural metal surfaces. It can be brushed or swabbed on for a uniform finish at room temperature — without runs or drips — and is ideal for most metal surfaces including iron, steel, copper, brass, bronze, and other metals. The gel clings to vertical surfaces, as well as horizontal surfaces, and is safe and simple to use. Also, Presto Black® Brush-On Gel will not bleed into adjoining surfaces. Contact Birchwood Casey; (952) 937-7931;

Literature present, in full color photographic detail, Boone’s successful product line focusing on technique, style, color, form, and size. Explanatory tips help those considering the craft circuit as a way to bring their products to market. A brief bio, shop pictures, tools, and a discussion on the business of selling ironwork is also included. Softcover: $19.95. Contact Nick Vincent; (410) 8487903; Handbook for Ironmongers: a Glossary of Ferrous Metallurgy By H.G. Brack Journey through the labyrinth of steel — toolmaking strategies and



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 • 70

Fabricator n September/October 2010

What’s Hot? n


Literature techniques —from 2000 B.C. to 1950 in the Handbook for Ironmongers: a Glossary of Ferrous Metallurgy. The book layout features specific terminology and entries are detailed (and often cross-referenced to other terms of interest). The glossary, which makes up the bulk of the book, defines terminology pertaining to the origins and history of ferrous metallurgy, and an interesting historical timeline and detailed charts for today’s serious toolmaker are included. Hardcover; $22. Contact; (800) 843-9567;

September/October 2010 n Fabricator

CNC plasma cutter Techno Inc. This new low-cost, operator-friendly machine, allows small to mid-sized shops to raise their manual plasma process to a whole new level. The CNC Plasma’s unique design offers ease of operation, built-in automatic system functionality, and overall system flexibility.

The fully automated interface has advanced, user-friendly features, and allows customers to choose from three standard table sizes, which can handle up to 1¼ inch thick material. Contact Techno, Inc.; (516) 3283970;

Security fencing Direct Metals Company LLC

Direct Metals added a new security border fencing product to its existing wire mesh line. It is made of carbon steel .162-inch diameter welded wire, ½ inch by 3 inch mesh center-to-center, and is provided as a 2-ply fence with custom panel sizes and openings rotated and matted together. This security fencing product is also available in bare steel, painted steel, or hot dip galvanized. This no-climb fence is perfect for prisons, borders, or any application needing a high security fence. Contact Direct Metals Company LLC; (800) 711-4939; www.


What’s Hot? n Metal-cored wires Lincoln Electric Company Lincoln Electric has updated its Metalshield® line of metal-cored wires with H4 diffusible hydrogen MC-6 and MC-706. The products now feature less than 4mL of diffusible hydrogen per 100g of weld metal to reduce the risk of porosity and hydrogen-induced cracking in weld deposits. Metalshield® MC-706 has been tested and approved for American Welding Society (AWS) D1.8 seismic welding applications, and both are designed for arc welding applications; offering low spatter levels, deoxidizing arc action, and high travel speeds. Contact Lincoln Electric Company; (216) 481-8100; www.lincolnelectric. com. Since 1925


New EDAF Series Ram EDMs Makino Makino introduces their latest Ram EDM machinery, the new EDAF Series, which features a new mechanical design for increased rigidity and reduced thermal distortion. The EDAF series features two models and comes equipped with the most sophisticated spark gap monitoring and arc prevention technology available on the market, according to the manufacturer. With ArcFree Technology, the EDAFseries is ideal for manufacturers facing uncontrolled thermal environments and long hours of unattended burning. Contact Makino; (800) 552-32884939; Brasstown, NC

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

Literature Wrought Iron, reprinted By Fritz Kühn Blue Moon Press has re-released a blacksmithing classic, Wrought Iron, by Fritz Kühn (also available at This timeless compilation features exquisite black and white photos by the master artist-blacksmith Kühn himself, as renowned for his photography as he was for his metalwork. This 120-page hardcover classic features 184 photos and retails for $58. Reprinted 2010. Contact Blue Moon Press; (866) 627-6922;

Blacksmithing • Bladesmithing • Toolmaking Design Process • Repoussé and many more!


15754 Widewater Drive Dumfries, VA 22025-1212 703-680-1632

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



Association of North America, Inc. Fabricator n September/October 2010


Advertiser’s Index A thanks to the following advertisers for their support of O&MM Fabricator magazine Pg Company*


 Pg Company*


15....Lawler Foundry

32...Architectural Iron

70....Laser Precision Cutting....................................

71....Alloy Casting Co. Inc...........................................

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

71....Atlas Metal Sales.............................................

70....Lindblade Metal

36...Big Blu Hammer Mfg.


57....Blacksmiths Depot...........................


61....Blue Moon Press....................................


37...Julius Blum & Co.

43...Pat Mooney

31...The Cable Connection................

45...Nathan’s Forge

72....John C. Campbell Folk

38...National Bronze & Metal............................

35...Carell Corp.........................................................

43...NC Tool Co.

25...Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co.....................

50...NEF Videos..............................................................

56...Colorado Waterjet


28...CompLex Industries

69...R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine

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


7...D.J.A. Imports Ltd...........................................

34...Scotchman Industries...................................

35...Eagle Bending Machines.....


56...Eberl Iron Works




17....FabCAD Inc..............................................................

24...Sumter Coatings


30...Sur-Fin Chemical Corp..........................

13....Feeney Architectural..........................................

20...TACO Metals Inc..............................................

60...The G-S Co..................................................................

42...Top Job......................................................................

4...Hebo - Stratford

45...Traditional Building.......................

68...Hougen Mfg. Inc..................................................

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

61....International Gate

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

76....The Iron

9...The Wagner

68...Jesco Industries Inc......................................

58...Weaver’s Iron Works.......................

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

Contact your O&MM Fabricator sales representative Sales Manager Jim Gorzek Direct 815.227.8269 Mobile 815.985.4089 Fax 815.484.7730 jimg@.

AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, LA, MO, MS, MT, NE, ND, NM, NV, OR, OK, SD, TN, TX, UT, WA, WY Tony Arnone Direct 815.227.8263 Toll Free 888.394.4362 Fax 815.484.7758 tony@.

September/October 2010 n Fabricator

CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT Sean Smith Direct 815.227.8265 Toll Free 888.394.4362 Fax 815.484.7760 seans@.

FL, GA, IN, KY, NC, OH, SC, VA, WV Michael J. Lacny Direct 815.227.8264 Toll Free 888.394.4362 Fax 815.484.7749 mikel@.

IA, IL, MN, WI, Canada Amy Hudson Direct 815.227.8237 Toll Free 888.394.4362 Fax 815.484.7777 amyh@.



Member Mentoring on NOMMA’s ListServe

Aluminum welder novice gets advice Problem

First, let me say I am not an experienced aluminum welder. I am doing a fillet weld joining ¼ inch tube alloy 6511 to ½ inch plate alloy 5052. I am using 5356 alloy .035 welding wire with the Miller spool gun 30A. I am having trouble getting the weld to penetrate the plate. It sticks well to the tube but when we test the weld, it breaks right off the plate. Currently I am about 24.5 volts 800 IPM with argon at 30

PSI. I tried grinding the plate to bare metal, but it did not help. Should I preheat the plate? Or is my welding angle wrong? I am getting to the point that as I up my voltage more, I am melting tips. Using our TIG machine is not an option. Help… Rachel Miller Spirit Ironworks Bayport, NY

6 NOMMA listserve responses

1) Our experience has been that the plate will need to be pre-heated in order to get the penetration you need. It also helps not to have the aluminum plate on a steel or metal table because the aluminum will want to transfer the heat. The MIG needs to be set to as close to a constant “hiss” sound without burning wire back to the tip. If you have trouble with burn back, you may want to increase the wire size to .045. Always clean the aluminum with a clean stainless steel wire brush used exclusively for aluminum, just prior to welding. Michael Boyler

2) We use Helium when welding thick material. It puts out more heat and welds perfectly. Kai Schulte 3) I use a 50/50 argon helium mixture for MIG and Tiggin’. It works well. Aluminum runs best having a thicker wire to prevent wire sputtering. John Allen www.countrymetalsonline. com

4) I would bump up to 3/64 wire, and wire wheel the plate clean. Grinding the plate will add a bunch of contamination to the material that will make the weld brittle. Then I would just warm the plate up a little. Depending on how warm the plate is you might still need some more voltage. Brad Miller 5) Preheat just before you start welding. Raymond Liles Liles Welding Service Inc.

6) With aluminum that thick and that large of an area, covering pre-heat IMO is a must. I am not sure why you would need more than a light quick wire brushing with new material and a quick wipe. All you need to do is make sure the surface is clean, and the pre-heat also tends to burn off impurities. Grinding to me is not needed unless there is some kind of finish on it already. Though larger wire would work better for the size, the 0.035 will work with practice first on scrap. Thomas B Zuzik Jr


After considering the responses on joining ¼” tube alloy 6511 to ½” plate alloy 5052, Rachel from Spirit Ironworks ended up preheating the plate right before welding and using .045 thick 5356 wire. She also pushed into the weld instead of dragging.


The conversation on this page took place on NOMMA’s member’s only online ListServ. To post your question and get answers, contact NOMMA, (888) 516-8585; 74

Fabricator n September/October 2010

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