Mar/Apr 2014 O&MM Fabricator

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Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metal

Fabricator ®

The official publication of the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

March / April 2014 $6.00 US

2013 Top Job Gold Award: Exterior Railing & Fence — Forged

Overcoming a ‘dynamic field experience’ Wiemann Metalcraft’s careful planning, good math skills makes for a winner page 48

Shop Talk Glass railings: Why not a fabricator?, page 14

Shop Talk A detailing case, page 26

Member Talk Randy LeBlanc’s atypical path, page 41

Biz Talk A 5-Step LinkedIn campaign, page 56


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Become A NOMMA Member Members Receive Awesome Benefits Membership application form on pg. 63

All the Resources in One Association


In today’s world, as a metal fabricator, you need a network of solutions at your fingertips all year long. We invite you to join the NOMMA family and utilize our powerful network to build your business.

Membership Benefits

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(O&MM Fabricator & NOMMA Newswire)

Webinars Vendor Discounts

Network with NOMMA members to build your business:

Member Locator (let new clients find you)

• NOMMA ListServ: This is our email discussion list that connects you to over 250 shops around the country. Ask questions, get advice, find the solutions you need fast.

Technical Support (on codes & standards)

• Chapter Meetings: Your opportunity to develop resources within your region. Your chapter members have a collective knowledge that can help you build your business. Think of your NOMMA chapter members as close family with local and regional expertise to share.

Free Downloads (tech data & more)

• Subcontracting or partnering on projects.

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Member Resource Kit

Awards Contest

Join NOMMA and share in the networking benefits of our family. The relationships that you develop will benefit you and your business for years to come. Networking Examples include:


Online Video Library

The NOMMA Network is a culture of sharing knowledge. The art and science of metal fabrication has been handed down for a thousand years and that tradition is alive and well at NOMMA. We are unique because we provide networking opportunities in a family atmosphere. You will not find this culture and atmosphere anywhere else in the industry. We are a family and you can connect with our members when you need us.

• Annual Convention: METALfab is THE place to network with the best in the industry. NOMMA offers opportunities to make lasting connections during this showcase of education, professional development, and technology.


Discounts on all Media & Events ListServ (member-to-member list) Insurance Program (free safety manual) Mentor Program & Buddy System


(automatic membership in your local chapter)

Knowledgebase Online Tutorials Roundtable Conference Calls Affiliations (NOMMA decal & certificate) NAAMM-NOMMA Finishes Manual NOMMA Buyer’s Guide Recognition in O&MM Fabricator & NOMMA Buyer’s Guide † Exhibitor Discount

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• Having a colleague install your out-of-town job.

Mail List Access

• Receiving a quick answer to a question.

*In areas with a chapter. † Only Nationwide Suppliers are listed in Fabricator.

• Finding solutions for difficult projects.

Join Online: • Email: Ph: 888-516-8585, ext. 101 • Fax: 888-279-7994


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March / April 2014 Vol. 55, No. 2

Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX, won the NOMMA Mitch Heitler Award of Excellence for this staircase made of steel, stainless steel and glass. Big D is one fabricator that has learned how to handle and store glass, says Big D’s J.R. Molina. Story on page 14.

NOMMA Network

Biz Talk

Upper Midwest Chapter creates items for the NEF auction at METALfab2014 ............................. 10

5 Steps for a LinkedIn marketing campaign ......................... 56

LinkedIn is largely a business­to­ business networking and marketing platform. Metalworkers can get architects and general contractors to follow you and your company, and you can have substantive, useful conversations with them. By Stephanie Sammons

NOMMA rolls out members-only special interest forums on website .................................... 11

Shop Talk Glass railings: Why not a fabricator? ...................... 14

With the barrier for entry relatively low, glass rail work doesn’t have to be left to the glaziers. By Jeff Fogel Also: Dry glaze vs. wet glaze ............ 18

Member Talk

What’s Hot!

Balancing business and art ....... 41

Metal Head’s Randy LeBlanc took an atypical metalworking path in Louisiana that satisfied his creative desires and established his ethical approach to business. Top Job Profile

Shop Talk The case for detailing....................... 26

Here’s what detailers can provide to help you improve quality and the bottom line. By David Busarello Also: Detailer helps fabricator save time and impress clients ................... 40 President’s Letter .......... 7

A busy, productive year.

Overcoming a ‘dynamic field experience’................................... 48

Wiemann Metalcraft’s careful planning and excellent math skills figure most for restaurant’s unconventional railing job 600 miles away. By Molly Badgett Also: Repetition is the reward ......... 53

Exec. Director’s Letter ... 8

Answers to frequent questions.

News ...................................................... 67

Living Design Studios receives $250,000 small­business grant.

Events.................................................... 68

John C. Campbell Folk School, The Center for Metal Arts, and ABANA.

People ................................................... 69

Richard Bacharach named president and CEO of Lewis Brass & Copper.

Products .......................................69 Suppler Members............................ 65 New Members ................................... 66 Ad Index............................................... 73

NEF .................................. 12

Mark O’Malley wins Cliff Brown Award for education.

Metal Moment .............. 74

What should the distance be between rail posts?

About the cover Wiemann Metalcraft won the 2013 Top Job Gold award in the Interior Railings — ferrous, nonforged category for this 200­foot stair and balcony railing with cast aluminum infill. Approx. labor time: 1,600 hours. See story on page 48. March / April 2014



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President’s Letter

A busy, productive year Reflecting on the past 12 months, ■ Continue to build I’d like to say thank you for and improve the NOMMA allowing me the privilege to lead Education Foundation. NOMMA as your president. I am pleased with the It has been both an exciting progress we have made this and rewarding year, and my year creating, implementing, plan was to do my very best to and monitoring the programs lead the association to the next of this organization, but it J.R. Molina, Big continues to take tremendous level. I soon realized this goal was not realistic because to get D Metalworks, amounts of work and effort. is president to the next level of success it It has been remarkable to of NOMMA. takes many years of laying the see the path of improvement, foundation to grow. the commitment of the staff, However, I do believe this and the efforts of volunteers year we made some foundation­laying that make this organization what it is decisions that will help my successors today. continue on with NOMMA’s growth. Every moment spent on NOMMA With the help of NOMMA’s past business was aligned with our strategic great leaders, every decision the plan to ensure that productivity was board and I made this past year was in line with the programs and policies benchmarked off NOMMA’s Strategic currently guiding NOMMA. Plan and NOMMA’s mission and vision, which states that NOMMA is dedicated Thank you all to the success of its members and As my term as president comes to an industry, the organization’s by­laws, end, I would like to thank the directors and its strategic plan. and past presidents I had the chance After the March 2013 board meet­ to serve with during the last six years. ing in Albuquerque, the executive I also want to thank all the NOMMA committee set aside corporate and staff and members for their support. personal resources that would set the This experience allowed me to grow stage to take the first steps of making both professionally and personally. a good association a great association. As for the future, the next couple years are going to be a key time for the The work that has been done this association. It is my belief that when year has been setting the stage for our things get tough or if a crisis arises, I organization’s future. know the Board of Directors will do Association accomplishments everything possible to make certain The following has been the primary their efforts and decisions will make focus of the Board of Directors and the this great association even better. NOMMA staff: I will continue to support this ■ Addition of a supplier member on organization. It has been a pleasure the executive committee. serving as your president. ■ Strategic plan review. Thank you once again. ■ New marketing manager position. ■ Tiered dues policy. ■ New and improved website and association management system. ■ Re­activation of the marketing committee. ■ Review of current NOMMA benefits.

March / April 2014


Dedicated to the success of our members and industry. NOMMA O FFICERS

President J.R. Molina, Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX President-Elect Mark Koenke, Germantown Iron & Steel Corp. Jackson, WI Vice President/Treasurer Allyn Moseley, Heirloom Stair & Iron, Campobello, SC Immediate Past President Will Keeler, Keeler Iron Works, Memphis, TN


Greg Bailey, Bailey Metal Fabricators, Mitchell, SD Keith Majka, Majka Railing Co. Inc., Paterson, NJ Tina Tennikait, Superior Fence & Orn. Iron, Cottage Hills, IL Greg Terrill, Division 5 Metalworks, Kalamazoo, MI Cathy Vequist, Pinpoint Solutions, Jupiter, FL Henry Wheeler, Wheeler Ornamental Metals, Dothan, AL


Rick Ralston, Feeney Inc., Eugene, OR Mark Sisson, Mac Metals Inc., Kearny, NJ Dave White Jr., Locinox USA, Countryside, IL


Co-Chairs Roger Carlsen, Ephraim Forge Inc., Frankfort, IL Lynn Parquette, Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc., Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC, Elk Grove Village, IL Treasurer Mike Boyler, Boyler’s Ornamental Iron Inc., Bettendorf, IA


Heidi Bischmann, Milwaukee, WI Carl Grainger, Grainger Metal Works, Nichols, SC Mark Koenke, Germantown Iron & Steel Corp., Jackson, WI Christopher Maitner, Christopher Metal Fabricating, Grand Rapids, MI Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators, St. Louis, MO


Chesapeake Bay Patty Koppers, President, Koppers Fabricators Inc. Forestville, MD 301-420-6080 Florida Marco Vasquez, President, Vasquez Custom Metals Inc., Tampa, FL, 813-248-3348 Gulf Coast Charles Perez, President, B & O Machine Welding, Brookhaven, MS, 985-630-6943 Northeast Keith Majka, President, Majka Railing Co. Inc., Paterson, NJ, 973-247-7603 Pacific Northwest Gale Schmidt, President, A2 Fabrication Inc., Milwaukie, OR, 503-771-2000 Upper Midwest Mark O’Malley, President, O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc., Yorkville, IL, 630-553-1604


Executive Director, J. Todd Daniel, CAE Meetings & Exposition Manager; NEF Executive Director, Martha Pennington Member Care & Operations Manager, Liz Johnson Editor, Robin Sherman Sales Director, Sherry Theien Marketing Manager, Brian Maddox


Terry Barrett, Pinpoint Solutions, Jupiter, FL Doug Bracken, Wiemann Metalcraft, Tulsa, OK Bill Coleman, Arc Angels, Dunedin, FL Nancy Hayden, Tesko Enterprises, Norridge, IL Chris Holt, Steel Welding, Freedom, PA Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators, St. Louis, MO


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 8,000 fabricators For information, call Sherry Theien, Ph: 815-282-6000. Email stheien@att. net. Ads are due on the first Friday of the month preceding the cover date. Send ads to: Fabricator at address above. Email ads to: (max. 5 megs by e-mail). Or upload ads to our website where a downloadable media kit is available: Membership Join NOMMA! Beyond the magazine, enjoy more benefits as a NOMMA member. To join, call 888-5168585, 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 888-5168585, 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: 888-516-8585, or 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. Contact Sherry Theien at 815-282-6000 or Opinions expressed in Fabricator are not necessarily those of the editors or NOMMA. Articles appearing in Fabricator may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of NOMMA.


How to reach us

Executive Director’s Letter

Answers to frequent questions Each week, I receive a variety of questions. The following are answers to some frequent ones. However, the best way to get quick answers is to join NOMMA to subscribe to the ListServ, our ongoing discussion list. Also, you’ll easily find answers on the website:

Question: Where can I get the NOMMA Joint Finishes Guidelines? Answer: They’re in the Architects area of our website. The Commentary section provides clarifications from the Technical Committee.

Question: How can I compare my company’s performance with others? Answer: Check the Member Support area of the website. You’ll need to buy an “Annual Statement Studies” report from the Risk Management Association ( Enter our industry’s code, which is either SIC 3446 or NAICS 332323. Also, every five years the U.S. Dept. of Commerce conducts an economic survey. Enter the classification numbers. Question: I would like to powder coat over a galvanized job. How should I prepare for this? Answer: This type of finish, called “duplex,” is discussed in an article in our Best of Fabricator section. We have 28 other popular articles from the magazine only available to members. Go to the Fabricator section and click Best of Fabricator to find articles on design, finishing, fabricating, and metallurgy. Question: Do you have materials for

training employees?


Question: How do I get on the NOMMA ListServ? Answer: Signup for the ListServ in the Member Resources section. From there you can post or access the archives, which are great when you say to yourself, “I’m facing a problem in the shop and I remember a ListServ conversation on the same topic a few months ago.” Also, Liz Harris at the NOMMA office can help you.

Question: Yikes, my stainless steel is rusting. I didn’t think stainless was suppose to rust. Answer: Go to the Best of Fabricator area to download this article: “Is Your Stainless Steel Rusting?” Also try the resources of the Specialty Steel Industry of North America ( Go to Information Handbooks to find a lengthy list of free publications.

My answers have touched on some of the vast resources of NOMMA, and what you’ll learn about when you join. People have told me that tapping into NOMMA’s resources is like drinking from a fire hose. If you are a member, I encourage you to explore the many tools we have. If you are not a member, join us and drink from our well.

Answer: We have 40 streaming F I LE S, U R JO B P RO CA LL FO R YO

© 2014 National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

Todd Daniel is executive director of NOMMA.

educational videos, past webinars, and tutorials. Go to Downloads to get a copy of one of our publications: A Guide to the Development of the Ironworkers’ Skills. The basic fabrication and math skills information is timeless. Both resources need member login.


Are you a NOMMA Top Job winner? Do you have how-to, step-by-step tips to share? Have you solved an interesting fabrication problem? Write for Fabricator. Contact Editor Robin Sherman at


March / April 2014

Become A NOMMA Member And Receive

Tools To Help Your Business More Revenue. Greater Profits. More Stability. Today, as a metal fabricator, you need more and better advice to get you through tough times. And, you need it at your fingertips. NOMMA, the trade association of the ornamental and miscellaneous metalworking industry, can help. Join NOMMA now for access to valuable resources that drive your profitability to the next level.

Our Two Featured Benefits ListServ

Most NOMMA members stay connected through our popular ListServ. Simply post a question and get instant answers to your questions from your peers around the world. We call it the “Where to find it, how to do it” list.

Mentor Program

Upon joining we’ll connect you to a veteran mentor who can help you with either a specific project, a specialty, or just provide general business guidance. We also have mentors at our convention to make you feel at home.

A Partner To Build Your Business New Small Shop Category

Now, a 1-2 person shop with gross sales of under $250,000 can join NOMMA for $350 per year ($250 introductory offer). This is a full membership that allows you to tap into powerful member benefits, such as access to our online library, downloadable documents, the ListServ, Mentor Program, and more.

Fabricator Magazine

Receive 6 issues of our glossy, 4-color magazine that features articles on fabrication, spotlights on fabricators, and job profiles. You’ll also find business articles that cover everything from bonding to personnel management.

Attend Our Annual METALfab Convention What is METALfab?

See what NOMMA’s all about by attending our annual convention and exhibits. The exhibits are free but we recommend that you sign up for the entire program to benefit from the education sessions, networking events, and more. Visit our website or call for details.

Here’s What You Get

Our annual convention features education on shop and front office topics, trade show exhibits, awards contest, shop tours, spouse program, networking events, and more. You will receive so much information at METALfab that it will be “like sipping from a fire hose.”

NOMMA has given me all kinds of tools to help me run my business and get me through the down times. Every morning when I check my email I see what NOMMA’s doing for me. — Scott Colson, Iron Innovations Inc., Clinton, MS

me d Ti e t i r Lim Offe p i h s ber Mem

Join by March 28 and Save $100 Join online and save $100 by entering promo code: DM2-2014* Invest in NOMMA – a critical resource for the generation of new ideas, new products, diversification, and successful business strategies. NOMMA offers technical and business education resources to drive your profitability.

When you join NOMMA, everyone in your business becomes a member with access to all benefits. Membership application form on pg. 63

*First time members only.

National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127 #311 Fayetteville, GA 30214 Ph. (888) 516-8585 Fax (888) 279-7994


The NOMMA Network

Upper Midwest Chapter creates items for the NEF auction at METALfab2014 A turnout of more than 50 attendees converged in Oakwood Hills, IL, for the Upper Midwest Chapter meeting, Jan. 25 at Neiweem Indus­ tries Inc. Chapter President Mark O’Malley, O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc., Yorkville, IL, introduced board members Max Hains II and Mason Hains, Mofab Inc., Anderson, IN; Rob Rolves, Foreman Fabricators Inc., St. Louis, MO; as well as attendees including new NOMMA members Kettleson Custom Iron, Kingston, IL, and Rosebud Metalworks, St. Louis, MO; and returning members Chicago Metal Rolled Products, Chicago, and MDO Welding & Fabrication Inc., Wheaton, IL. O’Malley announced the first recipient of the Todd Kinnikin Memorial Grant: John Thompson, Eagle Machine & Welding Inc., Newark, OH. See related story, page 12. Lynn Parquette, Mueller Ornamen­tal Iron Works Inc. & Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC, Elk Grove Village, IL, outlined the activ­ ities of the NOMMA Education Foun­dation Board, including support of the Todd Kinnikin Memorial Grant, and reviewed the education lineup for METALfab2014. Michael and Jennifer Kinnikin, Eureka Forge, Pacific, MO, spoke briefly about the seminar Michael Kinnikin led immediately preceding METALfab 2014. The group heard a presentation from David Wareham, Artist Supplies and Products, Elm Grove, WI, on Gilders Paste and many tried the product on objects at hand, including seven crosses that O’Malley brought to prepare for the NEF Auction a METALfab2014. After lunch, the group moved on to fabricating and finishing a host of projects ranging from a giant fire pit to fancy wine bottle holders for the NEF Auction. The entire room came alive when the fabrication projects began. New members Andy Kettleson and Jeremy Minnegan of Kettleson Custom Iron eagerly jumped in on one of the biggest jobs — creating a fire pit. They worked with Alan Neiweem to cut an old air tank into the elements that became an impressive piece for the NEF Auction. A thanks goes to Neiweem Industries and their staff for hosting the meeting. 10

The Upper Midwest Chapter heard a presentation from David Wareham, Artist Supplies and Products, Elm Grove, WI, on Gilders Paste. Attendees tried the product on seven crosses that Mark O’Malley, O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc., Yorkville, IL, brought to prepare for the NEF Auction at METALfab2014. One of the many sculpture items crafted for the NEF auction.

Andy Kettleson, left, and Jeremy Minnegan of Kettleson Custom Iron get ready to cut a tank and make a fire pit.

Nieves Arzola of Disenos Ornamental Iron, Detroit, MI, left, and Tina Neiweem of Neiweem Industries, Oakwood Hills, IL, were among the 50-plus attendees at the event. Report provided by Brian Maddox Fabricator

March / April 2014

NOMMA rolls out members-only special interest forums on website While the NOMMA ListServ remains the primary “go to” place for members, we have now created forums where more topic­specific conversations can take place. Forums launched so far include CAD, Welding, Polishing/Plating, Finishes, and Building Codes. In addition, there is a public forum for classified ads called “Buy/ Sell/Trade. To enter the forums visit the NOMMA website, log­in, and then click on “Members” and “Forums.” With the execption of Buy/Sell/Trade, all of the forums are invisible to nonmembers. Once in a forum, you can post a new topic or respond to other posters. If you’d like, you can set your settings to get instant updates when members respond to your post, or you can get the responses in digest form. You can also subscribe to list activity using an RSS Reader. One of the coolest features of the forums is the ability to post a video from YouTube. For example, if you have a question on a technique you can video it with your smartphone, upload it to your YouTube account, and then embed it in your posts. Or, you can share photos by merely dragging them to the “Drop Photos” icon in your web browser. When writing a post, a powerful HTML editor allows you to format your text and add website links. NOMMA officially rolled out its new website on January 1, and the forums are just one of several new services that will be rolled out in 2014, including social media features.

Order Now! The NAAMM-NOMMA Metal Finishes Manual Produced jointly with the National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers Order online at Or, call NOMMA at (888) 516-8585, ext. 101. E-mail: $30 nonmember / $24 member + shipping & handling

March / April 2014




NOMMA Education Foundation

In partnership with the National Ornamental & Miscellaneous Metals Association

O’Malley wins Cliff Brown education honor

Lynn Parquette, NEF Co-chair, recognizes numerous volunteers during Partners in Education reception at METALfab2014

Mark O’Malley gave, and now

Other appreciations

he has received. The NEF also presented The NOMMA Education Certificates of Appreciation Foundation (NEF) named to: O’Malley, owner of O’Malley n The NEF Continuing Welding & Fabricating Inc., Education class presenters for Yorkville, IL, as the honoree the past year: Tony Martinez, of this year’s Cliff Brown Philippe Fiers, Roger Carlsen, Award for his work helping and Michael Kinnikin. fabricators young and old n The NEF Continuing learn new metalworking or Education hosts for the past business skills. year: Big D Metalworks, Evidence includes the Building Arts College, and many programs he created Eureka Forge. as president of NOMMA’s n Carl and Marti Grainger Upper Midwest Chapter, for their support of the NEF presentations at METALfab, Auctions — the major fund Mark O’Malley, O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc., Yorkville, IL, and his frequent knowledge raising event for the NEF. sharing on the members-only left, works on an NEF Auction item with Matthew Olseng, MDO n Mark Sisson, Mac Welding and Fabricating Inc., Wheaton, IL, at the January Upper NOMMA ListServ. Metals, for his support of the Midwest Chapter meeting. Perhaps his pivotal NEF Continuing Education educational contribution, though, came when he guided his program through the donation of product for the class. chapter to establish the Todd Kinnikin Memorial METALfab n Members of the Upper Midwest Chapter received special Grant to honor his close friend and to help members, who thanks for their generous support of the NEF through their otherwise would be unable to afford it, experience first-hand yearly workshop to create auction items. the wealth of knowledge available at METALfab. The NEF also would like to recognize all the supporters The Upper Midwest Chapter presented the first Kinniken of the foundation whether through donations, honorariums, grant to John Thompson, Eagle Machine & Welding Inc., memorial gifts, making and bidding on auction items, par­ Newark, OH, during the Partners in Education reception at ticipating in the NEF continuing education programs, pre­ the March METALfab. sent­ing at METALfab and other NEF education programs, Thus, the NEF graciously honors Mark O’Malley as well. and volunteerting to help with NEF projects. We appreciate When the NEF was established, President Charles Mercer all that you do to support the foundation and its programs! of Hallmark Iron Works, Newington, VA, said his company Roger Carlsen would support the foundation through a generous annual Ephraim Forge Inc. donation and establish the Cliff Brown Award to recognize Lynn Parquette contributions to the education of the industry. Mueller Ornamental Iron Works Inc. & Cliff Brown, as founder of Hallmark Iron, believed in Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC giving back to the industry that had been good to him and NEF Co-Chairs his company. The Cliff Brown Award has been recognizing outstanding educational contributions since 2002.


For more information on donating to the NOMMA Education Foundation Contact NEF Executive Director Martha Pennington, 888-516-8585 x 104, 12


March / April 2014

NEW 2014 CATALOG NOW AVAILABLE! e-mail: March / April 2014



Scan to Request a Catalog With Your Smartphone

View catalog 13

Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX, won the NOMMA Mitch Heitler Award of Excellence for this staircase made of steel, stainless steel and glass. Glass tread was laminated with SS threaded inserts to allow us to secure the tread to the corresponding holes in the stringers.

By Jeff Fogel Architects love glass. They can’t get enough of the open,

Shop Talk

Why not a fabricator? ■

With the barrier for entry relatively low, glass rail work doesn’t have to be left to the glaziers. 5 benefits of getting into glass railing installation



No special tooling


Utilize existing skills


Growing market


Abundant resources and support


New technology flattens learning curve

light look it lends to designs. In fact, their crush on silica is turning the country into one enormous greenhouse. You see it everywhere: in roofs, railings, stairs, walkways, facades, you name it, it’s in the specs. But no matter how you view this mania for getting everything out in the open, it could be the biggest fabricating bonanza since, well, the gate. Not surprisingly, many fabricators vaulted onto the bandwagon early. The only surprise is the number of fabricators who didn’t. Some were leery of glass as a passing fad and saw no reason to begin learning a new skill. Others were intim­ idated by what they saw as an unfamiliar medium and decided to leave it to glaziers. Curiously, many glaziers feel the same way about railings and staircases with tricky radius designs. As Bruce Witter, COO of C.T. & S. Metalworks in Irving, TX, puts it, “The main competition is with glaziers. But glaziers don’t feel comfortable with metal. Once you add a lot of metal to the installation, glaziers don’t like to do them.” Nonetheless, glass is here to stay, no matter who’s doing the installations. So, it may as well be a fabricator because it’s a long-term trend with plenty of room to grow. This means there’s plenty of work for everyone. So, what are the obstacles to entry? Barely any. “The biggest (deterrent) is psychological,” says Tony Leto, executive vice president for sales and marketing at The Wagner Companies, Milwaukee, WI. “Fabricators are mostly steel guys. Even working with non-ferrous metals is something a lot of them aren’t used to. Glass is even more unusual. They’re used to muscling things around, so working with glass might be intimidating. It’s just something they have to get used to. “The main thing,” says Leto, “is the risk of wasting material while they’re still learning. And aluminum and stainless (the main metal materials involved in glass railings) are more expensive. They’re afraid they could end up with a pile of scrap and broken glass. “But there’s no special tooling,” notes Leto, “only some gear to safely handle the glass.” This handling consists of suction cups for lifting the glass and protective material for the edges. However, tempered glass can withstand a surprising amount of abuse. Nearly all damage is done to the most vulnerable part of the sheet — the edges. Both the suction cups and the edge protectors are common items that can be Fabricator

March / April 2014


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Some 5,000 linear feet of glass railing opens up the new Consolidated Rental Car facility at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Installation was done by Stainless Fabricators of Odessa, FL.

inexpensively acquired at a well­stocked hardware store. Leto also notes that there’s no special tooling involved, particularly with today’s rail systems. “There’s a little bit of welding involved on the rails,” says Leto, “but some of that can even be done by adhesives. It (installation) doesn’t involve a high skill level.” Buying glass systems vs making your own

Glass is not mysterious. It’s an aptly suitable material for fabricators. Because, believe it or not, glass shares many properties with steel. Like steel, it can be annealed, tempered, and bent. And like steel, it can be brittle under certain

conditions. The point: Both are good architectural materials; glass just requires gentler handling. “It’s a great opportunity for fabricators to expand their business,” says Chris Hanstad, brand manager for C.R. Laurence. He should know. C.R. Laurence, based in Los Angeles, CA, is a large supplier of glass railing systems, as is The Wagner Companies. A “system” typically consists of the metal framework to attach and support glass railings. Systems make things simpler for fabricators. Nearly every fabricator that has installed glass railings has used a glass railing system. However, even though systems make work simpler and easier, some of the more experienced installers don’t need things simplified. Bill Van Aken, vice president, sales and business development, for Stainless Fabricators Inc., based in Odessa, FL, eschews pre­fabricated systems, preferring to use his company’s own. Stainless Fabricators’ custom shoes, caps, and posts are all made from stainless steel, which they’ve been making for more than two decades. “That’s our forte,” says Van Aken. “We started out making railings for boats where you tend to use a lot of stainless.” For Stainless Fabricators Inc., making its own hardware comes down to a matter of cost. “One post from a system can run over a $1,000,” Van Aken says. “We can make them for about three hundred apiece.” Bruce Witter concurs, but for other reasons. He explains, “the modular systems have made it so simple, anyone can do them.” By “anyone,” he means glaziers. “They’ve engineered us out of it,” he laments.


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Dry glaze vs. wet glaze When people speak of adhesives or grouts in glass railing

installations, what they are referring to is correctly termed, glaze. It is the filler that keeps the glass securely in place within the base shoe. As you might suspect, it is a glaziers’ term, broadly describing the gooey stuff that holds any pane of glass safely within its frame. For glass railings, that would be wet glaze.

Portland cement incompatible with aluminum

Of course, we’re not talking putty, here. With a tra­ ditional wet glaze system, the filler of choice is cement. But it’s not Portland cement. That would be incompatible with aluminum, the most common material for base shoes. As it happens, the lime in Portland cement is also chemically incompatible with most interlayers in laminated glass. No, the cement used in wet glaze installations is a quick-setting gypsum based cement. How quick? You’ve got 10 minutes to ensure the glass is straight. After that, the only way it’s coming out is with a sledgehammer. And therein lies the problem with wet glazes. Well, that and the fact that you’ve got to dam the ends of the shoes to prevent the semi-liquid cement from running out over someone’s Travertine marble lobby. Mechanical glass grips allow ‘do-overs’

Enter the dry glaze system. Instead of using cement to hold the glass firmly in the shoe, mechanical compres­ sion is used to grip the glass. The glass rests on plastic

angle-shaped pieces to separate it from the bottom of the shoe. The mechanical grips, which are tightened against the glass, are padded with additional plastic pieces. And that’s really all there is to it. You don’t have to mix cement, pour it, and remember to dam the ends of the shoe. Dry glaze is neater, quicker, and unlike wet glaze, if the glass isn’t right, you get a do-over. Simply loosen the metal grips, re-align your glass, and you’re all set. This no muss, no fuss approach is “especially appeal­ ing to fabricators who are new to glass railings,” says Tony Leto, executive vice president, sales and marketing of Milwaukee, WI-based The Wagner Companies. While glaziers have always been familiar with setting glass, (note the use of the term glaze), fabricators are intimidated by so breakable a material. But dry glazes are, well, metallic. They are more user friendly for a fabricator. In fact, Leto unabashedly concedes that that’s why Wagner came up with their system. “Why let the glaziers get all the jobs?” muses Leto. Of course there are caveats with dry glazes. The main one being, make sure the shoe is plumb and level. Because the shoe will determine the angle of the glass. And there’s no way, yet, of fine-tuning it once the shoe is attached the floor. That aside, it should surprise no one that dry glazes are supplanting wet glazes in glass railing installations. “About 80% of the systems we sell are dry glaze,” says Leto, “It’s the wave of the future.” — Jeff Fogel

Another proponent of the in-house offering of several reference books. Looking to start glass method for mounting structures is Grant The GANA Laminated Glazing York, operations manager of York Metal railing installation? Reference Manual (avail­able for $70, at Fabricators Inc. in Oklahoma City, OK. The Glass Association of, says Block, is Unless the architect or general a must-have. Block also recommends North America’s website contacting suppliers and glass contractor specifies the sys­tems in the plans, York uses his in-house aluminum has much information, fabricators. DuPont is available, as well, extrusion tooling to make his own. for support. including an offering of And like Van Aken, York chalks it Another resource, marketplace up to simple economics. “Generally it’s several reference books. competition notwithstanding, is other a cost-driven thing,” says York. “The installers and NOMMA members. Think systems offered by the big suppliers are of it as professional courtesy. good, but very expensive.” J.R. Molina, project and design manager for Big D But not in every case. “Brackets can be economical, when Metalworks, Dallas, TX, says glass railing installation comes you buy them instead of making them,” notes York. with a formidable, but not insurmountable, learning curve. “The metal part is pretty straightforward,” says Molina, Where you can learn how to do it “but you have to learn how to handle and store the glass. For fabricators seeking to get their feet wet in glass railing It’s important to have cushioning between the glass and the installation, resources abound, flattening the learning curve. metal. There must be a separation.” Valerie Block, senior marketing specialist for DuPont This point bears repeating. As Valerie Block notes, “Care Glass Laminating Solutions, Wilmington, DE, who pre­ must be taken in assuring that there are no stress points where sented the topic at NOMMA’s METALfab2013, suggests the glass meets metal.” newbies head for the Glass Association of North America’s The areas they are referring to are where the glass fits (GANA) website. It teems with information, including an into the mounting shoe, at any of the vertical support posts, 18


March / April 2014

March / April 2014




Monolithic uncoated glass Specification components: 1. Glass thickness in inches and/or millimeters 2. Glass substrate (clear, green, gray, bronze, blue, etc.) 3. Glass strength (annealed, heat-strengthened or fully tempered) 4. Edge treatment if any (seamed, flat ground, polished, etc.)

or along the top edge of the glass, if a cap is used. These all represent stress points and must be avoided at all costs. “This is something that is addressed in the design, as well,” says Block, “whether it’s a glass system made by a manufacturer or a one-off design as a custom installation. Whoever designs it must be aware of stress points and take them into account in the design.” Live by the code

¼ inch (6 mm) green fully tempered glass

Specification example using numbered components above: ¼ in. (6 mm) green fully tempered glass

Source for both figures Glass Association of North America

1 2 Surfaces

Monolithic laminated glass Specification components: 1. Overall assembly thickness in inches and/or millimeters 2. Outer lite thickness and substrate (clear, green, gray, bronze, blue, etc.) 3. Outer lite strength (annealed, heat-strengthened or fully tempered) 4. Interlayer thickness, type and color 6. Inner lite thickness and substrate (clear, green, gray, bronze, blue, etc.) 7. Inner lite strength (annealed, heat-strengthened or fully tempered) 8. Edge treatment if any (seamed, flat ground, polished, etc.) ¼ inch (6 mm) clear heat-strengthened outer lite Specification example using numbered components above: 9/16 inch (14 mm) clear laminated glass with a ¼ inch (6 mm) clear heat-strengthened outer lite, .060 in. (1.52 mm) [insert interlayer type and color] interlayer, ¼ inch (6 mm) clear heat-strengthened inner lite

0.060 inch (1.52 mm) interlayer

¼ inch (6 mm) clear heat-strengthened inner lite


23 4 Surfaces

Note: The description process can be continued in the order above for multi-lite laminated glass constructions.


Before you begin glass railing work, become familiar with local ordinances and the International Building Code (IBC) from which the local codes are typically derived. The IBC is the official publication of model codes published by the International Code Council (ICC). While not legally binding, it offers standards for safe design and construction. Nearly all local jurisdictions base their building ordinances — to a greater or lesser extent — on the IBC. Bureaucrats do not write the IBC. To quote from the ICC code develop­ment mission statement on its website, it’s a “consensus-based, private-sector code development process.” Private sec­tor being the operative phrase. In other words, it is the collective exper­ience and wisdom of people who have actually made a living at such endea­vors; they actually know whereof they speak. Tom Zuzik, president and CEO of Artistic Railings Inc., Garfield, NJ, is a fabricator who has worked on some of the model code writing for the IBC. “While the IBC updates its codes every three years,” notes Zuzik, “local codes don’t catch up, sometimes. Many don’t change their code that often.” Worse. “Some regional jurisdictions may not even consult the model codes. Or they’ll modify it.” Grant York strongly urges a fabri­cator to become thoroughly familiar with the codes. And to pay attention. “A lot of times, the architect will be from somewhere else,” explains York, “and not as familiar as he should be with the legal codes in your area.” Moreover, don’t think that liability for any breach of the codes will fall to the architect. As Zuzik succinctly puts it, “The last man to touch it, owns it.” The point being, as Zuzik further explains, “If there’s a (code) problem, everybody’s getting called in. But as an installer, you’re ultimately responsible.” The IBC section that we’re talking about here is 2407.1. It deals with glass railings, and it’s been rumored to be the subject of some change in 2015. The change would likely pertain to the materials used in glass railings. In the past five years, two notorious glass railing failures in Canada and in the United States have spurred dis­cus­sion.1 The code would be rewritten to recommend that henceforth all glass railings in human-trafficked areas should be laminated glass; not single-sheet tempered glass. Which codes apply most particularly to glass railing installations is an eely proposition. “It’s tough to say,” says Zuzik, “because it depends on [local] adoption of code.” But the most frequently encountered code issue pertains to naked edges, that is, edges without a railing cap. It is crucial — and the IBC reflects this — that a load bearing


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edge without the added rigidity of a metal cap, must meet specific load requirements. What those requirements are, exactly, depends on where you live. Once again, Zuzik encapsulates it with a basic rule. “Certain parts of the country do certain things differently.” While one location may introduce amendments to its adoption of code, it’s not as though they will be suffused into the rest of the country. “California and Oregon are heavily engrossed in seismic [code] requirements,” explains Zuzik. But that doesn’t mean such concerns will occupy building inspectors in Hayes, KS. Neither will the addi­ tional code requirements of hurricane­ wary Miami find their way into the code in Valparaiso, IN. And curiously, nowhere does IBC code differentiate between interior and exterior installations.

Two types of glass

In a typical rail system, an aluminum shoe, below, is leveled and secured to the floor. Plastic blocks are then inserted, right, to cushion glass from the metal sides of the shoe. Blocks can then be safely tightened to hold the glass rail securely in place, bottom.

The glass used in today’s architec­ ture is of two basic varieties: tempered and laminated (see figure, page 20). Like metals, glass can be heat tempered to strengthen it. Laminated glass is a sandwich of tempered glass and plastic. Valerie Block explains: “Today’s laminated glass is very different from single sheets of tempered glass. Laminated glass consists of two sheets of heat­tempered glass, with an ‘interlayer’ of plastic between them.” The interlayer is chemically bonded to the glass. Thus, “care must be taken to assure that any sealants used in the installation are chemically compatible with the interlayer,” cautions Block. Since some interlayers are also sensitive to heat or moisture, Block suggests that fabricators be cognizant of the environment in which they store laminated glass. Glass breaks

What about the actual installation? Some of the tips offered by exper­ ienced installers were, well, surprising.


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Artistic Railings Inc. 973-772-8540 Big D Metalworks 800-299-9767 Julius Blum & Co. Inc. 800-526-6293 C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. 800-421-6144 C.T. & S. Metalworks Construction, Technology, and Steel Inc. 877-310-5866 DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions SafetyGlass/en_US/ Glass Association of North America International Building Code International Code Council 888-422-7233 Livers Bronze 816-300-2828 Stainless Fabricators Inc. 813-926-7113 TACO Metals Inc. 305-652-8566 The Wagner Companies 888-243-6914 York Metal Fabricators Inc. 800-255-4703




For instance, Big D’s J.R. Molina recalls one of the earlier glass railing installations his company did. “We were installing a staircase with glass railings, and were nearly finished,” recalls Molina, “when one of the workers dropped a screwdriver from the top landing. It hit every piece of glass on the way down. The moral? When you’re installing a glass staircase, start at the top.” Breakage is a theme in the advice columns of other installers, as well. In fact, Grant York recommends setting aside money for breakage as part of the estimate or bid process. “You can be sure that anywhere from 5%–10% (of the glass) will have to be re­ordered,” says York. “Sometimes you break some, sometimes the piece comes with a chip in it. Usually the chip is in an edge. You can’t just take it to the shop and shave the edge. And you can’t always just flip it so that the chipped edge goes into the shoe. If it’s in the top, and you flip it, then the logo will be upside down.” If you’re thinking about using glass that doesn’t bear a logo, forget it. Most local code insists on one; it usually indicates the type of glass. With the looming change in codes to require laminated glass, this will be even more important. And not all glass is broken unintentionally. As York points out, removing a piece for refitting often requires breaking it. “If you’re using a wet glaze for grouting,” says York “and the glass doesn’t fit, or for some other reason you have to take it out, the only way it’s coming out is by breaking it.” The grouting York refers to is the adhesive that will hold the glass in the shoe, or affix the cap to the top edge of the glass. This is somewhat alleviated by the new dry glazes offered by C.R. Lawrence and Wagner. With these new glazes, you can remove a piece of glass, intact, and re­install it. But York points out the dry glazes have limitations of their own. In his experience, they’re harder to use when you’re installing glass with a more pronounced radius. The bottom line is, when you’re

working with glass, you’re going to have breakage. It’s better to build it into the estimate. “As anyone knows,” York says, “it’s really hard to go back to the general contractor after the job’s done, and ask for extra money for breakage. They’ll say it’s your problem. You broke it, you buy it.” Get with the program

Surgeons have a saying about learning surgical procedures. “Watch one. Do one. Teach one.” Of course, nobody ever accused a surgeon of lacking confidence. But then surgeons have a solid background. And when it comes to things metal­ lic, so do fabricators. As C.R. Laurence’s Chris Hanstad puts it, “There’s really no special tooling involved. If you know how to cut, weld, grind, polish, and fabricate — particularly stainless — anyone can do it.” Not to mention the resources available these days. “There’s lot of help out there,” points out Bruce Witter, “Wagner has literature on the subject, and has videos, too. You can even check out YouTube.” So there’s no reason a fabricator can’t watch a few videos of installations, and, with the help of a good manual and the support available, and jump right in and do a glass rail installation. Then do a few more. And soon, newcomers will be asking you for advice. Glass and metal, part 2

In an upcoming issue of O&MM Fabricator, we’ll offer a few how­to, glass and metal job profiles.

For your information



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 advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Jeff now lives in New Hampshire where the weather’s bad, the skiing’s better, and blacksmithing’s a respectable way to keep warm.


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The case for

By David Busarello Bridgeton Drafting Co. LLC Detailing covers an area that straddles the line between the shop and the office. A good miscellaneous metals detailer can be an asset that helps you: ■ Increase productivity, ■ Reduce errors, ■ Enhance your company image, and ■ Free you to do more important things.

Detailing defined

The best definition of steel detailing I found comes from the book Architect and Engineer Liability: Claims against Design Professionals, “Liability for Shop Drawing Review,” page 161, by Hal Block and Paul Cottrell (John Wiley 1987). [Editor’s note: Architect and Engineer Liability: Claims Against the Design Professional, Aspen Publishers, 3rd edition, ©2006 is available at] “Steel detailing is the technique or practice of interpreting and transferring the information contained in the engineers structural drawings in detail onto the fabricator’s shop and erection drawings for use in the field by the contractor’s erection crew, which in many instances, may be an independent subcontractor to the steel fabricator. The steel detailer works for the steel fabricator and, as with the erector, may be in house or an independent contractor. The detailer provides a bridge between the realms of engineering and 26





Conc. wall of areaway




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C12x25 (2)C8x13.7 1 4

Notes Material: A53 grade “B” Welds: E70xx Holes: 1 3/16” diam. Finish: Galvanized


Editor’s note: Several postings on the NOMMA ListServ discuss shop drawing details. Tips have been exchanged. Vendors have been recommended. And some fabricators want to learn more about what’s in it for them. This magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board even weighed in with questions needing answers. We reached out to NOMMA member David Busarello, Bridgeton Drafting Co. LLC, Vineland, NJ, to make the case for skilled detailing. This is the first of a two­part article.

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fabrication by translating the engineer’s design intent onto the shop drawings for use in construction by the fabricators construction crew.”

The last line in the quote above speaks to the heart of this article. Detailers bridge the gap between the information provided on the construction documents and what is really required by the fabricator to build the project. This quote was directed at structural detailers, but miscellaneous detailers also use the information on the architect’s design drawings, as well as the engineer’s structural drawings. Structural steel fabricators have provided shop drawings for practically every steel building erected since the early 20th century. Hundreds, even thousands, of shop drawings are generated to help a shop fabricate each piece of steel, while installation plans provide a step­by­step method to build the structure on site. The detailer, taking the lead from the project engineer, may have to do some connection design and coordinate roof and floor openings, but often the information provided by the engineer is reasonably complete, especially on larger projects. Fabricator

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generally recognized industry standards.

Erection plans vs. shop drawings

Not sure what erection plans and Two industrychanging events shop drawings are? Think of an item you The late 1900s bought that needed saw changes in the some assembly, a construction industry Photo 1, left — Bookcase plan: Shows what the bookcase, for example. that affected everyone bookcase will look like with some dimensions. No info provided to actually fabricate it. That drawing in the from the excavator Photo 2, above — Bookcase shelf detail: Shows box shows you how to who clears the site to exactly how to fabricate the shelf. assemble the various the guy who puts the from the information shown on the pieces to build the bookcase. That’s the last coat of paint on the building. construction documents (CDs) prepared erection drawing (see photo 1,); those tri-state-quarter page.qxd 12/19/07 9:44 AM 1 byPage the architects and engineers. enlarged pictures that help you see 1 Economic downtown and new technology came at a cost If you ever get to work on a project clearly how tab “A” goes into slot “B” that was built a hundred years ago and are the sections. Architects, under tremendous pres­ see the original architectural drawings, What wasn’t in the box were the sure to reduce costs due to economic you will work from beautiful artwork drawings that told the people in the shifts and greater competition, reduced that was accurate and complete. Archi­ shop what wood to use, how to cut it, staff. The advent of CAD increased where to drill the holes, which sides are tects were given the time to provide productivity, but at a cost. complete construction documents before finished, and how many bolts to put in Construction drawings, once that little bag. These are the shop details they were released for construction. produced by hand by the architect or Perhaps a quick sketch was necessary to (see photo 2). engineer, are now often produced by get agreement on a specific design, but During much of the 1900s, the CAD operators who know the software for the most part, the architect provided ornamental and miscellaneous metals but have little knowledge of what they enough information for fabricators to fabricator could fabricate and install are drawing. Construction documents PROOFusing - 45-3454-ACF-121807-V2 their experience and items like stairs, rails, and gates directlyAD proceed, released, noted “for bid only, not for

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ing directly from the con­ construction,” full of incom­ struction documents without plete and unchecked using a detailer, are also information, often never to affected by these issues, and be updated until the project can benefit by developing is completed when they are working relationships with required to provide the detailers who can help them building owner a set of increase productivity, reduce “as­built” drawings, which errors, and give them more reflect any changes made to time to do what they do best: the project. Run a business. This leaves the trades to fill in the gaps. Walter Massinger, owner of Allen’s Iron Works, What a detailer does Yeadon, PA, a NOMMA Structural steel and member, says his detailing miscellaneous metals firm helps protect him from After the walkway collapse at the Kansas City Hyatt. Investigation detailers provide drawings indicated the structural engineer for the project had ultimate responsimaking costly decisions. that guide a shop in bility for reviewing all shop drawings. Photo by Dr Lee Lowrey, Jr. PE. A recent project, a 50 x fabrication and direct the 50­feet mezzanine added to an existing the structural engineer of record. erectors on the job site how to put Robert E. Heideck, Esq., partner warehouse, had what seemed to be the those pieces together. It’s common to of the law firm Pepper Hamilton proper construction documents. find detailers that do both, but detailers “The joist company said it would LLP, Philadelphia, and an expert in often specialize in one or the other. be six to eight weeks for delivery. The construction law states, “Among many While the drafting skills are the general contractor pressured me to conclusions reached by the Missouri same, other skills differ. order them as soon as I got the job,” Board for Architects, Professional A fabricator sets up his structural Massinger says. Engineers, Professional Land Survey­ shop in the familiar “in one end, out “My detailer saw the stair was not ors and Landscape Architects (http:// the other” linear design, loaded with wide enough and the floor plan dimen­ beam and column materials, while his was that the sions did not add up. Our detailer noted structural engineer for the project had miscellaneous shop would be set up with layout tables and racks of channels and these issues on the erection plans. When ultimate responsibility for reviewing pipes, in steel, aluminum, and stainless. we received the approval drawings back all shop drawings to ensure that the The skill set of the shop personnel from the architect, so much changed structural members and connections diff er as well. Someone who welds that all the joist would have been wrong. were adequate for the loads.” 2­inch­thick base plates on columns This event changed the approval I’m glad the detailer stopped me from likely doesn’t weld stainless steel rails process by the architects and engineers, ordering the joist.” with a polished finish. who now often state on approval that Structural steel detailers are 2 Kansas City Hyatt tragedy* their review is to confirm that the draw­ changes approval method experts in beam and column design, ings produced by the fabricator and his hip and valley construction, erection Forever altering the line of detailer comply only with the general sequencing, and items like joist and responsibility drawn between design design on the contract documents and deck. Th ey must understand AWS professionals and trades, the Kansas do not relieve the fabricator of respon­ City Hyatt tragedy in 1981 generated sibility for errors, omissions, and other welding symbols, connection design, another major change. items too numerous to list here. [Editor’s and the coordination of floor and roof Briefly, the architect designed a two­ note: You can read more on this in openings required by other trades such level walkway, one below the other, Heideck’s article in an upcoming issue as HVAC equipment. that spanned above the large lobby. of this magazine.] Ornamental and miscellaneous During the opening celebration, the Structural fabricators, having worked metals detailers are skilled in stairs, walkways fell, killing 114 people and with detailers for years, adjusted by rails, gates, ladders, lintels, gratings, increasing their bids to cover the injuring many more. The investigation and all the non­structural items one expense of these added responsibilities. determined the fabricator and his finds in their “scope of work.” They Many miscellaneous fabricators, who detailer altered the design of the need to understand special finishes and have been more accustomed to work­ walkway support that was provided by materials like aluminum, brass, and stainless. Since these items are most often shown only on the architectural *Most of the information described here is taken from the 442­page published opinion of drawings, they are commonly not the Administrative Hearing Commission of the State of Missouri in “Missouri Board for engineered. This leaves the detailer Architects, et. al. v. Duncan, et. al.” published in November 1985. Hereafter cited as “1985 to provide the design of the materials Missouri Board Decision” and sourced by Robert E. Heideck, Esq., partner of the law firm to be used, under the direction of the Pepper Hamilton LLP, Philadelphia. 30


March / April 2014






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March / April 2014


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fabricator’s engineer, and then have it approved by the architect/engineer. Detailers even work on some rather unusual projects. In 2008, for example, I was contracted by RCC Fabricators Inc., Southampton, NJ, to provide draw­ings for bollards for the MTA Bus Station in Manhattan (see detail drawing, page 26). Fabricators might wonder why any­ one would need drawings for bollards. They’re just pieces of pipe, stuck in the ground, and filled with concrete to Ad_2011:Layout 1 2/7/11 10:09 AM keep vehicles from hitting the building.

Would you believe my contract was for $14,000? While they looked simple above the sidewalk, 10-inch diameter pipe with their stainless steel covers, they were quite complex below due do security issues. Many required exten­ sive framing under the sidewalk where the bollards were anchored to the walls of subway areaways and storm sewers with beam and channel framing attached to the concrete walls with dozens Page 1of 1-inch-diameter epoxy bolts. These things could stop a tank.

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The detailing process Four steps to approval 1 Detailers review a project with

a fabricator to clearly identify the scope of work, and all the materials, finishes, and procedures that are or will be in the fabricators bid. Unlike the structural fabricator, who follows a rather complete structural design, a miscellaneous fabricator may have more say in the final product, as the architects often provide a concept, requiring the fabricator to provide a detailed design for the architect’s approval. The detailer can help with this process. While not a fabricator, the detailer’s experience providing drawings for many fabricators provides a variety of ideas to offer. The detailer will then either provide a quote to the fabricator or work by the hour.

2 Once awarded the project, detailers ask the fabricator for a sequence of work and begin providing erection plans for each item. The purpose of an erection plan is to clearly showing the architect, engineer, and general contractor (collectively referred to as the approvers) what materials will be used, how connections will be made, what finishes will be applied, and other important information. These drawings are sent to the approvers for review. They may approve the drawings as is, approve the drawings provided minor changes are made on the drawings, or they may make significant changes that require the drawings to be revised and resubmitted for a second approval before fabrication can begin. Using a stair tower, for example, these drawings will clearly show the stair in plan (looking down from above) and in a tower elevation (side view) with dimensions. These two views identify the length and width of the stair, dimensions and number of risers, the floor-to-floor dimensions, and what the stair is connected to, such as floor beams or masonry walls (see figure 1, page 34). Then the detailer provides enlarged pictures, called sections, that show the approvers exactly how the stair will be connected to the structure, Fabricator

March / April 2014

the components that make up the stair, a tread and riser detail, and all railing design information. The detailer will highlight any issues, such as code violations and dimensional discrepancies. The erection plan is also used to instruct the erectors how to assemble the pieces made by the shop and delivered to the job site. Hence the name “erection plan.” 3 The plans are returned to the fabricator after the approver’s review, usually stamped “approved,” “approved as noted,” or “revise and resubmit.” The first two mean fabrication can begin as long as any changes made by the approvers are followed. Revise and resubmit means fabrication cannot begin until the drawings are revised, sent to the approvers for a second review, and returned to the fabricator, stamped approved. The detailer reviews the drawings and advises the fabricator if any additional modifications for the fabricator are necessary, espe­ cially if these changes would cost the fabricator more time or money. The plans will be revised based on the approver’s changes as well as any field dimensions given to the detailer. 4 The detailer next prepares shop details, which are specific drawings of each piece of the job. These drawings show the shop personnel exactly how to make all the parts and how to assemble them into such items as stringers, landing material, or railings (see figure 2, page 34). The detailer also provides material and bolt lists for ordering and the stair pan details, which are the bent plates that form the stair treads and act as a pan to hold the concrete. These are usually items the fabricator buys from a specialty supplier. Another detailer then checks the plans and shop details for accuracy before sending to the fabricator for shop use (See photo of the finished job above). As noted above, the detailer will provide erection drawings for approval. Some fabricators and even March / April 2014


The finished stair based on the drawings in figures 1 and 2, page 34.

some architects prefer, even require, that shop drawings be provided with the erection plans and submitted together for approval. This is acceptable, however it will horizontalfullcolorad.pdf 1 2/2/2012 7:30:54 PM take the detailer longer to produce the additional drawings for the approval

submission. This extra time may not fit the schedule set by the architect or general contractor. It can also cause detailers to increase their quote because any changes made by the approvers now have to be made on both the erection plans and the










Figure 1. Erection plan of mezzanine stair showing plan. view, side (elevation) view, and sections.

Figure 2. Shop detail of the stringers and bracing of the same stair. 34



March / April 2014

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shop details, doubling the Four steps to the shop drawing approval process Value to the fabricator work required. If the shop Step 1 Step 2 details are drawn after the So, what’s in it approval process, then for you, the fabrica­ there are fewer drawings tor? Affected by the Detailers review a project Once awarded project, with fabricator to clearly detailers ask fabricator for to change. struggling econ­omy identify the work scope, work sequence and provide A recent stair project we have experienced including materials, finishes, erection plans for each item. in Washing­ton, DC, had recently, you have procedures that will be in These plans submitted to such a requirement. reduced costs while the bid. architect for OK. When the railing design investing in technology was com­pletely changed and equipment that can Step 3 Step 4 from a complex stainless improve efficiency. You steel, hollow structural have managed to do tube-and-mesh panel more with less. Now here Plans returned to The detailer prepares system to a painted steel I am, suggesting you add fabricator after approver’s shop drawings. Another pipe and picket rail, the services of a detailer review, usually stamped detailer checks plans and “approved,” “approved details for accuracy before I had to revise two to your overhead. Why as noted,” or “revise and sending to fabricator for erection plan drawings should you consider this? resubmmit.” shop use. and 27 shop drawings. Let’s look at how our industry has changed, Had that require­ment and how it’s stayed the same. The not been in the contract, it would have tion with the design professionals and stairs and rails you make today are taken an hour to make the change on trades as needed, and even engineer­ing essentially the same as those made the two erection plans, instead of a full services, if licensed or in partnership 50 years ago. You still punch holes, day revising, reprint­ing, and reissuing with a sub-contracted engineer. cut, and weld a gate as your father 29 drawings. Detailers also provide presentation did in the 1960s. Sure, there are new Detailers often provide additional drawings, usually of architectural products, better power tools, but a services, such as field measuring, and ornamental items (See sidebar, picket is still a picket. attendance at job meetings, coordina­ page 40).

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him since ever since. Although not a requirement for every job, being able to provide detailed drawings of a driveway gate, ramp railing, or any Trylon Railing, Lyndhurst, NJ, has other project when necessary, has manufactured fine railings in been a real benefit. commercial and residential markets “The ability to offer shop since 1956. drawings to a prospective client, I Run as a think, gives us small “familyan advantage in owned” business procuring work. that prides itself Homeowners, on maintaining architects, a personal, designers, and hands-on contractors approach to each are always job, Trylon is appreciative one of the largest Ralph Marchione: Fewer mistakes, too. (and impressed) railing companies in the area with when presented with a drawing. The more than 15 full-time employees. guesswork is eliminated and the ‘I The quality of the company’s thought this’ or ‘I didn’t know that’ products and the responsiveness are gone forever. to its customers are reasons for its “If a change is requested and continued growth, says owner Ralph a revised drawing is required, a Marchione. simple phone call to discuss with the “It is our mission to treat each detailer what’s needed is all it takes. of our customers with courtesy and A day or so later, the new drawing is fairness and to provide decorative emailed to me, and in turn, emailed metalwork that they will be happy to the client,” Marchione says. with and we can be proud of.” About his experiences with Include shop drawings with bid detailing, Marchione writes: Using a detailer has helped to land more than a few important Software just sits in shop jobs for Trylon, he says. “Without “Having been in business for the ability to include shop drawings over 30 years, I’ve had to change with a quote, we surely would with the times and adapt to new have lost at least some of those ideas to remain successful . . . adapt opportunities.” at least, to a point! In addition to a detailed “About five years ago, we invested drawing adding an extra touch of in CAD software and although it professionalism when bidding a job, looks great on my desktop, I’ve the ability to use it as a tool for the hardly learned how to do even shop during fabrication has been a the basics with it. Therein lies the win-win, Marchione says. problem,” Marchione says. “Less time explaining my “As my clients became more stick drawings and unintelligible sophisticated shoppers, I needed notations and most importantly, to become more sophisticated as fewer mistakes during fabrication. well. Providing them with as much “For those who don’t have the information as I could about their knowledge of CAD or the time to job in a prompt and professional spend creating their own drawings, way needed to be the new normal.” I highly recommend the use of a Marchione continues: “I was professional draftsman as a tool to introduced to a local draftsman by help increase profitability and at the one of my vendors about four years same time, decrease your stress level.” ago and have been working with


Many changes in our industry apply to the reduction in construction document quality, increased complexity of building codes, and the need to provide more design and engineering. This puts a heavy burden on fabricators who may not have the experience, personnel, or the time to add designer, engineer, and code official to their résumé. Design pro­ fessionals are not returning to the way it was 50 years ago; these issues are here to stay. Fabricators must find a way to nav­ igate this new way of doing bus­iness. Miscellaneous detailers can be your advantage, an asset, and an advocate (see sidebar, this page). Part 2

In an upcoming issue of O&MM Fabri­cator magazine, we will deal with issues in greater detail. Fabri­ cators have asked questions such as: “Can I substitute another design than what is specified?” and “What is my liability if the architect approved my drawings?” We will hear from Robert E. Hei­ deck, Esq., who will discuss fabrica­tor liability and the shop draw­ing process. Heideck has specialized in construction law for more than 30 years. You will learn how to find quality detailers, and glimpse into the future of miscella­ neous metals detailing and the technol­ ogy that already exists that is coming your way.

For your information


Detailer helps fabricator save time, impress clients

About the author David Busarello began working in his father’s sheet metal shop as a teenager. Since 1978 he has been a detailer, first employed by a structural fabricator, then as chief draftsman of a miscellaneous metals shop. In 2000, he purchased Bridgeton Drafting from a long time associate. The company serves about a dozen long-time customers based in the Mid-Atlantic region and produces approximately 80 projects a year.


March / April 2014

Metal Head Inc. owner, Randy LeBlanc, left, and lead production artist, Christopher LaBauve, discuss lantern restoration. Above, Metal Head designed and fabricated this curved iron stair rail. The cap rail was made using differently sized roundbar. The rail was finished as oil-rubbed bronze.

Member Talk

Balancing busıness and art ■

Metal Head’s Randy LeBlanc took an atypical metalworking path in Louisiana that satisfied his creative desires and established his ethical approach to business.

March / April 2014


O&MM Fabricator: How did you get your training in

metalwork? What tools? Randy LeBlanc: The only formal training I received in ornamental ironwork was an introductory class for architecture and industrial design students at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I was shown the basics of forging, oxyacetylene torch work, and MIG welding. Fabricator: How and when did you start as a professional

fabricator and/or businessperson in the ornamental and miscellaneous metal market? What were the circumstances? LeBlanc: I took on metalwork as a hobby while working toward a design degree. Friends would let me set up in their garage, and I convinced my landlord to give me a space in his garage if I cleaned it out for him. I found a large demand for small handmade objects, such as candle holders, copper roses, crosses, and various brackets, that were unique. I would view every request as a personal challenge and never intended to create a business focused solely on ornamental ironwork. While in college, I switched my concentration to sculpture to distance myself from the corporate training of product design and finished my degree in 2000. I have been making and selling art, furniture, and custom products since that introductory metal class ended in 1995. Upon graduation, I had never worked for another shop, but decided to open my own in 2001. I started out like most taking anything for a buck, and quickly realized that I should specialize in ornamental ironwork. Any work that 41

had the creative element removed became just that, work. It took several years to really define the scope of work that was profitable, sustainable, and kept the interest of my clients as well as myself. That definition changes as the shop grows or economy staggers. It is important to maintain a good log of data to know what past jobs were profitable, how to do them more efficiently, and to keep the work original for each client. Fabricator: What are your company’s core strengths? What hurdles, if any, have you faced over the years? How have you resolved them? LeBlanc: I have certainly taken the road less traveled. Lafayette is a huge oil field hub that attracts most of the metal talent to industrial work, leaving few that specialize in ornamental fab­ rication. I have always seen this as an opportunity to grow and excel in a stable economic environment. I started Metal Head Inc. out of a creative learning atmosphere in college that I carried over into a business.

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March / April 2014

I con­stantly strive to learn and create a better process and product on every job. I learn from my own success and failure, as well as that of others around me. One of our strengths is our work ethic and drive to main­ tain our reputation. We are consistent, show up on time, deliver what we promise and maintain a great working rela­ tionship with our customers. We also have an ethical approach to bookkeeping by paying all of our bills in a timely manner, following codes and regulations, and never cutting corners. A company’s integrity and reputation are as important as its product. Our resolution to our biggest hurdles sets us apart. The main ones are time management, estimating custom work, and qualifying customers. There is a personal struggle for me between being an artist and a military/businessman. I’m a creative profes­ sional, and most of my work requires as much time in estimating and design as it does in actual production. I used to quote work for anyone that came in, but now I’ve learned to prequalify my customer before we waste each other’s time. Estimating has become easier in recent years by using the data collected on past jobs. Fabricator: Who were/are your mentors? What specific­ ally did you learn from them? LeBlanc: I attribute much of my success to a few key things in my life. The combination of those experiences molded me into a productive, creative type with a strong work ethic and personal discipline. My father inspired me to join the military to assist in paying for college. I served part time in the Army National Guard and worked in fine dining throughout college, which honed my sales Child’s headboard. Forged steel, skills and introduced hammered copper, stainless steel me to potential with wood inlay panel. clientele, many of whom I have developed long lasting business relationships. I also met my wife, Monique, while waiting tables. I must say that she has been most supportive through our business adventure. I think of us as a good example of the “mom and pop” business. Fabricator: What is your personal division of labor? Do you work equally, more or less, on both the business side and the fabrication side? LeBlanc: Overall, it’s balanced with equal time spent in the office and in the shop. At times, one demands more than another. It’s difficult to give up certain tasks to others, but I have had to learn to accept different, not necessarily less, with the results that I receive. I have had as many as 10 employees during the produc­ tion of some commercial furniture, but currently operate March / April 2014


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Metal Head designed, forged, and fabricated the landing, stair, and railing with bronze rail cap, left photo. The company had no experience with bronze cap rail, but several NOMMA members provided help. Metal Head also collaborated with sculptor Russell Whiting, whose gasoline torch-carved steel newel, right photo, serves as the rail terminaton point.

with two. I’m very particular about who I take on as a team member. Typically, my better employees had little to no experience and were hired on character and references. This allows me to train in-house, but is very time consuming. I would like to see more cooperation on the part of the trade schools to include traditional metalworking in their curriculum. Fabricator: What new technologies are you looking at using in the next 6–12 months, both as a fabricator and as a businessperson? LeBlanc: I feel like I have plateaued recently and have begun to revisit the core of ornamental ironwork while still using technology. Current technology — computer-aided drawings, for example — has allowed me to use old-world techniques, such as hand forging, and remain profitable. 3D printing has become more accessible and may play a role in design in the near future. Fabricator: Will 3D technology fundamentally transform metalworking? LeBlanc: I like being aware of new and developing technology before there is a need. It helps me think creatively and not limit problem-solving to current capabilities. I have witnessed traditional craftsmen refuse to embrace digital technologies and fall behind as a competitive business. 3D seems to be the next big step in transforming ideas into a tangible reality, and like automated 2D cutting, it won’t replace the artisan, but broaden the possibilities to create. Fabricator: Do you turn down certain jobs? What kinds and why? Do you outsource anything? LeBlanc: Yes, I am fortunate enough to choose the type of work I would like to do. I prefer to work with enthusiastic clients who see my work as a want, not a need. I seek jobs that give me satisfaction as an artist, are profitable, and challenge my team to leave our comfort zone. 44

Fabricator: Do you ever partner with other fabricators? Can you cite an example of when you did this? Was it with a NOMMA member? LeBlanc: I have partnered with another NOMMA fabricator on a commercial job that was out of our realm of expertise. He was able to assist me during the job, which resulted in a happy client and was profitable for both me and the other fabricator. I also have a few NOMMA Gulf Coast Network members who may have work in their geographic area that they may not be able to handle and ask me to take over. Referrals definitely come from NOMMA shops. Fabricator: Describe your shop and a typical workflow? What type of equipment and metals do you use? LeBlanc: Metal Head Inc. works in a 4,800-square-foot shop that is as versatile as possible. Nearly everything is on casters or skids, which allows us to reconfigure tooling and work stations for maximum efficiency. We have three large tables wired for grinders at each corner. Four material racks run along one wall past an FMB Phoenix band saw and are kept organized by drop length. Our Geka Bendicrop is the most versatile tool in the shop, and forging duties are handled by a NC gas forge and a shop-built, Kinyon-style power hammer. Our Eagle Z302 is pushed to its limits and beyond, but my favorite tool in the shop is our custom installation trailer. It is a mobile shop that I call the rolling Swiss Army Knife. Multiple stations allow for several jobs in different stages to take place. Rarely do we start and finish a project without working on another one at the same time. We have found that staggering our jobs leaves room for logistical and scheduling conflicts that usually arise with residential work. Fabricator: I notice that you provide a range of services: gates, fences, stair rails and other railings, signs, furniture, sculpture, even awnings, arbors, and doors. What did you start out making and how and why did you expand? Fabricator

March / April 2014

LeBlanc: The initial request for

work was furniture and product (repairs, furniture, fixtures, hardware), and it quickly turned into architectural/ installed work. Architectural work was more profitable and companies had larger budgets for it than for a lamp. Contractors were repeat business and provided more opportunity to grow a business. Fabricator: What brings in the most


LeBlanc: Residential stairs in new construction are site specific and are best sourced locally. That typically turns into other work as the job progresses: gates, fences, fire screens, and drapery hardware.

Fabricator: Since you work in both the residential and commercial markets, how have each of these markets been for you the past couple years? LeBlanc: After expressing an initial interest in commercial work, I lost interest in it during the downturn in the economy. Instead, I kept my focus on high­end residential, and it has paid off. Lafayette continued to provide me with adequate work during that time. We adapted and overcame the new hurdle. So when new construction slowed, we kept pace with renovations with our same high­ end clientele. We continued to grow during the tough economic time. Fabricator: Who are your typical clients? How do you find them? How much do you use social media marketing? How do you use it? Have you been successful with it? LeBlanc: Typical clients are between the ages of 45–65, and most of them find me through referrals. As much as the Internet has done to make us accessible, we still have a yellow page ad for the select few that haven’t embraced the technological age. We also strategically post items to our Facebook page to boost our name recognition and to show people the types of jobs that we are capable of creating. Social networking allows people to get to know me, and answers some March / April 2014


questions they may have before they contact me, qualifies my customers, and gives a controlled impression. It also helps stimulate referrals through contacts on a much larger scale than traditional networking. I have directly documented sales through Facebook posts. Public aware­ ness of my business has increased drastically, and I have noticed a huge reduction in irrelevant requests resulting in time savings and higher percentage of jobs awarded. Local media requested feature articles about my business, and I have

hired new employees through social media posts. I have also broadened my resources and connections globally through blacksmithing groups and personal connections with fellow NOMMA members. There is no real formula to successfully posting to social media. Timing and content are important. It is easy to get lost in the feeds and people like a good photo, even if it is just detail of work; edit the photo for a nice composition. I like to keep it short. No one wants to read War and

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The Metal Head shop is just under 5,000 square feet. High ceilings and ample ventilation through doors and fans make the Louisiana heat bearable. Nearly all equipment is portable using skids or casters.

Peace on a smart phone. Take note of who comments and the quantity at the time of post, not necessarily “client potential.” Remember that these contacts are in a network. The referrals that might come might be several de­grees of separation regard­ less of who initiated it. Fabricator: Do you mainly work directly through architects, government/ nonprofit agencies, contractors? LeBlanc: I have found that my better relationships that are more profitable are with reputable contractors and homeowners. Fabricator: Although you have said that you rely on word-of-mouth referrals and that your better cus­ tomers are reputable contractors/ homeowners, can you find this customer via social media? Would you see any benefit to engaging in thoughtful/useful discussions in a LinkedIn group of general contrac­ tors, showing your expertise or leader­ship (not SPAM or overtly promotional messages) to perhaps thousands of contractors, for example? LeBlanc: I am not very aggressive in my marketing, in fact I am quite passive in that I never solicit customers or contractors. I don’t post advertisement or promotional images 46

A compact, custom built “Swiss army knife” installation trailer was fabricated from a service truck bed. Centrally wired for workstations and battery chargers, it can be plugged into a job site’s power or a Bobcat 250.

or comments. I prefer to target a group of people and make them aware of what I can do. I include in that group any architects, contractors, educators, or local leaders that would appreciate my work. Fabricator: Have you developed any useful content as a marketing tool — beyond this article, of course ;-) — to help inform or get clients, e.g. how-to articles, project gallery, video of your shop, testimonials, white papers, problem-solution case studies, a blog? LeBlanc: I may post “process” videos on Facebook to give people an idea of what goes into making certain pieces but nothing more than that. Fabricator: Why not more content on other social media? Instagram or Pinterest where many home­

owners might hangout and where you can post photos of your work? Home­owners might get a lot of their home improvement or decorative ideas there. LeBlanc: Facebook is currently trending from its original young audience to a more mature group that fits the majority of my clients. It is easy to over invest in social media, and I find that I only have time to efficiently maintain one of the many tools. I have personally used Houzz and may invest more later. [Houzz is a “collaborative platform for home remodeling and design, bringing home­owners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual com­ munity,” accord­ing to its website: www. It hosts more than 72,680 orna­mental metal “home design” photos — Editor]


March / April 2014

Fabricator: Advice for other fab­ ricators trying to find clients? What must fabricators do? LeBlanc: Exposure and networking is key to finding new clients. I was often labeled as a “welder” and became frustrated upon hearing, “Oh I didn’t know you did that.” That phrase has disappeared since I’ve been able to publish specific work through social media like Facebook. Keep in mind that referrals are significant. Job site presentation — how we appear on the job: uniform black shirts tucked in, don’t show dirt, khaki pants, vehicles and equipment clean and well kept — is significant to maintain a certain level of professionalism. I have left jobs with referrals from other subs because of my workmanship and job site ethics. I also receive a large number of referrals from stair builders I have worked with in the past. Let your work become contagious as neighborhood residents “keep up with the Jones.” We often receive calls for work after being seen in an area. Fabricator: How do you define

and becoming proficient at designing and building them. I now specialize in stair railings because I refused to quit when something was difficult. Fabricator: What NOMMA resources and/or volunteer work have bene­ fitted you most? And how are you involved in NOMMA? LeBlanc: The NOMMA ListServ 21980resource NOMMA 1 it 2/12/14 is the biggest because is so active. I learn about topics I may not currently need, but may be of value

in the future. It allows me access to some of the world’s most experienced tradesmen who are willing to answer any question I have. I am also incoming president of NOMMA’s Gulf Coast Network. Our local network allows me to maintain regional contacts who understand the struggles of business and the opportunities of the local market. 7:01 PM

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Fabricator: What fabrication job challenges have you faced? How have you resolved them? LeBlanc: Curved stair railings were the biggest challenge early on. I was ready to give up after the first few, but I committed to learning better techniques March / April 2014



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“customer service”? LeBlanc: As an artist, customers approach me for my talents and abilities. I listen to what they want, combine my vision with theirs, and make that a reality. The customer is the link between art and craft. what business challenges have you faced and how have you resolved them? LeBlanc: Avoiding debt is crucial. Being debt-free allows me to choose the work that is desirable and profitable. After struggling to get out of debt a few years ago, I have learned to avoid debt and operate within my means. It allows me to select work, not have the work select me.


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2013 Top Job Gold Award: Interior Railings — Ferrous, Nonforged

The customer and architect designed this 200-foot stair and balcony railing with cast aluminum infill. The job took about 8 man-hours/foot, including chasing castings, trimming, attaching to frame, and finishing. The caprail and frames are steel, but all infill is 1 x 5/8-inch solid. Infill patterns were modeled in 3D with draft for casting. Patterns were carved on a CNC router in masonite. Approx. labor time: 1,600 hours.

Overcoming a dynamic field experience ■

Wiemann Metalcraft’s careful planning and excellent math skills figure most for restaurant’s unconventional railing job  miles away.

The ceiling grill frame, above, which hides an emergency smoke-exhaust system, uses a 2 x 2 x 3/16-inch angle and 2 x 3/16-inch T-bar. The six infill panels are fabricated from the same cast aluminum as the railing system. Newel posts weighing 400 pounds each are located at the top and bottom of the stairs. The steel plinth is bolted to the slab and to the pre-finished newels on top. These terminate and provide rigidity to the stair railings. Fabricated and finished in steel, the newel posts and their hollow spheres are given the signature texture to match the railing components.

By Molly Badgett Precision can never be overdone.

While that’s not saying anything new to the fabricators at Wiemann Metalcraft of Tulsa, OK, a project completed in fall 2012 underscored the truism with indelible ink while landing the company the 2013 Top Job Gold award in the Interior Railings — ferrous, nonforged category. March / April 2014


The task was 200 feet of railings and similarly grand accoutrements for the then-new Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Chicago (http://, located 600 miles away from the Wiemann shop. Housed in the frame of the 1940s Esquire Theatre, the restaurant proved as much — or maybe even more — of a structural challenge to fit as it did a fabrication challenge to adorn.

Wiemann also produced a massive, four-landing wine tower, above, that spans the entire height of the restaurant. Because the commercial space under the restaurant could not support the tower’s weight, estimated at 24 tons when completed and filled, the tower was suspended from the building’s reinforced roof. David Bracken, left, poses by the decorative panel created as a scaledup version of the infill design on the railings installed throughout the restaurant.

“We inherited a lot of bad, weird conditions,” says David Bracken, the project manager on the job and co-owner of Wiemann Metalcraft with his brother, Doug Bracken. Given the building’s age and unconventional shape, the distance to the job, the many trades on site and constant changes to the work environment, the project was a true test of the company’s skill at measuring twice 49

Wiemann Metalcraft’s shop drawing used in fabrication. In addition to the precise overall measurements needed for accurate installation, Wiemann had to lay out, in advance, exactly how each honeycomb pattern would fill out the individual insets so there would be clean edges to the pattern elements. In this drawing, for example, note that panels 6, 8, and 10 are alike; panel 4 is slightly wider, and panel 12 is slightly narrower.

before cutting once. When all was done, one thing said meant the most to the Brackens. “The contractor that installed our work told us that of all the pieces we delivered to the job, he only had to trim one channel three-sixteenths of an inch — that was the only modification that had to be done,” David says. “He said to us, ‘Hats off to you guys; I don’t know how you did it. I never would’ve believed that a company 600 miles away could deliver all this, and I’d only have to use my band saw one time, and that it took less than a minute.’ ” It was a proud moment, David says, one that required everyone being on his game from the time the first measurements were taken. Step 1: Design

Aria Group Architects Inc., Oak Park, IL (, designed the infill pattern for the railing system. The firm gave Wiemann a sketch show­ ing a honeycomb design in the railing above a stairwell (see drawing above). Being supplied a drawing, what David Bracken calls the “serving sug­ gestion,” was a deviation from stand­ard practice on Del Frisco’s projects. In the past, the Wiemann shop designed the entire railing system before carrying out its fabrication and installation. In New York, for example, mountains inspired a hand-forged, handhammered “snow melt” pattern in springtime, when patches of snow melt 50


March / April 2014


and appear loosely connected on the ground. It was a design repeated in other restaurant locations, as well as in the home of a Del Frisco’s executive. As time passed, however, Del Frisco’s decided to trim Wiemann model seen back on the hand forging, hand with support clips, above, illustrates how the railing hammer­ing, and other drops 14 inches below the expensive treatments. floor, far left, right in photo, “What you see now is for a total of 56 inches in height versus the standard 42. only remini­scent of where we started,” Doug says of the Chicago design. “It has evolved over the last 15 years to accommodate their demands for time and price.” The restaurant group wanted an attrac­tive product in less time, and for less money. Doug says that meant the infill pattern once hand-forged became cast aluminum. Other railing components, such as the posts and the top rail, became more modest in their design, as well as lighter in weight and slightly smaller in scale. After Wiemann got the architect’s drawing, the shop gave it depth and width, creating on Autodesk’s Inventor software a final 3D design with lines 5/8-inch wide and 1 inch deep. The architect approved the final design of the infill pattern while project engineers approved the load-bearing capabilities of the cast aluminum from which it would be made. The top railing, then, would be of steel and carry the same rope-like pattern used in other Del Frisco’s — a design inspired by jewelry artist David Yurman (www. — and the rest of the elements (posts and lower channel) would be made of textured steel. From a simple conceptual drawing by Aria Group Architects, top, Wiemann created railings and other metal treatments for Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in Chicago.

Step 2: Field measurements

Imagine the unconventional nature of a gutted old theater, one with prior structural modifications to the interior. Imag­ March / April 2014



interior. The oversized honeycomb panels were 20 feet in length and 16 feet tall; each weighed about 1,000 pounds. Not surprisingly, such heavy materials required specific, code­compliant anchoring. The greater challenge with any remote job, however, is that activity at the FunktionUSA, San Diego, CA, used Wiemann’s distant site sometimes CAD models to cut casting patterns, left, from creates conditions that stray from MDF board using a CNC router. The MDF patterns those a shop needs for its basic were then shipped to Wiemann for prime-painting, sanding, re-priming, and more sanding. They were starting points. This is common and not unexpected. then sent to Alloy Casting Co., Mesquite, TX, for casting into aluminum panels, above. Each panel “All of these stores are in existing weighs about 65 pounds. buildings,” Doug says of the Del Frisco’s sites. “Plus, they’re adding ine, too, its floor being dropped stair railings. In addition, decorative millwork that wasn’t there before. It’s a altogether, creating an atrium in the grilles were placed on the outside of challenging build­out.” two­and­a­half­story restaurant. the building, and scaled­up versions of During the process, for example, The loft­like opening created the the railings’ infill pattern were turned the relationship between the grand need for a secure railing along the into decorative art panels/room stairwell and a wall beside it was top story, as well as two matching dividers for the restaurant’s cavernous altered. “We built the stair rail, but they needed to cover up an I­beam,” David says. “So, they moved the wall over. There was barely enough room for our railing at all.” This “dynamic field experience” as David wryly refers to it, brought him, as project manager, to the job site more frequently than he might have been for other remote projects. He’s not complaining because Wiemann is well prepared. As Doug says, those Chicago trips, as well as carefully executed contracts and construction documents, helped them avoid getting painted into a corner by the other trades. “No one ever notifies the fabricator that the conditions have changed,” Doug says. “The remodel work is about dealing with unknown situations. You’re putting together a super high­end remodel with the CALL OR CLICK possibility that the scope will change. for Free Catalog Keeping up with that is a challenge. “This livelihood depends on 1-800-467-2464 your ability to manage guys in your own shop and to manage 1-636-745-7757 clients’ expectations and those of Shaping The World Since 1980 adjacent trades for whom we’re not 52


March / April 2014

Repetition is the reward The Chicago project for Del Frisco’s wasn’t the first for Wiemann Metal­­craft. The past 15 years or so, the company has been selected for 20 or so projects of varying size and complex­ity, projects related to the Del Frisco’s brand and its parent company, Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. Jobs similar to the one com­pleted in Chicago have been done for Del Frisco’s restaurants in New York, Boston, Charlotte, Houston, and Philadelphia. The work typically includes railings and foot rails, room dividers, and multi-area lighting fixtures. “When we got the opportunity to do the (first) job in New York, we performed,” Doug Bracken says of the first Del Frisco’s commission. “We developed a good relationship with the

design-build team.” As the Del Frisco brand began to grow, “the projects kept coming,” Dave Bracken says. “Due to our relation­ship with this customer, we’re often in a negotiated contract environment,” Doug says. “We try to provide good value so they keep coming back to us. “It’s rare in our industry that we find people who want to repli­ cate the same kind of metalwork,” says Doug. “The good news is that you’re able to repeat the pattern; the bad news is that each location has slightly different engineering or anchoring requirements. They’re all slightly different. They require a different level of skill to execute, and it’s logistically difficult.” Noting the level of complexity for each highend Del Frisco’s location, he added, “This is not your Western Sizzlin.’ ”

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responsible,” Doug adds. “If you don’t do that, you won’t be in this business for very long.” Managing the project proactively is the key, he says. While David has served as project manager on most of the Del Frisco’s projects, he credits Chris Huey and Chris Richardson in the office with coordinating field dimensions, modeling railings, and managing the foundry pattern work. These projects are a team effort. “Our job as metal fabricators working remotely is to identify in contractual terms the range of our scope as accurately as possible, every day, so we can make course corrections or hold someone else accountable to get things back where they’re supposed to be,” Doug says. “You really have to be on top of it 24/7 in order for it to be a success.” Step 3: Fabrication

Once Wiemann completed the 3D designs using the CAD software, the files were sent to FunktionUSA in San Diego, CA, ( for output of casting patterns for the molds. FunktionUSA used 1¼-inch, medium-density fiberboard (MDF) board for the patterns. March / April 2014 n Fabricator

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com) produced the 79 aluminum “We were supplied CAD files to work with and a descrip­ castings required for the job. tion of the heights and draft “If it’s aluminum, I take it to angles the foundry needed,” Jon McGraw first,” David says of says John Bandimere, owner the foundry owner and his firm. of FunktionUSA. “From this “They did an excellent job.” information, we could work out The aluminum panels were the tool paths needed to cut connected to steel frames using the patterns on our 4 x 8­feet a clip system, with tabs to hold CNC router.” them in place. The vertical posts Bandimere says 20,000 inches were ¾ x 2 inches; the lower of tool path were required for channel, 1 x 2 inches. the job, thanks to the intricate For the top railing, Wiemann honeycomb design. used 13 strands, or “ropes.” Each “This project was one of the rope consisted of four pieces of easier designs we cut for [Wie­ ¼­inch­round solid steel twisted mann], not to say there weren’t into 19­foot lengths. The ropes challenges,” Bandimere says. Myles Karcher, left, and Lupe Sigala, Wiemann Metalcraft were wrapped around a steel pipe “Due to the tight inside corner employees, work with multiple infill pieces to create clean to form a “cable” look. Visually edges where the honeycomb design would form individually connecting the rope to the railing radius required, we rough­cut framed railing panels. the pattern with a 0.50­diameter panels are 16­inch pieces of cutter, then stepped down the 3/8­inch­wall mechanical tubing. cutter sizes until we finished with a 5­degree cutter with a 0.125 “We’ve done that same design for six Del Frisco’s over the tip diameter.” last 15 years,” David Bracken says. “It’s their signature.” When Wiemann received the MDF patterns, the company primed and buffed the patterns to be smooth for the casting. Step 4: Finishing Because Wiemann isn’t a foundry shop, long­time NOMMA Railings throughout a Del Frisco’s establishment must be member Alloy Casting Co. of Mesquite, TX, (www.alloynet. stately; that calls for long runs of massive, distressed metal.



March / April 2014

“All the frame (and infill) elements are heated to cherry heat; we then emboss them by hand using air hammers and custom dies,” David says. “We then have this stack of textured materials, ready to go.” It’s all about the aesthetics. “We believe in adding surface texture to every single part of the railing,” David says. “We like to show the handwork. It’s hard, hot work.” For the final finish, a black base coat of paint was applied to the entire surface area, followed by a silver, dry-brush highlight. This approach differed from the method used in previous Del Frisco’s jobs, where the finish was a hand-rubbed lacquer that exposed the steel below. “It’s more of a faux finish,” Doug says. “We’re improvising a durable finish.” A clear, urethane top coat sealed the railing elements. For fabrication and finishing, the Wiemann crew estimated eight hours per foot on the job. With 200 linear feet of stair and balcony railing, that’s 1,600 man-hours. Doug Bracken says eight hours per foot isn’t unusual for a job, as his company has racked up as many as 20 hours per foot, and that hoursper-foot is his company’s preferred method for calculating a job’s value.

Wiemann’s lessons to share: n Never, ever forget the mantra, “Measure twice, cut once!” n Stay on top of jobs with carefully executed contracts and construction documents to avoid conflicts when site conditions change. n Manage your client’s expectations of your work and remain aware of your client’s expectations of the work of others on the job and how their actions might affect your role in the project. n Consider using hours-per-foot as a way to estimate a job. In Wiemann’s experience, it’s the most fair and accurate reflection of the job’s value.

The Chicago task was made more difficult than it might have been other­ wise by changes at the site between the time of measurement and the time of installation, and simply by conditions inherent to an old, 1940s theater. “We had to engineer structural connections around the room,” David Bracken says. “Sometimes we tied the railings into I-beams; sometimes we

tied into concrete beams. Sometimes, we were bolting them directly to a structural concrete slab.” Doug Bracken puts it all into per­ spective. “There were all kind of chal­ lenges, but we’re just one piece of the puzzle,” he says. “It’s a big project done in a short period of time.” One big challenge to the final installation, however, was handled well in advance, and it involved no other personalities or professions. Instead, it involved the physics of placing the honeycomb-patterned aluminum features inside the railing’s frames in a way that each could be cleanly closed off and without noticeable gaps against the frame sides. “We designed the infill panel to best suit the most common widths,” David says. With each cut, closure pieces were built and welded to the larger pieces. “We pre-laid-out the entire job,” David says. “It did take some creativeness.”

Step 5: Installation

When working in many areas across the U.S., a great deal of control over a fabricator’s work is lost to union rules. Such was the case when it came to installation on Del Frisco’s Chicago project. Local ironworkers took on that assignment, with Wiemann employees there to support the unpacking and organization of the railing panels.

For your information


About the author Molly A. Badgett is a freelance writer based in Atlanta, GA. She often covers issues related to U.S. manufacturing.

March / April 2014



Biz Side

5 ways to build a LinkedIn company marketing plan ■

LinkedIn is largely a business-to-business networking and marketing platform. Metalworkers can get architects and general contractors to follow you and your company, and you can have substantive, useful conversations with them. By Stephanie Sammons LinkedIn offers companies multiple

marketing opportunities, but which ones are right for your business? Many businesses opt for one-off marketing campaigns or utilize a shotgun approach, but these efforts tend to fall short on LinkedIn. If instead you develop a comprehen­ sive and consistent LinkedIn marketing strategy for your business, the same as you’d do for any print or digital marketing plan on any platform, you can achieve long-term, sustainable success. For LinkedIn, however, it doesn’t matter if you are a small business with fewer than 50 employees or not. You still have access to building a compre­ hensive marketing strategy on a scale that suits your needs and objectives. To achieve success with a LinkedIn business marketing strategy, you need to make a long-term commitment to your plan. A strategy that delivers results requires ongoing management, monitoring, analysis, and adjustments. Make sure to assess your resources first, and determine what you’re willing to commit, especially with regard to people and time, to ensure that you stay on track toward your company goals. Here are five LinkedIn marketing steps you can integrate into your mar­ keting program:

The LinkedIn Company Home Page for Chicago Metal Rolled Products. This “mini-webite” has three sections listed horizontally under the company name: Home (what you see pictured above), Services, and Insights.


Step Build a robust 1 company page

Building a LinkedIn Company Page is a must for creating a business Fabricator

March / April 2014

The Services section of the LinkedIn Company Page for Chicago Metal Rolled Products. Notice that this page allows you to list your jobs/services wth photos: Railings, fences, gates. Your company followers on LinkedIn can recommend and share each product. Below right, basic informaton that appears on the company’s “home” page. To learn more: http://linkd. in/1bgw0ru

presence on LinkedIn and gaining access to additional features that can enhance your visibility. Your company page will serve as your business foundation on LinkedIn. Think of your LinkedIn Company Page as an extension of your business website within LinkedIn. You can: ■ show compelling images of a railing or gate, ■ add products and services, ■ include job opportunities, and equally important, ■ set yourself up as an expert in the fabricaton market. Invite followers. To build followers for your company page you’ll want to invite existing employees, clients or customers, venders, and partners to follow your page. Use paid, well-targeted ads.

LinkedIn also offers paid, targeted advertising opportunities to showcase your page to relevant LinkedIn mem­ bers and encourage them to follow. Ask for recommendations. If it’s appropriate, ask specific individuals to recommend your products and services on your LinkedIn Company Page. These recommendations will show up on your page for all to see, and they can serve as powerful testimonials for your business. Post substantive, targeted updates. Activating your LinkedIn

Company Page with compelling and useful status updates about your industry or business is also critical to growth. This requires ongoing management but is the most effective way to grow followers for your page and increase your company’s visibility. As you grow your following, you can even segment and target those members with more relevant updates. HubSpot, a marketing software company for medium­sized busi­ nesses, has amassed a company page

March / April 2014


Call for Nearest Dealer


LinkedIn Company Pages have an Analytics tab that provides metrics and trends. Company Page administrators can view this data, which is divided into sections: Company Updates and Followers. The Company Updates section has metrics about your updates, reach, and engagement (shown above). The Followers section has data on where your followers are coming from, their demographics, trends, and competitive comparisons.

following of more than 40,000 people on LinkedIn, as well as 272 product recommendations from members. Those are some powerful stats. Each time HubSpot shares an update on its LinkedIn Company Page, they have the potential to engage over 40,000 people who can further amplify the company’s visibility on LinkedIn! Analyze your metrics. LinkedIn Company Page stats are available to you as you grow your visibility. These stats can provide you with valuable insights about your followers, engagement, clicks, and more (see figure above).


It doesn’t matter if you have a small business or you represent a large cor­ porate brand, a LinkedIn Company Page is a critical digital asset for your business and will serve as the anchor of your LinkedIn campaign. Step Launch a LinkedIn Group 2 based on your company or join some

LinkedIn Groups are another com­ ponent of a comprehensive marketing strategy that can help to position your company as an indus­try “thought leader” with useful information.

Assign a moderator. The groups that have the most success are targeted toward gaining relevant members with common goals, and they are managed very well. If you’re going to implement a successful LinkedIn group strategy as part of your LinkedIn marketing plan, you will need to assign someone to be the primary group manager/moderator. That person can pre-approve discus­ sion posts, ask great questions to start discussions, and determine who gets accepted into the group. Publicize the group. When you launch your LinkedIn group, get the word out organically to employ­ ees, clients and customers, vendors, partners, and influencers in your industry. You might consider identifying top influencers first and have them serve as group ambas­sadors. They can help you recruit members for your group and also lead interesting discussions to keep your group active. Self-service ads are also available from LinkedIn as a paid strategy for growing your group. Send messages to the group.

With a LinkedIn group, you can mes­ sage your members once a week. With these messages, which go directly to their email inboxes, you can run special promotions or campaigns to your members. Show you are an expert. If you foster a healthy community within your LinkedIn group through engaging discussions, and you add value by offering up compelling content that your company has created, you will position yourself as an industry thought leader to your members. A company that has done a fantastic job with their LinkedIn Group (launched in partnership with LinkedIn) is Citi, which successfully launched a Professional Women’s Network Group on LinkedIn. Although they do have a marketing partnership with LinkedIn, it doesn’t mean that you will need to also play at this level, but you can certainly model your group after Citi’s or any of the other LinkedIn corporatesponsored groups. Examples of these corporate LinkedIn Groups include: Intuit (small Fabricator

March / April 2014

The Construction Business Owners Group on LinkedIn is very active A LinkedIn group with more direct interest to fabricators is the Con­struc­ tion Business Owners Group “owned” by Michael Stone, Construc­tion Programs & Results Inc. (www., Camus, WA. Stone is also the author of Markup & Profit: A Contractor’s Guide, Revisited and Profitable Sales, A Contractor’s Guide. The group’s mission, as stated on its profile page, is “to support and encourage construction-related business owners by providing networking opportunities between like-minded people involved in the construction industry.” Says Stone: “We focus on business management, some on sales and some on estimating. I don’t openly discourage questions on production issues, but I will tell someone who writes me with a production question that that is not the purpose of our forum.” Membership in the group is not automatic. One must request a mem­ bership review. At least five NOMMA members belong. For the week of March 3, 2014, the group had more than 11,000 mem­­ bers, seven new discussions and 95

March / April 2014


comments — no small amount. The number of members rose that week by 8% or 185. Some 70% of the members are classifed as owners, “the only people we let into the forum . . . or senior management, which is normally a VP . . . ,” Stone says. In the group’s “member” section, you can search for the phrase “gen­ eral contractor” to find all people who used that term in their LinkedIn profile. In the group’s “search” sec­tion, you can enter the word “metal” in the search field to find all the dis­cussions with that word used. Stone encourages members to post jobs in the group’s “jobs” section, but “they are not allowed to post jobs or any kind of self-promotions or advertising in the ‘discussion’ section.” Group discussion topics have included the following:

Part of the Group Profile page, top, of the Construction Business Owners Group on LinkedIn, which has more than 10,000 members. The group is managed by Michael Stone, author, Markup & Profit; A Contractor’s Guide, Revisited. An example of the groups‘ metrics is immediately above. You can make direct contact and have substantive discussions with the group members.

Reasons to read the contract. Decreased contract margins. n Contractor overcharges. n How to schedule multiple jobs with limited resources. n Finding job leads and bidding. n Who are your LinkedIn contacts? n Jobsite cleanliness. n Supplementary conditions and schedules. n Construction software for bid­ ding jobs? — Robin Sherman n n


business group), Citi (professional women’s network), Staples (small business network), and Capital One (business traveler network). You can watch the video at http:// to learn more about Citi’s experience with LinkedIn Groups and how the community is thriving: Track your metrics. Stats are avail­ able for all public LinkedIn Groups and allow you to keep track of member demographics, growth, and activity. Step Create an ‘all hands on 3 deck’ ongoing thought leadership program

Proof campaign 77035-CB-4829-08 Developing your “thought Ad leadership” might mean creating white papers or other documents for your clients similar to Janus Investments’ LinkedIn Banner Ad, top, and their LinkedIn Ad Landing Page with the download link, above.

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Although you will need to designate either company employees or partners to help implement and maintain your comprehensive LinkedIn marketing strategy, getting all employees involved and on the same page is critical to success Your company’s position on LinkedIn starts at the top. When the business owner(s) or executives buy into the strategy, it sets the example for the entire company. To get your employees and stake­ holders excited about LinkedIn, make the experience meaningful for them by attaching it to their professional goals. Provide them with training on how to build a robust LinkedIn profile, how to represent your firm on the network, and how to utilize LinkedIn to achieve their business goals. Teach them the benefits of expanding their own professional networks. When everyone is involved from your company on LinkedIn, it creates an extended network that can amplify your company’s presence and industry thought leadership. To help your employees and stake­ holders become active on LinkedIn, you will need to provide them with an ongoing supply of useful, com­ pelling thought leadership content from your company. Consider allowing your team members to edit the content to suit their personal style when sharing with their respective networks. Imagine your employees sharing content produced by your company 2–3 times per week. This can have Fabricator

March / April 2014

an impact on growing the reach of your business. Step Leverage paid LinkedIn 4 content ads and sponsored updates

I’ve mentioned how a company can utilize LinkedIn social ads to grow company page followers and group membership previously in this article. There are additional ads you can purchase and run on LinkedIn to drive clicks to your website, or preferably to a specified landing page. LinkedIn does partner with larger brands on sponsored programs, but for most businesses, these programs are beyond the typical marketing budget. If you’re interested in running social ad campaigns to increase your company page followers, group members, or even drive offsite traffic and lead conversions, you are most likely better off using the self-service tools that LinkedIn makes available to companies on the network. As you develop and run ad cam­ paigns or sponsored updates on LinkedIn, make sure you test to see which ads are more efficient and effective for your business. You have probably noticed numerous banner ads on LinkedIn that are designed to have members click through to company websites. Unfortunately many times there is no specific call to action on the landing page that the ad leads to which is a waste of ad dollars! Make sure you have a landing page attached to your banner or text ad that includes a relevant offer with clear instructions on what the visitor should do to access that offer. Janus Investments did a great job with this in one of their recent LinkedIn ads. The ad was very clear as to what benefit they were offering the LinkedIn member, and upon clicking through and landing on the page, the offer was simple to access. Paid companysponsored updates

Company sponsored updates can only be run by company pages, and these updates are designed to boost visibility with your company page followers and beyond. These March / April 2014


Example of a Company Sponsored Update in the LinkedIn Homepage Newsfeed.

Are you looking to engage with existing and potential customers (likes, comments, shares) or increase external website traffic (clicks) with your target sponsored updates are fairly new but are showing some promising results. Sponsored updates will appear in LinkedIn member homepage newsfeeds and look like any other native update except that it’s marked as a “Sponsored”. Step Monitor, track, 5 and adjust

The success of your comprehensive LinkedIn marketing strategy can only be measured by whether or not you achieve your goals. I have no doubt that by implementing the above strategies together you will be able to achieve the following benefits: n Increase your company’s position as a thought leader in your industry.

n Grow company awareness, engagement, and reach. n Generate qualified leads for your business. Beyond these benefits, it is impor­ tant to define specific metrics for measurement of your strategy that are consistent with your company goals. Decide what your business goals are before you begin to build out your comprehensive LinkedIn marketing strategy. Are you looking to achieve greater brand visibility (impressions) with your target markets, engage with existing and potential customers (likes, comments, shares), increase external website traffic (clicks), convert new leads (opt-ins) or all of the above? Once you get clear on your goals, you can define and measure the metrics that are consistent with those goals. LinkedIn does provide insights and statistics for company pages, groups, and paid advertising. However, tracking your efforts through your own website analytics program to see the traffic referred to your site from LinkedIn, new leads generated, and new clients or customers will be the ultimate measure of the impact to your bottom line.

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LinkedIn is a powerful platform for growing the reach of your business and Free LinkedIn For further attracting new clients. It’s also offers an learning webinars reading opportunity to stay top of mind with To learn more about LinkedIn To learn more about how to use employees, customers, vendors, and features, here is a sampling of free LinkedIn to your business industry influencers. online presentations. You must advantage, check out the following: A compre hensive approach will–help Membership Category Check One: register at least 24 hours in advance you maximize the business benefits. If q Fabricator $325 (to pay in four canrmation enroll in the Quaterly Payment Plan - please see below) to payments, receive theyou confi email ■ LinkedIn’s own Marketing you’re unable to launch-a$425 comprehen­ Metal fabricating shops, blacksmiths, artists or other firms and individuals in the industry whose products or containing instructions on how to Solutions website, including sive approach, try implementing each services are sold directly to the consumer or the consumer’s immediate agent. join your session. plenty of business tips, strategy in phases. case studies, and how­to Suppliers ■ LinkedIn 11: information. Supplier members are those membersThe thatBasics produce or distribute materials, machinery, and accessories for the of LinkedIn industry or provide services that mayWhen: be used by the industry. Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. CST marketing­solutions q Nationwide - $595 (operating on aanationwide international basis) or view pre­recordedorsession q Regional - $465 (operating within a 500-mile radius) ■ A step by step guide on how q Local - $375 (operating within a 150-mile radius) ■ LinkedIn Premium: to optimize your LinkedIn Get the Most Out Company Page q Affiliate - $310.00 qTeacher q School q Non-profit organization of Your Premium Account www.socialmediaexaminer. Individuals, firms, organizations and When: schools that doatnot engage in the fabrication of ornamental or miscellaneous Tuesdays 12:30 p.m. CST com/optimize­new­linkedin­ metal products, do not provide products or services to the industry, but have a special interest in the industry. or view a pre­recorded session company­page

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The Company:____________________________________________________________________________________ most ■ For Sales Professionals: ■ Learn about  creative Learn about Social Selling ways companies are using attracPrimary Contact :______________________________________________________________________________ with LinkedIn Sales Navigator LinkedIn Pages tive and When: Days & times vary www.socialmediaexaminer. Address:___________________________________________________________________________________ priced com/5­creative­ways­to­use­ far City:_____________________________________________ State: ________ Zip: _________________________ ■ How to Build your Company linkedin­company­pages below Page for Business Success Country: __________________________________________________________________________________ When: Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. CST ■  tips for effectively managing the rest. LinkedIn Group Phone:__________________________Fax:________________________ aToll Free:_______________________ ■ LinkedIn Search Techniques www.socialmediaexaminer. E-mail: ____________________________________________ Web:_____________________________________ When: Days & times vary com/managing­linkedin­groups

Send for Description/ a full color Company Dates may change. ■ Learn more about how to Specialty:____________________________________________________________________________________ brochure or call Check LinkedIn and sign up at take advantage of LinkedIn sponsored updates for 800-536-4341 companies www.socialmediaexaminer. Box 502 Dept. PH q AMEX q Discover q MasterCard q VISA com/linkedin­sponsored­ Logan, KS 67646 updates Card # _________________________________________________ Exp.:________________ CVV: ___________ Payment method: q Check Goddard Manufacturing

(Payable to NOMMA, in US dollars, drawn on US bank)

Print name on card: ___________________________________________________________________________

For your Custom panels for gates, information railings and fences. JOIN BY JUNE 30, 2013 AND RECEIVE A $100 DISCOUNT OFF YOUR FIRST YEAR OF DUES*



Steel, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze, brass, copper, other materials

author Return to: NOMMA, 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127 # 311, Fayetteville, GAAbout 30214the• Ph: 888-516-8585 Stephanie Sammons Precision cut using CNC • Fax: 888-279-7994 • •

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March / April 2014

FAX TO: 888-279-7994

Join Online: • By Phone: 888-516-8585, ext. 101

NOMMA Membership Application - Join Us! Membership Category – Check One: Fabricator Member 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. q Micro Shop - $350 (annual gross revenues under $250,000) q Medium Shop - $425 (annual gross revenues $251,000–$2,499,999) q Large Shop - $500 (annual gross revenues $2.5 million and higher) Supplier Member Supplier members are those members that produce or distribute materials, machinery, and accessories for the industry or provide services that may be used by the industry. q Nationwide - $595 (operating on a nationwide or international basis) q Regional - $465 (operating within a 500-mile radius) q Local - $375 (operating within a 150-mile radius) q Affiliate - $310.00 q Teacher q School q Non-profit organization Individuals, firms, organizations and schools that do not engage in the fabrication of ornamental or miscellaneous metal products, do not provide products or services to the industry, but have a special interest in the industry. Company:____________________________________________________________________________________ Primary Contact :______________________________________________________________________________ Address:___________________________________________________________________________________ City:_____________________________________________ State: ________ Zip: _________________________ Country: __________________________________________________________________________________ Phone:__________________________Fax:________________________ Toll Free:_______________________ E-mail: ____________________________________________ Web:_____________________________________ Company Description/ Specialty:____________________________________________________________________________________ Payment method: q Check

(Payable to NOMMA, in US dollars, drawn on US bank)

q AMEX q Discover q MasterCard q VISA Card # _________________________________________________ Exp.:________________ CVV: ___________ Print name on card: ___________________________________________________________________________ Signature_____________________________________________________________________________________ Return to: NOMMA, 805 South Glynn St., Ste. 127 # 311, Fayetteville, GA 30214 • Ph: 888-516-8585 • Fax: 888-279-7994 • •

Quarterly Payment Plan q Please enroll me in the Quarterly Payment Plan.

As a member you agree to follow NOMMA’s Code of Ethics (viewable on the NOMMA website).

Payment method: q Please auto charge my credit card. q Please bill me each quarter. Questions? Contact: Liz Johnson, Member Care & Operations Manager: (888) 516-8585, ext. 101, FAB 201403


A thanks to our sponsors The sponsors for 2014 are a very special group of suppliers. In challenging economic times they are going the extra mile to contribute to the success of METALfab2014. Their support is greatly appreciated.

Pl at in um Sp on so rs

Industrial Coverage Corporation 62 South Ocean Avenue, Pat chogue, NY 11772 Tel: (631) 736-7500 • Toll Free: (800) 242-9872 Website: www.industrialcover

Opening new gateways Learn, grow, excel

Mittler Bros. Machine & To ol 121 East Mulberry St., P.O. Bo x 110 Foristell, MO 63348-0110 Tel: (800) 467-2464 Website: m The Wagner Companies P.O. Box 423, Butler, WI 53007-0423 Tel: (414) 214-0444 • Toll Free: (888) 243-6914 Website: www.wagnercompa

Go ld Sp on so rs Colorado Waterjet it F, 5186 Longs Peak Road, Un Berthoud, CO 80513 Tel: (970) 532-5404 Toll Free: (866) 532-5404 Website: www.coloradow

Sil ve r Sp on so r King Architectural Metals 9611 East RL Thorton Fwy., Dallas, TX 75228 Tel: (800) 542-2379 Website:

Lawler Foundry Corp. m, AL 35232 P.O. Box 320069, Birmingha e: 800-624-9512 Tel: (205) 595-0596 • Toll Fre Website: www.lawlerfound

B ro n ze S p o n so r

O.K. Foundry Co. Inc. 1005 Commerce Rd. Richmond, VA 23224 (888) RIC-IRON/(804 ) 233-9674

Br on ze Sp on so r IMPACT 1750 New York Ave. NW Washington, DC 20006 (800) 545-4921


Nationwide Supplier Members Albina Pipe Bending Co. Inc. dba Albina Co. Inc. (503) 692-6010

Allen Architectural Metals Inc. (800) 204-3858

D.J.A. Imports Ltd. (718) 324-6871

DAC Industries Inc. (616) 235-0140

DKS, DoorKing Systems (800) 826-7493

Alloy Casting Co. Inc. (972) 286-2368

American Punch Co. (216) 731-4501

Ameristar Fence Products (918) 835-0898

Eagle Bending Machines Inc.

(251) 937-0947

Eastern Metal Supply (800) 343-8154

Elite Architectural Metal Supply LLC

Architectural Iron Designs Inc.

(847) 636-1233

(908) 757-2323


Atlas Metal Sales

(800) 662-0143

(262) 786-9330 (919) 676-2244

(815) 618-8440

FabCAD Inc.

Banker Wire

(800) 255-9032

(800) 523-6772

Big Blu Hammer Mfg. (828) 437-5348

The Fabrication Store (866) 79-FAB-4-U

Julius Blum & Co. Inc.

Feeney Inc. (Feeney Architectural Products)

Bridgeton Drafting Co. LLC

The G-S Co.

C.R. Laurence Co. Inc.

Gates That Open LLC (GTO)

Cable Art Inc.

Geo. Bezdan Sales Ltd.

(800) 526-6293 (856) 205-1279 (800) 421-6144

(877) 664-4224

(800) 888-2418 (410) 284-9549 (850) 575-0176

(604) 299-5264

The Cable Connection (800) 851-2961

Carell Corp.

Guardian Gate Hardware (520) 881-1330

Hartford Standard Co. Inc.

(251) 937-0948

(270) 298-3227

Carl Stahl DecorCable Innovations (800) 444-6271

Century Group Inc. (337) 527-5266

Chicago Metal Rolld Products Co. (800) 798-4504

CM Iron Supply LLC (480) 968-5121

Precision Glass Bending Corp.

The Iron Shop


Kammetal Inc.

Q-Railing USA Co.

King Architectural Metals

RAMSET Automatic Gate Systems Inc.

(800) 667-9101 (800) 523-7427 (718) 722-7400 (800) 542-2379

King Architectural Metals - CA (714) 670-8980

King Architectural Metals - MD (410) 644-5932

ETemplate Systems

AZZ Galvanizing

Interstate Mfg. Associates Inc.

Hayn Enterprises LLC (860) 257-0680

Hebo/Stratford Gate Systems Inc. (503) 722-7700

Heritage Cast Iron USA (918) 592-1700

House of Forgings LLC (866) 443-4848

Krando Metal Products (610) 543-4311

L.E. Sauer Machine Co. (636) 225-5358

Lavi Industries

(800) 624-6224

Lawler Foundry Corp. (800) 624-9512

Mac Metals Inc.

(800) 631-9510

Marks U.S.A.

(631) 225-5400

McKey Perforating (262) 786-2700

Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool

(800) 467-2464

Multi Sales Inc.

(800) 421-3575

Nationwide Industries (813) 988-2628

NC Tool Co.

(336) 674-5654 (888) 592-2240 (330) 477-6707

Custom Orn. Iron Works Ltd.

Industrial Coverage Corp.

Pacific Stair Corp.

D&D Technologies (USA) Inc.

Industrial Metal Center Co. WLL

Powder-X Coating Systems

(714) 677-1300

March / April 2014



Regency Railings Inc. (214) 742-9408

Robinson Iron Corp. (800) 824-2157

Robinson Laser LLC (219) 398-4600

Rockite, Div. of Hartline Products Co. Inc. (216) 291-2303

Rogers Mfg. Inc.

(940) 325-7806

South Camden Iron Works Inc.

(708) 579-0286

Ohio Gratings Inc.

(631) 736-7500

(419) 470-2000

Locinox USA

Indiana Gratings Inc.

(866) 464-4766


Sharpe Products

(630) 279-3600

Colorado Waterjet Co.

(800) 634-1988

(818) 504-2533

Lift Master

(718) 894-1442

O.K. Foundry Co. Inc.

(866) 532-5404

(714) 259-1372

SECO South

CML USA Inc. Ercolina

(312) 850-3710

(214) 741-3014

Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc.

Illinois Engineered Products Inc.

(563) 391-7700

(800) 543-8796

(503) 390-8305

(888) 535-SECO (800) 879-4418

(856) 423-1107

Stairways Inc.

(713) 680-3110

Sumter Coatings Inc. (888) 471-3400

TACO Metals

(305) 770-2373

Transpacific Industrial Supply Inc. (909) 581-3058

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

TS Distributors Inc. (832) 467-5400

Vogel Tool & Die LLC (630) 562-1400

The Wagner Companies (888) 243-6914

West Tennessee Ornamental Door (901) 346-0662

(888) 326-4840

(965) 24748903



New Members Meet our members

NOMMA is proud of its 550+ members. As members, fabricators and suppliers show support for both the association and entire industry. To get contact information on a member, please see our Member Locator at New members as of February 21, 2014. *Asterisk denotes returning member 5 Star Fabrications Gary Fiveash Jonestown, TX Fabricator Anchor Iron Co. Adam Roberts Savage, MN Fabricator Baker Steel Detailing Christine Baker Westport, MA Local Supplier Carfaro Inc.* Joseph Carfaro Hamilton, NJ Fabricator CEO Steel Fabrication Inc. Chuck Ogren Redwood City, CA Fabricator Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co.* George Wendt Chicago, IL Nationwide Supplier Complete Metal Solutions* Tom McDonough Fort Lauderdale, FL Fabricator Couturier Iron Craft Inc. Daniel Couturier Comstock Park, MI Fabricator Curtal Corp. Lee Curtal Rockton, IL Fabricator Illinois Metalwork & Custom Design LLC Ray Anderson Chatham, IL Fabricator Innovative Metal Design Inc.* Brad Carlson Troutdale, OR Fabricator Kettleson Custom Iron Andrew Kettleson Kingston, IL Fabricator


Kientzy Machine & Fabrication Inc.* Robert Kientzy Troy, MO Fabricator Legna Iron Works Inc. Sylvia Torres Roselle, IL Fabricator Lockport Steel Fabricators LLC Vincent Di Tommaso Lockport, IL fab-large Maynard Studios Inc.* Karine Maynard Lawrenceburg, KY Fabricator MDO Welding & Fab Matthew Olseng Wheaton, IL Fabricator O’Brien Architectural Metals Inc. John O’Brien Chicago, IL Fabricator Salco Inc. Gordon Salbador Prairieville, LA Fab Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith* Sergey Sakirkin Salt Lake City, UT Fabricator Specialty Engineering Kevin Bauche Waterford, CA Fabricator Superior Steel Service LLC Jeffrey Brewsaugh Batavia, OH Fabricator Trinity Iron Images Jason Lee Lubbock, TX Fabricator Wasko Iron Works Bernie Wasko Whitehall, PA Fabricator

NOMMA 2014 Gold Members NOMMA is pleased to welcome our newest Gold Members — companies who have been a member for 20 years or more. These companies show a strong loyalty to both their industry and trade association. We thank them for their support. Architectural Iron Designs Inc. Berger Iron Works Inc. n Creative Forge - Reichert Corp. n D’Agostino Iron Works Inc. n DAC Industries Inc. n Emerald Ironworks Inc. n Historical Arts & Casting Inc. n Jesco Industries Inc. — Wire & Iron Products Div. n Keystone Metals Inc. n Liberty Home Products n Louis Emmel Ornamental Iron Inc. n Mac Metals Inc. n New Hampshire Steel Fabricators Inc. n Outland Steel Inc. n Pinpoint Solutions n Van Dam Iron Works n Van Linda Iron Works Inc. n n

Plainfield, NJ Houston, TX Telford, PA Rochester, NY Grand Rapids, MI Woodbridge, VA West Jordan, UT Litchfield, MI Pittsburgh, PA Denver, CO Coraopolis, PA Kearny, NJ Goffstown, NH Caldwell, ID Jupiter, FL Grand Rapids, MI Lake Worth, FL

We greatly thank these companies for their two decades of loyalty and support.

Iron Club Thank you to the following individuals who have sponsored members for the new membership year. They are now an official member of the NOMMA Iron Club. Parenthetical numbers equals members sponsored. n Amos Glick, Compass Ironworks, Gap, PA n Keith Majka (2), Majka Railing Co. Inc., Paterson, NJ n Tony Martinez, Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX n JR Molina (2), Big D Metalworks, Dallas, TX n Mark O’Malley (3), O’Malley Welding & Fabricating Inc., Yorkville, IL n Rod Lambirth, Rod Iron Rod Inc., Odessa, TX NOMMA Membership Campaign We have kicked off the 2013–14 membership campaign. And yes, there are prizes! n Sponsor a member for a $75 discount off METALfab 2014 registration. n Sponsor 4 members and your registration is free! To sponsor a member, simply encourage your suppliers, partners, contractors, and nearby fabricators to join. If inviting them by email, you can send them this link:


n March / April 2014

What’s Hot? n News Brief NAAMM celebrate 75 years in metal products leadership The National Association of Architectural Metal Manufacturers (NAAMM) celebrated its 75th anniversary year in 2013, continuing its main focus of developing technical information on metal products for building construction; promoting the use of its technical resources, member firms and their products; and providing a forum for members to learn from each other. NAAMM is a composed of six divisions that represent a wide variety of architectural metal pro­ducts for building construction. The divisions are: Architectural Metal Products (miscellaneous orna­mental metal products for building construction, metal stairs, railing systems and flagpoles), Detention Equipment Manufac­ turers Association, Expanded Metal Lath Association, Expanded Metal Manufacturers Association, Hollow Metal Manufacturers Association (hollow metal doors and frames) and Metal Bar Grating division. “We are very appreciative of these opportunities that are a result of our involvement in NAAMM, and we look forward to more of the same in the future,” said James A. Stapleton, of Habersham Metal Products, at a recent meeting. Stapleton has been a member of NAAMM since 1972. NAAMM’s next meeting will be April 25–27, 2014, at the Hilton Marco Island Resort & Spa in Marco Island, FL. Contact 630-942-6591

March / April 2014


Industry News

Living Design Studios receives $250,000 small-business grant Living Design Studios, architectural and ornamental metalsmiths of Lafayette, CO, is one of just 12 small businesses chosen from among 35,000 applicants to receive a $250,000 Mission Main Street Grant, awarded by Chase (the U.S. consumer and commercial banking business of JP Morgan Chase & Co.) and Google. Mission Main Street grants are designed to give small businesses financial help from Chase, along with a Google marketing workshop. Living Design Studios designs, fabricates, and installs metalwork for residential and commercial customers. Company founder Jessica Adams started the company in 2000, after doing metalwork for some years as a sole proprietorship using borrowed tools. Jonathan Falk is the general manager. Projects include railings, stainless steel stairs, large sculpture, and wall panels. The company, with 16 employees in a 12,000-square-foot space, combines high-tech with tradition. Today, the company handles a variety of projects, such as the metal and glass perimeter railings for the Denver International Airport renovation. The criteria used for judging included “superiority” in the following areas, according to Chase: n Demonstration of a solid business plan. n Feasible growth expectations. n Overall passion for their business. n Potential for a positive impact in their local community.

n Likelihood of success within a two-year time frame. The judges came from business organ­ izations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Urban League, the Women Business Enterprise National Council, and the National Veteran Owned Business Association. Also important was the support of votes from the public during the application process. Applications needed to receive at least 250 votes from clients, partners, staff and others at to continue into the judging phase. Google Vice President of U.S. Sales and Operations Jon Kaplan explained the Google connection. “We know how important a successful web pre­sence is for any company, and we’re excited to host the chosen businesses to discuss ways that they can market themselves in today’s digital age.” With the grant, Living Design Studios plans to develop new markets, find new clients, and address training, new equipment, and other options for expansion. The grant will help the company “push the envelope of what’s possible and what’s being done in metal,” says Adams. It will allow them to “go after projects that we could not have com­ peted for before. This is an oppor­tunity for all of us to take our biggest passion and make a life out of it.” Contact Living Design Studios, 303-4422614;


What’s Hot? n


April–November 2014 Blacksmithing classes, events The John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, offers an ongoing selection of classes, workshops and events in blacksmithing, as well as numerous other crafts. Some of the upcoming listings this spring and summer include: n Blacksmithing — A Handful of Skills: April 27–May 2 n Basic to Intermediate Blacksmithing: May 11–17 n Basic Blacksmithing: May 18–24 n First Time at the Forge: Beginning Blacksmithing May 30–June 1 The school is also holding its annual gala and benefit auction on June 28 and its Blacksmith and Fine

Craft Auction on Nov. 1. Proceeds benefit the Folks School’s craft programs. Contact 800-365-5724 Aug. 1–4, 2014 Foldforming Boot Camp The Center for Metal Arts in Florida, NY, presents master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain in a comprehensive introduction to foldforming, including lectures and demonstrations in all major foldforming categories, as well as studio time. Lewton-Brain is the author of Foldforming, the definitive book on the topic. The Center also offers numerous workshops in blacksmithing. Contact 845-651-7550


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Aug. 13–16, 2014 ABANA annual conference The Artist-Blacksmith’s Association of North America will hold its 2014 conference at the Delaware States Fairgrounds in Harrington, DE. The conference will feature demonstrations on a wide range of styles from hand hammers to forging presses and power hammers, an iron smelt and copper- and silver-smiths. Also included will be a teaching tent, seminars on blacksmithing topics, a gallery, vendor areas, and a live auction. Family arts and crafts activities as well as the “Iron-in-the-Hat” fundraiser are also being planned. Contact 423-913-1022

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March / April 2014

What’s Hot? n


Commercial hydraulic hinge-closer D&D Technologies D&D Tech­nologies has released a new SureClose Hydraulic Hinge-Closer line offering quick, easy external mounting. The new ReadyFit models come with side fix­ing legs for quick align­ment and multiple, double-face fixing points for strength. Mount­ing bracket options include steel and aluminum that can either be welded or fastened; fasteners are included. ReadyFit, which comes with ver­ ti­cal alignment slots and hori­zontal adjustment, or gate gap, is controlled by a built-in adjust­ment feature. It provides a gate gap variance of ½ to 13/8 inches. Compared to previous models of SureClose, the new ReadyFit models are 100% externally mounted to save time and money and are designed for use on metal, wood and vinyl gates. Like all SureClose models, the Ready Fit comes in a variety of closing options to cater to all types of commercial and residen­tial gates. There’s a version offer­ing adjustable gate-closing speed and final snap-close action (to over­come electric or coded locks), and a loadbearing model that is non-self-closing for use on access control gates with a weight capacity of 1,500 lb. The new models will self-close gates weighing up to 260 lb. ReadyFit also provides performance and tamper resistance with the adjustable snap-close feature now providing 30% stronger action when required. One option includes a “hold-open” feature and permits gates to swing 180°. The models require no drilling of large holes, and fabricators and contrac­ tors choosing the steel bracket models can either weld or fasten using the supplied Tek screws. The new model is suit­able for hightraffic gates, the com­­pany says. A sturdy, March / April 2014


People Bacharach named Lewis Brass president, CEO Richard Bacharach has been pro­ moted to president and CEO of Lewis Brass & Copper, Middle Village, NY. A Lewis Brass employee for 30-plus years, he has held posi­tions in sales and purchasing and served as director of operations and chief operating officer. In his new roll, Rick will create and implement a strategic plan for the Lewis Brass group of companies, while studying the competitive market for expansion and growth. Lewis Brass, a Nation­wide Supplier member of NOMMA, provides brass and copper-based alloys, including tubing, sheet, coil, car, and various shapes, as well as polishing and cutting services. Marker joins Albina sales Nathan Marker is the newest

Hou-715-nomma.indd 1

member of the estimating/project management team at Albina Co. Inc., Tualatin, OR. With experience in the steel and fabrication market, Marker has worked in shop environments for 15 years, recently as an estimator/project manager for a local steel fabrication company. Albina offers metal bend­ing services for a variety of industries. Gesell named Wagner buyer Lisa Gesell, a new buyer for the The Wagner Companies, has 15 years of purchas­ing, planning, and supervisory exper­ience. Most recently, she was a purchasing coordinator at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Gesell holds a Certified Profes­ sional in Supply Management desig­ nation from the Institute of Supply Management. She will work with manufacturing and production planning to procure materials, supplies, and sub-contractor services. Wagner is a manufacturer and supplier of handrail fittings and metal products for the industry.


1/22/14 1:50:39 PM

What’s Hot? n compact hinge­closer com­ bination eliminates the need for headers and separate hinge and closer systems. The company says the product integrates the hinging and closing tasks, along with the benefits of quiet hydraulics and dual rows of bearings for smooth operation. Contact 714­677­1300 Self-clinching fasteners PennEngineering PEM self­clinching fasteners for use in stainless steel assemblies are designed to install reliably and permanently into thin stainless steel sheets, enabling lighter designs by minimizing hardware parts count. This family of hardened



stainless fasteners includes a range of types and styles, with some providing the added benefit of excellent corrosion resistance, says PennEngineering. The PEM stainless self­ clinching product line includes panel fasteners integrating captive screws for “tool only” access to stainless assemblies; thru­hole threaded and blind threaded standoffs for stacking or spacing components to or from stainless steel panels; non­locking and self­ locking floating nuts to accommodate mating hole misalignment; fasteners for

flush “face­on­face” sheet attachment applications enabling permanent joining of two sheets without protrusions; flush­head studs; pins; and nuts. Depending on type, the fasteners are produced from precipitation hardening grade stainless, 400 Series stainless, or A286 stainless steels, and most are designed to install in stainless sheets as thin as .030 inch. With the fastener harder than the host stainless sheet, successful clinching results in their becoming integral parts of an assembly without risk of loosening hardware. Contact 800­237­4736 Siren-activated gate sensor MMTC The new Siren Activated Gate Sensor from MMTC Inc., allows entry of emer­ gency vehicles into gates by using the frequency of the emergency siren, while all other sounds are rejected. The Siren Activated Gate Sensor responds to the specific sound of an emergency siren to open residential, commercial, airport, govern­ ment, and military gates in an emergency, saving time and potential disaster that could result when first responders are forced to stop, enter codes, or smash through gates. Designed with state­ of­the­art materials, the Siren Activated Gate Sen­ sor is unaffected by dust, moisture, or adverse weather conditions, making it ideal for emergency access, says the company. The

sensor comes with a 4 x 5­inch reflective sign and 12­24VAC/DC. Contact 800­942­6682 50-ton turret ironworker Scotchman Industries

The 5014 TM Ironworker offers a three­station revolv­ ing turret that accepts up to three pieces of tooling that can be changed in seconds, allowing users to reduce set­up time and increase productivity. The machine has 50 tons of pressure and the ability to punch a ⁄­ inch hole in a ¾­inch plate. Standard features on the 5014 TM include: an angle shear that will shear up to 4 x 4 x 3/8-inch angle iron and a flat bar shear that can shear ¾ x 4 inch to ¼ x 14 inches. The machine also features a rectangle notcher that will notch up to 2½ x 3 inches in ⁄­inch material. With its component tool table design, it has the ability to accept Fabricator

March / April 2014

What’s Hot? n


optional equipment, such as the 12­inch press brake, rod shear, square tube shear, picket tools, pipe notcher, and special tooling, which is also available. Contact 800­843­8844

built with a slim, space­ saving profile that saves valuable tabletop space, says the company. The 26 mounting holes can be used to stop, locate, clamp, or square up stock at 90°. An extra long mounting slot allows for adjustable mounting, and can accommodate two mounting bolts for greater stability. BuildPro Clamps can be inserted into the mounting holes on the two side walls or the top surface

Cast iron clamping squares Strong Hand Tools The new BuildPro Malleable Cast Iron Clamping Squares from Strong Hand Tools are four­ face heavy duty clamping squares featuring 26 mounting holes over three surfaces for use in fixturing with BuildPro Modular Welding Tables. They are

of the Clamping Squares for vertical or horizontal hold down clamping. The Clamping Squares are available in left and right facing models. BuildPro Modular Welding Tables feature a tabletop surface of CNC­machined 5/8­inch holes in a 2­inch grid pattern on precision ground steel plates for fixturing at any point on the table. Contact 800­989­5244 www. Immersion separator vacuums Ruwac USA Available in electric and air­powered models, the

TUBING BENDERS TUBING BENDERS Hand TubeTUBING BenderBENDERS Rolls: TUBING BENDERS  1Hand 1/2” Square Tubing Tube Bender Rolls: $499.95 Magnum Hand Bender Rolls: Hand Tube Bender Square Tubing  1 x1 Tube 11/2” 1/2” Rectangular Tubing Rolls: $499.95 UBING 1BENDERS 1/2” Square Tubing $499.95  1 1/2” Square Tubing $499.95  1 x 1 1/2” Rectangular Tubing Hand  Flat Bar (1/2 x 1 1/2” & smaller)  1xPipe 1 1/2” Rectangular Tubing Tubing 1 x(1/2 1 1/2” Rectangular  Flat&Bar x 1 1/2” & smaller)Tubing be Bender Rolls: Tube  Flat Bar (1/2 x 1 1/2” & smaller)  Flat Bar (1/2 x 1 1/2” & smaller) $699.95  Pipe & Tubing are Tubing $499.95 Tube Bender Rolls: Magnum Pipe & Tubing  Hand Pipe & Tubing Bender Rectangular Tubing Magnum Hand Tube Bender Rolls:

25 Tons of Hydraulic Power only $3,650.00! • • • •

$649.95 Square Tubing  2”Rolls: 2 x 1 1/2” & smaller) Magnum Hand Tube Bender Magnum Hand Tube Bender Rolls:


$649.95 $649.95$649.95

and Tube Bender Rolls: Rolls:  2” Square Tubing

TubingTubing 1 x2”2”Square Rectangular Tubing 2” Square Tubing  2” Square  1 xBar 2” Rectangular Tubing Flat (1/2 x 2” & smaller) 1 x 2” Rectangular Tubing 1 x(1/2 2”xRectangular Tubing Flat&Bar 2” & smaller)  Pipe Tubing Flat Bar (1/2Flat x 2”Bar & smaller) (1/2 x 2” & smaller)  Pipe & Tubing

 Pipe & Tubing  1 x 2” Rectangular Tubing Pipe &Available Tubing Additional Rollers

Turntable Accepts Three Pipe Notchers w ith No Changeover!

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

1-800-200-4685 1-800-200-4685 UNIQUE1-800-200-4685 ROLLING SYSTEM 1-800-200-4685 Works with both hand tubing benders

NA35 Series immersion separator features a complete self­contained vacuum system. Work environments using explosive, impact­ sensitive, or glowing materials that may contain an ignition source (such as aluminum, titanium,

Notch Pipe

UNIQUE ROLLING SYSTEM Additional Rollers Available Cap Rails Works with both hand tubing benders UNIQUE ROLLING SYSTEM $599.95 UNIQUE ROLLING SYSTEM Works with both handwith tubing benders Works both hand tubing benders Cap Rails Channels $599.95 Cap Rails Rails Channels $599.95  Flat Bar Cap (on edge hard way)$599.95 NIQUE ROLLING SYSTEM Channels Channels  Flat Bar (on edge hard way)

110V, plug it in - no hardw iring required Sm all enough for bench-top use. Foot sw itch for hands-free operation Accepts many types of Vogel tools

Vogel Tool & Die for over 75 years, proudly made in USA Telephone: 800-272-8946 Fax: 630-562-1500

Notch Square Tube

Notch on an Angle

Remove Turntable to Install Vogel Picket Former

Form Pickets


R&benders D Hydraulics, Mfg. and Machine Co. Works with both hand tubing Bar (on edge Bar hard way) 1431 West 5th St. Chico, CAFlat 95928  Flat (on edge hard way)

Cap Rails R&D Hydraulics, Mfg. and Machine Co. $599.95

1431 5th Chico, CAMachine 95928 R&D West Hydraulics, Mfg. and Co.Machine Co. R&St. D Hydraulics, Mfg. and Channels 1431 West 5th St. Chico, CA 95928 March / April 2014 ■ Fabricator 1431 West 5th St. Chico, CA 95928


 Flat Bar (on edge hard way)

Hydraulics, Mfg. and Machine Co.


What’s Hot? n magnesium, zirconium, TNT) and other volatile dusts will not only benefit from eliminating the risk of an explosion, but keeping workspaces clean in the process, says Ruwac USA. The NA35 Immersion Separator collects explosive or glowing particles entering the vacuum and mixes them in a turbulent liquid bath. From there, moving air and liquid are rapidly forced onto the materials, submerging and neutralizing them in the process in the vacuum’s hydrophobic and oleophobic water filter system. This process stops already contained materials from finding any ignition source that may be introduced into the vacuum, creating a safe, explosion­


proof work environment, the company says. Newly redesigned features include a direct fill with garden hose connector to back­wash the dispersion screen and replace water contents. A sanitary stainless steel ball valve now acts as the primary source in releasing filtered contents — eliminating heavy lifting to empty the vacuum in the process. A discharge filter assembly attachment collects sludge and debris build­up from inside the vacuum into a 5­micron bag. The system’s external sight glass remains in place as the go­to detector of liquid levels, but an optional level detector sensor can now shut down or refill the unit automatically once low

liquid levels are detected. Quiet, powerful operation is provided through single or three­phase electric motor designs, or a single air­ powered venturi. Contact 413­532­4030 Multi-purpose belt grinder Kalamazoo Industries The Model S272V multi­ purpose belt grinder is designed for grinding, shaping, contouring, flat work, angles, snagging, and roughing in small or short­ run die casting facilities and is designed for use with small, intricate parts. The Model S272V grinder features a 2 x 72­inch belt, 1½­inch and 3­inch quick­ change contact wheels as

standard, a versatile multi­ position platen that rotates 360° for flat surface work, and a 1 HP 3,450 RPM motor producing 5,400 SFPM. Options include 5­inch and 8­inch diameter contact wheels, 8 x 5­inch tilting cast iron table with slot, steel stand legs, DCV­6 dust collector base, and a variable speed motor. Contact 269­382­2050 www. Join us at one of these conference locations in our series: Washington, DC April 2-3, 2014 neW orleans, la May 7-8, 2014 Boston, Ma July 16-17, 2014 st Paul, Mn Sept 25-26, 2014


259 Muddy Fork Road Jonesborough, TN 37659 423/913-1022

RegisteR Now! registration inquiries: Carolyn Walsh 781.779.1560


education inquiries: Judy Hayward 802.674.6752

sponsorship inquiries: Peter H. Miller 202.339.0744, ext. 104

Produced in collaboration with

Association of North America, Inc.



72 1-4_tradbuilding.indd 1

March / April 2014 2/14/14 3:56 PM


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


53 Albina Pipe Bending Co, Inc. (DBA Albina Co. Inc.) 21 Architectural Iron Designs 72 Artist-Blacksmith’s Assoc. of North America 70 Atlas Metal Sales............................................. 42 Big Blu Hammer Mfg. Co. / Oak Hill Iron

Pg Company


69 Hougen Mfg. Inc................................................... 58 International Gate 76 The Iron 36 Jesco Industries Inc. WIPCO div................ 75 King Architectural Metals............................. 38 Krando Metal Products Inc................................ 39 Krando Metal Products Inc................................ 45 Lapeyre Stair...................................................

60 Blacksmiths Depot / Kayne & Son Custom Hardware Inc......................

25 Lawler Foundry

37 Julius Blum & Co.

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

29 The Cable Connection.................

31 Mac Metals Inc................................................

68 John C. Campbell Folk

54 Marks

43 Carell Corporation...........................................

52 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool......................

17 Chicago Metal Rolled Products Co......................

57 Pat Mooney


33 National Bronze & Metals Inc....................

47 CT Machinery........................................................

68 NC Tool Company

62 Colorado Waterjet

71 R & D Hydraulics Mfg. & Machine

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

50 Regency

4 DKS, DoorKing Systems...................................

16 Scotchman Industries...................................

43 Eagle Bending Machines Inc...........................

51 Sharpe Products....................................

11 Eastern Metal Supply................................ 55 Eberl Iron Works 23 FabCAD Inc.............................................................. 35 Feeney 22 Friesinger’s Inc..............................................................740-452-9480 62 Goddard Manufacturing 19 Hebo - Stratford Gate Systems

Your advertising contact for O&MM Fabricator NOMMA Buyer’s Guide NOMMA website

15 Stairways 32 Sumter Coatings 72 Traditional Building....................... 28 Tri-State Shearing & Bending.................................... 718-485-2200 6 TS Distributors Inc...................................... 71 Vogel Tool & Die LLC........................................ 13 The Wagner

Advertise in the 2014 NOMMA Buyer’s Guide Your one-stop resource for shop and office personnel The Buyer’s Guide is available in 3 versions:


Sherry Theien Advertising Director 8392 Leesburg Ct. Rockford, IL 61114 815-282-6000 815-282-8002 fax March / April 2014

61 Simonian


1) print, 2) online, and 3) database. Closing date November 30, 2014 Contact Sherry Theien, 815-282-6000; 815-282-8002 fax; 73


Metal Moment

From the NOMMA ListServ

Join NOMMA to get your questions answered free.

What should distance be between rail posts? NOMMA member Eric Cuper, Cuper Studios, Easton, PA, posted a question on the NOMMA ListServe: You know when you over-think something and you begin to question what you already know? I am having one of those moments. An architect wanted a railing with no newel posts and only 1/2-inch steel balusters. I said, “No, it would not pass a load test at the cap rail.” So now we are good with newel posts, but only at the ends or corners. He seems to think we can span 12 feet with no full-height intermediate posts, just a 3-inch stub post below the bottom rail. I am curious how far one can span between full-height posts without figuring out the calculations. The railing is 1-inch solid steel posts, 1/2 x 11/4-inch solid top and bottom rails with steel cap rail, and 1/2-inch balusters. My general rule of thumb is 6–8 feet between posts, but your input would help reassure my wavering self confidence.

— Eric Cuper, Cuper Studios LLC

You will probably have issues without a post. We figure 6 feet as our max between posts. Recently, we had a design to match an existing railing, but one of the new sections was longer than any of the existing sections, about 12–14 feet long. It had just the stubs under the rail like your architect wants, and we ended having to make a decorative bracket/ corbel to strengthen the panel.

— Jason LaBrash, Grizzly Iron Inc.

I never go over 6 feet between posts. Think not only about

horizontal load but vertical load as well. I dare say a 200pound man sitting in the middle of your 12-foot run will cause some deflection.

— Kurt Lents, Alamance Iron Works

Have you proposed or considered using a flat bar for the intermediate posts? We have found it is a good compromise

with architects who do not like larger posts. If you are running 1-inch-square posts and 1/2-inch-square pickets, why not 1/2 x 1-inch flat bar for intermediate posts? Head on, it looks like a picket, but gives you some more lateral stability.

— Maciej Jankowski, Artistic Iron Works LLC

While you can expect that there is a truss action from having vertical pickets, this will only give you additional strength for

a vertically downward load. The railing must withstand load

in all directions. The lateral load is what will always limit your post spacing, and that resistance to load is based on the post selection, spacing, and attachment to the surface.

— Tony Leto, The Wagner Companies

What wasn’t mentioned is the material and cross-section of the cap rail. This, in conjunction with the loading, is what will

determine the post spacing. Twelve feet is still quite a span, probably not doable, but you should still take the actual cap rail properties into consideration.

— Michael Toglia PE, AGS Stainless Inc.

Not sure on how far the posts spacing can be, I will first start

with a lot shorter than fabricators are probably currently making them. However, one of the biggest issues with post size is attachment. Also you have an issue with straight versus curved and so on. We don’t have charts telling us that is correct, but I would love to see a base post spacing chart for each of the basic sizes made up with attachment type, material, post size, and height = xx number of inches maximum. But there are so many other factors that come in to play when figuring these parameters, not to mention the safety factor would spin peoples heads. We use 11/4-inch square solid and a max span of 76 inches for 36-inches-high residential with core mounting. About 64 inches with wood and plate mounting. Then again these numbers can change based on the rail design; things like curving, a change in direction, and top cap height and size will influence stability.

— Thomas Zuzik, Jr., Artistic Railings Inc.

Join NOMMA . . .

to get your questions answered on the ListServ

The NOMMA Listserv is an ongoing email discussion list where NOMMA members can get quick answers at no charge to their important questions. Obviously, it is a most valuable benefit for NOMMA members. If you are a NOMMA member and not subscribed, contact If you are not a NOMMA member, we encourage you to join your industry’s trade association.


Something on your mind? Got something to say? Got an idea? Got a tip? Got a gripe? Do you have a story to tell? Fabricator magazine would like to interview you for a Metal Moment story. Please contact editor Todd Daniel at 74


March / April 2014




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