Blog Posts

thefabricator.com has a team of bloggers that cover the challenges and rewards associated with a life in metal fabricating. Topics typically addressed by contributing authors include political and demographic trends affecting the fabricating industry, the business side of running a job shop, the culture of the welding community, and detailed looks at what happens on the shop floor.

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Still Building America—Jump into your trade with both feet

May 23, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Interested in a career in welding and fabrication? Take advantage of opportunities to learn more, and you might find yourself on a fulfilling career path, just like Jonathan Lewis.

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Fabricators are in the information business

May 19, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Fabricators aren't selling just parts anymore. They're selling their ability to partner and communicate with customers.

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The ability to multitask—a gift and a curse

May 19, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Times have changed. We live in the information and stimulation age. Many things vie for our attention, and it can be difficult to focus on a single activity or life plan. Is that good or bad? Here’s Josh Welton’s take, based on his own experience.

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The morality of metal fabrication

May 16, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Metal fabricators are driven to compete, but they also want to do the right thing.

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Manufacturing wages and the front-line worker

May 12, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturers have serious turnover when it comes to front-line workers. And then there's the issue of pay.

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2016 FAB 40 preview: Preparing for a bigger market pie

May 11, 2016 | By Tim Heston

Revenue growth from 2014 to 2015 was essentially flat, depending on the fabricator's customer mix, but most are predicting busier times ahead.

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The Arsenal of Democracy—When Detroit bailed out the U.S. government

May 2, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Remember when the U.S. government bailed out Detroit? Many people were up in arms over the action. Perhaps knowing more about the automakers’ contributions to winning WWII might have softened some opinions. Here’s a short story about Chrysler's role.

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Fabricating a copper chimney cap

April 27, 2016 | By Nick Martin

Custom fabricating shops bid all kinds of jobs. Sometimes these jobs involve materials and processes beyond those the shop typically encounters. They make for interesting work that can require brushing up on little-used skills. Building a copper chimney cap was just such a job for Barnes MetalCrafters, one that resulted in a beautiful, functional work of art.

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Still Building America—Welding big birds, pursuing big dreams

April 25, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Welder and inspector Lucca Ilbert, who trained at the Robert Morgan Educational Center in Miami, loves fabricating and repairing aircraft parts. He hopes one day to have his own FAA-approved custom fabricating shop.

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Running stringers—an exercise in utility

April 20, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Repeating certain exercises is a fundamental part of learning a skill. Running stringers is one such exercise for anyone learning to weld. It also helps to listen to the instructor explain how it’s done.

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Is the customer always worth the effort?

April 13, 2016 | By Vicki Bell

You can never have too many customers, or so it’s said. Is this true? What about the customer that has you do all the hard work and takes your well-designed product elsewhere for production? Are you happy to have had their business? Perhaps you can take solace in lessons learned.

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OSHA publishes final silica rule

April 11, 2016 | By Stephen Barlas

Shops that have abrasive blasting capabilities need to be aware that a new OSHA rule involving worker exposure to crystalline silica particles has been published.

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Building memories

April 7, 2016 | By Josh Welton

Do any of your earliest memories involve work? Josh Welton remembers using a drawknife and a hatchet to help his parents prepare wood for a log home. It was a communal labor of love that likely fostered his love of making things by hand.

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Still Building America—One automotive masterpiece at a time

March 29, 2016 | By Josh Welton

There are dream cars and dream jobs. Combining both has allowed J.D. Hendrickson to achieve his dream career. Here’s the short story of how he got there.

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Restoring the USS North Carolina—sharing history with friends

March 23, 2016 | By Nick Martin

Think Facebook is the ultimate time-waster? Nick Martin’s Facebook connection to an old classmate and fellow soccer teammate led to an important job preserving history for Barnes MetalCrafters. It also provided a learning opportunity, as many fabricating jobs do.

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