“You work where?” “Proctor Fabrication.” “What do you do?”
Around noon, a Siskin semi will roll up to the garage where somebody will meet him with a forklift, carrying the delivered steel to the floor of the shop. From there, somebody will load the needed steel pieces into the Jet band saw, making cuts based on the drawings on the whiteboard. With components ready, the fabricator will clean off the table with a flap disk on an angle grinder to ensure a flat work surface. With the steel pieces laid out on the table, the fabricator tacks together the corners and angles, checking them with a square as he goes, adjusting and flipping clamping and bracing to keep the heat from distorting the frame. Then come the balusters. Four inches on center is where they will sit, spaced out by a jig for consistency. He will clamp the cap rail on, adjusting until it’s even, sitting happy on top; he’ll tack that together before laying a bead on each side and the end. From there, another will take it from the fabricator, cleaning up splatter and welds with the flap disk, massaging off any sharp edges and anything uncomfortable to the hand, then prepping the rail for finish by drilling holes in the bottom leg for the powder coater.
And that’s what we do at Proctor Fabrication. The day varies, of course, as we receive orders for unique or one of a kind pieces, but that is our substance and origin: to make quality railing with care and precision.
The care and precision we fight for is by no means a purist approach, however. We aren’t traditional blacksmiths, but we use traditional methods when bending and shaping ornate features. We aren’t a high-tech assembly line, but we use modern machines to make precise cuts.
This first post is an introduction to what we do at Proctor Fabrication and how we do it. We’re writing now for the wise consumer and the fabricator alike, bending our efforts to increase the quality of the industry as a whole. What you can expect in the future are more posts about us and the industry. That includes informative pieces as well as tips, tutorials, reviews, and Q&As. We hope to see you there.
When the rail comes home from the powder coater, we load it up into the truck and haul it to its new home where it will sit for years to come. Depending on the place, sometimes we will core drill a hole in the concrete, plant the rail, and bury it in wet concrete, checking each angle with the level before its footing cures. Other times we impact drill it to the wall or floor. With a quick clean up and wipe down of the rail, it’s done.
We want to contribute what will last—whether a wrought iron rail that graces a home for generations or relationships in our community sure to last for years to come.