HOW TO MAKE A GOOD CHOICE AND CLOSE A GOOD DEAL
During the last twenty years a renaissance of wrought
iron is noticeable. It can be seen everywhere. There is nearly no film or
series where sequences of gates or beds in advance determine the status of
their owner. For a long period of time at the beginning of the last century,
wrought iron was fashionable. Even today, those old fences and gates, which
have persisted ravages of time, can been seen, and that is one more reason for
us to want them on and in our facilities.
The need for these products has suprised potential
customers because they did not have necessary information on their quality,
design and price. On the other hand, craftsmen were caught with the dilemma
what would be better – to make or buy elements and then to assemble them.
Because of a lack of information, both the craftsmen and customers have not
managed to do well. We will try to help both of them with these texts.
TIPS FOR CUSTOMERS
You must be sure that you know what you want. Let your
wishes be in accordance with what you can afford. Look at similar projects when
you go through your town. Do not hurry. These are products for a life-time, so
make your decision slowly. Look at photographs through the Internet, make a
wider choice of options and then a narrower one. Look at the photographs before
your final decision, consult your relatives and friends – everyone will have a
piece of advice.
In the end, find a craftsman. You can find him through
recommendations of those who have already employed him or you can find
him yourself on the Internet. You need to be a bit cautious, but we will help
you to be superior enough in these negotiations.
On Internet web-sites you
can find many things. It may happen that you find a lot of beautiful
photographs which are not products of the owner of the site. People like to put
other people’s photographs in order to show themselves better than they really
they steal other people’s clothes. An elementary thing is to ask first whether
the photographs represent works of that company and if the answer is
affirmative, ask for a few addresses of locations where they could be seen.
Sometimes, the answer will be that it is in another town or that it is hard to
find, which casts doubt on the truthfulness of the answer to the first
question. It is necessary to insist on seeing their previous works before you
make a deal. However, if you actually get an address of the place where works
have been done, see the location, look at the quality of the work, speak with
the owner if you can and find out whether he or she is satisfied, ask him/her
whether he had got what was agreed upon, had the work been done in time, etc.
Visit the craftsman’s
workshop. You will see whether he is a real business partner, whether he has a
company and employed workers, whether he inspires confidence that he will do
the job successfully.
Ask for the price of the
product you are interested in, but define all elements so that you could check
the prices at several other places before making your final decision. It is
important that you know which materials would be used, including the paint,
whether the installment is calculated in the price of the product, what is the
quality warranty, how much is the advanced payment, terms of payment,
transport, terms of delivery.
It is important to point out
that you want to see the phases of the work and that you want to approve of the
The processing lasts for a
relatively long period of time, so the agreements are often forgotten. Then
there come conflicts of interests which lead to a bad business environment. Be
a serious negotiator, make an agreement and ask for a signature for every
payment in advance you pay. In that way you will not only protect yourself, but
you will also show earnestness in business. The craftsman will have to respect
you because he took the money and together with that his obligations.
Give notice that you are
coming and call on the workshop in order to be assured that your project has
been done. Timely check all agreement obligations. Craftsmen do like when
someone pokes his/her nose into their work so do not do that; you have already
shown that you are serious regarding business and the craftsman will respect
you. Show good will; praise the craftsmen if there is a reason for that, bring
them beer or juice to show that you are kind. If you gain the workers’
sympathies, they will make more effort to do your project.
Wrought iron requires
maintenance. Write down the name of the colour with which it was painted and at
least once a year check whether there are traces of rust. If there is rust,
clean it and paint it with a primer and final paint. Lubrication of hinges is
current maintenance. Lubricate the cylinder with glycerin before winter. In
that way, your gate will last for at least the next hundred years.
There are many of you but
little customers. The prices of materials are becoming higher and the price of
your work is getting lower. The liabilities towards the state, workers,
electricity and materials have to be paid. However, everybody is going through
a tough period; it is not hard only to you.
The customers will demand a
lower price than the one presented to them, and because of the fear that you
will lose a job, sometimes you will agree to work for a little profit. You got
a job, sat down, thought about it and then you saw that you have made a bad
deal. Now it is too late; you have agreed about the terms of the deal and you
got an advanced payment. You have become a lost case and you are thinking what
to do so that something is left of that job. You will get boxes with thin
walls, the worst paint, you will paint only once, you will buy a cheap lock and
hinges and you will do everything by halves, just to get yourself out of a
badly agreed deal. For the money you will get, all this is even too much. Of
course you will shame yourself and such an approach will not lead you to new
deals. This is not the way true craftsmen do.
There are some standards
which you must adhere to when speaking of your work and negotiations. You must
explain to the customer that you have a serious approach to work, that you will
not allow use of bad materials and that that would insignificantly lower the
price. If you are fair, the customer must be given work of high quality and the
only way to save is saving on the price of your work. Even if you make a bad
agreement, you must not give up your principles; you must work as if you have
made a proper price.
In order to be credible, offer
only your work and let the customer supply the materials. Then they will see
that not much is left for you as it seemed in the beginning, and you will ease
your conscience at least when the material is in question.
Your work can be seen and it
is your best business card. Only work of high quality can bring you new deals.
Stay in touch with the customer, call upon him/her occasionally to see whether
some intervention is needed or if the paint has loosened, lubricate the
cylinder with glycerin before winter, remind the customer of yourself. Your
attention will certainly be awarded – they will recommend you or you will get a
new job. Show them that your obligations are still not fulfilled and that
something can be got for free.
Learn from those who are better
than you, get acquainted with new technologies and materials, present your
earlier works to your customer, find good suppliers, take care of the storage
of materials, be meticulous, inform your customer about the way the phases of
work are carried out, make drafts and photographs of the sites so that there
are no surprises during the installment. Do not leave a job undone; sometimes
it is necessary to check the details after the installment.
Only such approach gives
good results in the long run.
Author: Miroljub Jović, Eng.
WROUGHT IRON FOR THE LAST 50 YEARS
If you come across some competition or seminar in America which is held by their blacksmiths, be assured that the ambient, technology and scenery will get you back for more than 100 years. It would be as if you were in Schonlaterngasse in Wien, in one of the oldest and best-known forges where the hammer and anvil had been the main technological tools. There were also many manual settings, blacksmith's pliers, patterns for designing artistic details and, of course, about twenty blacksmith's fires.
When somebody says: “Strike while the iron is hot,” a blacksmith means – while it is white-hot. The white colour of heated iron shows that it has a temperature of 1,200 – 1,300 degrees. Then it is soft enough to be formed without great effort. You can see the results of this skill at every tourist site in Wien. It is so perfect that it seems unattainable.
The American Blacksmiths’ Association continues the tradition of artistic forging where technological innovations are excluded. This group has many members, true enthusiasts of this craft, which outgrew the blacksmith’s-horse shoe’s job in America and which was one of the most important crafts for a long time in America’s early history.
There are, of course, many modern blacksmith’s shops, just like everywhere in the world, where the latest technological innovations are applied.
Rapid development of industry has drawn technology near us and now it is relatively easy to practice the blacksmith’s craft. A hundred years ago, it was hard and expensive work which could be paid only by chosen ones. The craft was learnt for a long time and everything was done manually and slowly. People are still interested in the question whether iron is made manually or with machines because they often cannot see the difference and so confusions are often made. It would be as if manually mixed concrete was better than the one from a mixer or manual painting was better than painting with a compressor, etc.
Different technological innovations have brought a revolution in this craft: welding protected with CO2, gas and induction heating, cutting with plasma and lasers, numerical directing, erosimats, water based paints, frequent regulators, encoders…
Wrought iron product chain
The wrought iron business has expanded so much in time, so that three groups which are mutually closely related can be distinguished.
The first group includes producers of machines which are used specifically in this business: blacksmith’s hammers, machines for engraving profiles using cold or hot procedures, machines for curving Archimedes’ spirals, machines for axis curving, water-presses for folding materials in tools, induction and gas furnaces for heating, machines for making baskets, etc.
The second group produces all parts which are used in the wrought iron business. It is a link between the producers of machines and locksmiths who produce the final product. Locksmiths are often equipped with a great number of machines which are produced by the first group, so they are independent to a great extent. The second group sells engraved materials, wrought and molten elements, constructions of these elements, paints, patina, pressed leaves and rosettes, catalogues, books, reprints of old editions for locksmiths who would like to try manual forging. In this group, there is a lot of mutual cooperation between the companies, so that the same products can be found at every producer, which shows that they have traded. However, they offer only a menu, while for à la carte, you must contact more specialized locksmith’s shops which can offer specialized service and small editions.
The third group, which has the greatest number of members, consists of locksmiths who closely cooperate with the producers of parts. The supply is great and outsiders often buy Italian parts which have just come from China. The quality is similar, but the price is much higher. The Italians use their tradition for promotion of cheap Chinese parts. The calculation is clear – it is much cheaper than to produce them themselves.
Tracing technological achievements, visiting fairs and education are of vital importance for success in this business.
The greatest problem is rust prevention and some locksmiths deal with it applying zinc covering. The material which is used when dealing with wrought iron has to be soft, so in order to achieve that, crystal grids should be softened, which is also called stoking. It is done twice. This technological process, besides the fact that it gives softness to iron, makes also a surface layer, the so-called scale which falls off in time. It is the main cause why wrought iron rusts, because it falls off later on together with the applied paint. The solution is to clean iron using the technique of sandblasting before painting. The surface erodes a little during sandblasting, so it accepts paint much better.
Paints of high quality should be used – for the primer and the final ones. These are not at all nitro paints (they are used because they dry very quickly), but the oil ones – polyurethane, binary, water, etc. There are also techniques for testing the quality of paints, but I will come to that some other time.
There are also universal paints which substitute primers and final paints. There are also paints which are used on rusted surfaces. There are rust converters – liquids which make a protective layer together with rust. To avoid confusion, I must say that this is not rust inhibitor. One should adhere to the instruction that the next paint, used after the rust convertor, is applied only after 24 hours, if temperature conditions have been fulfilled. Opaque or glossy binary lacquers or various kinds of patina, which emphasize details on wrought iron, are often used over the final paint. It is evident that there is great ignorance about the usage of patina on our market. Sometimes, there is no correctly processed element on the Fair of Furniture.
Plastification is not good for protecting wrought iron.
Replicas have become fashionable since a long time ago, not only when speaking of “Rolexes” and “Nikes”. We often come across box profiles instead of square materials, and aluminum moulds installed with a pop rivet or silicon can be seen on tops instead of wrought spikes. Some call this imitation of wrought iron and the name is funny just like the product itself. Whole welded constructions where the welded joints are covered with a clamp are bought from importers. These constructions cannot be protected with paint any more; they must be covered with zinc. Or they must be disassembled into parts, cleaned, sandblasted and then protected with final paint underneath the clamp. This step is often omitted and rust appeared with the first rains.
Covering gates with metal sheets is fashionable in some countries, and slowly it is becoming fashionable in Serbia. A problem arises because during the installment of sheets, the box of the gate’s frame is drilled with screws and in that way, water gets into the gate frame. The frame must be pressurized and separated from the part where the lock is. In that way, all the most sensitive parts will become long-lasting. In the contrary, there is no draft between the sheet and gate, moist remains there and then rust appears.
Wrought iron in interior
Fences, gates, railings for stairs and fences on balconies are outside and furniture is inside.
The approach to making furniture must be raised to a much higher level, because furniture is in constant contact with people and children. Anthropological measurements must be adhered to, the processing must be perfect so that nobody gets hurt and the paints must be environmentally friendly and resistant. Legs must have pads so that the floors could not be damaged.
Curtain rails, consoles and chandeliers request serious installment so that they would not fall down and hurt somebody. When speaking of chandeliers, it is very important to use cables of high quality (we recommend silicon ones) and ceramic bulb sockets.
This was a brief review on the basic facts of wrought iron, truths and delusions, without making any pretence to influence on your final choice. We have tried to be educational and well-intentioned, and we leave you to choose your own approach to this creative craft.
Author: Miroljub Jović, Eng.
THE BED – MY STORY
When I made a decision to make a bed, I knew that it would be a long-term process and that I would have numberless traps, problems and dilemmas if I wanted to avoid possible mistakes and oversights.
I have experience in capturing a new programme, first of all because I like challenges and a competitive spirit is not a new thing for me. I have come across similar situations when I made the chair and mailbox afterwards. I had good results and I am proud of the final result. I am not sorry for the time spent.
And so I rushed to make a bed just as if I were a pain in the neck. I watched some South-American soap operas and I saw that there were beds made of wrought iron but they were extremely frightfully made, only to replace the coulisses.
I went to furniture showrooms but I was not delighted with them. I even went to see recommended models which had respectful prices, but still there was nothing.
I threw myself onto the Internet. There was many of it there. The inspirations I got even overcame my imagination. I downloaded many pictures so that I could look at them all at ease, but I was not delighted.
I left the design for later on and started with statics and calculations.
I found the anthropology measures which can dictate only the height of the mattress from-to and that was all.
The producers of mattresses also have a menu “a la card” so that beds can be made according to existing typical dimensions of mattresses or a mattress can be ordered after a bed with desired dimensions is made.
The “a la card” variant is, of course, more expensive.
The producers of mattresses made more problems for me because the thickness of a mattress is from 17 – 30 cm. What if somebody puts memory foam on top of it? And I have to fit in the anthropology measures which are in a range of 46-56 cm. And some buyers want an option with a drawer for linen under the bed. There are also small wheels on the drawer. And so I have to fit in all that so that everybody is satisfied.
The first decision I made was the choice of material for the bed. When speaking of interior, I prefer phi or rounded cross-sections of iron because they are warmer and there is no possibility of cutting oneself when passing by them.
I made the choice of 60 mm pipes which would be the legs of the bed. On the upper side they would be closed with a convex calotte with the same cross-section. There were no such calottes on the market, so I consulted a few producers but there was no result.
I hired a carpenter and he tried and partly succeeded, but the metal sheet was 0.5 mm thick and the processing was not perfect.
I became angry and I tried to make them myself. I knew a lot about deep drawing and I refreshed my knowledge about it from some books. My turner got a drawing and task to make tools. When speaking of such interventions, one needs to have a water-press with two separate cylinders; the first one holds the metal sheet at the side while the other one makes the profile. I did not have such a water-press, so I tried with some other techniques to seize the metal sheet, and to make the profile with my own tools. The result was not satisfactory, but at least I tried.
I found a company abroad which produces hollow 60mm balls and so I imported semi-manufactured goods of which the balls are made and those are 60 mm calottes with an envious thickness of 3 mm. Since semi-manufactured goods were in question, my turner had to process them additionally but we got a good result. After welding the calotte onto the pipe, once again my turner processed the material and all that was OK.
We made several such pipes with different lengths, i.e. several different heights of bed legs. We welded the bottom with a nut where we install a plastic washer.
I constructed hanging of the sides and legs in Auto-Cad several days. It was not bad, but there were many parts so a manual was to be made.
Soon afterwards, I was not enthusiastic with my construction any more and then I came across a German bed which had a similar principle as our military bed but was much more modern. I decided to think about it in that direction and so I started to pursue the solution of this problem using the Internet.
I went even to websites of some patent institutes and I found the recipe there. I did not want to discover the wheel. I used the principle, adjusted and perfected it, and then I cut it on the numerical machine.
Bingo! It was a great pleasure for me when I finished this task.
There was still a lot of work to do. The sides of the bed drove me crazy. I searched for some deep and narrow boxes with rounded sides, but I could not find them because they did not exist.
I know what a problem it is when beds are made; when the sheets are tucked on the sides and nothing rounded and pleasant can be found there, but sharp and unpleasant.
I decided to construct a side – do-or-die. After several tests, the design fell into place; we constructed tools which support several different heights and which had a compartment in the lower part where screws could be hidden. We used thick cold-rolled metal sheets so that it would have a great bearing capacity. We cleaned it and painted it before folding it on its side which we declared as the inside one and after folding it and arc welding, we painted it also on the outside.
I wanted to be rational when deciding about the design of the filling. I did not like the solution with a couple of elements on the pillow through which one could fall down and hurt himself. I did not like the work where there were spikes, sharp endings and so on.
People sleep in beds, read, drink tea and make love. The pillow must be well filled. Curves must be used wherever it is possible because one can unknowingly be caught and hurt himself half-asleep.
The rounded material which I chose – steel with improved quality would be very difficult if it would be subordinated to a visual effect to give a fullness of the piece. That is why I chose tubular material, with a thick wall, which could be formed into any design and which could also accept our hollow coinage which we exploit very much. The pursuit after this material implicated a lot of travel and experiments.
Finally, we succeded in folding these pipes into circles whose jointing cannot be seen and which accept our rosettes as a filling.
Wandering after an appropriate design also took a while. I remembered an old snapshot from Viktor Gallery in Dubai because I liked that bed very much. We adjusted the design to our tools and needs and the bed saw the light of day. Later on, in the Rik-Fer catalogue I saw that they designed that bed which was in my bedroom and on this web-site.
The quality of the paint had to be a high one because a dynamic use is in question. After painting it and putting patina, it is necessary to cover all with binary lacquer the way it is done with cars.
I bought a few sets of this too expensive acrylic paint and made experiments. For myself I chose gloss and not opaque, because it is more pleasant when touching it and it is easily maintained.
Regarding the mattress and planks – there are many producers and the prices have a wide range. I would not comment on the question whether the quality is adequate to the price.
I certainly recommend latoflex planks with an option of raising the head and feet. Regarding double beds, I recommend two seperate mattresses.
This is my story. It is already past midnight. I will fall asleep at once. I sleep in a turbo-mode, only several hours. Is this because of this bed? Check it yourself!
Permanent promotion. Chairs for only 10 €!
We are starting a new permanent promotion. It is all about our product, the chair "small giant", which has the diameter of 300mm and height of 400mm. It has the carrying capacity of 500kg! The product is made of high quality steel with the diameter of only 10mm. The legs have small feet on the bottom. The seat is made of beech plywood with the thickness of 10mm which is protected with binary parquet lacquer overlayed with eco-leather with a 50mm sponge underneath. There are some versions which have textile instead of eco-leather. The chair is painted with binary acrylic metallic paint (black, green or red).
This incredible price enables you to make a nice gift with an accessible price or to buy yourself an always needed extra chair.
Holiday promotion. Chairs for only 10 €!
We are starting a new promotion for the New Year and Christmas holidays, which will last till the end of January next year. It is all about our new product, the chair "small giant", which has the diameter of 300mm and height of 400mm. It has the carrying capacity of 500kg! The product is made of high quality steel with the diameter of only 10mm. The legs have small feet on the bottom. The seat is made of beech plywood with the thickness of 10mm which is protected with binary parquet lacquer overlayed with eco-leather with a 50mm sponge underneath. There are some versions which have textile instead of eco-leather. The chair is painted with binary acrylic metallic paint (black, green or red).
This incredible price enables you to make a nice gift with an accessible price or to buy yourself an always needed extra chair.
A permanent promotion of the company Kovano gvožđe Belgrade.
The price of curtain rails is 50 euros, regardless of the length. Mounting of the curtain rails is free.
The price of gates is 100-250 euros/m². The price includes: painting with acrylic colours of highest quality, extra patinating and waxing, mounting the "Cisa" lockers and cylinder covers, mounting a protection from steeling the gate and a free wrought iron number plate.
The price of a mail box is 100 euros. Every mail box is unique (there are not two of a kind). The customers can choose the size, shape, colour, irons, model... You can get a mail box for free, if you prove us that another mail box with the same quality exists somewhere and that we have not made it.
The producing of high quality beds has started.
After studying, research and examining for several months, we have started with producing high quality, massive wrought iron beds with anatomic dimensions. In that way we have added a new product to our assortment of furniture.
The website of our company has been set up.