Welding Works Connection: our online newsletter

Welding Works, Inc.
32 New Road, Madison, CT 06443
Tel: (203) 245-2731
Fax: (203) 245-0823
fab@weldingworks.com
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Welding Works Fabricates New Central Park Fence, Replicating 1860s Design;
Project Receives Award as "Fence Project of the Year"
Welding Works Uses Both Design and Fabrication Expertise in Air Heater Module Project
Welding Works Adds New Equipment to Serve You Better

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The result of a Connecticut company's "Yankee Ingenuity" is now being appreciated by our neighbors in New York City. Welding Works, Inc. of Madison, Connecticut recently completed a brand-new fence to replicate the one that surrounded the Central Park Reservoir from 1862 until 1926. The original ornamental fence was unique in design and construction, unlike any fencing normally being produced today.
Central Park Fence Project Details
Project Details
Fence is approximately 8,150 feet long and 48 inches high.
Welding Works utilized reverse engineering and time-proven methods in order to meet schedule and budget demands.
Fence panels and posts contain no visible fasteners, pins or welds.
All weldments are accurate within ±.015 inches.
More than 1,400 cast
iron molds were used to create 19 panel mold assemblies and 16 post mold assemblies.
The fence posts can
support more than 900 pounds of pressure with no permanent deflection, meeting or exceeding existing codes.
Welding Works fabricated 1,535 fence panels, each 5 feet 6 inches long, with 26 castings per panel.
Each panel is joined by a post, for a total of 1,538 posts, each with 2 castings.
In total, the project encompassed more than 43,000 castings.

Welding Works' Vice President, Walter Camp; and President, Price van der Swaagh
Welding Works' Vice President, Walter Camp; and President, Price van der Swaagh
Welding Works would like express their gratitude to the following for their involvement in this meaningful project:
Marvin and Donna Schwartz
Central Park Conservancy – Christopher Nolan and James Reed
Case Patterns & Wood Products – Jim Case, President
Cumberland Foundry Co., Inc. – Al Lucchetti, President
G&W Foundry Corp. – Jim and Dick Bruso, owners
Nashua Foundries, Inc. – Peter Lyons, President
Advanced Coring & Cutting Corp. – Stanley Lisowski, President
Viking Enterprises, Inc. – David Engdall, President
General Sandblasting – John Rudnicki, President
Teknicote – Steve Dolan, President
New York City Ornamental Iron Workers – Local 580

Welding Works was challenged to "think outside of the box" to deal with the complexities of the project. They used reverse engineering and investigated technologies used in the past to develop a workable design, fabrication and installation plan.

The 1860s fence design was unique in several ways. Its finials and ornamental unions were cast around, not fastened to, its pickets and rails. The only mechanical fasteners used were to join the panels to the posts. When this aesthetically pleasing fence was removed in 1926, it was replaced by 7-foot chain link, which did a fine job of protecting the water in the Reservoir, but, at the same time, obstructed the beautiful view for those walking in that area of the Park.

In total, the fence re-creation project encompassed 43,000 castings.
Thanks to a generous donation by Marvin and Donna Schwartz, who live near the Park, the Central Park Conservancy was able to undertake the re-creation of the original fence. This replica would be installed on existing coping stone and would measure approximately 8,150 feet in length and 48 inches high, an adequate height, since the Reservoir is no longer used to supply drinking water.

The Park Conservancy initiated competitive bidding among established contractors with a proven track record working on projects of this magnitude. Welding Works, who had done work for the Conservancy in the past, was one of seven qualified bidders. In preparing their bid, they examined how the original fence was fabricated and rediscovered the earlier casting technology that was used in 1862. They were thus able to formulate fabrication and installation plans that would meet the Conservancy's completion schedule at a less-than-astronomical price.

As Christopher Nolan, the Conservancy's Vice President for Capital Projects, put it, "Many of those who were originally interested in bidding on the fence project later said that they didn't think it could be done. The people at Welding Works put their heads together and figured [the complexities of the project] out, and we awarded them the contract."

The casting process utilized a sandcap pouring basin and molds designed by Jim Case. The original fence was held together by the castings; therefore, no fasteners, pins or welds could be visible. Since the new panels were to be of welded construction, one of the project's biggest challenges was to develop the manufacturing methods to cast around the weldment in a cost-effective, productive manner. Precise assembly fixtures were required for accuracy, since weldments needed to be ±.015 inches to ensure that the mold would fit snug and that the final product would be correct. The weld fixture held the steel posts in place with pneumatic clamps and enabled two workers to weld at the same time.

Welding Works had a tangible plan as to how the castings would be made so that they matched the original fence. They worked hand-in-hand with mold designer Jim Case to design a unique 3-piece mold. This mold would not only ensure that sufficient iron got into the mold and filled all the gaps, but it could also be removed without damaging the casting. Since the iron would solidify almost instantly, it was a challenge to get good, tight, full castings. Case created a sandcap pouring basin that allowed extra metal to feed the mold to compensate for shrinkage during cooling. In speaking of Welding Works, Case said, "They went out of their way to get the job done right, with a high level of craftsmanship."

Ultimately, over 1,400 cast iron molds were used to create 19 panel mold assemblies and 16 post mold assemblies. Before casting the unions on the panels, comprehensive load tests were performed to ensure that the fence would comply with the latest code of 200 pounds of force. It was determined that the posts could support over 900 pounds of pressure with no permanent deflection.

The completed fence now offers an unobstructed view of the Reservoir and the Manhattan skyline.
The completed fence now offers an unobstructed view of the Reservoir and the Manhattan skyline.
Welding Works fabricated 1,535 fence panels, each 5 feet 6 inches long, with 26 castings per panel. Each panel was joined by a post, for a total of 1,538 posts, each with 2 castings. In total, the project encompassed more than 43,000 castings.

All installation procedures were developed and tested at Welding Works before attempting installation on site. Walter Camp, Welding Works' Vice President, explains, "Generally, on a field installation, you would have the opportunity to problem-solve and perfect the procedure as you go along. With such a tight schedule, we had to perfect the installation methods beforehand."

Welding Works' President, Price van der Swaagh, refers to the Central Park Reservoir Fence as "one of the most dramatic projects we've ever done." He continues, "It was gratifying to be involved in such a public project."

The fence was completed and dedicated in December of 2003. It has been called "the single most dramatic change to the Park in 100 years." It provides an unobstructed view of the Reservoir, as well as of the Manhattan skyline. There have been virtually no negative comments about the project. The Central Park Conservancy's Christopher Nolan reports, "The fence has been very well-received. It restores the historic aesthetic of the Reservoir and changes people's entire perception of Central Park."

The American Fence Association evidently also appreciates Welding Works' efforts on this project. The organization just announced that we have received their Fence Project of the Year Award for the re-creation of the original Central Park Reservoir fence. As the American Fence Association states, "The Fence Project of the Year Award is bestowed upon the company that has demonstrated unique workmanship and exemplary knowledge of fence installation."

Click here to view more photos of the Central Park Fence project.

 
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Welding Works fabricated sixteen of these 14-ton carbon steel modules to fit the customer's existing air heater shells.
Welding Works Uses Both Design and Fabrication Expertise in Air Heater
Module Project

The production of new air heater modules for a power plant in eastern New York State is a good illustration of how Welding Works combines design and fabrication skills. Sixteen all carbon steel modules needed to be fabricated to fit into an old asbestos-insulated heater shell.

To prepare the shell, the customer cut out the bottom of the old heater and the nonoperational mechanisms were removed. The only materials provided to Welding Works for the project were the dimensions of the air-heater modules and the metal tubes that were to be installed in the modules. Welding Works was responsible for designing the support structure for the tubes, as well as the shipping skids for the modules.

The sixteen 4-foot x 7-foot x 19-foot modules, each weighing over 14 tons, were fully fabricated at Welding Works. Each module was transported on its own flatbed truck, ready to install upon arrival. (It should be noted that all of the asbestos in the shell was properly sealed and contained.)

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Welding Works Adds New Equipment to Serve You Better

Recent additions to our facilities include a new 6,000 pound lift truck and a 220 ton, 4 meter hydraulic press brake. Our 300 ton press brake has also been rebuilt to improve accuracy.

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