Local steel processor cuts rolled steel for use in automotive parts

Chesterfield Steel rolls

(courtesy of Allan Maggied, plant manager, Chesterfield Steel)

It all started in the early 1940s in an office on Dille Road when Baird Tewksbury opened Chesterfield Steel.  The original part of today’s building was an ALCOA storage shed located on Harvard Avenue.  Mr. Tewksbury had the building disassembled and reassembled, with additions, at the current 222nd and Tungsten location in Euclid, Ohio.  The facility now is 117,000 square feet.  Ed Weiner became Mr. Tewksbury’s partner in 1945.  Somewhere in the late 1950s to early 1960s Mr. Tewksbury sold his half of the business to Ernie Tallisman.  For a short time, the business was called Weiner-Tallisman.  After Mr. Weiner’s passing in 1967, the Weiner family sold their portion of the business to Mr. Tallisman, and the Tallisman family owned the business until 2008 when it was purchased by Lerman Enterprises and became Steel Warehouse Cleveland, LLC, dba Chesterfield Steel.

The business purchases .012 – .410-inch-thick flat-rolled sheet steel coils from various mills, and some from Holland.  Coils are shipped into the Port of Cleveland and trucked to Euclid where they are processed to customer specs by slitting, blanking, or sheeting.  Historically, Chesterfield has found a niche in the hot-roll pickle product.

When carbon steel coils are produced, they first come off the production line as a “black coil” due to the carbon left on the surface from rolling.  To remove the carbon, these coils are run through an acid bath called “pickling,” and then oiled.  Additional rolling and/or coating may be done to the coil depending on the end use of the customer’s part.

At Chesterfield, the end use of the customer’s part is the driver of our process.  To ensure our customers get the “right steel” to make the part, we start with the part we obtain from the customer.  The part goes through an intense and thorough examination and assessment in order to spec out the chemical, physical, and surface properties needed.  This entire process is handled by our quality department, as well as considerable collaboration with the producing mill.  Once the specs are determined, the purchasing department orders the steel.

Incoming coils typically weigh 10,000 – 50,000 pounds each.  Once in the Euclid facility, a coil to be processed will be unloaded from the truck and moved with an overhead crane to the respective bay where it will be processed.  A coil to be slit will be loaded onto a mandrel, opened, and threaded through a series of rotating knives.  Prior to running, the knives are set up to slit the coil into strips with tolerances typically holding +/-.005 inches in width.  These same strips are separated and rewound onto an exit mandrel to complete the slitting process.  Once wound, each strip, now a smaller-width coil, is secured with a steel strap around its circumference.  The smaller-width coils are pushed off the mandrel onto a packaging machine where lateral straps are fitted through the inside and outside diameters, sealed, mechanically placed on a skid, weighed and stored as finished goods until they are trucked to the customer.

The other process that takes place at Chesterfield involves taking a wide coil, loading it onto the mandrel of a different type machine.  The original coil width is threaded through a corrective leveler to shape-correct the wide strip and then progresses to a shear that cuts the strip to produce sheets to a predesignated size per the customer’s specification.  These sheets are checked for flatness and digitally checked for length, width, and squareness required by the customer.  The sheets automatically are stacked on a skid so that they end up looking like a big deck of cards.  Once completed, they also are packaged with steel strapping and stored as finished goods until they are trucked to the customer.

Customers have primarily been in the automotive sector.  As a second-tier supplier, Chesterfield sends these coils and sheets to the stampers and roll formers to make the parts that up in domestic and foreign cars and trucks.  The end-use parts may be bearings, air conditioning compressors, bumpers, engine pulleys, impellers, airbags, and transmission parts.  Some non-transportation parts include CO2 cartridges for air guns, cooking range burner bowls, casket parts, etc.

A team of 49 associates produces these thousands of tons of steel each month.  The company has very low turnover, as many of Chesterfield employees have been there for years.  “We may not be perfect, but it is a great place to work,” says Allan Maggied, plant manager.  Tried and true processes that are continuously improved by team members’ participation have sustained the company.  Things change. As we look down 222nd Street, although still the business corridor of Euclid, it isn’t the bustling manufacturing area it used to be.  In the past, Chesterfield had deliveries within a stone’s throw away.  Now, the largest shares are out of town, and even out of state.

Since most employees have been here as long as they have, there is the Chesterfield culture that has evolved throughout the years.  With 70-plus years in the business, we have much to be proud of.  As the Chesterfield family, we certainly have been through thick and thin, and will continue to do so.  Currently, we are facing the challenges of the 232 Steel Tariffs, trucking shortages, finding a maintenance tech, etc.  If there is one thing that we’ve learned, we know only by listening and working with each other will we be able to continuously improve and make our family the desired place to be.  We are proud to say we work at Chesterfield Steel in Euclid, Ohio!

Chesterfield Steel slitters

Get to know a zoo vet tech turned fabricator: A Q&A with David D’Souza

David D'Souza with gorilla at the Los Angeles Zoo

   What do you do for a living?

I’m actually a veterinary technician at the zoo in Los Angeles. I’ve always been an animal lover, and I’ve worked with animals since I was 16. It’s such an exciting and often dangerous job that it keeps me sharp and motivated. Every day is an adventure. I would honestly do it for free, but luckily it pays enough for me to enjoy my other hobbies.

How and why did you get into welding, art and making?David D'Souza welding

Speaking of my other hobbies, many of them center around motorsports. I’ve always enjoyed building fast cars, trucks and bikes. Welding is a necessary skill in fabricating many high-performance parts and “one of” custom setups; so, I had to pick up welding both MIG and TIG along the way. Once I immersed myself in the metal fabrication hobby It quickly developed into a real passion and from it my creative side started to blossom.

What types of items do you design and make?

I typically design and create industrial-style items, as well as a few more delicate things. Custom tables are my favorite along with mobile carts and other heavy items. Almost everything I design incorporates a blend of heavy steel and wood. I particularly like building butcher block or farmhouse-style slabs and mounting them on industrial steel frames. I like playing with different wood finishes such as epoxy resins. I feel that wood has a warm, deep beauty that is brought to light if the correct finishing technique is used.

David D'Souza cartDavid D'Souza TableDavid D'Souza chicken feet potsDavid D'Souza book endsDavid D'Souza industrail coffee table

How do you market or sell your creations? Do you attend shows?

I haven’t focused on the marketing or selling aspect too much until recently. This is still mainly a hobby, and I’m constantly learning and improving. I recently started Red Dogs Crafts, and I currently only have an Etsy website as a marketing tool. I do plan on becoming a vendor at a few local flea markets here in Los Angeles to see if I can find a target audience for my style of fabrication. I plan on attending a few shows to get some ideas of what other fabricators are doing out there. I love seeing new ideas and techniques because it motivates me to learn more.

How did you learn to do this?

I’m 100-percent self-taught in everything that I do. I’ve never taken classes, had a mentor or worked in the industry to have someone show me the ropes. I believe I’m a fast learner in anything that I do, and I also know that I learn best when I do things on my own by making mistakes and doing my own research on different techniques. Nowadays, with the Internet and YouTube there isn’t anything that you cannot learn online. Heck, there’s even YouTube videos on how to do cardiac surgery for that first timer doing a valve replacement. LOL. My usual mode of action is to buy the tool first then figure out how it works and then practice until I’m proficient at it or at least achieve the end results that I can be proud of.

What artists, designers or makers do you most admire?

I like Kevin Caron’s work. I think he’s very practical and down to earth with his techniques. He’s also a wealth of knowledge and experience; so, I respect his abilities and his work because he’s constantly learning like the rest of us. He’s also on the WeldingWeb forum where I met HGR for the first time; so, he adds to the knowledge base, as do many other experienced guys.

What inspires you?

I think I’m inspired by the challenge of creating something that I visualize in my mind and having to physically take the steps to make it materialize to as close a rendition of what I see in my mind’s eye. I feel that many people love certain things but always feel that they’re unattainable either because it’s too difficult, it’s too much work or they just can’t figure out how to do it. I love figuring out how to do new stuff. That is what inspires and motivates me.

What do you do when you aren’t working or making art?

Whenever I have free time I spend my time pursuing my other hobbies. Typically, I’m out in the deserts of Southern California riding my dirt bikes or drag racing my cars. I think the feeling of being on two wheels ripping through our beautiful landscape gives me the exhilaration that I’m constantly chasing. I also enjoy spending time outdoors at the beach with my two dogs and my girlfriend. Sometimes, I just love my family time staying home with my girlfriend and the dogs just relaxing.

What advice do you have for makers?

My advice is that you can go as far in this hobby/profession as you choose. It’s all dependent on the effort that you put into it. I would advise anyone starting in the hobby to take classes first. I think this would set you up with a good fundamental foundation which would expose you to the different techniques, tools and options out there which would then allow you to make intelligent choices going forward with the hobby. Being that I’m self-taught, I feel that I’ve gone around in circles a few times and would have wasted less time had I gained the experience a class provides. Also, if you can work in the industry do so, even as a volunteer. It’s invaluable the skill you develop by immersing yourself into the industry.

What is your personal philosophy?

I’ve never been asked this question before so I’ll have to think of one now. I think of life as a journey that is based on choices or decisions. Every decision we make has an effect on the direction that our life takes. If we make good decisions early in life, we are started on a path to success or happiness. I realized the consequences of my decisions in my late 20s and it was at that point that I started in the direction that I’m headed now. My philosophy would probably be something along the lines that life is a constant test of your character. If you make good choices based on good character you’ll be on the path to success and happiness in whatever you pursue.

Anything that I missed? The two red dogs?

Ah, my babies. “ShyAnne” and her daughter “Lil Cheese.” These are my two red dogs. A mom and daughter pair that have been part of my life for the last 15 years. ShyAnne has been by my side through thick and thin and good and bad. It’s amazing how having a strong bond with your dogs can keep you positive through so many difficult times in life. These two are a part of everything I do. Hence, I decided to name the fabrication shop after them as they are a part of everything I build. I’m glad to have my workshop at home because it allows me to spend time with my two dogs while I’m building stuff. I take lots of breaks to play ball with them and build cool dog toys to keep them occupied. In return, they only ask for more of my attention, and treats, which I am always glad to give.

David D'Souza's two Red Dogs after which Red Dog Crafts is named

F*SHO comes to HGR Industrial Surplus; win a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture by a famous designer

F*SHO ad

In two weeks, the F*SHO, a contemporary furniture show and brain child of Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel, will be coming to HGR Industrial Surplus. Join us Sept. 15 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 20001 Euclid Avenue, Euclid, Ohio. Entry is through the back of HGR’s building.

There will be approximately 30 furniture designers showcasing their work while a DJ spins tunes, and food, courtesy of SoHo Chicken + Whiskey, and beer flow freely. Everything’s free, except the furniture!

In 2015, Jason competed in FRAMEWORK, a furniture and design reality-TV show, hosted by hip-hop superstar Common on SPIKE TV. The winner of that show, Jory Brigham, who also teaches furniture building, will be coming from California to premier a new piece at the F*SHO, and Jason will be heading to California to teach a class at Jory’s studio.

In addition, you will have a chance to win a piece of furniture designed by either Jason Radcliffe, 44 Steel, who works with steel, or Aaron Cunningham, 3 Barn Doors, who works with wood. They will select items from HGR’s showroom to use in the furniture design then will be building the two pieces live at Ingenuity Festival on Sept. 22-24. Contest details to be announced shortly. Stay tuned!

Blacksmith puts a little bit of his soul in every piece he makes

Three Rivers Forge hammer Kipling quote

Vaugh Terpack Three Rivers Forge(Courtesy of Guest Blogger Vaughn Terpack, Three Rivers Forge)

Blacksmithing is my sole source of income at the moment. I got tired of working for someone else and having to deal with all the soap opera drama; so, I decided to take a gamble and start smithing full time.

Financially, quitting a “real” job to try my hand at being an artist probably wasn’t the best of ideas. It’s been a thorough bear of a struggle, but then I look at all my customers around the world and marvel at how these people have chosen my work over that of every blacksmith on the Internet. From Singapore to Switzerland, Australia to Israel, there’s a little bit of my soul in every corner of the world.

I honestly don’t know how you put a dollar figure on that, or how you can even quantify what that means. In a hundred years, I’ll be dead and buried, but my legacy will live on in iron.

When I first started, my goal was simply to help bring the blacksmith’s craft back to the forefront of peoples’ minds. I wanted to help get people thinking about quality over quantity. I wanted folks to see what I call the “Art in the Everyday” — opting for beautiful handmade goods in lieu of cheap mass-produced products, even if that means having less “stuff” overall.

It’s hard to convince people to spend $40 on a hand-forged bottle opener when most bottles have twist-off tops and the opener they bought for a dollar at the corner store works just as well as anything I can make. But, I honestly believe that by sacrificing on the quality, surrounding ourselves with chintzy, we impact our psyches in a negative way.

My hope is to make products that the average person can own and look at every single day. When you hang your coat on a hand-forged wall hook or pop the top on a cold one with a hand-forged bottle opener, you’re in touch with something that’s rare these days. You get to experience that “art in the everyday.”

(Vaughn’s work can be found in his store, Three Rivers Forge on etsy.com.)

Vaugh Terpack Three Rivers Forge dragon toothVaugh Terpack Three Rivers Forge forged itemsVaugh Terpack Three Rivers Forge candlestick