I walked across the wide parking lot and into E.H. Schwab, a local metal spinning shop with the friendliest dog you’ll ever meet. It’s owned and operated by the Harrison family and, after a short wait, Neal Harrison met me in the company’s conference room – a modest space stacked high with examples of every possible round metal object you can imagine. I had come to get some help.
As he had said on the phone the day before, they didn’t get many amateur metal spinners stopping by, so I was a bit of a novelty. As such – while I was showing him the kettle, mandrels, and drawings – he called over his father (I presume), Dale. They were impressed with the widget and jokingly offered me a job. I laughed, but come on guys, you have to be careful joking about the “j” word to an impending grad in this economy. I might just show up tomorrow at 8:00.
After the meeting, Neal took me on a tour of the shop. As an admitted Picture Picture and How It’s Made geek, I was in heaven. Massive machinery, humming electric motors, everything splatter-painted with gray lubricant and tinseled with wiry metal shavings. As much as I love the woods, I also love industry. Thank God for Pittsburgh. I bet that’s not said too often… Incidentally, Picture Picture is also a product of Pittsburgh.
Neal and Dale were very knowledgable and very friendly. So was their crew (not that I’m just brown nosing incase I need to take them up on that offer or anything).
When we got down to specifics, there was no surprise: for them to produce kettles as light as I had made them myself, it would take more work and be more expensive than if they were to make them heavier. They said they could give me quotes based on both the thinner and thicker materials, and that I should have them early next week. I’m leaning towards keeping it light. Because it’s just more awesome.
I’ll update when I get the numbers.