Optometrist Saves $29,000 by Doing it Himself
Columbus, Ohio -- When Dr. Matt Jones saw how much it would potentially cost to build the wrought iron hand rails he wanted in his new home, he thought there might be a better way.
Jones and his wife, Cindy, are acting as the general contractors on the construction of their 5,500-square-foot home just outside of Columbus. To complement the numerous French doors inside their three-story home, they wanted wrought iron railings on their two staircases. Cindy found some pictures of old staircases of the style they liked and they presented them to a contractor to place a bid. When the bid came back at $33,000, Matt Jones decided it was time to do some Internet research.
He first found the Decorative Iron Web site and located the decorative scrollwork he and Cindy wanted. After checking with suppliers in his area, he concluded it would be cheaper to order the scrollwork and have it shipped from Houston, Texas where Decorative Iron is headquartered.
While researching "spot welding," Jones found the Lincoln Electric web site and became interested in completing the project himself. Soon thereafter, he was nosing around his local hardware retailer store when a salesperson showed him a Lincoln Electric Combination Wire-Feeder/Welder and Accessories which comes complete with a detailed instruction book and video.
"I was a little hesitant to buy it at first, but the salesperson was great," Jones says. "She said, 'Go ahead and buy it. Read the book and watch the video.' So I bought it."
After reading the manual and watching the video numerous times, Jones felt he was ready to attempt some test welds. Jones said it only took him about a half hour before he could weld two pieces together that passed his hammer stress test. "The hardest part was learning to control the heat so I wouldn't burn through the tubing," he said.
Over the next 10 weekends, Jones spent his time welding his own railings. The scrollwork is 1/4-inch by 3/4-inch wrought iron; 14-gauge 1-inch tubing was used for the vertical supports; and the top rail is 1-inch channel iron.
Keeping in mind that the railing could have no gaps that a four-inch sphere can pass through (a housing inspection test), Jones had to cut much of the scrollwork to fit in place. The completed railing passed all the tests of the housing inspector.
"I'm really glad that Lincoln is making this equipment. It's well engineered and reliable. The well-done book and video is a huge advantage. I don't think I could have done it without them," Jones said. "And the fact that the unit is 115-volt is a nice feature. If it had been 230-volt, I probably would have been scared of it and not done the project."
After the project was complete, Jones said he spent just $4,000 building the railings, a $29,000 savings. His costs included all the railing materials, the Lincoln welder, gloves, two auto-darkening helmets (one for his son to watch the work), and a 14-inch metal cut off machine.
His only regret?
"After I learned about Lincoln's plasma cutters, I realized it would have been worth it to spend the money on one for the amount of work I was doing," he said.