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Automation Takes Metal Fabrication Job Shop to the Next Level

Matthew Harris started his career by serving as a traditional blacksmith apprentice to a Master Blacksmith from the Netherlands, Alphonsus Moolenschot. Today, he’s earned the rank of Master Blacksmith himself. He is also the owner of Matthew Harris Studio, formerly Harris Metalsmith Studio, which was founded in 2005. The company “specializes in a focus on hand-forged architectural metalwork.”

Exterior of metal fabrication job shop with sunset in back.

Matthew began the metal fabrication job shop right in his parent’s backyard, using a shed as a studio. With success came the need for a bigger space. It just so happened the perfect spot was a shop built in the 1850s, located in the historic Principio Furnace. As great as the historic spot was, it also needed to be brought into the here and now. So Matthew and his family spent more than a year doing extensive renovations.

This building renovation was, in many ways, representative of the goals for this family operation. As Matthew puts it, “We often combine traditional blacksmithing with modern fabrication techniques.”

And the automated products from TigerStop help make that marriage of traditional and modern happen. Read on below to find out more about automation in the metal fabrication job shop.

What Brought This Metal Fabrication Job Shop to TigerStop and Our Products

Sculpted metal fence piece.

After adding a new band saw and cold saw, Matthew says, “Immediately, I began searching for a better way to measure our cuts. Through some online searching, I found TigerStop and was immediately impressed by what I saw.” The automated nature of TigerStop products was especially intriguing to Matthew. As he expressed, “Not having to measure and mark manually was very appealing.”

Matthew specifically mentioned TigerStop’s SawGear. This automated stop is easy to use. Even the least experienced individual could manage to learn how to use it in no time. The SawGear can be attached to existing saws. It’s very adaptable to many different types of saws, as well as ironworkers and drills.

Metal coffee table.

The SawGear works by ensuring the most accurate cuts—100 percent accurate, as a matter of fact. Specifically, the accuracy will be within 0.008 inches. The SawGear will also maintain its accuracy for as long as you use it.

He also had high praise for TigerStop’s customer service. “The sales team was able to make great recommendations based upon our production needs.”

Matthew and the metal fabrication job shop were so impressed by these products, he added, “We look forward to upgrading and adding to our TigerStop equipment in the near future!”

SawGear at metal fabrication job shop.

How the TigerStop SawGear Brought the Metal Fabrication Shop to a New Level

Because of unavoidable human error, manual cutting could be inaccurate. And that led to extra waste. Thanks to SawGear and the product’s incredible accuracy, that waste has been reduced. And that’s led to even more benefits for Matthew Harris’s metal fabrication shop.

Sculpted metal gate and fence.

As Matthew puts it, because of the waste problem pre-SawGear, “This would also slow down assembly due to more fitting time needed, thus increasing labor costs as well.” The price of raw materials is rising already, so many companies are looking into ways to decrease their other charges. The benefits of SawGear will do that and increase profits overall.Legs of metal coffee table.

Matthew continued, “Given the fact that material has recently doubled, we couldn’t have upgraded to the SawGear at a better time.”

There’s also been a notable difference in the overall production flow. “Production definitely has increased since using the SawGear, as the exactness of our cut parts has significantly sped up assembly time,” Matthew says.

With the SawGear, reworking is a thing of the past. Knowing the cuts will be accurate means no one has to measure multiple times before even starting to cut. The SawGear helps push saws into the future because there’s no more need for tape measures, stop blocks, clamps, manual fences, or other manual, outdated parts.

The metal fabrication job shop has the numbers to back up how much of a difference their TigerStop makes. As Matthew tells us, “Our cutting time has decreased by well over 30 percent due to the absolute ease and accuracy of SawGear!”

How Matthew Harris Studio Is a Cut Above the Rest

In addition to the metal fabrication job shop, Matthew also spends his time creating a lot of incredible sculptural work. When asked about his favorite project, he told us about one particular very impressive undertaking. “I created a monumental sculpture for the Dansko Company that dealt with many hot forged organic forms.” He continued, “The piece was inspired by movements and forms from the natural world and was 24’ tall and weighed over 7,000 lbs.”

Reflecting on the metal fabrication job shop’s great success, Matthew told us, “I am proud that over the last 16 years we have maintained a very high level of craftsmanship and artistry in our work. Working as an artist blacksmith has many challenges including staying financially sound while keeping true to our artistic base. Many companies in our industry compromise and lose any resemblance of the hand-crafted details that they once had.” Thankfully, his studio has managed to avoid that. Matthew continued, “I am very proud that we have stayed true to our roots.”

Sculpted metal gate and fence.

By adding products like the SawGear, the whole team at Matthew Harris Studio is continuing to prove they won’t be compromising or cutting corners. Instead, they’re always trying to make the work better.

Thanks in part to the innovative and automated products from TigerStop, Matthew and the family-operated metal fabrication job shop can stay profitable and move forward to achieve changing demands. And perhaps most important of all, stay true to its high quality of work standards as well as the artistic foundation.
Want to learn more about Matthew and the Matthew Harris Studio? You can take a look at their Facebook page and/or Instagram.

You can find more information on SawGear and all of TigerStop’s incredible automated tools on our website. We also have numerous testimonials from satisfied TigerStop collaborators like Matthew and his metal fabrication job shop.

Team from Matthew Harris Studio, metal fabrication job shop.