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Our Approach

Zuber Singh 1092

Design: Prototype: Build

We Put the 'Fab' in Fabrication

Design: Prototype: Build. This triple fold axiom is the pedestal upon which we place our product and process. In fact, it is upon this pedestal that we craft as well, so perhaps a workbench might be a better metaphor? Our operations are as boutique as our product. Contained within this artisanal process is our uniquely bespoke and client centered communication style. Our team thrives in ‘special’ and we understand, beyond any home retailer corporation could, that the more custom the specifications are, the more special the final commission will be.

If there’s anything we love more than making hardware as beautiful as it is durable, it’s seeing the love our client has for our handiwork in every stage. This, above all else, remains our eternal and highest objective. It’s what makes our hardware bespoke, tailored, custom, and unique. It’s what makes a simple transaction transform into a genuine collaboration. With an accessible and non-taxing communication stream like ours, we are confident we can deliver the manifestation of your vision, perfectly replicated from your inner eye into hard reality, no matter the complexity. The best part: we only need to get the big spiel once.

The Beautiful thing about Metal:

The one realm this axiom sets us apart the most is in our metalworking, wherein our hands actively participate every step of the way, placing the client’s most precise and custom preferences in the center of every minute design choice. Our team has years of experience and training at hand to appropriately handle all possible metal-related projects. We are well versed in advanced fabrication techniques such as welding, soldering, beading, brazing, polishing and torch cuts. We have perfected one-off products and production runs in projects such as adjustable table legs, complex sliding doors, metal fences, guard rails, jigs, custom tools, dowels, and plugs, all in various metals including steel, stainless steel, aluminium and our favorite, brass.

The specialty of metal is that it is uniquely suited to make dreams into a reality. Our knowledge of the schools of fabrication allows for us to extend, shrink, or outfit our materials in anyway necessary. This malleability in our process allows for use to easily complete any drafted project. As well, we have the designing, engineering, and electrical expertise to transform these hardware pieces into moving and living machinery. We’ve had particularly good experiences working with gyroscopic technology and motor engines to mechanically outfit our hardware, bringing much-needed innovations from the mind’s eye and into our workshop.

When it comes to how we can help with your dream, your imagination is the limit! Our triple-fold axiom of Design: Prototype: Build offers so much more than a store brought product could ever fulfill. We are confident that with your vision and our hands, we can not only make your project manifest into solid reality but can craft it to be as durable and beautiful as human hands can allow. If our experiences can speak for themselves, they would share that our hands work with love, allowing fine art unmatched by all the machines of a factory. When it comes to metal in particular, we put the ‘fab’ in fabrication.

Table legs

Table legs remain one of our favorite items to manufacture. Given that we’ve been making live-edge furniture for years now, it makes perfect sense that with the development of our metal booth we become sufficient in making all the hardware ourselves. Previous to housing these capabilities, we had to rely on outsourcing our legs from elsewhere. In fact, many customers approached us with legs already bought online which they hoped to pair with one of our slabs.

However, given our penchant for all things artisan, we could not allow ourselves to keep using store bought metal legs. The difference between factory made and custom made is like the difference between gourmet and microwaved! In both cases, the difference is obvious through sight, touch and feel. For our team, the distinction between handicrafts and hardware is blurred. Though our custom exterior hardware is outfitted from top to bottom to last a thousand lifetimes, it's crafted with a sleek aesthetic which is timeless, as simple as it is perfectly presented.

Store bought products are designed to be out of view, they have minimal interaction with the local community, and often times are not meant to last a lifetime. From acquisition to modification, finish to sale, our process is local to the core. Our handiwork oversees every inch of our metalwork. Our pride and thought process considers carefully shaping our products to the unique specifications required by the client. Our fingers nimbly fashion every inch of our product, from start to finish.

Guard Rails

For these guard rails we directly and actively participated every step of the way, from measuring the property, digitally designing the rails as needed, sourcing the aluminium locally, cleaning the metal, and cutting, drilling, and welding the posts till every bead was as beautiful as the last. In this manner, we unite our practice and process through fine art, informed technique, and precise design.

Like our legs, our guard rails offer significant advantages over their store-bought counterparts. As the old saying goes, cheaper is more expensive, and our guard rails, a higher upfront cost though they may carry, only need to be paid for once.

Whereas store bought guard rails need to be installed by a hired professional, we install our own creation itself. Whereas a third-party installer may up charge due to the complexity of a deck, we’ve designed our guard rails for a seamless install due to our professionally drafted CADs. Whereas a guard rail could be installed in an unsafe manner by an installer not familiar with either the product or the location, we can ensure that we would design, construct and install up to code. Whereas a store-bought fence may be damaged and needing repairs, ours are built to last lifetimes.

Firstly, we source our material from Vancouver Island itself, choosing material walls that are 1/8”   thick. The same materials may be used for a store guard rail, but the wall is vastly inferior and hence prone to bending, breaking, or scratching. Our guard rails, on the other hand, are professionally powder coated and set to retain that look for lifetimes. Furthermore, as general contractors we can source, modify and install glass or wood within the guard rail system, as required by the client, with much more relative ease than an installer or the client themselves.

Our guard rails can be custom fitted to each property, though we prefer to construct and install them in a uniquely durable fashion. The entire rail would be sectional, with alphabetically labelled sides. Sections would be joined together with a reinforced double-post system and are side mounted to prevent water damage. Though we are confident of their durability, any damage to the railings would be isolated to one section only, and they could be repaired without issue. The sectional nature of this design also means that the railings can be transported, for whatever reason, far easier than store-bought railings.`

Jigs and Gadgets

Our existing welding, fabricating, and carpentry skills allow for us to create gadgets, jigs or general machine pieces with ease. These are especially effective given our love and experience working with gyroscopes, motors and bearing balls. For example, we were able to replicate a mounting track assembly on a second-hand Alaskan Mill, by sketching out a CAD of the same broken piece and duplicating it perfectly in our weld booth.

The Alaskan Mill, which had previously been junked entirely due to this one broken piece, was made perfectly operational in the period of an hour, at barely any cost to us. We took it back to the weld booth and modified it even further, by shortening the tabs on the bar clamp to make it easier for us to mill up rounds of wood. Thus, we were able to add smaller scale milling to our increasingly self-sustainable one-stop shop.

Another example of our machine expertise is our wood planing machine, dubbed the ‘Lignum Planus Machina’, which was designed and constructed in-house. The process included welding the frame out of piping and outfitting it with mounting hardware, flattening rigs and roller bearings. This invention has proven an excellent investment. It allows us to treat our own wood within the shop itself, thus saving us valuable time and operation costs. It’s custom size allows us to plane wood in any dimension. Previous to this, outsourcing our uniquely shaped table wood slabs was an extremely frustrating process.

Adjustables

Our prior experience in making adjustable legs also allows us to make adjustable jigs, such as jacks for platforms. These adjustables can be tightened or loosened with drills, raising or lower gargantuan units with the click of a button.

Take for example our spiral staircase, which would otherwise take a crane truck to raise. We were able to outfit the stand for this with eight our own store made jacks, installed on the outer frame of the cross stand. These jacks are capped by a half inch shank hex head, which is welded onto an inch and quarter thread rod running through a coupling nut. Additionally, with aid of a half inch impact driver and an extension bit, we were able to raise or lower 4,000 pounds in a matter of moments. These jacks are so precise, we were able to perfectly level out this massive structure on uneven ground.

Door Sliding Mechanisms

Some people like metal doors, but even if yours are made of wood, they will need metal hardware. Hinges and knobs are one thing, but there’s nothing we love designing more than complex door mechanisms. We’ve outfitted all our shed structures with a range of door systems, including; sliding, gliding, rolling, hinged, telescoping, tracking, self-pocketing, and paneling doors. Our doors provide ample security and, given their ability to withdraw into the structure itself, do not impede on any space. Moreover, despite their size, a flick of the wrist could open or close them!

Our Production Process

It’s no secret, Design: Prototype: Build is not for everybody. It is specifically for the artist, inventor, or dreamer, both in the form of an individual or an organization. True to our vision for being a one-stop shop, it has always been our commitment or passion to encourage clients with the most unique and challenging vision to come to us. If the client can provide the vision and the budget, we are equipped to be their arms, agency and facility. In this regard, we wish to essentially make dreams come true in a grounded way. This we believe is possible due to our own expertise as well as our network of certified professionals. 

This brings in the first phase of our production model, namely, design. We offer professional design services in-house, vis-à-vis CADs, or computer-aided designs. CADs are the ideal and optimal representation of a construction idea, and our designer and general contractor are as proficient in its drafting as they are with communicating with the client. CADs are crucial to this process as not only are they the most detailed and accurate representation of the client’s vision, but they also allow the diverse and complex network of all involved parties to be on the same page throughout the course of construction, thus minimizing the chance of an error, mishap, delay or bylaw issue. These CADs can be universally read and executed by any contractor, carpenter, glass supplier, metal fabricator, or bylaw officer, or the like.

The first step in the design phase is the preliminary consultation. Consultations are usually done with the client, designer, and contractor in-person, and includes deliberations regarding structure, aesthetic quality, and budget. Through the course of the meeting, a hand-drawn sketch of the approximate specifications is drawn and approved by all three parties. Once this sketch is complete, the designer and contractor work in tandem to draft it into a defined CAD. CADs can be provided as a standalone service, however, given our familiarity with the design, it is preferable to the client to keep the momentum going with LCL for the next phase of production: the prototype.

The prototype phase of the production run is perhaps the most important part of the whole procedure. The prototype fulfils any possible demand a client may have about their previously potential idea. For one, it can be useful as a standalone service for the client who is looking for investors. As well, for a client who already has the funds needed, they can use the prototype for an important first visualization of their design. Whilst we ourselves are confident that we can execute the CADs with pin-drop accuracy, it can placate any doubts that the client may have or help them better conceive of any improvements to their design. A prototype can also allow for a client to conceive of a production run and plan for the same.

This brings us to the final phase of production, namely, ‘Build’. Our workshop is outfitted with a diverse range of facilities, which, in conjunction with our extensive network of partnered businesses, allow us to work with any conceivable material. This, along with our collective decades of experience, means we are confident, eager and versed to execute any proposed project within the realm of reason.

For us, learning curves are bell shaped, an investment of time in the first few runs of production allows us to drastically increase our efficiencies down the road. Production runs are our favorite way of creating—each iteration is made with increasing efficiency, less time, and continually bettering technique. Not only is this the easiest way for us to get the ball rolling, but the larger a required production run, the more time and money is saved by our client in the long run, which allows us to offer increasing discounts on larger orders.

Getting started:

At Lopez Contracting Ltd, metal is more than just hardware, it's heart-ware, with attentive care infused into every cut, braze, bead or weld. We offer what any home retailer could never- your heart's exact desire, brought beautifully to life in solid metal. Our hardware pieces, of steel, aluminium or brass, are 'bespoken' into reality by your imagination and our hands.

Be it guard rails, brass marquetry, table legs, metal fences, jigs, complex door-slide mechanisms or an all-metal spiral staircase, our production philosophy of design:prototype:build will ensure we remain perfect manufacturing partners, from designing your product with you, to delivering this manifested imagination to your doorstep.

Your days of dreaming in-wait could end with a call! We'd be glad to plan your project with you in earnest. Give us a ring at +1 (250) 885-2902 or email us at info@lopezcontracting.com today.

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Our Triple Crown Philosophy


Some years ago, I innately understood that a building structure should have three important attributes. First, it should be structurally sound. Second, it should be aesthetically pleasing. Third, it should be attainable or affordable. Ever since, I have strived to make everything I do worthy of this triple crown of excellence.

During a ferry ride to Vancouver, I saw my young son had drawn Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man in my notebook. To my surprise, my son’s sketch led me to discover the historic importance of this idea. This world-famous sketch of a man in a circle, his arms outstretched in two different overlapping poses, has become iconic. A Wikipedia search showed me how Da Vinci was inspired by proportions described by Vitruvius in his ancient treatise of De Architectura.

Vitruvius was arguably the greatest architect in history. His work is the only major surviving publication on architecture from classical antiquity. It was written for Emperor Augustus, made famous in the Bible for his census which brought Jesus’ parents to Bethlehem. Eminent Roman architects such as Vitruvius were skilled in engineering, art, and craftsmanship. As an army engineer himself, Vitruvius had overseen all manner of building and construction for wars and settlements across Europe and North Africa.

The most famous maxim of Vitruvius was that architecture should embody three qualities: utilitias, firmitas, and venustas. In English, this means that great handiwork should be useful, sturdy, and with beautiful proportions. (Just imagine what Venus, the goddess of love, might look like.)

I was delighted and not disappointed to find out that my idea was old and not new. It gives me more motivation than ever to offer you the product of a triple crown craftsman: sturdy, useful, and beautiful work at a reasonable price.