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I Forge Iron

End of An Era--scrap metal yard closed ot the public

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Federal Metals--Calgary, Alberta--informed me today that after 65 years they can no longer sell scrap to the public. Liability (risk of injury to the public) is the issue. They were apologetic and sorry to make the change. I get it and was not really surprised. Federal Metals was the only scrap dealer in Calgary that retailed scrap to the public.  (They let me onto the yard one more time, after I promised not to get crushed by one of their loaders.)

Is this a reflection of what is happening elsewhere?

I suspect there may be scrap dealers in smaller centres in Southern Alberta that still retail scrap to the public and will look around. 



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When the yard in Anchorage started telling me no they said the same thing liability. Another visit dumping a load from the state's shop one of the guys I knew there told me the reason was single buyer contract and they'd be held in breach with a hefty penalty if they sold to anybody else. Scrap now gets loaded into gondola cars and loaded directly on ships for China.

I'm sure liability is a factor but seems someone else owns our scrap, Anchorage and as far as I know most everywhere else in Alaska that is. <sigh>

Frosty The Lucky.

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So why can they not bring a piece out and sell ouside of the yard?

If you ask for a busted truck axle they should be able to get it out to you.

Besides, A smith is not "The Public" a smith is an enterprise.

Bad news anyway



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It's been that way for awhile around here.  Single-buyer contracts are lucrative because they eliminate guesswork and trouble spots - you know you're getting paid for everything you can gather up, and you don't have to worry about dozens of people walking around your yard.

There was one large scrap yard I heard rumor of.  They turned their yard into a very nice, organized, sales floor with everything laid out by type, size, etc.  The customers could walk through the aisles just like they were at Lowe's or Walmart.  

The downside to an operation like that is that it requires a lot more labor than simply dumping stuff in piles, and it relies heavily on the craftsmen and artists of the region actually coming in to shop.  In my area, it would never work because there aren't enough small businesses that need a bit of this-or-that.

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Maine still allows free range scavenging. However, the yuppies and condo hipsters in Portland have succeeded in closing down one of the older yards in the city.  These guys only want condos and low income welfare housing, real businesses get forced out.

You need to develop a working relationship with the guys at your local dump or transfer station so you can pick the pile. Also a good source is truck and heavy equipment repair places. They have excellent scrap piles. Happy hunting. 


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I've decided to forgo the scrap yards entirely, and go to the source. Build a rapport with your local metal fab shop, and most times you'll score free stuff. Or perhaps if the scrappers are willing, trade scraps for scraps?

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Not enough profit margin to have an employee pull stuff and take it out for you to look at and decide if you want it.

I've worked at cultivating a relationship with my local scrapyard; well worth "overpaying" for certain items and I buy anything they have set aside for me even if I don't need it at the time just to keep them doing so---eg, I didn't need 6 100# cast iron balls; but I bought them (and turned them around to armour makers locally at my cost)

The first time steel spiked in price I know of a small rural scrapyard in AR that was bought out completely and scraped down to the mud, nary a spec of rust there now.  Probably much to the glee of it's neighbors and previous owner...

Edited by ThomasPowers
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There's two guys in charge of pricing things up when I go. The older chap is the owner and the younger I believe is his son. Well the owner almost always over charges for what I'm buying. Think NEW prices. 

The son on the other hand almost always undercharges, so it's just a lucky dip of who is there on the day. I guess it evens out in the end. 


Is it just me or does anyone else often wonder what they have at the bottom of the huge pile? 



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