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Thread: Sourcing steel?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    Default Sourcing steel?

    Well, I had an unpleasant experience yesterday at my local steel supplier here in the twin cities, Discount Steel. The history: I am making a lead smelting pot out of 14" pipe, 5/8" wall, about 10" high. I put on a 1" bottom plate on it. I purchased the parts for it from them about 3 weeks or so ago, and as money is of course an issue, and it isn't structural, I buy it from their drop area, where everything is 55 cents a lb.

    I was nearby yesterday, so I thought I would drop in again, as I was considering building a 2nd one with a little different design, this time 18" across, approx 3/8" wall, and 6 1/2" tall, with a 3/4" bottom this time. Both times I needed them to cut the my section off the pipe, which was currently about 2 1/2 - 3' long, and the stated charge for cutting is $10. I went out into the yard, and picked my pieces, made arrangements for them to cut it, but couldn't wait around for them to do it as they were a little backed up in the cutting shop, so I told them to call me and I'd pick it up the next day or 2. I had spoken to an inside salesperson, and she said that it showed on her computer that that pipe was more than the .55, but that I should go out into the yard to have them measure it and write it up based upon that measurement. When it was being rung up, they had a little difficulty determining the schedule of it, finally settled on sch 20. They had quoted me $5 for the cut, which I thought was nice of them, but I thought that maybe it was because I had recently set up a COD account in my co. name. I had a receipt printed for me, but didn't think to look at it at the time, because it was pretty simple, cut offs in the cut off/drop shed were .55 a lb.

    I got a call from them a couple hours later, I missed it but called them back, and was told it wasn't ready yet, they had called my by mistake. I had grabbed my receipt to get the number to call them back, that's when I noticed the pricing for the tube. I was charged .90 a lb, so while I was on the phone, I mentioned to them that I think there was a mistake, it was a drop and should be priced accordingly, but we could fix it when I come to pick it up. I was told that the larger diameter steel tubing shouldn't have been in the drop area, that it is next to it(?), and after some back and forth discussion, basically was told that I got a good deal by I believe the owner. I disagreed, and explained that I had just purchased the same thing a few weeks earlier for the stated price (.55 lb) and after being put on hold, a mgr came back on the line, and said that with the cut, the pipe was now priced at $70! Hmm.. needless to say, I accepted their offer to just refund the money, and mentioned I'd like to talk to the owner again. Of course, couldn't get thru to him, so left him a VM explaining my thoughts on the situation asking him for a return call so we could discuss this a little more, as they are one of the larger suppliers around here that sells to the public, and I have been buying from them for a number of years. Admittedly not huge quantities, but still, they were my place to go when I needed steel.

    I don't want to burn any bridges of course, but I don't feel we are going to have a positive outcome with this one. Which gets to the reason for this post. Unfortunately, steel is heavy, and shipping is expensive. I did a little looking a year or 2 ago for another local supplier who sells to the public in small quantities, and didn't come up with any good options at the time. I buy almost anything on the net, but I can't imagine that steel would be a decent value, especially as I usually buy drops at a discount. I have tried recently talking to local scrap yards, but most won't sell used steel due to liability concerns... D*mn lawyers...

    So, I was wondering what other people have done, if they have had a single main supplier in the area whose relationship has soured? I may be unusual as I am not a large volume purchaser, nor do I often need anything better than drops, but I have to think that I am not alone in this situation. Anyone have any suggestions for locating another source? I am still hoping to talk with them today, and working it out, but it has left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth being treated like that. Sorry for the long post...
    Last edited by alha; 02-28-2013 at 04:17 AM.

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