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March 18, 2010

Forge resumes production at ex-Bessemer

Only one die lost in March 6 fire

(Continued)



“The insurance people say that after a week, the dies will begin to get pitted and oxidate,” Knecht said. “Our goal is to have all of the dies restored by the end of the week. I am so glad that my father had the foresight to have the dies stored in a fire proof area.”

The restoration is a three-step process. First the surface craftman sands the die with a very fine sandpaper. Then, the surface of the die is rubbed with an oil-water mixture. Finally, the surface of the die is rubbed with a very fine stone.

“It takes about 15 minutes to restore each die,” said Joseph Campbell, who was rubbing the surface of a die with the oil solution. The restored dies were lined up on metal shelves and it was estimated that about 500 were completed. Some were damaged more than others. Campbell said that those that were not too badly impacted by the fire only took about 5 minutes to restore.

“We only lost one die,” Knecht said. “It was split in half.”

The temporary quarters for the production line is located in an area that the company had vacated in April 2009. The owner of the property had not been able to find another tenant, so the space was still laid out and wired the same as when Wendell August had left it.

The executive offices will be located in space on the second level. People were in the process of painting the offices in bright colors. Office furniture will be delivered the first of the week.

Besides the press, several business leaders from the community attended the ceremonial restart of production for the company.

“We are looking for retail space in the Grove City area,” Knecht said. “We hope to have something open by April 1.”

It is hoped that phone service will be restored by Monday: 724-458-8360 and fax 724-458-0906. Patrons may also visit their Web site at www.wendellaugust.com.

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The Grove City Area United Way is kicking off a summer campaign that features locals who are examples of how to "Live United." The first, Greg Merkle, above, has been a volunteer firefighter with the Grove City Volunteer Fire Department for 14 years. "It all started when I was 16 years old living in Harrisville, and was a volunteer with their department for eight and a half years. After moving to Grove City, I missed being with a volunteer fire department, so I decided to join Grove City's Department. What I like the most of being part of the GCVFD is that I've been able to help the community. If you are looking for ways to help, serving here would be a great way to do it." Later this summer, readers will have a chance to submit stories and win prizes.

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