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North Shore allows welder to diversify

Eric Schultz, owner of Electroforge Custom Welding in Silver Creek Township, recently finished a new shop that will fit multiple large boats he works on. (News-Chronicle photo by Jamey Malcomb)1 / 4
Eric Schultz, owner of Electroforge Custom Welding, works to bend canopy pipes in his old shop in the garage at his house. (Photo courtesy of Eric Schultz)2 / 4
Electroforge Custom Welding was contracted to create the metal frames for the new wayfinding signs on Highway 61 in Two Harbors. (Photo courtesy of Eric Schultz)3 / 4
Electroforge Custom Welding creates customized framework for boat canopies. (Photo courtesy of Eric Schultz)4 / 4

Eric Schultz stands outside his home and looks proudly at the new shop he recently built for his welding business near Silver Creek Township. The shop for Electroforge Custom Welding, which has been in the works for nearly a year and was finished about a month ago, will also Schultz to continue to grow the business that he brought to the North Shore in 2010 from Hawaii.

Since opening up shop in Silver Creek, Electroforge's business has seen enormous growth and the variety of jobs available has increased with each new job Schultz gets.

"In Hawaii, we worked on boats and that was pretty much all we did. Since we moved back here it's gotten so diversified with logging equipment, heavy equipment, residential stuff and jobs for the fire department and the city of Two Harbors," Schultz said. "Now it's not just working on boats, now we work on everything, from aluminum to cast alloys to steel and stainless. We can repair pretty much everything."

The new shop took more than a year to build in part because of permitting. Schultz had to work with Silver Creek to get special permitting because it is a commercial business located in a residential neighborhood. Now the shop can hold a number of big boats and will allow Schultz to bring them indoors during the winter. Before he had to take the metal canopy frame off and bring it inside and then reinstall the finished product once he was done.

Originally from Duluth, Schultz has been welding for 20 years and started Electroforge 16 years ago while still living in the Aloha State. Since moving back to the North Shore six years ago, the business has continued to diversify and recently one of his most high profile projects went on display in Two Harbors.

Schultz said he had already done a number of jobs for the Two Harbors Volunteer Fire Department customizing some storage compartments on the trucks when Jim Gilbert, a firefighter who also works with the city, approached him about creating the frames for the wayfinding signs the city planned to erect on Highway 61 through town. The welder jumped at the chance to work on such a high profile job and worked for nearly a year and a half to meet the city's and the Minnesota Department of Transportation's specifications. The frames needed to fit the approved signs, but Gilbert and the city also wanted them to have a decorative aspect as well.

"He had an idea when he came and then I just had to take his ideas and fabricate it," Schultz said. "That made it fun for me, too, because it's always exciting when people come with their ideas and I fabricate what they imagine."

Electroforge has also become asset for loggers and other businesses in Lake County. Schultz has been asked to repair broken loaders and other equipment around the county.

"We've really become an asset for a lot of the people around here, too, because we stay on call," Schultz said. "I have a service truck that I take out in the woods and fix logging equipment. They rely on me to get out there to help them."

Electroforge also offers a service not available anywhere else in the Midwest, which is helping grow the business even more, anodized aluminum fabrication.

"It's a huge specialty, it's usually only found down in south Florida or out east," Schultz said. "We're bringing a huge opportunity to get that kind of stuff done on their boats. The more people that find out about us, we just keep getting busier and busier."

Not only does Schultz fabricate signs, custom storage compartments, boat canopy frames or any other commercial project, he also creates beautiful metal flowers and even helped his son fabricate a metal model of the Fitger's Brewery Complex in Duluth.

To contact Schultz about a job or see some of Electroforge's other projects, check out the website at www.electroforgecustomwelding.com or go the the business's Facebook page.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle in August 2015. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and previously worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. He is the beat writer for the Lake County Board of Commissioners, Silver Bay City Council and high school sports in Lake County. 

(218) 834-2141
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