The mind and talent behind the metal madness of Special’79 is a fellow named Jay. If
you have never had the pleasure of pickin his brain you have to take the time to get to
50: Hey Jay how are things? Give us a bit about you… Where you from? What’s your
background? How did you get started in this game?
Jay: Things are going well, busy and hectic with too many things running around my brain. Ok, here goes. I’m originally from Massachusetts, grew up in a small town named Sterling. A lot of bmx, skateboarding, and ice hockey. I lived in Santa Cruz, CA for a bit but moved to NY to go to grad school. I currently reside and work in Worcester, MA with my wife and dog.
I got started in the fabrication game just after I got out of grad school and needed a break from the art metals field in which I had been studying. I had a need to make functional, everyday work that was far from the gallery focused work that I had been involved in making for the 6 (or so) years I was in school studying art. I really enjoyed working in metal, but over time the function became more important to me than the content of the pieces I had been making. Looking back, I should’ve studied industrial design instead of fine arts. Well, next thing you know I start teaching myself how to mig weld and the rest is history as they say.
50: Some time back you were thinking of pulling camp and heading to the hills of
Colorado, but you decided to stay. Why was that? What kept you at home?
Jay: Well, Colorado is always on the table. My wife’s brother lives there and we love it out around Denver! The housing market sucks for selling right now, so we’ll stay put for now. You never know what the future brings though!
50: So you just opened up a new shop (looks great by the way). What is the best part of
expanding? What is the biggest drawback?
Jay: Best part would be having a floor that will support a Bridgeport and our Hendy lathe. If I tried to put those things in my barn shop they would’ve ended up in the dirt basement. It’s also really nice to share a space with friends that have a ton of talent that you can bounce ideas off of. The only drawback is paying the rent every month.
50: What work do you do from the shop? Whats the one thing you could do all day
Jay: I do all my work from the new shop space right now. Tank work, handlebars, frame work, light machining, and any moto modification or ground up build. Oh, and furniture/lighting design. If I could get paid enough to stand in front of a lathe all day long and make useless bits of cool turmed parts, I would.
50: Name the one piece of machinery/equipment you could not live without.
Jay: I couldn’t live without my tig welder, I love that thing. I know you said one piece of equipment but I also love my lathe and my tubing bender.
50: Name one tool you use which has changed the face of choppin’
Jay: Got to be the tig and the invention of heliarc welding. It’s really nice to know how to gas weld, but tig welding has really made thing easier for everyone. The scaling down of power hammers and planishing machines has certainly made it easier for small shops to get more involved in small scale sheetmetal work too.
50: What inspires you as a welder/machinist?
Jay: Man, everything around me is inspirational but I’m most inspired by seeing raw talent by someone in their chosen field, it makes me want to get better at what I do.
50: Name your 5 favorite builders. I mean ones that really set you on your heels and say
Jay: Shit, that’s a hard one. I see things in every motorcycle that I love so anyone that builds or designs bikes is on that list. Hell, there are so many talented people out there I wouldn’t know how to pick 5. Basically, anyone that’s really detail oriented with fabrication skills and a good eye for bike composition is what really catches my attention.
50: What’s next for you? Where do you see this all going, or where would you like to
Jay: Well, I’d love just keep progressing with my craft and continue to be able to offer quality parts for home/garage builders. Maybe someday I’ll make some money at it J. I’ll be designing more parts for fabricators, offering welding classes, and doing some how–to dvds in the near future.
51. Any last words? Anyone you’d like to thank?
Jay: I’d like to thank my wife, Ann-Marie, for all the support she has given me and believing in what I’m doing. There are a ton of other people who help me in so many ways, they know who they are and I’m not taking the chance of listing them and leaving someone out. Extra thanks go out to my customers like you who think my work is worth buying!
Thanks for taking the time to chat man.
if you need anything give Jay a holler'