Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Brian Alfonsi - Craft Method

Most of you know, that check in on this blog from time to time, I really like old tools and anything old and mechanical.  So it may come as no surprise that my eye is easily caught when I see a picture of an old machine tool, steam engine, or anything "Rube Goldberg" looking.  One day while cruising InstaGram I came across this picture of this really cool single cylinder steam engine.  I immediately had to check out this person that went by "craftmethod".  Maybe this person has a similar interest (read illness) as the things I look for for inspiration.

So I started following this guy on IG.  Brian Alfonsi.  This guy "GETS IT".  A young guy with real old-world thinking, technique, and style.  He took the leap and is building himself a Machinist's empire as well as an incredible collection of antique tools.

(All pictures used with permission from Brian)

Brian is machining everything from drawer pulls and beer taps, to Yoder power hammer dies for recreation of body panels.  He has machines from about every era including CNC technology and he's not afraid to use them.

Here's a few things from the mouth of Brian himself... (Brian gets all the credit for this write-up.  It was such a great read I wanted to share it as-is.)

My name is Brian Alfonsi. I am 30 years old and was born and raised in the fine state of Michigan. My shop is located just outside of Detroit. I started Craft Method with the desire to be a multidisciplinary maker. The name "Craft Method" was inspired by my interest in the dawn of the automobile. Before automobiles were mass-produced, they were built one at a time by craftsmen and machinery. Historians use the term craft production to describe this method of making. Over the past 6 years, my infatuation with the industrial revolution has lead me to research and acquire several tons of old, belt-driven machinery. I'm restoring them in my free time and intend to set them up in a proper building someday. As a proponent of tradition and technology, my dream shop will be an unbiased space in which modern and antiquated machinery will work together in harmony.

My father has been a machinist for 35 years. When I was 8 years old, he brought home a milling machine and from then on I was hooked. In addition to working over 60 hours a
week at his day job, he would take on side work in our home machine shop and I would help him deburr parts. I give full credit to my parents for raising me with a strong work ethic. I was also fortunate to attend a high school with a vocational education program that was second to none in Michigan. My machine shop instructor, Guy Hart, is the most dedicated teacher I've ever met. He worked tirelessly to improve the program and inspire young people to work with their hands. After high school, I started taking classes at a community college to work towards an art degree. A desire to utilize and exercise my creative side led to this radical change of direction. After a year of art classes, the magnetic force of the Motor City pulled me in and I began working in the concept vehicle group at General Motors. What started as a temporary parts procurement job quickly turned into an amazing decade-long career of building concept vehicles. Fast forward to January of 2015, I made the decision leave GM and start my own business.

I serve clientele that desire quality over quantity. Due to my lifelong passion for transportation, I work with clients on projects involving automobiles, airplanes, motorcycles, bicycles, etc. I've also had the opportunity to make architectural details, custom beer tap handles, tin signs, and other creatively fulfilling work. I get the highest level of satisfaction from a project in which I am granted full creative control. The challenge of taking a project from conception to completion is very rewarding. For now I've been predominately working on client based work, but down the road I intend to create some products of my own.

In 1934, the Museum of Modern Art organized an exhibition titled Machine Art. The organizers of the exhibition wanted to prove that art could be made without the handicraft approach. The objects on display shed a new light on the nature of beauty and value in an age of mass production. Today, there seems to be a resurgence of this mentality. Although I can't take credit for the hashtag, my #machineart posts are heavily inspired by the research I've done on the exhibition. I'm trying to expose the beauty in machine made objects.

My Haas CNC milling machine has been utilized in nearly all of my work so far. Because of this, most pieces I've made are heavily influenced by our current digital age. The triangular tessellation which forms the surface of my Statue of Liberty TIG torch holder is a great example of this. As I complete the restoration of my antique machinery, it will enable me to draw inspiration from the entire span of the Machine Age."

I'm really excited to be sharing Brian's story here.  His story is very inspirational to me and I'm assuming some of my readers as well.  Here are some additional pictures of his operation and work.  Hopefully this will inspire people to get out there and make beautiful things WITH beautiful things.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hunting for Bucks?

In an effort to get caught up with this blog, I'm going to start with something that I think about on a regular basis...  forming bucks!  Sort of a sequel to one of my previous posts.  I tend to save pictures of forming bucks as I see them when doing searches on the WWW.  My hat is off to the builders of these bucks.  Always inspires me to get out in the garage and start working on my roadster buck!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Brian Darwas - Hot Rod Movies for the Traditionalist

Brian Darwas of Atomic Hot Rods has been putting out these awesome flicks on traditional hot rodding topics for quite a few years now.  They just seem to keep getting better and better.  Check out his latest Three Mile trailer and make sure to check out a few of his others as well.  Brian knows what's up!

And if you like that, you'll like these...

Friday, August 14, 2015

Model T Lakes Roadsters - Friday Favorites

I've been collecting parts for a T roadster build, lately.  Here's some of my personal favorites that would fall more in the vintage race car catagory...

(these pictures are all from a Google search.  None of these are mine)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Porsche Madness in NC - Zuffenhaus

I'm always on the lookout in the Carolinas for interesting Porsche events, shops, and early Porsches.  A shop local to me, of which I REALLY need to go visit soon, is Zuffenhaus Eurowerks & Zuffenhaus Products.  These guys are doing some seriously awesome work on early Porsches.  They do everything from the basic Porsche work to building their own parts and body panels for the right look and feel as well as to pay proper tribute to legendary race cars.

Drop by and check out their new shop and product line in Monroe, North Carolina, and of course check out their website and blog.  Some top notch work here!!

(pictures are from their postings.  Not my photos)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Daniel Schaefer - Drive Heckmotor-Sportwagen

"Hello.  I drive Heckmotor-Sportwagen..."  Heard this before?

A little while back, some crazy European Porsche dork friends of mine said, "Hey!  Have you met Daniel Schaefer yet?"   Uhhh...  well...  I hadn't, but I was blown away by this guy's talent when I checked out his blog, Heckmotor-Sportwagen.   Photographer, Porsche enthusiast and builder, hell of a writer, oh...  and a cyclist crazy man!

Recently Daniel finished this perfect era correct, Albert Blue, early 911.  The "911 GT" is based on a '66 912 and is flawlessly done.  And what a feeling to be able to stand back and look at your own creation through the lens of your own camera.  Respect!

Okay...  so on with the post, before I get too wordy.  Check out his blog and check out his photography at and more here...  All pictures here are by Daniel himself.