A natural-born jack-of-all-trades, Lucas D’Angelo has been taking on a handful of projects since an early age. Based in Massachusetts, Lucas has dabbled with various hobbies throughout the years from woodworking, to metal fabrication, to restoring vintage equipment. Listen in as Jeremy and Eric sit down with Lucas to learn about his career, setting up shop, tool restoration, future plans, and much more in this very exciting season finale of Bucket Talk.
Coming from a family of woodworkers and carpenters, Lucas D’Angelo got his start in developing a handful of skills at an early age. As a kid, Lucas would work on small woodworking projects with his uncles, such as making pens, picture frames, cutting boards, and other items. This interest continued through high school, where he began customizing his 2002 Subaru and eventually started dabbling with metal fabrication.
“I got to learn a little bit of metal fabrication to work on this. So, you know, I learned how to weld and I really found that while woodworking was cool, you know, metalworking I really loved it because it almost felt like you were taking something so innocuous and turning it into something totally different, you know? And so it just really, I mean, it went from there.”
After high school, Lucas went to college initially for video production, before switching to a business major with a minor in tech education. Meanwhile, he continued working his way up at Ace Hardware, from a stockperson to store manager to director of facilities.
“Ultimately what I do right now is essentially director of facilities. And that's a pretty multifaceted job… we have four retail hardware stores, and a total of five properties… And so with that that's a lot to take care of. They're all older buildings being in Massachusetts, you know, so there's always stuff to fix to repair.”
To this day, Lucas continues his dayjob at Ace Hardware, while making time to focus on his various hobbies and side hustles. With a shop at home which has grown over the years, Lucas particularly enjoys taking on very unique projects for his clients. He has set up his shop to handle every step of the fabrication and restoration process, so that he does not need to subcontract anything out for any given project.
"I don't do the traditional kind of… make cutting boards or make the kind of stuff that I think is a very common thing to see out of a hobbyist or side business woodworking or metal fabrication, but I do a lot more kind of unique job to job stuff. So someone might say… I need this fabricated you know, here's some drawings or I need this repaired, I don't know how to do it or I need this. That's my bread and butter. That's the stuff I really enjoy doing because it's a lot more of a creative problem solving situation…”
One of Lucas’s main hobbies-turned-side-business is restoring and repairing vintage machinery, tools, and equipment. Luca’s began fixing old equipment out of necessity, since newer machinery can be very costly. Once he began to dive in, he learned that there is a whole community for vintage equipment, and a market of people willing to buy these restored tools because they are better quality. From full factory restorations to “resto mods” or customized restorations of vintage machinery, Lucas takes on a variety of projects for client, such as this drill press he found half buried in Long Island.
“To make it a perfect restoration that would have been, you know, brought back to factory paint factory colors, all of that. And to some people, that's what they want. But what I've found is so many people want something that's, you know, unique for them or fits their style. So for this one, he wanted it painted… Mohito green… cause he's got a couple other things that color… I did that colorway [with] gold accents. And so that's sort of a ‘resto mod’, but that's exactly what he wanted. And to him, that's got all the value in the world and he can turn around sell it, because it's unique, but it's mechanically perfect. Whereas… being restored back to factory condition in factory color and factory everything that is its highest worth, its highest value.”
Looking to the future, Lucas is playing things by year as his skills, side business, and career continue to grow. Among renovating apartments, restoring machinery, working a dayjob, and managing his social media presence, his main goal is to continue growing in his skills and sharing his knowledge with the world.