Doug Rogers (IG: @pistonface)

September 03, 2022 1 Comment

Welcome to this week's #benchmarkspotlight (formerly the #weldershowcase) - we had the opportunity to sit down with Doug from @pistonface and talk a little shop.
 
If you would like to be featured in our weekly spotlight (100% FREE) and have a chance at winning one of our Grinder Hoods please send us an email to leo.benchmarkabrasives@gmail.com to get you scheduled in an upcoming week. These spotlights are intended to highlight your skill, your business, and your tips and tricks.  Most of all it's to have a little fun!
Enjoy and Grind On!

 

 
Name:  Doug Rogers
Business Name:  Piston Face
Location: Keizer, OR
Socials: IG: @pistonface  FB: Piston Face  TikTok: @pistonface   Pinterest: PistonFace
Specialties:  Day Job: Automotive diagnosis, repair, and Instruction.  Art: Carving Pistons into art with an attitude.
Tell us about yourself - what inspired you to get into your trade? And how long?
Since childhood I have had an interest in cars and motorcycles through TV and Movies. I have been in the Automotive Industry on the repair side since 1984. I worked 24 years as a GM Dealership Technician and am now going on my 5th year as an Automotive Instructor in the same Automotive Program I graduated from in 1994.
My inspiration for my Artwork comes from Clint Eastwood's Drifter Character always chomping on a cigar. When I created my unique piston carving design around 2017, it was based around capturing his Cigar Chomp and scowl. I had no one else to look at for advice as I was creating my own look and the only other piston carvings were more traditional skull like 3D types. I wanted my stuff to emote attitude and look like no one else’s. My wife Dana, and my Brother In-Law Danny encouraged me to keep at my artwork as I switched gears from Technician to Instructor. So, I owe 100% gratitude for the support of PistonFace.
 
 
What keeps you motivated throughout the day?
I would say the love of mechanical things and whimsy. Having A.D.D. makes it tough to stay on task. I go down rabbit holes a lot with ideas and how to execute them in a manner I feel will translate cool. Motivation for me is about learning and having fun doing it, while having a healthy fear of failure. Lol. My wife Dana also motivates me with encouragement and feedback.
What is your favorite shop tool and why?
My Dremel and Flex shaft are probably the most used tool in my shop, I own several of them. They allow me the control I need to hand make my pistons. The variation of 1/8” bits is almost endless.
 
 
What's your favorite piece that you've worked on?
Tough question because they all have a special place, and many great stories attached. As I answer this question, I am just starting piston #400. I would have to say #268 Brad Millers 352 Ford Y-Block piston from his 62’ Mercury wagon. This carving made the July 2020 cover of @enginebuildermagazine which was still in printed form, and Brad has been one of the earliest supporters of my artwork. Just being able to preserve the history of that old Mercury is one thing, but someone trusting you with their history is a whole other deal. Grateful and honored truly!
If you could have any job as it relates to question 1 what would it be and what would you do with that?
Great question: Like most makers, or Hobbyist. I wish I could do my metal art full time. I hope to do this when I retire someday as income and a hobby. I have recently picked up a Tig welder and want to make sculptures etc.
Using my Automotive skillset and knowledge to help create new technicians is great as the trades are so important, but creating art is my happy place.
 
 
What BA product is your favorite and why?
I really like the 2” quick change felt polishing pads. They allow you to do smaller jobs, or go over and blend in repairs that might need done after initial polishing.
What BA product surprised you in terms of quality - what about it set it apart from the competition?
I think all the 2" quick change discs hold up really well. I have used the sanding and surface finish discs over the years and find yours hold up really well. The felts mentioned above surprised me most. I expected them to waste away in seconds like most other felt pads on the market. We all know how awesome the 4 ½” flap discs are for knocking down material, but I really like the control I have with the 2” products on my die grinders.
 
 
What tips and tricks do you have for us that might be different or eye opening for others to try with BA product?
I like to share one of my tricks for the Double Cut burrs when grinding aluminum is to have a bar of soap handy. I dip my bits into the bar soap as I am carving. It is an extremely inexpensive way to extend Burr life and lessen plugging of the flutes.
If there was one person you could collaborate with - who would it be and why? 
Soooo many Stars out there I admire and look up to, but: Karl Saar @kustomsteel, his vision and execution are nothing short of amazing. He did the most amazing piston art I have ever seen called “Crankentstein”. I don’t even know if my skillset would match up with anything he does, but it would be epic.
 
 
Do you have any advice for the next generation that you wish you had when you first started?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Do things you enjoy, don’t give up too easy, and create a unique you.
Give back where you can. That can be donating something to a good cause, encouraging others to succeed, sharing your knowledge.
Basically, make those around you better and you will be better for it.
What are your future plans for your shop?
My wife and I are just enjoying our shop time as it comes. In the near future, I hope to be Tig welding a lot and upgrading some of my lower quality tools to make life easier when making my artwork.
 
 
Thanks for sitting with us and sharing your story with the community - is there anything you'd like to add?  
I would just like to say. Get out and create things every so often, even if you don’t think you have it in you. So many people I know (myself included) do not realize the things you can do if you just jump in and try it. Find your thing, your look, your signature, share ideas, and knowledge because you’re only on this earth once.

 

A Note From Leo
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Doug!  It's really great that you're able to play around with your art outside of work. Having a good support system at home is key in being able to enjoy yourself.



1 Response

Joke
Joke

November 07, 2022

If you tipe “pistonskull” in instagram search you will see much better piston carvings then this guy does. I understand these articles is all about promoting your products.

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