Photographs by gus Cantavero Jr
Call it nostalgia. Call it a guy thing. Whatever, because the bottle openers, key rings, field note cases and other man’s-man things are just cool. Why? Because they’re hand-machined metal items. Like precise yet unfussy, built-to-really-use tools that men (and women who like to borrow from the boys) find themselves boasting about.
Metal Shop founder and Westporter Jon Fontane says: “Growing up I would spend time at my grandfather’s machine shop. I remember the engineers and draftsmen working upstairs in the office on large drafting tables, the shop downstairs with all the machinery and especially the 1960s-era delivery truck…wish I still had that one!”
With that emotional tie, Fontane founded his business, and he appreciates oil-under-the-fingernails, American craftsman and the dedicated quality and care given to each item he creates. It’s about honoring a valuable tradition.
“Each of our products is machined and finished by skilled machinists with years of experience,” he explains. Plus, the whole process is done in Fairfield County. His passion for the craft is infectious, which is good for his Kickstarter campaign for the bullet pencil. “The goal of the project is to modernize what was a pretty common give-away item back in the day,” he says.