Rex Rogers

How did you first get interested in cars and restorations?

About 25 years ago, I had a 1961 Chevy Apache that I restored in high school shop class. From there, I joined the Marine Corps and became a panel beater, doing a lot of rust repair on government trucks and camo paint jobs. In 1998 I went to McPerson college in Kansas to learn the automotive restoration trade and decided I wanted to focus on metal shaping. I was lucky to get an apprenticeship under Ron Fournier in Michigan, and the amount he taught me was invaluable.

What brought you to The Forge?

My apprenticeship in Michigan was drawing to a close in 2001, and one of the guys I went to school with was working here. He let me know that the owner was looking for a metal specialist. When I started with the company there was only 3 of us, and I was given the opportunity to put my experience and training to work.

What's your role at The Forge now?

I am the general manager, but I get out on the shop floor every chance I get and either work on sheet metal repair or final assembly. I have been in the industry for a while now, but I know that I have only touched the surface of what can be accomplished. Every time I attend a class or a workshop, I pick up one more tip or expand on what I already know. There is an amazing group of metal shapers out there, and I like how as a group we share our ideas and love of the craft.

Outside the Shop

I have a wonderful wife of 14 years and a 10-year-old son. As a family we spend a fair amount of time out in the yard and remodeling our house. My son is active in the local 4H club, primarily in the shooting sports, so a lot of nights and weekends we are attending those events. My son has a 1927 Ford Roadster that will be going into the garage very soon so we can build his first hot rod.

I also stay active in the metal shaping community and spend some time with the local hot rodders helping them out. For my part, I have a 1932 Ford Sedan and a 1932 Ford 5 window, and I'm slowly collecting parts for both cars. I have smaller sheet metal projects, too, like bomber seats and stock style 32 seats, and even a few aluminum toys. I started metal spinning a few years ago. I am working on full die set up currently to stamp out some toy car bodies - which some day might be given to our customers.