The DeKalb Difference Blog

Man of Steel: DeKalb Metalworker Turns Iron into Art

Roy Summers said he never set out to become the go-to guy for custom ironwork, chrome auto fittings, artsy signs, trophies and a variety of metal tchotchkes.

“It was a hobby,” said the burly, bearded 34-year-old with a laugh. “Then I got stuck.”

The way he tells it, he attended Georgia Piedmont Technical College to study motorcycle technology in 2013, then in 2015, graduated from DeKalb Tech (now part of Georgia Piedmont, where he studied welding).

Summers says he found his vocation welding rods and cutting torches, crafting iron and steel for a variety of purposes. “You get to work with your hands, and you can make anything you want,” he said.

Summers’ clients include many local businesses who rely on his unique touch for individualized items, building contractors ordering handrails and other architectural details, and auto and motorcycle enthusiasts seeking customized features from a kindred spirit.

“I can do anything you want on the automotive side – I work on a lot of hotrods – and I do a lot of handrails, yard art, stuff like that,” he said. “Pretty much anything for anybody. I also do some auto mechanic work,” said Summers, gesturing toward a showroom clean ‘69 Corvette just inside the door.

Happily Tucked Away in Tucker

Operating out of a cavernous warehouse space he shares with a landscaping company just off of Mountain Industrial Boulevard, Summers – who grew up and attended elementary, middle and high school in Tucker – said he’s found DeKalb County and his hometown to be an ideal place for his business.

“It’s just so close to everything I do,” said Summers, who’s been at his current location for four years and in September became a first-time father. “Almost everybody I grew up with in Tucker has stayed here. A good buddy of mine, Vinh Nguyen, just got elected to the City Council.”

Summers said he gets a lot of business from other area establishments like Ford’s BBQ, The Local 7 Pub in Tucker – where his wife is a server – and The Stratford in Avondale Estates.

“I do all of their chili cookoff trophies and I’ve done a bunch of signs, tables, things like that,” said Summers, mentioning that he also does custom work for Tucker mainstay Cofer Brothers building supply company.

Summers’ father owns Tucker-based Summers & Sons Development Company, which has been in the building and remodeling business since 1971, and he said he’s frequently called upon to provide handrails, handicap-access ramps and other specialty features for that company’s projects.

Metalhead and Motorhead

Summers said he’s particularly gratified to be among a number of auto and motorcycle mechanics who make up a substantial – if low-key – part of Tucker’s business community.

“There are a lot of mechanics and garages – high-end mechanics – around here,” said Summers, pointing to the availability of reasonably priced industrial space available in the area.

“Some of them have TV shows on the Motor Trend channel,” he added, including the nearby  state-of-the-art, appointment-only customization and design center operated by “Car Fix” host Bryan Fuller, whose Fuller Moto is minutes aways.

“There’s a lot of  motor guys in Tucker,” said Summers. “We kind of hide out here.”

Strolling to the back of his shop Summers points out his latest pet project, a 1970 Ford F-100 pickup he’s been customizing for the past year and a half.

Thrusting through the cutaway truck bed and exposing the rear linkage, a thick black iron framework supports a white, x-shaped roll bar extending to the top of the cab. Inside, the seats, steering wheel and door panel are tightly sheathed in rough brown leather.

“I had to learn how to do a baseball stitch in leather for this one,” said Summers, shaking his head. “My hands were raw by the time I finished.”

The truck’s exterior is a motley patchwork of faded red, primer gray and streaked whitish sanding marks ready, it seems, for the paint shop. Asked what color he plans to finish off his masterpiece, Summers shakes his head. “I think I’ll leave it like that,” he said with a grin. “I think it looks good.”

Mind Over Metal is located at 4466 Elmdale Drive, Tucker, Georgia, 404-313-2702.

If you’d like to join the metalheads and motorheads, or have another idea for a business in DeKalb County, we’re here to help. Reach out to Decide DeKalb. We’d love to hear from you and help you on your entrepreneurial journey.