Inside Pete Engelhart’s Workshop
Practical applications of a life-long Skippy habit.
The welding station.
A rack of mostly finished bells await their fates.
And So It Began
Engelhart cut his teeth on metalworking when he was just a kid growing up on his father’s ranch at the foot of Mt. Diablo, 25 miles east of Berkeley. “We’d have to make stuff,” he says. “The tractor would break, farm equipment would break, and we’d have to fix it ourselves.” The ranch shop was equipped with a band saw, sanders, grinders, and a funky old stick welder and an acetylene setup. Mostly he did repair work, but then he got into hotrod racing and did a lot of metalwork building and modifying drag cars.
In the ’50s, when he was around 18 years old, a friend invited him to go to Brazil and he ended up staying for two years. He got turned onto a lot of music there, and upon his return he pursued life as a jazz pianist for 25 years. Eventually he came to the realization that being a pro musician wasn’t really his calling, so he shifted gears and put more focus into creating his metal percussion instruments.