Monday, February 3, 2014

LJ Customs & Blasting

Luke's chopped 1954 Chevy sitting in his shop.

Wouldn't it be neat to go for a motorcycle ride in the Hollywood hills with Brad Pitt? How cool would it be to talk about Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys with Paul McCartney? Feel like a cup of coffee? Maybe Seinfeld can swing by and pick us up in one of his Porsches. All of that would be great, but I am a realist. I don't know these people and I am okay with that. Lucky for me it takes me less than a second to think of how many cool, talented, funny, and smart friends I have. I'd be wasting my time pining over the celebrity life when I have so many great people around me already. One of those people is Luke Johnson. Follow along and I'll show you all of the great stuff he is doing at his automotive repair and custom shop, LJ Customs & Blasting.

Luke officially opened for business in June of 2008 in Bartelso, IL, which is about 40 miles east of St. Louis, MO. He started the business doing a lot of work with his mobile sandblasting service and some small welding repair jobs at the shop. As most small business owners can attest to, some hardships showed up right around the 1-1/2 year mark. Luke wasn't about to let the poor economy take him down so he did what any successful entrepreneur would do and used the slow time as an opportunity. Taking on some bigger automotive repairs and custom work brought a few jobs in the door and gave him the chance to garner experience with those more in depth projects. He quickly became quite skilled, as he was doing a lot of metal repairs, paint work, and attending Metal Meets. His great passion for learning and honing his craft has been the cause for many a custom car to enter his shop. The attention to detail and the effort that Luke puts into his work are consistent with every job. It makes no difference to Luke if he is shaping a sheet of metal for the 1934 Ford hot rod he is building from scratch or replacing rocker panels on a customer's 1957 Chevy because he is always striving to do it to the best of his ability. It would be no surprise to find Luke hard at work in his shop on any given day, morning, noon, or night. Ask him why he puts in so many hours, and he might just tell you he has a lot of work to get done. If you spend more than five minutes with him you will probably see right through that because this dude loves what he does and when you love what you do, you don't even feel like you are at work.

The mobile sandblasting rig in 2008. Photo courtesy of LJ Customs & Blasting.

A very attractive looking place. An old cab over truck sits in front, waiting to be worked on.
Tom's 1953 Dodge sits outside of a second building that's used for Luke and his dad's personal vehicles.
Luke talking on the phone with a customer.
Not only did Luke make the sign and hanging bracket but he painted and hand lettered it as well.
The giant steel box in the fore ground is beginning of the Yoder style power hammer that Luke is building off of blue prints.
Luke shows the door skin he made from a flat sheet of metal.
Some hand formed pieces setting on the original '34 Ford cab that Luke is using as a pattern.

Some impressive tools in the shop.
Wall hangings.

Luke and Tom
Germantown, IL sign next to the "derestriction" sign from the German Autobahn.
Luke even dabbles in woodworking. He made the handles for these metal files.

Obviously, a guy who can build a car is capable of building a computer desk.

Panoramic shot of LJ Customs & Blasting.


  1. Luke is incredibly passionate with his work. It isn't a job he goes to everyday, it's his passion. I can attest that Luke loves what he does and strives to perfect his craft at every given opportunity! Great article - so great to see some much deserved attention and recognition to this incredibly talented guy! Keep up the great work, Luke! So proud of you!

    1. It was fun to do this little article about him! Thanks for reading!

  2. I agree with Alecia! Luke is the real deal! He has talent out of this world. He gets it honestly! His dad is such a wonderfully talented man as well. Not much more I can say except that we are so proud of Luke! Glad you wrote this article about him!!!

    1. He sure is! Thanks for checking out the article!