the front of an antique firetruck

Maker of the Month – December

Congratulations to December’s “Maker of the Month”, Joe Fenerty!  

“In March of this year, I was driving my daughter to High School when I noticed an old fire truck rotting away in a parking lot. I snapped a few photographs and placed the pics on a Facebook group that is dedicated to old fire apparatus. I captioned the pics with, ‘Isn’t it sad to see this old piece just rotting away’.”

“Shortly after placing the pics, I received a message from the owner requesting that I inbox him. Being new to Facebook, I had to ask my daughter what that meant. My first thought was the owner was upset that I had entered his property to take the photos of his truck and placed them online. It took a day to get back to him, but I was not prepared for what was to come. The owner told me I could have the truck if I wanted it. Apparently, he’d been trying to get rid of it for some time, but I opened a can of worms and had to put my money where my mouth was.”

“I excitedly brought the good news to my beautiful wife who immediately thought I was crazy. Like all of my other projects, she wanted to know where we would store a fire truck. I told her I wanted to make a bar out of it and that it had been a lifelong dream of mine to make a bar out of an old fire truck. After several hours of begging and promising to put out the trash, I got the green light.”

“The truck is a 1949 American LaFrance Foamite, 700 series pumper. It had been left outside for several years and was in extremely bad condition. I saw potential that the cab of the truck could become a really nice bar.”

“After taking over ownership, I immediately went to the lot and began dismantling the truck. Using tips I’d seen on your show, I carefully removed all parts and secured them for later use. I also made arrangements with a local towing company to haul the truck to their yard where I could dismantle the cab from the body. Once the cab was removed, I placed it on a trailer and brought it home to my garage where the fun began.”

“I was like a kid in a candy store as I began using every tool in my arsenal. My wife who initially thought I was crazy began to see my vision wasn’t so far off. I decided to leave the old paint as is and I clear coated the entire cab. I thought the patina, dents and dings told the story of the trucks history and I wanted to preserve that.”

“After constructing a platform and cutting the truck’s bumper to fit the platform, it was now time to move the cab down to the basement of our home. I contacted my buddy JD and asked him to give me a hand carrying a fire truck down to my basement. JD is a veteran of many of my ideas and he agreed to help me not knowing that this project weighed approximately 400 pounds. So, one Saturday in August, JD arrived and the cursing started. With the help of two plastic snow sleds and a cargo tie-down wrapped around JD’s butt, we managed to get the truck into the basement and onto the platform.”

“The reconstruction went well and I now have a 1949 fire truck bar in my basement. I’ve attached photographs that I took along the way. Obviously, the truck parts were reinstalled. The back bar was recycled from an old bar top that was going to be thrown out. The cabinet doors in the rear came from an old television cabinet that was also going to be trashed. The diamond plate in-lay on the front bar came from the rear step of an old police wagon.”


About Joe

My name is Joe Fenerty, and I am a police officer from Perkasie, Pennsylvania who is married with a house full of daughters. I have always been handy with tools, and since I am outnumbered around the house, I spend a lot of time in my garage where my tools are the only things that understand me.

I had a blast reclaiming this beautiful piece of art from the scrap yard. I love old fire trucks and I hate to see them rusting away in a lot. I also love watching your show, and I certainly would not have taken on this project without the confidence and knowledge I’ve obtained by watching the Salvage Dawgs. You guys make me laugh and I thoroughly enjoy sitting down with you every Sunday night. I plan more projects in the future and I can’t wait for the next season of Salvage Dawgs. I thank you for allowing me to show off my pride and joy (besides my wife & kids).

Thank you for sharing your craftsmanship with us and the rest of the world, Joe.  Enjoy your new KEEN Utility boots!